There’s an extra side to the question of what PCs do in down time, and it’s what the players do. Our GM likes it1The sobbing has stopped. when we pad out the world, and one of our favourite ways is by RPing amongst ourselves, in text, between sessions.
Sometimes it’s little arguments, sometimes it’s prep for plots that a player wants to run. Because not everyone can do this, we have a rule that we don’t advance plot or make huge things happen. We also usually stick to a limited number of scenes, although at time of writing our GM is having a break and a different player2Me. Siiiiiigh. is running for a few sessions, so the stand-in is getting more RP by text than usual.
It’s a good way of embellishing the world and strengthening our characters’ personalities.
Things we’ve done:
- A lot of rock climbing
- Carefully spreading word of a Heroquest that a PC wants to undertake, but needed oaths of silence for telling others about
- Complaining about meditation
- Shopping in a dragonewt market3My favourite thing was a small black stone ball that would roll to the edge of any table it was put on, and drop off
- Tourist-staring at the ice wall
- Swimming lessons, followed by dealing with hypothermia badly
- Going out on a picnic to sadistically cheer on the PC who is undergoing CON training
- Visiting NPC relatives who want to hear all the PC stories
- Organising ransoms4…and working out that we’ve both taken the same person for ransom and this is a problem
All of these things solidify the world and the PCs. We know that there’s a street food seller not far from the Humakti temple who does food guaranteed not to have vegetables in. We know that the White Grape Inn has a courtyard and a back door. We know the stables have an entrance into the inn as well as the courtyard exit.
We know, to our horror, the dances that the storm bull does when he gets drunk and we never want to see those again. It’s these details that fill in a world, and RP with the GM invited to check nothing is wildly wrong is a good way to let the PCs do some of the work and end up with a better world that they understand.
We use Discord, but there are plenty of media that will let you post one after another. I’d recommend that you log whatever you do, clean it up, and put it where people can admire it, because eventually it becomes a resource that you refer to. We’ve used a wiki for that, and again, there are many ways. They all help to create depth. Make the details, make the world…