So, a few things to notice. First, the easiest way to get a layout like
this is to use the form on the web page (www.necromancy.org) (Thanks, Julian!).
It doesn't lay things out *exactly* like this (some indentation is added here),
but you won't go wrong using the form. If you do use a different layout, at
least be sure to include all of this information in roughly this order, and
label the different sections.
Second, the XP STUFF section is a simple list of things you did for XP
awards, 1 per line, at the top of the downtime report. A list like this will
make it easier for us to add up your XP and less likely that we'll miss
something. It's extra nice if you put the fixed XP awards first, and the
considerations for discretionary awards afterwards, but that's not really
necessary. There's no need to include any suggested point totals. In a
related note, Narrators should be aware that you only get your XP award if you
actually work your two desk shifts! No desk shifts, no Narrator XP.
Third, you'll notice that any time another character is referenced, his
clan is included. This isn't necessary, but it's nice for the STs. Also, if
you think there might be some confusion as to who you're talking about (eg, the
character may be using an alias), try to include the player name or some other
means of identifying the character. Sometimes characters will use a name for
ten minutes to make a deal and then not come back to it, and unless they
mention it to us we have no way of knowing where an influence transfer is
supposed to go. [insert toilet flushing sound effect here]
Fourth, looking at the USE OF DOWNTIME INFLUENCES section, you'll see that
all of "Ruthven's" resources are explicitly spelled out, both what's on his
character sheet and what's actually available for his downtime actions. He
also gives the specific types and amounts of influences being spent on each
action, plus the total so far for any ongoing action. The same is true of
INFLUENCE TRANSFERS TO OTHERS and INFLUENCES EXPECTED: the exact amount and
type is listed in each case. This is probably the most important thing to note
in this entire document: explicitly list your available resources, and give the
*exact* type and amount of influence being spent on each action.
Also in USE OF DOWNTIME INFLUENCES, you'll notice that the amount spent so
far on the High Society BU is split into two amounts ("spent 4/3 so far").
This is to distinguish between the 15 influences of the same type needed for a
BU and the 5 cash or influences of any type (so "4/3" would read "4 street and
The last action in USE OF DOWNTIME INFLUENCES is an investigation.
Investigations currently yield results at story teller discretion. Having a
specific target or focus of your investigations makes it much more likely that
you will get usable information back.
In the OTHER DOWNTIME ACTIONS section, there is a simple if-then statement
based on whether Ruthven received something from Woofles. This is the *only*
kind of conditional statement that we specifically allow. Any if-then
statement that is not a simple "If I receive [foo], then I do [bar]" is
technically not allowed. We will usually make some effort to carry out more
complicated actions, but there are no guarantees. Prioritized lists are not
allowed, either, but we will usually try to do the actions in the order they
are listed (eg, if you try to buy two things, but can only afford one of them,
we will usually give you the one you listed first). Again, the general rule
here is that we will make some effort to carry out priority lists or
complicated conditionals, but there are no guarantees.
The second item in OTHER DOWNTIME ACTIONS, "I go to the zoo and tease the
animals," is obviously not covered by any game mechanics. This type of purely
role-playing action may or may not have any in-game effect, and you may or may
not get any response back in your downtime results, depending on the nature of
the action and the ST doing your downtime.
Here are a few things that were specifically NOT done in this downtime, and
that we DON'T want you to do.
Ruthven does not try to take actions with indeterminate types or amounts of
resources. That is, he does not say anything like "I use all my underworld to
buy a sniper rifle" or, even worse, "I use all the influences sent to me by
Silent Bill to buy a sniper rifle". You should always specify the exact amount
and type of influences when describing a transfer or action.
He *absolutely* does not say, "I use all the influences sent to me by the
malkavians to buy a sniper rifle." Always specify exactly who is sending you
what influences. If you wish to receive mass transfers of this sort, you must
list the exact type and amount you expect to receive from each person sending
you influences. You may use a "funnel" if you like (eg, all the malkavians
send their influences to the malk elder, and the elder makes one transfer to
you), but that "funnel" character *must* list the exact types and amounts from
each person, and to you.
Ruthven does not take indeterminate actions - he does not say "I spend 5
Street and $300 on a gun." Always specify the exact nature of your action
(what kind of gun does he want?).
There are no complex or complicated lists of conditionals or priorities.
He does not have any conditionals based on factors other than receiving or
learning something from another character (eg, he does *not* say "If my haven
is attacked, I spend 4 Street to defend.") I'm not going to give any examples
of egregiously elaborate and complicated lists of priorities and conditionals
because it would take to long and I don't think I could do justice to the kind
of convoluted logic problems we sometimes receive.
One last note - you can only spend as much cash on an action as you have
spent influences (at $100 per influence). This does *not* include any bonuses
for influence specialties! For instance, say you spend 4 Media influences on a
Cover Up action and receive 1 bonus influence, since Media has a specialty in
Cover Up. You can only spend $400 cash on this action, not $500, since the
bonus does not count toward the total number of influences spent for purposes
of cash "doubling."
Well, that pretty much covers it. And, just to be clear, this isn't
anything that's a serious problem, currently - I'm just fulfilling a request
made by some players for a sample downtime and discussion. Feel free to post
or mail me any comments or questions you might have.