The Chaos Within

Playing the Game between game sessions

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We all love a good story. Many times, players within the Chaos Within Chronicle will want to continue scenes, create new scenes or simply have their character interact with other PCs during the time “between” games sessions so that there’s plenty of action when we all gather for the next games session. This happens both literally and figuratively; Literally in the sense that players use email, chat, private messages, and the buddy functions on this website to interact with other PCs; Figuratively in that while we might be normal people in a normal world, the PCs we portray are not, and time in the “virtual World of Darkness” becomes distorted. To simplify our common understanding of the passage of time, we use the “Fortnight” as the basis for the passage of time within the Chaos Within Chronicle.

Fortnights

We play Vampire the Masquerade in two week ‘chunks’, and each two week period begins on the night of a game session and ends the night before the next game session. We’re going to call that period of time a fortnight.

In order to facilitate the game and account for a common “reality” when we interpret the passage of time in the World of Darkness versus the real world we live in, the Chaos Within uses a Fortnight system to represent the passage of time in game play. A fortnight is a real-time two-week period (14 days) wherein things related to the game occur. Unless otherwise stated, it is assumed to be two weeks of fictional time equals two weeks of real time; However, a fortnight need not be two weeks of time in the “virtual World of Darkness.” It can be any amount of time the Storytellers declare.

Our game of Vampire the Masquerade doesn’t ‘stop’ just because the game night ended… All that time spent writing emails, taking actions, asking the STs questions, that’s all still part of the same fortnight – most people just call it downtime when it is truly anything but…

Downtime is a term commonly used to refer to the period between live games sessions during which a PC takes a series of actions that further chronicle stories. We’re going to challenge your thinking on this concept, so it can put into perspective how time will be managed in the Chaos Within. Set aside the concept of downtimes and just think about every game session as the beginning of a Fortnight where on one night you take actions in person and for the remaining 13 nights, your PC takes actions, but you as a player convey them by using this website, email, chats, etc.

On the night of a game session, a PC is taking actions off-line; In the time between game sessions, a PC is taking actions on-line. All of those actions, off-line or on-line, at game or between games, still occur during the same fortnight.

Submitting Actions between Game Sessions

There are some cardinal rules to follow when taking PC actions between game sessions. These guidelines are in place to help your Storyteller staff manage all the work they put into the chronicle to keep it fun for everyone. We’ll define a few key concepts and terms that will help it all make sense.

Downtime Deadline

As a Storytelling staff, we must have time to digest and respond to all player’s downtime actions and consider how they might affect each other.

To ensure the staff has enough time to acknowledge your character’s desires during a fortnight, all downtime action submissions are requested to be received by 5pm the Monday during the same week of the forthcoming (next) game session.

Downtime requests received after that time will only be considered as time allows and the Storyteller Staff has the right to refuse applying any requests received after this downtime deadline. If you have an important action to declare, we strongly suggest you send it in before the Monday 5pm deadline so it gets considered by the staff and will be applied to the story before the next game session.

Final Deadline

As we know not everyone is going to make the downtime deadline, the following guideline will be followed so that the staff’s position on the application of a player’s downtime to the story is crystal clear.

For the purposes of spending Background Traits, including Influences, no downtime submission for an expired fortnight will be considered in play once the next fortnight begins [midnight (12:00 AM) the day of the game session].

Midnight the day of the next game session is the final deadline that will be use to determine which actions the staff may apply to the Story before the next game session.

There are no exceptions to this general rule; Even if a player sends a downtime after the downtime deadline, but before the final deadline, the Storyteller Staff has the right to refuse any downtime action submitted after the downtime deadline. Actions must be submitted to the Storyteller Staff before the stated Downtime Deadline time to be guaranteed to be considered in play at the next game session.

There are only so many hours in a night…

Downtime actions can represent a significant effort on a player’s part to be deeply involved and immersed in a PC. There are however, only so many things a PC can reasonable accomplish during a fortnight. Below we answer that question, “How much can my PC accomplish in a fortnight?”

Downtime Action Quotas

Downtime Action Quotas or just Quotas are used by the Storytellers to create parity by limiting how much a PC can reasonably accomplish within a fortnight.

We as players tend to gloss over many necessary details in describing a PC’s goals and tasks during a downtime action, but those actions take a good deal of concentration and time to accomplish for the PC. So, rather than have the staff and players bicker and debate about how long it takes to do something or how complicated it is to learn, we’ve settled on a simple system that limits how many downtime actions your PC can take that actually accomplish something using game mechanics. Here is how it works.

Each PC is allotted a number of downtime actions in three areas: Physical Actions, Social Actions and Mental Actions. These quotas dictate the limits in actions that your PC may take that accomplish some takes or effort that involves a game mechanic.

To determine how many downtime actions of each type your PC may take, cross-reference your PC’s current corresponding Attribute Rating with the chart below. This indicates the number of actions your PC may take in that category during her downtime.

By this chart, most fully matured 13th generation characters will be able to accomplish 3 Physical 3, Social and 3 Mental downtime actions per fortnight. Fully matured 8th generation characters will get 4 downtime actions in each downtime action category.

Attr Value, Actions per Category

3-5,1

6-8,2

9-11,3

12-15,4

16+,5

How STs determine the Downtime Action Category

Every downtime action relates to an Attribute Category on your character sheet and each downtime action is represented by only one of the three downtime action categories: Physical, Social or Mental. Determining the proper category for any downtime action is left to the discretion of the Storytellers, but the method for assignment is fairly intuitive. If there is clearly more than one Attribute Category involved (say you are using more than one background to accomplish something and they are of different categories) then use the highest rated category for the action. If you have questions, ask your ST, as the final determination to which category any downtime action is related is ultimately left to the Storyteller staff’s determination.

Taking Actions

Once you’ve determined the proper downtime action category for the downtime action based on the characteristic involved, submit the action request to your Storytellers and note that the action counts against your total allowed actions in that fortnight period. We’d like players to watch how much they try to do, so the Storytellers request that you monitor your own PCs actions. The STs will also monitor this and should you exceed your downtime action quota, any actions that exceed the quota (including partial actions) will not be accomplished in that fortnight. For simplicity, no partial actions are allowed, so if you cannot finish an action in whole in a given fortnight, then you cannot accomplish it until you either have more traits or spend more time on that action with fewer distractions.

Extra Focus

Players may choose to especially dedicate themselves to something they want to do but that would normally require more effort than they could spend in two weeks getting it done. In that spirit, Physical and Mental Actions can be “swapped” with each other to represent the extra focus the PC is giving to a particular task or effort.

Players may not exchange Social actions under any circumstances as this represents the time you can spend not only communicating with Influence, but other PCs in the game as well. There is no reasonable way for us to monitor emails, facebook messages, etc. between players between games to calculate social actions and their exchanges, so we aren’t going to try.

Example: Jenn the Nosferatu is working hard on building a new warrens chamber for the Clan. She’s decided that in order to get things done faster, she’ll fore-go some of the Lore studies in order to work more on building the chamber. Jenn’s player announces that he will use his Downtime Mental Actions as extra Downtime Physical Actions and dedicate them to working on the warrens. Doing this, he will spend 6 Physical actions during Jenn’s downtime, using her 3 Mental Actions as Physical Actions instead and get more work completed on the warrens but gives up study time on her lores.


Lexicon

A fortnight (the equivalent of fourteen days) will represent the period during which a character is may take actions, as limited by the rules based upon what she desires to accomplish during the fortnight after a game session. A character’s Background Traits refresh at the beginning of a fortnight period (which is the night of a game session). In other words, you’ll always begin a game session (and thus the fortnight) with all of your Background Traits available.
The night of the week that the game is to be held will be referred to as the game session. It signifies the start of the fortnight.
A fortnight begins at midnight (12:00 AM) on the night the game session is to be held and ends at 11:59 PM the night before the next game session following it.

For example, as we hold a game session on a Saturday, the fortnight begins at 12:00 AM Saturday morning (game night) and ends fourteen days later at 11:59 PM Friday night (the night before the next scheduled game session).
Actions taken between game sessions are summarized in downtimes. These are usually defined in email communications between players and storyteller staff members.

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