Downtimes/Blue Booking

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« on: <06-25-16/1539:17> »
Do any of the DMs here use Downtime reports?

I'd like to run a Campaign and want to incorporate downtimes but am not sure how much Karma I should award for the effort.

I'd like to give Karma specifically earmarked for whatever is described in the downtime, if you spend time in the gym you can get some points toward something physical, not academic etc.


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Tym Jalynsfein

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« Reply #1 on: <06-25-16/2041:46> »
I used to utilize Blue Booking a lot over the years, but have gotten away from the practice. It was an awesome tool. Never rewarded with Karma/Experience, but other in game rewards were pretty common (Contacts being one of the most useful).
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« Reply #2 on: <06-25-16/2102:10> »
First off, it's awesome to see the phrase blue booking.  I haven't heard it in ages.

I give minor karma awards in blue booking, but someone can't get a second award until everyone has earned at least one.  Mostly, blue booking is a way of developing contacts and plot points that come from a character's background, making it easier to incorporate into the main game.
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« Reply #3 on: <06-26-16/0040:34> »
In the past, I've had players e-mail me what their characters were doing during downtime. I then collated these and either posted them to a shared wiki or e-mailed them back out to the group. I did some editing as to what was public knowledge (what the team would know) versus what was private. I also conducted "intersession IC" this way, so that players could RP with NPCs or pursue private enterprises without bogging down the whole group.

I would award a point of karma if the player took the time to write up something nice and descriptive, say a couple hundred words. If they kept it short and basic (e.g. "Sir Derps-a-Lot is going to the shooting range this week to practice with his new Streetline Special") then that might not earn karma on its own, but if they showed consistency in their training over the course of a few weeks then that might eventually earn a karma discount when advancing the relevant skill or attribute. That's another way to keep an award specific rather than turning it into generic karma that could be used for any purpose. (It's also a way to slip some semi-covert discounts to the mundanes just in case they're falling behind the Awakened in terms of effectiveness.) We were running weekly so I didn't want to provide large karma awards, but if you're only running semi-monthly or monthly then you might feel comfortable awarding more than a point at a time.

Another tool I've used with great success is "knowledge karma". Namely, I'll give a separate karma award that is specifically intended to be spent on knowledge skills and contacts, which frequently go unloved in favor of higher-priority karma spending. The knowledge karma award is generally half the regular karma award, so a run or session that earns 6 karma might also earn 3 knowledge karma. Knowledge karma is another nice tool to have to reward blue booking, as it can often be used to make the character deeper or more interesting (or more useful, in terms of new contacts), but not necessarily more powerful. It can help satisfy the cravings of players who desire continual improvement without skewing the power balance of the game. It can also put a lid on the PCs who are constantly lobbying to turn every NPC into a contact (the noodle lady, the street urchin, the valet, ad infinitum), as you can deflect them with the appropriate price in knowledge karma. I use the same prices that are used for chargen, but I generally limit starting Loyalty to 1 unless the character has done something meaningful for the NPC, like rescuing them from a pack of horny ghouls. Wouldn't that be a bad way to go.


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« Reply #4 on: <06-27-16/1817:27> »
I generally don't give karma to the players in downtime, but I use it as a form to they get more time with their contacts.
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« Reply #5 on: <07-07-16/2144:32> »
My favorite campaigns, both as a player and as a GM, have always been where downtime sees as much playtime as runs do. Mostly because it maximizes character development opportunities.


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« Reply #6 on: <07-08-16/1233:39> »
I award small amounts of bonus Karma for after action reports, contact background, PC backgrounds and intra-session RP.

We use a thread in the play by post section of this forum to manage it.


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« Reply #7 on: <07-19-16/1309:59> »
I used to offer one point of bonus karma every session for anyone who did "homework" between sessions (writing short fiction, a war journal, mission logs, contact bios, cash/karma spreadsheets, crib sheets, etc.). Not everyone had the time or aptitude for that kind of thing, though, and when they complained about feeling left out I offered other ways to pick up the bonus point, such as bringing snacks or drinks for the group.

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« Reply #8 on: <07-25-16/2349:32> »
In almost 30 years of playing (SR and other games), I must confess I have never once 'blue-booked' as in-detail writing what happens in an actual book (or in an email exclusive to the GM).  On the other hand, this may be because I and the games I have been in have been deeply immersive; often more than half the game overall winds up being about what happens between missions / runs / adventures.

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