Seize the GM
Seize the GM
Episode 121: Making Downtime Fun Again

Main Topic

Downtime is that oh so much fun time of what the characters are doing when not in the dungeon or space battle or whatever the game you run. Not all games have built in downtime. Some just hand wave it and some have codified rules on relaxing. So do you have to stick to those rules or total free form storytelling? 

How do you get the players engaged with the downtime sessions? D&D 5th Ed. has an example of downtime rules to apply. They are codified but not in a strict or overly crunchy way. Similarly, games like Cyberpunk assume downtime between adventures or stories where things like rent and upkeep are calculated giving motivation to PCs and their need for more scrip.  

Combining downtime with advancement is one way to ensure a player engagement. This allows a GM to deepen the relationship with NPCs and create a more vibrant world outside of the direct adventure or PC sphere.  By using the downtime sessions to describe character advancement, it also allows story seeds to be laid and gives PCs an equal chance to influence the development of the world.  

Some players, and some games, assume a great deal of downtime importance and decompressed storytelling.  Character development, or at least exploration, happening in the time between the major events can lead to intense and powerful character moments.  The banality of everyday life could shed light on the character more than the crucible of challenge, but not all players or GMs are inclined to let that roll on. 

How do you, as a player or GM, engage or interact with downtime sessions and stories? Do you weave downtime into your main adventures or does the downtime stand alone as interstitial and liminal spaces? 

Stat Blocks


I was trying to get to the drawing but I was not able to, sorry.


Palaestra Maximus


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How to Use Palaestra Maximus in Game:

A gym could just be a gym, but why not have a specific place for your players to train their statistics and abilities.  The Palaeastra Maximus is a classic Greek training hall turned up to 11 with all the amenities, characters, and benefits from a combination lecture hall/gym.


Lacuna  la·cu·na noun \ lə-ˈk(y)ü-nə  \

plural la·cu·nae \ lə-​ˈk(y)ü-​(ˌ)nē  , -​ˈkü-​ˌnī \ or la·cu·nas

1: a blank space : a missing part : gap, hole  also : defect, flaw

2[New Latin, from Latin]

a: one of the follicles in the mucous membrane of the urethra

b: one of the minute cavities in bone or cartilage occupied by the cells

c(1) : one of the small pits on the surface of some of the lichens

(2) : a gap in the protoxylem resulting from breakdown of protoxylem elements during elongation of a root or shoot

(3) : a depressed space or pit on the outer surface of a pollen grain

d: one of the spaces among the tissues of lower animals that serve in place of vessels for the circulation of the body fluids

3capitalized [New Latin, from Latin] : a large cosmopolitan genus of chinks that is the type of the family Lacunidae but was often formerly included in Littorinidae

Origin of LACUNA

Latin, pit, cleft, pool — more at lagoon

First Known Use: 1652 (sense 1)

Look-up Popularity

Top 2% of words

Closing remarks 

Zendead – Mars Attacks

Guard-a-Manger – Damage Control. A marvel comic series about the downtime of the superhero world.  Or the insurance of the superhero world.  Damage Control was co-created by Dwayne McDuffie and humorously chronicles what happens when you try to operate a construction and insurance company in the Marvel Universe. 

Music is courtesy of Sim on Twitter you can find him at @TheSimulacrae

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And Thanks to Merriam-Webster  and Online Etymology Dictionary for our Lexicon segment

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