This chapter details the actions that a single character may take during the period of downtime between two events, and the expenses incurred in running a ship in these three months.
You have three months every downtime to do things and ALSO to train in skills or do the required upkeep for top-tier skills. You are able to do these at the same time, for example poking plot whilst also learning something.
· Improvement of self: See training, below.
· Specialist training: To access the top level Virtuoso skills, you must have visited a specialist facility for 3 months during your training period (this can be one entire downtime, or for one month per downtime, etc).
· Updating your skills: Top levels of Virtuoso skills will need to be kept up to date, one month every 2 events attended needs to be spent on keeping your skills up to date, learning new techniques and keeping your skills polished. You will lose your highest level of skills if you do not do this
· Improvement of ship: Assuming you have the appropriate parts you can repair/improve your ship. The time taken for each job can be reduced if more people with the appropriate skills are assigned to the task.
· Research: Using Knowledge or Research skills to find out information.
· Tinkering: Crafting items for use or sale at your next event, making explosives, repairing weapons and armour, etc.
· Working: Choosing from a list of jobs that are available for the downtime, only a captain or designated deputy can collect jobs for their ship but must assign crew to each job. A ship can only perform one job a month, success is determined by the crew skills applied to the task. The captain assigns people but each crew member must set that month aside in downtime to perform the task. If the relevant skills needed for the job are covered the task goes ahead without a hitch and the ship receives the payoff which can be in money and/or items that can be used or traded at the next event.
All characters have up to three months to spend on acquiring standard skills. The time required to learn a skill is one month per skill point (including any bonus points required for not having the pre-requisite background) plus one month if you do not have a teacher. Thus, a 3-point untaught skill takes 4 months (3 + 1) to learn. Any character that already has the skill may be your teacher.
This includes Knowledge skills, but see below.
Note that a character may only teach one skill to one person each downtime, and this person/skill should be included in the teacher’s downtime submission. However, you can reciprocally teach (e.g. John teaches Fred light armour, while Fred teaches John mechanics). Similarly, you can only learn from one teacher per downtime. You may buy other skills, but can only apply the teaching bonus to one of them.
For example, Shepherd Locke is drawing on the skills he learnt in the Armed Forces to train the Companion, Tobias, how to use an Assault Rifle. Lessons are role-played out in game and then added to both Tobias’ and Locke’s downtime submissions. One shudders to think what Tobias may offer to teach the Preacher in return.
Note that some skills such as Assault Rifle, Heavy Weapons and any Guild/Gang Affiliations cannot be self-taught and require a teacher.
Training regarding Knowledge, Research and Specialisms.
When training to learn a new knowledge, research or Specialist skill such as the Mechanic/Cortexing Specialisation* [X] skill, you will be required to provide relevant 'justification' for gaining knowledge or research skills in your downtime submission. Please remember that if you do not have a trainer, knowledge skills are 2 months to learn (1 month + 1 month untrained).
Let’s look at two more examples:
Dr. Alisha Corbon wishes to know more about Virology, a medical based knowledge skill. As she is an upstanding member of the Guild of Surgeons, she has access to the medical library on Ariel, stocked with the latest medical journals and research reports. She spends a month reading through paperwork, making notes, and calling other guild members, who are pleased to be able to talk shop in intricate and boring technical detail, giving her a decent grounding in Virology, to be better able to take care of her crew in relevant areas.
Game terms: Alisha gains ‘Knowledge: Virology’ with the benefit of a teacher from her old medical college.
Skippy wants to know more about reavers, because who wouldn't want to know more about murderous gangs who want to eat your face off? Having had a run-in previously, she already has Knowledge: Reavers.
She spends 3 months reaching out to old contacts on various planets, reading 100% legitimately obtained classified military reports, and tracking ship movements with the aid of a completely legal device that scans Alliance military frequencies. Tracking a group of reavers to a nearby asteroid, the crew successfully capture one live with only some minor organ chewing involved. At the end of this time, she's learned a lot, very little of it good, or particularly helpful for sleeping at night.
Game terms: Skippy gains ‘Research: Reaver war’ without the benefit of a teacher, and is therefore up to date on the tactical movements of the creepy bastards, which could even help the crew stay out of the way of future issues.
Slow Learners can have a teacher but still require the additional time to learn a skill as detailed by their personal flaw.
If you have acquired or can afford to buy the right parts you can upgrade your ship. For example, improving fuel efficiency of the engines or installing salvage gear. Your downtime response will give you an estimated cost and number of person-hours till completion.
Some folks just like to build stuff, whether it’s a replacement part for the mule, a set of forged ID cards or a pipe bomb. Making things takes time, so set aside a month or two of your downtime to a hobby or a business venture to craft something. Below is a table of suggestions and is not a definitive list of what can be made with which skills.
|Product||Skill Required||Helpful Tools|
|False ID papers||Forgery, Cortexer, Knowledge [Bureaucracy]||Access to a Cortex, Contacts [Underworld] or [Bureaucracy], Friends in High/Low Places.|
|Hand Grenade|| Knowledge [Demolitions],
Mechanic [Engineering] and [Demolitions]
|Explosives tool kit, a stable/non-moving environment.|
|Pipe Bomb||Mechanic [Demolitions] and [MacGyver/Engineering]||A stable/non-moving environment and a degree of insanity.|
|Hydroponics Bay|| Mechanic [Engineering],
|Seeds or cuttings and either cargo or bunk space for the end result.|
Your downtime response will give you an estimated number of person-hours till completion. When creating something for the first time (or for explosives) a coin toss will decide if it works.
Captains who have not acquired paying work for their crews, or even ones who have, can check out the website to examine the lists of jobs available after each event. Each job will require the services of a number of different skill sets. You can assign your crew members to a job but ensure they allocate the time on their downtime submission - you can give your orders however you like, but some folks don’t respect the chain of command till you hit them with it.
Jobs can provide much needed credits and dollars but also can produce other goods that you can either sell on or bring with you to events to trade or use.
Each character must also pay 10% of the total value investments and debts that they currently hold, whether or not the investments are allocated to ships or cargo per three-month downtime period.
When you have paid off 150% of your total investment or 100% of your debt you can breathe easy again but should you fail to make a payment two downtimes in a row expect to be paid a visit by some decidedly unfriendly folks.
Ships cost money. Lots of money. Every downtime, the Captain must pay for the upkeep of their ship – if you don’t, you gain the Debt flaw. Don’t pay your debts and people with guns will turn up.
This is a base cost of 2 Credits ($100) multiplied by the number of crew located on an individual ship regardless of whether all of said crew attend event.
This can also be increased by specialist weapons such as Sniper rifles and Heavy Machine Guns, each of which used adds to the upkeep for the following downtime.
The crew of Roisin Dubh fairly pack out their Firefly with nearly maximum number of crew. These fifteen souls munch their way through $100 each of water, protein, soya and coffee amounting to a massive $1,500 (30 credits) sustenance bill for the ship account.
'The more expensive the ship more it costs to maintain, as such it costs 1%/10%/50% of the initial purchase value of the craft to keep it flying depending on the age of the ship (New/20yrs/40yrs respectively). This figure can be reduced further by the number of mechanics on board.
So for example, the Roisin Dubh is a venerable Firefly which set Regan, Oz and Locke back 11,520 credits. As such keeping the old gal in the Black costs the ship’s account 1,152 credits between events however the presence of Kidd, Caine, and Carter the Rose’s trio of talented mechanical troublemakers each reduce the cost by 10% thus bringing the final cost to 807 credits.
A ship without gas ain’t going far! Ships in the Serenity ‘Verse are powered by Liquid Hydrogen but that stuff is neither cheap nor abundantly easy to make, luckily though every shuttle and ship needs it so folks tend to sell it where they can.
Fuel is accounted for as part of your maintenance cost (see above) however the presence of a Navigator on board allows the pilot to plot the most efficient course and reduces the cost by 20%, more than one navigator just causes fights on the command deck so you only get the benefit once.
"Wily old McNally, the Roisin’s pilot, being a skilled navigator can plot the most efficient route and saves Captain Regan a whole 230 credits! "
|Expense||Cost Per Quarter||Reductions|
|Upkeep|| $100 per crew/passenger
Additional Costs for Special Weapons.
|Hydroponics and grow gardens can reduce, see Ship Section|
|Maintenance||1%/10%/50% cost of ship||10% of cost per Mechanic|
|Fuel||Included in the above||10% if anyone on board has Navigate skill|