The Gassy Gnoll: Do PCs take vacations?

Have you ever noticed that adventuring parties rarely go on vacations?

This Gassy Gnoll actually went on vacation last week and started wondering what some of my characters would do if they had some downtime beyond the usual shopping for weapons, magic items, and the occasional knick-knack. My insane Malkavian (redundant, I know) would be exploring the world to see if his list of rules applied to situations out of the norm. My crazy ex-slave thief would be spending time trying to free a few slaves and cause problems for the slave owners and sellers. My more recent gnomish druid would probably be spelunking in the caves below Riddleport…

But would these activities count as “recreation and relaxation”? Probably not, beyond the spelunking…

Is it that opportunities for R&R don’t come easily to players? Or that GMs don’t offer opportunities for such activities? Perhaps some combination of the two?

Do we really need a “vacation specialist” class in gaming? Probably not. (Though it might be interesting to have a trip planner available at a premium cost…) But it would be nice to see some of this aspect of character life come to the fore in the settings we interact with regularly. I tend to focus on the roleplaying aspects of my characters more than the roll-playing aspects at times, so having these little quirks and tendencies would actually help me stay in character and find hidden aspects I may not have thought of initially.

Would any of these activities draw your characters?

  • Fishing
  • Shopping
  • Reading
  • Sight-Seeing (beyond diving into ruins and dungeons?)
  • Tournaments
  • Gambling or other games
  • Meditating
  • Some art-form such as drawing, sculpting, or whittling
  • Music – singing or playing an instrument isn’t just for bards!
  • Enjoying fine things in life such as tobacco, wine, or liqueur

Though not all of these ideas may come into play, they may offer some things for PCs to do while waiting between adventures. Why not use these activities to introduce new NPCs, information, and quests? Imagine a character sitting on the side of a river, pond, lake, or sea and finding a message in a bottle from some far off land. Or taking a tour of the local museum only to find a missing clue in plain sight for a current adventure?

Each character (PC or NPC) should have enough of a life prior to becoming an adventurer that they must have some way to unwind after a long day of killing monsters, rescuing damsels, and recovering loot… What do your characters do to unwind?

What kinds of R&R activities do your characters use to unwind? Curious minds want to know! Leave a comment below and maybe you’ll get a surprise.

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2 comments to The Gassy Gnoll: Do PCs take vacations?

  • I find that this is much easier in modern games than in fantasy games. In my long-running espionage game, I’ve had the characters go to Walt Disney World twice, take several extended rests on remote tropical islands, and even hide out on a boat in the Mediterranean for two weeks.

    Of course, I also had them go on a cruise, which was promptly attacked by pirates.

    • Fitz

      @Lugh – That’s hilarious. I love it when Disney meets pirates and there’s no Jack Sparrow in sight. 😉 And yes, I can see how it might be easier in a modern game than a fantasy one. But even in a fantasy world, there are probably vacation spots for the wealthy that might appeal to PCs… at least there should be!

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