Just because your character has a +5 CHA bonus and advantage on every Persuasion check doesn't mean that you do. As an introvert, sometimes it's hard to spark conversations even when you know your character would.
Sometimes you just need the right thing to spark some inspiration, and once the conversation starts it's much easier to keep it going.
There are four Broad topics, each with five sub-topics to help focus the conversation in a specific direction.
- History, which relates to any character's backstory from before the adventure started. Where they've lived and why they're out in the world, as well as their friends, families, or enemies.
- Connection, which relates to any two (or more) characters' connections with each other. Give a compliment (or, if you're the snooty type, ask for one!), hype up the team, let someone know they hurt you or that you hurt them. Or tell a deep secret, or bring up something you've noticed that you want your character to know about.
- Feelings, which relates to how any character may be feeling right now. Is anyone anxious? Worried? Eager and ready? Stoic? Talk about it.
- Goals, which relates to what is to come. There are four time frames cited here: next (maybe within a few in-game days), soon (within a few in-game weeks), far away (months away), far away (years perhaps), and end goal (when it's all over). There's also a starter related to the mission, which is vague on purpose. This could be their personal mission, the team's mission, or something else.
I would suggest rolling about twice on the table and combining the two results into a single starter, focused on yourself, another character, the party, or some combination.
Downtime Conversation Starter
|d20||d100||Broad topic||In relation to...|
|1||1 - 5||History||Previous homes|
|2||6 - 10||Call to adventure|
|3||11 - 15||Friends|
|4||16 - 20||Family|
|5||21 - 25||Enemies|
|6||26 - 30||Connection||Compliment|
|7||31 - 35||Advice|
|8||36 - 40||Grievance|
|9||41 - 45||Secret|
|10||46 - 50||Inspiration|
|11||51 - 55||Feelings||Regrets|
|12||56 - 60||Hesitations|
|13||61 - 65||Excitement|
|14||66 - 70||Confidence|
|15||71 - 75||Indifference|
|16||76 - 80||Goals||What’s next?|
|17||81 - 85||What’s soon?|
|18||86 - 90||What’s far away?|
|19||91 - 95||What’s the end goal?|
|20||96 - 100||The mission|
13,19 => Feelings (Excitement), Goals (End Goal)
"I can't wait to turn that murderer in. They've been going about unchecked for so long. Please tell me I'm not the only one!"
8, 17 => Connection (Grievance), Goals (What's soon)
"Look, I've been meaning to talk to you all about this. Are we sure this is the right thing to do? Maybe we have the facts wrong... Maybe... I dunno. I just don't feel right about this."
1, 18 => History (Previous Homes), Goals (What's far away)
"What are you going to do after this is done, Jericho? Are you going to go back home?... Is there even a home to go to?"
Feel free to save this image for your convenience!