How do you handle down time

Before they become rulers the pc's are assumed to have lives outside of adventuring. Assuming adventuring doesn't happen often that is the pc's aren't on one long never ending adventure how do you handle down time. Do you gloss over most things mentioning just highlights? do you role play some or all of it out? So when the pc's are at home how do you handle their daily lives?

I let the player describe what they do, charging them an appropriate amount of gold and requiring rolls if they're doing something that would actually take significant effort.

For example, a player who wants to attend a tournament, no problem.  A player who wants to participate, I might have them make a single attack throw to see where they placed.

It all depends on what you and your players enjoy.  If you have fun RPing downtime, RP it.  If not, just make a ruling and/or a roll.  Really the term 'dowwntime' assumes it is not a gaming activity.  For some the 'downtime' activity IS the fun part.  I never thought that we would enjoy 2 hours of 'downtime', but we actually did. 

When the party is not adventuring (for example, waiting for someone else to heal from serious injury), I ask the party what they want to do.  Then, like Aryxymaraki, I make a ruling based on what they want.  Some things, like hiring henchmen, or talking to important NPCs, I roleplay.  Others, like buying, selling, building things, or studying new spells we just say how long it takes, the cost, and chances for success.  

Each PC has a role:

  • Mapper
  • Chronicler (writes down who is on each dungeon expedition, foes slain, and loot)
  • Captain - handles marching order
  • Logistics - handles master supply list
  • Monthly Costs - keeps track of monthly costs for each PC

The PCs don't complain, and each of them have acepted their share of the work. It also gives them something to do when the spotlight focuses on someone else during 'downtime'.  When something happens to effect 'downtime' actvivites, the monthly costs PC writes it down on his list. Following the advice from the 1st edition DMG, I try to keep accurate time records.  I printed out a calendar with a month per page and write down events or when things will be done in the future on the calendar.  At the end of every month, we do a little bookkeeping.  

I find that it makes the world more 'real' as stuff happens even if the party doesn't adventure.  The PCs use the dungeon as a source of income to keep their other interests running.

BTW,  Axioms 3 has some rules on PC investments, which basically comes down to one roll per month. 

Mainly we gloss over it.  I'm more likely to roleplay, and/or turn things into an adventure, if players tag in other players on activities ("I go to the market with Jim, and Bob says he doesn't want to go but turns up anyway for some reason").  I need to do a better job explicitly encouraging and rewarding that.

My last run, the party always tended to go straight to the next adventure if they didn't have to heal up, and with the open table I was trying for that wasn't ideal.  Next time out I'm making "one adventure per in-game month" an explicit campaign rule, to let absent players more reliably take actions.  Then just charge everyone living expenses by level, instead of pricing out each meal and night at an inn.