Since all characters will have some "downtime" between guild adventures, the DM may ask to know what your character has been up to – and it's a great way to earn new skills and allow characters to pursue personal goals! The following is a simple template to be used for downtime between our first few adventures; this is all open for discussion and will evolve over time, so don't be afraid to think outside the box if there's a downtime activity you want to pursue that isn't on the list!
Before the next adventure…
Please provide the following info to the DM before any session that follows some "downtime". There are tables below (summarized from the PHB/DMG) to hep you generate ideas. As always, you can write as much or as little as you like, but the more you come up with, the easier it will be for the DM to integrate into the next adventure!
- What are your expenses? First, let's determine your downtime living expenses! This is the fun and easy mathy part!
- What are you doing/working towards? You might have a non-adventuring job; you might do research, train in a skill or pursue a personal goal, etc.
- Where are you? Maybe you go home to your family or business, or maybe you don't have a home, and you spend all your time wandering through inns. Maybe you make a special trip to a faraway temple or to a secret place only you know about! Knowing where each of our characters are might mean we have some opportunities for crossover (maybe we can pursue a goal together?), and will also give the DM some setting ideas to work with.
- Who are you with? Do you have a family? Best friend? Fellow guild members? Maybe you hire some mercenaries or craftspeople to help you with a task? This is an opportunity to create some simple NPCs to help populate the world.
- What's your progress/profit/result? Depending on what you're trying to get done, you might make/lose money, win/lose a contest, succeed or fail at a task, or merely make progress (or not) towards a longterm goal.
Use the following sections to help you generate answers to the above:
1. What are your expenses?
The PHB (p. 157) lists various levels of lifestyle expenses (per day). This is the easiest way to determine your daily expenses, which should be added to any expenses incurred in order to learn skills, gamble, etc (as per your downtime activity choice below). You should keep track of your expenses to make sure you can afford one-time purchases like equipment, rations, guild fees, bribes, etc, as well as downtime activities like crafting equipment and learning skills.
Very Optional: if you want to detail your expenses, the following pages of the PHB break down the prices of food and drink (so you can mix-and-match amazing food with squalid living conditions) and you can use the item tables throughout Chapter 5 to see if there's anything else you might buy on a monthly or daily basis.
2. What are you doing?
Downtime activities listed in the DMG (p.128) and PHB (p.187) are as follow, but feel free to invent your own, and we'll add it to the list! Mechanics are always up for tweaking, too – just work with the next DM. Consider that you may spend partial downtime on different activities, but you may only perform one of the following activities per day.
Also note: you can spend Inspiration to take advantage on any of the rolls involved here (roll two dice instead of one, and take the higher value).
- Crafting (mundane): characters with relevant tool proficiency can craft at a rate of "5gp" per day (so a 20gp item requires 4 days); check the PHB p.187 for more info. Alternatively, you may pay (or use a guild craftsperson) to have an item crafted for you. In this case you must pay for the full cost of the item (not just half, which is what you pay if you craft it yourself).
- Crafting (magical): spellcasters may also craft a magical items, as per the DMG p. 129. If you're considering crafting a magical item, please work with the DM to determine any specific details you're unsure of (cost, access to materials, etc). Some magic items are simple (e.g. simple components, low-level spell requirements), while others are more complicated/difficult (e.g. very rare/expensive components, high-level spell requirements).
- Practicing a Profession/Guild Work: you have a regular job that allows you to maintain a certain lifestyle (modest, comfortable or wealthy – see PHB p. 157-8 for lifestyle details), or you work aboard the Thrice Sunk doing assigned labour. You don't earn any profits or boons, but you don't have to pay your living expenses, which allows you to save your adventuring money. See the PHB p. 187 for more description.
- Recuperating: you recover from a debilitating injury, disease or poison. You may roll to attempt this every few days (at the DM's discretion/depending on the ailment); see PHB p. 187.
- Researching: doing research may involve looking through books, exploring abandoned places, experimenting or gaining access to restricted information. If you're into research, work with the DM to determine what you find out (PHB p. 187).
- Training (language/tool proficiency): you can teach yourself a language or tool proficiency (or other; discuss with the DM). Training lasts 250 days (~8 months) and costs 1gp per day (PHB p. 187).
- Building a Stronghold (or other building): you may construct a building as per the DMG p. 128. Construction requires a land title/deed, as well as money/time. Maintenance costs as per p. 127 will be incurred after construction. If you'd like to add a space to the Thrice Sunk, or if you want to construct something not listed in the DMG, have at it! Please chat with the DM.
- Carousing: everyone needs time to unwind after an adventure! Check the DMG p. 128 for carousing "results", which vary from jailtime to gambling winnings.
- Performing Sacred Rites: some characters might like to perform work in the name of their deity(s) or seek help/guidance from the deity(s). Characters who spend at least 10 days performing sacred rites gain a spell (reasonably within the deity's wheelhouse), which you can cast once per long rest for 2d6 days. Spell level must be one that you can cast (non spellcasters must choose an alternative boon). Custom spells/other boons are acceptable too – a daily reroll, daily inspiration, stat bonus, etc – just work with the DM.
- Running a Business: characters may own their own (non-adventuring) business as per the DMG p. 129. Roll on the relevant table in the DMG to determine the success of your business every month, from debts to profit!
- Selling Magic Items: if you've found a magic item during your adventures that you'd like to get rid of, consult the DMG p. 129-130.
- Sowing Rumours: you can spend your time spreading rumours (whether true or false!) in a certain location. Consult the DMG p. 131, then work with the DM to determine the effects of the rumour – do you want to shame someone into leaving town or quitting their job? Do you want to pretend you're a god incarnate?
- Training for Levels: while leveling up will always only require the base XP requirements, we'd like to institute some downtime requirements, too. How do you actually train to gain a level? What in-world event happens to your character when you "gain a level"? For example, wizards might research their way to new spells; warriors might seek out masters of specific moves/skills; clerics might commune with their deities. When we level up (based on XP), we'll use the table in the DMG p. 131 to determine how much downtime should be spent on understanding/learning to control our new powers. Failure to perform this downtime activity won't mean you can't level up, but it might mean some small roleplay opportunities in the next game (e.g. you might have disadvantage using your new powers the first few times; you might suffer some confusion or other status changes; etc).
- Creating Downtime Activities: if you have an idea not listed above, let's discuss!
- Rolling/Results: if you perform an activity that requires rolling or for which you're stuck as far as "results" (e.g. you end up in jail after gambling), work with the DM to determine the specifics, so that your fate can be integrated into the next adventure.
Once you've figured out your money, skills, progress, etc:
3 & 4. Where are you and who are you with?
Determine some story info! Where is your store? Who are you gambling with? Where are you living? Who have you met in your travels? This is an opportunity to help worldbuild and to give the DM some info to use in the next session, so go nuts!
5. What's your progress?
Don't forget to count and make note of your money, your inventory and your progress towards a skill, item or other element! One stint of downtime might not be enough time to complete your training, so you'll want to make sure to take note of how far you've come, so you can continue next time. If the "result" of your downtime activity is something story-related (e.g. you make an enemy; your business burns down; you earn the admiration of a queen), discuss with the DM to see how it can be integrated into the next session.