Rules Index


Chapter 10: Game Mastering / Running Modes of Play / Downtime

Longer Periods of Downtime

Source Core Rulebook pg. 501
Running downtime during a long time off—like several weeks, months, or even years—can be more challenging. However, it’s also an opportunity for the characters to progress toward long-term plans rather than worrying about day-to-day activities. Because so much time is involved, characters don’t roll a check for each day. Instead, they deal with a few special events, average out the rest of the downtime, and pay for their cost of living.

Events

Source Core Rulebook pg. 501
After the characters state what they want to achieve in their downtime, select a few standout events for each of them—usually one event for a period of a week or a month, or four events for a year or longer. These events should be tailored to each character and their goals, and they can serve as hooks for adventures or plot development.

Though the following examples of downtime events all involve Earning Income, you can use them to spark ideas for other activities. A character using Perform to Earn Income could produce a commanding performance of a new play for visiting nobility. Someone using Crafting might get a lucrative commission to craft a special item. A character with Lore might have to research a difficult problem that needs a quick response.

PCs who want to do things that don’t correspond to a specific downtime activity should still experience downtime events; you just choose the relevant skill and DC. For example, if a character intends to build their own library to house their books on magic, you might decide setting the foundation and organizing the library once construction is finished are major events. The first could be a Crafting check, and the second an Arcana or Library Lore check.

Average Progress

Source Core Rulebook pg. 501
For long periods of downtime, you might not want to roll for every week, or even every month. Instead, set the level for one task using the lowest level the character can reliably find in the place where they spend their downtime (see Difficulty Classes on page 503 for more on setting task levels). If the character fails this check, you might allow them to try again after a week (or a month, if you’re dealing with years of downtime). Don’t allow them to roll again if they succeeded but want to try for a critical success, unless they do something in the story of the game that you think makes it reasonable to allow a new roll.

The events you include during a long stretch of downtime should typically feature higher-level tasks than the baseline. For instance, a character Earning Income with Sailing Lore for 4 months might work at a port doing 1st-level tasks most of the time, but have 1 week of 3rd-level tasks to account for busy periods. You’ll normally have the player roll once for the time they spent at 1st-level tasks and once for the week of 3rd-level tasks.