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Chapter 1: Gamemastery Basics / Running Downtime

Tasks and Events

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 25
Players will often look to you for tasks they might take on during downtime, especially if they’re looking to Earn Income. You should also interject special events to surprise your players and add interesting scenes. If you need some quick ideas for tasks characters might offer a PC, look at the tables below for inspiration. The Earn Income tasks are arranged with tasks appropriate for low-level PCs first, but most can be adapted to the level you need. For the events, you might need to “zoom out” to focus on a special scene or even a short encounter or adventure.

Table 1-1: Earn Income Events

Academia, Library, Other Educational Lore
Work at a school or library
Compile information on a distant land for an expedition
Serve as administrator for a school or library
Acquire a rare book on dragons for a local noble
Crafting
Make tools for local farmers
Brew a crate of healing potions for a local church or hospital
Sew a dress for a noble’s debutante ball
Supply magical weapons for the palace guard corps
Engineering Lore
Assess the fortifications built to protect a town
Plan the mechanism for a drawbridge
Create schematics for a new mill
Food or Drink Lore
Brew simple ale or cook an ordinary dish for the local inn
Identify a dozen bottles of wine
Create a showpiece dish for an upcoming festival
Create a nine-course meal for a noble banquet
Genealogy Lore
Compile a family tree for a minor noble family
Determine next of kin to settle an inheritance dispute
Map the web of intermarriages of a sprawling royal family
Determine the lineages of an ancient civilization
Trace the lost heir of an ancient empire
Guild Lore
Recruit initiates for a guild
Identify symbols of an ancient guild in a tome
Consult on rearranging a guild’s hierarchy
Oversee the merger of two guilds or one guild splitting into two
Herbalism Lore
Supply poultices to a physician
Prepare herbs for a small restaurant
Identify the poisonous plant eaten by a local lord
Legal Lore
Clear some minor red tape
Defend someone charged with theft
Bring a corrupt noble to justice through the legal system
Find loopholes in a contract made with a devil
Mercantile Lore
Price a crate of imported textiles
Find the best trade route for a pirate crew to raid
Set exchange rates for a trade consortium
Mining Lore
Work a shift in a coal mine
Determine where a raw ingot was mined
Prospect to find a site for a new mine
Performance
Busk for townsfolk at a street fair
Play in the orchestra at an opera
Attend a society figure’s salon
Perform for visiting nobles
Impress a visiting maestro to bring glory to your hometown
Put on a performance for a patron from another plane
Politics Lore
Lobby for a vote or decision to go a certain way
Smear a noble to lower their station
Sailing Lore
Crew a ship on a short voyage
Render a ship in dry-dock seaworthy
Pilot a ship through monster-infested waters
Underworld Lore
Find out where a stolen item ended up
Get someone an audience with the head of a thieves’ guild
Smuggle a shipment of valuables out of the city
Warfare Lore
Teach a spear fighting class at a dojo
Instruct an officer in various military stratagems
Advise a general in planning a battlefield offensive

Table 1-2: Downtime Events

Craft or Earn Income (Crafting)
A shipment of important materials is delayed, and the PC must find out why.
The PC creates a superlative work, which draws the attention of a collector or museum.
The PC discovers a more efficient technique to work a material and must decide to share it or keep it secret.
Create a Forgery (Society)
The format for paperwork the PC is attempting to mimic gets changed, and they must adjust.
The paperwork is spoiled by a freak accident, such as a leaky roof above the workshop or a clumsy assistant knocking over beakers of chemicals.
A mysterious benefactor provides the PC with special tools or a source document they didn’t have, but suggests they’ll ask for a favor later to reciprocate.
Earn Income (General)
A fussy client demands multiple rounds of changes throughout the process.
An accident at a work site puts someone in danger.
Something the PC is working on becomes a fad or hit— demand skyrockets!
A visitor is impressed with the PC’s work and offers them a more lucrative task in a distant location.
Conditions on the job site are abysmal, and other workers ask the PC to join them in confronting the bosses.
The bosses or guildmasters are doing something illegal and attempt to bribe the PC to look the other way.
The PC returns to their work one day to find someone has tampered with what they’ve done.
Earn Income (Performance)
Due to the performance’s success, more shows are added, running the PC ragged.
A competing show across town draws away customers.
A powerful noble finances a special performance but demands some changes to the contents.
One of the PC’s fellow performers doesn’t show up, but the show must go on!
Subsist (Survival)
Over a long time subsisting in a single area, the PC finds an unknown berry or herb that could be useful for making a new medicine.
The PC finds signs indicating some large creature has been foraging as well—possibly a monster.
Buy and Sell Items
The PC sells an item of interest to members of a particular group, who pursue the PC.
A merchant sells the PC a fraudulent item.
A shop the PCs frequent is in trouble and about to go out of business without help.
Someone else offers a higher bid for an item a PC wants, resulting in a negotiation or in the NPC offering a job the PC must perform to claim the item.
Retrain
The PC sustains an injury in physical training.
Tapping into new magical powers inflicts a magical curse or creates an odd phenomenon.
A retraining instructor falls ill or goes missing.
Someone witnesses the PC retraining and asks to join them as they study or practice.
The PC’s training comes to a halt, and they need to acquire a rare book or something similar to continue.