In this module, I decided to try and come up with some rules that will allow PCs to both make money, and spend it. It showcases four tweaks I’ve made to the Downtime system of D&D, a system I am quite infatuated with.
Like much of what I make, this hasn’t been playtested much! I wish I could spend a lot of my time playing and testing RPGs, but a full time job makes this impossible. So I’ll pass my unpolished stones onto you in the hopes that you find something worth keeping.
The PDF version of this module is here.
The following rules either expand or tweak the Downtime rules of D&D. They provide a few different options and are meant to be used altogether or separately.
This module has been lightly play tested, and DMs are encouraged to change it for their needs or if they find balance issues.
The Ten Day Segment
Much of this module uses a ten day segment as a base default. This means that by and large, downtime will be taken in ten day chunks. This isn’t a hard rule but rather a suggestion for ease of use.
When you are training using the normal rules, you are being trained by a Journeyman of that particular proficiency. They are well trained in their particular profession, however even they still have room to grow. Alternatively, if you can find one, you can train with a Master. Masters have reached the pinnacle of their profession, pushing boundaries few have ever crossed.
Masters are far rarer than journeymen, and it is up to the GM to determine if you can find one. They are best used a quest reward -in return for completing a task, an NPC as thanks will provide Master training in a proficiency for a certain numbers of days (or for as long as it takes to train the PC). Consider using Masters to add a little flavor to locations in your campaign, like a master smith who lives in the small village getting raided by northern barbarians. While the PCs are in the village helping, they can spend downtime with the Master. Gaining a certain amount of Renown within a certain faction might also unlock Master trainers for the PCs to use.
When training with a Master of a proficiency, it costs 3 gold pieces per day and each day counts as 2 days’ worth of training. If a PC manages to train with a Master for 10 days of downtime (not necessarily all at once), they gain an extra days’ worth of training at the end. This means that for every 10 days they train, they gain 21 days toward the training of the proficiency, and pay 30 gold pieces.
Masters might also have tasks for the party, perhaps to find a magical crafting tool or a historical artifact. In return, they could waive their fee for a certain amount of time.
Practicing a Profession
This section replaces the Practicing a Profession section of the rulebook.
When practicing a profession to support your lifestyle, for every 10 days of downtime you practice it, you need to make an ability score roll, depending on what skill you are using to attempt to make money with.
Not all skills can be used to practice a profession, and some skills will require an organization or institution to be accessible to you in order to practice them. It is up to the DM to determine if these places are accessible to you or not; it is a good idea to use access as a quest or story reward, or to add flavor to locales.
The following skills and proficiencies can be used to practice a profession. Skills that have an access requirement are noted with the requirement in parentheses:
Artisan’s Tools (of any type): Crafting simple items is an easy way to make money.
Animal Handling: Hired hands are common in both small towns and cities.
Arcana (Rare: Magical Institutions): Though rare, it is not unheard of to be paid for magical lore.
Athletics: Manual labor is always needed, especially in places with a lot of trade like ports.
History (Rare: Museums or Libraries): Local and historical lore can be valuable to certain institutions.
Medicine (Rare: Apothecaries and Healer’s Institutions): Those who know the non-magical healing arts are valuable, especially in remote places.
Performance: Entertainment is a constant need in any place one visits.
Religion (Rare: Temples and Churches): Some temples hire those well versed in the religious lore of their patron deity.
Alternatively, the PC may do unskilled labor, automatically making enough to support a poor lifestyle (2 sp/day).
When making the ability check, consult the table below to see how much gold you make a day. Keep in mind you still must pay to support a certain lifestyle for each day you spend practicing a profession.
1-9 : 2 sp/day
10-14: 1 gp/day
15-19: 2 gp/day
20-24: 4 gp/day
25+ : 10 gp/day
For professions with Rare access requirements, or if you are proficient with an instrument while using Performance, lower the DC required by 5. If you critically fail the check by rolling a 1, then you only make 1 sp/day.
Each ability check counts for 10 days, even if you choose to do less than 10 days at once. What you roll stays in effect until 10 days of practicing your profession pass. When starting another 10 days, another roll is required. You may perform work of a different profession any time you begin another 10 days of professional work.
As an example, a PC decides to find work on the docks of a port city loading and unloading cargo. They have a Strength of 14 (a +2 modifier on the roll), and are proficient in Athletics.
They roll the ability check and get a 12. Combining their proficiency bonus (+2 at this PC’s level) and Strength modifier, they have a 16. This means that for the next 10 days, the PC can make 2 gp a day working the docks. If they choose to live a modest lifestyle as per the living expenses rules for those 10 days, then their take-home pay will total to 10 gp.
Running a Function
PCs might come into situations where they want to influence NPCs or factions, and one way to do so would be to create an event like a feast or a ball. Such events require time and money, but can go a long way in endearing the party to individuals invited to such functions, as well as provide a way to help gather information or keep track of people the party has an interest in.
When the function is actually executed, a few ability score rolls will be needed to see how well the event was pulled off. Better planning and willingness to spend money will make these rolls easier. A well run function will gain the party renown and disposition with local NPCs and factions.
Often the planning and execution of a function will be the focus of an entire session, or at least a good part of it.
Types of Functions
When creating a function, the person (or persons) doing so needs to decide what sort of function it is. This article will provide rules for the following: Ball, Feast, Festival, Performance, Salon, and Tourney.
A Ball is a dance event generally held by members of the upper class or aristocracy. It is a chance for the nobility to rub shoulders and share gossip and information, to pursue romantic interests and one up rivals. The more dramatic the evening is, the better.
A Feast is a large dinner event, usually in a great hall. Food and drink are aplenty and varied, and musicians are often hired to entertain. It is less formal than a ball, but serves some of the same purposes as far as sharing information and socializing.
A Festival is an outside event, often consisting of markets, dances, and games. Generally drawing a crowd from the lower classes, the festival is the perfect event to try and win over common people or to sway the opinion of a small town or village. Religious and folk festivals are very popular.
A Performance is an event in which an audience watches an entertainer, or a group of entertainers. This could be a musician or minstrel, a storyteller, or an acting troupe. Supporting the arts is a good way to win over culturally sensitive NPCs, and providing a fun night of music is appreciated in many towns and cities. Keep in mind that you’ll need to hire an act unless one of the PCs is going to perform.
A Salon is a private evening of intellectual entertainment, usually a gathering of those who enjoy scholarly works and lore getting together to discuss and debate. They very often have guest speakers of note, or the recitation of poetry. Salons are very popular among both scholars and younger nobles.
A Tourney is an event of martial competition, usually involving melee fights or archery contests, and often both. The best tourneys have a jousting component, but only the very best venues allow this to be a possibility.
A variety of factors come together to get a function running, and how much money and time you spend in preparation will affect how well the whole thing gets executed.
Running a function requires the following steps:
- Reserving a Venue
- Preparation Costs and Time
- Personalization and Perks
Reserving a Venue
Depending on the type of function you are organizing, you will need a place to hold the event. Owning the right kind of property makes this step easy, but generally you’ll have to rent one out. Alternatively, the GM might reward you the usage of a property as a quest reward.
The cost of the venue is different for each type of event, and the cost also varies based on the quality of the venue. A better venue means a better execution, however. There are four types of venues; Poor, Average, Good, and Grand. The costs for each of these are the Function Preparation Table.
When looking for a venue to reserve, the organizer needs to roll 3 Intelligence (Investigation) checks and consult the Function Preparation Table, which lists the DCs of the venues. The 3 results are the venues currently available. If none are acceptable, you will need to wait 7 days to look again.
Preparation Costs and Time
In order to have a function, you need to spend time and money on preparation. These costs include normal food, decoration, and hired help as well as monetary prizes for contests. The more time and money you spend, the better the event will be.
Function Preparation Table
|Function||GP/Day||Poor Venue Rental Cost
|Average Venue Rental Cost
|Good Venue Rental Cost
|Grand Venue Rental Cost
You can put in 10 days of work (poor), 20 days (fine), 30 days (good), or 60 days (grand), and for each function there is a corresponding gold cost per day listed on the Function Preparation table.
As an example, a PC decides to spend 20 days preparing to give them a fine level of preparation for a Ball at a good venue. This would cost them 5000 gold pieces in all.
Personalization and Perks
Your function needs a personal flair! No matter what event you are doing, the PCs need to come up with the theme of the event, how the decoration will look, as well as any dress codes for the event. For organized events like Tournaments, the PCs need to decide what events are taking place.
You can also purchase additional perks, which will help the function succeed. A perk is usually someone or a group of people of value, like a bard, a chef, an acting troupe, a game master, etc. Each one costs 100 gp, and the party needs to decide who this person or group of people are as they spend the money. Alternatively, you can pick from the following small list:
- Minstrel: A wandering musician who plays an instrument.
- Poet: Someone who both writes and recites poetry.
- Mummers: A small troupe of jesters and fools.
- Cook: An expert cook who can use simple ingredients to create something special.
- Game Master: Someone who can organize games of chance or imagination.
- Speaker: A scholar or philosopher who can give a lecture.
- Storyteller: A folklorist who can entertain with stories.
- Fortune Teller: A wise woman or man or
The GM might also reward perks as part of a quest or story reward.
Once everything is paid for and the night of the event is upon you, you’ll need to figure out how well the event has gone off. It will get a score based on how the event was planned.
To figure out the score, add up the following for each step of the preparation:
+2 for each
Finally, the organizer needs to make a Charisma ability score roll, and add the result to the number above. The final Execution Score is how well it went off. Consult the table below to see how well you did!
|9 Or Below||Poor The function wasn’t very good, resulting in decreased disposition with the NPCs invited, as well as with any local organizations involved.|
|10-20||Fine The function went all right. No additional bonuses or renown, but it did give you a chance to mix with the people you wanted to mix with.|
|21-30||Good The function was a lot of fun. If a faction was invited, the party gains 1 level of renown with any faction involved. NPCs are impressed.|
|31-40||Great! The function was legendary! The NPCs involved will talk about it for years to come, and the party gains 2 renown in any factions involved.|
After the score is determined, the GM now needs to role play out the event as a scene in the game itself, using the score as a factor when deciding how NPCs are acting and how well the PCs can get information, sow rumors, or try to influence other people. The perks purchases should be represented as well, and can even provide new hooks for the game. Even a function that went poorly can have fun consequences throughout the game.
When crafting, you can either create items in 5 gp increments as per the base rules, or if you are proficient in the tools needed to craft that item you can choose to make an ability check to dictate the GP increments per day for the next 10 days of downtime.
For the ability check you will use either Wisdom or Intelligence and add your proficiency bonus. Then, consult the table below to figure out how much work you can get done in a day for the next 10 days.
For each day spent creating the item, you must spend 2 gold pieces on the materials, so 20 for every ten days. This means that you will spend less on materials the better your roll is.
As an example, a Chariot costs 250 GP. A PC wanting to craft one rolls an ability check using their Intelligence of 16 (a +3 bonus on the roll), and adds their proficiency bonus (+2). They roll a 13, and so add 13 + 3 + 2, getting 18. This means that spending the next ten days of downtime on the chariot, they complete 150 GP worth of labor. There is still 100 GP of labor to go. Additionally, they spend 20 gp on the materials. If on their next 10 day segment of downtime they roll a 13 including bonuses, they would do 100 GP worth of labor in 10 days, completing the chariot, and spending 20 gp on materials again. Collectively the chariot cost the PC 40 gp to produce, and took 20 days to create.
This ability score roll only affects the item you are crafting. If you start a new item, you must roll again.
This change of the crafting rules makes crafting much more beneficial for PCs, but the amount of time needed to craft expensive items should help to balance this out. It should still be far more profitable to plunge the depths of the world for treasure than to try to become a full-time chariot craftsman.
Coming soon: Class Specific Downtime