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All Rules in Downtime

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Downtime Overview

Source Ultimate Campaign pg. 76
The key parts of the downtime rules that you’ll be referencing often are the following:
  • Explanation of the downtime terminology used throughout this chapter.
  • Earning downtime capital such as Goods, Influence, and Labor.
  • The phase sequence for using downtime.
  • The kinds of activities you can do with this system.
  • Constructing rooms, the building blocks of buildings such as guildhalls or temples, and recruiting teams such as apprentices and guards.
  • Example buildings constructed out of rooms, and example organizations built out of teams.
  • Positive and negative events that can occur during downtime.
  • Downtime tracking sheet (page 130).

Downtime Terminology

Source Ultimate Campaign pg. 76
This section explains the basic game terms for the downtime system. It uses existing character abilities (such as skill checks and saving throws), familiar resources (such as gold pieces), and new resources specific to the downtime system. Together, these allow you to accomplish tasks.

Building: A building is a physical structure you construct or purchase, such as a house, inn, or temple. The downtime system allows you to construct buildings out of specialized rooms—see Rooms and Teams. Build Points: A build point (BP) is a unit of wealth and productivity used in the kingdom-building rules. The downtime system doesn’t normally use BP, but if you are using the kingdom-building rules, you may have ways to spend BP as part of your downtime. BP are a larger-scale combination of Goods, Influence, Labor, and Prestige.

Business: A business is a building or organization that earns you one or more kinds of capital, such as a blacksmith’s shop or thieves’ guild.

Capital: Capital is any sort of resource you can spend as part of downtime. The various types of capital are build points, gp, days, Goods, Influence, Labor, and Magic. You can spend capital on various downtime activities such as constructing buildings, recruiting followers, and retraining your feats. If any situation or event causes you to lose more capital than you have, your capital is reduced to 0—you can’t go into debt.

Day: The downtime system measures time in days rather than hours, minutes, or rounds. Most downtime activities require you to spend at least 1 day on the activity.

Followers: Followers are a type of Labor gained from the Leadership feat or other methods. Followers can be used like Labor, but aren’t expended like capital because they are loyal to you and don’t leave as soon as an activity is completed. For more information, see Using Followers.

Goods: Goods represent physical items necessary for an activity, which can be permanent fixtures or consumable items. For building an inn, Goods are the materials used to build the structure, the tables and chairs, and the food and beverages you plan to sell. Goods as capital are an abstraction so that you don’t need to keep track of gathering things like stones for a building’s foundation, timber for the walls, ingredients for the menu, and so on. Goods might also represent natural resources (such as fertile soil or a spring), in which case you’re not literally moving these items to a specific location—instead, you’re spending capital to acquire a location with those resources.

Gold Pieces: Gold pieces (or gp) constitute the normal money your character has, such as from looting monsters or earning a living with Craft or Profession checks. Many downtime activities require you to spend gp.

Influence: Influence represents your ability to get other people in the settlement to perform favors for you or use their skills to accomplish things (as opposed to Labor, which involves hard physical work). This includes getting a merchant to change the terms of a contract, or convincing a politician to do you a favor.

Labor: Labor represents using workers to accomplish tasks. This includes hiring carpenters to construct a building, hiring thugs to extort shopkeepers, using assistants to help you craft items or tend injuries, or hiring employees to run your business while you’re away.

Magic: Magic represents magical power at your disposal. Some activities, such as healing sick peasants in the slums or constructing a magical library, specifically require you to spend Magic.

Organization: This is a group of people who do what you say (such as a cult, thieves’ guild, or mercenary company). An organization may or may not have a base of operations. The downtime system allows you to recruit organizations made up of specialized teams (see Rooms and Teams).

Downtime and Kingdom Building

Source Ultimate Campaign pg. 77
The downtime system is a middle ground between personal projects (like crafting a new set of armor) and large-scale tasks (like ruling a kingdom). These rules interface with both ends of that scale, and aren’t intended to completely replace them. In many cases, they might slightly contradict what is presented in the kingdom-building rules in Chapter 4. For example, the kingdom-building rules allow you to construct any type of building in 1 month, even a grand palace, which would take much longer using the downtime system. That is because the leader of a kingdom can spend build points to muster incredible amounts of resources and make things happen, far beyond what even a popular hero can do by spending gold and calling in favors. If your GM is using both the downtime system and the kingdom-building rules and there are conflicts over how to handle a situation, the GM decides which method is used, but should lean toward whichever rules seem most appropriate and efficient for the task.

Gaining Capital

Source Ultimate Campaign pg. 77
Goods, Influence, Labor, and Magic are the backbone of the downtime system. These types of capital are necessary for completing many downtime activities. You can gain such capital in one of two ways: by purchasing it or by earning it.

Purchasing Capital: The easiest way to gain capital is to purchase it by buying materials, bribing people, paying administrative fees, hiring workers, and so on. Goods, Influence, Labor, and Magic each have a specific gp value for this method, listed in the Purchased Cost column of Table 2–1: Capital Values. If you need one of these types of capital, you can spend gp to get it, just like buying a +1 sword or hiring a spellcaster to cast remove curse costs you gp. For example, Goods have a Purchased Cost of 20 gp each; if you need to spend 5 points of Goods to repair your tavern, you can spend 100 gp (5 × 20 gp) to purchase the necessary Goods. Purchasing capital is fast, but expensive.

Earning Capital: Many downtime activities, such as doing mundane work with a Craft or Profession skill or gaining the day-to-day profits for running an inn or tavern, allow you to earn capital (see the Earn Capital activity on page 85). Earning capital is like using an item crafting feat to create a magic item: You have to put in some work to make the item, but you pay only half the normal price for it. If a downtime activity’s description says it generates capital, you can earn that amount of capital by spending the required amount of downtime and gp on it; the gp cost for the capital is half the normal cost, as listed in the Earned Cost column of Table 2–1. For example, Influence has an Earned Cost of 15 gp per point, so if you want to socialize in town to generate 3 points of Influence, you must use a day of downtime and spend 45 gp (3 × 15 gp) to earn those 3 points of Influence. Earning capital takes longer, but is much cheaper than just buying it outright. It is easier to keep track of your earned capital if you pay for it as soon as you earn it; otherwise, you also need to track earned capital you don’t yet have (because you haven’t paid gp for it yet).

Table 2-1: Capital Values

CapitalPurchased CostEarned Cost
Goods20 gp10 gp
Influence30 gp15 gp
Labor20 gp10 gp
Magic100 gp50 gp


This chapter assumes you are using the downtime system to earn capital rather than purchasing it, and all gp values in this chapter are based on the Earned Cost. If you aren’t using the downtime system to earn capital (and are instead awarded capital as a treasure reward, for example), or you want to purchase something quickly by spending gold pieces, remember to double the listed gp value to find the Purchased Cost of the item or service.

Think of purchasing capital as a stranger coming to town and throwing lots of money around to make things happen. It’s effective, but the locals are inclined to overcharge for their work and may resent the obvious display of wealth. Earning capital is a person working with the locals and trying to be a part of the community in order to get things done. It takes longer, but the locals give a fair price and appreciate the person’s honest dealings and lack of arrogance.

When you purchase or earn capital, you may either immediately apply it toward a downtime activity of your choice or save it for later (this is explained more over the rest of this chapter). As capital is an abstraction, the details of the work are up to you and the GM to decide— for roleplaying purposes, you should explain it however is most appropriate for your character and campaign.

Unskilled Work: You may spend 1 day working in a settlement to earn 5 sp. (Normally, an untrained laborer or assistant earns 1 sp per day, but the downtime system assumes your class abilities mean you are a cut above a typical unskilled laborer and are able to earn more from a day’s work.) Alternatively, you can choose to instead earn 1 point of Goods, Influence, Labor, or Magic. Neither approach requires any particular knowledge or skill check.

Example: Mark’s character is constructing a house, and he wants to acquire 1 point of Labor, which he plans to spend on the house’s construction requirements. He decides to use 1 day of downtime and pay 10 gp to earn the point of Labor, instead of paying 20 gp to purchase it outright. He immediately spends this 1 point of Labor on the construction requirements of the house. For roleplaying purposes, Mark states that he used the day to dig a foundation for his house, and spent the 10 gp on the tools and raw materials he needed to start the foundation.

Example: Laura’s character plans to build a blacksmith’s shop, and needs 1 point of Labor. She decides to use 1 day of downtime and pay 10 gp to earn the 1 point of Labor, but saves it for later use. Since construction work is out of character for him, Laura explains that her character spent the day making deliveries for a local mason, who in turn promised to help her build her blacksmith’s shop. The gold cost goes toward this future construction, but for ease of tracking, Laura pays for it now. She doesn’t have to keep track of this 1 point of Labor as “1 point of Labor from a mason,” since the exact nature of Labor matters only for roleplaying purposes. None of the downtime activities require specific kinds of labor.

Skilled Work: If you have ranks in a useful skill, you can spend 1 day working in a settlement to earn more capital than you would doing unskilled work. Note that this method includes both legal and illegal means of earning capital—for example, a day spent using Sleight of Hand to earn money could be a day spent performing as a street magician or a day spent pickpocketing.

Choose either one type of capital (Goods, Influence, Labor, or Magic) or gp, and attempt a skill check. You can take 10 on this check.

If you chose gp, divide the result of your check by 10 to determine how many gp you earn that day. For example, if your check result is a 16, dividing it by 10 earns you 1 gp and 6 sp that day (round to the nearest silver).

If you chose Goods, Influence, Labor, or Magic, consult the following table to see how much of that type of capital you earn. You must pay the Earned Cost to buy this capital, although if you can’t afford to buy all of it or don’t need more than a certain amount, you can choose to earn less capital than your check indicates. See Table 2–1: Capital Values for the Earned Cost of each type of capital.

Skill Check Result
101
202
303
404
* For every 10 points of your check result after 40, you earn an additional capital.

If you are using this option to earn Goods, Influence, Labor, or Magic, the skill you’re using must be suitable for earning the chosen type of capital; if the GM deems it is not, using that skill reduces the amount generated by half (minimum 1). For example, Perform might earn you Influence as a musician, but it’s not as useful for earning Labor. The GM should inform you of this before you attempt the skill check. In general, the appropriate skills for each type of capital are as follows.

Goods: Appraise, Bluff, Craft, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Knowledge (dungeoneering, engineering, geography, history, local, nature, nobility, religion), Profession, Sleight of Hand, Stealth.

Influence: Appraise, Bluff, Craft, Diplomacy, Handle Animal, Heal, Intimidate, Knowledge (any), Linguistics, Perform, Profession, Ride.

Labor: Bluff, Climb, Craft, Diplomacy, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Knowledge (local), Profession, Ride, Survival, Swim.

Magic: Appraise, Craft, Diplomacy, Heal, Knowledge (arcana, dungeoneering, nature, planes, religion), Linguistics, Profession, Spellcraft, Use Magic Device.

The value of a particular skill for a given type of capital can vary from settlement to settlement. For example, in a frontier settlement with a tradition of serious hard work, a day of humorous performances using Perform (comedy) might not earn you much capital, but inspirational public speeches about the city’s heroes using Knowledge (history) or Perform (oratory) could. The GM should tell you this before you attempt the skill check, or allow you to assess the inhabitants’ preferences with a successful DC 15 Knowledge (local) or Sense Motive check.

Class Abilities: You can use a class ability to provide a service in the settlement to earn capital. For example, a fighter could train a noble’s child in swordplay, a cleric could heal townsfolk, and so on. Choose either one type of capital (Goods, Influence, Labor, or Magic) or gp, and attempt a check (1d20 + your character level + your highest ability modifier – 5). You may take 10 on this check. Treat this check as your skill check result for using skilled work. Using class abilities is less efficient than performing skilled work; this represents the fact that many classes’ abilities don’t have much direct benefit to a community. As with skilled work, the GM may rule that your abilities are unsuitable and reduce the amount earned by half.

Purchases: If you would rather spend gold than attempt checks to earn other types of capital, use the values listed in the Purchased Cost column of Table 2–1: Capital Values. Although you can’t sell capital, you can use it for its listed Purchased Cost as payment toward any applicable downtime activity that requires you to spend gp. For example, if you are brewing a potion, you can spend 1 point of Magic toward the cost of the materials needed to make the potion as if that point were equal to 100 gp.

Although you may have a lot of gp or other capital to throw around in a settlement, the settlement’s size limits how much you can accomplish per day (see Spending Limits on page 80).

Rewards: A GM using the downtime system might award you various types of capital as monster loot, adventure rewards, inheritance, or natural resources. For example, if your party defeats a gang of smugglers, your treasure for the final encounter could include 5 points of Goods in addition to conventional treasure. After freeing a group of peasants from a hobgoblin tribe, the GM might decide that the freed prisoners have no money to give you as a reward but instead promise you 3 points of Labor as thanks for saving them. Your character could inherit a ramshackle house from an old relative, which you can use as a base of operations or sell for gold. After clearing out a kobold warren, you might discover a vein of iron ore that (after an investment of Goods, Labor, and perhaps Influence) can generate gp or Goods for you on a monthly basis. Depending on the nature of the reward, the GM might decide that you don’t need to pay the Earned Cost to get capital acquired in this way.

These kinds of rewards are always decided by the GM. Keep in mind that a settlement’s government usually has jurisdiction over what happens to an abandoned property. For example, just because you kill all the cultists using a building as their secret lair doesn’t mean you can claim that building as your own.

Spend Capital to Boost Checks

Source Ultimate Campaign pg. 81
At the GM’s discretion, you may affect any activity you have in the settlement (downtime or otherwise) by spending Goods, Influence, Labor, or Magic. This gives you a lot of leeway in terms of what you can accomplish using downtime resources. In general, every 1 point of Goods, Influence, Labor, or Magic spent allows you to add a +1 bonus on one skill check (maximum +5).

The capital spent must reasonably affect that kind of check. The GM decides whether your proposed use of a capital is reasonable for the check you’re attempting.

Example: Jessica’s character wants to bluff her way past a guard into the duke’s castle, but knows that her Bluff modifier of +0 probably isn’t enough to convince the guard to let her pass. Jessica tells the GM she wants to spend 5 points of Influence to remind the guard that she’s one of the heroes who turned back the ogre invasion last month, and the guard should let her pass because the duke wants to talk to her. The GM agrees that Jessica flaunting her celebrity status is a good use of Influence and allows her to spend 5 points of Influence for a +5 bonus on her Bluff check.

Example: Patrick’s character is having a drink in a tavern after a long day adventuring when his nemesis walks in and spots him. Patrick is out of spells and wants to avoid a fight. He tells the GM he stands up to confront his nemesis, and wants to spend 5 points of Labor to have other tavern patrons back him up, pointing out that he has employed many local workers in the past few months and some of them might be in the tavern. The GM agrees and allows him to spend 5 points of Labor for a +5 bonus on his Intimidate check.

Downtime Phases

Source Ultimate Campaign pg. 81
The GM tells you when you have downtime available and how many days you can use for downtime. For example, after returning to town after a long adventure, if the GM says you have 10 days before you need to travel to the capital for the princess’s coronation ceremony, you may use those 10 days for downtime activities.

You typically have a fair amount of control when it comes to starting and ending a downtime session. With the GM’s approval, you may start a downtime session whenever you enter a settlement and end it whenever you leave that settlement. You or your GM might devise downtime activities you can perform only once per downtime session, so the GM may decide that you can’t start and end multiple downtime sessions in a row just to allow yourself to perform those activities more than once.

A quick trip into town for basic supplies and rest likely doesn’t require a downtime session. If you don’t plan to do anything that requires Goods, Influence, Labor, Magic, or spending downtime days, you don’t have to start a downtime session to do it.

A downtime session takes place over the following four phases, which make up 1 downtime day.

Phase 1—Upkeep: Pay costs associated with maintaining completed buildings and organizations.

Phase 2—Activity: Perform downtime activities, such as constructing a building, recruiting an organization, or retraining.

Phase 3—Income: Determine how much capital your buildings, organizations, and other activities generate, and sell off assets you no longer want.

Phase 4—Event: Check whether any unusual events occur. Some are beneficial, such as Famous Visitor or Good Fortune. Others are detrimental, such as Fire or Sickness.

These phases always occur in the above order. Each player may start one new downtime activity per day. Which player goes first usually doesn’t matter; you may choose to go in initiative order, clockwise from the player to the GM’s left, or some other method that works for your group so long as everyone gets a turn each day.