Unearthed Arcana Explores Downtime Activities
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  • Unearthed Arcana Explores Downtime Activities


    This week's Unearthed Arcana, with Mike Mearls back after Rob Schwalb's guest spot last week, takes a look at downtime activities. "Sometimes the weeks between adventures are as eventful as the time on an adventure. This installment of Unearthed Arcana explores that in-between time by offering new and revised downtime activities for DMs to playtest in their campaigns."


    This article was originally published in forum thread: Unearthed Arcana Explores Downtime Activities started by Morrus View original post
    Comments 116 Comments
    1. Prakriti's Avatar
      Prakriti -
      This is EXACTLY what I wanted and EXACTLY what the game needed.

      Then there's this: "For more information, see “Brewing Potions of Healing” in this section on crafting and “Scribing a Spell Scroll” on page Error! Bookmark not defined." (p. 7)
    1. CapnZapp -
      Actually, support for downtime is already in place. While more ideas are certainly not useless, what the game really needs is an "uptime" document, for when there isn't any downtime.

      That is, a selection of answers on what to spend all your gold on in the kind of campaign mentioned intitally by the document itself, where you reach 10th level in a "short" time and presumably 20th level soon thereafter.

      Can we hope for that in the next UA...?
    1. guachi's Avatar
      guachi -
      I find it interesting that the first entry on downtime activities is on foils for the party.

      I like it. I also like that it's "foils" and not "villains" as they explain that it can be anyone with an agenda that might be contrary to the party's interests.

      We also get magic item buying which is useful and quick. Seems fairly easy to adapt to particular situations. If the characters seek a specific magic item, first decide if it’s an item you want to allow in the game. If so, include the item among the offerings if it appears on a table that the result allows you to roll on.

      Then we get carousing. I swear, if there was a supplement entitled The Big Book of Carousing I'm sure it would be a hit. There can't be enough on carousing, I say.

      Fourth is crafting. Personally, I was indifferent to these rules. My favorite and still used method was from GAZ3 The Principalities of Glantri (worth your $5 on DMs Guild!!!)

      We then get a series of entries on crime, gambling, pit fighting, relaxation, religious services, research, scribing a spell, selling a magic item, training, work.

      None of these are particularly stand-out entries (they are fairly short) but they do have the benefit of offloading some work from the DM and contain the obligatory random tables that can add fun to the game. At least, I as a DM like a bit of randomness to spur my imagination.

      Good stuff for when PCs spring an idea on you and you don't have anything really prepped.

      EDIT: Entry 6 on Low Class Carousing Complications: Surprise! You're married.

      That's my kind of randomness.
    1. GlassJaw's Avatar
      GlassJaw -
      Quote Originally Posted by Prakriti View Post
      This is EXACTLY what I wanted and EXACTLY what the game needed.
      Agreed. I just skimmed it but it looks awesome. Lots of great ideas and stuff for player's to do. I love the Foil concept. Anything to create plot hooks on the fly is fantastic. I'll be using this almost as-is for my game immediately.

      Then there's this: "For more information, see “Brewing Potions of Healing” in this section on crafting and “Scribing a Spell Scroll” on page Error! Bookmark not defined." (p. 7)
      Just a formatting error. I'm sure it will be fixed soon.
    1. thethain's Avatar
      thethain -
      I am just happy my Warlock/Paladin cult member can start evangelizing the good word of Azuth (actually c'thullu) AND gain favors while doing it.
    1. Patrick McGill's Avatar
      Patrick McGill -
      This is awesome. I much prefer these training rules. 50 days of training, but more expensive. Plus those complications can be a lot of fun.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      This week's Unearthed Arcana, with Mike Mearls back after Rob Schwalb's guest spot last week, takes a look at downtime activities. "Sometimes the weeks between adventures are as eventful as the time on an adventure. This installment of Unearthed Arcana explores that in-between time by offering new and revised downtime activities for DMs to playtest in their campaigns."
    1. ZeshinX's Avatar
      ZeshinX -
      *yaawwwwwwwn*

      While it's a darn useful bit of expanded game material for some, I've always found described action for activities between campaigns/adventures more than adequate. Again though, I do see the utility for those with far less time to allow for that and the occasional need for a mechanic or two (like crafting and whatnot).

      Useful, but still, quite boring (to me) stuff. Can't all be exciting new mechanics, class options, spells and the like I suppose.
    1. FitzTheRuke's Avatar
      FitzTheRuke -
      I like it. I like it a lot. And this is coming from someone who has yet to ever use the existing downtime rules. (Even while running a ton of AL).

      This just looks a whole lot better.

      Curious about the "Work" one... It says you earn a certain lifestyle... but do you have to spend that lifestyle? And if you *don't* why doesn't it just give you a gp paycheck? If you *do* then all you have done is offset your expenses.

      Question for anyone who hates the idea of players buying or crafting magic items - do these rules (and their fine level of DM participation) make the idea more palatable?


      Sent from my LG-D852 using EN World mobile app
    1. Benji's Avatar
      Benji -
      Most of this - Rules for stuff we could just be roleplaying.

      Magic Item Economy Stuff - Well. About Dang Time.
    1. collin's Avatar
      collin -
      Benji states it nicely and succinctly .

      You could just role-play your way through downtime, either live or in writing. But it's especially nice to have some rules around magic items, particularly Crafting Items in 5th edition, which up to this point was rather vague at best. One could even say the information in this Unearthed Arcana should have been in the DMG to start with.
    1. PointOfIsnpiration's Avatar
      PointOfIsnpiration -
      Just because you *can* abstract something to a description only without mechanics doesn't mean you always *should,* or that mechanics for something are *unneeded.* This UA is fantastic, gives a lot of inspiration and ideas, and makes for creating a super cool way to spice up those in-between session moments.
    1. OB1's Avatar
      OB1 -
      One of the best UAs yet. I love the depth that they are adding to the basic version of the game with this and so many of the other UAs we've been getting. And even if these don't make the final book or I never use the exact rule as written, it's just such good inspiration. A few immediate thoughts

      10 years for a mortal to create a Legendary magic item - Perfect
      Gambling rules - Awesome
      Carousing - Going to introduce this into my game immediately
      Buying & Selling magic items - This one goes in right away too, I have some PCs with more money than they can spend and a few magic items that aren't great fits for them and are about to get to a major population center where such activity would be possible.
    1. FitzTheRuke's Avatar
      FitzTheRuke -
      Quote Originally Posted by PointOfIsnpiration View Post
      Just because you *can* abstract something to a description only without mechanics doesn't mean you always *should,* or that mechanics for something are *unneeded.* This UA is fantastic, gives a lot of inspiration and ideas, and makes for creating a super cool way to spice up those in-between session moments.
      It's probably why I haven't actually used downtime yet - it's just not how I'm used to doing it - but it's not that I wouldn't want to TRY.

      These seem really intetesting to me, and I think they did a great job with the foils. You could make up whole adventures around those examples.

      Sent from my LG-D852 using EN World mobile app
    1. SkidAce's Avatar
      SkidAce -
      Quote Originally Posted by thethain View Post
      I am just happy my Warlock/Paladin cult member can start evangelizing the good word of Azuth (actually c'thullu) AND gain favors while doing it.
      "All Hail....wait, wut?"
    1. Xeviat's Avatar
      Xeviat -
      I really like the parts with "Stat mod +1 undefined favors/lore". I'm about to start a more open, sandboxy game, and I may start characters off with some open contacts and lore to get them in the mindset.

      I do find it interesting that Wisdom isn't useful for the Religious service.


      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      I really like this one as well. Lots of fun bits.
    1. Thalionalfirin's Avatar
      Thalionalfirin -
      Same here. I'm really interested to hear how this goes from others who really invest the time into it.
    1. phantomK9's Avatar
      phantomK9 -
      This is some really great stuff. I wish the buying magic items stuff was modified by the size of the community you are shopping in (based on the city size categories form the DMG) but still a solid effort.

      Foils also seems like an addendum to the Villain NPC creation rules in the DMG, but with more focus on "organically" creation the motivation. The example foils especially the wererat could easily turn into campaign villains.
    1. thethain's Avatar
      thethain -
      Quote Originally Posted by SkidAce View Post
      "All Hail....wait, wut?"
      He doesn't really know that much about the original ideas of Azuth, his cult has him indoctrinated fairly well so that any discrepancies he views as "Lost true knowledge our members have rediscovered" He would definitely be using the charisma Persuade version as opposed to intelligence Religion sermons. And should be pretty good at spreading the word since hes at like +10 persuade.
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