D&D 5E Spending Downtime/ Training for ASIs (+)

DND_Reborn

Legend
Disclaimer: Like much of what I do, I don't expect widespread acceptance of this idea. However, if you feel compelled to tell me you don't like the idea, feel free to do so, but since this is a (+) thread, please do not argue against the concept beyond your initial response. Thank you.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ever since d20 systems rolled out, I have not been a fan of ASI due to leveling. IME most games run at a pace that gaining ASIs while leveling makes little sense, and a lot of assumptions have to be used to justify the increase in the core ability scores. For the most part, the ASIs are simply put in so characters can help keep pace with more powerful foes and more difficult challenges. IMO, that sort of improvement should come from proficiency really, not given an extra "boost" via ASI. The choice of using your ASI for an ability improvement vs. a feat is also an issue. I am all for difficult design choices, but I would rather the choice simply be which feat to take. :)

However, the idea of improving during downtime through training, study, etc. has always made more sense to me. After all, if I spend time exercising and lifting weights, I can increase my Strength. If I spend time studying or gaining new knowledge, I become more Intelligent. If I work on spending time making friends, reflecting on who I am, etc. I can gain Charisma. And so on.

Downtime is also not used as much as I would (personally) like to see in most games--but that is just a matter of my preference and I completely understand groups that prefer faster-paced adventures where one event rolls into the next quickly.

At any rate, I was thinking of implementing the following system and would like feedback:

Downtime Activity - Ability Training (draft #1)

You can spend time between adventures on self-improvement, using the time to try to increase an ability score of your choice. The time must be spent in activities related to improving the chosen ability.

The base training time is a number of workweeks (5 days) equal to your current ability score and costs you 1 gp per day of training, plus any expenses you have for living costs (minimum 1 gp per day for a modest lifestyle). At the end of the time, you roll a d20. If the roll is equal to or higher than your current score, you succeed and raise your ability score 1 point. You do not add any modifier or bonus to this roll, with the exception of additional training time.

You can spend another 5 days training to gain a +1 bonus to the d20 roll, to a maximum of 25 days (+5 bonus). You must pay an additional 1 gp per day for training and your lifestyle (minimum 1 gp per day) for the additional training time.

You can also hire a trainer/tutor. This doubles your cost, but includes paying the living expenses for your trainer/tutor. Another PC can serve this role, but the addition cost remains the same.

If you fail, you can try again but must start over. If you fail trying to improve an ability score three times in a row, you can no longer try to improve that ability (you have reached your peak). You can still increase your ability through magic and similar means, however.

Design Note: ASIs gained by classes are always feats now. Also, all half-feats which grant a +1 ASI have been remade into full feats. So, feats no longer grants any ASIs.

That is it for the first draft. Below is any example of the current draft in use:
  • You want to improve your Dexterity 13 to 14. The base time is 13 workweeks or 65 days (15 x 5) and will cost you 130 gp (1 gp per day of training and 1 gp per day for living costs).
  • The number you will have to roll on the d20 is 13 (the current score).
  • Another PC (DEX 18) has agreed to spend her downtime training you, so you have advantage on the roll. However, this will cost you another 130 gp.
  • Finally, you have the time and money and decide to spend another 25 days (the maximum) on training, adding +5 to your roll. However, that increases your final cost by 100 gp (another 50 gp for your living expenses and training time, then doubled due to your trainer's help).

Your total cost is 360 gp and you spend 18 workweeks (90 days) with the other PC, practicing balance, coordination, and other tasks. You are finally ready to make your d20 roll, with advantage since you were trained, and a +5 bonus due to the extra training time. You have to roll a total of 13 or better with your +5 bonus, so a roll of 8 or higher on either die will give you a success (this gives you about an 88% chance of raising your DEX from 13 to 14).

If any of this seems too complex, the down-and-dirty system is summarized as:
  • time (in days) = current score x 5
  • extra time = 5 days per +1 (max +5 for 25 days)
  • cost = total days x 2 (assuming modest lifestyle minimum)
  • trainer doubles cost but grants advantage
  • roll must equal current score or better
Using the above example:
  • time (in days) = 13 x 5 = 65
  • extra time = 25 days for +5, total time is thus 90 days
  • cost = days x 2 or 180 gp (minimum)
  • trainer doubles cost = 180 x 2 or 360 gp.
  • roll must be 13 or higher with +5 bonus
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
With the length of the downtime being related to the ability modifier, I can see PCs wanting to spend different amount of down time before adventuring again. This might be very interesting in a West Marches scenario where everyone has a stable of characters, and keep a separate calendar for each of them on when they are available.

There are some other long-term downtime functions, like making a magic item. Both training someone else and making an item for someone else seem like they would put PCs well behind the PCs that are advancing themselves. Would some sort of Good Samaritan bonus be out of line?

Actually, anyone doing other actions that would be appropriate for their character besides training would also fall behind. But it would seem like many downtime activities, especially professions, would effectively be training. Crafting armor might be training STR. Practicing Professions might count depnding on the profession. For example with the Performance skill that will support you with a Wealthy lifestyle - would that be considered training Charisma. I guess I'm trying to understand are you going for versimlitude, so working out by working at something demanding of a particular ability should be a benefit, or going for gamist, where it is a separate track of character advancement that does not mix with other downtime activities.

The d20 roll - is it a save, an attack, or an ability check? Or are you creating a new category? Because there are various modifiers out there. If you have a Stone of Good Luck for the training, do you get +1, etc.

Are you keeping feats or something in the normal ASI levels? Just trying to avoid dead levels where there little change except some minor math adjustments
 



Horwath

Hero
1. I agree that there should be no ASI's in game, except via magical means(items, divine boons, epic boons, etc...)
I like Pillars of eternity style of that.

2. I'm not sure about giving out ASI's for gold. Magic items, especially with atunements, have some limits.
Sure, there is a chance of failure to train, but that is even worse. This kind of improvement should not be luck based.

3. I would rather axe racial ASI's and by level ASI's and stayed with feats only while leveling.
have default array be:
20,18,16,14,12,10, high powered game
18,16,14,12,12,10, about average game
16,14,12,12,10,8, low power game
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Personally I think a character should have to spend some downtime in order to train into any of the benefits of a new level, so for me this would be no more than a fine start. :)
Some benefits I certain agree with. Others I think should be added but in a more gradual manner to represent the PC getting better. For instance, consider Extra Attack. At 4th level, you can attack once, but suddenly at 5th, you can attack twice, which is a huge jump in effectiveness in combat!

So, I prefer a slow approach--- you can Extra Attack at level 1, but with a -8 penalty on both attacks. You are trying to do too much and not experienced enough to do it well. Each level the penalty decreased by 2, so -6 @ 2nd, -4 @ 3rd, and -2 @ 4th. Then, finally, at 5th level, the penalty is gone. There is no need to train for this as you've been attacking the entire time during your adventures.

Now, with cantrip damage, it might be possible to train to unlock the secrets of more powerful magic, so that would make more sense to me personally.

Can you expand on this? Is this because you see leveling happening in a matter of in game days/weeks? Or something else?
Glad to. Yes, I see leveling in game time happening quickly, usually over a matter of a few weeks (or even a few days at lower levels!). As the levels get higher, the challenges offer more XP so the pace does not slow down very much--but a little bit, yes.

For example, going from 1st to 4th level in game time might take less than one month, sometimes less. So, if the ASI is used for ability improvements, it is a short time for such a big change (going from STR 16 to 18, for instance). Now, others might not see the increase as big as I do, so don't see it as an issue. Another option would be to force the ASI into two abilities, which would not be as big a deal, but might not sit well with players.

Would you adjust this for the Realms where the base 'week' is a tenday?
Probably not since it would just double the base time required, but if someone wants training to take longer you could certainly do it.

1. I agree that there should be no ASI's in game, except via magical means(items, divine boons, epic boons, etc...)
I like Pillars of eternity style of that.

2. I'm not sure about giving out ASI's for gold. Magic items, especially with atunements, have some limits.
Sure, there is a chance of failure to train, but that is even worse. This kind of improvement should not be luck based.

3. I would rather axe racial ASI's and by level ASI's and stayed with feats only while leveling.
have default array be:
20,18,16,14,12,10, high powered game
18,16,14,12,12,10, about average game
16,14,12,12,10,8, low power game
That's cool that you feel that way. I would be all for not including them at all, either, except I know you CAN improve yourself IRL and I would want PCs to be able to do that if they devote the time to it.

The chance element for failure is meant to represent the concept of diminishing returns. When you work out, for instance, you can see pretty good gains quickly. But to reach higher and higher levels of fitness, it takes more and more time and effort, and eventually you reach a point where you just can't go any further. That is what the third failure would represent--you have reached your maximum potential and cannot go higher.

Perhaps instead of not allowing improvement at that point, make any further attempts with disadvantage. You can still keep trying, but it is just that much harder once you've peaked.

Otherwise, having arrays based on power-level for the game is a good idea, if you don't want to have them gradually increase or improve through training.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Some benefits I certain agree with. Others I think should be added but in a more gradual manner to represent the PC getting better. For instance, consider Extra Attack. At 4th level, you can attack once, but suddenly at 5th, you can attack twice, which is a huge jump in effectiveness in combat!

So, I prefer a slow approach--- you can Extra Attack at level 1, but with a -8 penalty on both attacks. You are trying to do too much and not experienced enough to do it well. Each level the penalty decreased by 2, so -6 @ 2nd, -4 @ 3rd, and -2 @ 4th. Then, finally, at 5th level, the penalty is gone. There is no need to train for this as you've been attacking the entire time during your adventures.
Sounds good in theory, but when applied to numerous abilities at once it might get a bit cumbersome.

Me, I prefer that they have to take time out for training, if for no other reason than it enforces there being at least some downtime in the campaign between - or even during - adventures.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Sounds good in theory, but when applied to numerous abilities at once it might get a bit cumbersome.
I haven't done it for a lot of features, just some, and it might get dropped (the whole great rule vs. bookkeeping issue).

Me, I prefer that they have to take time out for training, if for no other reason than it enforces there being at least some downtime in the campaign between - or even during - adventures.
We generally already have downtime, but I have thought about incorporating the general training for level rule.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top