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17 Awesome Downtime Activity Ideas For Your Party

17 dnd downtime activities
Looking for something to do in your downtime between adventures?
Here are 17 Awesome Downtime Activity Ideas For Your Party!

From making money to disturbing the peace, sometimes you just don’t have a lot of adventures going on, here are some ideas to keep your character occupied.

“Downtime activities require a certain number of days to complete before you get any benefit, and at least 8 hours of each day must be spent on the downtown activity for the day to count. The days do not need to be consecutive. If you have more than the minimum days to spend, you can keep doing the same thing for a longer period of time, or switch to a new downtime activity.”

– The Players’ Handbook

1. Training

The only thing about training is, that you must have found someone to teach you. Whether it be a new language, skill, weapon, or tool, you can generally find someone – unless you are trying to learn Gnomish in Barovia; but even then, maybe your DM will allow you to find a book or magic item of some sort to get that knowledge into you (depends on how nicely you ask, and if they think it’s going to break the game or not).

The first step would be letting your DM and party know you are interested in training, then everyone can be on the lookout to find your trainer. You might also want to talk to your DM about having someone that you can hire to come along with you on adventures.

The cost of hiring this teacher goes for roughly 1g/day, and as this is not a video game, you don’t learn it all at once, and in fact, must spend 250 days (give or take depending on your DM) learning and practising this skill. Of those 250 days, 8 hours per day needs to be spent on the training in order for it to count. Some skills may also require ability checks in order to pass per day as well – this is entirely up to your DM.

The 250 days do NOT need to be consecutive, so you can come and go to the same place and practise for a day or two of downtime between adventures if needed.

Get enough practice times in, and BOOM you can now use painter’s tools, Picasso.

2. Training Part 2

Alternatively, you could make money by finding some schmuck to train yourself. This way you don’t really learn anything, but you can then charge them a fee for them to learn from you.

You would make similar to what you would be paying for a trainer, but if you gain more renown you may choose to try and convince people you are worth more. They may pay higher or may think you are full of yourself, and hot air.

Either way could be worth checking out if that’s what your character might be interested in doing.

3. Crafting

Non-Magic Items

Oh crafting. Normally people seem to only look this up for one of two reasons, potion-making and poison-making. Let’s go ahead and expand our minds!

To start off, you MUST be proficient with the tool you are using to craft. If you need to gain proficiency, please see “training” listed above. Take this into real life for a moment, if you have never even seen a blacksmith, what are the chances of you making a great sword (pun intended)?

You also need to have said tools and materials required for your finished product. Now for the mechanics, for each day you spend crafting, you can craft one or more items with a total market value not exceeding 5gp, and you must expend raw materials worth 25sp.

“5gp”, I hear you laughing, “what a waste of time, nothing less than 100gp!”

Okay, so if you want to make something worth more than 5gp, you need to spend multiple days on it with each day at 5gp, costing 25sp. For example, you can make a painting (with your newly learned painter’s tools) worth 1500gp in 300 days after spending 750gp on paint, brushes, paper, and maybe a nice frame to bring it all together.

“OMG, that’s so long, how can we make it faster?” you ask. 

Well, you can ask people to help you IF they also have proficiency and you are working together in the same place. They must also give 25 sp per day (or you can pay it on their behalf since it’s your project) and they count towards 1 whole day of progress. So that exact same painting with yourself and two other artists working on it at the same time would take 100 days and the same 750gp.

Magic Items

Now, this is a whole other ballgame and we will be writing a separate article on it!

The overall premise is that in order to craft magical items you first must be a magic user with a bunch of slots available and work 8hrs/day doing 25gp/day towards the total cost instead of the 5g for non-magical objects.

4. Guilds

There are LOADS of different guilds available in Dungeons and Dragons, many of which have day-to-day administrative tasks that can be done by adventurers such as yourself. Then when you are trusted enough, you get a big boy task to do, yay!

Some backstories include having a guild in it, such as the artisan background and you easily have something to work with. Sometimes NPCs will approach you if they think you would make a good fit in their guild, otherwise, you can just ask around and see if there is a guild you would be interested in joining.

Some of the more noteworthy official guilds include:

Your DM can also make up a guild for you of any type, just open up that good ole communication box. Lots of times being part of a guild can give you some kind of perk depending on the guild, or add hiccups in your game, like for example if you are part of a criminal guild and are working with the captain of the guard doing quests…

5. Disturbing The Peace (Party Animal)

Basically, you are a party animal, woot woot! Bring on the ale!!

Activities might include crashing parties, gambling, picking fights, binge drinking, sleeping around, and all that good stuff that you would never do in real life. 

If this is the way you want to spend your downtime, you might end up in jail for a few days, just straight up go unconscious and wake up somewhere random, get someone pregnant, lose all your money and have debt collectors chasing you, get a groupie who now follows you around and you have to spend all your down time avoiding them until you need a shoulder to cry on and fall back into their loving arms, or maybe you make loads of money gambling and spend it all on more partying!

Overall this downtime activity is spent frivolously and you can gain a reputation or other things (like a child?) without necessarily meaning to. It’s kind of like throwing a wild card to the DM and letting them decide what to do with you.

6. Pit-fighting

This may not be available in every area you go to, but there is usually a slum of some sort or possibly even an arena. Think of the game Fable where each town has a little ring and a bunch of shirtless guys around and you need to build your way up the ranks in each town to get to the next town. Over time you can unlock a title and gain renown in the area. This is all relatable to dungeons and dragons. 

Your DM may choose to run encounters against NPC opponents or just have you do training and fights against opponents in a time setting. Either way, you will need to pass a series of checks to be able to complete your week successfully.

You could lose all the fights or end up winning some gold, keep in mind that these fights are all fist fights and non-lethal. Killing someone in the ring can have serious consequences, but other than that you don’t really lose anything if you spend a week pit-fighting but have the possibility to win some gold.

7. Start a business

Let’s start off by saying that literally anyone can start a business; then follow up with, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. This is of course entirely dependent on what your CHARACTER would do.

I had a character once steal a full shipment of wine, then start a wine company and the party went on a whole side quest to find bottles and a label maker so that we could brand it. Of course, she didn’t think about where the wine would come from after it was all sold… or if it was worth the money to buy the materials and sell the product… or who would buy it… and no one in the party said anything, it was a total disaster. And hilarious!

Other party members spent their downtime training and gathering knowledge, she spent it bottling wine to sell. And you can too! But maybe you don’t have stolen wine to sell, instead, you want to buy and sell houses! Or maybe open a jewelry store named “The Family Jewels”, hiring a local who knows their way around diamonds to run the store while you are away looking for new merchandise.

Depending on what you choose it may have a maintenance cost, check out the DMG on 127 for each specific property cost.

For some incredible shop name ideas check out the “325 AMAZING DND SHOP NAME IDEAS” article we wrote for your convenience!

8. Research

With the release of Xanathars, there have been some questions raised about the “right” way to do research during downtime. But in reality, the only right way to do things in DnD is what the DM deems to be final. With that in mind, some guidelines:

If you aren’t researching anything in particular, you can go and look for a library or storyteller and just learn what you can learn. Let your DM know ahead of time that you plan to do this so they have some time to think about what you might learn.

After you get your hooks into a topic of choice (lost mines of Phandelver) you can then make a small quest to find books about it, find specific people who might have any info, and if it’s a long-lost topic then maybe tomes or stories relating to it.

Your DM may require you to make checks based on what’s going on, for example, if you are reading you might need some level of comprehension (INT check) or if you are trying to get information out of someone you maybe need some poise (CHA check) or scare tactics (Intimidation Check).

You will also need gold for your learning, libraries are not always free and people won’t necessarily talk for free either. The written guidelines are 1gp/day of research on top of regular expenses.

If you are researching something fairly common knowledge it may take you only a couple of days to learn about it, but if you are looking for unique and hidden information expect it to take months or even years before you get that aha moment!

When you do though, you unlock a whole new quest! #worth

9. Practice a profession

This can be tied into one of the other options like an artisan guild or owning a business, but it’s more about grit and time for money. 

Imagine you picked up a background as a cobbler, and in your downtime wandering between towns you are able to make shoes practically new again. A highly sought-after skill in this day and age.

You will need to let people know that you are in town to start off with, then just go ahead and get to work. This of course doesn’t pay a crazy amount, but it’s enough to get by and make a little money while doing a good deed.

It can also gain you a reputation in places you go and if you are great at your craft then can even build a reputation before you get to new places.

You basically end up making around 1g per day unless you can brand yourself somehow and convince people to pay more, but that’s a conversation between you and your DM.

10. Recuperate

Let’s face it, adventuring can be tough on you. And sometimes you just need to sleep for days on end and get your sanity back. Especially if your group plays with variant rules where every time you die you gain a level of exhaustion (the better way to play IMO).

You can also use downtime to recover from poison, disease, or a debilitating injury. Also after 3 days of chillaxin you can make a CON save, if you beat 15 you can choose between one of two options

1. End one effect on you that prevents you from regaining hit points.

2. For the next 24 hours, gain advantage on saving throws against one disease or poison currently affecting you.

To get your levels back down, role play, or just chill for a bit – feel free to sleep the day away and enjoy the comforts of “home”.

11. Personal goal

In your backstory, you may have written in a personal goal that your character is gunning for, or maybe something along your travels you just need to see to the end!

Either way, your downtime is a perfect time to get more information, meet people related to the goal or build skills moving towards it.

12. Religion

Once thought to only be utilized by Clerics and Paladins, but even lowly thieves can have their own god and religion. If your PC is really into it they can try to get certified to be able to host things like weddings, baptisms, sacrifices, the yearly festival, or a bunch of other fun things!

By the “rules” though, if you are just worshiping your god for 10 days straight (8-hour days each) you can then be blessed with inspiration for 2d6 days in a row. You may also or instead gain favour with the patrons of said religion or gain favour with the god which can then come back to you in some form of divine intervention or possible side quests, always talk to your DM about this kind of thing, don’t just assume and hope for the best.

13. Building a Stronghold

This is one of the best ways to spend downtime IMO! It creates a bit of a home base and allows for personal preference. Since you have been adventuring hard and gaining gold, maybe your group decides to pool money and buy a house, or a ship to live on depending on your campaign. Or maybe you came across an abandoned tower just outside the town which just so happens to have the deed to the land inside it. However you get your hands on some land, it’s yours now to do what you wish.

Maybe you want to hire some workers and turn it into a farm or set up with some of your group’s trainers so you can spend your downtime comfortably here, knowing you always have a place to come back to. 

Or perhaps your group is quite aggressive and has made a lot of enemies, so you need to have spiked walls and guards around with ballistae and traps set up.

Some ideas to add to a bigger stronghold:

There is SO MUCH POTENTIAL with a stronghold. It can be anything you put your mind to. Also, a great way to spend the gold that you have been working so hard to get.

14. Guard duty

Getting a job as a guard is a pretty decent gig for any adventurer. It doesn’t pay a whole lot but gets you in with the guards so they might recognize you in the street. This is obviously a terrible idea if you are a shady character and are more likely to get caught than saved.

Since you would be considered a skilled guard you would likely make around 1gp/day, however, guards can make anywhere from 1sp/day to 2gp/day. This is up to your DM and how convincing you are to the hiring manager of the guards.

15. BodyGuard

Similar to guard duty, you make an average of 1sp – 2gp/day as a hireling you have more unique skills and may be able to negotiate your pay and assess the dangers of any given situation, but if you decided you just want to pick a noble at random and offer your services, that’s what you can expect to be paid for the week.

Black Citadel has put together an amazing cost per type of hireling guide which can be found here which includes an Acolyte, Alchemist, Chef, Labourer, Mage, Mercenary, and Scout. Put yourself in the closest category and pick your cost.

As always, talk to your DM beforehand otherwise you might end up being the bodyguard of Noble McNobleson from the town of Noblesville.

16. Networking

You probably already do this in your non-downtime activities, but if you were to pick a place to frequent regularly for your downtime, you could slowly gain recognition from the people who also frequent the place.

The most obvious choice is a tavern and you would need to pay an average of the daily costs for visiting. Another choice might be a library or market, maybe a fishing hole or even a park area. Pick somewhere that you are interested in learning about the people who would frequent the area.

17. Odd Jobs

Help find a missing cat or deal with the shingles on a worn-out roof, put those jack-of-all-trade skills to good use!

Make a poster and hang it on the job board or just go around asking people what they need to be done, you could prioritize your skills or just take everything and anything. “Sure, I can totally lift this entire horse and cart over this fence for you Mr. Lout!” Nat 1 strength check, you drop and break everything now losing face and money.

Anything could happen, the best downtime job for the adventurer who wants to keep adventuring while relaxing.

Each job could pay a different amount and the DM might roll for your payment at the end of the week depending on your ability checks or hire you as a contractor for an odd job company and give you a weekly wage.

This concludes our list of downtime activities! If you can think of another gig or have something to add, please comment below! We love to see other ideas!

This concludes 17 Awesome Downtime Activity Ideas For Your Party.
Check out other tips For Players or For DMs to run your games with fun to the max.

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