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Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Adventurers between times. (the beginning)

Not for nothing but I haven't run a game since 11/12/16  or so. Being an adult gamer, with work and holidays and all that have meant that our group has just not been available for  around a month. Chances are I'm not going to get another game in for quite a while still. I know what the real life players are doing, I wonder what I should be letting the characters do.

This post is going to touch on things that deserve posts of tier own... Like  talking about  supplementing the hp system with  wounds and recruiting  ship crews. Fact is many  of these subsystems can be found on other blogs. At some point I may revisit this post and flesh out some of the concepts touched on. IN other words this post should be part of a greater series of posts but I'm not sure it will be. At the very least I hope to inspire some ideas for anyone reading, so that they might fill in the blanks in what ever why they see fit.

In our D&D game the characters just solved a literal murder mystery, for cash. The need for cash was brought about by having a 25 person ship's crew to pay every month and a deck  cannon to buy. A couple quick money making side quests were in order, and were arranged. Now that's over and the group has not chosen a path to follow just yet, what are they doing in town?

I would like to have a system for this lost "between" time.

My thought is to give each player 1 action per week of down time, per character.

The amount of down time is to be set each time a game ends with the  logical expectation of the the characters just chilling out for a few days before setting off again. If the expectation is that the next game will pick up chronologically right where the last left off, then none of this is relevant.

Recovery: Each action spent recovering will heal a minor wound.  Moderate wounds take  3 actions. Major wounds are up to the DM/GM. In my game I have no issue at all breaking a character's rib (Or whatever) and making them take penalties that last beyond D&D's panacea, "Long rest." Spending time recovering  mitigates that issue.  Recovering characters are doing just that, nothing else.

Shopping: A character looking for a particular item or quality of item my roll vs that items rarity  once per action spent. The Gm can set item rarity as they see fit for the area the characters are in , but generally common items are 5 or better on a d20. and the difficulty scales up from there. Use this only for items that are not  automatically available, for example  any one can find a blanket in most normal towns. If the  player says they want to find a mink lined blanket  while  holding over in a desert town , then the chances are far lower.  Furthermore some towns just won't have some things. A small town might not have an armorer so finding a suit of mail that can be fitted to a character is just impossible. If there is no one to make an item or import an item feel free to disallow the item.

  • Common item roll 5 or better
  • Hard to find  roll 10 or better
  • Rare item roll 14 or better
  • Common magical item for your setting  15 or better
  • Rare magical item 18 or better.
  • DM might allow modification to this roll based on connections in the city, bartering skill? Intimidation perhaps? Thief characters should be allowed to use skill or proficiency bonuses where other classes might not. Thieves should be better at finding rare things in a urban environment.
  • Keep in mind that some things will just not be available in some places.

Recruitment: Each point spent recruiting henchmen and henchwomen will improve the chance of finding hire quality hirelings. Anyone who has ever been in the position where they do hiring will know that the longer a person looks, the  more applications a person pours over, the better the candidates will be. What the term "quality" means will vary depending on how common the required skill type is in an area, what the players are looking for, and what the players need done.
Finding  people to carry stuff is generally pretty easy. Finding a skilled porter who can not only carry a load, but know what to pack for a trip and help manage the other porters is a lot more difficult. For example the players in my game were recruiting sailors. They left the  job to an experienced sailor they had already hired.. smart move. He recruited almost a full crew but time was short so he got a few bad apples. The next stop was at a very large port city. He began recruiting to fill the final spots on the ship's crew. So far the quality of available sailors has been higher. The only thing which had changed was the presence of a larger pool of sailors to draw from. In other words recruitment quality is based on depth of expertise in an area and time spent. Rolling this over to hiring men at arms to go delving into dangerous places with. A large city perhaps one with a standing garrison of troops will yield better results than a farming village.
In my game the very best hireling fighter a player can hope to find is around 5th level. Those folks don't fall off trees, it will take time (Multiple actions) to get the word out. It will take time for a hireling of greater level to drop whatever it is they are doing and seek out the party. If the party just walks into an inn as yells "Who is up for an expedition!" they might find a few strong arms, but those arms will be attached to 0 level brains. Worse yet the lower level a hireling is the  less tested they are in a fight the more likely they would be to loose morale, break, and flee.
I could and should write a whole  post about NPC recruitment. I have written a few posts about the various problems characters can have with hirelings (Found Under henchman rules, here.)
For this post it is suffice to say  players can spend an action in their down time to  go looking for hired hands, the  more time they spend the  better hired hands they will find.

Roll a die based on the amount of action spent recruiting and the rareity of the  skill set or hireling type sought. All results are subject to what ever game you happen to be running.

Actions spent Low rarity semi rare Med rarity rare very rare
1 1d4 0 0 0 0
2 1d6 1d4 0 0 0
3 1d8 1d6 1d4 0 0
4 1d10 1d8 1d6 1d4 0
5 1d12 1d10 1d8 1d6 1d4
0. This type of hirelings unavailable in this area.
1. low quality almost un-employable many flaws, unreliable, drunkard, liar ect. -1d4 on some attribute or important skill.
2 to 3. Low quality due to a utter lack of experience, cowardice, poor morale -2 on some relevant skill or attribute.
4 to 5. Low quality due to overconfidence, mixed with inexperience. -1 on some  relevant skill or ability.
6 to 7. Average quality hireling following all standard follower rules. Reliability and personality may still be in question.
8 to 9. Average quality  follower with a +1 to some skill or attribute. 
9 to 10. Above average follower with an extra level of experience and a good attitude. Grant a +2 on some ability, attribute or skill. Low level clerics or wizards may only be hired on rolls of 9 or better.
11. A exceptional hire. Skilled, or very experienced. Good morale, and  loyalty to an employer. Either these things are true or you have hired a person with rare skills, such as a competent (d&D level 3) cleric or wizard. + 1d4 to a relevant ability or skill.
12. You have found the perfect fit for what you need. Split a bonus of +5 among skills and abilities relevant to the  parties needs. hirelings up to level 5 may be hired with a recruiting roll this high.

Characters who have investigation , research, arcana or other academic skills can spend time (actions)researching the  parties surroundings and upcoming missions.
A gm can play this as they see fit. I use it as an opportunity to  provide details and adventure hooks for the surrounding areas. Players who roll well for these research actions gain more detail characters who  roll badly. 
For example if the party wizard says he wants to research the surrounding area, and rolls badly I might say "There have been magicians who operated in the area over the years, though as of late there is no great mystical presence."
where as if she roll  well I might say, "Your research tells you there was once a foundry in the nearby  valley that was used to produce weapons. It is said a mage ran the  foundry and  experimented creating  magical  armaments there. The foundry has been abandoned for  many year but the remains of its foundations can still be seen."
one roll yields some general information, the other yields a possible place to explore.

I would allow different classes to research different types of information:

Cleric Religious history , legends
Druid Nearby locations of natural wonder
Monk Word on the street, concerns of common folk
Paladin Tactical lay of the land
Ranger Rumors and news of the country side local monsters
Thief Trade info, underworld rumors
Warrior Ancient military lore battle locations
Wizard Magical history of the area

As you can see giving players the opportunity to  do things between games has a lot of possibilities.
Beyond what I sketched out here I was thinking, Construction tasks for building strong holds. Trade tasks for off loading all of that crap characters find in dungeons. And Social tasks which are location based for each town the characters land in. In my mind when a  group of level 7 characters roll into town and stay for a week, the local nobles are all going to clamor to be the  first to invite them to dine. Players could spend between game actions fulfilling these social obligations (and hopefully gaining info and connections from them) with out having to role play every diner party.

And so on and so forth.

I am sure other DM's out there have done similar things, and used similar systems to get there. Naturally I would love to  read about  those other systems.

As always thank you for reading.