|Douglas Muir 406|
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This is a system I whipped up for my PCs to cover a year of "down time" between Burnt Offerings and Skinsaw. It assumes that they'll spend their time in and around Sandpoint, and tries to bind them a bit closer to the town.
There is of course a system in Advanced Campaigns for dealing with down time, but (1) not everyone has that book, and (2) that system is pretty detailed and involves a lot of rolling. This is much simpler: the PC chooses, maybe there's one die roll, something happens (or not).
Comments and input welcome!
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What to do with down time? How should the PCs spend a year off? Well...
Tell the PCs they can each pick one or two of the following. If a PC picks two choices, he gets the "basic" benefit for each choice. If he picks just one, then it's a double pick -- the PC is investing all his time towards that exclusively -- and he gets the "double" benefit.
Not all benefits are equally good. This is deliberate.
This list is not exclusive. PCs may wish to spend time on other matters: crafting items, for instance. That's fine, but if it's going to take more than 10% of the PC's time, then it counts as one choice.
The choices are:
Explore Personal Mystery
Explore Sandpoint and region
Party / Relax
Administration: The PC becomes part of the town administration, serving as an assistant to the Mayor or the Sheriff (PC's choice).
Basic: All town leaders become Friendly to the PC. PC learns all basic public information about Sandpoint (who all significant NPCs are, what's available to buy, etc.).
Double: Everyone in town becomes Friendly to the PC, and the Mayor and Sheriff become Helpful. PC gains 200 xp. PC adds +2 to Knowledge (local) rolls in Sandpoint.
Business: The PC opens a business in Sandpoint.
Basic: If the PC has a business-related skill, then make a skill check. Over a year, the business will return 100 gp x the amount of the check. If the PC has no business-related skill, then the business returns 500 gp.
Double: Double the above amount, and the PC gains a +2 circumstance bonus to that skill while in Sandpoint.
Combat Training: The PC regularly trains and practices.
Basic: The PC gains 400 xp.
Double: The PC gains 1000 xp. All martial characters in Sandpoint become Friendly. PC is known throughout town as "that guy who practices all the time", giving him a +2 circumstance bonus to Intimidate checks in or near Sandpoint.
Church: The PC must be a faithful adherent of one of the six gods at the Sandpoint temple (Desna, Erastil, Abadar, Gozreh, Shelyn, Sarenrae). The PC devotes large amounts of time to helping with church ceremonies, bringing food to the poor, etc.
Basic: Father Zantus becomes Helpful. The PC's reputation for piety spreads across the region; gain +2 to reactions from loyal servants of your god anywhere within 100 miles of Sandpoint. If the PC is a cleric or oracle, gain 300 xp; otherwise, gain 100 xp.
Double: As above, plus the PC can select a trait from that god's list of traits.
Crime: The PC befriends the local Sczarni, getting involved with smugglers and crooked merchants.
Basic: Jubrayl Vhiski (the local gangster) becomes Friendly. Make a DC 10 check against the PC's highest skill that is a rogue class skill. If the check succeeds, the PC makes 100 gp x the amount of the skill check. If the check fails the PC is captured, all money is lost, and the PC's reputation is damaged; all nonchaotic NPCs in Sandpoint become Unfriendly. If the PC is a rogue or bard, or is both chaotic and nongood, gain 200 xp.
Double: Double the profit and xp above, and the PC's knowledge of Sandpoint gives him a +2 circumstance bonus to Bluff and Stealth while in town. However, a check failure causes the PC to lose all profits and spend 30 days in jail, and all lawful authority figures become Hostile. Life in Sandpoint may become uncomfortable, as everyone will know the PC is a criminal.
Explore Personal Mystery: The PC spends the off-year focusing on a personal mystery.
Basic: Answer any one question the player has about the character’s past or fate, or tailor a special short campaign segment featuring this mystery. You don’t need to handle this at the table in front of the other players -- e-mail or a short trip to the other room will work. Keep it short and tightly focused on the mystery at hand, and avoid setting up a parallel campaign in which one player gets significantly more attention than the others. PC gains 100 xp.
Double: Not permitted; tell the PC he has reached a dead end in his researches and can pick another choice.
Explore Sandpoint Region: The PC spends his or her time exploring Sandpoint and the area around it.
Basic: PC knows the map of Sandpoint and the surrounding region and gains +2 on Knowledge checks (local, geography, history, etc.) in or about Sandpoint. The DM may give the PC one (1) otherwise hidden or unknown true fact about Sandpoint and its environs.
Double: As above, plus PC has access to all nonsecret information about Sandpoint (i.e., everything in the Gazetteer). Make a DC 15 check against a stat of the PC's choice. On a success, the PC has had an encounter that gains 300 xp; otherwise, the PC gains 100 xp.
Party/Relax: The PC just kicks back and enjoys life.
Basic: Everyone in town becomes Friendly. (DM: roleplay this! Like, when the party meets an NPC, have the NPC greet the party PC first, slap him on the back, offer to buy a drink, etc.). PC must pay 100 gp if he has that much; otherwise, not. PC gains 100 xp, or 200 if chaotic. Make a DC 15 Cha check. If the PC succeeds, he now has a casual girlfriend or boyfriend. (If he succeeds by five or more, he has a couple of them.)
Double: As above, but PC must pay 300 gp. PC gets +2 on the Cha check. Make a DC 15 Wisdom check. If it fails, PC is part of a famous party that leads to property damage; pay another 200 gp (this amount must be paid). PC becomes mildly notorious. NPCs as far away as Magnimar may have heard of him, and he may get +2 or -2 on reaction rolls depending on how that NPC feels about wild parties and slacking.
Patrol: Although the goblins have been soundly defeated, they were but one of the numerous tribes in the Sandpoint region. A PC who decides to spend his time patrolling gets into regular skirmishes with small groups of goblins and other minor monsters. There’s no need to play out these combats — you can assume that the PC in question survives each with little more than a few bumps and cuts.
Basic: PC gains 200 gp and 500 xp and becomes familiar with the region around Sandpoint. Shalelu the ranger becomes Helpful and all other martial NPCs become Friendly.
Double: As above, but PC gains 400 gp and 1,000 xp. PC can attempt to start a romance with Shalelu (DC 15 Charisma check; failure means you're still friends).
Practice Magic: The PC practices spellcasting. (Must be a spellcaster, of course.)
Basic: PC gains 300 xp.
Double: Make a DC 20 check against your spellcasting stat. Failure means you gain 500 xp. Success means you make a breakthrough and gain a magical trait.
Reconstruction: The PC spends his time helping repair the damage done to Sandpoint -- rebuilding the houses and shops that the goblins built, tending to widows and orphans, etc.
Basic: The PC comes across a forgotten magic item of his choice, worth up to 2,500 gp.
Double: Same, and the PC also gains Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering) as a class skill.
Research (historical): The PC spends the year investigating inscriptions in Thistletop and the Runewell, learning the history of Sandpoint, and interviewing its inhabitants.
Basic: The PC learns a great deal about the recent events. Feel free to fill the player in on any aspect of the backstory of “Burnt Offerings” he may have missed while playing the adventure. He gains a +2 circumstance bonus in the future whenever he makes a skill check to uncover additional bits of lore concerning backstory to the Adventure Path.
Double: As above, and if nobody has picked the Reconstruction option the PC finds the 2500 gp magic item.
Research (magical): The PC spends the year in magical research. (Must be a wizard, magus, or alchemist.)
Basic: The PC can add three levels of spells to his spellbook or formulae list, and gains 200 xp.
Double: The PC can add six levels of spells to his spellbook or formulae list, and gains 500 xp.
Romance: The PC can choose an NPC on which to focus his romantic attention. Alternately, he can just say he's looking for a serious relationship. (Note that casual sex is covered under "Party/Relax", above.)
Basic: Make a DC 10 Charisma check. Success means the PC has a serious relationship. Failure means the NPC is Helpful but just friends; failure by 5 or more means the NPC is Unfriendly. (Either way, all good-aligned NPCs in town become sympathetic and Friendly to the PC, as long as the PC is nonevil.)
Double: DC of the check drops to 5. If successful, the character’s romantic interest can be treated as a cohort for the PC, although s/he should remain under GM control. Failure means the PC's heart is broken; the PC must make a DC 15 Will save each morning or suffer depression (treat as Fatigued). This effect will continue until 3 days into the next major adventure, at which point the threat of constant death will provide a welcome distraction. PC adds 1 point to his Wisdom score.
Skills practice: The PC picks a single skill and decides to hone it by relentless practice.
Basic: PC gains a +1 trait bonus on the skill. If the PC already has a trait bonus, this has no effect; give the PC 200 xp instead.
Double: PC gains a +2 trait bonus. If the PC already has a trait bonus, the PC instead gains a +4 circumstance bonus to that skill while in Sandpoint only, and 300 xp.
Travel: The PC travels away from Sandpoint. It is assumed that the PC pays his way by acting as a caravan guard or something similar, so this costs no money.
Basic: The PC is exposed to all manner of customs and sights. He can pick a single skill in which he already possesses at least one rank; he gains a +1 circumstance bonus to that skill check from now on.
Double: As above, plus the PC gains 500 xp. The PC can take Knowledge (history) or Knowledge (geography) as a class skill, or learn a single new language.