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3rd Party Expansion on the Downtime Rules


Product Discussion


Really, has any of the 3rd party publishers done anything with those rules from Ultimate Campaign? I've been looking at them again, and they have the potential to be rather fun.

But I would like to see if anyone has done things like give us ways to use the rules with, say, such normally kingdom-level terrain improvements as mines and sawmills and quarries. How much capital would you get from any of those? Things like that.

And if they haven't been touched yet, would anyone else want to see something be done with them?

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

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Yes - Ultimate Factions plays around in this space and interfaces with both kingdom-building and also the other downtime elements in the book.


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As much as I like Ultimate Factions, I don't think it qualifies as doing much of anything with the Downtime rules. I see some limited pieces on integration, and that's about it. While I recognize that the Factions do somewhat fit "between" Downtime and Kingdom scales, I don't think enough use is made on the Downtime end to feel like it is really "bridging" the two ... it feels more like a Kingdom-scale expansion with some notes on Downtime-scale integration.

One thing that I think has been sorely lacking in the original and 3pp treatments is.. noble families. Extending the concept for other cultures, Clans as well as families. How would a Dwarf Clan be represented as a collection of Teams? An Elf Clan? A Noble House (Drow seem especially likely candidates for this one)? Even among the sample factions in Ultimate Factions, this seems like an obvious omission. Race-oriented Rooms or whole Buildings, as well as specialized Teams and Organizations, would help highlight differences among the races (but may be less appropriate for a world-neutral work).

Theme-specific Rooms:
Heroes of the Wild added some wilderness themed Rooms, Teams, and Buildings for both Downtime and Kingdom use, for example.

I was disappointed that the Noble class revised in Green Ronin's Freeport Companion for Pathfinder and re-revised in Freeport: City of Adventure for Pathfinder made no direct use of the Capital in the Downtime system. A Noble class that had enhanced abilities around generating or spending capital, coupled with abilities that enhanced the use of Contacts, would be interesting in an Urban-based campaign.

Green Ronin's Nobles Handbook:
The original 3.x version of Green Ronin's Noble class had an organization, a Noble Family, attached to it -- but that was ultimately disappointing as 1) each PC was the head of his/her own "Family" (regardless of how it was flavored, it was called a family), 2) advancement was due to the PC's advancing levels in the class, so 3) it was ultimately an unwieldy class feature like a bloated Animal Companion.

As for interfacing the Downtime and Kingdom rules.. I don't think they fit together well -- at least not directly.The Downtime rules are scaled differently than the Kingdom rules, so I don't think there can (or should) be direct matches for every building necessarily. The Farm does appear in both, but with prices and effects that are substantially different due to scales (a Kingdom Farm is probably more like 100-1,000 Downtime Farms "zoned" together). A Mine would be an investment on an industrial scale, and may have been considered unsuitable for a "Building" as it would likely be a complex of many Buildings (a smelter, an ore sorter, An Ore Grinder, someplace for run-off, water storage, living quarters, cooking and dining facilities, offices, tool storage, repair workshops, infirmary, and more). In addition, the Kingdom-level rules abstract and generalize mines.. the specifics required for a smaller Downtime-scaled Mine would be different based on what is produced from the mine -- a salt mine or a gem mine probably doesn't need a smelter, for example, but would probably need more specialized Teams than a metal mine.

Rise of the Runelords spoiler:
Notably, there is an abandoned Gold Mine described in Spires of Xin-Shalast which the PCs will need to explore in order to find their way. It might be a fun intellectual exercise to use that as the basis for a Downtime Gold Mine.


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If you're looking for a suggestion for a new product concept, how about this: Cost scaling in settlements.

What I mean is, there is a shortcut rule in the Pathfinder Core Rule Book for "Cost of Living". Basically, a monthly fee based on how lavish a lifestyle the PC chooses to live. But, that would probably be subject to some adjustments based on the city.

A very wealthy city (or city district) like, say, Absalom, might charge more for the Cost of Living to live a "Wealthy" lifestyle there.. it just costs much much more in some places.

At the same time, the noble district of such a city might not allow someone to choose a "Subsistence" level lifestyle.. that would only be available in the poor quarter.

In the 3.5-era guidebooks (Darkmoon Vale, Absalom, and Korvosa), prices for houses were given. Those prices seem more than a little out of line with the costs in the Downtime rules. Examples of housing in various settlement sizes (perhaps linked to the scaling of settlements in Ultimate Rulership) with examples of housing -- ranging from a simple cottage to a noble manor complete with staff -- might be of interest.


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Real life kicked me pretty hard for a while, so I've not been doing much on Ultimate Strongholds which Jason tells me he'll take a look at when it's further along. On the plus side, real life has just calmed down to the point where I can pick this back up again.

The elevator pitch for Ultimate Strongholds is: "Downtime rules expansion for all types of construction from Ultimate Campaign, cross-sub-system compatibility. Think Stronghold Builder's Guidebook from 3rd Edition, but for Ultimate Campaign."

There's some extras and nuance, but I'm hoping to cover what you're looking for, Eric.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ben Walklate wrote:

Real life kicked me pretty hard for a while, so I've not been doing much on Ultimate Strongholds which Jason tells me he'll take a look at when it's further along. On the plus side, real life has just calmed down to the point where I can pick this back up again.

The elevator pitch for Ultimate Strongholds is: "Downtime rules expansion for all types of construction from Ultimate Campaign, cross-sub-system compatibility. Think Stronghold Builder's Guidebook from 3rd Edition, but for Ultimate Campaign."

There's some extras and nuance, but I'm hoping to cover what you're looking for, Eric.

HERE! Take my money!


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Urath DM wrote:

If you're looking for a suggestion for a new product concept, how about this: Cost scaling in settlements.

What I mean is, there is a shortcut rule in the Pathfinder Core Rule Book for "Cost of Living". Basically, a monthly fee based on how lavish a lifestyle the PC chooses to live. But, that would probably be subject to some adjustments based on the city.

A very wealthy city (or city district) like, say, Absalom, might charge more for the Cost of Living to live a "Wealthy" lifestyle there.. it just costs much much more in some places.

At the same time, the noble district of such a city might not allow someone to choose a "Subsistence" level lifestyle.. that would only be available in the poor quarter.

In the 3.5-era guidebooks (Darkmoon Vale, Absalom, and Korvosa), prices for houses were given. Those prices seem more than a little out of line with the costs in the Downtime rules. Examples of housing in various settlement sizes (perhaps linked to the scaling of settlements in Ultimate Rulership) with examples of housing -- ranging from a simple cottage to a noble manor complete with staff -- might be of interest.

Bard's Gate from Frog God Games significantly expands the Cost of Living rules providing a better range of tiers. It also provides pricing on purchasing buildings. While it doesn't directly intersect with the Downtime rules, it was nice to see Cost of Living given greater granularity and detail. It also has Social Class mechanics that addresses mobility up and down the spectrum. Plus, it's just a great book!

Between Downtime, BG's Cost of Living & Social Class rules, & Ultimate Intrigue, gaming in settlements has never been better.

I am surprised that 3PPs (and Paizo for that matter) haven't done more with the Downtime system, though, and would welcome additional expansion of the system. Kingdom-building, while cool, has limited application in many campaigns. Downtime, on the other hand, can easily be used in just about ANY campaign.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Urath DM:

I also think it's a brilliant idea to leverage the Downtime system for nobles, noble families, & clans. I've never really been fond of the "free money"/noble stipend approach. Mechanics leveraging the Downtime system (which could also include hard currency) would be much more immersive and flavorful.


Some brainstorming

Hmm... so something like a "Capital Pool" for an organization like a Noble Family ... measuring their resources. Feats, Traits, or archetypes would allow "noble born" (N)PCs to draw on that -- maybe up to 10 gp worth per level each month, with additional Feats like "Extra Capital Pool Draw" to allow more (either amount, or frequency, but not both). There would need to be a stipulation that it cannot be simply sold, and must be spent as Capital to prevent it being abused as a "fountain of gold".

A conversion scheme between Wealth Points (in Ultimate Factions) and Capital would somewhat replace a dedicated "Capital Pool", but I like the Capital Pool better. A similar conversion for Build Points might provide the connection between Downtime and Kingdom rules Eric is looking for.

1 WP --> x Goods + y Influence + z Labor + w Magic + ? gp
1 BP --> 10x Goods + 10y Influence + 10z Labor + 10w Magic + 10? gp

Because they are "approximate" amounts, the balance of Goods, Labor, Influence, and Magic can be shifted, but no one type of Capital can make up more than a certain proportion of the result (say 30% for discussion, though I could see as much as 50%).

Perhaps an ability of a noble or noble house would be to allow them to select the mix of how a WP or BP breaks down into Capital, while most others are randomized.


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Ideas, ideas, he's giving me ideas...

Maybe something like a noble family being a micro-faction with holdings which generate downtime capital which can be up-and-down converted to and from WP.

I've already got my eye on "how much capital equals a BP and how much does +10 gp capital from a building mean as a bonus to kingdom Economy?"

This is getting complicated. But soooo much fun!


Ben Walklate wrote:
Ideas, ideas, he's giving me ideas...

That WAS the point, after all :)

Ben Walklate wrote:
Maybe something like a noble family being a micro-faction with holdings which generate downtime capital which can be up-and-down converted to and from WP.

The "Nobility" faction in the Kingdom is made up of a number of "Noble House" micro-factions. They may act together against a peasant uprising, but constantly vie with each other unless there's a strong opponent to unify them (Chaotic model)... or they act in harmony, dividing areas of expertise among themselves co-operatively (Lawful model). The Royal family may be "first among equals" or may be just the most effective at intrigue


We did touch a bit on it in Alternate Paths: Social Characters. Particularly how to use it to social advantage and services you can employ politically during downtime.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Urath DM wrote:
As for interfacing the Downtime and Kingdom rules.. I don't think they fit together well -- at least not directly.The Downtime rules are scaled differently than the Kingdom rules, so I don't think there can (or should) be direct matches for every building necessarily. The Farm does appear in both, but with prices and effects that are substantially different due to scales (a Kingdom Farm is probably more like 100-1,000 Downtime Farms "zoned" together). A Mine would be an investment on an industrial scale, and may have been considered unsuitable for a "Building" as it would likely be a complex of many Buildings (a smelter, an ore sorter, An Ore Grinder, someplace for run-off, water storage, living quarters, cooking and dining facilities, offices, tool storage, repair workshops, infirmary, and more). In addition, the Kingdom-level rules abstract and generalize mines.. the specifics required for a smaller Downtime-scaled Mine would be different based on what is produced from the mine -- a salt mine or a gem mine probably doesn't need a smelter, for example, but would probably need more specialized Teams than a metal mine.

I agree, but it's not only that these rules don't mesh well together. Unlike kingdom building, the downtime rules (generating capital) are a needlessly complex micromanagement system that only exist for its own sake. The way I understand it, the system leaves the WBL-expectations mostly intact, which is a good thing, but also makes investing in downtime activities a zero-sum game (why would an adventurer who generates the overwhelming part of their income via loot even bother?). I just don't see how it can be useful other than providing entertainment for those who enjoy micromanaging.


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My players love downtime and the rules. So do I. I don't consider it a zero-sum game either; ultimately, it depends on the treasure you give to the PCs and generating things that can be purchased only via downtime resources.

I get why some folks dislike it, but it's not necessarily just micromanagement. Just my 2 cents, of course!

(Oh and count em among the folks who really, really want downtime expansions...)


Ben Walklate wrote:

Real life kicked me pretty hard for a while, so I've not been doing much on Ultimate Strongholds which Jason tells me he'll take a look at when it's further along. On the plus side, real life has just calmed down to the point where I can pick this back up again.

The elevator pitch for Ultimate Strongholds is: "Downtime rules expansion for all types of construction from Ultimate Campaign, cross-sub-system compatibility. Think Stronghold Builder's Guidebook from 3rd Edition, but for Ultimate Campaign."

There's some extras and nuance, but I'm hoping to cover what you're looking for, Eric.

It sounds like it'll cover some of what I want. And good to hear that your life is settling back down.


And thanks to everyone who is providing advice/support for more development on the downtime rules. Here's hoping!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Amanuensis wrote:


I agree, but it's not only that these rules don't mesh well together. Unlike kingdom building, the downtime rules (generating capital) are a needlessly complex micromanagement system that only exist for its own sake. The way I understand it, the system leaves the WBL-expectations mostly intact, which is a good thing, but also makes investing in downtime activities a zero-sum game (why would an adventurer who generates the overwhelming part of their income via loot even bother?). I just don't see how it can be useful other than providing entertainment for those who enjoy micromanaging.

It depends on the group and the player. For people who like to flesh out their characters' lives other than being a sword-for-hire, it is a tool for showing those ambitions and interests.

Example: In a recent Rise of the Runelords game, I had a player whose character concept was problematic. Part of RotRL wants the PCs to be attached to the town of Sandpoint.. to want to help out of more than just monetary motivation. That player's decision to purchase Chopper's Isle became the hook for a side adventure there (from Wayfinder #7), and his decision to build a Dojo there gave him a reason to protect the town beyond "what'cha gonna' pay me?"

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Urath DM wrote:
Amanuensis wrote:


I agree, but it's not only that these rules don't mesh well together. Unlike kingdom building, the downtime rules (generating capital) are a needlessly complex micromanagement system that only exist for its own sake. The way I understand it, the system leaves the WBL-expectations mostly intact, which is a good thing, but also makes investing in downtime activities a zero-sum game (why would an adventurer who generates the overwhelming part of their income via loot even bother?). I just don't see how it can be useful other than providing entertainment for those who enjoy micromanaging.

It depends on the group and the player. For people who like to flesh out their characters' lives other than being a sword-for-hire, it is a tool for showing those ambitions and interests.

Example: In a recent Rise of the Runelords game, I had a player whose character concept was problematic. Part of RotRL wants the PCs to be attached to the town of Sandpoint.. to want to help out of more than just monetary motivation. That player's decision to purchase Chopper's Isle became the hook for a side adventure there (from Wayfinder #7), and his decision to build a Dojo there gave him a reason to protect the town beyond "what'cha gonna' pay me?"

But you don't need the downtime system for that. (And I'm saying that as somebody whose fondest RPG memories are related to a Planescape campaign that revolved around running an inn in Sigil). Micromanaging capital does not offer plot hooks or enable/faciliate story telling in the way that the kingdom building rules do (or the faction rules in Ultimate Faction). Sure, I can tell my players: 'you need x influence to sway the city council's vote in your favor', but that is a pretty lame way to handle an interesting social situation.

To reiterate my statement in a way that sounds less negative: I think a new product that builds on the downtime system should focus on enabling GM and players to tell stories which would be difficult or impossible to tell otherwise. To that purpose, the rules would need to move away from simulating a microeconomy.


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Amanuensis wrote:


To reiterate my statement in a way that sounds less negative: I think a new product that builds on the downtime system should focus on enabling GM and players to tell stories which would be difficult...

I suspect this comes down to being a perspective thing (glass half full vs. glass half empty)... I've never seen the rules as anything other than another springboard for creativity. To me, they are what you make of them.


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On another note... more brainstorming...

Feudalism may be an area to expand upon.

I am thinking of the Manorial system, specifically, in the form of a hex improvement with "tiers": Manor I, Manor II, and Manor III (or Minor Manor, Medium Manor, and Major Manor).

Taking some inspiration from Expeditious Retreat Press' "A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe", the Manorial holdings are a collection of small settlements scattered in an area around a central settlement where the local Lord/Lady has his/her Manor. That Manorial settlement acts as the hub for activity, often housing shared processing resources that the subjects must pay their taxes in order to use (the Lord/Lady has a monopoly on the facilities).

In game terms, the holding would be semi-independent. It would need to have a defense rating, as that's part of the purpose of the feudal structure to begin with. Being somewhat self-governed, it would be treated as a vassal in the Kingdom rules. The Viceroy would be the local Lord/Lady. Other kingdom roles might exist, but very few of them at the Manorial level.

A Minor Manor could host 1 additional Hex improvement (typically a farm, to keep itself more self-sufficient). Upgrading the Minor Manor to a Medium Manor would allow a second hex improvement, and upgrading to a Major Manor allows for a third. Some limitations on the allowed combinations would likely be required.

If the Manor is NOT treated as a separate vassal of some sort, and is instead considered part of the larger kingdom, it would need to increase the DC of rulership actions (increasingly capable Lord/Ladies feel own opinions matter more, or the like). Each hex improvement added, and the upgrades from Minor to Medium and Medium to Major, add +1 each to the DC (for a total of +5 in a fully-developed Manorial hex). A Manorial Hex can be converted to a Village-scale settlement (keeping in mind the size groupings of Ultimate Rulership).


Urath DM, your ideas for using feudalism sound pretty good to me.


Thanks, but as it is brainstorming at this point, I have not run any numbers to see if could actually WORK. :)


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Little Red Goblin Games wrote:
We did touch a bit on it in Alternate Paths: Social Characters. Particularly how to use it to social advantage and services you can employ politically during downtime.

Got this.

Good ideas.

Worth a look.


scary harpy wrote:
Little Red Goblin Games wrote:
We did touch a bit on it in Alternate Paths: Social Characters. Particularly how to use it to social advantage and services you can employ politically during downtime.

Got this.

Good ideas.

Worth a look.

*Thumbs up*

Glad you enjoyed it.

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