The downtime system is a middle ground between personal projects (like crafting a new set of armor) and large-scale tasks (like ruling a kingdom). These rules interface with both ends of that scale, and aren’t intended to completely replace them. In many cases, they might slightly contradict what is presented in the kingdom-building rules in Chapter 4. For example, the kingdom-building rules allow you to construct any type of building in 1 month, even a grand palace, which would take much longer using the downtime system. That is because the leader of a kingdom can spend build points to muster incredible amounts of resources and make things happen, far beyond what even a popular hero can do by spending gold and calling in favors. If your GM is using both the downtime system and the kingdom-building rules and there are conflicts over how to handle a situation, the GM decides which method is used, but should lean toward whichever rules seem most appropriate and efficient for the taskIf you aren’t using the downtime system to earn capital (and are instead awarded capital as a treasure reward, for example), or you want to purchase something quickly by spending gold pieces, remember to double the listed gp value to find the Purchased Cost of the item or service.
Think of purchasing capital as a stranger coming to town and throwing lots of money around to make things happen. It’s effective, but the locals are inclined to overcharge for their work and may resent the obvious display of wealth. Earning capital is a person working with the locals and trying to be a part of the community in order to get things done. It takes longer, but the locals give a fair price and appreciate the person’s honest dealings and lack of arrogance.
When you purchase or earn capital, you may either immediately apply it toward a downtime activity of your choice or save it for later (this is explained more over the rest of this chapter). As capital is an abstraction, the details of the work are up to you and the GM to decide— for roleplaying purposes, you should explain it however is most appropriate for your character and campaign.
Unskilled Work: You may spend 1 day working in a settlement to earn 5 sp. (Normally, an untrained laborer or assistant earns 1 sp per day, but the downtime system assumes your class abilities mean you are a cut above a typical unskilled laborer and are able to earn more from a day’s work.) Alternatively, you can choose to instead earn 1 point of Goods, Inf luence, Labor, or Magic. Neither approach requires any particular knowledge or skill check.
Example: Mark’s character is constructing a house, and he wants to acquire 1 point of Labor, which he plans to spend on the house’s construction requirements. He decides to use 1 day of downtime and pay 10 gp to earn the point of Labor, instead of paying 20 gp to purchase it outright. He immediately spends this 1 point of Labor on the construction requirements of the house. For roleplaying purposes, Mark states that he used the day to dig a foundation for his house, and spent the 10 gp on the tools and raw materials he needed to start the foundation.
Example: Laura’s character plans to build a blacksmith’s shop, and needs 1 point of Labor. She decides to use 1 day of downtime and pay 10 gp to earn the 1 point of Labor, but saves it for later use. Since construction work is out of character for him, Laura explains that her character spent the day making deliveries for a local mason, who in turn promised to help her build her blacksmith’s shop. The gold cost goes toward this future construction, but for ease of tracking, Laura pays for it now. She doesn’t have to keep track of this 1 point of Labor as “1 point of Labor from a mason,” since the exact nature of Labor matters only for roleplaying purposes. None of the downtime activities require specific kinds of labor.
Skilled Work: If you have ranks in a useful skill, you can spend 1 day working in a settlement to earn more capital than you would doing unskilled work. Note that this method includes both legal and illegal means of earning capital—for example, a day spent using Sleight of Hand to earn money could be a day spent performing as a street magician or a day spent pickpocketing.
Choose either one type of capital (Goods, Inf luence, Labor, or Magic) or gp, and attempt a skill check. You can take 10 on this check.
If you chose gp, divide the result of your check by 10 to determine how many gp you earn that day. For example, if your check result is a 16, dividing it by 10 earns you 1 gp and 6 sp that day (round to the nearest silver).
If you chose Goods, Inf luence, Labor, or Magic, consult the following table to see how much of that type of capital you earn. You must pay the Earned Cost to buy this capital, although if you can’t afford to buy all of it or don’t need more than a certain amount, you can choose to earn less capital than your check indicates. See Table 2–1: Capital Values for the Earned Cost of each type of capital.
* For every 10 points of your check result after 40, you earn an additional capital.
If you are using this option to earn Goods, Inf luence, Labor, or Magic, the skill you’re using must be suitable for earning the chosen type of capital; if the GM deems it is not, using that skill reduces the amount generated by half (minimum 1). For example, Perform might earn you Inf luence as a musician, but it’s not as useful for earning Labor. The GM should inform you of this before you attempt the skill check. In general, the appropriate skills for each type of capital are as follows.
Goods: Appraise, Bluff, Craft, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Knowledge (dungeoneering, engineering, geography, history, local, nature, nobility, religion), Profession, Sleight of Hand, Stealth.
Inf luence: Appraise, Bluff, Craft, Diplomacy, Handle Animal, Heal, Intimidate, Knowledge (any), Linguistics, Perform, Profession, Ride.
Labor: Bluff, Climb, Craft, Diplomacy, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Knowledge (local), Profession, Ride, Survival, Swim.
Magic: Appraise, Craft, Diplomacy, Heal, Knowledge (arcana, dungeoneering, nature, planes, religion), Linguistics, Profession, Spellcraft, Use Magic Device.
The value of a particular skill for a given type of capital can vary from settlement to settlement. For example, in a frontier settlement with a tradition of serious hard work, a day of humorous performances using Perform (comedy) might not earn you much capital, but inspirational public speeches about the city’s heroes using Knowledge (history) or Perform (oratory) could. The GM should tell you this before you attempt the skill check, or allow you to assess the inhabitants’ preferences with a successful DC 15 Knowledge (local) or Sense Motive check.
Class Abilities: You can use a class ability to provide a service in the settlement to earn capital. For example, a fighter could train a noble’s child in swordplay, a cleric could heal townsfolk, and so on. Choose either one type of capital (Goods, Inf luence, Labor, or Magic) or gp, and attempt a check (1d20 + your character level + your highest ability modifier – 5). You may take 10 on this check. Treat this check as your skill check result for using skilled work.
Using class abilities is less efficient than performing skilled work; this represents the fact that many classes’ abilities don’t have much direct benefit to a community. As with skilled work, the GM may rule that your abilities are unsuitable and reduce the amount earned by half.
Purchases: If you would rather spend gold than attempt checks to earn other types of capital, use the values listed in the Purchased Cost column of Table 2–1: Capital Values. Although you can’t sell capital, you can use it for its listed Purchased Cost as payment toward any applicable downtime activity that requires you to spend gp. For example, if you are brewing a potion, you can spend 1 point of Magic toward the cost of the materials needed to make the potion as if that point were equal to 100 gp.
Although you may have a lot of gp or other capital to throw around in a settlement, the settlement’s size limits how much you can accomplish per day (see Spending Limits on page 80).
Rewards: A GM using the downtime system might award you various types of capital as monster loot, adventure rewards, inheritance, or natural resources. For example, if your party defeats a gang of smugglers, your treasure for the final encounter could include 5 points of Goods in addition to conventional treasure. After freeing a group of peasants from a hobgoblin tribe, the GM might decide that the freed prisoners have no money to give you as a reward but instead promise you 3 points of Labor as thanks for saving them. Your character could inherit a ramshackle house from an old relative, which you can use
The Craft and Profession skills in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook allow you to attempt a skill check once per week, earning an amount of gp equal to 1/2 your check result. If you were to divide that amount by 7, you’d get your earnings per day. However, that assumes you work 7 days per week, and most people take 2 days off per week for rest and worship, so that’s only 5 days of actual work per week. Dividing your check result by 2 and then by 5 is the same as dividing by 10, which is why the downtime system has you divide your check result by 10 to determine gp earned per day. You can work 7 days per week (if you really need the 2 extra days for earning capital), but even mighty adventurers need a day off now and then!
79 as a base of operations or sell for gold. After clearing out a kobold warren, you might discover a vein of iron ore that (after an investment of Goods, Labor, and perhaps Inf luence) can generate gp or Goods for you on a monthly basis. Depending on the nature of the reward, the GM might decide that you don’t need to pay the Earned Cost to get capital acquired in this way.
These kinds of rewards are always decided by the GM. Keep in mind that a settlement’s government usually has jurisdiction over what happens to an abandoned property. For example, just because you kill all the cultists using a building as their secret lair doesn’t mean you can claim that building as your own.