Delving into the ancient Tomb of Horrors, slipping through back alleys, hacking a fresh trail through the thick jungles—these are the things that adventures are made of. Your character might explore forgotten ruins and uncharted lands, uncover dark secrets and sinister plots, and slay foul creatures. And if all goes well, your character will survive to claim rich rewards before embarking on a new adventure.

Table of contents


This section covers the basics of the adventuring life, from the mechanics of movement to the complexities of social interaction. The rules for resting are also in this section, along with a discussion of the activities your character might pursue between adventures.

Whether adventurers are exploring a dusty dungeon or the complex relationships of a royal court, the game follows a natural rhythm, as outlined in the book’s introduction:

  1. The GM describes the environment.
  2. The players describe what they want to do.
  3. The GM narrates the results of their actions.

Typically, the GM uses a map as an outline of the adventure, tracking the characters’ progress as they explore dungeon corridors or wilderness regions. The GM’s notes, including a key to the map, describe what the adventurers find as they enter each new area. Sometimes, the passage of time and the adventurers’ actions determine what happens, so the GM might use a timeline or a flowchart to track their progress instead of a map.


In situations where keeping track of the passage of time is important, the GM determines the time a task requires. The GM might use a different time scale depending on the context of the situation at hand. In a dungeon environment, the adventurers’ movement happens on a scale of minutes. It takes them about a minute to creep down a long hallway, another minute to check for traps on the door at the end of the hall, and a good ten minutes to search the chamber beyond for anything interesting or valuable.

In a city or wilderness, a scale of hours is often more appropriate. Adventurers eager to reach the lonely tower at the heart of the forest hurry across those 25 kilometers in just under four hours’ time.

For long journeys, a scale of days works best. Following a road from one city to another, the adventurers spend four uneventful days before a goblin ambush interrupts their journey.

In combat and other fast-paced situations, the game relies on rounds, a 6-second span of time described in the Combat section.


Swimming across a rushing river, sneaking down a dungeon corridor, scaling a treacherous mountain slope—all sorts of movement play a key role in fantasy gaming adventures.

The GM can summarize the adventurers’ movement without calculating exact distances or travel times: “You travel through the forest and find the dungeon entrance late in the evening of the third day.” Even in a dungeon, particularly a large dungeon or a cave network, the GM can summarize movement between encounters: “After killing the guardian at the entrance to the ancient dwarven stronghold, you consult your map, which leads you through echoing corridors to a chasm bridged by a narrow stone arch.”

Sometimes it’s important, though, to know how long it takes to get from one spot to another, whether the answer is in days, hours, or minutes. The rules for determining travel time depend on two factors: the speed and travel pace of the creatures moving and the terrain they’re moving over.


Every character and creature has a speed, which is the distance that the character or creature can walk in 1 round. This number assumes short bursts of energetic movement in the midst of a life-threatening situation. The following rules determine how far a character or creature can move in a minute, an hour, or a day.

Travel pace

While traveling, a group of adventurers can move at a normal, fast, or slow pace, as shown on the Travel Pace table. The table states how far the party can move in a period of time and whether the pace has any effect. A fast pace makes characters less perceptive, while a slow pace makes it possible to sneak around and to search an area more carefully.

Forced March. The Travel Pace table assumes that characters travel for 8 hours in a day. They can push on beyond that limit, at the risk of becoming exhausted.

For each additional hour of travel beyond 8 hours, the characters cover the distance shown in the Hour column for their pace, and each character must make a Fortitude saving throw at the end of the hour. The Difficulty is 10 + 1 for each hour past 8 hours. On a failed saving throw, a character becomes exhausted 1.

Mounts and Vehicles. For short spans of time (up to an hour), many animals move much faster than humanoids. A mounted character can ride at a gallop for about an hour, covering twice the usual distance for a fast pace. If fresh mounts are available every 15 kilometers, characters can cover larger distances at this pace, but this is very rare except in densely populated areas.

Characters in wagons, carriages, or other land vehicles choose a pace as normal. Characters in a waterborne vessel are limited to the speed of the vessel, and they don’t suffer penalties for a fast pace or gain benefits from a slow pace. Depending on the vessel and the size of the crew, ships might be able to travel for up to 24 hours per day.

Certain special mounts, such as a pegasus or griffon, or special vehicles, such as a carpet of flying, allow you to travel more swiftly.

Travel pace
PaceDistance per minuteDistance per hourDistance per dayEffect
Fast150 meters9 kilometers75 kilometers−4 penalty to passive Perception
Normal100 meters6 kilometers50 kilometers
Slow50 meters4 kilometers30 kilometersAble to use stealth

Difficult terrain

The travel speeds given in the Travel Pace table assume relatively simple terrain: roads, open plains, or clear dungeon corridors. But adventurers often face dense forests, deep swamps, rubble-filled ruins, steep mountains, and ice-covered ground—all considered difficult terrain.

You move at half speed in difficult terrain—moving 1 meter in difficult terrain costs 2 meters of speed—so you can cover only half the normal distance in a minute, an hour, or a day.

Special types of movement

Movement through dangerous dungeons or wilderness areas often involves more than simply walking. Adventurers might have to climb, crawl, swim, or jump to get where they need to go.

Climbing, swimming, and crawling

The rules for climbing, jumping, and swimming are covered in Athletics in the Skills section.

Activity while traveling

As adventurers travel through a dungeon or the wilderness, they need to remain alert for danger, and some characters might perform other tasks to help the group’s journey.

Marching order

The adventurers should establish a marching order. A marching order makes it easier to determine which characters are affected by traps, which ones can spot hidden enemies, and which ones are the closest to those enemies when a fight breaks out.

A character might occupy the front rank, one or more middle ranks, or the back rank. Characters in the front and back ranks need enough room to travel side by side with others in their rank. When space is too tight, the marching order must change, usually by moving characters to a middle rank.

Fewer Than Three Ranks. If an adventuring party arranges its marching order with only two ranks, they are a front rank and a back rank. If there’s only one rank, it’s considered a front rank.


While traveling at a slow pace, the characters can move stealthily. As long as they’re not in the open, they can try to ambush or sneak by other creatures they encounter. See the rules for hiding in the Skills section.

Noticing threats

Use the passive Perception of the characters to determine whether anyone in the group notices a hidden threat. The GM might decide that a threat can be noticed only by characters in a particular rank. For example, as the characters are exploring a maze of tunnels, the GM might decide that only those characters in the back rank have a chance to hear or spot a stealthy creature following the group, while characters in the front and middle ranks cannot.

While traveling at a fast pace, characters take a −4 penalty to their passive Perception to notice hidden threats.

Encountering Creatures. If the GM determines that the adventurers encounter other creatures while they’re traveling, it’s up to both groups to decide what happens next. Either group might decide to attack, initiate a conversation, run away, or wait to see what the other group does.

Other activities

Characters who turn their attention to other tasks as the group travels are not focused on watching for danger. These characters don’t contribute their passive Perception to the group’s chance of noticing hidden threats. However, a character not watching for danger can do one of the following activities instead, or some other activity with the GM’s permission.

Navigate. The character can try to prevent the group from becoming lost, making a Wilderness check when the GM calls for it.

Draw a Map. The character can draw a map that records the group’s progress and helps the characters get back on course if they get lost. No skill check is required.

Track. A character can follow the tracks of another creature, making a Wilderness check when the GM calls for it.

Forage. The character can keep an eye out for ready sources of food and water, making a Wilderness check when the GM calls for it.

The environment

By its nature, adventuring involves delving into places that are dark, dangerous, and full of mysteries to be explored. The rules in this section cover some of the most important ways in which adventurers interact with the environment in such places.


A fall from a great height is one of the most common hazards facing an adventurer. At the end of a fall, a creature takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 2 meters it fell, to a maximum of 100d6. The creature lands prone, unless it avoids taking damage from the fall.

A creature falls 200 meters each turn.

You can use Nimbleness to Grab edge as a reaction to avoid falls or Nimbleness to Soften fall as a reaction to reduce the damage from some falls. If you fall into water, snow, or another soft substance, calculate the damage from the fall as though it were 4 meters shorter. The effective reduction can’t be greater than the depth of the water (so when falling into water that is only 2 meters deep, you treat the fall as 2 meters shorter).

Falling on a creature

If you land on a creature, that creature must attempt a Difficulty 15 Reflex save. On a success, it takes bludgeoning damage equal to one-quarter the falling damage you took, on a failure it takes bludgeoning damage equal to half the falling damage you took.

Falling objects

A dropped object takes damage just like a falling creature. If it lands on a creature, that creature can attempt a Reflex save using the same rules as a creature falling on a creature. Hazards and spells that involve falling objects, have their own rules about how they interact with creatures and the damage they deal.


A creature can hold its breath for a number of rounds equal to 20 + its Constitution × 2. If a character uses an action, the remaining duration that the character can hold their breath is reduced by 1 round. A creature that is caught unaware by the suffocation or does not prepare to hold its breath can hold its breath for a number of rounds equal to its Constitution × 2.

When a creature runs out of breath or is choking, it must make a Difficulty 10 Constitution check at the start of each of its turns in order to continue holding its breath. The difficulty increases by +1 for each previous success. On a failure, it drops to 0 health and is dying, and it can’t regain health or be stabilized until it can breathe again.

Vision and light

The most fundamental tasks of adventuring—noticing danger, finding hidden objects, hitting an enemy in combat, and targeting a spell, to name just a few—rely heavily on a character’s ability to see. Darkness and other effects that obscure vision can prove a significant hindrance.

A given area might be lightly or heavily obscured. In a lightly obscured area—such as dim light, patchy fog, or moderate foliage—creatures have disadvantage on Perception checks that rely on sight.

A heavily obscured area—such as darkness, opaque fog, or dense foliage—blocks vision entirely. A creature effectively suffers from the blinded condition when trying to see something in that area.

The presence or absence of light in an environment creates three categories of illumination: bright light, dim light, and darkness.

Bright light lets most creatures see normally. Even gloomy days provide bright light, as do torches, lanterns, fires, and other sources of illumination within a specific radius.

Dim light, also called shadows, creates a lightly obscured area. An area of dim light is usually a boundary between a source of bright light, such as a torch, and surrounding darkness. The soft light of twilight and dawn also counts as dim light. A particularly brilliant full moon might bathe the land in dim light.

Darkness creates a heavily obscured area. Characters face darkness outdoors at night (even most moonlit nights), within the confines of an unlit dungeon or a subterranean vault, or in an area of magical darkness.

Low-light vision

A creature with low-light vision can perceive twice as far in dim light and dim light doesn’t impose disadvantage on its Perception checks.


A creature with blindsight can perceive its surroundings without relying on sight, within a specific radius. Creatures without eyes, such as oozes, and creatures with echolocation or heightened senses, such as bats and true dragons, have this sense.


Many creatures in fantasy gaming worlds, especially those that dwell underground, have darkvision. Within a specified range, a creature with darkvision can see in darkness as if the darkness were dim light, so areas of darkness are only lightly obscured as far as that creature is concerned. However, the creature can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.


A creature with truesight can, out to a specific range, see in normal and magical darkness, see invisible creatures and objects, automatically detect visual illusions and succeed on saving throws against them, and perceives the original form of a shapechanger or a creature that is transformed by magic. Furthermore, the creature can see into the Ethereal Plane.


To generate weather, I recommend using a service such as weather underground based on a specific city. For example if my campaign takes places in a coastal area that is often cloudy then I could use the historical weather for San Francisco and change the day as your campaign days change. If your group moves to a new area, you can choose a new city to get data from.

Extreme cold

Whenever the temperature is at or below −20 degrees Celsius, a creature exposed to the cold must succeed on a Difficulty 10 Fortitude saving throw at the end of each hour or become exhausted 1. Creatures with resistance or immunity to cold damage automatically succeed on the saving throw, as do creatures wearing cold weather gear (thick coats, gloves, and the like) and creatures naturally adapted to cold climates.

Extreme heat

When the temperature is at or above 40 degrees Celsius, a creature exposed to the heat must succeed on a Fortitude saving throw at the end of each hour or become exhausted 1. The Difficulty is 5 for the first hour and increases by 1 for each additional hour. Creatures wearing Chain, Scale, or Plate, or who are clad in heavy clothing, have disadvantage on the saving throw. Creatures with resistance or immunity to fire damage automatically succeed on the saving throw, as do creatures naturally adapted to hot climates.

Strong wind

A strong wind (at least 30 kilometers per hour) imposes disadvantage on ranged weapon attacks and Perception checks that rely on hearing. A strong wind also extinguishes open flames, disperses fog, and makes flying by nonmagical means nearly impossible. A flying creature in a strong wind must land at the end of its turn or fall. A strong wind in a desert can create a sandstorm that imposes disadvantage on Perception checks that rely on sight.

Heavy clouds

The sky is blocked. Outdoor light does not count as sunlight (for the purposes of sunlight sensitivity and similar traits). skill checks that would normally rely on the sun or stars like Wilderness are made with disadvantage.

Heavy precipitation

Everything within an area of heavy rain or heavy snowfall is lightly obscured, and creatures in the area have disadvantage on Perception checks that rely on sight. Heavy precipitation extinguishes open flames, imposes disadvantage on Perception checks that rely on hearing, and creatures and objects that are exposed to heavy precipitation to the point that they are soaked have resistance to fire damage.

High altitude

Traveling at altitudes of 3 kilometers or higher above sea level is taxing for a creature that needs to breathe, because of the reduced amount of oxygen in the air. Each hour such a creature spends traveling at high altitude counts as 2 hours for the purpose of determining how long that creature can travel.

Breathing creatures can become acclimated to a high altitude by spending 30 days or more at this elevation. Breathing creatures can’t become acclimated to elevations above 6 kilometers unless they are native to such environments.

Wilderness hazards

This section describes a few examples of hazards that adventurers might encounter in the wilderness. Some hazards, such as slippery ice and razorvine, require no skill check to spot. Others, such as defiled ground, are undetectable by normal senses.

The other hazards presented here can be identified with a successful Wilderness check.

Desecrated ground

Some cemeteries and catacombs are imbued with the unseen traces of ancient evil. An area of desecrated ground can be any size, and a detect evil and good spell cast within range reveals its presence.

Undead standing on desecrated ground have advantage on all saving throws.

A vial of holy water purifies a 2-meter-radius area of desecrated ground when sprinkled on it, and a hallow spell purifies desecrated ground within its area.

Frigid water

A creature can be immersed in frigid water for a number of minutes equal to its 10 + twice its Constitution before suffering any ill effects. Each additional minute spent in frigid water requires the creature to succeed on a Difficulty 10 Fortitude saving throw or become exhausted 1. Creatures with resistance or immunity to cold damage automatically succeed on the saving throw, as do creatures that are naturally adapted to living in ice-cold water.


A quicksand pit covers the ground in roughly a 2-meter-radius area and is usually 2 meters deep. When a creature enters the area, it sinks 3d6 × 10 centimeters into the quicksand and becomes restrained. At the start of each of the creature’s turns, it sinks another 3d6 × 10 centimeters. As long as the creature isn’t completely submerged in quicksand, it can escape by using an action and succeeding on a Strength check. The Difficulty is 10 plus 1 for every 30 centimeters the creature has sunk into the quicksand. A creature that is completely submerged in quicksand can’t breathe (see the suffocation rules above). A creature can pull another creature within its reach out of a quicksand pit by using an action and succeeding on a Strength check. The Difficulty is 5 plus 1 for every 30 centimeters the target creature has sunk into the quicksand.


Razorvine is a plant that grows in wild tangles and hedges. It also clings to the sides of buildings and other surfaces as ivy does. A 2-meter-high, 2-meter-wide, 1-meter-thick wall or hedge of razorvine has 11 Defense, 25 Health, and immunity to bludgeoning, piercing, and psychic damage. When a creature comes into direct contact with razorvine for the first time on a turn, the creature must succeed on a Difficulty 10 Reflex saving throw or take 5 (1d10) slashing damage from the razorvine’s bladelike thorns.

Slippery ice

Slippery ice is difficult terrain. When a creature moves onto slippery ice for the first time on a turn, it must succeed on a Difficulty 10 Nimbleness check or fall prone.

Thin ice

Thin ice has a weight tolerance of 3d10 × 5 kilos per 2-meter-square area. Whenever the total weight on an area of thin ice exceeds its tolerance, the ice in that area breaks. All creatures on broken ice fall through.


Characters can gather food and water using the Wilderness skill.

Food and water

Characters who don’t eat or drink suffer the effects of being exhausted. Being exhausted due to lack of food or water can’t be removed until the character eats and drinks the full required amount.


A Medium character needs half a kilo of food per day. A Small character needs half as much food. A character can make food last longer by subsisting on half rations. Eating 250 grams of food in a day counts as half a day without food.

A character can go without food for a number of days equal to 3 + their Constitution. At the end of each day beyond that limit, a character automatically becomes exhausted 1.

A normal day of eating resets the count of days without food to zero.


A character needs three liters of water per day, or four liters per day if they don’t consume an adequate amount of food which contains liquid. A character needs twice as much water if the weather is hot. A Small character needs half as much water. If a character A character who drinks only half that much water must succeed on a Difficulty 15 Fortitude saving throw at mid day and at the end of the day or become exhausted 1. A character with access to even less water automatically becomes exhausted 1 at mid day and at the end of the day.

Interacting with objects

A character’s interaction with objects in an environment is often simple to resolve in the game. The player tells the GM that their character is doing something, such as moving a lever, and the GM describes what, if anything, happens.

For example, a character might decide to pull a lever, which might, in turn, raise a portcullis, cause a room to flood with water, or open a secret door in a nearby wall. If the lever is rusted in position, though, a character might need to force it. In such a situation, the GM might call for a Strength check to see whether the character can wrench the lever into place. The GM sets the Difficulty for any such check based on the difficulty of the task.

Characters can also damage objects with their weapons and spells. Objects are immune to poison and psychic damage, but otherwise they can be affected by physical and magical attacks much like creatures can. The GM determines an object’s Defense and health, and might decide that certain objects have resistance or immunity to certain kinds of attacks. (It’s hard to cut a rope with a club, for example.) Objects always fail Reflex saving throws, and they are immune to effects that require other saves. When an object drops to 0 health, it breaks.

A character can also attempt a Strength check to break an object. The GM sets the Difficulty for any such check.

Social interaction

Exploring dungeons, overcoming obstacles, and slaying creatures are key parts of D&D adventures. No less important, though, are the social interactions that adventurers have with other inhabitants of the world.

Interaction takes on many forms. You might need to convince an unscrupulous thief to confess to some malfeasance, or you might try to flatter a dragon so that it will spare your life. The GM assumes the roles of any characters who are participating in the interaction that don’t belong to another player at the table. Any such character is called a nonplayer character (NPC).

In general terms, an NPC’s attitude toward you is described as friendly, indifferent, or hostile. Friendly NPCs are predisposed to help you, and hostile ones are inclined to get in your way. It’s easier to get what you want from a friendly NPC, of course.

Social interactions have two primary aspects: roleplaying and ability checks.


Roleplaying is, literally, the act of playing out a role. In this case, it’s you as a player determining how your character thinks, acts, and talks.

Roleplaying is a part of every aspect of the game, and it comes to the fore during social interactions. Your character’s quirks, mannerisms, and personality influence how interactions resolve.

There are two styles you can use when roleplaying your character: the descriptive approach and the active approach. Most players use a combination of the two styles. Use whichever mix of the two works best for you.

Descriptive approach to roleplaying

With this approach, you describe your character’s words and actions to the GM and the other players. Drawing on your mental image of your character, you tell everyone what your character does and how they do it.

For instance, Chris plays Tordek the dwarf. Tordek has a quick temper and blames the elves of the Cloakwood for his family’s misfortune. At a tavern, an obnoxious elf minstrel sits at Tordek’s table and tries to strike up a conversation with the dwarf.

Chris says, “Tordek spits on the floor, growls an insult at the bard, and stomps over to the bar. He sits on a stool and glares at the minstrel before ordering another drink.”

In this example, Chris has conveyed Tordek’s mood and given the GM a clear idea of his character’s attitude and actions.

When using descriptive roleplaying, keep the following things in mind:

  • Describe your character’s emotions and attitude.
  • Focus on your character’s intent and how others might perceive it.
  • Provide as much embellishment as you feel comfortable with.

Don’t worry about getting things exactly right. Just focus on thinking about what your character would do and describing what you see in your mind

Active approach to roleplaying

If descriptive roleplaying tells your GM and your fellow players what your character thinks and does, active roleplaying shows them.

When you use active roleplaying, you speak with your character’s voice, like an actor taking on a role. You might even echo your character’s movements and body language. This approach is more immersive than descriptive roleplaying, though you still need to describe things that can’t be reasonably acted out.

Going back to the example of Chris roleplaying Tordek above, here’s how the scene might play out if Chris used active roleplaying:

Speaking as Tordek, Chris says in a gruff, deep voice, “I was wondering why it suddenly smelled awful in here. If I wanted to hear anything out of you, I’d snap your arm and enjoy your screams.” In his normal voice, Chris then adds, “I get up, glare at the elf, and head to the bar.”

Results of roleplaying

The GM uses your character’s actions and attitudes to determine how an NPC reacts. A cowardly NPC buckles under threats of violence. A stubborn dwarf refuses to let anyone badger them. A vain dragon laps up flattery.

When interacting with an NPC, pay close attention to the GM’s portrayal of the NPC’s mood, dialogue, and personality. You might be able to determine an NPC’s personality traits, ideals, flaws, and bonds, then play on them to influence the NPC’s attitude.

Interactions in D&D are much like interactions in real life. If you can offer NPCs something they want, threaten them with something they fear, or play on their sympathies and goals, you can use words to get almost anything you want. On the other hand, if you insult a proud warrior or speak ill of a noble’s allies, your efforts to convince or deceive will fall short.

Skill checks

In addition to roleplaying, skill checks are key in determining the outcome of an interaction.

Your roleplaying efforts can alter an NPC’s attitude, but there might still be an element of chance in the situation. For example, your GM can call for a Charisma check at any point during an interaction if they want the dice to play a role in determining an NPC’s reactions. Other checks might be appropriate in certain situations, at your GM’s discretion.

Pay attention to your skill aptitudes when thinking of how you want to interact with an NPC, and stack the deck in your favor by using an approach that relies on your best bonuses and skills. If the group needs to trick a guard into letting them into a castle, the rogue who is capable or proficient with Deception is the best bet to lead the discussion. When negotiating for a hostage’s release, the acolyte who is capable or proficient with Persuasion should do most of the talking.


Heroic though they might be, adventurers can’t spend every hour of the day in the thick of exploration, social interaction, and combat. They need rest—time to sleep and eat, tend their wounds, refresh their minds and spirits for spellcasting, and brace themselves for further adventure.

Adventurers can take short rests in the midst of an adventuring day and a long rest to end the day.

Short rest

A short rest is a period of downtime, at least 15 minutes long, during which a character does nothing more strenuous than eating, drinking, reading, and tending to wounds.

At the end of a short rest a character regains Health Dice equal to ¼ its level (minimum of one die) and can spend one or more Health Dice, up to the character’s maximum number of Health Dice, which is equal to the character’s level. For each Health Die spent in this way, the player rolls the die and adds the character’s Constitution to it. The character regains Health equal to the total. The player can decide to spend an additional Health Die after each roll. A character can’t benefit from a short rest more than once every four hours, can’t benefit from more than two short rests before they take a long rest, and a character must have at least 1 health at the start of the rest to gain its benefits.

Long rest

A long rest is a period of extended downtime, at least 8 hours long, during which a character sleeps or performs light activity: reading, talking, eating, or standing watch for no more than 2 hours. If the rest is interrupted by a period of strenuous activity—at least 1 hour of walking, fighting, casting spells, or similar adventuring activity—the characters must begin the rest again to gain any benefit from it.

At the end of a long rest, a character regains all lost health dice. A character can spend one or more Health Dice before and after it regains its Health Dice. The player can decide to spend an additional Health Die after each roll.

A character can’t benefit from more than one long rest in a 24-hour period and a character must have at least 1 health at the start of the rest to gain its benefits.

Sleeping in armor

Sleeping in heavier armor makes it difficult to recover fully during a long rest. When you finish a long rest during which you slept in chain, scale, or plate armor, you regain only half of your spent Health Dice (minimum of one die). If you are exhausted, the rest doesn’t reduce your exhausted level.

Going without a long rest

A long rest is never mandatory, but going without sleep does have its consequences. Every 8 hours that you haven’t had a long rest in the last 24-hour period, you must succeed on a Difficulty 10 Fortitude saving throw or become exhausted 1. It becomes harder to fight off becoming exhausted if you stay awake for a long period as the difficulty increases by 1 for each additional saving throw. The difficulty resets to 10 when you finish a long rest.

Between adventures

Between trips to dungeons and battles against ancient evils, adventurers need time to rest, recuperate, and prepare for their next adventure. Many adventurers also use this time to perform other tasks, such as crafting arms and armor, performing research, or spending their hard-earned gold.

In some cases, the passage of time is something that occurs with little fanfare or description. When starting a new adventure, the GM might simply declare that a certain amount of time has passed and allow you to describe in general terms what your character has been doing. At other times, the GM might want to keep track of just how much time is passing as events beyond your perception stay in motion.

Lifestyle expenses

Between adventures, you choose a particular quality of life and pay the cost of maintaining that lifestyle.

Living a particular lifestyle doesn’t have a huge effect on your character, but your lifestyle can affect the way other individuals and groups react to you. For example, when you lead an aristocratic lifestyle, it might be easier for you to influence the nobles of the city than if you live in poverty.

Downtime activities

Between adventures, the GM might ask you what your character is doing during their downtime. Periods of downtime can vary in duration, but each downtime activity requires a certain number of days to complete before you gain any benefit, and at least 8 hours of each day must be spent on the downtime activity for the day to count. The days do not need to be consecutive. If you have more than the minimum amount of days to spend, you can keep doing the same thing for a longer period of time, or switch to a new downtime activity.

Downtime activities other than the ones presented below are possible. If you want your character to spend their downtime performing an activity not covered here, discuss it with your GM.


You can craft nonmagical objects, including adventuring equipment and works of art. You must be capable with tools related to the object you are trying to create (typically artisan’s tools). You might also need access to special materials or locations necessary to create it. For example, someone capable with smith’s tools needs a forge in order to craft a sword or suit of armor.

For every day of downtime you spend crafting, you can craft one or more items with a total market value not exceeding 25 sp, and you must expend raw materials worth half the total market value. If something you want to craft has a market value greater than 25 sp, you make progress every day in 25-sp increments until you reach the market value of the item. For example, a suit of plate armor (market value 1,500 sp) takes 60 days to craft by yourself.

The total market value that you can craft increases by 25 when you reach 5th level (50), 9th level (75), 13th level (100), and 17th level (125).

Multiple characters can combine their efforts toward the crafting of a single item, provided that the characters all have capability with the requisite tools and are working together in the same place. Each character contributes their normal worth of effort for every day spent helping to craft the item. For example, three characters with the requisite capability and the proper facilities can craft a suit of plate armor in 20 days, at a total cost of 750 sp.

While crafting, you can maintain a modest lifestyle without having to pay 1 sp per day, or a comfortable lifestyle at half the normal cost.

Practicing a profession

You can work between adventures, allowing you to maintain a modest lifestyle without having to pay 1 sp per day. This benefit lasts as long you continue to practice your profession.

If you are a member of an organization that can provide gainful employment, such as a temple or a thieves’ guild, you earn enough to support a comfortable lifestyle instead.

If you have proficiency in the Performance skill and put your performance skill to use during your downtime, you earn enough to support a wealthy lifestyle instead.


You can use downtime between adventures to recover from a debilitating injury, disease, or poison.

If you spend at least 24 hours of downtime recuperating, you can make three difficulty 15 Fortitude saving throws which represents every 8 hours that you spent recuperating. If 2 of the 3 saving throws are successful, you can choose one of the following results:

  • End one effect on you that prevents you from regaining health.
  • For the next 24 hours, you have advantage on saving throws against one disease or poison currently affecting you.


The time between adventures is a great chance to perform research, gaining insight into mysteries that have unfurled over the course of the campaign. Research can include poring over dusty tomes and crumbling scrolls in a library or buying drinks for the locals to pry rumors and gossip from their lips.

When you begin your research, the GM determines whether the information is available, how many days of downtime it will take to find it, and whether there are any restrictions on your research (such as needing to seek out a specific individual, tome, or location). The GM should require you to make multiple skill checks, such as a Streetwise check to determine who to speak to, an Insight check to find clues pointing toward the information you seek, and a Persuasion check to secure someone’s aid. Once those conditions are met, you learn the information if it is available.

For each day of research, you must spend 1 sp to cover your expenses. This cost is in addition to your normal lifestyle expenses.


You can spend time between adventures learning a new language or training with a set of tools. Your GM might allow additional training options.

First, you must find an instructor willing to teach you. The GM determines how long it takes, and whether one or more skill checks are required.

The training lasts for 250 days and costs 1 sp per day. After you spend the requisite amount of time and money, you learn the new language.