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Homebrew Downtime Rules

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So while I think I like the intended seasonal flow of adventures in RQG, I wanted something a bit more specific in terms of how training, downtime, and so on are handled. This is what I came up with. It's somewhat rough (and I'll start rolling it out to players this upcoming session) so fair warning. My goal was to get something a bit more granular and ongoing than "Okay, adventure's over, let's narrate a few events then jump to end of season..." but not go so far as the bookkeeping of counting hours and estimating hours available for training and occupation and all that like I remember from RQ3.

A big part of devising this comes from my experience that most of my campaign's adventures last at least a week, and often several, largely due to travel time. If you're playing a much closer-to-home campaign, you may want to change some of the train/research week requirements.

On the attached sheet, record your adventurer's main activity each week. Your main activity is whatever you did the most (4 of 7) days. Mostly, this is for focusing on week-to-week activity, rather than day-to-day; but if you get back home on Clayday and go back to work that's an Occupation week, not an adventuring week. At the end of each season, record your main activity (at least 4 of 7 weeks). Common weekly activities include:

  • Occupation: you were focusing on your occupational or cult duties. If your seasonal activity isn't occupation, then you get -20% to your Income roll during Sacred Time. This stacks each season. If you get at least five weeks of Occupation within one season, you get occupational experience checks per standard RQG rules (this is 4 weeks/5 weeks difference is intentional).
    • Shamans and Rune Priests can use a Occupation week to teach a spirit magic spell.
    • Most of the time, for a shaman going into the spirit world, awakening their or an apprentice's fetch, and so on counts as Occupation. This includes spirit pilgrimages for taboos.
  • Adventure: you were gone adventuring.
  • Learning spirit magic: you spent time at the temple or with a shaman learning a new spirit magic spell.
  • Train/Research a skill: you were improving a skill. This costs as listed in RQG (though I may change that later) for training. Research is free, but may require access to suitable materials, and requires a successful experience roll. Training increases by 1D6-1 or +2, Research by 1D6-2 or +1. Time required for either method is five weeks. They may have one interlude, and the time between must be spent either doing Occupation or Adventure. If more interludes occur or the adventurer begins a different training, research, or learning a spell, they must begin the previous from the beginning.
    • No skill which may improve by experience can rise above 75% by training or research.
  • Train/Research a characteristic: you were improving a characteristic. This costs 500L for training (though that may change), and nothing for research. Research requires a gain roll, training is automatic. Under species average (for humans, 11), this takes 5 weeks; over, it takes 10. Same rules as skill improvement for time spent. Training gives 1D3, research gives 1D3-1. If the characteristic is 18 or higher, only gain 1 point. Can't train SIZ or INT.
    • You can't train POW as a weekly activity. Per RQG, donating 500L to a temple and spending one day per week in meditation gives a POW Gain roll at the end of the season. This still applies. You can POW Gain this way and continue any other weekly activity (provided you spend enough total days focused on that activity). Example: Yorick comes back from an adventure on Waterday. The next day, he goes back to work as an Entertainer. On Godday he goes into seclusion to meditation on his god, working toward his POW Gain roll. He spent two days adventuring (Freezeday, Waterday), four working as an Entertainer (Clayday, Windday, Fireday, Wildday), and one in POW Gain, so this week he marks Occupation on his sheet.
  • Attune a magic item: you were in seclusion and meditation attuning a magic crystal or other item. Usual attunement rules apply.
  • Crafting: you focused on crafting an item. This doesn't count toward Occupation, because the item is itself yours rather than nebulously part of your occupation.
  • Ritual Preparation: you were in seclusion and meditation ritually preparing for some magical activity.

Weeks spent in training or research can roll over between seasons. The improvement occurs whenever the time is done.

Adventurers who don't spend sufficient time doing Occupation may also face social penalties in addition to Income loss (reduced Passions, lower priority for healing/spell teaching, etc). An adventurer is more likely to draw the community's ire from endless self-improvement rather than from frequent adventuring.

The characteristic improvement rules are slightly changed from RQG's default. I wanted it to be easier for my players to reach at least average characteristics if they chose, and I disliked that you could drop 500L (an enormous amount of money in RQG--a year's income for eight free households!!) and get no improvement. On the time differences, I wanted it to be easier for adventurers to reach at least average because (especially in some characteristics, like CON) low scores can be devastating.

The five-week benchmark comes from RQG's note that you take penalties if you spend more than three weeks adventuring. I can see adding an increased time increment to skill training for higher percentages, but I figured the 75% ceiling already in RQG was sufficient.

If I wanted to make this more granular, I'd change the number of weeks required for skill improvement, based on skill brackets of 01-25, 26-50, 51-75, and 76-00. I may also change the percentage gains for research & experience. I imagine it's a huge feel-bad if you've got 85%+ in a Lore skill, finally make your research experience roll, only to actually lose percentage.

Anyway, that's what I've got for the moment. I hope it's interesting or useful.

Downtime Renewed.doc

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It’s quite good. There are things that don’t convince me, but this will be the base for my own house rules. Thanks a lot!

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I'd add a few things like Farming, Family Business, Working for the Clan, Fyrd duty, and so on ; to put less of a focus on the more obvious character stat & skill improvement stuff.

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2 hours ago, Julian Lord said:

I'd add a few things like Farming, Family Business, Working for the Clan, Fyrd duty, and so on ; to put less of a focus on the more obvious character stat & skill improvement stuff.

In my mind, that's all "Occupation." It's doing whatever you're supposed to do. When you're training, that's stuff that's permissible, but possibly comes at the cost of neglecting duties.

Though you're correct, the frame I'm mostly working through is defining things in player terms, rather than world terms. On the game/simulation spectrum my players and general gaming milieu runs more toward game end. They tend to be more driven by "get the level-up" type of motivations than story-motivations (though it's hardly exclusive), and that is reflected in the Downtime rules.

18 hours ago, Rojo said:

It’s quite good. There are things that don’t convince me, but this will be the base for my own house rules. Thanks a lot!

Please feel free to use as you see fit! That's why I shared--I hoped it could provide a starting point for others. How do you anticipate customizing the rules?

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I agree that it's weird when the game casually talks about 500L to get a POW gain roll, when that's an enormous amount of money (this is a full flock of cows, for crying out loud!). This feels like some leftover from an earlier edition (even though I'm not sure that it is).

Also, how the heck can it cost 250L to train a professional skill at a fairly high level for a season (or even more crazy, 500L for a stat - and why would teh stat cost more in the first place when what you're paying for is the teacher's time), when a reasonably skilled individual may make something like 60-160L per year working full-time? Just regular laws of supply and demand should mean that you could get away far more cheaply than this. It feels old-fashioned and very "gamey", introducing play balance through exorbitant and unreasonable costs. 

Let's think of it this way instead: a weapons trainer with, say, 80% in the weapons skill, might teach an intermediary class of maybe half a dozen students, with some additional personal instruction for each, taking up full time everything counted. Perhaps he has a poorly paid junior assistant, as well as some side costs. Even just taking in 10L per student per season (300L yearly) would mean a very nice living, while being a cost a free man could reasonably drop now and then. Or you could just hire him full-time for a year for maybe 100L to teach you and your pals, not the thousands of lunars the game would have it.

By the way, a side of beef - let's say worth 10L - was an accepted payment at Harvard for a semester (as was a number of goats), so it's in the right ballpark there was well. Paying hundreds of lunars is obviously geared towards balancing adventurers, not to make any kind of economic sense.

Further, let's say we have an apprentice system in a craft. The apprentice essentially pays for part-time teaching through his or her (inexpert) crafting. With what limited productivity can be expected from the apprentice (at, say 30% skill in a craft), this must still make the teaching worthwhile for the crafter to do the teaching bit (or the crafter wouldn't bother). We can argue what the productivity of the apprentice is, what the maintenance cost of the apprentice is, and what percentage of time counts as teaching for the crafter, but it's obvious that the crafter does this on-the-job teaching for a a few lunars per season, not the bonkers 60L the table says.

Dividing training costs from the rulebook for skills by 10 and for stats by 50 (!!) would seem to result in more sensible costs (although stat training should reasonably cost more for very high stats the same way skills do).

Edited by Akhôrahil

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7 minutes ago, Akhôrahil said:

when a reasonably skilled individual may make something like 60-160L per year working full-time?

Further worth noting in that regard that the income to pay for a "Free" standard of living is 60L, and that's for a household. Per p.404-405, "A hide is an abstract amount of land sufficient to support one free household. ... In a good year, a hide of land normally produces an annual surplus worth 80 L (beyond what is needed to sow the fields). 10% of that surplus goes to the local Earth temple, and another 10% goes to the temple of her local consort, leaving 64 L worth of surplus agricultural produce."

So your random Orlanthi family has about 4L lingering around on an average year.

Living as a noble is set at 200L. Living as a Petty King, 600L. So... yeah. The default 500L is pretty wild, economically. Literally the only reason I haven't (yet) changed it in my game is because of the aforementioned game balance effects. (To look at those from a more "fun" perspective, it gives the players something to actually spend their money on if they're successful, because even dividing old treasure values by 10 per the Conversion appendix still results in plenty of coin.)

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5 minutes ago, Crel said:

Literally the only reason I haven't (yet) changed it in my game is because of the aforementioned game balance effects. (To look at those from a more "fun" perspective, it gives the players something to actually spend their money on if they're successful, because even dividing old treasure values by 10 per the Conversion appendix still results in plenty of coin.)

Under the idea that time is money, perhaps introduce the option of teachers that are better (giving you a better skill gain, let's say +1) at a significantly increased cost (or +2 for a very increased cost)? That way, there's still a way to spend excess money on something game-technically useful?

Edited by Akhôrahil

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4 hours ago, Crel said:

Please feel free to use as you see fit! That's why I shared--I hoped it could provide a starting point for others. How do you anticipate customizing the rules?

I haven’t decided anything yet, but I think I will be more restrictive about how to improve characteristics (one point at a time, gain roll required). I want my campaign to be more role playing, and to differentiate RuneQuest from leveling systems as much as possible.

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Remember, 500L is also the ransom/wergild of a free farmer or warrior. It's basically what you're expected to be worth to your clan for the rest of your life (some quick math bears this out). 

(Speaking of, about how high is the bride-price for a free woman? The idea is the same there.)

Edited by Akhôrahil

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I like it Crel will be using it.

Just a quick question you've got seasonal experience as " (four experience checks in occupation or cult skills)", I've read the rules as "an adventurer can select up to four occupational skills and cult skills" ie 8 checks, I'm probably wrong.

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2 minutes ago, Smudgster said:

I like it Crel will be using it.

Just a quick question you've got seasonal experience as " (four experience checks in occupation or cult skills)", I've read the rules as "an adventurer can select up to four occupational skills and cult skills" ie 8 checks, I'm probably wrong.

I'm pretty sure it means "four skills from among occupational skills and cult skills".

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5 hours ago, Crel said:

In my mind, that's all "Occupation." It's doing whatever you're supposed to do.

Agree. Even a farmer has Cultural Weapon and Shield as occupational skills, so picking those two for the season just means that you paid attention in Fyrd drilling (it's rough that you don't have Battle as well, but there you go).

Edited by Akhôrahil

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About the homebrew, it might be easier to just give -2% per lost week to income rolls. That way, you're not rewarded for gaming the system. In theory, the system as written means that you could get away with spending only 35% of your workdays (4/7 x 5/8) at your actual profession, without penalty.  

If everyone's a farmer, you might want to go into detail about how lost time in Sea Season and Earth season is worse and the rest easier, but that might be overdoing the detail.

Also, the "just pay up 500L" isn't even supported by the rest of the rules text:

Quote

Training is not transactional in Glorantha

This should probably be enforced through play. (Although if you actually do pay up 500L, I'm pretty sure you could find a teacher that way...)

Edited by Akhôrahil
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I also encourage you to check out the other thread I just started about occupational experience, research and training (didn't want to hijack this one). The math isn't where it should be when it comes to research and training.  

Edited by Akhôrahil

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On 7/31/2019 at 5:29 AM, Crel said:

So while I think I like the intended seasonal flow of adventures in RQG, I wanted something a bit more specific in terms of how training, downtime, and so on are handled. This is what I came up with. It's somewhat rough (and I'll start rolling it out to players this upcoming session) so fair warning. My goal was to get something a bit more granular and ongoing than "Okay, adventure's over, let's narrate a few events then jump to end of season..." but not go so far as the bookkeeping of counting hours and estimating hours available for training and occupation and all that like I remember from RQ3.

 

Thank you Crel, I like how yo decided to stick with simplicity that RQ G espouses rather that granularity (I believe I am using this term correctly).Nice

 

3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

I'm pretty sure it means "four skills from among occupational skills and cult skills".

 I think you all are reading this well.

 

8 hours ago, Crel said:

In my mind, that's all "Occupation." It's doing whatever you're supposed to do. When you're training, that's stuff that's permissible, but possibly comes at the cost of neglecting duties.

 

Agreed.

 

3 hours ago, Crel said:

Living as a noble is set at 200L. Living as a Petty King, 600L. So... yeah. The default 500L is pretty wild, economically. Literally the only reason I haven't (yet) changed it in my game is because of the aforementioned game balance effects. (To look at those from a more "fun" perspective, it gives the players something to actually spend their money on if they're successful, because even dividing old treasure values by 10 per the Conversion appendix still results in plenty of coin.)

Yes the old dungeon economy of the eighties, how do we separate the fool, err, adventurer from their ill-gotten gains.

4 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

It feels old-fashioned and very "gamey", introducing play balance through exorbitant and unreasonable costs. 

Which, I believe, is exactly what it is.  I wish I could think of a better mechanism his is as easy but...

 

4 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Dividing training costs from the rulebook for skills by 10 and for stats by 50 (!!) would seem to result in more sensible costs (although stat training should reasonably cost more for very high stats the same way skills do).

And alas what do we do with all that gold the players might have... (Have not read the new modules except to record NPCs for use and areas of interest for the same... how is treasure beginning to shape up in our "Brave New Glorantha"? Gold Wheels, Magic items galore, silver and bolgs?

 

3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Under the idea that time is money, perhaps introduce the option of teachers that are better (giving you a better skill gain, let's say +1) at a significantly increased cost (or +2 for a very increased cost)? That way, there's still a way to spend excess money on something game-technically useful?

This seems like a good concept.

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I like what you have done, mostly.  My issue with it, and with the RAW, is that the amount of time you need to train/research is the same, regardless of your skill level.  In the RAW, you need a whole season to train your Track skill of 5%, or your Broadsword skill of 70%.  Just doesn't make sense to me. I'm playing a character in a game on Roll20 that has a 5% Track skill.  With RAW it just doesn't make sense to me to train that skill.

Both RQ2 and RQ3 had the current skill level factored into how much time you had to spend training to get an increase.  In RQ2 it was handled by a different cost depending on your skill level, and a set rate( 100L/week ) for paying for training.  So, training your Broadsword up from 40% cost you 500L, and took 5 weeks.  That was for training for 2 hours/day.  RQ3 made it simpler( although with more bookkeeping ), at a number of hours equal to your current skill level.

I'm planning on something similar to RQ3, with 50 hours per week if you do nothing but training, and 10 hours per week if you are engaged in your Occupation.  Subject to change, once I see how it works out.

Edited by Marc
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There should be a teaching skill. Good teachers make a *significant* difference to a learner. They should also be well paid for it.

Just knowing a skill well doesn't mean you have any ideas as to how best to explain it to others (and, typically, means falling back on concepts that can actually be wrong, or stunt development).

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at the moment i think the training and ecomic parts of the game arent working

i am going with house rules for both 

Edited by galafrone

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4 minutes ago, galafrone said:

at the moment i think the training and ecomic parts of the game arent working

i am going with house rules for both 

I think the training system is clearly non-functional, but what's you issue with the overall economy? I think they mostly did a fine job sorting that out.

Edited by Akhôrahil

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On 8/1/2019 at 8:51 AM, Akhôrahil said:

Under the idea that time is money, perhaps introduce the option of teachers that are better (giving you a better skill gain, let's say +1) at a significantly increased cost (or +2 for a very increased cost)

I like this idea, though do feel it would need to operate in conjunction with an actual Teaching skill as noted by others.

On 8/1/2019 at 9:06 AM, Smudgster said:

Just a quick question you've got seasonal experience as " (four experience checks in occupation or cult skills)", I've read the rules as "an adventurer can select up to four occupational skills and cult skills" ie 8 checks, I'm probably wrong.

I also read this as others have noted, that you get four total checks.

In addition, I allow those checks to be in any relevant skill, including Lore skills, etc. that don't have experience growth. I also allow my players to put occupational experience in skills they've gained skill checks from adventuring. In our RQ3 game, we gave 2 XP checks on a special and 3 on a crit in stressful situations (like adventuring). We haven't been playing with that in RQG, so I've let my players be more open with occupation to compensate.

On 8/1/2019 at 9:47 AM, Akhôrahil said:

About the homebrew, it might be easier to just give -2% per lost week to income rolls. That way, you're not rewarded for gaming the system. In theory, the system as written means that you could get away with spending only 35% of your workdays (4/7 x 5/8) at your actual profession, without penalty.

You're right, but I'm hesitant to implement it. Part of my goal was to avoid large-scale bookkeeping (which is something RQG does manage I feel) and I think it's easier to tally seasons than weeks. Plus, if you're doing -2% per week for forty weeks that's only -80% if every week you're doing something else.

The days thing is a good point. The way I plan to implement this is using more Narrative time than going day-by-day, and I do think that mitigates the issue. So saying like "It's Death week, what're people basically doing" "Oh, I'm doing occupation, and I've gotta go to church on Freezeday..." etc. Dropping into specific days when something more adventure-like happens.

I think there's also a potential positive to gaming the system. What I had in mind was trying to encourage my players to get into the mindset of "no, we need to get this done quickly so we can get back to work." Incentivizing, slightly, clan behavior over adventure behavior.

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On 8/1/2019 at 10:44 AM, Crel said:

In my mind, that's all "Occupation." It's doing whatever you're supposed to do. When you're training, that's stuff that's permissible, but possibly comes at the cost of neglecting duties.

Sure, but my issue with it isn't there, it's in the focus that your downtime stuff is suggesting.

Calling the entire variety of "normal  stuff" that a character can get up to during "downtime" at home just "occupation" IMO does not encourage roleplaying possibilities, but it encourages at least to some extent (though of course I don't know your players personally) playing your character sheet instead.

I just think that as much as possible should be described in "real" terms, as little as possible in game mechanics ones (though these are very important too of course).

If you like, the "downtime" should IMO do as much as possible to serve as a portrayal of the ordinary daily life of the characters when they're not in a Quest ; including the possibility of dedicating time to self-improvement, but I'd view the consequences of doing so aggressively, as in real life, as increasing social isolation with all the negatives to one's clan, religious, & family life that would ensue.

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On 8/2/2019 at 10:15 PM, Julian Lord said:

Sure, but my issue with it isn't there, it's in the focus that your downtime stuff is suggesting.

Calling the entire variety of "normal  stuff" that a character can get up to during "downtime" at home just "occupation" IMO does not encourage roleplaying possibilities, but it encourages at least to some extent (though of course I don't know your players personally) playing your character sheet instead.

I just think that as much as possible should be described in "real" terms, as little as possible in game mechanics ones (though these are very important too of course).

If you like, the "downtime" should IMO do as much as possible to serve as a portrayal of the ordinary daily life of the characters when they're not in a Quest ; including the possibility of dedicating time to self-improvement, but I'd view the consequences of doing so aggressively, as in real life, as increasing social isolation with all the negatives to one's clan, religious, & family life that would ensue.

I see this whole process as translating life into mechanics-speak. I don't see a point in recording "Farming" "Farming" "Sentry duty" "herding" "adventuring" "training" "training" "training" on a sheet which mostly only cares about occupation/adventure/train/research. Going back over that sheet, the player would basically be translating that to "occupation/occupation/occupation/occupation/adventure/train/train/train" anyway.

Further, I'm trying to adjust slowly away from RQG's model and RQG's model doesn't seem to actually focus on daily life. It involves daily life, certainly, and a fair bit more than most contemporary RPGs, but it does so in a rather abstract way. Daily life stuff in the system seems, to me, to still be mostly stuff "out there," not stuff going on at the table. I don't think anyone's using an adventure game system to plod through how many fields you plowed of your hide in a given week, or how many bushels of apples you picked each day. The game dips in and out of daily life, focusing on the big moments--holy days, enemy cattle raids, adventures, heroquests. And I think those moments of focus offer enough background texture of daily life seeping through to allow a broader scope to fuzz the elements together.

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On 8/2/2019 at 9:26 PM, Shiningbrow said:

Q: do you allow for changing occupation? And thus, getting a new selection of skills?

I do, though I don't have good metrics for it yet.

I've had one player's adventurer change occupation, from herdsman to light cavalry (or infantry, but he's a Praxian so I'm pretty sure it was cavalry). I loosely eyeballed it as "are you near 50% or higher in the occupation's skills?" He was... okay-ish, except for Battle, so basically I'm requiring him to do occupation instead of training or other stuff for a few seasons as he's adjusting/training in.

I see occupation as basically "whatever you're mostly doing" and though of course you've gotta have the chops to do stuff well enough to get paid, it doesn't make sense to me that your "whatever you're doing" can't change. The adventurers joined up with Argrath's faction in Pavis, and it doesn't seem likely that the herdsman's doing as much herds-y stuff since, but rather that he's doing more military stuff. Sometimes that does mean using his Herd skill (started play with it at 100% :D) like when helping guard a baggage/livestock train, but it's not really his main function.

He's the only one who's expressed interest in changing, though. Most adventurers my players have created have chosen an occupation with an eye to that being their main activity in game play. Most adventurers I've seen have also matched their occupation and cult quite closely; I haven't seen an Issaries Heavy Warrior or a Humakti merchant, for example. Which is a bit of a pity, because I think those slightly-dissonant religion/occupation blends offer more opportunity for roleplay conflict and general weirdness.

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