Downtime System


I have been trying to find something to motivate the players to want more loot. There just really isn't all that much to buy in Conan. In DnD, there is always costly magic items and such. In Conan though, where is the tangible benifit of more $.

One alternative I have been thinking about is a downtime cost system. Here is my rough outline. Each week of downtime, the Player must spend a certian amount (not a %) based on the cost of living of his location to avoid certian penalties. The logic is that characters with money will be able to lodge in healthier, safer locations, with better food, medical care, police protection etc. If a player doesn't meet the weekly cost standard, he can be assumed to be lodging in poor, diseased, crime-ridden areas. This puts him at risk for certian negative possiblities (e.g. disease, drop in hp or con score, loss of $ or equipment, decrease in reputation...).

I a player spends more (how much more???) then some benifits would accrue. This would represent greasing the wheels of justice, bribes, temple gifts, buying a round at the bar... Depending on the player's goal during his downtime, that goal would be more likely to succeed. Even if no goal is expressed, the player may gain gifts, increased reputation, an investment, contacts...

To balance this with the High-living rule, I'm considering having the players make a Wis (or some sort of Willpower) roll to avoid having to spend money on HL.

Any thoughts?
One of my favorite things about Conan is the freedom it gives us all from the tedious bookkeeping associated with treasure and downtime. In my campaign, we don't even really need the high living rule - the assumption is the PCs have squandered all of their money since the last adventure and are now forced to try and earn some more. Everyone pretty much starts off with whatever equipment they want (GM approval is of course required for Akbitanan weapons, etc.), and some small amount of silver in their pockets.

I would discourage adding more downtime spending rules. A cash-strapped PC should be regarded by the GM as an easily motivated recruit for an exciting jewel heist adventure, not as a potential dysentery victim!

To answer your question about motivation, I'd say the incentive for finding treasure is mostly a role-playing one. Though don't forget there is the rule about increasing your reputation score for committing crimes that earn a lot of money.

Oddly enough, my players tend to be more motivated by the story- as in 'what happens next?' than money or even magical knowledge. [I run a Scholar heavy game] They are restless types that usually regard money as a means on continuing the journey than the sole motivation for the journey in the first place.

It's a pretty good system you've come up with, but I agree with Raven personally. The game emphasizes the mercenary, devil-may-care, carpe diem attitude best felt by those who came from nothing with nothing to lose. If you play a noble you're exempt from poverty, unless your GM is harsh or (GM/you) have a compelling story line. Our group's scholar player, for example, always says, "Silver means nothing to me" and will follow it up with something like "The available flesh present in this world will always provide...."
James Mishler posted a downtime system on the Judge's Guild forum in his thread on converting the Wilderlands to the Conan RPG.

You'll need to scroll down a bit.
This is the off-time system that I use:- it is quick and easy and can produce some interesting results.
CONAN RPG ‘OFF-TIME’ SYSTEM ã Brass Jester 2005

Start at Location #1 and follow the instructions. Then roll d6 and go to the indicated Location. Repeat until Location #15 (End) is reached, at which point the next adventure starts. See GM’s notes at the end.

1. Start. Pay upkeep: 2sp x (Level)2 else –1 Rep

1-2 (2) Buy/Sell one item
3-4 (3) Heal
5-6 (4) Sell one item

2. Buy or sell one item or group of related items (e.g.: a sword or 20 arrows etc.) Only one item may be traded unless directed back to this location.

1 (5) Train
2 (2) Buy/Sell one item
3-4 (3) Heal
5-6 (6) Carouse

3. Heal or Profession. Either Heal 3 + Con. Mod. + Level and make Profession Check to gain money or Heal 6 + Con.mod + Level

1 (3) Heal
2-3 (6) Carouse
4 (2) Buy/Sell one item
5 (4) Sell one item
6 (7) Event

4. Sell any one item. May sell any one item or group of related items (e.g.: a sword or 20 arrows etc.) Only one item may be traded unless directed back to this location.

1 (4) Sell one item
2-3 (6) Carouse
4 (7) Event
5-6 (3) Heal

5. Train. Practice skills and weapons. Pay 5sp x (Level)2. Roll d20 + current Level, gain x.p according to DC beaten: -

DC 5 50 xp
DC 10 100 xp
DC 15 150 xp
DC 20 200 xp
DC 25 250 xp 250 xp is the maximum that can be gained in any one visit to this location.

1-2 (6) Carouse
3 (5) Train
4 (7) Event
5-6 (3) Options

6. Carouse. Out on the town, spending money in true Conan style. Pay d6 x 10 sp to join in, else lose 1d6 Rep. Then make Gather Information check at +1 per 10 sp spent (in addition to any normal modifiers.)

DC 5 Rumour
DC 10 News of event [see Events table]
DC 15 Rumour of adventure [Use the Brass Jester Adventure Creation System]
DC 20 Patron is seeking adventurers [See Location #13]
DC 25 Gain map/item

1-2 (5) Train
3 (7) Event
4-5 (9) Options
6 (8) Aftermath

7. Event. Roll on Event Table. Some may have long-term or far reaching effects.
Event Table [see appendix]

1-2 (9) Options
3 (6) Carouse
4 (11) Heal
5-6 (10) Buy/Sell any items

8. Aftermath. The morning after the night before. Roll d6; on a ‘6’ something has happened to you:-
Roll d6 again:
1 Bad hangover
2 Wake up in the streets with most of your clothes and possessions missing, including money
3 50% of your remaining money has gone
4 Wake up in bed with someone. You have gained an NPC lover (create NPC.)
5 Vague memories of a glorious brawl. Take 1d6 damage
6 Wake up in prison/ chained in a slave train etc.

1-2 (13) Patron
3 (12) Event
4-6 (9) Options

9. Options. Take any listed Action, practice Profession, start creating something, get a scroll read, fight a duel etc.

1 (12) Event
2 (9) Options
3-4 (10) Buy/Sell any items
5 (14) Recruit
6 (15) End

10. Buy or sell any item or group of related items.

1-2 (14) Recruit
3-4 (9) Options
5 (11) Event
6 (15) End

11. Heal or Profession. Either Heal 3 + Con. Mod. + Level and make Profession Check to gain money or Heal 6 + Con.mod + Level

1 (11) Heal
2-4 (9) Options
5 (10) Buy/Sell any items
6 (14) Recuit

12. Event. Roll on Event Table. Some may have long-term or far reaching effects

1 (9) Options
2 (13) Patron
3 (10) Buy/Sell any items
4-6 (15) End

13. Patron. A patron offers employment or a quest etc.
Is it accepted 1-3 No 4-6 Yes [This is if you can’t make up your mind]
Patron Table
1 Merchant
2 Thief
3 Sorcerer
4 Scholar
[Note: I have some specific Patrons made up as leads into adventures, also this can define where the PC’s are. For example, Vortis Orrando, a merchant in Khorshemish, is seeking to hire guards to escort a cargo down into Argos. He will give them a letter of introduction to a friend at Messantia who is seeking a crew for an expedition to the South. Thus, the PC’s start in Khorshemish.]
Make Diplomacy Check, +2 Synergy if patron rolled as a Carouse check, to see if Patron accepts you.

1-2 (10) Buy/Sell any items
3-4 (14) Recruit
5-6 (15) End

14. Recruit. May hire or purchase NPC bearers, guards, horses, slaves etc.

1-2 (10) Buy/Sell items
3-6 (15) End

15. End Last night on the town. Spend 5sp x (Level)2. Gain +1 Rep per 10 sp spent.

1. The chart is not time or location specific, other than that a Patron can give some indication of the starting location.

2. The Healing is deliberately limited. It is possible that a character may start the next adventure not fully healed and has to heal ‘en-route.’

3. The limits on the Buy/Sell locations are intended to reflect that a) there isn’t always a market for the item and b) to avoid the well-known players statement “well, we’ll replace everything we used and pay for it by selling everything we don’t need.” Now, you have to make a choice between that much-needed rope or replacing the dagger that fell down the pit.

4. Options is very versatile; it allows any action. For example, the long example under Craft (Herbalism) in the rulebook could be tied into the Options location, with the herbalist making a Craft roll each visit to the location. Also, scholars starting research, sorcererers crafting items etc.

5. Patrons: a Diplomacy check is needed to see if the PC impresses the patron enough to get the job. DC’s can be set based on the perceived difficulty:
e.g: Guard my house for a month DC10
Escort a caravan DC12
Hunt down my enemy and retrieve my stolen goods DC15
* Note, the way the chart is set up, once a patron is found then there is a limited time to purchase supplies etc. before the End is reached. This is because the patron is not usually inclined to wait around for the PC’s to go out carousing again (or whatever)


11 Meet new PC
12 Meet NPC
13 Find purse 2d6 sp
14 Find purse 1d6 lunas
15 Break weapon (roll randomly)

21 Lose 2d6 sp
22 Encounter guards
23 Relative dies
24 Inherit something
25 Get involved in brawl
26 Accused of ………… by ……………

31 NPC friend dies
32 War declared [where?]
33 New tax to be paid
34 Find weapon
35 Find something
36 Dependant NPC in danger

41 Catch disease
42 Attacked by mistake
43 Mistaken identity
44 Natural disaster
45 Unnatural happening
46 Robbed! Lose half of possessions [divide into two piles and dice to see which one went]

51 House/ dwelling destroyed
52 Bandit raids on borders
53 Meet long-lost sibling [create new NPC]
54 Armour damaged/rusty, -1 DR
55 Gain a pet
56 Rescue important person [who?]

61 Local noble dies
62 Prince/ess born
63 Prince/ess dies/ killed
64 Mercenaries in town
65 Horse/ mount dies
66 Omen/ Foreshadowing