Downtime rules released

While you’re thinking about what your character will get up to at our first event, now you can think about what they’ll get up to afterwards as well!

We have now released our downtime rules, which you can find on our Field Rules page. Chapter 3 is the relevant chapter if you just want to see what the rules say, although they are presented below too.

Philosophy of Five Oaths downtime

At Five Oaths events, players will portray characters that engage with the world presented to them by the Event Team, fighting monsters, politicking with friends and rivals, and using their wits and skills to survive. But what happens to those characters in the time in between events? This is known as downtime, and in Five Oaths you will have some options to choose what happens to your character in between events.

Our guiding principle in developing our downtime system is that the real action of our world will take place at events. The gallóglaigh bands are mustered regularly throughout the year when there are missions to perform and purses to be lined, but most bands still allow their warriors to participate in society, meet obligations and have semi-independent lives when they are not needed. Our objective has been to give characters an opportunity to develop their capabilities, gather resources and find out handy information as represented by the downtime system. Therefore, characters will have more exciting experiences at events, while they manage personal affairs in downtime.

Character advancement

For each event you attend, your character will gain 1 XP. You will be able to select new Feats for your character at any time using the Player Database. This will therefore be handled separately to the downtime process.

How will downtime work?

Players will be able to submit downtimes for their characters using our player database. Each character will have four downtime actions. These actions will be picked from a list. Most actions will be available to all characters, but some actions will be limited to those who have picked particular Feats. Downtime actions will have a set expected result, which is described below. In addition to the set result, your character will have a chance of hearing a rumour when they go about their business. Characters who have taken Rumour Feats will reliably hear rumours and will be able to spread some themselves.

Locations

When you open the downtime form for your character, you will have a choice of Location. This will be either: a) the last Location of the band (generally a large settlement in a Realm), or b) your character’s Location at the end of your last downtime. This is important because some actions can only be done in certain Locations.

A Location can either be: a) a Settlement, for example Crag Oscionn in Draíod or Dealtra in Bruid; b) a Riding, for example Dhaloch in Baol or Glorbuaife in Uasa; or c) a Region, for example the Golden Valley in Siabhal or Vercontin’s Pass between Uasa and Draíod. In the last example, of a borderland between Realms, your character will choose to be on one side or the other of the fuzzy dividing line between Realms, for reasons that will become clear below. 

Characters will start in play with a list of Known Locations. All characters will know the largest settlement in each Realm, as well as a famous Riding and Region in each Realm. In addition to this, characters will have Known Locations based on their chosen Realm Feat, giving them much more knowledge about their home Realm than other characters. The Five Realms Lore Feat gives a character a wide breadth of knowledge about the Realms. 

If your character background, as approved by the Event Team, contains a key Location, that will also be a Known Location for your character. Finally, as the band of gallóglaigh campaigns throughout the Five Realms, all characters who accompany the band will become familiar with a breadth of Locations.

A character’s list of Known Locations will give them a short description of each Location, and will list what actions can be taken there (as described below).

Downtime actions

The following are the downtime actions available to characters, and the set results.

Analyze (Requires Scholar Feats)

Your character spends time analyzing an item they have found on their adventures, learning how to reproduce it and any relevant additional information determined relevant by the Event Team. The item may be above the level which your character can craft, in which case they will learn the recipe but will be unable to make it until they learn the required level of Crafting Feat. This action may only be used with items that are not listed in the recipes in Appendix 4 of the Player’s Handbook. This action may only be taken by characters with Scholar Feats, and the Lore Feat must match the type of item, i.e. weapon items can only be studied by characters with Smithing Lore, magical foci by characters with Magic Lore, and potions by characters with Alchemy Lore.

Craft (Requires Crafting Feats)

Your character makes one item according to the Crafting Feats your character has, if they have the correct Ingredients for the recipe. Arcanist and Alchemist crafting are mostly possible only in Locations which are larger settlements, whereas most Locations which are at least a small settlement will have a smithy for Forge crafting. The Ingredients needed for the recipe will be used up.

Gather (Requires Profession Feats)

Your character is adept at seeking out Ingredients, and has better luck in finding exactly what they want. A character with one or more Professions Feats can use this action to find a particular Ingredient no matter where they are. For each instance of this action taken, a character will get 1 of the specified Ingredient for each Feat of the relevant type they have. A character with 2 Artisan Feats could use this action to gather 2 Glass, for example.

Guard (Non-Peacesworn Only)

Your character stands guard duty in a Settlement, and gets paid 2 pingins as a reward. This action is only available in smaller Settlements. A Peacesworn character cannot use the Guard action. This action generates an additional Rumour.

Mediate (Peacesworn Only)

Your character acts as a mediator in local disputes, an investigator into violent matters where only a Peacesworn can be trusted, and generally provides a calming influence in the locality. The local populace are grateful and the character receives a payment of 2 pingins to represent this. This action is only available in smaller Settlements. Only a Peacesworn character can use the Mediate action. This action generates an additional Rumour.

Research (Requires Scholar Feats)

To select this action, your character needs to have a Scholar Feat. This action allows your character to seek the answer to a question about the world of the game relating to their Scholar Feat. The answer to your character’s question may not be available in their Location, or at all, in which case the response will either point your character to another Location where the answer could be, or make it clear that the answer is not something they can discover using the Research action.

Scout

Your character spends some time roving over a Region or Riding Location, getting a good idea of the activity in the Location. This will give your character an idea of what types of creatures are active in the area, and any other relevant information.

Travel

As described above, your character starts their downtime either at their Location at the end of their last downtime or the last Location of the band. If your character wishes to Travel to another location halfway through their downtime, they select this action and pick their new Location from their list of Known Locations. Travel between any two Locations, however far they are from each other in the game world, takes one action.

Rumours

While managing their own affairs when not on active duty, most gallóglaigh still manage to pick up information from those they interact with or overhear. A character without any Rumour Feats will hear one rumour during their downtime. A character with the Ear to the Ground Feat will hear two rumours total during their downtime. A character with the Well Connected Feat will hear five rumours total during their downtime. A character with General Authority will be able to submit a rumour in addition to their downtime actions. A character with Directed Whispers will be able to submit a rumour targeted at another character in addition to their downtime actions and their General Authority rumour. A character taking the Guard or Mediate downtime actions will get an additional rumour.

What if I don’t submit a downtime?

If you don’t submit a downtime for your character for a period between events, they do not get the benefit of taking their four downtime actions and they will not hear any rumours. They will receive ingredients from any Professions Feats they have at the start of an event as per normal. Your character will store up XP for each event you attend, and you can spend this at any time on our Player Database.

Please note there will be a printing deadline announced before each event and if you advance your character after this deadline the changes will not be reflected on your character sheet.

What else can I do between events?

If you would like to play your character more between Five Oaths events we are fine with that! We will be organising official social events, where players can meet in person and talk in-character without the added pressure of mercenary service. Players are also allowed to have whatever in-character discussions and interactions with each other’s characters that they want, either online or in person.

As per our golden rule about downtime above, these discussions and interactions should not be of a higher order than what happens at events. Your characters might agree to overthrow a Rider in downtime, but they won’t be able to do it unless they get the opportunity at an event. Your ritualist characters may find a way to establish a direct conduit to the Shaper at the end of one event, but they won’t be able to put it into practice until the next event when more significant events can happen.

In addition, one player cannot decide something for another player’s character. If two players decide and agree that their characters got into an argument, came to blows, and one killed the other, and the dead character’s player confirms to the Event Team that the character is being retired, that’s fine. Otherwise the players had an imaginative experience using their characters that has no effect in regular Five Oaths events. In the event of any dispute over the resolution of a discussion or interaction in downtime, nothing happens.

The Five Oaths forum will be for OOC queries and discussion of the game only, and we will not be providing a specific forum for IC interactions. Players are free to hold their own social events (where no LRP combat may take place) and may create an online forum for IC interactions if they wish. 

Can I write letters to other characters in downtime?

As discussed above, whatever you and another player do in downtime to share information is up to you. Brief messages go back and forth in Tirneach all the time, and the bands of gallóglaigh are often entrusted with carrying important communications. Solitary messengers upon the road are easy prey for bandits, monsters, and the like, however. There is no handy postal service in the Five Realms.

The upshot of this is that players may exchange information in the form of letters with each other freely during downtime, but if they want to contact an important background character the best way to do it is meet them in person when your character is in the right place, or hand a letter over to a non-player character who will promise to carry it for you. Letter writing with non-player characters will be unreliable as a result.

If you’ve got any questions about downtime, you can ask them on our forum.