View Full Version : Simple training/downtime rules.

2012-02-15, 09:59 AM
Firstly the background
I'm running an Iron Kingdoms game for a group of friends, the party mixes some keen gamers and some more casual ones. The class and character choices aren't going to be too powerful, the only straight caster (played by my other half) is likely to mainly blast things.

As the arcane mechanic, the alchemy crafting rogue (this includes healing potions in this setting) and the wizard are all going to want some downtime to learn spells/craft/build giant robots I want to provide some options for more mundane options.

Here's what I have currently:

Training for skill points - ranks 1-5
1 week of appropriate practice or study gains you one skill point, this works exactly as if you gained it from levelling up (as in cross class, max ranks etc)
A trainer (someone with a better skill than you who dedicates their time for the week) gets you an additional skill point.
Access to specialised training equipment (for instance a renowned library for knowledge skills) gets you another extra skill point.

Ranks 6-10 are earned 1/2 as fast ( i.e. 1 rank in a class skill in 1 week of study with a trainer OR 1 rank in a cross class skill in 4 weeks self study)
Ranks 11-15 are earned at 1/3
Ranks 16-20 are earned at 1/4

Intent is to encourage broader skills.

Training a feat
A method of training or practice is needed.
Pre-requisites must be met as normal.

A check of d20 + weeks trained is made against

DC equal to 15 + (5 x pre requisite feats) + (skill point requisites/2) + (ad hoc modifiers)

The check is made every week spent training until it is succeeded.

A trainer (must have the feat being trained) being present for the majority of the time adds +2 to the check
Specialised facilities (a gym for instance) adds an additional +2

Training Stats
Some method of improvement is needed (easier for physical stats than mental ones)
A check of d20 + weeks trained + racial modifier is made against
DC =10 + target stat

A trainer must have either a higher stat or some appropriate skill (e.g. Profession (boxing trainer) for strength or con) adds +2
Specialised equipment again adds +2

In all cases trainers and equipment need to be of a higher calibre to count for higher level training - an amateur coach at the local free gym might count for +4 to your checks for strength 12 but for strength 18 you'd need those just to be able to train at all to get bonuses on the check you'd need to employ a professional coach and buy your way into the gladiators training gym in the local colluseum.

In all cases there's going to be discussion to agree what makes an appropriate trainer or facility to get the bonus - I don't see much difficulty on this though as my group has a similar outlook to me on the flavour of the world.

Can anyone see any gaping holes in this?

I can post the probabilities of success later if that'd help.

2012-02-15, 11:09 AM
Is there a limit on how long you can train to increase your skills and abilities? Or any kind of level based cap?

I know you can control the downtime for your group, but it would just seem a little odd if you could make a 1st level character who could train for years, and become very powerful, but was still technically a first level character.

If you want to encourage a broader selection of skills, just use an alternate skill system that doesn't make cross-class skills so worthless. The Pathfinder one is pretty decent.

2012-02-15, 11:16 AM
Can I just start a character who is say a middle aged elf who spent the last few hundred years improving everything?

2012-02-16, 04:54 PM
Good points, thanks for taking the time to comment.

I'm kicking myself as I should have just sat down and written all the house rules I've thought of since I last ran DnD and just started something with Con X style skills, Shadowrun style magic fatigue and some sort of wound points system :smallbiggrin:

Now I've started them on relatively straight up DnD rules I was trying to avoid changing anything major, hence smooshing in training rules. I should limit it somehow though, you're right. I don't want to get into a position where I need to persuade them to adventure rather than train. Ideally it'd be something simple that wouldn't take much tracking - maybe something like no more than 2 stat points, 2 feats and 10 skills points can be trained every level.

I'd not really thought about the implications for long lived races as I'm dumping this into an already started campaign. I guess that if I had thought of this before the start I'd have just said that you can't use these rules before the game starts and you'd just use normal character creation. Elves having lived for ages without ever improving before always bothers my sense of verisimilitude!

Thanks again.

2012-02-16, 05:42 PM
I would say it's not a bad idea, just keep it under DM control.

Maybe don't allow them to exceed level-derived limits on skills? This would encourage more broad-based characters. Also keep in mind the half-level and 2x cost limits for base D&D skills, so that those cross-class skills (IE not on ANY class the character has levels in) take twice as long to get into, and cap out early.

2012-02-17, 01:29 AM
Not to rain on the parade, but what about just awarding xp during the down time, and letting skill/feat progression proceed normally? So if the team spends a week, give them some blanket xp award covering what they did during that time.

Or, how about using the opportunity to have some roleplaying and/or skills challenges that allow them to check some items off the story checklist, and then give out story awards for the completion of those things?

Or, if you're going to have skill/feat training during off times but you want to control it and keep it from getting out of hand, how about treating those things as sort of an advance on a kid's allowance, where the skill points that you pick up or the feat that you pick up by trainingg during down time come out of your next class level. So essentially by working and training really hard, you get a little sneak peak or preview of some advancement toward the next level in the form of a few skill ranks, a new feat, heck maybe even a new spell, that you can start using now rather than waiting to level up. The catch could then be that you can never progress farther than what you're going to get with the next level. (That would probably mean that you'd have to declare exactly what level you're taking next, and lock into it ahead of time, and then wouldn't be able to take a different level than the one that you'd "trained into" already.)


2012-02-17, 08:34 AM
The original idea has the merit to be mechanical and easy to enact.

I, however, would keep it waaay down your limit, expecially for feats and stats.
I would say: max 6 skill points a level, a feat every 3 levels, an attribute point every 4 levels.

...or you may find your PCs with a stat at 62 (18+4+40) and 27 feats at level 20 (or a stat at 40 and 14 feats at level 10).

2012-02-17, 01:44 PM
Ok, the idea is sound but it certainly needs limiting, may I suggest something like....

Introduce a new category of bonus, Training Bonus. These bonuses do not stack with each other, but do stack with anything else, and may only be increased/changed through the appropriate amount of training. You cap the amount anything may be trained to, according to the character level easily enough.

You may have a total number of stat bonus points equal to 1/4 character level (min. 1). The bonus may be in one stat or spread amongst several. You may train a stat when already at maximum bonus by sacrificing some of the bonus elsewhere, i.e. a level 8 fighter has 2 points of bouns in his con, but decides at level 9 to train strength instead, at the end of the training he loses his +2 con and gains a +2 strength instead.

You may train a number of feats for which you meet the requirements equal to 1/3 character level (min. 1). The DM may wish to allocate more to this number, or restrict the training to General feats only (which I find helps maintain some semblance of balance with spellcasters/mundane actually), or some other condition. You may lose a trained feat to gain a new one but lose use of any feats/abilities which required the lost feat to access/use.

You may train a number of skillpoints equal to 4x character level. These skill bonus points count as normal skill ranks for the purposes of determining maximum ranks in a skill. You may not retrain skills (once a skill is learned it is virtually impossible to 'unlearn' it, even with years of neglect a good proportion of that skill may remain).

2012-02-17, 05:07 PM
The original idea has the merit to be mechanical and easy to enact.

I, however, would keep it waaay down your limit, expecially for feats and stats.
I would say: max 6 skill points a level, a feat every 3 levels, an attribute point every 4 levels.

...or you may find your PCs with a stat at 62 (18+4+40) and 27 feats at level 20 (or a stat at 40 and 14 feats at level 10).

If I were to use this, I would say that training an ability increases your base ability score (before racial modifiers, level bonuses, etc.), and can't increase that score to above 18+1/4 your level. That would put a decent cap on things, I think.