D&D Next Q&A: How Downtime Interacts with Legacy, Healing & Backgrounds

You've got questions—we've got answers! Here's how it works—each week, our Community Manager will be scouring all available sources to find whatever D&D Next questions you're asking.

There are certain business and legal questions we can't answer (for business and legal reasons). And if you have a specific rules question, we'd rather point you toCustomer Service, where representatives are ready and waiting to help guide you through the rules of the game. That said, our goal is provide you with as much information we can—in this and other venues.


1  Does the downtime thing somewhat replace the Legacy system?

No, but it does provide a mechanical framework that the rules modules and subsystems collectively referred to as the Legacy system will plug into. Just as combat is a relatively narrow system that more complicated things (like class features and spells) can plug into, the downtime system has a mechanical frame that covers the basics of what we can safely assume anyone can do during downtime. Then, class features, backgrounds, and so forth can unlock new things to do during downtime.

Likewise, many of the rules modules we refer to as Legacy systems will almost certainly make extensive use of the downtime framework. For example, if a wizard wants to research a new spell, our spell research subsystem is probably going to refer directly to the downtime system for its mechanics, modifying them or introducing new mechanics as necessary. 

2  Will healing utilize the downtime system? Or is the intent that healing just happens simultaneously alongside other tasks during downtime?

Healing is not something that, by default, interacts with the downtime system. Most of the time, you’re going to be healing up in just a few days’ time at worst anyways, and the time scale for downtime is going to be longer for that (weeks and months, instead of days). We also assume that, when you choose what you’re doing during downtime, that represents about half of your time, and the other half is spent on tasks such as eating, sleeping, socializing, and recuperating.

Of course, as mentioned above, other rules modules could plug into the downtime system. A rules module for grievous wounds, or a particularly nasty disease, might say that you must spend so much downtime doing nothing but recuperating in order to remove its effect. This would effectively create a new downtime action—recuperating—that would then just be a standard part of the downtime system if you were using that module.

 Will there be a mechanic to change background, or add background? Basically will there be ways to represent that a character has gained the perks of a certain background, and/or can take new actions during downtime?

Part of the downtime system’s goal is to make it so that your character can learn new proficiencies, languages, fields of lore, and similar things during the time between adventures. You put in the time, spend gold to have someone mentor you, and soon you obtain new knowledge that can help you on adventures. Think of it like the D&D equivalent of a training montage from a movie. This might also include the ability to obtain other backgrounds’ traits; so, if your character spends his or her downtime training with the blacksmith, your character might be able to pick up a trait from the Artisan background for blacksmithing. Of course, traits can also make good rewards that aren’t treasure-oriented (especially for things like completing quests), so that’s another avenue for getting them out there.


How can I submit a question to the D&D Next Q&A?

Instead of a single venue to submit questions, our Community Manager will be selecting questions from our message boardsTwitter feed, and Facebook account. You can also submit questions directly to dndinsider@wizards.com. So, if you’d like to have your question answered in the D&D Next Q&A, just continue to participate in our online community—and we may select yours!


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