What’s in an Adventurer’s Guild?

It’s been a few months since I began drafting my adventurer’s guild idea. Suffice to say, I’ve already finished it.

Well finished is a strong word. It’s more like I’ve completed the first draft and have the foundation in place. It’s ready as-is for our upcoming campaign but it’s by no means refined or thoroughly playtested.

One of the primary draws to an adventurer’s guild-style campaign for my group was to have a bunch of buildings and customization options that the party has total control over. These buildings would allow them to perform various activities during their downtime while they await their next quest in the guildhall.

This idea became the meat of my adventurer’s guild idea. These rooms or buildings would give the party something to do outside of fighting monsters and saving villages. Meanwhile, it would give my game a gold sink, and a rewarding one at that.

It’s a win-win, but it was also a lot of work. So with that, I present to you the answer to this problem: Facilities.

Let’s jump right into what I’ve been working on! Credit: WotC.

Meet the Facility

Facilities are extra rooms that the party can build onto the main guildhall. The bigger the guildhall, the more facilities you can add to it.

When there’s a bit of downtime between quests, PCs can opt to visit different facilities within the guildhall. Here, they can do all sorts of things such as:

  • Crafting
  • Training
  • Self-improvement
  • Relaxing
  • Researching
  • Provide temporary buffs

In some facilities, the PC will merely help the NPC running the facility while in others, the PC is solely responsible for their successes and failures when using the facility.

Facilities are upgradable and come with different perks depending on what their purpose is. This could mean unlocking the ability to make higher-tier equipment, expanding the types of training offered to PCs, or several other improvements.

Each facility has three upgrade ranks. I was originally going to go with 5, but each upgrade felt like a smaller Quality of Life improvement rather than a hefty upgrade, so I consolidated it a bit to make the party’s progress more meaningful.

Understandably, upgrading a specialized facility is a costly endeavor. It’ll take both time and money to build or upgrade one. Plus, the more “useful” the facility, the higher the cost.

The Rating System

Each facility has a use. However, some uses are objectively “better” than others. For example, the Artificer’s Lab can create magic potions and imbue magical items. I’d say that’s better than the Smithy’s ability to craft nonmagical weapons and armor.

Both are useful, sure, but the Artificer Lab should be considerably more expensive to build, use, and upgrade than the Smithy.

So to tackle this problem I made the Star Rating system. That way, I and the players can tell how much it’ll cost to build and upgrade a facility quickly and easily.

Build CostBuild TimeUpgrade Cost (Rank 2)Upgrade Cost (Rank 3)Upgrade Time
1★100 gp1 week1,000 gp10,000 gp3 days
2★200 gp2 weeks2,000 gp20,000 gp1 week
3★300 gp3 weeks3,000 gp30,000 gp1 week & 3 days

For reference, I used this thread based on the Hoard Tables from the DMG as a reference for appropriate upgrade and building costs. I envisioned a guildhall not being finished (every facility is fully upgraded) until well into the higher levels.

While I didn’t set any concrete ranking criteria in place I did wind up with a loose way to categorize the various facilities into their respective star ratings.

  • 1 – Temporary buffs and leisure facilities
  • 2★ – Nonmagical crafting and gathering
  • 3★ – Magical crafting & long-term PC improvement

All in all, it serves its purpose for now. We’ll see how the costs and various ratings play out as we play around with them.

Types of Facilities

I alluded to this section earlier. While certain facilities may serve multiple purposes, each one was designed to focus on one main game mechanic. I’ve broken these mechanics down into three categories:

  1. Temporary Buffs
  2. Crafting/Gathering
  3. Personal Improvement

In hindsight, I now realize that this mirrors the star ratings from the previous section. That wasn’t intentional, but it works I guess?

Regardless, let’s break these down further.

Temporary Buffs

These are small buffs that each PC gets to claim before they head off on their next quest. While a guildhall can have multiple facilities that give different temporary buffs, each PC can only have one buff applied at a time.

Each facility that grants a temporary buff has a different role-play requirement for obtaining the buff. At the Tavern, the PC must eat a meal before heading off whereas at the Chapel the PC must spend some time praying, meditating, etc.

Once they do so, they obtain their respective buff which lasts until the end of the quest or until the buff is used up. Whichever occurs first.

Current Examples: 

  • Tavern: health buff & ASIs at higher ranks
  • Chapel: Inspiration & bonus Inspirations at higher ranks
  • Stables: AC & Offensive buffs at higher ranks for animal companions & mounts

Crafting/Gathering

Crafting and gathering materials are activities that rarely come up in my games. Part of it was the lack of rules until XGtE came out, but it’s also due to a lack of focus on downtime at our table. The guild is going to be a great excuse to dive into the deep end of downtime gameplay and crafting will surely be at the forefront of this experiment.

I’ve come up with a multitude of things to craft and divvied them up between a few facilities.

  • Smithy: Equipment, Weapons, Armor, Furniture etc.
  • Study: Spell Scrolls
  • Alchemist Lab: Magical Items, Potions, Poisons, Guns & Mechanical Equipment,  Nonmagical Consumables
  • Garden: Grow Herbs for Poisons, Potions, & Nonmagical Consumables or Food

For the most part, I linked time to craft items directly to their gold cost in the PHB or whatever reference book the respective item came from. The more expensive the item, the longer it will take and the more gold it’ll cost the PC.

Most of these facilities have a dedicated NPC to craft items whilst the party is questing. However, they also give the PC the option to hop in during their downtime days and speed up the crafting process.

Personal Improvement

This category is catered toward long-term, permanent character development. PCs can spend their downtime (and gold) learning new tricks and skills at these facilities.

Understandably, the costs (time and money) for permanently improving your character are sizable to help counteract the added power I’m throwing into the game. Players will need to choose between making equipment or magical items and learning a new language or skill proficiency.

Downtime is a precious resource, but if you invest your time into personal improvement, your PC will reap the rewards sooner rather than later.

Current Examples:

  • Study: Research useful information & wizards can research new spells
  • Training Grounds: Learn new proficiencies and even a feat

Conclusions

I’m amped to get this show on the road. While there’s still some work to be done before the campaign can begin, the guild part feels like it has a strong foundation.

As far as balance is concerned, I’m 100% not expecting this campaign to be remotely balanced by the time we hit the halfway point. Once the party can start producing magical items, spell scrolls, and potions at will, and benefiting from temporary buffs they’ll be hitting well above their respective CR.

Instead, I’m shooting for fairness here. Every PC has an equal opportunity to use their downtime. How effectively they choose to do so, and what facilities they focus on will have a major impact on their respective power levels.

I think we’re in for a fun ride as long as everyone has a fair shake and something rewarding to spend their mountain of gold on.

If you enjoyed what you read be sure to check out my ongoing review for all of the official D&D 5e books!

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