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Scouting downtime activity rules for the Tales of the Valiant game

Scouting downtime activity rules for the Tales of the Valiant game

The village of Redtower, home city of the Scarlet Citadel megadungeon, is a modest community, boasting a handful of interesting locations for the adventuring crowd that the neighboring Scarlet Citadel sometimes attracts.

Nearby is the birch forest known as the White Woods. Feral animals, conniving bandits, and more prowl among the dense copses to lair in the many hideaways left by the Nordmansch dwarves and the scions of Holzanger. If you are to master the Scarlet Citadel, you would be wise to know the area in which it dwells.

You can also lift this downtime activity to use in any Tales of the Valiant roleplaying game or hexcrawl adventure you run! Downtime is an official part of Tales of the Valiant Player’s Guide, giving your PCs a way to interreact with the world between dungeon delves and combat encounters.

Scouting Downtime Activity

To scout part of a region requires a map of the area, navigator tools, at least one day of effort where you focus on observing and staying unseen. Follow the instructions below.

The Attempt. Choose a general area of the map and perform three different ability checks: DEX (Stealth), WIS (Perception or Survival), and INT (Nature). If desired, the character who has an appropriate proficiency can replace one of these skill checks with a DEX (Thieves’ Tools) or INT (Navigator Tools) check. The DCs for each check can be determined randomly or set according to local terrain and conditions.

Resolution. Once all checks are complete, tally the outcomes and consult the Scouting Outcome table.

Scouting Outcome

Check ResultsOutcome
Three failuresYou find nothing and are exhausted from the work. You must succeed on a CON save against the lowest DC assigned during the scouting attempt or gain one level of exhaustion.
One successYou find a notable location. Roll 3d20 on Location Name and Terrain Table to learn the location’s name and environmental appearance. Alternatively, you can check off one hex or a square mile’s worth of the regional map as having no notable locations.
Two successesIn addition to the One Success result, you find a notable occupant or feature. Roll 2d20 on Location Occupants and Features table to determine the “who” and “what” that occupy the location.
Three successesIn addition to the Two Successes result, you observe an encounter which you do not need to engage during scouting. Roll 1d12 on Location Encounter Type table to determine what you can expect.

Location Generator Tables

The following tables provide a quick method for generating and populating random cellars, dungeons, and other locations. Depending on the number of successes a player gets during the scouting downtime activity, they can potentially learn up to half of a location’s details before they even set foot at the location. However, determining the type of encounter and the type of treasure should, in most cases, be left to the GM to determine.

In the event that a player fails to determine any clear facts about a location through scouting, the GM can pick or randomly determine a location’s details, if any. If a result at any stage of generation doesn’t fit with the campaign setting or story of your game, feel free to pick from the options, call for a reroll, or make up your own.

Location Name and Terrain Table

Use this table to determine what your location is called and the terrain inside. Roll a d20 for each column on the table.

GM’s Note. Unless you want to make a full session of play focused on exploring a place, keep a generated location to just a single room in size.

Location Name and Terrain
3d20Name IName IITerrain Type and Environment
1ScorchedRefugeFrigid/Arctic. A mage’s lab, plagued by elemental ice.
2BrokenGraveFrigid/Arctic. A well-insulated meat locker, cold and contained.
3DecrepitCellarCoast. A seaside cavern, rippling with watery reflections.
4RancidBurrowCoast. A beached wreck, storm-wracked and hollow.
5BurialPitDesert. A sunbaked tomb, oppressive from the heat.
6SunkenHauntDesert. A quiet oasis, nestled amid sand-blown crags.
7BefouledDenForest. A hunting lodge cellar, packed with taxidermied trophies.
8ForlornHideoutForest. A serene grove, open to the sky but locked in by brush.
9FrigidCacheGrassland. A sinkhole, gradually widening with every passing hour.
10SeethingWorkshopGrassland. A hilly overhang, the perfect spot for a quiet moment.
11SwampedCavernMountain. A shallow ravine widened out from a landslide.
12FesteringRedoubtMountain. A cliffside cavern, echoing with vertical chambers.
13CrowdedLairSwamp. A sunken hut choked with vegetation and debris.
14BloomingHovelSwamp. A small island, walled in by reeds and deadfall.
15SeepingSiteUnderground. A depleted mineshaft, devoid of industry.
16FloodedLodeUnderground. A stone forest, studded with stalagmites.
17HallowedHollowUnderground. A jagged fissure, solid stone cleaved apart.
18CrumblingRuinUrban. An unlocked basement, forgotten and free.
19AbandonedTunnelUrban. An old speakeasy, littered with relics of past vices.
20CharnelStorageUrban. A makeshift workshop, rife with half-finished projects.

Location Occupants and Features Table

Use this generator to determine who and what (if any) PCs find at the location. Roll 2d20 and consult the table below to determine the type of creatures present and a notable environmental feature.

GM’s Note. If you’re unsure what creature to use after determining what creature type is found, you can use the Kobold Press Monsters Tool. With a variety of filters to narrow down your search, you’re sure to find some critter that fits the bill and inspires your story.

Location Occupants and Features
1–6No one.Nothing.
7AberrationsDelicate mushrooms and fungus everywhere, ready to release spores at the slightest provocation.
8BeastsA complex puzzle of lit and unlit braziers, requiring teamwork and clever thinking to solve.
9CelestialsA monument (AC 17, 30 HP damage resistance to most) to vile pursuits, celebrating hatred and strife. It pulses with dark power.
10ConstructsFlooded water, waist deep and brackish, posing difficult terrain for most average-sized creatures.
11DragonsA stockpile of crates and equipment, perfect for cover in tense encounters.
12ElementalsMounds of plague-ridden corpses, festering with buzzing insects and opportunistic pests. Diseases run rampant here.
13FeyThe desks, tools, and shelves of a hastily assembled study or workstation. Improvised weapons are always within reach.
14FiendsA maze of iron and steel beast cages, stashed away by absent poachers or game wardens. All too easy to find oneself behind bars.
15GiantsA multistep puzzle of weighted gates and sluice tunnels, requiring coordination and precision timing to resolve.
16HumanoidsA massive sigil painted on the ground, exhibiting the sacred geometry of some undefined magic spell. It pulses with wyrd power.
17MonstrositiesAn assortment of chairs and tables arrayed for some future gathering. Difficult terrain or useful cover?
18OozesA spell scar, pulsing with unstable ley line energy. It thrums with primordial power.
19PlantsA ransacked caravan vehicle, torn apart and in a state of partial reassembly.
20UndeadA creature’s den or nest, littered with warm fuzzies and the bones of past meals.

Location Encounter Type Table

Roll a d12 and use this table to generate an objective for your location’s encounter, or choose from the list or make your own.

Location Encounter Type
d12What is the encounter?
1–2No encounter. Either no one is present or the occupants are nonviolent.
3–4Straightforward encounter. Defeat all monsters.
5–6Timed encounter. Protect an investigating NPC, guard a location against destruction, or destroy an environmental feature within the time limit. Lasts for 2, 3, or 6 rounds depending on the desired difficulty.
7–8Rescue encounter. Protect a small group of wounded adventurers from their pursuers.
9Defense encounter. Fend off waves of attackers with their boss or alpha arriving with the final wave. Lasts for 2, 3, or 6 rounds depending on the desired difficulty.
10Goading encounter. Draw out an apex predator or jealous boss by defeating 4d6 + 6 minions or offspring (each CR 0 or 1/4) quickly within 2 rounds.
11Disrupting encounter. A group of magic users attempts a dark ritual while their followers observe nearby. Stop them all within 3 rounds to prevent the ritual’s success.
12Delayed encounter. Creatures attack only when an attempt to leave is made, ambushing with surprise.

Location Treasure Table

Roll a d10 on this table to determine the loot that shows up at the location.

Location Treasure
d10What is the reward?
1–2Bust. Nothing worth taking but the blood, sweat, and tears of the experience.
3–5Simple. Coins and other expensive trinkets kept in a single chest.
6–7Useful. 2 Chests. Contents include both gold to spend and 2d4 potions of healing for the trouble.
8Worthy. 1d4 + 1 chests, containing an appropriate treasure hoard commensurate to the challenges.
9Enigmatic. Amid Worthy treasure, a curious trinket of yet unknown origin and purpose.
10Stolen. Despite the treasure’s Worthy quality, it is clearly stolen and offers a moral dilemma in the acquisition.

about Sebastian Rombach

We can neither confirm nor deny that Sebastian is actually three raccoons in a trenchcoat. His freelance contributions can be found in Tome of Beasts 2, Tome of Heroes, and more. You can roll dice with him at https://startplaying.games/gm/dontbreakthedm or follow him on Twitter and Instagram @dontbreakthedm.

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