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In multiple official materials (Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Xanathar's Guide to Everything), characters are given the option to pursue downtime activites. The DMG and Xanathar's Guide both have multiple activities that allow varying degrees of success (such as Sowing Rumors, Selling a Magic Item, Carousing, etc.).

The only explicit mentions of multiple character working on the same downtime activity seem to appear in the section on nonmagical and magical item crafting in the PHB (p.187)/DMG (p. 129) and the alternate rules laid out in Xanathar's Guide to Everything (p. 128).

Are there any rules (official, playtest, JC tweet, etc.) for multiple characters working on the same downtime activity that is not item crafting?


For example, consider Crime (Xanathar's page 130), where you are called upon to make three checks: Stealth, Thieves' Tools, and Investigation/Perception/Deception. The number of successes you get determines the result of the criminal enterprise (jailtime, no spoils but escape successfully, some treasure, full treasure).

Is there anything in the rules that allows the two to work together on this same activity (both going on the heist together)? If so, how would this work (the character with the better bonus makes a given check, possibly with advantage, etc.)?

Please support your answer with official sources. This is not an AL session but rules for AL are ok so long as they are official. I am not the full-time DM so it's not simply a matter of house-ruling it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What specific questions or issue are you looking for rules to solve? As in, what specific aspects are not covered in the rules you list? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jan 26 '18 at 19:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose It seems to me that the question is whether or not the absence of rules for activities other than those that explicitly listed is supposed to imply that they cannot be worked on together, and whether there are any general rules or guidelines for how to handle communal downtime activities beyond those explicitly listed. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jan 26 '18 at 20:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan This is fairly spot on. If there isn't any official ruling other than those listed, how would working together on a downtime activity work? I wouldn't think that something like the 'Help' action would apply, since that's a combat action, but is there a general rule somewhere in the official rules that would apply? It seems like a gap in the rules that two characters would rob the same house on the same night, or carouse in the same bar, or gamble in the same place, and not interact with each other in any capacity. \$\endgroup\$ – barvobot Jan 26 '18 at 20:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose Essentially yes, with the key distinction of it being the same downtime activity, not, for example, five characters all sitting at the bar during carousing and not acknowledging one another. \$\endgroup\$ – barvobot Jan 26 '18 at 20:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Looks good to me. Thanks for your help guys! \$\endgroup\$ – barvobot Jan 26 '18 at 20:54
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Note: Credit for assistance with this answer goes to @KorvinStarmast (https://rpg.stackexchange.com/a/114607/36317). Direct quotes from that answer are marked with (*).

This question falls under the purview of the "Working Together" rule. The rule essentially states that when characters work together to accomplish a task, one primary character, i.e. the one who rolls the check(s) for the activity in question, can gain advantage.

Sometimes, two or more characters team up to attempt a task. The character who's leading the effort -- or the one with the highest ability modifier -- can make an ability check with advantage, reflecting the help provided by the other characters. (PHB, p. 175)*

This comes with a caveat.

A character can only provide help if the task is one that he or she could attempt alone. (PHB p. 175)*

In your scenario, the characters "Working Together" on the Crime downtime activity from Xanathar's Guide — making checks for "Stealth, Thieves' Tools, and Investigation/Perception/Deception" — would roll as a group. The character with the highest bonuses (for proficiency and ability scores) would roll each check with advantage on the group's behalf.

I hope this helps!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I wonder how one can help another to be more stealthy or to pick a lock :/ \$\endgroup\$ – AntiDrondert Feb 1 '18 at 12:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ This works perfectly well for me since it's right in the PHB and I can point to it when discussing with the other DM. I'll be happy to accept it as the answer but I figure I'll give it a few more days (if only because I also tweeted JC to get his take on it). Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – barvobot Feb 1 '18 at 13:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AntiDrondert It's a downtime metactivity, not fully rolled out game play. The "assistant" for Stealth could provide a distraction. The assistant for picking a lock could hold a light source or make sure to have the right tool ready at hand (much like a surgeon and nurses), or do research on the types of locks used on the target location. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Feb 1 '18 at 18:40

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