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In the "Downtime Revisited" section of Xanathar's Guide to Everything, pages 123-134, it gives you various suggestions with what to do with a week of downtime. My character is being given a week of downtime and they need to make as much money as they can within this week.

Which of the available options would give the most money after one week?

Some thought/restrictions (although answers can still mention these excluded options alongside the best for my case if they wish):

  • Crime: My character isn't really built as a rogue, and my DM may well require me to have a relevant background, like Criminal, to qualify for this downtime option, so this one's out.
  • Gambling: This can go well, or badly (that's why it's called gambling), but I don't have that much money to begin with, so although it's probably the best option if you have lots to start out with and are happy to risk it (as the amount you can make scales with how much you put down, assuming you win), it wouldn't really help me much as the risk isn't worth the reward when I don't have much to start with.
  • Pit Fighting: Obviously, all PCs can fight, since D&D is a combat-centric game, but I'm not a combative class, I'm a warlock who's trying to go for more of a "summoner" playstyle, so this probably won't be my strong suit. Then again, it appears to be "nothing lost, nothing gained" if I lose, so if might be the best one for me, unless the others are better?
  • I was considering just going with the "Work" option, and hoping I roll well enough to get that extra 25gp, but the Pit Fighting option already outpaces that even if I only roll well once out of three times, so I'm guessing that Work isn't much good after all...

So to clarify: I'm excluding Crime and Gambling as I don't think they'll be appropriate, and I'm looking for an option that tops Pit Fighting, which appears to be the best one at a glance for making money quickly.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ As far as I can tell, Crime, Gambling, Pit Fighting, and Working are the only options that make money at all? If I'm missing something, that'd be great to know. (oh you could also sell things you craft...) Should we assume any tool proficiencies? Also is there only one character with this week of downtime? \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Jul 18 at 14:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ All other PCs will also have a week of downtime, but I assume they'll be doing their own thing. Also, I do not have any tool proficiencies, but I do have a musical instrument proficiency (although I think that's only relevant to "Work"). \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Jul 18 at 14:17
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It seems there is nothing better than pit fighting (that is simple and direct)

Excluded: Crime, Gambling

Do not make money: Buying a magic item, carousing, crafting an item, relaxation, religious service, research, scribing a spell scroll, training

Pit fighting: The best simple option, like you already found but with a slight risk.

Selling a magic item: Can make lots of money, but you need an item first, so probably not what you had in mind.

Of course you could craft an item first, but for a magic item this would use at least to weeks (one crafting, one selling) and then only give as much as working on a good roll, and less than pit fighting in most cases.

For nonmagic items, no time is needed for selling. However, you can craft only 50 gp worth of items in one week with an investment of 25 gp, earning 25 gp in the week which is probably less than pit fighting, unless you have not a single success while pit fighting. It has no risk, though.

Work: Gains 25 gold on a roll of 21+

Of course, some payoffs can be potentially used to gain money: contacts from carousing, favors from religious service, or lore from research. They do not translate directly to money, however. This would need some further thinking and the amount to be gained in any case would be strictly up to the GM.

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