Now the box on page 159 says that if you live in the wild and practicing a profession you have the equivalent of a poor lifestyle and if you have proficiency in the survival skill you have the equivalent of a comfortable lifestyle.

But what level of lifestyle do you have if you do nothing during downtime, that is you don't train, craft or recuperate?

And what level of lifestyle do you have if you do something else besides practicing a profession such as one of the other downtime activities?

I know that this is dead easy to house-rule but I'm wondering if there exist any official guidelines like RAWs?


2 Answers 2


Practicing a Profession is one of the ways to spend your downtime. Specifically, it's a way to spend your downtime without paying a fee (provided you want to maintain a comfortable lifestyle). If you practice a profession in town, you can lead a modest, comfortable or wealthy one (depending on circumstance), if you do so out of town, you can lead a poor one (unless proficient in survival which allows comfortable).

If you don't want to work, and want to spend your downtime doing something else (or nothing at all), you must pay for whatever lifestyle you want to afford. So if you don't want to pay, you'll lead a Wretched lifestyle, with the benefits and penalties that come with that (and trust me, there will be serious penalties to doing this longterm).

Lifestyle expenses are listed in the chapter 5 of both the PHB and BD&D rules (p 157 of the PHB, p 53 of BD&D). They are also described there. The rules are effectively, you are considered to live the lifestyle you pay for (though the Adventurer's league is a bit more strict, to drop you only have to spend 1 night living the lower lifestyle, but to increase you must spend 30 days paying for it).

As far as living in the wild without practicing a profession, you'll still need to pay for a lifestyle then, because "practicing a profession" in the wild represents the things you need to do to survive, if you're not spending time catching food, maintaining your tools and habitat, you're going to have to pay someone else to do so if you want to maintain a specific standard of living. Otherwise you're living conditions are considered wretched and you would be subject to whatever conditions the DM wills on you (likely disease and bandits on a frequent basis).

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you mean to say "If you practice a profession in two, you can lead a modest lifestyle..." as per the Practicing a Profession section on page 187 PH. You can maintain a comfortable lifestyle only if you belong to an organization that can provide gainful employment (thieves' guild, temple, etc.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 0:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Brian_Drozd edited to be more inclusive of all allowed lifestyles for practicing profession. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 0:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ So what you are saying is that just living in the wilds equals practicing a profession. But what then if you want to actually practice a profession in the wild, like a ranger working as a trapper, what then? And what about if you want to do another action like a druid recuperating in the wilds? Seems weird that everything is so town centric and that nature oriented characters has to head to a town to do anything except surviving. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chryckan
    Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 8:54
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Chryckan Likely that's something to work out with your DM, it's not codified, but it is certainly possible. Likely the outcome would be similar, you'd eke out a poor existence (the costs of the furs you trap would offset the additional expenses of not spending all your time surviving) or a comfortable one (if you're trained in survival). \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 11:37

You have the lifestyle you pay for. That is, choose one of the following: Wretched, Squalid, Poor, Modest, Wealthy or Aristocratic. For each day that passes, pay the price listed in the Lifestyle Expenses table on page 53 of the D&D 5e Basic Rules for that chosen lifestyle.

Naturally, you have to be able to afford the chosen lifestyle.


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