11
\$\begingroup\$

I'm trying to locate details on awarding downtime and renown in the Curse of Strahd.

The Curse of Strahd DM's Guide from Adventurers League says this about awarding renown (page 6):

Many adventures offer a renown award in the form of renown points for members of certain factions. Usually, this renown award will range from 0 to 2 points. Award renown points at the conclusion of an episode or adventure.

And about awarding downtime (page 6):

At the conclusion of each episode or adventure, award downtime days to each character. Adventures typically award 10 downtime days at the end of the episode or adventure unless otherwise specified.

The book is divided into 15 Chapters plus the Death House mini-adventure. In my view it would be much clearer to stipulate that each CoS "chapter" should be treated as an "episode or adventure" for the purposes of DT and Renown calulations but, since I can't find that exact wording, I'm left wondering.

So, what counts as an “episode or adventure” for the purpose of how to award Downtime and Renown in Curse of Strahd?

\$\endgroup\$
9
\$\begingroup\$

Legendary Dude is right, in that the nature of Curse of Strahd doesn't lend itself well to prospectively breaking it into "episodes" or "adventures." It's designed for the players to be able to meander along their own path, following such leads as they like.

But we've got lots of data from other AL materials to inform a scheme. Specifically, I tabulated the downtime and renown rewards from the twenty-three (mostly seasons 2 & 3) Expeditions modules I had on hand. These included five 1-hour adventures, eight 2-hour adventures, and ten 4-hour adventures.

All of the 1- & 2-hour adventures rewarded 5 downtime days. One 4-hour adventure also rewarded 5 downtime days, while the other nine rewarded 10 downtime days.

Most (18 of 23) modules reward 1 renown point to any faction member participating.* 13 of those 18 also conditionally reward another renown point to members of some specified factions. On average, it works out just over 1 2/5 renown points available per 4-hour adventure.

Summing this all up, AL practices would indicate the following scheme:

Award 10 downtime days per 4-hour session. Award one renown point to all faction members per 4-hour session. (Story-)conditionally award another renown point to members of 2 factions, on average, per 4-hour session. (And spread the love among the factions.)

Personally, I think that's too complicated. I've gone over to "rewarding" downtime as real time. That is, for every day that passes in real life my players earn a downtime day. (That way they've got more to play with when we have to miss a session!) I also think that's way too much renown--remember that the Expeditions format contemplated casual less-than-every-week play, the likelihood that a player would be using different characters week to week, &c. I would recommend dropping the "flat" 1 renown per session, and just stick to 2 or 3 conditional ones, as it makes sense in the story.

So, my best recommendation, after a few years of running AL games:

Award downtime as above, or as real time. Award renown points to two or three factions-worth of players, conditioned on meeting story "goals" keyed to each faction, per session.


* - the five that don't are the five linked 1-hour adventures. Each of these are aligned to a different faction and reward members of that faction 1 renown point at its completion. In other words, if we consider these as one 5-hour adventure, it's another one which gives all faction members 1 renown point.

\$\endgroup\$
9
\$\begingroup\$

The answer to your question really depends on whether you are running Curse of Strahd as an Adventurers League game (where the renown and downtime rewards matter in the semi-persistent Adventurers League system) or in a private (non-sanctioned) game.

If you're running your own game (not through Adventurers League), then you are free to reward downtime and renown as you see fit, whenever you feel it is necessary, and the guidelines in the Adventurers League DM's Guide don't matter. Since Curse of Strahd is more of an open sandbox than a linear adventure (the PCs are essentially dumped into Barovia and told to figure it out), it would be hard to delineate between chapters, as the chapters aren't used to define story progression but simply as a way of organizing the various locations in Barovia. PCs are essentially free from the beginning to wander about Barovia, and the DM should allow the PCs to choose where to go next and follow along in the book, not the other way around. There is no distinction between the "end" of one chapter/adventure and the "beginning" of another.

On the other hand, if you're running Adventurers League, each AL module should define exactly when the module/episode/adventure ends, and in that case you'll know exactly when to award renown/downtime.

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.