Best Ideas & Activities For Downtime in D&D 5E

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).

Ah, downtime.

When you’re new to Dungeons and Dragons, extra downtime can seem a little daunting. With a whole world to explore, what’s even in the realm of possibilities?

As always, the best thing you can do is ask your DM. Some will allow some things, others won’t.

Here are some ideas to get you started.


7. Check out a Library

Just like in real life, libraries are fantastic ways to glean information.

Your DM might make you roll a Perception check to see if you can find a particular book, or maybe an Insight check to see if you can even understand what you’re reading.

By visiting a library, you might find useful information on enemies you might encounter in your campaign, or something to help the plot along. Either way, it’s definitely worth it to get reading!


6. Explore an Area

Sometimes, having the lay of the land makes all the difference in a fight.

Having the party explore the town not only gives them better knowledge of what to expect as far as terrain goes, but also might help with planning to get the upper hand should an encounter happen.

You might also find other things, like loot, or even maybe trigger an encounter to bring you closer to your next level.


5. Visit a Tavern

This is a pretty standard thing to do during downtime.

There’s often lots of interesting NPCs that can be found in taverns, like brooding hooded figures in the corner, drunken hooligans, or barmaids for the party Bard to chat up.

Another fun thing that can happen in taverns are games.

Your DM might have you play a game of chance, such as rolling dice and seeing who rolls higher, to earn loot like money or trinkets.

The tavern can also be a fantastic source of information and sidequests!


4. Bond with your Party

While strong bonds can be forged in the flames of war (i.e. encounters), maybe you can get to know each other on a more personal level during your downtime.

Talk about backstories, interests, ambitions, anything really.

Your characters could become best friends, or maybe even lovers!

Legacy characters can be so much fun, so don’t be shy to chat up the members of your party.


3. Go Hunting

Is your DM one that has you keep track of rations?

Sometimes you can score a free meal or two (and some EXP!) if you go hunting.

Track down a deer, rabbit, or fowl, and make sure not to pulverize the meat if you want to consume it! This is a great way to get some easy combat in, too – as long as you aren’t hunting bears.


2. Do Some Spying

This is advice for the party rogues:

There’s information everywhere, so keep your ears open to listen for it.

Sometimes, your DM will drop relevant plot information if you roll a high enough Perception check.

It’s a great way to spend some time, and get the party some valuable information at the same time.

Whether you’re hiding behind a corner or just eavesdropping in the tavern, there’s probably someone who knows something, you just have to listen for it.


1. Go Shopping

If you’re in a town or city, chances are you’ll find some pretty interesting stores to peruse.

Once you’ve gathered enough coin, you might even be able to buy something.

Tip: Always keep an eye out for magic items, because they can be absolutely game-changing when equipped.

Whether you’re going to an armorer, weaponsmith, blacksmith, or someone who deals in magical reagents, it’s definitely worth going to check out their wares if you want to advance the damage that you deal.

Browse: Tabletop Games