Research - Downtime Activity in D&D 5e

Downtime Activity

Player's Roll
Access to a well-stocked library
or knowledgeable sages gains advantage!
Gold Spent...


DM's can allow players to research a monster, location, magic item or any other particular subject. Researching requires the following:

  • Access to Information: Research requires access to a library or a sage.
  • Cost of Research: Research costs at least 50gp spent on materials, bribes, gifts and other expenses. The character gets a with +1 bonus per 100gp spent beyond the initial 100 gp (to a max of +6).
  • Time: Research requires 1 workweek (5 days) to complete.
After one workweek of research, the character then makes an Intelligence check with their modifier for gold spend (see above). If a character has access to a well-stocked library or knowledgeable sages, they gain advantage to the check.

Research Results

Using the player's Intelligence roll and the modifer for gold spent, check the table below for the amount of lore they obtain. Each piece of lore is the equivalent of one true statement about their topic of research. Examples include knowledge of a creature's resistances, the password needed to enter a sealed dungeon level, the location of a lost key, the spells commonly prepared by an order of wizards, etc.

Check Total Outcome
1-5 Outcome:  No effect.
6-10 Outcome:  You learn one piece of lore.
11-20 Outcome:  You learn two pieces of lore.
21+ Outcome:  You learn three pieces of lore.

Research Complication

After every workweek of research, there is a 10% chance of a complication occuring. Research complications can including: inaccurate information, rivals with other scholars and bad advice.

d6 Complication
1 Complication:  You accidentally damage a rare book.
2 Complication:  You offend a sage, who demands an extravagant gift.
3 Complication:  If you had known that book was cursed, you never would have opened it.
4 Complication:  A sage becomes obsessed with convincing you of a number of strange theories about reality.
5 Complication:  Your actions cause you to be banned from a library until you make reparations.
6 Complication:  You uncovered useful lore, but only by promising to complete a dangerous task in return.
† Might involve a rival.

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