5E Short and Long Rest limited Actions
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  1. #1

    Short and Long Rest limited Actions

    I have to start by saying that I HATE actions that are limited use per day, especially the ones that do not make much sense in their limitation.

    Seriously, who can a fighter one do a single Action Surge (or 2 when 17th level) and then he needs a Short Rest. It makes no sense, in game it gives a cookie but with a balance so it is not overpowered. But immersion wise it is just silly. You are a trained fighter, your body honed to a physical level that none of us as real people can ever match. You can go into combat and as long as you have hitpoints left you can literally fight for hours (no rules for applying exhaustion if a combat continues into insane numbers of rounds), but once and only once you can push yourself and act double in a turn.

    The same can be said for lots of other abilities among other classes.

    This got me thinking. Hitpoints are not health really. They are energy, stamina, endurance, only the bottom 20% or less represent your bodies actual ability to take damage.

    So what if limited use powers cost hitpoints to use and that cost increased each time you used them. I will use Action Surge again as the example.

    Action Surge is physically taxing, using it to take basically an extra turn costs you 5 hitpoints as you excessively push yourself. Every time you use it after the first the cost doubles, second time 10 hitpoints, third time 20 hitpoints, etc etc. This increased cost resets AFTER you take a short rest, regain your strength and let your body recover. To allow for "Rule of Cool" situations the cost of an Action Surge is paid at the end of your turn, thus allowing you to chose to make that final effort to finish your foe before accepting the consequences.

    Your 8th level fighter is in the epic battle of his life. The rest of the party is beaten down and if the Fire Giant gets the chance to strike again one or more of your companions may die. Gritting your teeth you action surge for the fourth time this battle hoping to take down your opponent. The giant goes down under your rain of blows and as you stand their exultantly you take 40 points of damage and collapse dead or unconscious right after saving your friends and companions.

    This is epic, this is Beowulf and any other number of legendary heroes striking the final blow before succumbing to wounds and strain.

    More powerful abilities can be balanced by starting with a higher initial cost and/or the cost might only reset after a Long Rest instead of a Short Rest.

    Opinions?
    Last edited by JacktheRabbit; Friday, 26th January, 2018 at 04:29 PM.

  2. #2
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    It's a cinematic trope. If the good guy could do Blazing Murder Fist all the time, why didn't he use it on the first hundred mooks that attacked him instead of saving it for the BBG? Because drama! Or, also, in D&D, because balance since spamming a special effect makes that effect ... not special.
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    I guess that using a hit point cost to limit abilities could work, but you'd have to look pretty closely at balance issues. For instance, your action surge rule would make high level fighters much more powerful.

    Another concern is that it means as characters are injured, their capabilities drop. I guess that would make TPKs quite a bit more likely. Usually players know to break out the big guns when things are looking bad, but in your scenario that could easily be too late.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JacktheRabbit View Post
    More powerful abilities can be balanced by starting with a higher initial cost and/or the cost might only reset after a Long Rest instead of a Short Rest.

    Opinions?
    If it works for you, that's cool. You're combining two pools of energy together, which isn't necessarily a bad thing or impossible to do.

    Using your hit point example... you currently have a pool of "energy" (hit points) that is worth a certain number of points. And you spend those points doing stuff (like resist getting knocked out.) And you can only do stuff until the pool is empty, at which point you need to rest in order to refill your energy pool.

    Action Surge is the same thing, except that it's a pool of 1 point. You have a pool of "energy" that's 1 point deep and once you spend up to it you have to rest. Just like hit points might be a pool 25 points deep and once you spend up to it you have to rest. Or ki might be a pool 4 points deep and once you spend up to it you have to rest. Or Lay On Hands, or Sorcery points, etc. The mechanics are all pretty much the same. But the game creates this differing pools just because they tend to be easier for people to grasp and understand, and easier for them to balance.

    But if you want to try and start combining all these pools together, that's great. Best of luck with that, and it'd probably be an interesting design challenge to get it balanced. The game already has another "alternative pooling" system in place with the Spell Point variant rule, where they switch over individually-leveled pools of spell slots into one massive "spell pool" of points with which you can spend them to cast spells. And indeed, I've seen people attempt something like you are talking about by trying to combine the "Spell Point" pool and the "Sorcery Point" pool together to form one cohesive system for the sorcerer class where both spells and metamagic are paid for out of this combined pool. Which is why I don't dismiss your idea out of hand.

    The real question just ends up being whether Fighters actually need to be able to take additional Action Surges for the game to work better? What is gained from them getting that, other than this idea that being able to only do a fighter activity "one" time before resting doesn't "make sense"? There's a lot of stuff in D&D that doesn't "make sense" and can "break immersion"... so that's part of your dilemma. Why does this fighter activity warrant trying to re-write the rules for yourself, but so many other nonsensical things in the game don't?

    It's the age-old question any of us who fiddle with the rules end up asking. I do it all the time. I find something in the game I think could be done differently... I spend an inordinate amount of time futzing with things to try and get it to work... and then once I'm done I look at what I've put together and then honestly think to myself "Will this thing I've put together make any ACTUAL appreciable difference at the table if my players use it?" Or is it just one more oddity of a mechanical system that my players will use if I ask them to... but which won't actually result in my game feeling different?

    Usually the answer is 'No'. And why? Because so much of the game is roleplaying, and *not* game mechanics. Which means any individual game mechanic gets used so infrequently that any problem with it comes and goes and I barely notice it during play. It's only BETWEEN games or BETWEEN campaigns that my mind wanders around thinking "You know, this might be better if it worked like..." But once I'm in the game itself... any problems I might've perceived out of it, almost never get perceived while within.

    Good luck to you!
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    So, I agree with you that long rest recharge on nonmagical abilities is pretty weird from a narrative standpoint. Short rest recharge doesnít bother me quote as much, but are still weird. I agree with the idea of attaching a resource cost to such mechanics, but I donít know if HP is the resource I would go with. The Berserkerís Frenzy gives us a great model for long rest recharge martial abilities - just have the ability cause the character a level of Exhaustion. Exhaustion goes away at a rate of one level per long rest, and the first level isnít particularly detrimental in combat, so a Berserker can count on being able to Frenzy once per day safely, recovering that resource on a long rest. Plus it gives the character the option of pushing past that once per day limit, but will start causing more significant problems for the character and take longer to recuperate from for each use after the first in one day. Imagine if Action Surge worked the same way. Or, if you donít like the idea of Fighters having Disadvantage on ability checks for the rest of the day after Action Surging, you could add a buffer - after using it once, each additional time you use it before taking a long rest increases your Exhaustion level by 1.

    For short rest recharge, you could do something similar. Make a stacking debuff that goes away on a short rest and have those abilities cause the debuff. Or, in a similar vein to using HP as a resource for such abilities, have them cost Hit Dice. Similar to costing HP, but it costs future HP instead of current HP, and will sit better with folks who prefer to interpret HP as meat.
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    Even though the SR\LR concepts to bother me story wise, I like this concept a lot. One easy way to do it would be to make all 1/rest abilities cost a Hit Die to use. Battle master dice could recharge by spending a hit die. Each with the cost doubling each time you do it before a long rest. You could probably tack that right on top of the existing rules.


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    Quote Originally Posted by JacktheRabbit View Post
    Action Surge is physically taxing, using it to take basically an extra turn costs you 5 hitpoints as you excessively push yourself. Every time you use it after the first the cost doubles, second time 10 hitpoints, third time 20 hitpoints, etc etc. This increased cost resets AFTER you take a short rest, regain your strength and let your body recover. To allow for "Rule of Cool" situations the cost of an Action Surge is paid at the end of your turn, thus allowing you to chose to make that final effort to finish your foe before accepting the consequences.
    Then, under the rational of doing away with short or long rest recharging, the fighter would get to use Second Wind in the same way to offset the cost of the additional Action Surges... but what is the cost of re-using Second Wind again and again? I'm sure you could come up with something, but it all seems like too much futzing for not enough gain, IMHO - to paraphrase @DEFCON 1's post above.

    That said, if an alternative Action Surge rule works for your table, give it a whirl. Let us know how it goes!
    Last edited by DM Dave1; Friday, 26th January, 2018 at 09:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DM Dave1 View Post
    Then, under the rational of doing away with short or long rest recharging, the fighter would get to use Second Wind in the same way to offset the cost of the additional Action Surges... but what is the cost of re-using Second Wind again and again? I'm sure you could come up with something, but it all seems like too much futzing for not enough gain, IMHO - to paraphrase @DEFCON 1's post above.

    That said, if an alternative Action Surge rule works for your table, give it a whirl. Let us know how it goes!
    Perhaps Second wind could be changed to "As a bonus action, you can spend one of your Hit Dice to regain hit points, in the same way that you can do during a short rest."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlaquin View Post
    I agree with the idea of attaching a resource cost to such mechanics, but I donít know if HP is the resource I would go with. The Berserkerís Frenzy gives us a great model for long rest recharge martial abilities - just have the ability cause the character a level of Exhaustion.
    The Exhaustion track also has the benefit of actually representing the fatigue of the character, as compared to HP and hit dice which are vague and abstract but also entirely independent of the actual fatigue level of the character.
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    Short and Long Rest limited Actions

    Even though the SR\LR concepts donít bother me story wise, I like this concept a lot. One easy way to do it would be to make all 1/rest abilities cost a Hit Die to use. Battle master dice could recharge by spending a hit die. Each with the cost doubling each time you do it before a long rest. You could probably tack that right on top of the existing rules.


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