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D&D 5E Assaying Immersive Rest Rules

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
Taking the rest rules as written sincerely and working through them as facts about the game world reveals obvious dissonances. Additionally, the rules don't in my view yield an engagingly bracing game balance. I drafted an alternative built around the idea that rests are a real thing that people do in the game world, and that characters ("adepts" I am calling them, because I want to include NPCs with character-class equivalence) have a special power to meditate and gain uses of abilities. The idea is that this is an in-world solution to rests that also results in a more challenging game system. Please note that I accept D&D can't be used to model consistent worlds because many things are just how they are for the sake of big-tent RPG: I'm going ahead and trying it anyway. I would love to hear critiques of this as a system. Where is it broken, and what tweaks or additions might complete it?

Rest and Meditation

Most creatures refresh themselves through breathers and sleep. Adepts are those able to draw transcendent power into themselves through meditation; taking forms such as reverie, prayer, mantra, contemplation of the weave, or perfected self-control.

1. Breather

Anyone can take a breather, during which they perform no more than lowkey activity such as standing watch, eating and drinking, reading and talking, donning or doffing armor, and sleeping. Adventuring activity—fighting, casting spells, marching, or similar—interrupts it.
  • After 1 uninterrupted hour of lowkey activity—creatures can spend Hit Dice to regain hit points, and adepts with sufficient training and XP level up.

2. Sleep

When a creature that needs to sleep ends a 24-hour period without, it must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or suffer a level of exhaustion. Each consecutive 24-hours that passes without the benefit of a sleep increases the DC by 5. To sleep, a creature subjects itself to the unconscious condition. At the start of sleeping, one magic item can be chosen for attunement.
  • A creature wakes naturally after 8 hours sleep, which means it stops being unconscious. It will also wake up if it takes damage, or another creature uses an action to shake it.
  • After 8 hours sleep—a creature’s chosen magic item (if any) is attuned, and if it was comfortable, it recovers one Hit Die and level of exhaustion. It then cannot begin a new beneficial sleep for 16 hours.

Being Woken by Noise

Sudden loud noise—such as yelling, thunder, or a ringing bell—will wake most creatures, as can whispers within 10 feet if their passive Wisdom (Perception) score is 20 or higher, and normal speech if their passive Wisdom (Perception) score is 15 or higher, and the environment is otherwise silent (no wind, birdsong, crickets, street sounds or the like.)

Making Yourself Comfortable

Medium or heavy armor is not comfortable to sleep in. Circumstances, such as exposure to bad weather, can also stop a creature from being comfortable.

Sleep Alternatives

Creatures with the Trance trait subject themselves to the stunned condition instead of unconsciousness, and count 4 hours of trancing as equivalent to 8 hours sleeping. Warlocks benefiting from Aspect of the Moon can perform other lowkey activity in place of subjecting themselves to the unconscious or stunned condition.

3. Meditation

Adepts can enter meditation, choosing at the start if that will be for 8 hours or 1 day. They are then subject to the unconscious condition for that duration. The focus required is taxing, so meditation is not lowkey activity. It is interrupted if they take damage, or another creature uses an action to shake them.
  • After 8 uninterrupted hours of meditation—adepts who prepare spells can change their lists, and features that refresh at the end of a “short rest”, do so.
  • After 1 uninterrupted day of meditation—adepts gain a level of exhaustion, and features that refresh at the end of a “long rest” (with the exception of hit points and hit dice), do so.
  • Attuned magic items normally recharge with meditation: the item will specify how.
The need to meditate promotes formation of colleges, schools, orders, and the like, where adepts can watch over one another protectively.


[2nd EDIT - Following playtest, I have tightened up some aspects and rewritten in a subjective rather than objective mode. Note that sleeps/trances are also now breathers, and short meditations can flow into long. I also recited the lack of sleep rules for avoidance of doubt. Added a clarifier suggested by @Stalker0.]

[3rd EDIT - Added alternatives to sleep - as suggested by @Stalker0.]
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
On first glance it occurs to me this could be greatly simplified by cutting out the entire Hit Dice business and just making it that an 8-hour sleep or trance* regains you a certain percentage** of your maximum hit points, and removes a layer of exhaustion. Level-up would also only occur after one of these 8-hour rests.

Those Power Meditations look like suicide to do in the field as you're making yourself completely unaware of your surroundings - and thus defenseless - for either 24 or 48 hours. If nothing else I'd chop their durations by a lot, to maybe 4 and 8 hours respectively, maximum; with major reductions if the amount of things (spells, etc.) to be regained this rest is minimal. Even then, how is a lone-travelling caster ever supposed to do this without getting slaughtered by the first predator that happens by?

* - I'd allow Elves to trance for 4 hours but to get the benefits they'd need to spend another 4 hours, either immediately before or after the 4-hour trance, in "lowkey activity" as defined above.

** - this percentage could be quite variable depending on where you want to set the difficulty dial. A difficult game might have it at 10%, an easier one at 50%, and a somewhat gonzo one at 100%.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
On first glance it occurs to me this could be greatly simplified by cutting out the entire Hit Dice business and just making it that an 8-hour sleep or trance* regains you a certain percentage** of your maximum hit points, and removes a layer of exhaustion. Level-up would also only occur after one of these 8-hour rests.
That does make me wonder what work HD are actually doing in 5e. Or to put it another way, why does 5e really bother with HD?

Those Power Meditations look like suicide to do in the field as you're making yourself completely unaware of your surroundings - and thus defenseless - for either 24 or 48 hours. If nothing else I'd chop their durations by a lot, to maybe 4 and 8 hours respectively, maximum; with major reductions if the amount of things (spells, etc.) to be regained this rest is minimal. Even then, how is a lone-travelling caster ever supposed to do this without getting slaughtered by the first predator that happens by?
I am in fact expecting them to get slaughtered. You could be right about the durations though. I am going to play test this in my campaign so the first step is to choose some instructive values. One concept in setting initial values is test the envelope, not the middle ground.

EDIT I need to think about that "lone-travelling caster" case though. It does feel like a shortfall. Thank you for calling it out.

* - I'd allow Elves to trance for 4 hours but to get the benefits they'd need to spend another 4 hours, either immediately before or after the 4-hour trance, in "lowkey activity" as defined above.
I am borderline on simply removing trance from my game world. Simpler still :)

** - this percentage could be quite variable depending on where you want to set the difficulty dial. A difficult game might have it at 10%, an easier one at 50%, and a somewhat gonzo one at 100%.
It is a dial, agreed. I suppose the two tuning dials are %HP regain (whether direct or through HD) and rest/meditation durations.
 

I think that there is too much similarity in the restrictions of the short and long power meditations. If you have time pressure then even 12 hours of inactivity is discouraged. If you don't, then there is no reason that you'd not take the full 48 hours.

Given that you would need to be in a safe place to start with, the extra time for a Long power meditation is not meaningful enough difference.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
I think that there is too much similarity in the restrictions of the short and long power meditations. If you have time pressure then even 12 hours of inactivity is discouraged. If you don't, then there is no reason that you'd not take the full 48 hours.

Given that you would need to be in a safe place to start with, the extra time for a Long power meditation is not meaningful enough difference.
I believe you are right. Any thoughts as to a fix?
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
So... Here's how I would change things up.

1) Breather. Minimum 15 minutes maximum 1 hour. You can expend hit dice at the end of each 15 minute increment, but if you didn't get enough healing from your hit dice, you must take another 15 minutes to use additional hit dice. This shorter form of rest exists so players can make more use of their hit dice without delaying their pursuit of a villain too drastically, for example.

2) Meditation: 4 hours. People rarely meditate for 12 hour stretches. Yeah, there are yogis and the like who do so, but your player characters probably aren't going to be that. At the end of a Meditation you can expend as many Hit Dice as you like and recover your Short Rest abilities. Making the person meditating blind and deaf means that others cannot meditate at the same time, requiring shift protection of the incapacitated character, which means your party will likely cycle through meditations and get you those 12 hours.

3) Sleep: 8 hours of sleep, 4 hours for some people. Recover 1/4HD and that rank of exhaustion, plus other benefits you have listed.

4) R&R: 48 contiguous hours of Meditation, Sleep, Relaxation, Eating and Drinking, and quiet comfort during which all of the everystuff is recovered.

I'd also like to point out that if 2 of your players go through meditations for 4 hours each that gives everyone else enough time to get a full on Sleep in, by this method, while still keeping at least one person on watch.

I am curious, though... Do you intend for Fighters recovering their Battlemaster Dice to also sit peacefully focused inward in Meditations that can last days to recover their short-rest or long-rest abilities? Bards and Rogues, too?
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
So... Here's how I would change things up.

1) Breather. Minimum 15 minutes maximum 1 hour. You can expend hit dice at the end of each 15 minute increment, but if you didn't get enough healing from your hit dice, you must take another 15 minutes to use additional hit dice. This shorter form of rest exists so players can make more use of their hit dice without delaying their pursuit of a villain too drastically, for example.
You mention reducing HD recovered, and I agree with that. I'm actually going to start with just one recovered per sleep. That seems to me like the minimum and if that proves enough then we are there.

2) Meditation: 4 hours. People rarely meditate for 12 hour stretches. Yeah, there are yogis and the like who do so, but your player characters probably aren't going to be that. At the end of a Meditation you can expend as many Hit Dice as you like and recover your Short Rest abilities. Making the person meditating blind and deaf means that others cannot meditate at the same time, requiring shift protection of the incapacitated character, which means your party will likely cycle through meditations and get you those 12 hours.

I'd also like to point out that if 2 of your players go through meditations for 4 hours each that gives everyone else enough time to get a full on Sleep in, by this method, while still keeping at least one person on watch.
I definitely want this sort of opportunity for players to manage rests. Really, for a watch order to be mechanically interesting.

I am curious, though... Do you intend for Fighters recovering their Battlemaster Dice to also sit peacefully focused inward in Meditations that can last days to recover their short-rest or long-rest abilities? Bards and Rogues, too?
Yes. As an in-world solution, it is envisioned that this is how the world is. Whereas, as you say, people (in our world) rarely meditate for 12 hour stretches, in this world they will. Think of it as a mystic trance in which actual supernatural power is gathered (power to cause the sorts of effects characters control).
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
From feedback, I am tweaking my OP. I'll mark changes in a different colour or something.
  • Each Sleep recovers only 1 HD.
  • Short meditation shortened to 8 hours.
  • Long meditation shorted to 1 day, but character ends it with one level of exhaustion (so they will likely then sleep).
  • Long meditation refreshes long and short rest powers.
It looks like my campaign group (6 players) are up for trying this in our next session. The absolute cost of meditating might seem odd to some: the idea is that it is a very crisp mechanic. I pay absolute cost X (no interaction for so many hours) and get Y. And to put control in players hands by making the functions distinct and able to be overlapped or scheduled freely.
 

Stalker0

Legend
So there are a lot of words here, but from my understanding this is a summary of the actual changes.
  • Short Rest: No longer refreshes "short rest" abilities
  • Long Rest: No longer refreshes "long rest" abilities. Recover 1 HD and 1 Exhaustion level.
  • Short Mediation (New): 8 hours. Recover short rest abilities, can change spells.
  • Long Mediation (New): 24 hours. Recovers all HD (I assume, you did say all rest abilities) and rest abilities, can change spells. Gain 1 Exhaustion.
So from a practical course we are looking at something between the original system and the grittier variant posted in the DMG (aka 1 day short rest/7 day long rest).

So in this model, long rest is will be rarely seen in most groups imo, unless to ward off that exhaustion. Aka when your out adventuring, they will try to avoid it.

So I think the big difference is that with the meditation, you are really really stressing the party has to be in a safe place....because any interruption and they lose all the benefits. This is kind of like the "haven" concept from Levelup, but I like that effectively you aren't enforcing a gamist view of where you can, the party is free to rest (aka meditate) whereever they wish....but with clear gambles if they do it in even a possibly dangerous place.

Your now also are requiring basically 2 days to get a player "up to full" instead of 1 day.... or more precisely 32 hours instead of 8.


I can see the merit, though the flavor of meditation doesn't work in every game, if it works in yours the general numbers seem a reasonable middle ground between the base and the DMG variant.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
So there are a lot of words here, but from my understanding this is a summary of the actual changes.
  • Short Rest: No longer refreshes "short rest" abilities
  • Long Rest: No longer refreshes "long rest" abilities. Recover 1 HD and 1 Exhaustion level.
  • Short Mediation (New): 8 hours. Recover short rest abilities, can change spells.
  • Long Mediation (New): 24 hours. Recovers all HD (I assume, you did say all rest abilities) and rest abilities, can change spells. Gain 1 Exhaustion.
I'd better clarify that meditation doesn't do anything for HP or HD. So Long meditation doesn't recover any HD. As you noted it is a middle ground between base and DMG Gritty Realism. I am expecting that HP recovery will rely on spells and abilities, with HD as a kind of backup battery that takes many days sleep to fill back up.

I accept that this leans back into the party needing healers. At the same time, these are just the initial parameters for playtesting. I anticipate that we'll end up granting more HD with sleep, and possibly HP.

So from a practical course we are looking at something between the original system and the grittier variant posted in the DMG (aka 1 day short rest/7 day long rest).

So in this model, long rest is will be rarely seen in most groups imo, unless to ward off that exhaustion. Aka when your out adventuring, they will try to avoid it.
We use XGE so foregoing sleep eventually demands Con saves to stave off exhaustion. You are right though, as things stand it seems reasonable to predict that characters will sleep as little as possible when adventuring. There is a good chance that we'll have to tune that once we see how it feels in play.

So I think the big difference is that with the meditation, you are really really stressing the party has to be in a safe place....because any interruption and they lose all the benefits. This is kind of like the "haven" concept from Levelup, but I like that effectively you aren't enforcing a gamist view of where you can, the party is free to rest (aka meditate) whereever they wish....but with clear gambles if they do it in even a possibly dangerous place.

Your now also are requiring basically 2 days to get a player "up to full" instead of 1 day.... or more precisely 32 hours instead of 8.
Exactly. The idea is to offer costs and benefits and let players choose. It is intentional that it will take much longer to get up to full. For me the base rests ease off the tension a bit too much.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
Summary of latest changes - I noticed XGE uses the unconscious condition to manage sleep, so I drew on that to manage meditating. I also added a reference to those rules to make it clear that characters will want to sleep sometimes even with maximum HD (to avoid exhaustion). I removed the requirement to eat and drink to regain HD, as other rules penalise lack of sustenance.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
I've made substantial improvements following a couple of mocked and one live playtest. My ToA campaign group (6 players) preferred these rules to what we were using (a version of Gritty Realism). They found a defensible room and cycled through sleeps and meditations until everyone had taken a rest of the type they needed. 32 hours in all. The party started with a breather and dumped healing magic, reinforcing a belief that regaining full HP from rests is unnecessary. As expected, characters taking long meditation also chose to sleep afterwards.

Random Encounters​

An encounter came up during the rest (I make a check per 8 hours). Three characters were unconscious, and we found using that condition (which is articulated in the XGE sleep rules) worked neatly. The unconscious characters felt appropriately vulnerable, and the active characters worked together to block tomb guardians from reaching them. Our rogue seemed pleased to find that with a 4-hour trance he was good to go. As DM, I loved that there was no doubt who was meditating and who was doing some kind of borderline activity: you're unconscious.

Magic Items​

Doubts came up about magic item charge refreshes. For now I am ruling that attuned items recharge with short and long meditation rather than sun cycles. As an example, a staff of striking recharges d3 after short meditation and then 2d3+1 more after long. Seeing as short flows into long this is 3d3+1 or 1 better than repeated short meditations.

Suspension of Disbelief​

I hoped that players would accept meditation as a fact about the world, and so far that seems to be working. They appear to appreciate that it was in some sense the ability to meditate that separated out "adepts" (aka PCs and generally, creatures with character-class equivalence). Attaching item attunement to sleep seems to help this.

Further Playtests​

Going forward we'll learn what happens as rests are iterated. There are no mandatory cooldowns, so I am curious to discover if players will alpha and then meditate, or if the conditions are strict enough that they will prefer to run a good number of encounters. I'd also like to see if they ever short mediate without also pausing for long meditation, seeing as we have a monk, a battle master, a cleric and a bard. I'll post again after a few more game sessions.
 

I think that in such a world, Leomund would have create a Tiny Hut that last 24+ hours and even can be upcast to have better defensive effect.
That will feel coherent with resting law.
 

Stalker0

Legend
One thing just to make your language a little tighter. Instead of saying 8 hours of sleep or 4 hours of trance in multiple spots….just use the 8 hours…and then add a clause that 4 hours of trance equals 8 hours sleep.

that makes things a little tighter and less wordy, and help remove any confusion that trance and mediation could be similar when you first read it

also you had mentioned in a previous post that HD are not supposed to fully regenerate after a long meditation…but that is still not specified
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
I think that in such a world, Leomund would have create a Tiny Hut that last 24+ hours and even can be upcast to have better defensive effect.
That will feel coherent with resting law.
The unhappy brevity of the hut's duration is a feature, not a bug.


EDIT Note that to some extent I agree with you. Still Leomund might have been thinking of facilitating safe breathers, sleeps and short rests, and perhaps 24 hours lies beyond the power the spell can muster.
 
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clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
One thing just to make your language a little tighter. Instead of saying 8 hours of sleep or 4 hours of trance in multiple spots….just use the 8 hours…and then add a clause that 4 hours of trance equals 8 hours sleep.

that makes things a little tighter and less wordy, and help remove any confusion that trance and mediation could be similar when you first read it
That is a good idea. The "sleep or trance" verbiage was bugging me! Better to handle trance like Aspect of the Moon, i.e. as a modifier to or replacement for sleep.

also you had mentioned in a previous post that HD are not supposed to fully regenerate after a long meditation…but that is still not specified
1 HD is recovered after a sleep, and nowhere else are HD recovered.

It sounds like there could be a reasonable expectation carried over from PHB, that silence on the subject could entail HD recovery on long meditation. For avoidance of doubt, I could add wording to say something like "No hit points or dice are recovered with meditation".
 

Stalker0

Legend
It sounds like there could be a reasonable expectation carried over from PHB, that silence on the subject could entail HD recovery on long meditation. For avoidance of doubt, I could add wording to say something like "No hit points or dice are recovered with meditation".
I would do it as simply as this:

"features that refresh at the end of a “long rest”, with the exception of Hit Dice and Hitpoints, do so"
 

Grendel_Khan

Adventurer
Taking the rest rules as written sincerely and working through them as facts about the game world reveals obvious dissonances. Additionally, the rules don't in my view yield an engagingly bracing game balance. I drafted an alternative built around the idea that rests are a real thing that people do in the game world, and that characters ("adepts" I am calling them, because I want to include NPCs with character-class equivalence) have a special power to meditate and gain uses of abilities. The idea is that this is an in-world solution to rests that also results in a more challenging game system. Please note that I accept D&D can't be used to model consistent worlds because many things are just how they are for the sake of big-tent RPG: I'm going ahead and trying it anyway. I would love to hear critiques of this as a system. Where is it broken, and what tweaks or additions might complete it?

Going to unhelpfully respond that, while I don't have any specific rules-based feedback beyond what's been mentioned so far, I think this is conceptually really great. Having both PC abilities and the wacky rest rules be baked into the setting is such a huge step up from just sort of shrugging at stuff like new powers just popping into place after leveling, and the always hilarious business of people debating the exact length of time to rest after or before a fight. Bravo!
 


clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
I don't get the idea that higher level characters require weeks to recover, while level 1 are fresh after a day.
Indeed, hit point and dice recovery is up for scrutiny! In world, the way we are thinking about hit dice (and this came from my players) is that they are a battery or reserve, that refills at a constant rate. A high-level character can push past what a low-level character could... and accordingly take "longer" to fully recover. I put "longer" in quote marks, because if that is done in downtime, then the cost of full recovery is low even if it takes two weeks instead of one day. (And it's a design goal that recovery in general consumes more in-world time.)

Hit points haven't yet been at issue. The party currently has 9th bard, 9th rogue, 8th fighter, 7th cleric, 7th monk, 6th bard. They were down a massive number of hit points at the start of their rest. Seeing at the cleric was nearly out of spells, he cast out what he had. A bard used song of rest. Fighter spent second wind before meditating. In the same order as above, HP (HD), they ended the rest with 55/57 (5/9), 57/57 (4/9), 77/85 (9/9), 63/72 (4/7), 35/45 (2/7), 33/33 (6/6). I felt happy with this as one of my goals is for characters to carry the sting of earlier encounters on with them. They debated resting longer, and chose to move on.

With hit dice, we have a lot of prior experience in play here, as we have trialled a few sets of slower rest rules over the last few years. Outside the dungeon, sleep fits naturally into a day-night travel cycle (only so far you can march before checking for exhaustion), so in that frame sleep has a low 'cost'. The party then enters a dungeon with 'batteries' full. They get worn down as they venture deeper, and that is palpably felt in their dwindling HD totals. Bottom line? We know we don't want to recover many HD per rest.

Maybe later we will scale it. Something like 1/2 prof. bonus (round down as usual).
 

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