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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 or trance. 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.

Breather

Anyone can take a breather. This is a period of downtime at least 1 hour long, during which they perform no more than lowkey activity such as eating and drinking, donning or doffing armor, reading and talking, or standing watch. If it is interrupted by adventuring activity—fighting, casting spells, marching, or similar—they must start the rest over to gain any benefit from it. At the end of a breather—creatures can spend Hit Dice to regain hit points, and adepts with sufficient training and XP level up.

Sleep or Trance

Anyone can sleep and some creatures can trance. At the start of either, one magic item can be chosen for attunement. Sleeping takes about 8 hours while trancing needs only 4. Warlocks benefiting from Aspect of the Moon can spend 4 hours reading their Book of Shadows instead of sleeping. Sleeping and trancing creatures are subject to the unconscious condition.
Upon waking—creatures finish attuning their magic items, and those who slept or tranced in comfort recover one Hit Die and one level of exhaustion. After waking, creatures can’t begin a new beneficial sleep or trance for 16 hours.

Short Power Meditation

Adepts can take a short meditation of about 8 hours. While meditating, they are subject to the unconscious condition. When they finish meditating—adepts who prepare spells can change their lists, and features that can refresh at the end of a “short rest”, do so.

Long Power Meditation

Adepts can take a long meditation of around 1 day. While meditating, they are subject to the unconscious condition. When they finish meditating—adepts gain a level of exhaustion, those who prepare spells can change their lists, and features that can refresh at the end of a “rest” (long or short), do so.

Sleep Deprivation

The Sleep, Waking Someone, and Going without a Long Rest rules from XGE p78 apply to Sleep or Trance, mutatis mutandis.

Sleeping and Trancing in Armor

Characters sleeping or trancing in medium or heavy armor aren’t comfortable.

EDITED Changes are in green. 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.
 
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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?
 

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.
 

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