I am strongly considering that my next campaign use the Gritty Rest variant, or at least a close variation on it. And I'd like your thoughts on how this will impact play. I've got a couple of thoughts I'd like to address already, but I am even more looking forward to your thoughts, especially if you have run Gritty Rest before. My goal is to fit encounter-per-long-rest to my DMing style, with 5-8+ encounters between long rests. So this isn't "lots of encounters per long rest", this is "the correct number of encounters per long rest".
To give a fuller context, I was also planning on starting at 5th level (players who have been together for several campaigns) and I was intending to expand skill usage to cover more heroic fantasy level tropes as they go up tiers. For example while a T1 PC with proficiency in handle animals might be able to keep a suspricious beast from going hostile, a T3 PC (or T2 with expertise) might be able to calm a charging mother bear and befriend the cubs. Since the party will be starting in T2, they will already be able to do things past the "real world" with their standard proficiency. I think that will help keep things fantastical, and also help replace some things currently done with utility spells that are instead spread among the entire party, caster or not. I use Milestone leveling, so the party avoiding meaningless encounters will not hurt them in advancement. One last thing - I will be using the various optional abilities in Tasha's with one exception: Harness Divinity, the regaining of spell slots by using a channel divinity.
Anyway, here's a list of concerns I've already thought of, and I'm looking for you to add more that I missed:
Short rests per long rest
First the ratio of short rests (overnight) to long rests (7 days) will be rather off, with a lot more short rests. This will empower short-rest-recovery classes like the warlock, the monk, and fighter (battlemaster). Actually, that's not true. I think those classes will stay in balance with the at-will classes, but both will have an advantage over the long rest recovery classes like the casters, as well as the hybrids like the paladin or the barbarian.
Are there any (sub)class or racial features that I should reduce uses of and move to per short rest? For example, halve number of barbarian rages, but restore one used one on a short rest? I'd mildly prefer not to do this, but will if needed.
I had back-of-the-napkin gritty rest rules for a campaign I ended up not running:
- Short rest. Costs an hour or less (whatever is appropriate). Allows the PCs to spend Hit Dice.
- Medium rest. Costs time as RAW long rest and is limited to one per 24 hours like a 5e RAW long rest. Allows PCs to spend Hit Dice. Recovers and/or triggers abilities that look for "on a short rest". Also recovers Hit Dice up to the character's proficiency bonus.
- Long rest. Costs 3-7 days, possibly depending on comfort level or cost of living. I hadn't decided yet. Otherwise works as RAW long rest, but always recovers 100% of Hit Dice.
I also planned to take from AiME one of the journey rewards that a given night of rest might count as a long rest. If you have a particularly hospitable or magical rest, that upgrades it. I've no idea how often I'd pass those out, though.
Long duration spells (& rituals)
Some spells are meant to last for multiple encounters, or for "all day". With fewer slots, do I still support these intentions? And where's the cut-off for some things are still back to back. For instance, 10 minutes I wouldn't touch, but 1 hour I could make 4 hours. Do I do this for all casters, or all Spellcasters and leave Pact Magic alone?
For the all day ones, do I make them them into rituals? If so that gets rid of any slots used on them, and expands usage like using Mage Armor on every light armor wearer. Plus it doesn't handle spells like Hex having a longer duration when upcast. Perhaps I should just increase those as well. 8 hours becomes 3 days, 1 day become until next long rest.
I'd mainly do it on a case-by-case basis, possibly with the discussion of the table, but for the most part I'd try to avoid changes. I would eliminate Tiny Hut's Ritual tag. I would allow Mage Armor to be cast as a Ritual if the target is the caster.
If you're going to change a spell, though, change it for Pact Magic, too. Eldritch Blast with Agonizing Blast already starts to look a little too good, but I'd have to see it in play to really know if it was a problem.
Magic item recharge
If you consider a week of adventuring and then a week of downtime, that's 14 days. I was thinking on making magic items that recharge do so on the new and full moons.
I would probably have them recharge at dawn or whatever made sense for the item. That is, no change at all. Yeah, that makes wands and staves really potent. Good!
While a Medium encounter doesn't feel like all that much, it it attrition of resources. This is just to remember that Gritty Rest will likely ensure the game will be heavily attrition based and that even lesser encounters will have repecussions, and that limited resources spent avoiding an encounter might be best.
You still can only expect the PCs to tackle 6-8 Hard to Medium encounters per long rest. Maybe a little more than that with the slightly upped healing, but probably not that much more. That means dungeons might have to look a bit different.