Camping outside the BBEG's door: yea or nay?

Fauchard1520

Explorer
I always found that napping outside the BBEG's chamber door strains my suspension of disbelief. If you're playing fast and loose with short rests times then OK. A two minute pause to catch your breath seems fair. But the full-on 8-hour sleepy time always struck me as a bit much.

Comic for illustrative purposes.

Do you guys press on when it's dramatically appropriate, or do you put on the jammies and regain your spells regardless of your surroundings. If so, how do you justify that mess within the fiction?
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
If they were polite, they would invite the BBEG to join them for roasting marshmellows and telling horror stories about their experiences with LG paladins around the campfire.
 

Dausuul

Legend
If the BBEG is sealed in its lair and can't come out to engage us, sure, we'll take a rest. Why not?

If the BBEG is not sealed in its lair, and we've killed a bunch of its minions so it knows we're coming, which is normally the case, then making ourselves prone and vulnerable to surprise right before combat seems like a bad idea.
 

Mort

Community Supporter
[/B]Do you guys press on when it's dramatically appropriate, or do you put on the jammies and regain your spells regardless of your surroundings. If so, how do you justify that mess within the fiction?
While it's certainly up to the players when and how long to rest, it's the DMs job to determine the consequences.

Resting right on the BBEGs doorstep is likely to have extremely foreseeable, unfavorable consequences for the players - unless they have some means of mitigating those consequences.
 

Celebrim

Legend
If you rest somewhere unsecure, expect to be attacked. If you don't keep a watch, there is a good chance this is a "You are all dead.", TPK as enemies with even decent stealth will probably be able to coup de grace several or all party members before anyone's alert enough to do anything about it. Even with a watch, things can go bad really fast because one PC can be incapacitated fairly quickly.

Also keep in mind what staying in an area for 8 hours means. It means urine and feces from everyone in the party (and their animals). Nature's call isn't usually worth worrying about, but if the PC's unreasonably ignore things have a plan for dealing with natures call or everyone will deal with unsanitary conditions. (In my typical dungeons, there are often areas designed by the original inhabitants to deal with these issues. The PC's are off course free to make use of any barracks, wells, garderobes, and so forth that remain in the dungeon in whatever degree of serviceability they are found.)

I also demand Endurance checks of varying difficulty to sleep successfully in uncomfortable conditions. If you try bedding down in an closet with a stone floor, in armor, with no sleeping gear, do not expect to rest successfully. Things will be worse if you are wet, hot, cold, or infested with parasites. Resting in poor camping spots with no real ability to rest is a good recipe for having Fatigue conditions inflicted on you.
 

aco175

Adventurer
I usually allow the PCs to take a rest, but they need to pull back and hide someplace which is normally designed into the adventure even if they do not find it. In 4e Keep on the Shadowfell, there was a place at the end of the hall with a illusionary wall you could see through from the inside. This was a great place to rest and keep guard, but allowed the game to continue. I would roll for wandering monsters and even active patrols if the monsters were smart.

The best thing is to pull back to outside the dungeon or all the way back to town. This forces the DM to shuffle things to keep realism active more than needed. The monsters would flee, or dig in and make traps and fortify things preparing for another attack. This now forces the DM to come up with new encounters for the areas that the PCs already went through since he does not know when the PCs are going to rest. I may come up with one or two new encounters if I have the week to plan, but if we are playing through the rest, I now have to throw something together to make it feel a bit more real and the players may get it, but if feels lacking to what would really happen.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Time is an important resource in my adventures. It's yours to waste, but much like wasting hit points or spells, there may be consequences. In many cases, the longer you give the villain to prepare or complete his or her goals, the harder things get. To some extent, that may be desirable from the player's perspective as it potentially means more XP, but that must be weighed against the likelihood of success.

As for resting in unsafe places, that will not go unanswered. But again, maybe the players want a nighttime ambush to burn off the last of their remaining resources before gaining the benefits of a long rest so as to maximize their XP gain on that adventuring day. If they don't want this, they can take steps to mitigate or eliminate the chances of it occurring by withdrawing (which may or may not have consequences with the passage of time as noted above).
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
How silly this is really depends on the actual bad guys. If the players just cleaned out the entire evil mage tower, slaying every minion they could find, but stopped just short of opening his study door then yeah, it's dumb. Essentially any bad guy that now knows you're coming makes this a ridiculous idea. Something more beast-y makes it less dumb.

Part of the blame needs to lie with the DM too (maybe), as there is possibly some encounter design that wasn't up to snuff. Sometimes the players eff that up despite the best laid plans of course, but that's different. But if the big bad is 8 encounters deep from the front door then it's already pretty likely that the players will get to the final encounter with significantly diminished resources, and that's assuming you can find narrative space for a short rest or two in there somewhere, which is a whole other problem.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
Back when I first started running, I was extremely reticent to kill PCs. As such, I did allow them to do so without consequence.

Nowadays, if they were to do so, I would likely give them a gentle warning. "Are you sure you want to make camp here? This area looks fairly trafficked." If they still decided to do so, then odds are they're going to be attacked during the night and whatever happens, happens. Admittedly, if they pull back it gives the enemy a chance to fortify or escape. In order to circumvent the issue, I try to either design dungeons that can be completed in a single adventure day, or include features that grant the benefits of a long rest (a desecrated temple to a good deity which, if cleansed, will grant the benefits of a long rest one time). Another example would be the classical healing fountain, if the adventure isn't two full adventure days.

Of course, sometimes things go wrong, the players have a string of bad luck, and are able to complete less than a full day. In those cases, they need to decide on whether to gamble and push on anyway, or retreat and accept the consequences that result.
 

Seramus

Adventurer
I will rarely kill off a party who chooses to sleep in an extremely unwise place, but I will probably hit them with some kind of dangerous situation that drains a lot of resources and makes the the final battle really damn hard. There are been times where the party even gave up, and accepted the consequences of having to back out of a dungeon.

But sometimes the narrative allows it, so sure.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Bad guys are generally reasonably intelligent. It's highly unlikely the BBEG will have a inner sanctum that does not have an escape route or is virtually impenetrable barring a siege. If the BBEG is an undead, I hope the PCs are ready to wait it out a long, long time.

So camp outside the doorstep and the BBEG knows you're there or can reasonably deduce it because all the patrols don't report in? At best when you do go in the place has been cleaned out. If you're unlucky, the place has a lot of traps in addition to being cleaned out. Worst case they call for reinforcements and when you wake up (if they don't just attack while you try to sleep) you wake up to find a small army ready to discuss the conditions of your surrender.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
"Dear PCS,
Heard you coming. Thanks for making change my ways. I took most of the loot. And don't break the pentagram as you open the door. "
The wizard quietly superglues the whisk broom to the bottom of door. Throws the demon some left over gp and leaves quietly by teleportation.
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
I’m a little torn on this. I don’t want them to have to face the BBEG with 5 HP and no spells left, but it absolutely breaks immersion to spend eight hours camped on the doorstep of the BBEG. If they’re just taking a short rest, I’d probably let them. But a long rest…maybe you shouldn’t be alpha-striking every single encounter.

Ultimately, I will let the PCs do whatever they want in this sort of situation, but there’s going to be consequences.
 
I'm planning a climactic raid for the climax of a current campaign. The party is likely to be pretty drained by the time they reach the lair of the Big Bad. The Big Bad is very badass. However, there will be a battle raging outside, so it wouldn't really make sense for the party to pause or their allies will be killed.

Any suggestions?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I'm planning a climactic raid for the climax of a current campaign. The party is likely to be pretty drained by the time they reach the lair of the Big Bad. The Big Bad is very badass. However, there will be a battle raging outside, so it wouldn't really make sense for the party to pause or their allies will be killed.

Any suggestions?
Make clear the risks and trade-offs inherent in the challenge, then let the players make their own decisions. Err on the side of giving "too much" information rather than too little. Use whatever contrivances you can think of to impart that info in a way that makes sense in context. Perhaps a grizzled veteran adventurer faced such a challenge before and made the mistake of doing battle with the villain while spent - the resulting battle cost him his legs and what could have been a lucrative career in adventuring. Or whatever.

What it sounds like to me is that they have to plan on conserving resources, which is not an unreasonable proposition in my view considering the game has at least some focus on resource management. Now you just have to remind them of this so that they're not operating under a different assumption. What follows will thus be fair, even if they fail.
 
Make clear the risks and trade-offs inherent in the challenge, then let the players make their own decisions. Err on the side of giving "too much" information rather than too little. Use whatever contrivances you can think of to impart that info in a way that makes sense in context. Perhaps a grizzled veteran adventurer faced such a challenge before and made the mistake of doing battle with the villain while spent - the resulting battle cost him his legs and what could have been a lucrative career in adventuring. Or whatever.

What it sounds like to me is that they have to plan on conserving resources, which is not an unreasonable proposition in my view considering the game has at least some focus on resource management. Now you just have to remind them of this so that they're not operating under a different assumption. What follows will thus be fair, even if they fail.
My players are experienced enough to understand the risks. The difficulty is in coming up with a choice other than "let your friends die" and "you die, then your friends die" that makes sense for the story. The only other things I can come up with so far with are "all the villain's minions are a pushover" and "you find a McGuffin of single use instant long rest".
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
My players are experienced enough to understand the risks. The difficulty is in coming up with a choice other than "let your friends die" and "you die, then your friends die" that makes sense for the story. The only other things I can come up with so far with are "all the villain's minions are a pushover" and "you find a McGuffin of single use instant long rest".
Can they take short rests? If so, they should be able to do 6 to 8 medium or hard challenges with a couple of short rests. If the villain challenge is deadly, then reduce the number of preceding encounters accordingly, perhaps setting it to 4 to 6 medium or hard challenges followed by a deadly encounter. If the players are experienced, this seems doable.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
The answer to this dilemma is always, “what would said bad guys do in a real life scenario?” I.e, it’s the DMs job treat the creatures as intelligent beings in accordance with their instinctual behavior and intelligence score (INT is there not just for spell casting, it has a big effect on how creatures should behave)
 

Draegn

Explorer
"Camping outside the BBEG's door?" Assuming the party has reached the "last" room of the dungeon it would depend upon the intelligence of the BBEG. Something like a jelly cube might sit there, owl bears make noise trying to find a way out, a wizard would have some escape magic.
 

HJFudge

Visitor
So I guess it comes down to 2 things:

1) Do I let the party do it? Yes, absolutely they can decide to rest right outside the door of the BBEG. Of course, its extremely unwise and will lead to consequences. But can they do it? Of course!

2) If this situation occurs, it is most likely because I did not properly pace the preceding events. Of course, I do not do a lot of 'dungeon crawls', so it is unlikely they've just got done clearing out every room for the sake of clearing out every room in the dungeon.

I think in order to avoid such a scenario, it is usually best to put time pressure on the party. A super simple example would be that the BBEG is about to cast some Doom Summoning Ritual that, if complete, will spell DOOM! Then create further tension by, as they get closer to their goal, showing how the ritual is nearing completion. If done right, the party wont ever suggest resting right before the door.

And if they do? Well, ritual complete. Consequences occur. Hard mission loss with long lasting penalties for the rest of the campaign (and possibly even campaign loss if its bad enough).
 

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