5E Changing rest periods

dnd4vr

Hero
I've been thinking about the game I am going to run and changing a short rest to 4 hours and a long rest to 24 hours.

I've come to think of them as a "night's sleep" (even short) where you are functional but not fully rested compared to a "day off" (where you know you won't have to go to work, sort of like a weekend day maybe) as short and long, respectively.

I'm baking in a mechanic to restore some spells for casters, but am concerned about other class features and recharging them. I know others have adjust rest times, so I am wondering what other issues might arise?
 

bedir than

Explorer
I've been thinking about the game I am going to run and changing a short rest to 4 hours and a long rest to 24 hours.

I've come to think of them as a "night's sleep" (even short) where you are functional but not fully rested compared to a "day off" (where you know you won't have to go to work, sort of like a weekend day maybe) as short and long, respectively.

I'm baking in a mechanic to restore some spells for casters, but am concerned about other class features and recharging them. I know others have adjust rest times, so I am wondering what other issues might arise?
You don't need to change any mechanics.

All that you've done is change the passage of time in your game world, as long as short rests are 2:1 with long rests.

Now, if you only expect a long rest once a ten-day, or so, things get quite complex.
 

Larnievc

Explorer
I’ve done it the other way with a long rest as an hour and it seemed fine as long as I upped the challenge of the encounters. I stopped that after a while though.

But when the party is doing a hex crawl I have a short rest as sleeping and a long rest as a full day off lazing around and it seems fine as they get through about 5-7 encounters per week.

None hex crawls are back to the standard rules.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Go for it. Changing how long a rest takes are even some of the official variants in the DMG.

The 5e Adventures in Middle Earth basically has that you never get rested enough on a journey for a long rest unless you stop at a sanctuary like Elrond's Last Homely House or something.

I'm working on a campaign idea right now that has a lot of travel and exploration and I want to be able to work in lots of hard travel over weeks without resetting spells and such all the time. So I'm moving to the DMG variant of 8 hours for a short rest and 7 days for a long rest. But I'm giving the characters a bit of a break based on the ideas of Adventures in Middle Earth (and a bit from Blades in the Dark).

You can get a long rest quicker by either (a) being at a sanctuary where you can fully recover without worry, (b) being pampered in expensive lodgings where all of your needs are taken care of, or (c) if you are engaging in your character's particular stress relief/vice. Might be 3 days spend gambling, or praying, or with ale and ladies of negotiable virtue, or meditating in freezing snow, or watching plays and listening to live music, or whatever does it for your character. With the explicit understanding that it's not to be a cheesy way to regularly get a long rest mid-adventure - occasionally is fine and desired, just not circumventing the whole change to resting.
 

aco175

Adventurer
I'll echo what [MENTION=6831843]Be[/MENTION]dir_than said with changing the time only affects your calendar. Unless you have a time crunch adventure where there is a deadline and taking a 4hour rest means something different than taking a 1hour rest. You can always build your deadline to account for a 4hour rest and move on.

How would changing the rest to the extreme change things. Like 4e, a short rest could be each encounter or 5 minutes and a long rest could be a hour. How about a short rest being a week and a long rest being a month. Both these examples change the campaign a lot and how you will play it.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
When you change the rests, even just duration, you drastically change the effectiveness of some of the classes. Just make sure you're up front with your players so they can avoid the short rest dependent classes (Monk and Warlock for example) because those classes are going to suck in your campaign.

What is your actual goal in changing the rests? You aren't changing them just because, so lets be granular about what it is you're hoping to change or what issue you're trying to solve.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
When you change the rests, even just duration, you drastically change the effectiveness of some of the classes. Just make sure you're up front with your players so they can avoid the short rest dependent classes (Monk and Warlock for example) because those classes are going to suck in your campaign.

What is your actual goal in changing the rests? You aren't changing them just because, so lets be granular about what it is you're hoping to change or what issue you're trying to solve.
Since you asked, the idea came to me as I was enjoying this weekend off from work. It occurred to me that not having to go to work for the day is really what a long rest is. I feel rested and ready for the week afterwards when I get a day off. But, just going to bed (aka the short rest) allows me to function from day to day, but it isn't nearly the same.

So, it got me to thinking about the benefits of short rests and long rests in 5E dnd and I realized short and long rest should sort of represent the same ideas as a weekend/ day off versus just going to sleep each night.

As others have pointed out, I will definitely have to be cautious about number of encounters and which class abilities refresh when.
 

bedir than

Explorer
When you change the rests, even just duration, you drastically change the effectiveness of some of the classes. Just make sure you're up front with your players so they can avoid the short rest dependent classes (Monk and Warlock for example) because those classes are going to suck in your campaign.

What is your actual goal in changing the rests? You aren't changing them just because, so lets be granular about what it is you're hoping to change or what issue you're trying to solve.
If the encounter rate doesn't change, nothing about the classes changes. It only changes the pace of time.

Going to the DMG's variant on this essentially creates the pace of a novel, rather than 6-8 encounters a day, you are having 6-8 encounters a week.

There are zero balance issues.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I do this because it better suits the pace of my campaign. In my case I just use the optional rules, a short rest is overnight and a long rest is several days.

I find it helps balance out the classes a little bit if I have 5-10 encounters per long rest, people that like to nova every fight though may not appreciate it.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
I've been thinking about the game I am going to run and changing a short rest to 4 hours and a long rest to 24 hours.

I've come to think of them as a "night's sleep" (even short) where you are functional but not fully rested compared to a "day off" (where you know you won't have to go to work, sort of like a weekend day maybe) as short and long, respectively.

I'm baking in a mechanic to restore some spells for casters, but am concerned about other class features and recharging them. I know others have adjust rest times, so I am wondering what other issues might arise?

Ok so a question on the approach...

if the first thing you come up with is that it doesn't need to apply to all features of long and short rests - giving casters some/all spells back through other means - what specific rest gains are you trying to prevent in what circumstances? Might it be more precise to identify the specific features you think NEED TO TAKE LONGER and adjust them as opposed to changing them all and then seeing which ones you think might need personal adjustments?

I ask because it seems that a *lot* of the gripes against rests are derived from the overnight heals. That "get all Hp back in one night" seems to really bug some folks. So if thats a primary driver for this, it would seem that maybe changing that one bit would make more sense.

Other considerations -

Would you be changing a lot of "one-hour spells" that seem to be , well lets face it, built to be very short-rest friendly? I mean, in a verse where short rests were a universal four hours, wouldn't rope trick be four hours long and PWOT likely also be 4 hours long and Hut spell be 24 hours long etc etc etc. basically how many spells have durations that make no sense in a 2/24 rest world?

Also, the 1 hour short vs 4 hour short - this one i dont get. Do you really see many situations where the party can get a 1 hour short rest but not a 4 hour short rest? Cases where the tactical demands will **without Gm rigging** make 1 hour easy and 4 hours hard? (Obviously in many cases the Gm rigging can simply be "the enemy is 30m out vs 2 hours out vs 5 hour out and simply be a fiat for which rests are available.) Are the number of naturally occuring 1 vs 4 hour pauses gonna be worth the change to rules and spells and such? I mean, really, how many times are the key action points going to be strictly in the 2-3 hours apart range?

honestly, this may be reading between the lines, it feels more like what you are in search of is more likely accomplished by a change in the **conditions required to rest** more than the duration required. How much of your "problem" would be solved by simply requiring a short rest be "at a safe camp" (as in not in a dungeoan or in imminent threat) and the long rest being in a settled inn or village/town?

I mean, you seem Ok with long rests getting you your spells and all hit points back in a day mostly, right? So its more about the other stuff not the time.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
When you change the duration of the rests it will almost assuredly up the number of encounters per rest that the party tries to push through. If the basic pattern of 2 shorts per long and 6-7 encounters per long doesn't change you'll be fine, obviously, but I don't think that's what you're going to get. You can't pressure a party with a time crunch when they need 24 hours to rest fully, nor 4 hours to short rest. So while in isolation that math of rest ratios looks fine in reality that's not how it's going to work in a lot of campaigns. Any time the party is under time pressure, they have almost no ability to rest fully. I'm not saying there's no way to make that work, but I think it's a whole ton more complicated than a simplistic look at ratios might suggest.

There's really two separate issues here - healing and class abilities. If you are trying to limit 5 minute work days and a preponderance of novas that's one thing, but if you're trying to add some verisimilitude to the length of time it takes to heal that's something else.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
I am not concerned with number of encounters per rest... our table doesn't play that way and I've never run a game that way. Whenever the party gets low on resources (hp, spells, whatever) they have to decide when and where they can rest. If more encounters happen, they have to be more cautious or possibly avoid them altogether. I don't tailor the world to fit the characters, but except the characters to know their limits and challenge those limits to grow.

Really, I just found 1 hour is not enough time to become rested by any means, certainly not enough to recover hp and other features. While 4 hours might not seem like a lot, I also felt 8 hours was excessive. I do find a full 24-hour period is nice to really feel rested. I will make the players a bit more cautious, but I don't see that as a bad thing.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
I am not concerned with number of encounters per rest... our table doesn't play that way and I've never run a game that way. Whenever the party gets low on resources (hp, spells, whatever) they have to decide when and where they can rest. If more encounters happen, they have to be more cautious or possibly avoid them altogether. I don't tailor the world to fit the characters, but except the characters to know their limits and challenge those limits to grow.

Really, I just found 1 hour is not enough time to become rested by any means, certainly not enough to recover hp and other features. While 4 hours might not seem like a lot, I also felt 8 hours was excessive. I do find a full 24-hour period is nice to really feel rested. I will make the players a bit more cautious, but I don't see that as a bad thing.
So its sounds like you're coming up with your timescales based upon "real world" resting, as opposed to the recovery of game mechanics. If that's the case, and you want your rests to have an appearance of what you think a person actually would consider restful were they to actually take one... then fine. Whatever time amount you decide on that "feels right" will be fine.

I will say though, that in my own experience (after having run a campaign that changed short and long rest duration) that others in the thread are right in that the decisions to rest really do come down to game mechanics first and foremost. The only real reason any players take rests at all is based on just getting back their abilities, not from any thought of how long it would take to feel better after a fight. So in that regard... the real question isn't what "feel right" for a person to catch their breath... but what players can get away with in re-inquiring their abilities without causing as much difficulty for themselves.

And in that regard... I suspect that a four hour short rest will not accomplish what you want.

To rest for four hours pretty much means that the entire game is put on hold. The players know that they are pretty much going to have to "camp" for that time-- probably set alarms, set a watch, and if they are in a dungeon, assume they are going to have random encounters during their short rests like all the time. So at that point... more often than not they're going to just say "Screw it. If we have to go through all this effort to protect ourselves for four hours just to get our short rest game mechanics back... we might as well just do the full 24 hour long rest and get everything back."

Whereas when a short rest is one hour, or 10 minutes, or something smaller like that... players are more likely to think they can "get away with" taking a short rest without it causing too many issues for the party. And thus psychologically they are more okay with doing so. So if you want your players to actually take short rests... you need to make them short enough to make them think that they can do so without screwing themselves over in the process. A four hour short rest though? I'm just afraid that feels too long for players to take it and not bother going straight for the long one.

Maybe I'm wrong and your group will consider a 4 hour rest still a "safe" amount of time and thus be willing to take them. My players most certainly would not. Every one of them would go "If we have to sit around for four hours, we might as well just sit around for the full 24." So get an idea of how your players will think how long they can sit around without causing all the enemies to collapse down upon them, and then go with the longest short rest you can that makes them still willing to take them. That's the best thing you can do to get you the longest timeframe you want, while also not losing short rests from your game altogether.
 
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Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
When you change the rests, even just duration, you drastically change the effectiveness of some of the classes. Just make sure you're up front with your players so they can avoid the short rest dependent classes (Monk and Warlock for example) because those classes are going to suck in your campaign.
I completely disagree that changing the length of rests will screw over some classes. Nothing but changing the frequency of encounters between rests. And that's entirely up to the DM.

Let's try this. Group A averages two encounters, a short rest, two encounters, a short rest, and two encounters and then a long rest. Group B has the exact same frequency. No disadvantage on either, correct?

Now, it turns out that Group A was actually using a variant with longer rests needed, but the DM was also doing a more relaxed pace. The sun has risen and set more, but the difficulty hasn't changed.

Well, actually, I am telling a bit of an untruth. Classes that regularly benefit from the DM doing short days will be pulled back to their balance point. So those full casters (for example) who are more powerful then the other classes because the DM is only doing 1-3 encounters a day will find themselves to be "screwed" compared to that -- but just being brought back in line with the short-rest and the at-will classes.

Changing the timing of rests while keeping the frequency of encounters between them allows the DM to fit it to a more relaxed narrative than the dungeon crawl, say a several week trek across a savanna, without always giving full rests between encounters and giving a big bonus to the long-rest-recovery classes.
 

coolAlias

Explorer
When I run a game, I stick to the default rest rules when doing encounter-heavy adventures such as dungeon crawls; when the characters are traveling, I prefer to use the Gritty Realism rest variant in the DMG so that the encounter pacing feels more natural while maintaining balance for all the classes.

It's more gamey than simulationist, but none of my players have ever had a problem with it (I always tell them up front how the rest mechanics are going to work and remind them when switching from one to the other) and I find it greatly improves my ability to hit the recommended number of encounters per adventuring day.

Switching the times to 4 hours and 24 hours seems like it would make the encounter pacing more difficult to manage, but if you can swing it, go for it.

Sidenote: there's nothing wrong with not sticking to the recommended encounter schedule, especially if it's only once in a while, but if your game tends to run toward one end of the spectrum certain classes will feel amazing while others will feel terrible. Whether that matters to you and your players is up to your group to decide.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
When I run a game, I stick to the default rest rules when doing encounter-heavy adventures such as dungeon crawls; when the characters are traveling, I prefer to use the Gritty Realism rest variant in the DMG so that the encounter pacing feels more natural while maintaining balance for all the classes.

It's more gamey than simulationist, but none of my players have ever had a problem with it (I always tell them up front how the rest mechanics are going to work and remind them when switching from one to the other) and I find it greatly improves my ability to hit the recommended number of encounters per adventuring day.

Switching the times to 4 hours and 24 hours seems like it would make the encounter pacing more difficult to manage, but if you can swing it, go for it.

Sidenote: there's nothing wrong with not sticking to the recommended encounter schedule, especially if it's only once in a while, but if your game tends to run toward one end of the spectrum certain classes will feel amazing while others will feel terrible. Whether that matters to you and your players is up to your group to decide.
13th Age, a d20 game similar to 5e, makes the changing automatic. They have at-will, per encounter (instead of per short rest), and per full-heal-up (like long rest). But a full-heal-up comes every four encounters. Could be on the same day or spread across several weeks.

Players can take one earlier, but it costs a campaign loss.
 
I completely disagree that changing the length of rests will screw over some classes. Nothing but changing the frequency of encounters between rests. And that's entirely up to the DM.
Also the ratio between types of rests is a factor.

As we all know, D&D has always depended on pacing to impose balance upon class resources and encounter challenge levels. In the olden days it was just spells/day classes vs unlimited sword-swinging classes vs encounters/day. 5e added short rests and a few classes that primarily used them. And it has resource- rich, moderate, and poor classes, of both sorts, so there are broadly 6 types of character class resource schedules in 5e to be balanced against eachother & encounters (and other challenges), vs two back in the day.

Resource-rich classes have /lots/ of abilities, generally spells, and lots of their overall effectiveness rests in those abilities, but with a lower at-will baseline. Examples of daily resource-rich classes are all the full-casters, except for the Warlock, which is the sole resource-rich short-rest class.

Moderate-resource classes still have a fair variety of recharge abilities, but much of their power remains in their at-will baseline performance. Half-casters, and 1/3rd-caster sub-classes are examples of daily-recharge moderate-resource classes. The Monk is the main example of the short-rest version.

Resource poor classes base their performance mainly on their at-will baseline, they might have one fairly potent limited-use ability, or a few minor ones that still don't provide much versatility. The Barbarian stands as the example of resource poor with a daily resource, while the fighter is the prime example of a short-rest recharge.

A 2:1 short:long rest ratio balances uses/day of high-resource classes like full casters on a daily schedule with the Warlock; 1/2 & 1/3 casters with the Monk; and the low-daily-resouce Barbarian with the low-short-rest-resouce Fighter. It doesn't make much difference if there are one or several encounters between those short rests when balancing classes at the same resource level, but different recharge rates.

Imposing balance /among/ those three resource levels, however, depends on the higher-resource classes being forced to fall back on their at-will baseline often enough for the lower-resouce classes' higher baseline to make up the difference.
By the same token, with all classes putting forth about the same overall performance, at that point, a day's worth of encounters will be about as challenging as intended.

So it's more complex than just pegging encounter balance by getting in your 6-8 encounters. You also need to get a short:long rest ratio just right. And, combats need to be long enough (in rounds) to see everyone falling back on at-wills at least some of the time.

Even given all the above done just right, there's still a tendency for the classes with the most potency concentrated in their limited-use abilities to shine the brightest /when it matters the most/, as they bring the most powerful abilities in the most critical situations, while others' "time to shine" is in filler combats and the trailing rounds of 'mop up,' after an encounter has been decided.


Changing the timing of rests while keeping the frequency of encounters between them allows the DM to fit it to a more relaxed narrative than the dungeon crawl, say a several week trek across a savanna, without always giving full rests between encounters and giving a big bonus to the long-rest-recovery classes.
True: 5e's prescribed 6-8 medium/hard encounter 2-3 short rest "day" can be changed to a week (or whatever) to pace a whole campaign more slowly, but not /differently/, because the factors 5e needs you to impose balance on are more complex than ever.

IMHO, it makes even more sense for the DM to impose restrictions on and vary the time it takes to rest, in order to fit the expected ratio of encoutners:short:long rests to not just of the campaign overall, but of the specific story at any give point in the campaign.



Edit: Finally, I guess it's worth noting that there are just a few odd-class out short-rest 'troublemakers.' That is, you can cut just a few classes and simplify everything tremendously. If you cut the Warlock, Monk, and Fighter, you'll've eliminated just about all the meaningful short rest resources except HD. The Barbarian, Paladin, and Ranger should be able to handle all your thwacking and twanging needs.
 
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5ekyu

Adventurer
I completely disagree that changing the length of rests will screw over some classes. Nothing but changing the frequency of encounters between rests. And that's entirely up to the DM.

Let's try this. Group A averages two encounters, a short rest, two encounters, a short rest, and two encounters and then a long rest. Group B has the exact same frequency. No disadvantage on either, correct?

Now, it turns out that Group A was actually using a variant with longer rests needed, but the DM was also doing a more relaxed pace. The sun has risen and set more, but the difficulty hasn't changed.

Well, actually, I am telling a bit of an untruth. Classes that regularly benefit from the DM doing short days will be pulled back to their balance point. So those full casters (for example) who are more powerful then the other classes because the DM is only doing 1-3 encounters a day will find themselves to be "screwed" compared to that -- but just being brought back in line with the short-rest and the at-will classes.

Changing the timing of rests while keeping the frequency of encounters between them allows the DM to fit it to a more relaxed narrative than the dungeon crawl, say a several week trek across a savanna, without always giving full rests between encounters and giving a big bonus to the long-rest-recovery classes.
Actually, the change in time of rests may change the popularity between the two. As observed above, a 4 hour rest means more likely setting up a camp, not just stopping for lunch. It may mean setting watches. Unless the gm slters a variety ofcdpells, things like Rope Trick give way to Leo Hut.

4hr vs 24 hour likely leads to more long rests thsn short rests thsn the 1 hour vs 8 hour/day does.

I would expect that unless new circumstances were added as requirements, you would see more long rests this way.
 

EpicureanDM

Villager
13th Age, a d20 game similar to 5e, makes the changing automatic. They have at-will, per encounter (instead of per short rest), and per full-heal-up (like long rest). But a full-heal-up comes every four encounters. Could be on the same day or spread across several weeks.

Players can take one earlier, but it costs a campaign loss.
I use a variation of this idea and it's been very successful.

Often, threads like this acknowledge that pacing is the DM's responsibility, but miss the fact that 5e's current rest system puts a lot of control over pacing in the players' hands. The trouble comes from the players being able to dictate when a rest occurs and the DM being unable to come up with organic ways to prevent it. The solution is to do what 13A does: put short and long rests on a strict schedule.

In my campaign, the sequence looks like this: two encounters -> short rest -> two encounters -> short rest -> one encounter -> long rest and the sequence resets. They can spend Hit Dice after any encounter. Abilities like a Bard's Song of Rest only work during a regular short rest. If the players think they're in rough shape, they can jump right to the long rest at any time, but they suffer a "campaign loss," a penalty that usually involves advancing their enemies' plans or having them lose access to a valuable resource.

I also borrow the most important part of 13A's rest philosophy: rests don't take up any in-game time. This is the part that people struggle really struggle with, which is divorcing the idea of "rest" from "the passage of time in the game." Using this system, short and long rests take as much time as the players wish. If they want to describe an hour of time passing in-game, that's up to them. Conversely, their "long rest" can take just one in-game minute if that's what they want. This is what trips up so many DMs: trying to find ways to interrupt an hour-long rest or to decide whether to interrupt a long rest. This system removes that tension. You just point at the sequence if anyone's angling for a rest and get to what's important.

This solution will single-handedly solve your problems. Tension will naturally develop as players legitimately worry about their dwindling resources. As a bonus, 5e's CR ratings start to work better, because you're getting closer to their theoretical "6-8 encounters per day" design philosophy. Medium and Hard encounters become more of a challenge and, as a bonus, they're usually quicker because they feature monsters that are closer to the PCs' power level. It works in my 5e games, so give it a try. :)
 

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