D&D 5E Do you have to declare a rest before the rest?

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Table rules.

At my tables, adventurers that are not someplace safe and secure are assumed to be on the lookout. They are assumed to be looking for wandering monsters, trip wires, etc and not to be doing "nothing" and resting.

My table has found that continuously stating what to us is obvious, "While Mary is deactivating the trap, I am on guard" is simple boring, meaningless and un-fun. To us, it's not obvious that while Zippo is solving a puzzle everyone else is simply doing nothing. No, to us they are on the lookout for threats and dangers.

But each table gets to make it's own assumptions. Maybe DM's should address this OOC or at Session 0 if they don't know their player base. I admit is annoys me as a player when a GM assumes my PC is sitting around with their thumb us their tail pipe while another character is defeating the security system to the highly defended BBEG's place and says "You feel a tap on your shoulder, a guard asks you what your friend is doing."
Sure. The players can have default actions that they do, either by explicitly telling the DM or by having it clearly established previously. That's not even table rules, that's just communication through words or deeds what the character would be doing.

However, that is not something for the DM to assume without that direction of the players. The DM never plays the characters. (They can control them through magic, but that is not playing them.)

If Wazo the Wise is a tired old man who takes every opportunity to sit and rest that comes up, it's not in the DM's perview to say "sorry, Wazo was alert for wandering monsters and not resting". Just as it's not the player's place to try to retcon that Wazo was doing anything but resting if they didn't say anything.

And absent of any defined default, it is not the DM's place to play the character by making assumptions they are doing things. And yes, I'm sure there are corner cases around automatic reactions like "when thrown into the water you didn't say you were trying to not drown". But even if a character screams when falling down a deep pit should be up to the player.
 

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James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
During the D&D Next Playtest, I recall one of the adventures had some very strange notions of when you could rest. We'd searched some ruins and encountered a few Orcs, while on our way to another objective.

The DM then announced that we travel for six days to get to where we were going. We started marking off hit points and resources, and the DM is like "no you don't get a rest at this time, that happens after several more encounters."

To say we were confused by that was probably the understatement of the year.

I think we have to realize that "rests" are a metagame concept, and they don't happen unless the players take steps to actually rest, and the DM allows them to happen.

It's more than just "you do nothing for X time" because then the DM is being forced to maintain appropriate pacing to make sure every hour something happens if they don't want to allow rests at a given stage.

Of course, things like rope trick and leomund's tiny hut do complicate this equation (really, these spells shouldn't be necessary- a given adventure should allow for rest periods no matter what is going on. That they exist at all leads me to two conclusions- either WotC felt there would be DM's who would be massive sticklers about whether or not resting was "realistic", thus necessitating the expenditure of these resources, or it's a safety valve for DM's who don't understand why rests are necessary in the first place. Either way, that's bad design, it's just going to lead to arguments and bad feelings).

Personally, I think tying a set amount of time to resting was a mistake- whether it takes 5 minutes or 5 hours is up to the pace of the adventure. It's a narrative conceit. Sometimes it's silly to assume players can really take that much time.

Other times, it's busted when you have an adventure that isn't action action action every X amount of minutes. If you say "it takes you three hours to get to the next location", players will say "oh boy a rest" when it's not appropriate for the adventure to get one.
 

Composer99

Adventurer
I would not say that players have to declare that their characters are undertaking a type of rest in particular.

Say rather that they must declare they are resting for some amount of time, as compared to undertaking some other kind of activity during that same amount of time.

When they either finish resting or it is interrupted, the DM checks how much time has passed, and that determines what, if any, kind of rest the players qualify for.

(Pursuant to the example given upthread about a short rest being interrupted with a mere 30 seconds to go, suffice to say that DMs should take some care in considering when and how rests are interrupted.)
 

Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
In other worlds, not because taking a short rest involve not doing any streneous activities that not doing any streneous activites automatically involve taking a short rest necessarily.
 

During the D&D Next Playtest, I recall one of the adventures had some very strange notions of when you could rest. We'd searched some ruins and encountered a few Orcs, while on our way to another objective.
I remember a joke going around about getting 2 15 min breaks and a half hour lunch every day when they had 3 types of rest
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
my answer is yes but it also seems rare to interrupt long rests
Really? It happens often enough in my games... 🤷‍♂️

I couldn't give you exact number, but probably 10-15% of the time or so.

As per the Devs you do not get the benefit of a short rest after 1 hour into a long rest for exemple.
Well, JC said that wasn't their intent, but did he actually say it was against the design... Doesn't seem so to me.

And frankly, it is nonsense to assume you aren't "short resting" when you begin your long rest. The Devs should have realized that.

Anyway, it is only a niche issue when the long rest is interrupted. Otherwise, it is a non-issue.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Yes. Even with most of the examples given. Sure, there are exceptions to every rule. But allowing the warlock to say, "Oh, hours past, I was resting" also seems to mean that you would allow then to say "Oh, a wandering monster appeared, I was on guard duty so I'm not surprised."
Yep this is the crux for me. If your players try to milk things like this, then expecting a declaration of rest is reasonable. If they don't, I think just letting them have it if 1 hour passes without things happening is also perfectly fine.

As is many things in 5e, the DM should tailor to their group.
 

However, that is not something for the DM to assume without that direction of the players. The DM never plays the characters. (They can control them through magic, but that is not playing them.)
...

And absent of any defined default, it is not the DM's place to play the character by making assumptions they are doing things. And yes, I'm sure there are corner cases around automatic reactions like "when thrown into the water you didn't say you were trying to not drown". But even if a character screams when falling down a deep pit should be up to the player.
Please don't tell me or others how we must play D&D. We all get to play however our table agrees to, regardless of what you think. There is no one-true-way.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Please don't tell me or others how we must play D&D. We all get to play however our table agrees to, regardless of what you think. There is no one-true-way.
Saying that the players play the player characters, not the DM? You're pushing that telling you how to play? That's in the books. Check out the "How to Play" section of the PHB, even before anything about creating a character. If you have a problem with it, take it up with Wizards.
 

Really? It happens often enough in my games... 🤷‍♂️

I couldn't give you exact number, but probably 10-15% of the time or so.
when we start at level 1 (rare) I find the first 3-4 levels it is about 10-15% but after level 5 it has only a handful of times maybe not even a whole handful in my own games over the last 8 years... players normally get pretty good at picking out ways to besafe.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
Yes, it’s part of the normal play loop. The DM describes a situation that the players think presents an opportunity to rest. The players state their intention to rest for whatever period and how they go about doing it. Then the DM tells them the result of their attempt, whether it was successful or not.
 

Saying that the players play the player characters, not the DM? You're pushing that telling you how to play? That's in the books. Check out the "How to Play" section of the PHB, even before anything about creating a character. If you have a problem with it, take it up with Wizards.
lol, you win. You get the points for winning another useless argument on the internet. I still won't be playing the way you demand, but you can claim victory for your nonsense.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
At 59 minutes and 30 seconds into the short rest we got attacked by goblins... It was tension and time pressure, but it felt so artificial and gamist it left a really bad taste in my mouth.

I think it seems weird because the characters seem to know that they get nothing from the near-hour they rested if they don't spend the extra 30 seconds. That's just strange. "Wait for it... wait for it... NOW I feel better!"

Resting is resting is resting. If the 4 of the 5 PCs are just sitting around for 2 hours doing nothing while the last one scouts, a short rest has happened for those four. There's nothing mystical about a declaration of intent by the player.

On the flip side, if the party was sitting around for 8 hours, but didn't know how long they would be there, while I would give the Wizard back his spell slots, I wouldn't let him study to change his spell list retroactively. He would have had to tell me that he is taking time to prepare new spells just in case they are there for 8 hours resting.
Yeah, but I wouldn't argue with a player who wanted to say "After four hours I got bored and started noodling in my spellbook. Can I have switched Grease for Sleep during that?" Sure. Why not.

Table rules.

No, to us they are on the lookout for threats and dangers.
Table rules for sure. I don't consider being "on the lookout for threats and dangers" to be more strenuous than cooking dinner. Not while standing around in a room, at least.
In other worlds, not because taking a short rest involve not doing any streneous activities that not doing any streneous activites automatically involve taking a short rest necessarily.
Sure but if my players want it to enough that they ask for it? Unless I have a good reason to deny them (one that I expect will make the game more interesting) then I'll give them what they want. IMO it's part of "playing nice with others" (which I consider to be Rule One. Speaking of which...
We all get to play however our table agrees to, regardless of what you think. There is no one-true-way.
Yeah, in my IRL group, we pretty much all make suggestions for what everyone is doing. Sure, we know who gets the "final say" (DM for NPCs and Monsters, Players for their own PC) but we collaboratively tell a lot of the story. When anyone has a good idea they are free to throw it out there. The "control" player can go with it or not. It's about trust, and playing nice with others.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
when we start at level 1 (rare) I find the first 3-4 levels it is about 10-15% but after level 5 it has only a handful of times maybe not even a whole handful in my own games over the last 8 years... players normally get pretty good at picking out ways to besafe.
I found it is less at higher levels, when powerful spells allow the PCs to retreat to "absolute" safety (teleportation circle, etc.). Also, players in my game know they cannot count on a rest, so manage resources sufficiently to try to finish the adventure (or the current part anyway) before needing to rest. Not always easy, but it works for us...
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
In a practical aspect of this, our 4th level party went through a bunch of combats without a chance for a short rest that brought everyone to single digits in HPs (most had fallen at some point) and two 1st level spells between the entire party. That was last session. Tonight we ended up having a battle with a cyclops justa few minutes later. At the end of that we were tapped out of everything. It was only about noon in-game but the DM was going to let us take a long rest.

We're on a somewhat time-sensitive mission, and I'm playing a rogue and suggested that I only short rest and blow HDs, and then can take watch for the rest of the time since we didn't need to actually sleep. Just to keep the time spent on the long rest to the minimum.

DM jumped to the end, and said that because I hadn't done anything too strenuous - basically stayed in the area and occasionally circled around keeping an eye out, I also got the benefit of the long rest.

Now, in this particular case it the DM was bending the "one long rest in 24 hours", and since the period was noon to the evening we didn't need to actually sleep, but that was an unprompted undeclared rest granted by the DM. Who definitely hasn't read this thread.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
In a practical aspect of this, our 4th level party went through a bunch of combats without a chance for a short rest that brought everyone to single digits in HPs (most had fallen at some point) and two 1st level spells between the entire party. That was last session. Tonight we ended up having a battle with a cyclops justa few minutes later. At the end of that we were tapped out of everything. It was only about noon in-game but the DM was going to let us take a long rest.

We're on a somewhat time-sensitive mission, and I'm playing a rogue and suggested that I only short rest and blow HDs, and then can take watch for the rest of the time since we didn't need to actually sleep. Just to keep the time spent on the long rest to the minimum.

DM jumped to the end, and said that because I hadn't done anything too strenuous - basically stayed in the area and occasionally circled around keeping an eye out, I also got the benefit of the long rest.

Now, in this particular case it the DM was bending the "one long rest in 24 hours", and since the period was noon to the evening we didn't need to actually sleep, but that was an unprompted undeclared rest granted by the DM. Who definitely hasn't read this thread.
Do you have a sense that getting the time-sensitive thing done without the long rest is possible at all? Like, had you avoided some of those combats? Curious about how that was structured.
 

pnewman

Adventurer
#3 is only a rest on good terrain such as wagons on well made roads and well handled ships on smooth water. If you are bouncing around inside your vehicle, even a little, than you can't rest because that is more strenuous than the RAW definition allows.
 

If go from a strenuous lawnwork and instead sit under the shade of a tree and read a book, my intention is to read the book. I am focused on that, my mind is active. However, that is not a strenuous activity (in in RL or as definited in the rest section) and in both real life and by the rules of the short rest, after an hour reading I can have recovered from the sweaty manual labor I was doing before.
I can sit down and relax while reading a complicated nonfiction book, but if I was reading that very same book to prepare for an exam it wouldn't be very restful.
 

cbwjm

Legend
Normally players ask for one, but sometimes in games I've run, or are playing in, if there is a bit of downtime, someone might ask if that can count as a short rest and often the result is yes it can.
 

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