I think it is hard to advance an argument along these lines, because it seems to me highly subjective. To give an idea of what I mean (without commitment to this position) I might feel that because all sentient creatures sleep in the real world, and they find it restorative, it makes exactly as much sense to include a mechanic for that in the game as for tying plate armour wearing to above average strength.Saying you need to be a certain strength, or combination of strength and bulk, in order to effectively wear plate armour is perfectly realistic. It makes sense.
But telling players that their PCs aren't allowed to rest (or that DMs are instructed to disturb that rest until some peg-point is reached) when logic and self-preservation would say that they should isn't realistic at all, and makes no sense other than from a perspective of pure small-g gamism.
Are you drawing a distinction here between what comprises a character and how they may act? The latter being taken to impinge on their narrative contributions.Other way around. My objection is that mechanical management of rests forces undue and unwarranted constraints on to the players and-or the DM; where narrative management - with the players in this case controlling the narrative and making the decisions - has no such problems.
If so, say I can cast some spells, but only a limited number before somehow restoring them. The intent would seem to be that I have some control over how many I can cast in a given encounter, but across a number of such encounters I'm not free to cast all my spells in each one or if I do, then I have none for the next encounter. A resource management mechanic is put in force. We can probably agree that it is common for games to challenge players with how they will expend their resources across multiple options for doing so.
Exactly. One might not be trying to achieve any kind of resource-management challenge. But then, one might not be trying to achieve an ability score challenge (roll or assign X to your strength, or don't use plate armour).I agree that constraints make games, but those restraints have to make sense in the context of what the game is trying to achieve.
I actually think it is valid for individual games to do all those things. What I think wouldn't be valid is supposing that every individual game had to do all of those things. In Dragon Quest (1st edition) the Adventurer's Guild contract IIRC includes how to divide the spoils. Some world design that I have quite enjoyed in the past is where you take intangible principles and make them world physics: effectively mechanics. It is an easy way to make a really distinctive environment, once you work through the consequences. I'm not advocating this approach for you, necessarily, but saying that it is valid.But D&D isn't just trying to achieve this, it's also trying to achieve a state where players and the DM between them control what happens in the fiction. Mechanical resting constraints fight this control
Another example of the same thing would be the game forcing a particular method of in-party treasury division, instead of leaving it up to each individual party/table to determine its method for itself.
That is, I do not draw a crisp distinction between what comprises a character, and how they may act, because I think 1) the two are entangled and 2) there will be an unlimited number of worthwhile exceptions.