D&D 5E Finally switching my campaign from 4th to 5th Edition.


First Post
No. Because 6-8 encounter per rest is a DMG typo. I've read elsewhere it came about because it's based on values from the Play test, and it wasn't fixed when the table was adjusted. If you go by the tables in the DMG, the actual number of encounters for an even mix of Medium & Hard encounters works out to something like 5-6.

Personally I just assume 6 per Long Rest, with two between each Short Rest. If they're Easy, three between Short Rests. If it's Deadly, only one before a Short Rest. Makes things simple. That works out to about the same as the DMG tables without as much number crunching.

So any time you see someone quote 6-8, that means they're quoting the incorrect text, instead of the correct numbers based on the table.

Still about 2-3 times the amount that I typically experience.

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First Post
Talk is cheap.

In a game where the players, not the DM and not the scenario, gets to decide when to rest and when to press on, this "advice" is only scratching the surface.
Why is that happening?

In a Linear or Narrative or CaS adventure, that's already under DM control, because the flow of the game from scene to scene is controlled by the DM.

In a sandbox/CaW environment, wandering monsters will screw you up if you try to rest where it's not safe. And retreating too early will often have reinforcement / trap consequences when you return.
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First Post
Still about 2-3 times the amount that I typically experience.
Then you, or your DM, isn't playing by 5e guidelines. That's fine, but hopefully the games rules have been adjusted to reflect this, since characters will be far more powerful and encounters more easily overcome. They have several variant rules in the DMG to cover exactly this. Of the DM can just chuck more than Deadly Encounters at you and risk TPK. :) (note that 3 Deadly Encounters is within the DMG guidelines though.)

I'm A Banana

Because WotC no longer allows new subscribers to the Character Builder and Compendium, which excludes almost all of my players, and because those sites are becoming glitchier with each passing month, I have finally decided to throw in the towel and switch to 5th Edition.

That said, I am looking for advice from other dungeon masters and thinkers who understand both 4E and 5E.

1. My first question: is the problem of the 3E quadratic wizard versus linear fighter back again? Do I have to prepare for spellcasters trying to break my encounters?

The answer to your question is twofold:

First, 5e doesn't have LFQW as a problem. Power is fairly evenly distributed, as long as you take the options you're looking for (like, if you're a fighter and you want to control things, grapple and pick up a net and GET TO IT).

Second, individual abilities (from both fighters and wizards) can nuke single encounters. 5e is balanced on the "day," not the encounter, and that's how you'll want to deplete resources. If you let the party get to full power before every encounter, they will wipe the floor with it most of the time.

I don't have the published adventures, but I understand that they do follow the adventuring day guidelines fairly well in parts, so at least they give us some examples.


First Post
I think the thrust of this conversation is that the 5E guidelines are nuts.
Personally I think they're far too low for any realistic dungeon delve. But I've felt that way about PC survivability in pretty much every edition of D&D. Having to retreat due to lack of resources, and leaving behind a forwarned dungeon, comes after far too encounters.

Thats as a player. As a DM, I'm just happy to have more encounters in an adventuring day to work with than 4e allowed for.

Anyway, if you're running a lower-than-guidelines encounters per adventuring day campaign, as I said, there are plenty of DMG variant rules to make that work. Especially the longer rest variant.
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6-8 encounters per long rest? Does anyone actually do this? In the games I run and participate in it almost never goes more than 4 encounters, and typically is about 2 per long rest, depending on the stage of the adventure.

With only 2 encounters per long rest, full casters can reliably drop their highest level spell slot round after round after round, barbarians are perma-raging and paladins smiting on every single attack.

Over the same period of time, your fighter gets the one action surge.

Perhaps thats OK with the groups you play in, but it would necessitate far harder encounters, (which makes that paltry 1 action surge even less remarkable and further lengthens the gap between class balance). It also makes the game one of rocket tag, and increases the chance of a TPK (expecially for the fighter!).

I cant imagine a typical dungeon where you bump just the two encounters and then fall back for a full nights rest. Not everyone plays in dungeons of course; but that is the default place where adventuring in 'dungeons and dragons' happens.

While I haven't run 5e yet, I'm really interested in this. How do you actually design an adventuring day, say in a dungeon? If the party decides on it's own way through the dungeon, tell me how can you Limit or allow short rests?How do you design a dungeon so that the wanted selection of encounters takes place?

Limiting long Rests by constantly harrassig the characters sort of works (so it gets tedious) but controlling short Rests?

Really curious...

Here is a 'typical' DnD adventure design.

Step 1: Come up with your hook. 'Save elf princess from evil BBEG by midnight or else he completes his foul ritual of doom and summons super devil' Now right off the bat, the players know they have to conserve resources for this time frame.

Step 2: Build your encounters, generally factoring in short rest spots at convenient points in the adventure. Use the guidelines in the DMG for putting them together, generaly avoiding solo encounters for more than one or two encounters (thanks to bounded accuracy, mooks are a thing, and theyre abundant in the 5E MM).

For a party of 5 x 5th level PCs they have an encounter budget of:

Easy: 1250 XP
Medium: 2500 XP
Hard: 3750 XP
Deadly: 5500 XP

Players depart for dark temple as night falls. They have 6 hours to midnight. Its a 2 hour trip to the temple.

Sample adventuring day design:

a) 1 Gnoll fang of Yeonoghu, 4 gnoll warriors, 1 gnoll pack lord (a 'random' encounter) on the way to the dark temple (waylaying some NPCs who reward the PCs if they are helped)
b) 1 chimera patrols the temples exterior. Increase its HP to 150, increase Str to 20, add +1 to hit and damage and str saves and skills; increase its CR to 7
Short rest (before descending into the dungeon level)
c) 1 Orog, 1 Eye of Gruumsh and 6 Orcs are on guard
d) 1 Bearded devil (in full plate, AC 18) and 1 Hell hound pet (summoned as extra muscle)
short rest
e) 1 Orc war chief and 2 Orog bodyguards (leader of the temples orc mercenaries)
f) 1 Mage BBEG (remove 4th and 5th level spells, give the invoker sculpt spells ability to ignore squares with AoE spells, reduce CR to 5) 1 displacer beast pet, 4 supplicants (spies in chain shirts - increase AC to 15). Hand the BBEG a nice magic item that the PCs can use and that you want in your campaign (dont forget to use it on the PCs first!)

For random encounters (if the party rests too much) throw an Orc patrol at them similar to encounter 'c' above.

If the party long rests or doesnt reach the princess by midnight, then the princess dies, they dont get paid, and 'Glamulrex' (a Bone devil) is summoned. Its first order by the BBEG is to kill the PC's mentor, and them.

Finally, add a trap or two (BBEG has a trapped chest, and the spies have rigged one of the corridoors with a trap of some kind), and some terrain features into your encounters and elsewhere (a secret door leads a forgotten treasure hoard) and you're set.

This was all off the top of my headd. In addition to drawing the map for the ruins, it took me all of 30 minutes to do, and I already have hooks for a potentially recurring BBEG (the wizard or the devil) and enough material to work on for a couple of sessions at least.

I can expand the dungoneon easy enough too by adding a stariway down in the secret horde room (or even placing a 'hook' of a secret treasure map in there).

99% of those advocating the 6-8 guidelines fail to mention just how little mechanical support the game offers the DM to help her actually make this happen.

99% of those ignoring how problematic this guideline is in actual play gloss over how insultingly boring the resulting encounters become.

99% of those putting the blame on individual DMs fail to consider that it might be a systemic failure instead.

(More than one person can play this invent your own statistics game.)

Not helpful mate.

Talk is cheap.

In a game where the players, not the DM and not the scenario, gets to decide when to rest and when to press on, this "advice" is only scratching the surface.

Time your adventures. Here are some suggestions:

  • Save princess by X or bad thing Y happens
  • Recover the macguffin before the BBEG does X with it
  • You get paid 100 gold if you complete the task - it'll be 500 gp if you complete the task before sun-up
  • Adventure is on an island. The PCs boat gets damaged on route to elsewhere and elect to explore a nearby island while they wait. The PC's have only 24 hours to explore the ruins before the captain has to leave.
  • Reactive BBEGs that move the macguffin elsewhere/ increase wandering monster patrolls/ replenish empty rooms etc if PCs insist on alerting them via Nova/ fall back 5 minute AD's
  • Dangerous environments that make resting hard/ impossible
  • PCs are trapped in a dungeon and need to escape before Y

Not every adventure needs to be timed (or to stick to the 6 encounter/ 2 short rest/ 1 long rest AD). Stick to it about 50 percent of the time, and it becomes self regulating. Your players will naturally police themselves (and mamange resources/ avoid nova strikes) accordingly.

Other methods you can use include 'random' encounters. Or finally if your players refuse to buy in, simply by saying 'No; its too dangerous to rest here - there is a good chance of a wandering monster, and due to the hazardous nature of your environment and the requirement for you to be constantly alert, resting wont give you any mechanical benefits'.

As the DM its your job to police the 5 minute adventuring day, and to design your encounters to be a fun and challenging thing for your players. If they simply refuse to buy in then you have bigger issues at your table.

If your wizards and paladins and barbarians insist on nova smashing your first few encounters, throw more at them. Make sure they get at least six before they get to long rest. After limping through some encounters with nothing but cantrips and no spell slots or rages left, they'll get the picture and conserve those higher level spell slots and rages and smites for when they are really needed.
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If you let the party get to full power before every encounter, they will wipe the floor with it most of the time.
Again this "you the DM let it happen, so it's your fault" shaming.

Then dear Banana please explain how to run, say, the recent official adventure Out of the Abyss.

It features travel times measured in weeks. Its guidelines result in zero, one or two encounters per day, roughly half of which is interesting terrain only (no creature interaction).


The truth is that LOTS and LOTS of D&D scenarios, official or otherwise, map incredibly poorly to this X encounters a day expectation. The DMG guidelines are tailor-made to the "standard" dungeon delving experience.

If that's not what your adventure offers, you're SOL.


Well I have all ready stated my opinion on encounters a day a couple pages back so I wont repeat it. What I will say is does anyone feel the gap between RaW and doing what work's seems worse in this edition

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