D&D 5E I have never once worried about "encounters per day" when prepping D&D 5E (a poll)

"I have never once worried about "encounters per day" when prepping D&D 5E"

  • True

    Votes: 100 62.9%
  • False

    Votes: 59 37.1%

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Simple premise to this question:

True or False: I have never once worried about "encounters per day" when prepping D&D 5E
I wasnt sure how to answer your poll.

I keep track of how many encounters per LEVEL.

But I dont care how many encounters per day.

If players full-rest often, then the encounters tend to be easier, thus count as half an encounter. If they press on, the resulting difficulty of a particular encounter can count as one-and-a-half encounters or even two encounters for a near TPK.

Each level has a total number of encounters in order to advance to the next level.
 

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BookTenTiger

He / Him
I will say, even though I don't personally keep track of encounters per day, I don't knock anyone who does. I think both ways can produce fun games!

For me as a DM, trying to manage the number of encounters per day just isn't fun. It is fun for me to place various threats and pressures on the characters and see how they react. Sometimes they get to rest a bunch. Sometimes they don't!

As I stated before, I like to focus my energy on consequences for resting. I think it's natural that players want to try to be as strong as they can for each encounter, and the tool 5e D&D gives them for this is resting. So like any good player choice, I just try to communicate the consequences of their decision to rest.

I might say, "You all have really cleared out the threat in this area. Your characters sense it would be safe, with minimal security measures, to rest here overnight."

Or I might say, "You can definitely try to rest here. You get the sense that there's a lot of movement in the dungeon, and it would be likely that you might get spotted."

When I have a player who can cast Tiny Hut, I'll communicate something like:

"Even though you're going to be safe, it's likely the Tiny Hut will be seen. You can rest safely, but your characters probably assume that the enemy will be gathering information on you, or shoring up their own defenses. If you press on now, you would have more of a chance to be at advantage in upcoming fights."

But that's just playing to what I feel are my strengths as a DM. For other DM's, using encounters per day is a good way to challenge their players and create balanced adventures.
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I know 5e isn't balanced for 1-2 encounters or 10+ encounters so I worry about encounters per day to limit the amount of 1-3 potential encounter days in a row.
 

ART!

Legend
I don't worry about it at all, and never have. I just put monsters in dungeons or the wilderness or in cities and let the players clash and explore. Sometimes I'll put it ticking clocks or environmental hazards to make resting more difficult.

I don't worry about number of encounters, and other than a very vague check, I don't worry about how difficult an encounter may be according to CR calcs either. I just set things up and then it is up to the players to sort things out.

This is pretty much my approach, too.

To some degree this is an ADD thing, wherein I need as few things to worry about at the table as possible. I don't do random encounters at all, because that's something I'd have to do while running, in addition to everything else.

So, I plan encounters, including "basic" encounters for an area. So if orcs roam the region the PCs are in, I'll plan and build major encounters, and also prebuild a few standard orc encounters of varying difficulties which I can drop in as I see fit. I mostly use the Encounter Builder in D&D Beyond for all that.

We do milestone advancement, so when I feel like the PCs are due for the next level, I'll prepare a deadly encounter, but increasingly I'm trying to have ways in mind that they can work around that encounter and not have to kill everything.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I only used the word "worry" because of the tone of the threads/posts on here complaining about how that part of 5E is broken or does not accurately reflect the game at the table.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
For those of you concerned about "a long rest after every fight" - do you allow more than one long rest in a 24 hour period? I honestly I am not sure if that is an actual rule in the books, but this limit makes sense to me and have had some version of it in every edition I've played.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
For those of you concerned about "a long rest after every fight" - do you allow more than one long rest in a 24 hour period? I honestly I am not sure if that is an actual rule in the books, but this limit makes sense to me and have had some version of it in every edition I've played.
It is an actual rule (page PH 186) that characters cannot benefit from more than one long rest in a 24 hour period.
 


Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
For those of you concerned about "a long rest after every fight" - do you allow more than one long rest in a 24 hour period? I honestly I am not sure if that is an actual rule in the books, but this limit makes sense to me and have had some version of it in every edition I've played.

It is an actual 5E rule that you can only benefit from a long rest once in a 24 hour period, and I absolutely do enforce that.
 

I only used the word "worry" because of the tone of the threads/posts on here complaining about how that part of 5E is broken or does not accurately reflect the game at the table.
I've found that if players think they can fully recharge after every fight, they play in ways that make the game a lot less fun. Paladins and sorcerers (and other full casters) going nova at the drop of a hat tends to prevent other players from doing their thing at all.

But once you get players in the habit of not assuming they can always rest - the actual number of fights doesn't matter so much. Just the possibility of more fights to save spell slots for does the trick.

On the other hand, on top of that, the combat minigame is the most fun as a wargame when attrition is a significant factor. Without attrition, it's rather simple and easy as a game. Now, you (the general you) probably don't care - DnD is lots of fun not played as a wargame and if not played as a wargame the challenge of encounters doesn't matter very much. Most people, in my experience, aren't looking for a wargame when they play DnD.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
No. Every campaign in I've run since 5e came out has been very sandboxy. How many encounters they have per day is largely up to the players. If they don't do the prep work and gather intel, they may find them selves struggling to survive escaping from far more than the recommended enounters. Or they may be surprised by a tough encounter, but have an exit to rest strategy, risking that they may have lost some progress do to the enemy bringing in reinforcements and being more prepared for the party when they return. They have to weight the consequences. Do we risk another couple of fights or do we risk leaving and having a tougher time of it when we return.

It makes the sessions swing pretty wildly between cake walks and OMG HOW CAN WE SURVIVE THIS!

If find that this approach works much better with experienced players. Newer players, or players that are used to more linear storylines designed to progress through a series of level-appropriate challenges, can easily find themselves in a TPK situation. But it works for us.
 

toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
I don't worry about it.

There will be days where my gamers go 5 hours without rolling a single d20 and they can't stop talking about how good the session was, aka I just go where the story goes without trying to fit it into any formula. This may mean there's too many encounters out there or stuff they can't handle, but as @MNblockhead put it, it's on the players to assess risk-reward.
 


Assuming these numbers are in any way representative whatsoever...

WotC was spot-on for rebalancing things so everyone is on the same resource schedule (more or less). Because, again IF this is representative, this means a sizable majority play the game in a way that actively flaunts the fundamental balance between classes, specifically in a way that massively favors full spellcasters and disfavors non- or low-spellcasting classes. AKA, the classes that have been given the short end of the stick since at least 3e and arguably much earlier. (Because we all know that "I don't care about the number of combats per day" basically never means "I regularly run several more encounters per day than the game expects"!)
 

aco175

Legend
I worry more about encounters per game night. I try to pace things to finish a scene or encounter roughly the time we want/need to go home for the night. I never want to start a large encounter and have to stop it halfway through for time reasons. We did it once in 4e and it was ok, but not desirable.

I also tend to make the dungeon and let the players set the pace. There may be some rooms or areas that are easy but others are more deadly. The PCs could wander around with 8 easy/medium encounters and still want to press on, or hit 3 deadly encounters and want to look for a place to rest.

I do sometimes make a 5-room dungeon (maybe 5-8). This may be set to handle a standard day with 3-4 easy, 1-2 medium and 1 hard encounter. I do not think the party will need to break away and sleep before coming back.
 


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