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%

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
I want to change my vote. it occurred to me that I have been frustrated with player Nova-ing and "5 minute workday" strategies at times in the past, and that counts as "worrying about encounters per day" I guess.
I also find myself worrying about it somewhat indirectly. Like, how do I keep the party from resting too much from resting in this dungeon, or how do I make this wilderness area interesting given that they will be resting.
 

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Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I try to keep it fairly organic, and include random encounters as well, but I definitely take encounters per day into consideration.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I try to keep it fairly organic, and include random encounters as well, but I definitely take encounters per day into consideration.

I also find myself worrying about it somewhat indirectly. Like, how do I keep the party from resting too much from resting in this dungeon, or how do I make this wilderness area interesting given that they will be resting.
Absolutely this. Especially with wilderness travel, realizing that if they only had one encounter in a given day, it would have to be a nasty one to be challenging at all. In the last campaign I ran that had much such travel, I wound up introducing a curse that gave a diegetic reason to switch to a close variation on the "Gritty Realism" healing rules.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
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"!)
That's a BIG assumption on your part. Many of us may not care about encounters per day, but this particular topic says nothing about how we and our players are using short rests.
 

That's a BIG assumption on your part. Many of us may not care about encounters per day, but this particular topic says nothing about how we and our players are using short rests.
....

If you care about when short rests occur, you are caring about the number of fights in a day. The two are not separable in 5e. Resting to recover resources is something players do in response to fighting.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
....

If you care about when short rests occur, you are caring about the number of fights in a day. The two are not separable in 5e. Resting to recover resources is something players do in response to fighting.
Literally no. PCs taking short rests when they feel like it has nothing to do with me planning or caring about fights per day.
 

I do keep it in mind at all times. The 6-8 will be respected with random encounter until such time as the "requirement" is met. At this point, only "fixed" encounters will occur.

Note: I do however keep the narrative in mind. Always. Story before mechanics.
 

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"!)
True. It just is unfortunate that they chose to rebalance things around the wrong rest type.

As for the actual question, yes, of course I worry about it a bit. It is far from exact, and of course ultimately the players actions have a huge effect of what fights happen and when, but I pay some attention to pacing of rests and fights. This is one reason why I use gritty rests, as that way it is easier to get to at least somewhat in the ballpark of the expected encounter/rest ratio. (The other reason being that it is gentler for my somewhat fragile disbelief suspenders.)
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Worry is a strong word ...

Agreed. Worry is a a strong word. I'm not losing sleep over it.

However, when the game design is based on a particular cadence - be it a day in the fiction, or the meta-period of a gaming session - it usually behooves the GM to take that into account in their planning.

Case in point - Classic Deadlands. The game has a mechanic, in which at the beginning of a session of play, players draw three poker chips from a hat. They come in different values, and can be spent to improve die rolls, avoid damage, and so on. Any chips not spent at the end of the session can either be held for next session (you can hold a maximum of ten chips like this), or turned in for XP to be used for character improvement.

Perhaps you can see the problem that arises - if one session does not call for spending chips, the players may bank the power not used for later. Which is fine - it can allow for very cinematic play when the bubblegum really hits the fan, and players have lots of chips in hand...

However, this system was really designed around sessions about 4 to 6 hours long. If you are playing 2 to 3 hour sessions, you probably aren't pressing on the chip economy - character quickly bank 10 chips, and the excess becomes character advancement.

Again, there's nothing inherently wrong with this, but it has impact upon play, and can lead to consistently low-balling the challenges if the GM isn't paying attention to how much they are challenging the players.
 


True. It just is unfortunate that they chose to rebalance things around the wrong rest type.

As for the actual question, yes, of course I worry about it a bit. It is far from exact, and of course ultimately the players actions have a huge effect of what fights happen and when, but I pay some attention to pacing of rests and fights. This is one reason why I use gritty rests, as that way it is easier to get to at least somewhat in the ballpark of the expected encounter/rest ratio. (The other reason being that it is gentler for my somewhat fragile disbelief suspenders.)
For once I fully agree with you. The short rest mechanic is a relic from 4ed and it should not have been included in 5th edition. Multiply Ki and sorcery points by 3, any other short rest restoration by two and you get a decent per day stuff. We are currently thinking to try it this way.
 

For once I fully agree with you. The short rest mechanic is a relic from 4ed and it should not have been included in 5th edition. Multiply Ki and sorcery points by 3, any other short rest restoration by two and you get a decent per day stuff. We are currently thinking to try it this way.
Oh, don't worry, everything is normal, we're not agreeing! :ROFLMAO:

They're currently moving exactly the direction you suggest, and I think that's the wrong move. If there were to be just one rest type, I'd rather it to be a short rest (that refreshes a portion of your resources) than the long rest (that refreshes basically everything.) I feel that it is exactly that "all or nothing" nature of long rests that makes them clunky and difficult to use.
 

Oh, don't worry, everything is normal, we're not agreeing! :ROFLMAO:

They're currently moving exactly the direction you suggest, and I think that's the wrong move. If there were to be just one rest type, I'd rather it to be a short rest (that refreshes a portion of your resources) than the long rest (that refreshes basically everything.) I feel that it is exactly that "all or nothing" nature of long rests that makes them clunky and difficult to use.
Well... I much prefer long rests over short rests. Everyone sleeps in a while and it is a good time as any to "refresh" your abilities. Short rests are... clunky at best and cut the narrative into something weird that does not feel like a story.
 

Well... I much prefer long rests over short rests. Everyone sleeps in a while and it is a good time as any to "refresh" your abilities. Short rests are... clunky at best and cut the narrative into something weird that does not feel like a story.
I agree that "night's sleep" is narratively good rest period, but I don't like it restoring everything. Currently I use gritty rests, so my short rests are actually the night's sleep.
 

I agree that "night's sleep" is narratively good rest period, but I don't like it restoring everything. Currently I use gritty rests, so my short rests are actually the night's sleep.
And I the same :)
I much prefer AD&D rest style. The fighter could regain everything over a night's sleep but casters were in for a lot longer depending on level. The 18th level wizard would spend the better part of three days to recover his arsenal, the cleric a bit less (2.3 days). But hey, we're stuck with the system we have now. So gritty for me as well.
 

For once I fully agree with you. The short rest mechanic is a relic from 4ed and it should not have been included in 5th edition. Multiply Ki and sorcery points by 3, any other short rest restoration by two and you get a decent per day stuff. We are currently thinking to try it this way.
But we need both long and short rest classes to prevent sameness!
 


Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
I do tend to generally plan/structure my adventures in such a way that the players are unable to have their characters take a long rest after every combat. If that counts as worrying about number of encounters per day, then yes. If you try to have your character nova in every fight in a campaign I’m running, it’s probably going to end up being a bad idea.

I don’t necessarily think the “we need to take a long rest/but you CAN’T” player/DM dynamic of 5E is a particularly fun one for either side, but if you as the DM don’t make resource management part of the game by running multiple encounters between rests, the game tends to be too easy.
You say here what I was going to. It seems like a lot of discussion I this thread is taking "I don't worry about encounter count" from a viewpoint of strict numbers per day, whereas I view it as worrying because I don't want to have non-consequential combats waste my time.

This is particularly hard with overland travel. There isn't a way to have a single random bandit encounter matter unless....

1. It's part of at least 5-7 other resource draining scenes the same day.

2. It's potentially a TPK.

I try to find ways to narrate resource loss, which some might find heavy handed, but it allows me to have days of one or two encounters still engage resource management.

For example, I might describe how the party had to climb a short cliff face. While not dangerous and requiring climb checks, it still might be exhausting and cost each character a HitDie. Similarly a high level group getting attacked by low level bandits might just be narrated and tax a couple spell slots from the spellcasters.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
For the moment, you are right. But short rests, even 4ed were breaking the narrative. Never liked them too much.
I liked them significantly more at 5 minutes than 1 hour.

Narratively, taking a 5 minute (or, heck, even 10 minutes like the required once an hour 1 Turn rest in the Basic dungeon exploration procedures) break in the action to bandage wounds and catch your breath is much more plausible in the middle of an adventure than a whole hour lunch break.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
You say here what I was going to. It seems like a lot of discussion I this thread is taking "I don't worry about encounter count" from a viewpoint of strict numbers per day, whereas I view it as worrying because I don't want to have non-consequential combats waste my time.

This is particularly hard with overland travel. There isn't a way to have a single random bandit encounter matter unless....

1. It's part of at least 5-7 other resource draining scenes the same day.

2. It's potentially a TPK.

I try to find ways to narrate resource loss, which some might find heavy handed, but it allows me to have days of one or two encounters still engage resource management.

For example, I might describe how the party had to climb a short cliff face. While not dangerous and requiring climb checks, it still might be exhausting and cost each character a HitDie. Similarly a high level group getting attacked by low level bandits might just be narrated and tax a couple spell slots from the spellcasters.

I tend to handle this same issue by just montaging travel sequences unless there is a strong narrative reason not to do so; I like to focus on site-based design with 5E as much as possible because I feel that location-based adventures are what 5E does best.
 

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