D&D (2024) Leaning In To Short Rests

the Jester

All right, so it's pretty clear that the designers are currently leaning away from short rests, in large part because many groups don't use them as intended. This is a problem when some classes rely on them to keep up with those that recharge everything on a long rest; I'm sure most of us are familiar with the discussion, and if not, it's easy enough to find threads discussing it or throw out a little clarification.

I think the solution isn't to lean away from short rests, it is to lean into them. There are broadly two parts to doing this: Have clear advice for adjusting the time a short rest takes; and Make short rests matter to everyone.

When I talk about clear advice, I mean in the PH, in the section about rests, there should be a big section talking about how changing short rests to a shorter (or longer) period alters the game. If they're 10 minutes, you're buffing the short-rest-recharge pcs. If they're an hour, it might be hard for those guys to keep up in a time pressure scenario. Discuss the value of the length of the rest making taking one a meaningful decision. Talk about options like changing the time required in different situations, so (f'rex) a short rest can be faster the more secure and comfy an area is; or having graduated times for the short rests, so your first is 10 minutes, then 30 minutes, then an hour. And have a giant "Ask your DM how your campaign's short rests work" in bright red letters so that the reader cannot miss it.

Making short rests matter to everyone can work in a number of ways. I like having the classes have different recovery rates; I think that's cool. I don't want to put a bunch of short rest recovery stuff into, say, the paladin. But you could very easily tweak the races/lineages/whatever you want to call them so that they all incorporate short rest abilities. Everyone has a race/lineage; so everyone would gain some benefits to taking a short rest. I think you could also put a few mid- or high-level racial options in there that recharge on a short rest.

I also think you could do a fair amount of short rest encouraging by putting some short-rest-recharge abilities into feats and magic items. "My sword can do an extra 3d10 thunder damage when I hit, but then I need a short rest before I can use it again." "I took the Lucky feat. I get one luck point, and it refreshes after a short rest."

Basically, I think the problem with short rests in 5e is twofold: first, that many pcs don't get enough from one to bother with a short rest; and second, that there is not good guidance for personalizing short rests for a given campaign.

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That is my opinion as well.

The Problem with warlocks and monks was tat only 4 classes got major power from short rests. If your party wasn't 1/2 fighters, monks, and warlocks then short rest were just for healing.

In a total rewite, I'd lower the spell slots of all casters and making an "Slot Recovery" for every class..

ANOTHER thing I would do is have spell with 3-7 day casting times in the DMG. So that a DM can say a monster is preparing "Mega Fireball" or "Greater Dominate Monster"and the PCs know they have 3 days from the time the reagent was stolen to stop him. This makes Long rest more costly but make player want to dive deeper into Short Rests.


I've always been pretty liberal with short rests, but I have noticed an increased call for them from players after starting to use Level Up. It adds exertion and combat maneuvers for every non spellcasting class, which recover on short rests, so that every class except for the non-warlock full casters (and heralds which are weird) has something significant to recover.

As you've noted here, that really ups the interest in taking them.


All spellcasters should refresh on a Short Rest.

Short rest spell refresh balances better compared to noncasters.

No one thinks the Warlock is overpowered.

Shorter rest refresh means a smaller amount of spell slots at a time. This makes the game simpler, makes the narrative of exertion versus resting make sense, and prevents "novas".

Then the Long Rest is mainly for hit point restoration only, where all classes benefit moreorless equally.


I don't believe in the no-win scenario
I’m ok with the lean away on short rests. I really like the DMG advice though on how to personalize them. This seems like an ideal modular item for 5E but that idea seems to have been abandoned.


I’m ok with the lean away on short rests. I really like the DMG advice though on how to personalize them. This seems like an ideal modular item for 5E but that idea seems to have been abandoned.
It is easy to make modular.

For example, make all spellcasters refresh spells per Long Rest.

But the 2024 DMs Guide can give a variant, that uses Spell Points (level + 1 spell points, and a spell costs its slot), and refreshes the spell points per Short or Long Rest.

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