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5E Let's Talk About Chapter 9 of the DMG

Reynard

Legend
Chapter 9 of the Dungeon master's Guide is the DM's Workshop. It is a collection of optional rules and advice for making D&D more like you and your group want it. I am curious what optional rules from the chapter people have employed, and how it has gone. Let's share our thoughts and experiences with an eye toward positivity, though it is okay to talk about something that just did not work at all.

By the way, I would like to focus this thread on the material in Chapter 9. I know there are a lot of great things elsewhere in the DMG, and in other books, but I think containing this discussion to the core "Dungeon master's Workshop" will help make it relevant to neophyte and veteran 5E DM's alike.
 

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Reynard

Legend
I want to start off by talking about the rest variants, specifically the "Gritty Realism" variant because that is an optional rule I have often considered employing. It isn't so much that I think healing is to easy, it's that I think the game move too fast in a calendar sense. I don't mind the PCs leveling quickly as it relates to encounters (and that can be adjusted). I think the PCs level too fast as it relates to time. Longer rest requirements can stretch the calendar length of adventures so perhaps PCs spend months or years, not mere weeks, reaching higher levels. Does anyone have experience using the Gritty Realism rest variant? How did it go?
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I've always avoided rests that long because I tend to run games that end up rolling downhill at a breakneck pace.
DM: The kingdom is a stake, the prince has been kidnapped, creatures out of the abyss are breaching the walls. What do you do?
Player: Well, I think I'll start with a refreshing week long nap. Then, to action!


I'm exaggerating of course but I find that even the standard rests can get in the way of a good story sometimes. I'd rather find other ways to adjust leveling intervals personally. I use a lot of milestone XP anyway though, so it's not a huge stretch for me.
 

jgsugden

Hero
I hate that they call that option gritty realism.

If you stop treating hp loss as wounds, and instead treat it as things that tax your toughness, things are real gritty. You can have the slugfest battles of Sin City and have people continue to push through the pain... like Sin City ... without requiring weeks of rests.
 

Reynard

Legend
I hate that they call that option gritty realism.

If you stop treating hp loss as wounds, and instead treat it as things that tax your toughness, things are real gritty. You can have the slugfest battles of Sin City and have people continue to push through the pain... like Sin City ... without requiring weeks of rests.
There is nothing gritty or realistic about Sin City. It's pulp noir.
 


Saelorn

Hero
Does anyone have experience using the Gritty Realism rest variant? How did it go?
I tried it for a bit, but it didn't go well.

The basic problem is that the rest of the system is designed around the assumption of getting hit on a routine basis, balanced by the fact that healing is easy. If you make healing harder, but don't give characters any way to avoid getting hit, then it's kind of a mess.

A secondary issue is that primary spellcasters are unhappy with the inability to recover spells overnight. If you're used to casting multiple big spells per day, then it's a hard sell to go back to casting one spell every other day. Warlocks become more popular than ever, not only because you have 2-3 times as many short rests per long rests, but also because you recover spell slots at a predictable interval; players are used to budgeting spells on a per-day basis.

The math suggests that it should remain relatively balanced, if you have six encounters in an "adventure week" instead of in an "adventure day"; but there's more to the game than just combat. Spell duration doesn't translate well, in many cases.

My biggest issue is just that it doesn't go far enough toward restoring the old balance. I mean, this is as gritty as the game gets, and you can still go from 1hp to full after sleeping for one night. Granted, you can't do that as frequently as you could under the base rules, but if there was any hint of realism involved then you wouldn't be able to do it at all.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I use the alternate rest rules, they work fine and work better for the pacing of my game. Yeah, spell casters have to consider pacing and resource management, but it's not that big of a deal.
Other than that, I use some of the optional combat rule action options such as overrun, climbing on larger creatures, hitting cover. Little things to make combat a little more fun, but I don't use marks (there's a subclass for that), disarming (annoying).
 

teitan

Hero
I have been debating on a 1e game but the player buy in for my group is "meh" so far because they like the smoothness of 5e mechanics. Would some of the rules in chapter 9 (havent read it and I am at work so can't reference) be good to emulate some of the 1e style of play?
 


Collectively I've looked at all of them, and mostly disregarded them as the equivalent of internet forum spitballing.

Most of them have pretty obvious issues. The only one I would really consider using as is is "ability score proficiency" but that's one's probably only workable because it's basically the primes system nicked from Castles and Crusades.
 


Hriston

Adventurer
I tried it for a bit, but it didn't go well.

The basic problem is that the rest of the system is designed around the assumption of getting hit on a routine basis, balanced by the fact that healing is easy. If you make healing harder, but don't give characters any way to avoid getting hit, then it's kind of a mess.

A secondary issue is that primary spellcasters are unhappy with the inability to recover spells overnight. If you're used to casting multiple big spells per day, then it's a hard sell to go back to casting one spell every other day. Warlocks become more popular than ever, not only because you have 2-3 times as many short rests per long rests, but also because you recover spell slots at a predictable interval; players are used to budgeting spells on a per-day basis.

The math suggests that it should remain relatively balanced, if you have six encounters in an "adventure week" instead of in an "adventure day"; but there's more to the game than just combat. Spell duration doesn't translate well, in many cases.

My biggest issue is just that it doesn't go far enough toward restoring the old balance. I mean, this is as gritty as the game gets, and you can still go from 1hp to full after sleeping for one night. Granted, you can't do that as frequently as you could under the base rules, but if there was any hint of realism involved then you wouldn't be able to do it at all.
Maybe I’m missing some context, but the Gritty Realism variant isn’t that you take one long rest every seven adventuring days. It’s that a long rest takes seven days of downtime, so you have your “adventuring day” (which ought to be about three actual days) then take seven days off to rest before the next one. Your comments seem to be based on the former understanding rather than the latter.
 
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Maestrino

Explorer
To the OP, what optional rules have I mployed and how did it go?

Spell point variant for sorcerers. Makes them more of a blasty specialist alternative to a jack-of-all-trades wizard. Super fun.

Gritty realism? No thanks. If anything my parties already try to tackle too many encounters without resting as is. They're more likely to charge ahead even though they're out of abilities and hit dice and get screwed by a big bad.
 

Reynard

Legend
Gritty realism? No thanks. If anything my parties already try to tackle too many encounters without resting as is. They're more likely to charge ahead even though they're out of abilities and hit dice and get screwed by a big bad.
Lucky you. One of my groups is the 5-minute adventuring type: Let's nova then rest! Ugh. The gritty realism resting rule might help with that.

Somewhat relatedly, does anyone have practical experience with the alternative healing rules? it seems like needing healing kits is a good way to sap treasure (which 5e desperately needs) and slow natural healing seems like a way to allow for more time to pass. I don't know that I would combine it withgritty realism long rests, though.
 

commandercrud

Adventurer
Somewhat relatedly, does anyone have practical experience with the alternative healing rules? it seems like needing healing kits is a good way to sap treasure (which 5e desperately needs) and slow natural healing seems like a way to allow for more time to pass. I don't know that I would combine it withgritty realism long rests, though.
We use all of those. Lingering injuries and system shock too. They all work well together. If I could only adopt one though, it would be Gritty Realism.
 

RSIxidor

Explorer
I think gritty realism takes it too long. Instead of just changing how long short and long rests are, they should change what is recovered with each. If the idea is that you can't get everything back, then you could have more tiers of resting.

Short rest - 1 hour - get back some "short rest" resources, but not all, recover HP by spending hit dice
Overnight rest - 8 hours - get back all "short rest" resources, get back some "long rest" resources, get back half as many hit dice as normal long rest, regain HP equal to your level+con mod.
Weekend rest - 3 days - get back half hit points + con mod, get back all "short rest" resources," get back all normal amount of hit dice for a "long rest," get back more of "long rest" resources compared to overnight rest
Week's rest - only possible in relatively secure locations like a settlement where PCs wouldn't need to guard their own rest, get back all HP, all HD, all "short rest" and all "long rest" resources

I'm not saying what I have above is exactly as it should be, just spit-balling an example. Having a binary of short vs long rests doesn't feel like it makes sense for the "realism" scenarios.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I think gritty realism takes it too long. Instead of just changing how long short and long rests are, they should change what is recovered with each. If the idea is that you can't get everything back, then you could have more tiers of resting.
...
Not sure I follow, it's just an issue of campaign narrative pacing.

One note I should make is that I do modify how long spells with duration of half an hour or more last - I multiply their duration by 5.

But it really depends on your style of campaign. I tend to run urban investigation/exploration/RP heavy campaigns. I'm not doing large dungeon crawls where you're facing down wave after wave of monsters.
 

Reynard

Legend
Not sure I follow, it's just an issue of campaign narrative pacing.

One note I should make is that I do modify how long spells with duration of half an hour or more last - I multiply their duration by 5.

But it really depends on your style of campaign. I tend to run urban investigation/exploration/RP heavy campaigns. I'm not doing large dungeon crawls where you're facing down wave after wave of monsters.
I often considering using the longer rest times for wilderness travel and switching back to the shorter ones for the dungeon crawl. I know it is a metagame element, but I hate the tendency to nova in every wilderness encounter simply because the probability of more than one or two encounters is very low.

I also have been using a hack of the TOR/AiME Journey rules, which helps alleviate the same problem.
 

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