Let's Talk About Chapter 9 of the DMG

ninjayeti

Explorer
I am a player in a campaign that uses week long rests now. I was skeptical when the game first started, but it has worked amazingly well. This particular campaign makes heavy use of what is sometimes called "fronts" - factions with an agenda that progresses independent of the PCs. Week long rests really give this type of game the time it needs to play out.

The three main things that feel vastly different from other games I have played in are:

1) Player choices feel meaningful. You can't do A, B, and C in a week, so if you fight faction A, then you let faction B continue with their agenda, and you can't do the quest that would earn favor with faction C. When you can do A Monday, B Tuesday, and C Wednesday those choices aren't as important.

2) The world changes independent of the PCs. The quest line you ignore this week doesn't remain in stasis until you get around to it. The orc raids choke off trade to the town. The necromancer keeps increasing the size of his undead army. The thieves' guild starts killing important NPCs. It is a living, breathing world, for better or (usually) worse.

3) Long rests are a BIG deal. You can't waste a week resting because your enemies aren't waiting around twiddling their thumbs. Our party is constantly stretching our resources to their limit to maximize what we can accomplish each week because time is the most important resource in the game.

So while I can see why the week long rests wouldn't work in some games, for this type of campaign they really give it a timeframe that lets it work in a very different way than the standard recovery rule would.
 

Reynard

Legend
I am a player in a campaign that uses week long rests now. I was skeptical when the game first started, but it has worked amazingly well. This particular campaign makes heavy use of what is sometimes called "fronts" - factions with an agenda that progresses independent of the PCs. Week long rests really give this type of game the time it needs to play out.

The three main things that feel vastly different from other games I have played in are:

1) Player choices feel meaningful. You can't do A, B, and C in a week, so if you fight faction A, then you let faction B continue with their agenda, and you can't do the quest that would earn favor with faction C. When you can do A Monday, B Tuesday, and C Wednesday those choices aren't as important.

2) The world changes independent of the PCs. The quest line you ignore this week doesn't remain in stasis until you get around to it. The orc raids choke off trade to the town. The necromancer keeps increasing the size of his undead army. The thieves' guild starts killing important NPCs. It is a living, breathing world, for better or (usually) worse.

3) Long rests are a BIG deal. You can't waste a week resting because your enemies aren't waiting around twiddling their thumbs. Our party is constantly stretching our resources to their limit to maximize what we can accomplish each week because time is the most important resource in the game.

So while I can see why the week long rests wouldn't work in some games, for this type of campaign they really give it a timeframe that lets it work in a very different way than the standard recovery rule would.
Thanks for sharing! That sounds like a great campaign.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I am a player in a campaign that uses week long rests now. I was skeptical when the game first started, but it has worked amazingly well. This particular campaign makes heavy use of what is sometimes called "fronts" - factions with an agenda that progresses independent of the PCs. Week long rests really give this type of game the time it needs to play out.

The three main things that feel vastly different from other games I have played in are:

1) Player choices feel meaningful. You can't do A, B, and C in a week, so if you fight faction A, then you let faction B continue with their agenda, and you can't do the quest that would earn favor with faction C. When you can do A Monday, B Tuesday, and C Wednesday those choices aren't as important.

2) The world changes independent of the PCs. The quest line you ignore this week doesn't remain in stasis until you get around to it. The orc raids choke off trade to the town. The necromancer keeps increasing the size of his undead army. The thieves' guild starts killing important NPCs. It is a living, breathing world, for better or (usually) worse.

3) Long rests are a BIG deal. You can't waste a week resting because your enemies aren't waiting around twiddling their thumbs. Our party is constantly stretching our resources to their limit to maximize what we can accomplish each week because time is the most important resource in the game.

So while I can see why the week long rests wouldn't work in some games, for this type of campaign they really give it a timeframe that lets it work in a very different way than the standard recovery rule would.
That's similar to what I do, although I may have longer breaks and slow periods that go on for months while people are doing training, background investigation and research. Or the continuing conflict is just narrated and we don't go into details.

I've been re-reading the Dresden Files novels (before the next one comes out in July) and I kind of follow the same pattern as the books. Things are happening, life goes on for months or even a year at a time between books. Harry's doing his thing but none of what happens is really important enough to write a book about until things really go haywire.

It's similar in my campaign, people are doing their thing and then once in a while things go boom so we play it out in a game session. We don't go from zero to hero in a month, it takes years in campaign world time.
 

Nebulous

Hero
I'm running Curse of Strahd soonish on Roll20 and will introduce Sanity rules and probably a different rest mechanic. To avoid the "heal up all wounds easily" I'm going to introduce a "Good Rest/Average Rest/Poor Rest/No Rest" mechanic. This is a work in progress and not the final rules necessarily.

Good Rest is in a bed and a safe place: Full hit points, All Hit Dice, all spell slots, removes 2 Levels Exhaustion.

Average Rest: All hit points, Half Hit Dice, all spell slots, removes 1 level Exhaustion.

Poor Rest: 3/4 hit points, Half Hit Dice, One highest spell slot lost, No Exhaustion or Con save to remove Exhaustion)

No Rest: (such as imprisoned with no food and water): half hit points, No Hit Dice, half of spell slots are lost, No Exhaustion (enduring no rest too long will lead to saves vs. Exhaustion and eventually death)

Note that my games include "Gain a level of Exhaustion if brought back from zero hit points" so PCs can accrue levels of exhaustion faster than normal.
 

Helldritch

Adventurer
The only rule in Ch.9 in the DMG I use now is the No HP recovery rule. You have to spend HD to heal. Otherwise, things are not really changed.

We did use:
Facing: Too much tactical play. Slows down the game play as players ponder how to take advantage of positioning.

Flanking: Too much tactical play. Same as above and it is also a death trap for the players as there are usually more enemies than there are PC. The flanking was way too good on the monster's side and it led, too often, to a TPK.

Marking: Nice but too inconsequential and it slows down the game play a bit. For what it adds, it's not worth it. Again, this leads to too much tactical play for no sensible gains in gameplay.

Hero points: Players loved it. But it made the game way too easy. So I had to rebalance encounters. One mistake in balancing and BOOOOM! TPK! Without Hero points, the game is much more stable/predictable than with them.

Diagonal squares at 15 feet: Dropped that too. Slows down the game play. Did I count that fourth diagonal or not? Dang, Can I move again? Too much calculations. Move 6 squares and that's it. It is more than adequate.

Fear/moral: I prefer to use my judgment on these effect. I do not need a rule for that. We tried and we all hated it.

Honnor: Could be good in an all knights game or in a game with an oriental flavor. Otherwise, too hard, restrictive or irrelevent to implement.

Sanity: Only used it in Out of the Abyss. Otherwise, not a very useful rule unless you play a specific kind of adventure.

Other rules we haven't tried or I simply decided to ignore/not use. I hope my insights were helpful.
 

Asisreo

Explorer
I always find these discussions always devolve into "Gritty Realism this" or "Gritty Realism that." What happened to the other sections of the chapter? Or did I get the secret extended cut?

I've done Epic Heroism and it was fun for a bit for a one-shot. You get to throw encounters where you expect the players to go nova constantly and when you pace it like that, it feels like a doom-esque power trip where they're ripping beholders apart two at a time. If you want to try that type of adventure, or just a one-shot, I recommend it.

Sanity adds more bookkeeping but it helps if you're going for a horror/thriller vibe as now they have another score to keep up with. It isn't going to completely ground them in realism, though. If you want to make the characters feel like just people, probably play Call of Cthulu.

I've done firearms, injuries, and gritty realism in a one-shot where magic wasn't allowed and boy did it feel dangerous for them. I was upfront about them basically needing to avoid fights to survive and deal with things stealthily or through roleplay. They had alot of fun.

Plot points are very interesting and lets the players have more investment in the story since they can add their own twists.

The combat actions are actually a good enough buff to champion fighters and Barbarians that they don't feel nearly as underpowered. Sure, everyone can do what they do but the Barbarian and Fighter are usually more capable to use these benefits.
 

Saelorn

Hero
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.
The whole rule is like one paragraph. They really don't go into it at all. I was assuming one week off and one week on, because it seemed like a reasonable balance. Taking a week off after three days of adventuring seems pretty egregious to me. The default balance is more like 60-75% uptime and 25-40% downtime, so it doesn't seem right to invert that. But again, they don't state their assumptions.

When I first read it, I thought they were trying to do a throwback to the old days, when healing and preparing spells was something that you did between adventures. That could easily turn into one long rest per month, or per three months, though. It also raises an issue regarding the inability to heal without spending Hit Dice, since you're likely to run out of those after a couple of days.
 

Saelorn

Hero
I always find these discussions always devolve into "Gritty Realism this" or "Gritty Realism that." What happened to the other sections of the chapter? Or did I get the secret extended cut?
Generally speaking, people have opinions about the default healing rate, and don't care about most of the other options. The default healing rate is something that matters constantly, in every campaign with combat.

The other things are highly campaign-specific. Most games don't have firearms or insanity. Flanking does get some discussion, but given the poor balance involved, talk quickly turns to how that rule should be fixed rather than implemented outright. And the less said about plot points, the better.
 
The players still rest whenever they want. Sometimes they can go 2 days, get their asses kicked and spend a week recovering, sometimes they're too busy and can't long rest for several weeks at a time. There isn't a concept of you must long rest every X number of days. The gritty realism variant just makes it harder overall, that's it.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
The whole rule is like one paragraph. They really don't go into it at all. I was assuming one week off and one week on, because it seemed like a reasonable balance. Taking a week off after three days of adventuring seems pretty egregious to me. The default balance is more like 60-75% uptime and 25-40% downtime, so it doesn't seem right to invert that. But again, they don't state their assumptions.

When I first read it, I thought they were trying to do a throwback to the old days, when healing and preparing spells was something that you did between adventures. That could easily turn into one long rest per month, or per three months, though. It also raises an issue regarding the inability to heal without spending Hit Dice, since you're likely to run out of those after a couple of days.
In my game, we typically do 2-3 days of adventuring between long rests, but it's been as long as a week or more between long rests. There is no set duration of how long you adventure before you rest. In addition, there is no defined time for a long rest other than it's at least a week.

It's all story dependent.
 

atanakar

Adventurer
We use:
  • Madness (a house rule)
  • Session based XP progression (X number of sessions = a level up).
  • Major foes have 1 Hero Point. (re-roll)
  • Slow Natural Healing

We do not use:
  • Feats
  • Multi-classing
 

Worrgrendel

Explorer
My group has used Hero Points from the beginning and have not found any real issues with it and the players all like it as it makes their character feel more "heroic" to use a limited resource to dig down deep to push through something/land that needed hit/make that save/make that skill check/etc. As far as putting the game on "easy" mode we haven't felt that, but when I DM'd (a heavily modified Tyranny of Dragons campaign from level 1 - 17) and our current DM (level 1 - 9 homebrew so far) both tend to fall on the side of throwing challenging encounters at them anyway. Had some levels where hardly any were used and other levels where they were gone fast and the players were sweating getting the next level with little/none remaining.
 

dave2008

Legend
We have several custom house rules, but we use the "Healer's Kit Dependency" and part of the "Epic Heroism" (short rest = 5 minutes) variants. Both work great for our group and help make the game both more heroic and more deadly.

EDIT: We also use a house-ruled variant of "Slow Natural Healing"
 
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My experience with 7-day rests is that there are too many things in the game that need adjusting, particularly spells. Many spell durations are tied to 8 hour rests (off the top of my head - goodberry, create undead, tiny hut, mansion, raise dead, revivify, mage armor).
Money also needs to be adjusted. If a long rest needs 7 days then low level characters end up spending a big chunk of treasure simply on food and accomodation.
 

Lancelot

Adventurer
We're using the Lingering Injuries rules at my table, in this fashion:

Once per session (only!), the player of a PC who is down and bleeding out may choose to take a Lingering Injury to automatically stabilize. Our table tends to be pretty deadly; we're old-school players who tend to enforce 4-7 encounters between long rests, and those encounters are usually Hard+. This accounts for more than 200 permanent PC losses (playing 1.5 times per week; 10 players in 2 groups) since 5e began.... even with the Lingering Injury option available.

My table loves a bit of random. There's plenty of tension when someone chooses to "take the lingerer" (as we call it), because... 1) they might (and often have) lose an arm or a leg, which creates an interesting RP exercise for the rest of that PC's career; and 2) choosing to take the injury will mean that nobody else can take the option in that session, which makes it more deadly for the next person who drops.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
My experience with 7-day rests is that there are too many things in the game that need adjusting, particularly spells. Many spell durations are tied to 8 hour rests (off the top of my head - goodberry, create undead, tiny hut, mansion, raise dead, revivify, mage armor).
Money also needs to be adjusted. If a long rest needs 7 days then low level characters end up spending a big chunk of treasure simply on food and accomodation.
My solution is simple. Multiply durations of spells that last half an hour or more by 5. Don't worry about basic cost of living, assume that if nothing else the PCs can get jobs as bouncers, guards, scribes or common laborers.
 

Reynard

Legend
My experience with 7-day rests is that there are too many things in the game that need adjusting, particularly spells. Many spell durations are tied to 8 hour rests (off the top of my head - goodberry, create undead, tiny hut, mansion, raise dead, revivify, mage armor).
Money also needs to be adjusted. If a long rest needs 7 days then low level characters end up spending a big chunk of treasure simply on food and accomodation.
Resource management is a thing in D&D and anything that brings it back to the fore is a good thing IMO.
 

Hriston

Adventurer
The whole rule is like one paragraph. They really don't go into it at all. I was assuming one week off and one week on, because it seemed like a reasonable balance. Taking a week off after three days of adventuring seems pretty egregious to me. The default balance is more like 60-75% uptime and 25-40% downtime, so it doesn't seem right to invert that. But again, they don't state their assumptions.

When I first read it, I thought they were trying to do a throwback to the old days, when healing and preparing spells was something that you did between adventures. That could easily turn into one long rest per month, or per three months, though. It also raises an issue regarding the inability to heal without spending Hit Dice, since you're likely to run out of those after a couple of days.
There are two paragraphs under Gritty Realism, but I'd say the rule itself is just the first sentence: it changes a short rest to eight hours and a long rest to seven days. That's all it changes.

In the second paragraph, it states that the intent of the rule is to encourage "the characters to spend time out of the dungeon."

As to "their" assumptions, I think they're explicitly stated here:
Short Rests
In general, over the course of a full adventuring day, the party will likely need to take two short rests, about one-third and two-thirds of the way through the day.​
So if a short rest is eight hours, I think it's natural to assume an adventuring day of about three days.

Also, I'm not sure from where your "default balance" is coming, especially considering the five-minute workday. Minimally, a 24-hour adventuring day includes two one-hour short rests and an eight-hour long rest for a minimum of 42% downtime, but again, I think it's highly unlikely that the PCs are actually spending the other 14 hours "in the dungeon".
 

Esker

Hero
I quite like some of the combat options in that chapter. We've used a few of them in my home game -- they don't come up that often, but it's nice to have more ways to use athletics and acrobatics in combat besides grappling and shoving. The "Mark" one is cool too, though I haven't used that one.
 

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