D&D General Long Rest and unconscious characters

GreyBeardDM

Villager
hello, hope someone can guide me in the right direction....
  1. PCs start a long rest
  2. Half way through they are woken up and attacked
  3. 5 rounds later they are done, but one character goes unconscious and saves on the their death save and is unconscious for 1 hour

question 1: is the unconscious character able to wait an hour and then re-start his long rest
question 2: I assume that the other PCs are ok to continue their long rest


any help is appreciated
 

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DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
question 1: is the unconscious character able to wait an hour and then re-start his long rest
question 2: I assume that the other PCs are ok to continue their long rest
1. When the unconscious character regains consciousness (in 1-4 hours) they gain 1 hp, and can then benefit from the long rest. If someone heals him 1 or more HP, then he can immediately start timing his long rest.

2. They should be, I hope he would do the same for them... ;)
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
1. The unconscious character doesn't need to re-start their long rest. Assuming they began the long rest with at least 1 hit point along with everyone else, four hours in it was interrupted by thirty seconds of combat and the PC fell unconscious. I wouldn't say the state of unconsciousness counts as "strenuous activity", so the rest continues for all, including the unconscious PC, and four hours later the rest concludes and the benefits are gained.

2. That is correct.
 

Rabulias

the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
PHB p.186 said:
A character can't benefit from more than one long rest in a 24-hour period, and a character must have at least 1 hit point at the start of the rest to gain its benefits. (emphasis mine)
Others have mentioned the difference of opinion on combat vs long rests. If you rule that the combat does not interrupt the rest, then the RAW criteria have been met. Yet another reason why I rule that any combat resets the clock on a long rest.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
1. The unconscious character doesn't need to re-start their long rest. Assuming they began the long rest with at least 1 hit point along with everyone else, four hours in it was interrupted by thirty seconds of combat and the PC fell unconscious. I wouldn't say the state of unconsciousness counts as "strenuous activity", so the rest continues for all, including the unconscious PC, and four hours later the rest concludes and the benefits are gained.
I suppose what you're saying is that while one has to be at or above 1 h.p. to start a long rest there's nothing saying one has to maintain that condition throughout, thus during the long rest can drop to 0 h.p. (unconscious) and still get the benefits of resting...which seems counterintuitive as all hell but that's nothing new for 5e's rest rules. :)
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Or another way to look at it... one could look at it from the narrative perspective rather than the mechanical one. What does the DM know of what is going on?:

- Are things in motion in the background such that those things are going to happen sooner that expected and the party will not be able to get a Long Rest before things happen to them and they have to get going again?

Then none of the rules about being unconscious or waking up or starting/continuing will make a difference-- the party will have to jumpstart their day without their Long Rest mechanical benefits clearing.

- Or does the group have the time in the morning to set their own pace before they choose to become active again and get back into action?

Then again none of the rules about being unconscious or waking up or starting/continuing will make a difference-- the party will get going following the mechanical Long Rest reset occurring... whenever that happens to be.

The only place where there would be a possible conflict here is for those DMs who have actually statted out specific hours in the day when things are going occur (and are unwilling to adjust their timelines). Whether it's them rolling random encounters every hour on the hour regardless of party action and one just happens to occur in the nebulous hours around possible Long Rest completion... or they've even stated outright in their notes "At 5:30 am, X occurs". For those DMs I guess needing precise time measurement is crucial for them and what was posted above would be fine... but I would offer the advice that that kind of slavish devotion to specific timekeeping is way, way, way more trouble that it's worth and the benefit doesn't even come close to the cost of your time and energy trying to calculate all of it.

Does the DM want the party to have rested before the next bit of the adventure begins? If yes, then they took a Long Rest regardless of the length... and if no, then they didn't. Worrying about what specific time it is does not lend itself to a better game in my opinion.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
hello, hope someone can guide me in the right direction....
  1. PCs start a long rest
  2. Half way through they are woken up and attacked
  3. 5 rounds later they are done, but one character goes unconscious and saves on the their death save and is unconscious for 1 hour

question 1: is the unconscious character able to wait an hour and then re-start his long rest
question 2: I assume that the other PCs are ok to continue their long rest


any help is appreciated
1. Yes, so the expected rest time essentially goes from 8 hours to 9 hours to account for the time the PC was unconscious. The rest of the party will be rested at the 8-hour mark.

2. Yes.

The only place where there would be a possible conflict here is for those DMs who have actually statted out specific hours in the day when things are going occur (and are unwilling to adjust their timelines). Whether it's them rolling random encounters every hour on the hour regardless of party action and one just happens to occur in the nebulous hours around possible Long Rest completion... or they've even stated outright in their notes "At 5:30 am, X occurs". For those DMs I guess needing precise time measurement is crucial for them and what was posted above would be fine... but I would offer the advice that that kind of slavish devotion to specific timekeeping is way, way, way more trouble that it's worth and the benefit doesn't even come close to the cost of your time and energy trying to calculate all of it.

Does the DM want the party to have rested before the next bit of the adventure begins? If yes, then they took a Long Rest regardless of the length... and if no, then they didn't. Worrying about what specific time it is does not lend itself to a better game in my opinion.
I'm not sure I would frame keeping track of time as "slavish devotion" or suggest that it costs any meaningful amount of time or energy. The payoff for what little effort it does entail pays dividends by providing another resource for the players to consider when making meaningful decisions. The more meaningful decisions the players make per unit of session time, the more engaged they become in my experience. One can imagine if time mattered in the situation under discussion that the players might have made some different decisions as it relates to resting here. Perhaps they would spend some resources to revive the unconscious PC so they didn't lose that hour or, failing that, stopped the long rest altogether because they couldn't afford to spend the time anymore. Or looked for a more secure resting place prior to making the attempt, etc.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I'm not sure I would frame keeping track of time as "slavish devotion" or suggest that it costs any meaningful amount of time or energy. The payoff for what little effort it does entail pays dividends by providing another resource for the players to consider when making meaningful decisions.
I would agree with you, but only up to a certain point-- the meaningful decision being whether they think they have time for a Long Rest at all or not... not whether they can sneak one in before X moment in time.

The group needing to make a choice of whether or not they think they can get in a full night's sleep without it being an issue? Sure... a meaningful decision at the beginning of the night and one that will possibly impact them. But the group needing to figure out the exact timeline of when the Long Rest begins, and whether an unconscious player's time being unconscious applies to the Long Rest or if it only starts starts after the 1d4 hours before gaining consciousness before then having to sleep again to get their Long Rest etc. etc. etc.? Not meaningful. Because the only way those calculations of whether there are extra hours being tacked on to the Long Rest matter is if the DM has a specific timeline of events set up that says "Y event is happening between 6am and 7am" and thus everyone needs to go out of their way to figure out exactly when the Long Rest finishes.

But I believe that-- yes-- that "slavish devotion"-- is unnecessary and does not lend itself to any meaningful gameplay. The DM does not need to spec out when events occur that precisely, they just can know Y event will happen during the group's Long Rest and it gets interrupted again, or it happens after they finish it and they've regained their abilities. From the perspective of the players what time it is doesn't matter, what matters is whether they have their abilities back.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I would agree with you, but only up to a certain point-- the meaningful decision being whether they think they have time for a Long Rest at all or not... not whether they can sneak one in before X moment in time.
Those are both meaningful decisions in a game where time matters, and I can tell you from personal experience that the prospect of 1d4 hours of unconsciousness has absolutely impacted the decisions of the players in several of my games. Again, because time mattered.

A DM doesn't have to keep track of time if they don't want to, but there are very good reasons for doing so and it has a positive impact on gameplay. It ratchets up the tension and creates opportunities for players to get creative with what time they have available to accomplish their goals.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Those are both meaningful decisions in a game where time matters, and I can tell you from personal experience that the prospect of 1d4 hours of unconsciousness has absolutely impacted the decisions of the players in several of my games. Again, because time mattered.

A DM doesn't have to keep track of time if they don't want to, but there are very good reasons for doing so and it has a positive impact on gameplay. It ratchets up the tension and creates opportunities for players to get creative with what time they have available to accomplish their goals.
Sure. As I said in my original post there are some DMs who find that important. Nothing wrong with that. I just believe that the rest of the gaming populace might not gain as much from it as those DMs do, so the original OP just needs to figure out whether or not they truly are one of the former or one of the latter.

After the first six posters went in the one direction, I just said here's a second perspective. One that might actually have meaning for a large number of DMs out there.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
I suppose what you're saying is that while one has to be at or above 1 h.p. to start a long rest there's nothing saying one has to maintain that condition throughout, thus during the long rest can drop to 0 h.p. (unconscious) and still get the benefits of resting...which seems counterintuitive as all hell but that's nothing new for 5e's rest rules. :)
It's no less counterintuitive, IMO, than someone sustaining damage in a mid-rest fight that doesn't drop them to zero and having it all healed up at the end of the rest. The point is if the period of strenuous activity that interrupts the rest is less than an hour long, then the rest doesn't need to re-start and therefore there's no requirement to have at least 1 hit point at the end of the interruption to gain the benefits of the rest.
 


aco175

Legend
I guess I question if this ever would come up? I mean is there a problem resting for 8 hours and then letting the down guy rest for one more.

"Sorry, He'll catch up. We need to take off now- you know time crunch plot of the DM."

Also kind of poor taste for the DM to not just let the stabilized guy get up with the rest of the PCs. They must already be penalized enough by only gaining half their hit dice, since they must be out, otherwise they would have taken a short rest in the middle of the night.

Also, after the fight in the middle of the night nobody did anything for the downed PC except stabilized him. I guess the party could have no potions or spells remaining, but I find this rarely happens.

"Sorry, I got this one heal left but need to save it in case we get attacked again in the middle of the night and I might need it. You understand- right."
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
It's no less counterintuitive, IMO, than someone sustaining damage in a mid-rest fight that doesn't drop them to zero and having it all healed up at the end of the rest.
Yes, hence my noting that 5e rest rules are generally counterintuitive and that this going-unconscious bit is just one more example of such. :)
The point is if the period of strenuous activity that interrupts the rest is less than an hour long, then the rest doesn't need to re-start and therefore there's no requirement to have at least 1 hit point at the end of the interruption to gain the benefits of the rest.
By RAW, this is correct.

However, RAW in this case is an ass. I'm interested to see what 5.5e does with this and whether or not it fixes any of this, though my hopes are not high.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Also kind of poor taste for the DM to not just let the stabilized guy get up with the rest of the PCs.
How so? The stabilized guy nearly died during the night - surely it ought to take a bit longer for him to recover. (IMO he shouldn't be able to recover beyond 1 h.p. until at least his next long rest, but I'm harsh - a.k.a. realistic - that way)
They must already be penalized enough by only gaining half their hit dice, since they must be out, otherwise they would have taken a short rest in the middle of the night.
This assumes one can interrupt a long rest to take a short rest...which on the face of it seems a bizarre concept in and of itself.
Also, after the fight in the middle of the night nobody did anything for the downed PC except stabilized him. I guess the party could have no potions or spells remaining, but I find this rarely happens.
At very low level this can be common enough, but not after that.
 

Rabulias

the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
However, RAW in this case is an ass. I'm interested to see what 5.5e does with this and whether or not it fixes any of this, though my hopes are not high.
The D&D One playtest has made an improvement to long rests in respect to this, IMO.

D&D One Playtest said:
INTERRUPTING THE REST
If a Long Rest is interrupted by combat or by 1 hour of walking, casting Spells, or similar activity, the rest confers no benefit and must be restarted; however, if the rest was at least 1 hour long before the interruption, you gain the benefits of a Short Rest.

Personally, I think the wording could be improved further to:
If a Long Rest is interrupted by combat, casting Spells, or by 1 hour of walking or similar activity, the rest confers no benefit and must be restarted; however, if the rest was at least 1 hour long before the interruption, you gain the benefits of a Short Rest.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I'm not really sure what we gain by having long rests interrupted by a single combat. It seems to me that just further incentivizes the party using Leomund's tiny hut, with which a lot of people seem to take issue. Insisting that it does feels like legacy thinking in my view - this is the way it was done in previous editions, so people can't let it go.

In my games, a long rest is interrupted if you have to quit your camp mid-rest, such as if you have to flee from monsters attacking you in the night. The presumption here is that you have to set up a new camp elsewhere by traveling some distance away from the danger and that's the hour interruption the rules require. It happens every now and again in my games which I think is the right frequency.
 

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