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D&D 5E Long Rests vs Short Rests

Would you rather have all abilities recover on a:

  • Short Rest

    Votes: 21 36.8%
  • Long Rest

    Votes: 36 63.2%

  • Total voters
    57

Xeviat

Hero
Supporter
In Tasha's, and in recent UAs, abilities that were or would have been previously X/short rest have been turned into Prof Bonus per long rest. This got me thinking about doing away with short rests as a recovery mechanic, since I've long been struggling with inter party balance between the likes of thr cleric/druid/wizard vs the fighter/monk/warlock.

But, as I was fiddling with things and working on new numbers for short rest abilities, the terror of the 5 minute work day, more Novas, and other fears from 3E started to come back to me.

This inevitably leads me to reconsider a project I had abandoned a while ago: converting the long rest recovery classes into short rest classes. What if the full casters used the warlock casting chasis, potentially tweaked a little?

What I'm wondering is would you rather have everything be all short rest (with some kind of daily timer like hit dice telling you when you really need to take a long rest), or would you rather have everything be all long rest (with hit dice for some short rest healing)?
 

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Xeviat

Hero
Supporter
I'm voting short rest, with some long rest abilities for the most powerful. This way, player capabilities are more bounded. Building npcs on the warlock chasis are easier to balance as well, having less spell slots to deal with.

The warlock chasis, with its invocations, could also add for fun abilities for the other spellcasters to pick up.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I haven't run into any problems so far with this stuff as written in the core rules (haven't implemented anything from Tasha's yet, and may not - I own the book, but have not spent much time with it). I think the long rest/short rest distinction is brilliant and is one of my favorite things about 5E.
 

Having everything recover on short rests is a terrible idea. It means that resource depletion is no longer a thing. Only mechanical consequence of an encounter can have is death, (and once you get resurrection, not even that.) As long as you survive, you can take a rest and negate all consequences of the encounter. Just nova everything every time.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
The typical inter party balance is because of the single encounter day due to narrative reasons.

Multi encounter days end up being few and far between, so short rest classes suck.

This is a narrative pacing problem. Just switch to "gritty rests" with an overnight sleep being a short rest, and a week long "nothing to do" downtime "vacation" is a long rest. Now your long rest classes will husband their resources jealously.

This probably matches the pacing of the adventures of most people with 5 minute adventuring day issues. Just make sure that "taking a week of downtime" is a "story level surrender", and arrange for such downtime between stories (ie, if story X unlocks Y, ensure there is a week of travel or something in between and not "it must be handled ASAP")

It means your "big boss" fights can't be as tough. And the multi-encounter day gets balanced for "between short rests" not "between long rests", so again not as tough. But that is completely within the DM's control.

If you have "epics", like require more than 1 big boss fight, start the bad guys doing things on a roughly weekly basis if not stopped (roll 4d4 if you want).

Ie, suppose you have an epic that needs about 4 full "adventuring days" worth of encounters in it. Lay out this timeline:

Code:
[INITIAL BAD GUY THING, KICKS OFF EPIC]
[BAD GUY DOES ANOTHER THING] (4d4 days after initial event).
[BAD GUY DOES ANOTHER THING] (3d4 days after last event).
[BAD GUY DOES ANOTHER THING] (4d4 days after last event).
where the players actions can quite reasonably interfere with the bad guy plans. This can slow down the steps, make bad things not happen, etc. The "story" consequences should be up front; the bad thing isn't "PCs are ambushed and killed or attacked", but rather "zombies attack the warf" or "king is assassinated".

For each of those bad guy things, you can split it into tiers -- "thwarted" and "unthwarted", where the first is what happens if the PCs won the last "story" piece of the epic, and the second if they fail it (possibly because they wanted a nap and took a week off).

You can even explain to the Players (not the PCs) that the bad guys have a calendar, and you can take vacations, but when you do, the bad guys plot advances in the background. And that some vacations are going to be assumed. Just don't take them needlessly. :)

In each of those pieces, stuff in some encounters. An adventuring day each or so.
 
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The typical inter party balance is because of the single encounter day due to narrative reasons.

Multi encounter days end up being few and far between, so short rest classes suck.

This is a narrative pacing problem. Just switch to "gritty rests" with an overnight sleep being a short rest, and a week long "nothing to do" downtime "vacation" is a long rest. Now your long rest classes will husband their resources jealously.

This probably matches the pacing of the adventures of most people with 5 minute adventuring day issues. Just make sure that "taking a week of downtime" is a "story level surrender", and arrange for such downtime between stories (ie, if story X unlocks Y, ensure there is a week of travel or something in between and not "it must be handled ASAP")
Yes, exactly this! This is what 'gritty realism' is for, it is a pacing mechanic for games which do not have crazy amount of combats per day. It is really misleadingly named.
 

ninjayeti

Adventurer
I think it really depends on the typical "adventuring day" in your campaign. The 5E designers tells us they assume 6-8 encounters per day, with a couple of short rests. In games where you are running 6-8 (or more) encounters per day, I think the long rest mechanic makes sense - give the PC's lots of abilities and leave it to them how to pace themselves. In games where you are running fewer encounters per day (say 1-3) then I think the short rest works better - give the PC's a smaller amount of resources they can tap at one time.
 


dave2008

Legend
Having everything recover on short rests is a terrible idea. It means that resource depletion is no longer a thing. Only mechanical consequence of an encounter can have is death, (and once you get resurrection, not even that.) As long as you survive, you can take a rest and negate all consequences of the encounter. Just nova everything every time.
No one said you had to recover to full on a short rest. For example, if we said you could recover 20 spell points on a short rest, but a full complement of spells is 160 spell points. If you have a big battle and expend 80 spell points, you are not getting them all back after a single short rest. So attrition can absolutely still be a thing if everything is short-rest based. You just need to design the game for it.
 

Iry

Hero
You have to burn a random card on a short rest, but you can pick the card to burn on a long rest.
Either way, you get all your discarded abilities back. A cookie for whoever gets this reference.
 

Xeviat

Hero
Supporter
Yeah I wasn't saying full recovery. Just that the long rest classes would be redesigned to be more like the fighter, monk, rogue, and warlock, rather than the full casters as they are now.
 


DeviousQuail

Explorer
Tough call. I'd prefer short rest with a hard limit on the number of short rests you can take between long rests. Everything on a long rest wouldn't be terrible but I fear you'd need a cooldown mechanic and then we're getting right back to short rests and long rests.
 


The typical inter party balance is because of the single encounter day due to narrative reasons.

Multi encounter days end up being few and far between, so short rest classes suck.

This is a narrative pacing problem. Just switch to "gritty rests" with an overnight sleep being a short rest, and a week long "nothing to do" downtime "vacation" is a long rest. Now your long rest classes will husband their resources jealously.

This probably matches the pacing of the adventures of most people with 5 minute adventuring day issues. Just make sure that "taking a week of downtime" is a "story level surrender", and arrange for such downtime between stories (ie, if story X unlocks Y, ensure there is a week of travel or something in between and not "it must be handled ASAP")

It means your "big boss" fights can't be as tough. And the multi-encounter day gets balanced for "between short rests" not "between long rests", so again not as tough. But that is completely within the DM's control.

If you have "epics", like require more than 1 big boss fight, start the bad guys doing things on a roughly weekly basis if not stopped (roll 4d4 if you want).

Ie, suppose you have an epic that needs about 4 full "adventuring days" worth of encounters in it. Lay out this timeline:

Code:
[INITIAL BAD GUY THING, KICKS OFF EPIC]
[BAD GUY DOES ANOTHER THING] (4d4 days after initial event).
[BAD GUY DOES ANOTHER THING] (3d4 days after last event).
[BAD GUY DOES ANOTHER THING] (4d4 days after last event).
where the players actions can quite reasonably interfere with the bad guy plans. This can slow down the steps, make bad things not happen, etc. The "story" consequences should be up front; the bad thing isn't "PCs are ambushed and killed or attacked", but rather "zombies attack the warf" or "king is assassinated".

For each of those bad guy things, you can split it into tiers -- "thwarted" and "unthwarted", where the first is what happens if the PCs won the last "story" piece of the epic, and the second if they fail it (possibly because they wanted a nap and took a week off).

You can even explain to the Players (not the PCs) that the bad guys have a calendar, and you can take vacations, but when you do, the bad guys plot advances in the background. And that some vacations are going to be assumed. Just don't take them needlessly. :)

In each of those pieces, stuff in some encounters. An adventuring day each or so.

Yes, if the DM is consistently having only a single encounter during an in-game day. I'm not sure why that would be, though. Is the party really only have 1 combat or 1 social interaction or 1 "exploration" challenge during an in-game day? What is going on when they are not doing that 1 encounter? This seems... strange to me... like the DM is not fulfilling their end of the bargain putting together a challenging adventure. I feel like I'm probably misinterpreting something here. Can you elaborate why there would only be 1 encounter in a day?
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Yes, if the DM is consistently having only a single encounter during an in-game day. I'm not sure why that would be, though. Is the party really only have 1 combat or 1 social interaction or 1 "exploration" challenge during an in-game day? What is going on when they are not doing that 1 encounter? This seems... strange to me... like the DM is not fulfilling their end of the bargain putting together a challenging adventure. I feel like I'm probably misinterpreting something here. Can you elaborate why there would only be 1 encounter in a day?
It is a not that rare plotting pace problem.

Hitting 6-8 encounters per day with time for a few hour long short breaks is not something many DMs pull off. When this happens, you run into balance problems between short and long rest classes.

Addressing this by making your "adventure chunks" take a few days, with 1-3 encounters in a given day, and 2-4 days of encounters in an adventure chunk, and have night's rest give short rest resources, and have downtime between adventure chunks sufficient to do a week's rest; or, if your chunk is larger, have enough wiggle room that taking a week off won't break the entire plot (but have time pressure so stuff happens, not "you lose" stuff, but evidence of time passing) "fixes" that imbalance.

Not all plots take place in day long flurries. If that is your campaign, consider gritty rests.
 

It is a not that rare plotting pace problem.

Hitting 6-8 encounters per day with time for a few hour long short breaks is not something many DMs pull off. When this happens, you run into balance problems between short and long rest classes.

Addressing this by making your "adventure chunks" take a few days, with 1-3 encounters in a given day, and 2-4 days of encounters in an adventure chunk, and have night's rest give short rest resources, and have downtime between adventure chunks sufficient to do a week's rest; or, if your chunk is larger, have enough wiggle room that taking a week off won't break the entire plot (but have time pressure so stuff happens, not "you lose" stuff, but evidence of time passing) "fixes" that imbalance.

Not all plots take place in day long flurries. If that is your campaign, consider gritty rests.
Yeah, I really cannot remember ever playing or running the sort of game where there are six to eight fights in one day (in any game, in any edition, ever.) That seems absolutely bonkers to me, and that to be some sort of norm that must repeated every day utterly surreal. Do people actually play like that?
 
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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Yeah, I really cannot remember ever playing or running the sort of game where there are six to eight fights in one day (in any game, in any edition, ever.) That seems absolutely bonkers to me, and that to be some sort of norm that must repeated every day utterly surreal. Do people actually play like that?
It's possible. I read a lot of posts about how people can play D&D as a combat-simulation board game, and the rules definitely support that style of play...but I've never seen it in real life, and it's not something I'd like to try. (Sounds exhausting to me, but to each their own.)
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
long rest all the way. Having long rest classes & short rest classes wish short rest classes sometimes literally having the same ability but tied to "lets take a short rest" is a huge mess that makes it extremely difficult for the GM to make changes & provide treasure that addresses balance issues between players the gm feels problematic
 


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