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5E Making 5E a short rest game

Lanliss

Explorer
I have had a coupe of threads focused towards changing the Long rest casters into Short rest ones using the Warlock Chassis, but just started thinking earlier (about 10 minutes ago, as I was writing a response to someone in a different thread) about a better way to change them. What if full casters, were changed so that they got a single slot for each spell level 1-5 that recharged on a short rest, and a few levels later got a second slot for that level. Then, spell levels 6-9 refreshed on a long rest.

Any balance minded people willing to take a look at this? this means way more short resting, and allows more total spells per long rest, assuming the "standard" 2 short/1 long.

Half and third casters get a much slower scaling, with Half casters getting 2 first level spells, and 1 of the others. 5th level recharges on a Long rest for them. Third casters only get 1 per spell level on a short rest.

This feels a bit boggled, as I am mostly writing this stuff out as I think of it, but it feels semi-balanced. At least enough to not break the sturdy chassis of 5E. Thoughts?

EDIT: Also, this thread isn't just about spells, those are just the most dominant Long rest mechanic. Any thoughts on other Long rest mechanics are welcome as well.
 
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Krachek

Adventurer
If you add a short rest after each fight, you are back to 4ed, with encounter and daily spell.
If all classes are using a short rest refresh mechanic, be sure that players will try to have a rest after each fight.

Sure it will make all classes look more balanced and prevent some abuse, but a perfect balance don't make a better game.

I like the actual difference. It leave more space and time so that each character have a chance to shine during the day.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
I'll post more tomorrow, but Krachek is right. Such a change will encourage short resting after every fight. If that's what you want, then that's great. You'll want to push fights into the deadly range.

You'll want to consider healing spells. I'd suggest making them temp hp so players can't heal up after every fight.

I love the thought of having 1 short Rest slots of each level. I'd do it a little different: at the odd levels, your new spell is long rest recovery. They become short Rest when you get the new one. Something like this:

1st: 1s
3rd: 1s, 2L
5th: 1s, 2s, 3L
7th: 1s, 2s, 3L ...

You'll want invocation like things for all the primary casters probably.

For my house rules, I did something a little different. I switched to Spell Points, have them recover on short Rest, and cut them down to 2*caster level. I don't need invocations for everyone because utility spells are usually cheep.

Good luck! I think a short rest game would be easier to balance.


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Li Shenron

Legend
I think what you're currently trying to do is too difficult. The core rules are designed so that unlimited VS short-rest VS long-rest abilities are mostly balanced with each other, so if you modify spellcasting you'd have to modify also a lot of other mechanics.

Instead, the first type of solution you are supposed to try, is to simply modify the duration of short and long rests. You could for instance shorten the long rests to 1 hour (so that they work like standard short rests) and short rests to 10 minutes, or some other times. This sort of house rules affects a lot of mechanics at once, changing the relative importance of unlimited VS short-rest VS long-rest abilities, but keeps each category of abilities balanced with itself.

Only after you've tried this simple solution you should consider embarking in a more complicated one.
 

Psikerlord#

Explorer
Low Fantasy Gaming rpg has something kinda like this. All classes can recover an expended use of an ability after a short rest (5 mins), including casters, who can recover a spell slot. Long rests however are 1d6 days (1d4 in an inn, etc). Maximum 3 short rests per 24 hr period, and requires Willpower checks to get anything back at all (ie not guaranteed, curbing nova issues). Works well in terms of allowing the party to push forward with an adventure, rather than looking for a place to camp.

Getting back 1 slot of each spell level the caster has is probably too much for 5e, imo. I would suggest perhaps up to Int mod worth of slots, eg +4 Int, you could get back 4 x 1st level or 1 x 4th level slot on short rest. Hmm, I'm not sure actually, need to think it thru more. That's still a lot of low level spells flying about, and they have cantrips already after all.
 

Lanliss

Explorer
I'll post more tomorrow, but Krachek is right. Such a change will encourage short resting after every fight. If that's what you want, then that's great. You'll want to push fights into the deadly range.

You'll want to consider healing spells. I'd suggest making them temp hp so players can't heal up after every fight.

I love the thought of having 1 short Rest slots of each level. I'd do it a little different: at the odd levels, your new spell is long rest recovery. They become short Rest when you get the new one. Something like this:

1st: 1s
3rd: 1s, 2L
5th: 1s, 2s, 3L
7th: 1s, 2s, 3L ...

You'll want invocation like things for all the primary casters probably.

For my house rules, I did something a little different. I switched to Spell Points, have them recover on short Rest, and cut them down to 2*caster level. I don't need invocations for everyone because utility spells are usually cheep.

Good luck! I think a short rest game would be easier to balance.


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I thought more on this, and think that the layout will instead be 2 each of 1-3, 1 of fourth and fifth, and 1/long rest of 6-9, by level 20. Once I work out the actual scaling, this will give roughly the same number of spells as they already have, while still being different from the Spell points. I do not have a personal opinion on the SP system, but my players dislike it.

Why might the casters need Invocations? Those feel like a counter balance to the minimal spellcasting flexibility the Warlock gets, while this system would be hardly different from standard or maybe even slightly better. I still plan to keep them for my cleric homebrew, but want to be able to consider all the relevant points.
 

Lanliss

Explorer
I think what you're currently trying to do is too difficult. The core rules are designed so that unlimited VS short-rest VS long-rest abilities are mostly balanced with each other, so if you modify spellcasting you'd have to modify also a lot of other mechanics.

Instead, the first type of solution you are supposed to try, is to simply modify the duration of short and long rests. You could for instance shorten the long rests to 1 hour (so that they work like standard short rests) and short rests to 10 minutes, or some other times. This sort of house rules affects a lot of mechanics at once, changing the relative importance of unlimited VS short-rest VS long-rest abilities, but keeps each category of abilities balanced with itself.

Only after you've tried this simple solution you should consider embarking in a more complicated one.
My goal is to actually change the purpose of short and long rests. I played a little bit of 4E recently, and maybe that is where this idea is coming from, but we took fairly regular short rests, and it actually felt like a choice to be made. As is in 5E short rests feel mostly useless, unless it is a full party of short-rest classes. If that cleric is out of healing spells, you take a long rest no questions asked. with this as an option there will be more flexibility in that decision. Sure, the Cleric can't cast Heal without a long rest, but you can still get some Restoration or Cure Wounds. It will feel like an actual choice needs to be made, rather than the Cleric, Wizard, and Ranger, ganging up on the Monk. This being in figurative terms, I have not actually had players behave this way.

Not to mention, I enjoy bending the system, and this forum gives me a place to talk with other people with the same thoughts. Almost none of my ideas have actually been because I dislike something in 5E (except for the cleric), but because I came up with an idea to get things just that little bit closer to my version of perfect.
 

Baumi

Explorer
I would try to get only one kind of rest, not just reducing long rest powers. For example instead of one long rest slot for Level 6 to 9 like you proposed, I would only give one slot that can be used for one Spell of Level 6+ but it comes back with a short rest.

But converting long Rest powers to short Rest ones is hard, it might be better to convert it the other way around. Since it is balanced to have 2 short rest per long rest you could just multiply every short rest use by three but have them only get back at long rest (Fighter has 3 Second Winds per Long Rest, a Warlock at Level 5 has 6 Spells,..). Now you have every classed balanced, removed short rest from the game and can start to play around with the conditions of "long rest.".. 8D

By the way, in my current D&D Group we let the players decide themselves when they use a short rest (Individually), which only takes a few moments, but limit them to twice per long rest. When you get a Long Rest depends on the GM and can only be forced by players if they risk some Campaign Complications (take too long to defeat the Bandit King before some Villages get pillaged...).
 

Sure it will make all classes look more balanced and prevent some abuse, but a perfect balance don't make a better game.

I like the actual difference.
There's no risk of perfect balance, as it can't be achieved. ;) (Though what's often presented as 'perfect balance' - no difference among the available player-facing choices - is, in my book, just a different case of imbalance, functionally identical to having only one viable choice, which is the extreme case of imbalance.)

You can dislike balance for any number of reasons (some of them downright nefarious, some merely pragmatic), but it doesn't make games bad for everyone.

If all classes are using a short rest refresh mechanic, be sure that players will try to have a rest after each fight.
There's plenty of pressure for that, as it is, not to mention for the 5MWD. Always has been, in D&D. That's what limited use mechanics get you. Giving all classes some parity in such resources does mean that the campaign can be paced however the DM wants, without wrecking balance (assuming any available to wreck in the first place) within the party, even if it makes balancing encounters an extra factor for the DM to consider. (Consistent campaign pacing would, once the DM was used to it, hardly make a difference to how hard it was to come up with challenging/balanced encounters, but you'd probably want to adjust exp, too, to get the advancement you want to go with that pacing.)


I thought more on this, and think that the layout will instead be 2 each of 1-3, 1 of fourth and fifth, and 1/long rest of 6-9, by level 20. Once I work out the actual scaling, this will give roughly the same number of spells as they already have
Sounds like a plausible way to go. The more you err on the side of giving classes comparatively similar resources at each recharge point - at-will, encounter, short rest, long rest, daily, 1/2-on-a-rest - the less /class/ balance or balance amongst abilities with different recharge points will matter (and the more balance among abilities of the same availability will matter).

Why might the casters need Invocations? Those feel like a counter balance to the minimal spellcasting flexibility the Warlock gets, while this system would be hardly different from standard or maybe even slightly better. I still plan to keep them for my cleric homebrew, but want to be able to consider all the relevant points.
Invocations bring a little more depth to at-will abilities, I suppose.

As is in 5E short rests feel mostly useless, unless it is a full party of short-rest classes.
Everyone can use HD, and most classes get something on a short rest.

If that cleric is out of healing spells, you take a long rest no questions asked.
That's conventional wisdom I don't tend to much disagree with, but maybe it could do with being examined. 5e /does/ have HD and overnight healing, and Clerics (and anyone else with Cure Wounds/Healing Word/etc on their list), only needs to prep or know one or two such spells to see the party through, leaving them open to blowing most/all of their slots on something else if they see good reason to do so. Pacing might thus be dictated less by running out of healing spells, and more by running out of HD and needing that full overnight healing. Spell slot management could end up tuned to that requirement, rather than extending it with healing.

Just a thought.
 

Ashkelon

First Post
Here is a fairly simple way to make 5e a short rest based game given the assumption that there should be 2 short rests per adventuring day.

First, convert spell slots into spell points. Then, have classes only get 1/3 the total amount of spell points they otherwise would. Now, most spellcasters will have roughly the same number of spells per day, but will function on short rest recovery. The spellcasters gain flexibility by the conversion to spell points but lose out on nova capability.

For daily class abilities like the Barbarian rage, just make the ability a per short rest ability with half as many uses (rounded down). Such abilities will receive a boost in overall uptime (assuming you do make it to 2+ short rests per day), but lose out on nova capability.

Next up is a change to HP. In a game based around short rest recovery, mac HP should be lower, but total HP per day should be roughly the same. To implement this, we remove Con mod from HP per level and get rid of HD healing. To compensate for this, all PCs get an amount of Stamina points equal to 3 + their Constitution modifier. During a short rest, a player can choose to spend stamina to regain HP equal to 25% of their maximum HP per stamina point spent. At the end of a short rest, a player regains 1 spent stamina point and at the end of a long rest a player regains all spent stamina points. If you want, stamina can also be spent for heroic effort to retool a failed attack roll, saving throw, or ability check.

The reduction of classes nova potential has an unexpected benefit for the game as it reduces the effectiveness of the 5 minute work day.
 

Saelorn

Hero
Why not just use the shorter rests option in the DMG? That's why it's there. Instead of changing every class to get resources back from a one-hour short rest, just say that one hour gives the benefit of a long rest.

It would mean that the warlock goes from the best class to the worst class, but its representation was skewed either way.
 

Satyrn

First Post
It might be more straightforward if instead you did something like

Everything works as currently, but

When a caster gains 2nd level slots, his 1st level slots refresh on a short rest.
When he gains 3rd level slots, his 2nd level slots refresh on a short rest.

There ought to be an "etc" here, right? but I'm actually going to say. And that's it - that's all you are implementing, but you leave open a window to expand it up to 3rd level slots if it's working fine for 2nd level slots. etc.
 

Lanliss

Explorer
I want to let you all know I did actually read and consider your suggestions, but was also working on stuff on my own.

For those I have not responded to, in regards to flipping the slots to short rest at next stage, That system feels a bit fiddly to keep track of, and much more complicated to write out on a class table, as I am doing now for my homebrew material. I have arrived at a system I am mostly happy with, compared to the default. 2 slots for 1st and 2nd level, 1 slot for 3-5, and long rest for 6-9.

This gives more low level spells per long rest, a total of 6 for 1st and 2nd levels, but matches 3-5 progression. 6 and 7 will be less, at 1/long rest instead of 2. Altogether I like this for the Full casters, although I am considering leaving the Wizard out off this change for thematic reasons. We will see. Anyway, this amounts to a Cleric, Bard, or Druid, casting a total of 25 spells in a long rest, compared to their current 22. Less Nova, more total spell casting.

For Half-casters, I am thinking 1 slot for 1-4, and a single 5th level slot per long rest will work out well. Slightly more spells in the long run, but still feels balanced well enough.

Finally, third-casters. In this case, 1 slot for 1-3 would actually lower their total casting, which I am not sure how I feel about. I might leave third casters alone, at least until I can think of a good progression for them.

On to other topics, I am considering a few homebrew changes to the Barbarian, the only relevant one for this thread being to do exactly what Ashkelon said, and cut down the number while making it Short rest recharge.

Indomitable seems like a bit of an issue, but a lot of people seem to think it is weak anyway. Should I just make it a Short rest recharge and see how that works? 3/6/9 per long rest doesn't seem too broken, considering it is restricted to saving throws, and you don't get to choose the higher one.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
Here is a fairly simple way to make 5e a short rest based game given the assumption that there should be 2 short rests per adventuring day.

First, convert spell slots into spell points. Then, have classes only get 1/3 the total amount of spell points they otherwise would. Now, most spellcasters will have roughly the same number of spells per day, but will function on short rest recovery. The spellcasters gain flexibility by the conversion to spell points but lose out on nova capability.

For daily class abilities like the Barbarian rage, just make the ability a per short rest ability with half as many uses (rounded down). Such abilities will receive a boost in overall uptime (assuming you do make it to 2+ short rests per day), but lose out on nova capability.

Next up is a change to HP. In a game based around short rest recovery, mac HP should be lower, but total HP per day should be roughly the same. To implement this, we remove Con mod from HP per level and get rid of HD healing. To compensate for this, all PCs get an amount of Stamina points equal to 3 + their Constitution modifier. During a short rest, a player can choose to spend stamina to regain HP equal to 25% of their maximum HP per stamina point spent. At the end of a short rest, a player regains 1 spent stamina point and at the end of a long rest a player regains all spent stamina points. If you want, stamina can also be spent for heroic effort to retool a failed attack roll, saving throw, or ability check.

The reduction of classes nova potential has an unexpected benefit for the game as it reduces the effectiveness of the 5 minute work day.
This is a lot like what I'm working on now.

For long rest abilities, why did you suggest dividing by 2 instead of 3?

I do like switching back to 4E style HP and healing surges. No con mod to HP makes people be more willing to have a lower Con score too.

Healing spells are difficult, though. If healing spells come back on short rest, then HP is borked. I wouldn't want to switch back to healing surges for healing without a lot of work, but one way to fix things would be to have Cure Wounds and Healing Word (and all other level 5 and lower healing spells) grant Temp HP instead.

But I do miss healing surges. Higher level groups are able to chug healing potions since 50 gp quickly become meaningless.


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Lanliss

Explorer
This is a lot like what I'm working on now.

For long rest abilities, why did you suggest dividing by 2 instead of 3?

I do like switching back to 4E style HP and healing surges. No con mod to HP makes people be more willing to have a lower Con score too.

Healing spells are difficult, though. If healing spells come back on short rest, then HP is borked. I wouldn't want to switch back to healing surges for healing without a lot of work, but one way to fix things would be to have Cure Wounds and Healing Word (and all other level 5 and lower healing spells) grant Temp HP instead.

But I do miss healing surges. Higher level groups are able to chug healing potions since 50 gp quickly become meaningless.


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The main thing I liked in my short experience with 4E is that short rests recharged enough that you could go into every fight as a serious fight, but not so much that you never needed a long rest. I don't think I will see much use of Hit dice, if I have a Healing focused caster in the group. Otherwise, the game should still run fine.

In turn, the DM was almost always facing a party with full HP, so he didn't have to pull any punches. I would much prefer this style of game when I am running.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
The main thing I liked in my short experience with 4E is that short rests recharged enough that you could go into every fight as a serious fight, but not so much that you never needed a long rest. I don't think I will see much use of Hit dice, if I have a Healing focused caster in the group. Otherwise, the game should still run fine.

In turn, the DM was almost always facing a party with full HP, so he didn't have to pull any punches. I would much prefer this style of game when I am running.
I still see HD used, even when there is a bard or cleric in the party. But, since it only recovers half per day, I only see a few used.

And yes, one of the big strengths of a short rest game is the lessening of Novas and the normalizing of player abilities. You could throw a deadly fight at the characters as long as you allow a rest after.


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Ashkelon

First Post
This is a lot like what I'm working on now.

For long rest abilities, why did you suggest dividing by 2 instead of 3?

I do like switching back to 4E style HP and healing surges. No con mod to HP makes people be more willing to have a lower Con score too.

Healing spells are difficult, though. If healing spells come back on short rest, then HP is borked. I wouldn't want to switch back to healing surges for healing without a lot of work, but one way to fix things would be to have Cure Wounds and Healing Word (and all other level 5 and lower healing spells) grant Temp HP instead.

But I do miss healing surges. Higher level groups are able to chug healing potions since 50 gp quickly become meaningless.


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The reason I suggest dividing non spell slot long rest abilities by 2 instead of by 3 is twofold.

First off, the 6-8 encounters per adventuring day with 2 short rests is a myth. Most groups simply don't attain those numbers. It is much more common to have 3-5 encounters per day with 0-1 short rests. For a class based around daily abilities (such as the barbarian with their rages), dividing by three becomes extremely hindering. For example, if you divide rages by 3, the barbarian will have only one rage per short until level 17+, when the daily based barbarian gets 6 rages per day. That translates to only one or two rages per day for the first sixteen levels of gameplay, whereas the daily barbarian is able to rage every significant encounter from level 6+ (4 rages per day).

Secondly, burst potential is better than spread. If you have daily rages and encounter two or three significant encounters in a row without time for rest, you can use a rage in each and every one of those encounters. If you have encounter based rages and you are faced with multiple significant encounters in a row, you most likely will not be able to use a rage for each of those encounters.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
The reason I suggest dividing non spell slot long rest abilities by 2 instead of by 3 is twofold.

First off, the 6-8 encounters per adventuring day with 2 short rests is a myth. Most groups simply don't attain those numbers. It is much more common to have 3-5 encounters per day with 0-1 short rests. For a class based around daily abilities (such as the barbarian with their rages), dividing by three becomes extremely hindering. For example, if you divide rages by 3, the barbarian will have only one rage per short until level 17+, when the daily based barbarian gets 6 rages per day. That translates to only one or two rages per day for the first sixteen levels of gameplay, whereas the daily barbarian is able to rage every significant encounter from level 6+ (4 rages per day).

Secondly, burst potential is better than spread. If you have daily rages and encounter two or three significant encounters in a row without time for rest, you can use a rage in each and every one of those encounters. If you have encounter based rages and you are faced with multiple significant encounters in a row, you most likely will not be able to use a rage for each of those encounters.
I suggest divide by 3, and round up at 0.5s. Then Barbarians have 1 Rage at 1st, 2 at 12th, and unlimited at 20th. 2 Short Rests a day isn't a myth, it's the assumption that the game is balanced around. This shows up in the Warlock to Wizard spell comparisons, and is also the point that the short rest classes are more closely balanced with the long rest classes (Fighter vs Smiting Paladin, for instance).

But, it does take work to achieve it, I'll admit that. I very much design my adventuring days around it. The Encounter design section of the DMG even says that if a set of encounters equal more than a 3rd of the total daily XP budget without allowing for a short rest, they're going to be significantly more difficult.

1/3rd is baked into the system all over. It unfortunately is a hard metric to hit. By making most of the game balance around short rests, it won't matter.

Edit: I don't believe the Barbarian is designed to be raging all the time until the end anyway. Barbarians that I've seen are more than capable enough of not raging against chump fights. If most everything is on a short rest recovery, then your group will likely rest after hard fights and the barbarian can rage each hard fight.
 

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