D&D 5E Players Only: How Often Should Your Character Be Able to "Go Nova"?

How often should I get to 'go nova'?

  • Any time I want. (No restrictions at all on my resources.)

    Votes: 1 1.8%
  • Once per round. (My resources should all reset at the end of my turn.)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Once per encounter. (My resources should all reset when I roll initiative.)

    Votes: 14 24.6%
  • Once per short rest. (My resources should all reset when I take a break.)

    Votes: 6 10.5%
  • Once per long rest. (My resources should all reset when I wake up.)

    Votes: 15 26.3%
  • Once per day. (My resources should all reset at dawn.)

    Votes: 10 17.5%
  • Once per gaming session. (My resources should all reset when we start playing.)

    Votes: 7 12.3%
  • Once per adventure. (My resources should all reset when we finish a quest.)

    Votes: 4 7.0%
  • Once per level. (My resources should all reset when I level-up.)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

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Follower of the Way
This is also a result of niche erosion. When one character can do it all it becomes far more beneficial to optimize the hell out of that one character rather than to seek optimization of the party as a whole.

With strong and inviolate niches, the party are somewhat forced to cooperate in order to cover off each other's weak points.
The niches don't need to be inviolate. They just need to require effort to build beyond where you started, so that you can only grow into new roles slowly over time.

That is quite literally what 4e did. Its roles were not inviolate. Paladins could become solid Leaders. Fighters could grow into doing rather impressive amounts of damage, almost like a Striker. Avengers could have insanely tanky defenses and, if they got a way to apply Marks, could actually pull off Defender stuff despite being "robe" wearers. Etc.

It is not being inviolate which makes the difference: it is the synergy which makes the difference.

The game must be designed so that the optimal thing to do is either to be one who sets others up for success but can't do the follow-through personally, or to be one who can follow through on someone else's setup but can't personally do the setting-up. It requires that "support" focused play actually be entertaining and engaging in and of itself, which means that "Brother Bactine" must become a purely opt-in choice if he's included at all. Instead, buffs and coordination/deployment become the primary benefits of support-designed classes.

As long as D&D magic remains as powerful, diverse, and necessary as it is in 5e (and as it was in 3e), you won't see teamwork be the focus of optimization. The absolute best you'll see is stuff like Treantmonk's "god wizard" guide, where other classes are viewed purely instrumentally, and the Wizard permits them to feel useful while knowing that their power is what actually solves the problem, everyone else is on cleanup duty.

Unless and until the game makes it more valuable to care about how you can make the team better, rather than purely focusing on personal optimization, people will remain focused on personal optimization. Design that demands synergy in order to achieve the best results is design that naturally fosters teamwork.


I voted for 1/long-rest, with the caveat that I'd like short rest based classes be moved to prof-bonus/long-rest, to keep some variety of styles.

But I'd like there was also a system to go beyond this, with a significant cost for the characters. Like, you can take the equivalent of an action surge whenever you like, but the stress on your heart is so big you develop mild arrhythmia and now your CON is permanently reduced by 2. Or your next d20 roll is automatically a Nat 20, but you permanently lose 1 Hit Die, as you crush a disc in your spine. Or you can cast more than 1 spell/round but you permanently lose that spell slot, as your capacity to hold magic within your body is reduced forever.

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