5E Potential pitfalls of more Short Rest Recovery

Xeviat

Explorer
Hi everyone. I'm currently planning a suite of house rules built around standardizing a bit and finding a better flow of time for my games. I'm intending on adjusting the spellcasting classes to have short rest recovery spells. Likely, I'll be switching to a spell point system and having some spell levels still be long rest. What I might change compared to the warlock design is have your highest few spell levels be long rest recovery for a while until they upgrade to using your MP.

If you look at the warlock at 17th and above, they have 4 short rest slots and 4 long rest slots, matching 4E encounter/daily structure. I'm imagining that when you first gain a spell level, it is a long rest slot. At certain levels, these slots will convert to short rest and switch to your spell point pool.

So a 5th level caster will have X spell points, max amount of 3 per turn*, and also have 1 3rd level slot ala the warlock's mystic arcanum. At 7th level, they gain a new 4th level long rest slot. At 9th level, their 3rd level long rest slot becomes a 5th level long rest slot, and their spell point limit goes up to 5 (the value of a 3rd level spell).

Here are a few things I'm concerned of:
  • Initially, I was concerned about having cure wounds on a short recovery, but the celestial pact warlock and recent design discussions have shown that's not really a big issue (they balance encounter design assuming full hp).
  • I may add a penalty when you spend all your HD, encouraging resting.
  • There are certain low level spells that may be too good if you can spam them. Shield is my first concern. For 2 mp, this might be too cheap. Currently, you're kind of limited to 3 a day (unless you use a wizards arcane recovery to make first level slots). I haven't seen warlocks want to use a 4th level slot on shield, but 2 mp feels like nothing.
  • Will switching the warlock to MP instead of slots be a big power gain for them? Looking at warlock vs wizard, the invocations almost feel like they're in addition to basic class abilities. Perhaps all the casters could be redesigned with invocation-like abilities and I could use warlock style slots instead of using Spell Points for everyone.
Thoughts?
 
Will switching the warlock to MP instead of slots be a big power gain for them?
Versatility is power, and just as spontaneous is more versatile than fixed-slot, MP are more versatile than spontaneous.

However, it'd be less pronounced than with a daily caster, since they'll presumably have a significantly smaller pool, and less of a range of spell levels to work with.

Also, if there is a point of diminishing returns, it's gotta kick in sometime, and at this point, D&D is so far over on the 'making casters moar versatile' side of the spectrum... 🤷

Thoughts?
The 5e assumption of about 1 short rest per 2 encounters has never struck me as flowing very naturally. A short rest after each encounter, like the 5 min short rest in 4e, or the balance-of-the-10min-exploration-turn in 1e, seems more broadly practicable.
 
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tetrasodium

Adventurer
Hi everyone. I'm currently planning a suite of house rules built around standardizing a bit and finding a better flow of time for my games. I'm intending on adjusting the spellcasting classes to have short rest recovery spells. Likely, I'll be switching to a spell point system and having some spell levels still be long rest. What I might change compared to the warlock design is have your highest few spell levels be long rest recovery for a while until they upgrade to using your MP.

If you look at the warlock at 17th and above, they have 4 short rest slots and 4 long rest slots, matching 4E encounter/daily structure. I'm imagining that when you first gain a spell level, it is a long rest slot. At certain levels, these slots will convert to short rest and switch to your spell point pool.

So a 5th level caster will have X spell points, max amount of 3 per turn*, and also have 1 3rd level slot ala the warlock's mystic arcanum. At 7th level, they gain a new 4th level long rest slot. At 9th level, their 3rd level long rest slot becomes a 5th level long rest slot, and their spell point limit goes up to 5 (the value of a 3rd level spell).

Here are a few things I'm concerned of:
  • Initially, I was concerned about having cure wounds on a short recovery, but the celestial pact warlock and recent design discussions have shown that's not really a big issue (they balance encounter design assuming full hp).
  • I may add a penalty when you spend all your HD, encouraging resting.
  • There are certain low level spells that may be too good if you can spam them. Shield is my first concern. For 2 mp, this might be too cheap. Currently, you're kind of limited to 3 a day (unless you use a wizards arcane recovery to make first level slots). I haven't seen warlocks want to use a 4th level slot on shield, but 2 mp feels like nothing.
  • Will switching the warlock to MP instead of slots be a big power gain for them? Looking at warlock vs wizard, the invocations almost feel like they're in addition to basic class abilities. Perhaps all the casters could be redesigned with invocation-like abilities and I could use warlock style slots instead of using Spell Points for everyone.
Thoughts?
IME having a warlock at my table plays out like this:
Kick in the door & unload with a leveled spell
Use Agonizing eldritch blast if baddies are expected to be dead before the next turn... Otherwise
unload with another leveled spell. Push the group to take a short rest & repeat

Having multiple warlocks is:
Kick in the door & both unload with a leveled spell
Cast another leveled spell if there is any threat whatsoever
Both warlocks declare it's time for a short rest & dig in their feet if anyone in the party suggests otherwise. If the gm suggests danger, declare that the group will backtrack & take a short rest back there.

The only thing more obnoxious is Tiny hut save scumm/rest abuse.

Declaring eldritch blast to be a warlock class feature that doesn't count against warlock cantrips known & scales with warlock level is a pure buff to warlocks but helps a lot.
 

jmartkdr2

Villager
It's going to be a buff for all casters - that's where I would be concerned. Non-spellcasters might get left behind.

I'd probably leave Pact Magic exempt form the changes, but making them the same as other casters isn't likely to ruin anything if your players aren't looking for exploits.
 
Well, for one, having a threat pool of some kind that fills based on passing time to produce random encounters takes the sexy out of too many short rests. There needs to be potential consequences for the decision to rest or it'll happen every encounter, which is silly. My only issue with the short rest mechanic is that the hour duration often feels awkward from a narrative standpoint (in faster paced narrative bits anyway). I've run them at 15 minutes without any issues, although I limited them to 2 per long rest to make the players make actual decisions. I also use a threat pool, so there's more than one level of decision making that goes into the party's decision to rest, either short or long.
 

Quartz

Adventurer
I'm intending on adjusting the spellcasting classes to have short rest recovery spells.
Check out this post in this thread for short-rest spellcasting. All spellcasters recover 1 spell slot of every level on a Long Rest. Full spellcasters recover 1 spell slot of every level to a maximum of their Proficiency Bonus -1 on a Short Rest. Semi-spellcasters recover 1 spell slot of every level to a maximum of their Proficiency Bonus -2 on a Short Rest.
 

dnd4vr

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Hi everyone. I'm currently planning a suite of house rules built around standardizing a bit and finding a better flow of time for my games. I'm intending on adjusting the spellcasting classes to have short rest recovery spells. Likely, I'll be switching to a spell point system and having some spell levels still be long rest. What I might change compared to the warlock design is have your highest few spell levels be long rest recovery for a while until they upgrade to using your MP.

If you look at the warlock at 17th and above, they have 4 short rest slots and 4 long rest slots, matching 4E encounter/daily structure. I'm imagining that when you first gain a spell level, it is a long rest slot. At certain levels, these slots will convert to short rest and switch to your spell point pool.

So a 5th level caster will have X spell points, max amount of 3 per turn*, and also have 1 3rd level slot ala the warlock's mystic arcanum. At 7th level, they gain a new 4th level long rest slot. At 9th level, their 3rd level long rest slot becomes a 5th level long rest slot, and their spell point limit goes up to 5 (the value of a 3rd level spell).

Here are a few things I'm concerned of:
  • Initially, I was concerned about having cure wounds on a short recovery, but the celestial pact warlock and recent design discussions have shown that's not really a big issue (they balance encounter design assuming full hp).
  • I may add a penalty when you spend all your HD, encouraging resting.
  • There are certain low level spells that may be too good if you can spam them. Shield is my first concern. For 2 mp, this might be too cheap. Currently, you're kind of limited to 3 a day (unless you use a wizards arcane recovery to make first level slots). I haven't seen warlocks want to use a 4th level slot on shield, but 2 mp feels like nothing.
  • Will switching the warlock to MP instead of slots be a big power gain for them? Looking at warlock vs wizard, the invocations almost feel like they're in addition to basic class abilities. Perhaps all the casters could be redesigned with invocation-like abilities and I could use warlock style slots instead of using Spell Points for everyone.
Thoughts?
Being an excessive tweaker, I am always interested when someone wants to try something for their game. But, I must admit I am not following your system.

First, you talk about the warlock having 4 short rests and 4 long rests at 17th level. What does level have to do with it? And since you can take two short rests per long rest wouldn't it be 4 and 2, anyway? Did 4E do a 1-to-1 ratio?

Are you planning to use the MP system in the DMG or something of your own?

How are you spending HD that would encourage resting? Or did you mean a penalty when you spent all your MP??

As far as you concerns, I don't think any of them will be an issue. We have been use a very simple MP system for quite a while now and everyone likes it. The versatility is more powerful, but it mostly results in players using spells more often than cantrips, which for us any way is not a bad thing.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Being an excessive tweaker, I am always interested when someone wants to try something for their game. But, I must admit I am not following your system.

First, you talk about the warlock having 4 short rests and 4 long rests at 17th level. What does level have to do with it? And since you can take two short rests per long rest wouldn't it be 4 and 2, anyway? Did 4E do a 1-to-1 ratio?

Are you planning to use the MP system in the DMG or something of your own?

How are you spending HD that would encourage resting? Or did you mean a penalty when you spent all your MP??

As far as you concerns, I don't think any of them will be an issue. We have been use a very simple MP system for quite a while now and everyone likes it. The versatility is more powerful, but it mostly results in players using spells more often than cantrips, which for us any way is not a bad thing.
A 17th level caster would have enough MP to cast a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th level spell, recovered on a short rest. They'd then also have slots for 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th level spells, recovered on a long rest. May add a little more MP for 1st level, or have invocation-like features to cover more minor magic.

I'll write up my full example this weekend on GM Binder.
 

NotAYakk

Adventurer
I'm tempted by the opposite. Using gritty rests; short rest is overnight, long rest is a week in "safety" -- civilization or similar (long resting while travelling might be possible if you are on a cruise ship or equivalent, but not otherwise).

Then bundle encounters into "scenes", with clear story consequences if you skip out half way through a scene. (Ie, suppose you want to fight the Goblin nest. That Goblin nest is a scene with multiple encounters. If you retreat from it before finishing, you "lose the scene", because the Goblins flee/reinforce/raid the humans.)

Single-encounter scenes can still exist, but by consuming the entire scene budget they are usually going to be reasonably beefy.

Scenes are then usually grouped into Chapters, usually with 3 Scenes in them. Similar to Scenes, a Chapter is "failed" (with planned, sensible and logical consequences) if you take a long rest from it. Travel days between Scenes is possible (and some travel days can be uneventful); if you travel for a month and there is one Scene in it, it is mechanically nearly identical to traveling for 2 days with a single Scene. And the time pressure; if a 5 weeks is too long but 4 weeks is just in time, 4 weeks of travel doesn't leave time for a long rest; if the players can shave a week of time off (clever players!) they can get a long rest out of it.

An adventure then becomes a sequence of Chapters. Or Chapters can be mini-adventures all their own.

Now, Chapters need not be linear -- you could have a Chapter that is "goblin infestation". Scene 1 could be "ambushing a caravan", with an initial encounter and a chase-them-down encounter. Which leads to a day travel to the nest (short rest). Scene 2 could be "clearing the nest". From there you find clues where they come from. Scene 3 could be "track down the source" (again, travel, so short rest) (where did they come from? - opening to the underdark, or feywilde, or whatever).

That Chapter could be stuck somewhere in the world waiting to be activated. The players don't have to pull the thread, but if they don't the consequences occur (the opening is lost/the portal moves somewhere else/the goblins wipe out a settlement) and the game continues.

---

The reason why I say "gritty" is that the larger short rests and long rests make it far, far, far easier to justify "if you take a rest the world moves on". An hour break is a really awkward unit of time; it is harder for me to to think of a situation where taking an hour off is reasonable and safe, but taking 8 hours is unthinkable, than a situation where an overnight is reasonable, but a week would be foolish.

This does require embracing the "attrition" balancing of 5e. Easy and medium encounters become more common than the 5 minute adventuring day "if this encounter doesn't seem to threaten death, it was wasted" style.
 

Harzel

Adventurer
If you look at the warlock at 17th and above, they have 4 short rest slots and 4 long rest slots, matching 4E encounter/daily structure.
Is this talking about RAW or your proposal? If RAW, warlocks 17+ have 4 spell slots, period; they are regained on either a short or long rest. This sounds like you think they can have 8 slots. Maybe I am misinterpreting.
 
I find it easier to add consequences to the choice to rest than mucking about with rest frequency. Changing rest frequency has implications for some but not all classes and I think it needlessly nerfs short rest classes. Or long rest classes depending on your method. In both cases it's changing the 2-1 ratio that unbalances the classes.
 

NotAYakk

Adventurer
Is this talking about RAW or your proposal? If RAW, warlocks 17+ have 4 spell slots, period; they are regained on either a short or long rest. This sounds like you think they can have 8 slots. Maybe I am misinterpreting.
They have 4 spells they can cast without a slot (of level 6789) plus 4 slots of 5th level.

Which is a lot, but not quite, like having 8 slots.
 

Arnwolf666

Adventurer
When we are trying to play with time constraint. I have gone to short test automatically at end of every encounter. Long rest after 4 encounters. I don’t do it on all games. But there is a game I run for long term players where we have real word time constraints. That group i play with once a month and we generally only have 4 hours or a little more. They may email or text me ideas between sessions. But it works for us. And I build the adventures with that in mind.
 

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