D&D 5E Short Rest Classes: Is the "Short Rest Problem" a "Monk Problem"

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I went to the 10 minute short rest a while ago so that it matches up timewise with rituals. So now when the wizard or cleric spends 10 minutes to cast a ritual the group needs, the others can take a short rest and get back their HP (and/or class abilities.)

I've ended up putting a lot of things in the game on a 10 minute timer, like searching rooms, disabling traps and such. That way there's always things to stop for 10 minutes for and allow the short rest classes to recharge their stuff at the same time.
 

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If you haven't looked at it, I recommend this thread I started the other day-

How to easily balance all the short rest classes.

Anyway, the gist of it was that any short rest resource could be converted into a long rest resource by multiplying it by 3. So, for example, if a Warlock has two "short rest" spells, then they should have 6 spells per day. If a monk has 4 ki, then they should have 12 ki per day. And so on. The point of this was to help balance the "short rest" classes with the "long rest" classes, especially when it came to tables that didn't allow for short rests at the usual interval (2 shorts per long- if it was 3 shorts per long, then it would be 4x, and that gets a little much).

But some of the comments in the thread made me think about this issues in a little more depth. I've always taken it as a given that there are short rest classes and long rest classes, but I've never really teased out that thought, or what it meant. So let's start with the basic analysis- what is a short rest class, and why does it matter?

Traditionally, most people would break classes down as follows in terms of the rest abilities-

Short Rest
These are the classes that have abilities that primarily key on short rests.
Fighter, Monks, Warlocks


In the Middle
These are the classes that are primarily long rest, but have some short rest abilities.
Bards, Clerics, Druids, Paladins, Wizards

Long Rest
These are the classes that are almost solely long rest.
Artificers, Barbarians, Rangers, Sorcerers

Rests aren't the Boss of Me
Rogues


So when you look at this, and you're trying to see which classes have a short rest problem, something becomes quickly apparent. There are only three classes that you can even classify as short-rest dependent.

Of those three classes, one of them is the Fighter. Now, don't get me wrong ... short rests are REALLY NICE for the fighter. The base fighter abilities, like Action Surge and Second Wind ... yeah, short rest. And if you go battlemaster, you want those short rests. But the thing about fighters is that they are really good at the fighting things even without the short rest. They have armor, and hit points, and weapons ... They WANT the short rest, but they don't NEED it.

Next is the Warlock. Warlocks have one of the best (if not THE BEST) attack cantrip in the game. They have "always on" invocations. Yes, they need the short rests for spells, but it's perfectly possible to play a useable Warlock without the extra spells.

And that leaves the Monk. The Monk's abilities, and their various subclasses, are all premise on Ki- which is a unique monk resource. And ki ... is completely short-rest dependent. More than any class, monks are completely, totally, 100% dependent on getting the required short rests.

At least, that's my thought right now. Because I was thinking about this, and while some classes (Warlocks and Fighters) get hurt by a lack of short rests, Monks become nearly unplayable.

So maybe that's the crux of the issue. Maybe the short rest problem is actually a monk problem? Or, put another way, maybe the monk problem is ... actually a short rest problem?
Is it?

You make a good case for it. I certainly broadly agree with your position that all the other classes could be fixed giving 3x the uses of short-rest stuff.

People will say "BUT THEY MIGHT NOVAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!" and it's like, what, like all the other Long Rest classes can? Oh well too bad so sad? I mean, right now, if the Full Casters do nova, they immediately start begging for a Long Rest, and usually they get it, unless there's time pressure. If there's time pressure you shouldn't have nova'd!

So yeah. Monks need a huge rework anyway.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
So yeah. Monks need a huge rework anyway.

I'm not entirely sure I agree with the last part. Personally, I think that Monks and Warlocks are the most interesting classes in terms of mechanics. I genuinely like the Monk as a class mechanically. I do think that it is more difficult for some people to grasp how it works, but that's fun because it's not the same.*

...but the issue that it has is that many players (and tables) have trouble with the class because it is so dependent on short rests. So many of its abilities (and subclass abilities) are completely dependent on a single resource (ki) that recharges on short rests. Once that problem is cleared up - allowing frequent short rests, or a solution like just making them a long rest class with 3x the ki, then it's easier to see that the class doesn't need a massive rework. IMO.



*For example, I often see people claim that all monks do is spam stunning strike. Which ... yeah, that's just not the case in games I've been a part of. For most monks (and subclasses of monks), at most levels, and in most combats, stunning strike is not a great use of ki. If your monk is just hanging out, trading blows toe-to-toe, and spamming stunning strike, you probably aren't playing the class to its full effectiveness.
 

Art Waring

Redlined Ratrod
*For example, I often see people claim that all monks do is spam stunning strike. Which ... yeah, that's just not the case in games I've been a part of. For most monks (and subclasses of monks), at most levels, and in most combats, stunning strike is not a great use of ki. If your monk is just hanging out, trading blows toe-to-toe, and spamming stunning strike, you probably aren't playing the class to its full effectiveness.
To my understanding, which may be flawed, isn't the monk a midliner class?

What I mean is there are primarily three types of classes: Frontliners, midliners, and backliners.

-Frontliners are face to face with enemies, typically "tank" types with d10 hit dice and heavy armor.

-Midliners are often "striker" types like the rogue and the monk, that move in to make a strike(s), then move out of the creatures reach. They typically have d8 hit dice and only use light armor (or no armor for monks).

-Backliners are typically the "blaster" spellcasters and ranged classes that have no intention of being in close combat, like wizards. d6 hit dice and little to no armor prof's.

Of course a few standout classes don't fit this model (like the bard), but it holds true for most classes.

Edit: Not that people actually play classes as they are designed ;)
 
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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
To my understanding, which may be flawed, isn't the monk a midliner class?

...

Edit: Not that people actually play classes as they are designed ;)

Kind of? If I had to briefly nutshell the class in a single word, it would be "skirmisher." Which is definitely similar to your midliner description.

But I would say that the Monk is also hard to categorize, because it doesn't have that simple through-line that the other martials classes do.

Fighter is Fighter.
Barbarian is Fighter, but Tankier.
Rogue is Skill Monkey Plus Sneak Attack.

The Monk isn't a skill monkey- Monks are fine at skills, but they don't have expertise like rogues (or even my least favorite class) do.

Instead, it's about mobility, battlefield control, and self-sufficiency. The base monk chassis can perform anywhere, anytime. You don't need a weapon. You don't need armor. You can outrun anyone. You can disengage freely. You have massive resistances to missiles weapons (at 3rd level) and falling (at 4th level). You can self-heal easily (TCOE, 4th). You can dodge area effects (7th level). You can end being charmed or frightened (7th level). You are immune to disease or poison (10th level). You can speak and understand any language (13th level).

...and at 14th level, if you ever make it that far, you gain proficiency in all saving throws and can re-roll any failed saving throw.

That's the monk. The different subclasses allow you to hone your abilities in different ways (for example, for a PbP game I just tried building a Way of Mercy Monk based on a concept I've been toying with since a visit to Italy) at its core, once you get past the speed and the control, the Monk chassis has that consistent theme of self-sufficiency.

roadhouse-patrick-swayze.gif
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I went to the 10 minute short rest a while ago so that it matches up timewise with rituals. So now when the wizard or cleric spends 10 minutes to cast a ritual the group needs, the others can take a short rest and get back their HP (and/or class abilities.)

I've ended up putting a lot of things in the game on a 10 minute timer, like searching rooms, disabling traps and such. That way there's always things to stop for 10 minutes for and allow the short rest classes to recharge their stuff at the same time.
I like that idea.
 


Kind of? If I had to briefly nutshell the class in a single word, it would be "skirmisher." Which is definitely similar to your midliner description.
The problem is that it's a skirmisher in a game which is designed to not really need skirmishers (hence the complete lack of other ones), and it's a soloist in a serious team game. It doesn't need so many weird self-sufficient bollocks things, which make the basic chassis too heavy and mean that all the subclasses are extremely lightweight. It's interestingly but badly designed as a 5E class. Whereas your most hated class is superbly designed as a 5E class, just perhaps slightly overstuffed.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
People will say "BUT THEY MIGHT NOVAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!" and it's like, what, like all the other Long Rest classes can? Oh well too bad so sad? I mean, right now, if the Full Casters do nova, they immediately start begging for a Long Rest, and usually they get it, unless there's time pressure. If there's time pressure you shouldn't have nova'd!
The warlock is my only real nova concern. 6 spells(maybe less) are probably all that will be cast in a given fight. There's a difference between a wizard going nova with 1 9th, 1 8th, 2 7th and 2 6th level spells, and the warlock lobbing 6 9th level spells.
 

The warlock is my only real nova concern. 6 spells(maybe less) are probably all that will be cast in a given fight. There's a difference between a wizard going nova with 1 9th, 1 8th, 2 7th and 2 6th level spells, and the warlock lobbing 6 9th level spells.
Yeah and the difference is the Warlock can't do that lol.

You're confusing Mystic Arcanum and Pact Magic.

The Warlock in your example can lob 1 (one) 9th level spell, and 5 6th level spells in those six rounds. So the Wizard is way ahead.

EDIT or if I'm misreading Mystic Arcanum (never seen a Warlock above 12), 1 9th, 1 8th, 1 7th, and 3 6th level spells. Wizard still way ahead.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Yeah and the difference is the Warlock can't do that lol.

You're confusing Mystic Arcanum and Pact Magic.

The Warlock in your example can lob 1 (one) 9th level spell, and 5 6th level spells in those six rounds. So the Wizard is way ahead.

EDIT or if I'm misreading Mystic Arcanum (never seen a Warlock above 12), 1 9th, 1 8th, 1 7th, and 3 6th level spells. Wizard still way ahead.
I've never seen one above 10th(my current game), so I just assumed it kept going up. :p

Thanks for the clarification.

Edit: Reading Mystic Arcanum, the warlock would be able to cast 1 9th, 1 8th, 1 7th, 1 6th and 2 5th.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I mean... how many players play their class to anywhere near its full effectiveness on a routine basis? 0.5%? 1%? Something like that lol.

But that's the other thing. It's this weird dichotomy- people either argue about the monk because they aren't playing it correctly* and therefore claim it doesn't work right, or they are like the majority of D&D players and are just having a good time.

For the second group of players, which is the vast majority, the frustrating thing about Monks is that they are so resource limited; it's hard to play a Four Elements Monk when you're constantly starved of ki and aren't getting short rests.

That's why subclasses like Way of the Long Death and Kensei end up being popular- because their main abilities don't require ki. It's a major design bottleneck in the class. The idea works, but having everything key off of ki ... ahem ... that becomes a major problem for a class when there aren't short rests.


*Literally, shortly after I posted, another person was like, "All they do is spam stunning strike." That's not something that most people that play monks actually do.
 

*Literally, shortly after I posted, another person was like, "All they do is spam stunning strike." That's not something that most people that play monks actually do.
I mean, I have two games with Monks in right now. Both of them use Stunning Strike A LOT. Like, do they "spam it" by my normal definition of spam, i.e. use it every possible opportunity? No. Do they use it every possible sane opportunity when there's some kind of high-HD or otherwise threatening monster, especially a boss-type monster? Oh hell yeah.

And 5E is designed around there not being skirmishers, and you can see this because Monks can't do anything really mean to people they isolate, or people they manage to trickily get to, except, well, spam Stunning Strike. Which brings us full circle. They can use their Skirmishing abilities to get to a really annoying guy and then Stun him until the fight is over (usually only 3-4 rounds and the Monk probably took one to get there). Or if there is no "really annoying guy" who needs to be got to, which is like, most fights in my experience (and WotC's official encounters in adventures mirror this), then the Monk can y'know, Stun whoever is most dangerous.

Their DPR is too low for them to go around on "cleanup duty" (actually a noble and often-fun role despite the name) like you might have in an MMO/CRPG where there are skirmisher types (I'm not saying other classes are much better btw, DPR-wise, at soloing people - 5E isn't designed for it - so instead you lock them down. With Stunning Strike).

5E is much kinder than 3E and even 4E (in part due to range) than to ranged attackers. There's no firing-into-melee, no mandatory Point-Blank-Shot Feat chain, there doesn't seem to be much of a "ranged tax" and indeed Tasha's only improved the situation further. Which is cool, but again means skirmisher isn't really "a thing", because does a Monk do more damage or better lockdown (without Stunning Strike) than other ranged classes? No, I'd say. They do equal or less damage and don't actually lockdown as well as a lot. But if they use Stunning Strike, well...

So anyway I've never seen a Monk who COULD use Stunning Strike, who didn't use it "on the reg". I've also never seen one who used 100% of their ki for it sure, but I'd say it is a pretty damn dominant bit of the design of their class.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
So anyway I've never seen a Monk who COULD use Stunning Strike, who didn't use it "on the reg". I've also never seen one who used 100% of their ki for it sure, but I'd say it is a pretty damn dominant bit of the design of their class.

Respectfully, maybe you need to get some more creative players.

But sure, if that's your experience ... that's cool. I would suggest actually playing a monk yourself for a while and seeing how it works for you instead of telling me (who just explained that this is not how it works for me when I play monks) that I have to play it that way. Good?
 
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Respectfully, you need to get a better class of players. At least some more creative ones.
Firstly, that's rude, not respectful, you can't make a direct insult respectful by saying "respectfully" lol. Just sayin...

And secondly, no I don't. My players are plenty creative, but they're also pragmatic, and they know what works. I've seen players who aren't pragmatic - there are couple, just none playing Monks, and whilst they do try some interesting things, it often doesn't work very well.
But sure, if that's your experience ... that's cool. I would suggest actually playing a monk yourself for a while and seeing how it works for you instead of telling me (who just explained that this is not how it works when I play monks) that I have to play it that way. Good?
I didn't say you had to play it that way.

I said it's highly effective to play it that way, and I don't believe you're disagreeing. Stunning Strike is a truly incredible tool. It's probably the single most powerful tool Monks have. If you're not using it, you're definitely not playing a Monk to it's "full effectiveness" as you put it.

Have you stopped to consider that perhaps your Monk is effective with you playing it in a different way because of your DM and their choices in encounter design? Rather than solely patting yourself on the back for your "creativity" and implied "better-class"-ness (lol jeez dude come on, even I wouldn't say something like that, and I can be pretty pleased with myself!), perhaps consider that they design encounters in a way that actually creates room for a skirmisher to do clever things and for them to actually work? Which is not easy to do, and requires some intentionality (or a natural proclivity, I guess).

I will never play a Monk as long as the Shaolin bollocks is in the core chassis though. It's one of those things, like zombies, that I'm profoundly "over". So I might play one in Morrus' Advanced 5E ruleset, where I understand they turned them into Adepts and removed that, but that probably has other changes too.
 

I will never play a Monk as long as the Shaolin bollocks is in the core chassis though. It's one of those things, like zombies, that I'm profoundly "over". So I might play one in Morrus' Advanced 5E ruleset, where I understand they turned them into Adepts and removed that
Actually... Adept is the same full kungfu monk, they just made feather fall optional. I was a bit surprised at that missed opportunity.
 

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