• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.
  • The RSS feed for the news page has changed. Use this link. The old one displays the forums, not the news.

5E Short Rest Poll

What's your short rest duration of choice?

  • Nothing. Suck it up or go home

    Votes: 14 10.4%
  • Five minutes

    Votes: 27 20.0%
  • Ten minutes

    Votes: 30 22.2%
  • One hour

    Votes: 45 33.3%
  • Another duration altogether

    Votes: 18 13.3%
  • Pool Table Rest

    Votes: 1 0.7%

  • Total voters
    135

Larrin

Entropic Good
I've been a fan of the 5 minute short rest in 4e for since I first heard of it, and it wasn't until I started thinking out of the '4e design box' that I've had any compassion for people wanting longer ones, and in fact considered the benefits to longer short rests.

My interpretation of "By-the-book" encounters in 4e is that there are two relevant assumptions:
1) it is a full xp budget fight of Level+n.
2) You had a short rest before hand.

Thus you'd better make short rests short enough that you can fit them into the shortest believable timescales between battles in which characters could rest, and that is about 5 minutes. And I like that, It allows combats to be fun and full of encounter powers and all sorts of things. I never questioned 5 minute short rests.

But I've recently questioned is Assumption #1, that each fight should be a full xp-beudget fight, which is definitely a 4e artifact. I'm fine with the idea in general, but there are times when it is a waste of time (random encounters with 6 wolves that take an hour to resolve, but no real benefit to players fun) or not the right flavor for the fight (sweeping through a castle room by room, I posted a thread about that recently)

I started wondering "What if a party of 6 only fought 3 creatures of equal level?" and because of the short rest assumption, the answer is "massacre". I _experienced_ a module that asked the question "How long does it take 6 PCs with 12 non-minion NPC allies to kill a level appropriate full-xp budget fight?" and the answer was "WHY WOULD ANY DM DO THAT TO HIS PLAYERS?". I started wanting to change the way 4e encounters were scaled, and the biggest obstacle is that pesky 5 minute rest making small fights too easy and big fights stupidly large (because monsters have to be tough to take on a 5-minute-rested 4e PC).

So now when I look at 5e, and its lack of assuming a full xp-budget fight, I see a definite benefit to characters not getting too well rested too quickly. Short rests don't need to be very short because you don't "need" a short rest to start a new fight. So it should be a length that draws a distinct line between situations that you need need to fight battle after battle with no rest, and situations where you can really recoup after a fight.

In my estimations: the difference between 5 mins and 10 mins is irrelevant, really, you aren't changing anything there. The next step of any relevance in 30 mins, which is believable. I'd say its the minimum time at which you can easily say: "You've got time for a rest". Anything longer than that is being intentionally bothersome. So 30 mins is a narratively appropriate timescale for a rest to be.
 

Gadget

Explorer
I don't like the idea of five minutes and you get hit points back. I would prefer a longer period based on how many hit points you get back. Part of the game is to play tactically wise knowing when to keep going and when to stop. I don't like the idea that you have to be at full hit points every minute of the day.

Those of you who have used this have you had players get pissy if you interrupt them during their rest? I have a friend who DMed 4E at the gaming store and he had an issue with players feeling like he was cheating and railroading them if he interrupted their rest.
In a 4e mindset, your healing surges are your strategic resource that are husbanded, not necessarily Hit Points. It may not have always worked out this way in practice, but there are play style issues involved as well. I can't speak for your friend or his/her players, but if the DM was constantly contriving ways to keep players from achieving a short rest, I could see the players getting upset. On the other hand, it is reasonable that nearby dangerous would react to the sounds of a battle in the next room; It all comes down to one of the banes (or strengths, depending on you view) of 4E: encounter design. For example, 4e could work perfectly well with a short rest changed to an over night duration and a long rest becoming recuperating in a more safe, secure location. Adventure and encounter design would have to be adjusted to account for such things to some degree, but it could work fine, especially for less combat focused games.

It should be noted that the whole 'short rest' phenomenon is merely a formalization of play styles that were quite common in previous versions of the game: wands of cure light used after every encounter, virtual kegs of healing potions consumed and found along the way, cleric healing people up after, or during, a battle, etc. I've know of people who scoff at the 'ridiculousness' of this 'martial healing' offered as a 'crutch' to players that makes the game to gonzo and unbelievable for their tastes; yet they have games where healing potions are more common than weeds and healing wands are practically growing on trees, which, in its own way, is just as gonzo to me, particularly from a world building perspective. Certainly this playstyle is not indicative of many who enjoy true old school resource management, or very gritty games, or other play styles that do not take kindly to easier hit point recovery, yet I think it was the perceived prevalence of the the above play style that lead to short rests, along with the desire to reduce the dependence on 'having to have a healbot (cleric) along'.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
My "brief rest to recouperate and heal up a bit, but not all the way" is 8 hours.

One night.

This is because for me, all damage is potentially deadly. Which means all damage is at least somewhat physical. Which means scrapes, sprains, blood, tearing, even breaks or deep, oozing wounds. 5 minutes or even an hour isn't really going to treat those wounds. Sleep on it.

So my short rest is 8 hours. From the time you get up in the morning to the time you make camp for the night, the only healing you're going to get is going to come from special abilities/magic.
 

Elf Witch

Villager
In a 4e mindset, your healing surges are your strategic resource that are husbanded, not necessarily Hit Points. It may not have always worked out this way in practice, but there are play style issues involved as well. I can't speak for your friend or his/her players, but if the DM was constantly contriving ways to keep players from achieving a short rest, I could see the players getting upset. On the other hand, it is reasonable that nearby dangerous would react to the sounds of a battle in the next room; It all comes down to one of the banes (or strengths, depending on you view) of 4E: encounter design. For example, 4e could work perfectly well with a short rest changed to an over night duration and a long rest becoming recuperating in a more safe, secure location. Adventure and encounter design would have to be adjusted to account for such things to some degree, but it could work fine, especially for less combat focused games.

It should be noted that the whole 'short rest' phenomenon is merely a formalization of play styles that were quite common in previous versions of the game: wands of cure light used after every encounter, virtual kegs of healing potions consumed and found along the way, cleric healing people up after, or during, a battle, etc. I've know of people who scoff at the 'ridiculousness' of this 'martial healing' offered as a 'crutch' to players that makes the game to gonzo and unbelievable for their tastes; yet they have games where healing potions are more common than weeds and healing wands are practically growing on trees, which, in its own way, is just as gonzo to me, particularly from a world building perspective. Certainly this playstyle is not indicative of many who enjoy true old school resource management, or very gritty games, or other play styles that do not take kindly to easier hit point recovery, yet I think it was the perceived prevalence of the the above play style that lead to short rests, along with the desire to reduce the dependence on 'having to have a healbot (cleric) along'.
I only have to go on what he told me. And that was he based it on where they rested, if it was possible others heard the combat, random encounter rolls. I played with him as a DM in a 3.5 game and this sounds like how he ran that. Sometimes depending on all of this our rest was interrupted and the casters were effected and if we were out of healing well that suffered too. What bothered him was the players assumption that it is given and that the DM is breaking the rules by doing it.

I find the whole idea of tons of healing wands and potions to be gonzo. I prefer a more gritty game.
 

Balesir

Villager
I'm pretty sure that our base assumptions here vary, probably due to playstyle differences. What you're saying makes me think of the time Varsuvius explained how often encounters are checked for (in OotS): once along the way. It sounds like you probably fall closer to that approach than I do- for me, the frequency of encounter checks depends strictly upon the world.
I suppose that's possible, but I don't think so. I think we just define what is "system" differently.

I'm not saying that there should be no consistent correspondance between system and game world - I'm just saying that that correspondance is not part of the "system" and, as such, does not need to be specified in the system. It needs to be specified (in a way that supports playstyle) by the world creator.

There might be more or less depending on the pcs' mode of travel, but if they ride horses for forty days, there might be several sessions of random encounters before they reach their destination. I don't arbitrarily change the world to suit the pcs; I feel very strongly about the milieu standing on its own two feet and treat the campaign very much in the fashion that Gygax wrote about, as a setting with many independent pcs adventuring in it.
Sure, I hear you. The correspondance between system and game world should be invariate for all but the most player-authored drama style games.

But my point is this: those forty days of horseback riding are simply an arbitrary number of "wandering monster" checks from the point of view of the system. The journey is measured, for system purposes, as a number of "ration use" cycles and a number of "random encounter" cycles and so on. Clearly, those cycles should correspond to some imagined physical distance and imagined number of in-game time units in the imagined game world - and those correlations should remain stable for that specific game world - but the actual scale of correlation chosen is really arbitrary. It is a choice to be made by the game world designer. It makes no actual difference to the system what conversion ratios the world designer chooses - even though it does of course make a difference to the imagined world.

So, yes, you could arbitrarily set the scales, but I don't- I set them according to in-world logic. Therefore, the length of a short rest has a dramatic effect on play in my campaign.
But where does the "in-world logic" come from? You make it up!

My point is that the ratio of imagined, game-world time to a short rest, the number of random encounters experienced per short rest and the imagined density or frequency of occurrence of "wandering monsters" in the game-world form a "design circle". You can set any two and the third will follow. But the only part of the whole circle that constitutes part of the "system" is the frequency of random encounters per short rest. The rest are not "system" but the defined relation between the system and the imagined game-world, and in setting them you are defining one parameter while you have two degrees of freedom - in other words, you can set either one to be whatever you like and there will be (at least) one value of the other that completes the circle.

Now, what you appear to be saying is that you have a specific preference for the number of random encounters per short rest. Cool; hopefully that will be a system parameter that can be set according to the players' taste; I see no real reason why not. But a change to it is a change to the system, and this should be recognised.

Further to that, you have certain standards of "verisimilitude"*, it seems, that apply limits to the time duration in which this frequency of random encounter might arise. Again, cool - you can choose any duration that your sense of verisimilitude requires - the extra degree of freedom I noted above will allow you to do so with no problem. I am saying, however, that this duration does not need to be specified by the system. Every world designer should be able to set it to suit his or her tastes; there is no need to dictate it and, indeed, I think it would be positively deleterious to do so.


*: I think what this really means is that you have a clear and set vision of how certain things work in the world you have designed/are designing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, provided you don't expect that vision to apply for other world designers.
 
have you had players get pissy if you interrupt them during their rest? I have a friend who DMed 4E at the gaming store and he had an issue with players feeling like he was cheating and railroading them if he interrupted their rest.
If you are running 4e, there is little point to interrupting short rests. Unless done as part of a deliberate feature of encounter design and adjudication, it will just tend to produce boring encounters in which the players don't have access to their more interesting abilities (ie their PCs' encounter powers).

This relates to [MENTION=27160]Balesir[/MENTION]'s exchange with [MENTION=1210]the Jester[/MENTION]: interrupting a short rest in 4e is really just adding to the difficulty of the encounter in question. (Even though, within the fiction, the events are experienced as two encounters.) When you think of it in such terms, does it make for fun play to frame the PCs into the more difficult encounter? If so, interrupt away. If not, don't.
 

Elf Witch

Villager
If you are running 4e, there is little point to interrupting short rests. Unless done as part of a deliberate feature of encounter design and adjudication, it will just tend to produce boring encounters in which the players don't have access to their more interesting abilities (ie their PCs' encounter powers).

This relates to [MENTION=27160]Balesir[/MENTION]'s exchange with [MENTION=1210]the Jester[/MENTION]: interrupting a short rest in 4e is really just adding to the difficulty of the encounter in question. (Even though, within the fiction, the events are experienced as two encounters.) When you think of it in such terms, does it make for fun play to frame the PCs into the more difficult encounter? If so, interrupt away. If not, don't.
But players need to play smart too. If you know that halfway through a battle one of the NPCs fled you don't finish the battle, hang around and loot then announce you are going to take a rest in the same room and not expected that just maybe they went to get reinforcements.

That is the kind of thinking that really bugs me the idea that the entire world goes on pause while the PCs rest.
 
But players need to play smart too. If you know that halfway through a battle one of the NPCs fled you don't finish the battle, hang around and loot then announce you are going to take a rest in the same room and not expected that just maybe they went to get reinforcements.
Maybe. It depends on where the fun of play consists in. If it's going to make for a boring TPK, is it good GMing to have the NPC return with reinforcements? Rather than, say, hide in a cupboard hoping that the PCs will pass by without noticing him/her?
 

Elf Witch

Villager
Maybe. It depends on where the fun of play consists in. If it's going to make for a boring TPK, is it good GMing to have the NPC return with reinforcements? Rather than, say, hide in a cupboard hoping that the PCs will pass by without noticing him/her?
As a DM that is not fun for me. I can't stand having to bend over backwards to save players from their stupidity brought on by a sense of entitlement that they are special because they are PCs. As a DM I would never punish players because they forgot something or TPK them because the dice is rolling badly hence the reason I always roll behind a screen. I want my players to have fun but I am not their bitch I need to have fun as well. I have had NPCs change their minds because to confront the PCs right then and there might be a to much to handle in their current situation. But if players do something as dumb as knowing an NPC got away and didn't even bother to put a look out at the doors, nor choose someplace safer to rest I would let the consequences happen.

My fun comes from creating a world that is interesting to my players. Running NPCs who my players loath and want dead or who my players will do anything to help. A game where the choices they make really matters for both good and bad.

I have never TPK a party but I have let PCs die because they were stupid.

As a player I expect bad decisions to have consequences and good choices to get rewarded. I would find the game very unsatisfying if I knew the DM was going to pull his punches every time we we did some really bone headed.
 

GX.Sigma

Registered User
As a DM that is not fun for me. I can't stand having to bend over backwards to save players from their stupidity brought on by a sense of entitlement that they are special because they are PCs.
I could not agree more, and I haven't been able to describe this feeling with words until you posted this, so thank you.

However, I think the key word in pemerton's post above was "boring." 4e is designed such that a single encounter is pretty much a full game by itself, taking at least an hour of gameplay. Therefore, if an encounter isn't a close fight, it's a gigantic waste of everyone's precious time--especially if they don't have their encounter powers back. Imagine a full hour of everyone going "I attack... miss... I attack... hit..." until they realize they're getting pretty low on hp and need to run. In a system like D&D Next, that encounter would work ("He comes back with 10 wights and casts cloudkill." "I'm dead." "I get the f*** outta there."). In 4e, it just doesn't.

So this conversation isn't really about one DMing style vs. another, it's about how 4e implies/requires only a certain subset of DMing styles.
 
I can't stand having to bend over backwards to save players from their stupidity brought on by a sense of entitlement that they are special because they are PCs. As a DM I would never punish players because they forgot something or TPK them because the dice is rolling badly hence the reason I always roll behind a screen.

<snip>

if players do something as dumb as knowing an NPC got away and didn't even bother to put a look out at the doors, nor choose someplace safer to rest I would let the consequences happen.
The second quoted paragraph puts additional parameters on the situation which weren't in your initial description. Though what the function of a look out is is not always clear - if the runner is a goblin, and s/he comes back with a Balrog, what are the players expected to do, or to have done?

I also think the contrast between "bad luck" and "stupidity" is not always clear cut. If the PCs are on their last legs, and the final NPC runs away, are the players stupid for deciding not to give chase? Or sensibly taking advantage of their good luck, because they know that had the NPC hung around, s/he probably could have killed a PC or two?

If an encounter is interesting - preferably in both story/dramatic terms and in mechanica/tactical terms - then I'm happy to frame it and see what happens. (Including a TPK if that's the upshot - I don't fudge my dice rolls.) That includes with the escaped NPC - but if the game is 4e, then typically play will be more interesting if the encounter is framed "Just as you get your breath back, you see XYZ coming towards you" - and so the players, in resolving the encounter, have full access to the suite of mechanical resources that helps make the game interesting - than framing a mechanically less challenging encounter that the players have to resolve without access to their interesting abilities.

And as I said, if the runaway's reinforcement encounter doesn't seem like it would be interesting, I can just decide that the escaped NPC hides in a cupboard. That's not particularly unrealistic, and doesn't seem like any sort of "bending over backwards" to me.

I think the key word in pemerton's post above was "boring." 4e is designed such that a single encounter is pretty much a full game by itself, taking at least an hour of gameplay. Therefore, if an encounter isn't a close fight, it's a gigantic waste of everyone's precious time--especially if they don't have their encounter powers back.

<snip>

So this conversation isn't really about one DMing style vs. another, it's about how 4e implies/requires only a certain subset of DMing styles.
I agree with your first quoted paragraph, though I think maybe we have different views as to what extent this is a virtue of the system.

I'm not sure I agree so much with the second, although it's hard to individuate "DMing styles" with technical precision.

But is it a radically different GMing style to have the reinforcements turn up 3 minutes later at mechanical strength X or 5 minutes later at mechanical strength 2X? I'm not sure that it is, but in 4e those two different choices make quite a difference for how the game is likely to play out at the table.

I'm not sure the "run away" option is so radically different in 4e either. In classic D&D if the reinforcement turn up and the players have their PCs run away, there are the evasion rules to resolve that. (Which to me, at least, are rather sympathetic to the players even at a modest concession to verisimilitude.) In 4e, the same thing could be resolved by way of a short-ish skill challenge. As long as the players are aware of that mechanical possibility (eg because the GM tells them if they ask, or because they know how the GM handles attepts to flee at that particular table) then that is a reason to think that the rest-interrupting encounter with the reinforcements could be interesting, and even perhaps a fun change of pace.

To me it's all about knowing the system, and the tools that it provides to make resolving the fictional situation you want to frame interesting rather than tedious. I personally haven't found that 4e makes this especially difficult for a GM, nor that it constrains options noticeably more than other systems.

I also think, whatever the system, it's important to distinguish player experience from character experience. The 4e DMG2 makes this point nicely when it notes that, if a consequence for failure is the PCs getting ambushed in the night, then (everything else being equal) the players are likely to enjoy resolving the fight even though the characters, obviously, would rather not have been attacked. That's why, when it comes to the run away NPC and the interruption of a short rest, I think it is more helpful to think in terms of table experience than simply in in-world, in-character terms.
 
Last edited:

DEFCON 1

Hero
Jumping in on the discussion that you're all having... I don't think it's only about a 4E / XE edition split in terms of NPCs running away and bringing back reinforcements... it's also about individual DMs and the way they see the reasoning of having fights in their world, and how those fights come about and are filled.

When an NPC that was let free to run off comes running back with reinforcements... the quantity and power of those reinforcements is determined many different ways based upon individual DMs. For some DMs (like pemerton it seems)... the decision on the reinforcements comes down to what will make this new fight interesting in and of itself. And the monster group that shows up is based almost entirely on creating that interesting fight (based partly on the monsters further in the dungeon that might show up). For other DMs (like Elf Witch it seems)... the decision on the reinforcements comes down to who that NPC might logically have come into contact with, and convinced to join the fight. If (according to the map the DM has) the NPC could only have run into two other NPCs, then those three NPCs return to attack the party (if them attacking makes sense.) But if the NPC could realistically come across several dozen other monsters, all of whom would want to see the party thrown out or killed... then those two dozen monsters show up and possibly kick the ass of the entire party.

In the former scenario... some DMs would say that you were making arbitrary decisions on who shows up (based upon making an interesting and fun fight), but which makes no actual sense in the world of the game. In the latter scenario... some DMs would say that if only 3 NPCs are going to show up to attack the party and it's blatantly obvious (based on the power of those 3 NPCs) that they serve no real threat, then why bother having that boring combat at all? (And this is where GX.Sigma is right in that because 4E fights tend to be longer affairs, having one that is a fait accompli which could waste an hour or two in a 4E game really makes the fight superfluous.)

And this kind of thing can't be solved by a single ruleset. Not in the least. We HAVE to have options for both sides available to us, because I don't think there's even a close-to-consensus on one side or another. We're much more likely having a 50-50 opinion on the two scenarios than a 90-10 (which might justify setting a default with little to no optional modules included.)

Any time the opinions on certain rules is more of a 50-50 affair... I think it usually ends up being that both sides have their rules represented in the game, with the simplest adjudication being the base rule, and the more complex one being Rules Module #1. Which in many cases I think we're all usually okay with.
 

Johnny3D3D

Adventurer
I said 10mins but I think 15 or 20 is better. The truth is 5mins is too short and an hour is too long
I agree. 5 mins is way too short; an hour seems too long.

I am closer to a half hour to hour. It is enough time to patch up wounds, let your limbs take a rest, releave oneself, calm your mind, or even take a refresher nap. A lunch break. Five minutes is too short. Your heavy is still pounding and the weaker adventurers would not have caught their breath yet.
30 minutes sounds about right to me
 

Jester David

Villager
For 4e, 5 minutes is really too long. It's just assumed, so short rests should almost be automatic. Having to actually sit for 5 minutes seems needless; there should never be a time when you do not heal between encounters or regain Encounter powers save when one fight bleeds into another.
The abstract "couple minutes" of looting and catching your breath is enough as you're not *really* resting.

For D&D5, the short rest is very different. It's not assumed to happen after every fight. The short rest denotes a period of actually resting, when you're ceasing activity and adventuring.
5-10 minutes is too low because nothing happens in that length of time. Monsters cannot move and nothing in the dungeon changes. It's hard to judge how much an impact stopping for 5 minutes has on an adventure. But an hour has a big impact. A lot can happen in an hour.

An hour means taking a short rest is a choice with weight. It's not automatic or a no-brainer. There is a cost involved.
 

Falling Icicle

Villager
I think an hour is way too long. It doesn't take that long to catch your breath, bandage yourself, etc. IMO, 1 hour is such a long period of time that there's little difference between short and long rests. With so many class features recharging after a short rest, they're really not "encounter" abilities when it takes 1 hour to recharge them. They end up being more like 2 or maybe 3/day abilities, if that. In some cases this makes them worse than daily powers, because at least those can be used a few times per day without having to rest for an hour in-between each and every use. If they're going to make short rests that inconvenient and take up such a huge amount of time in an adventure, there's little point to even having encounter vs. daily powers.

I think 10-15 minutes would be much better.
 

Derren

Adventurer
From the listed durations 1 hour. Everything else is too short to have an actual effect. Like [MENTION=37579]Jester Canuck[/MENTION] said, resting should not be automatic after every fight.

But even longer periods are thinkable, depending on what the rest exactly does refresh. Personal preference: D&D plays too fast anyway, with PCs being able to go from 1 to 20 within months and spend adventuring 24/7 because of the very short rest durations and fast regeneration (magical and natural) the PCs have. So I am not opposed to have a short rest taking a day and the PCs having to recover for a month or longer after an adventure.

I prefer 1 hour, but I'm happy that this is a trivial dial, for those who want to increase/decrease the pace.
This is hardly a trivial dial. While DMs can easily change the resting time for their tables, published adventures depend on knowing how long the rest is, as they have to be designed totally different when the PCs can rest between battles for 5 minutes and get their power back or not.
 
Last edited:

Elf Witch

Villager
I could not agree more, and I haven't been able to describe this feeling with words until you posted this, so thank you.

However, I think the key word in pemerton's post above was "boring." 4e is designed such that a single encounter is pretty much a full game by itself, taking at least an hour of gameplay. Therefore, if an encounter isn't a close fight, it's a gigantic waste of everyone's precious time--especially if they don't have their encounter powers back. Imagine a full hour of everyone going "I attack... miss... I attack... hit..." until they realize they're getting pretty low on hp and need to run. In a system like D&D Next, that encounter would work ("He comes back with 10 wights and casts cloudkill." "I'm dead." "I get the f*** outta there."). In 4e, it just doesn't.

So this conversation isn't really about one DMing style vs. another, it's about how 4e implies/requires only a certain subset of DMing styles.
I don't run or play 4E. This situation I described happened to a friend who runs both 4E and Pathfinder. He often runs into this mindset with 4E players. And I would hate to see this kind of mindset carrying into 5E.
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
I have noted a number of benefits from making short rests 1 hour (often impossible to take in a populated dungeon unless complete stealth is maintained). There has been a steady up-tick in tension in my most recent playtest sessions. My players assume that they will need to carry on, so they push forward much more than they would have in past editions. When they find a position/situation where they can take 1 hour rests, they are terrifically relieved, but I like how they don't expect to be able to rest in many dungeon situations.

Pushing on once PCs have spent short rest features also makes the session feel more dire and gritty. For us, that works. For others it may not.

It is also much easier for the DM to determine if the rest should be interrupted or not when using 1 hour rests. When short rests are too short, the DM is faced with a tougher decision. It is harder to determine what an enemy might do with 5, 10 or 15 minutes (in a way, getting interrupted during a really short rest like this makes it seem as if the DM is purposefully trying to prevent the PCs from resting). It is much easier to determine what will happen with 1 hour of time (if the patrol interrupts the PCs during an hour rest, there is never any grumbling...my players expect it unless they are in a completely safe area).
 

Elf Witch

Villager
The second quoted paragraph puts additional parameters on the situation which weren't in your initial description. Though what the function of a look out is is not always clear - if the runner is a goblin, and s/he comes back with a Balrog, what are the players expected to do, or to have done?

I also think the contrast between "bad luck" and "stupidity" is not always clear cut. If the PCs are on their last legs, and the final NPC runs away, are the players stupid for deciding not to give chase? Or sensibly taking advantage of their good luck, because they know that had the NPC hung around, s/he probably could have killed a PC or two?

If an encounter is interesting - preferably in both story/dramatic terms and in mechanica/tactical terms - then I'm happy to frame it and see what happens. (Including a TPK if that's the upshot - I don't fudge my dice rolls.) That includes with the escaped NPC - but if the game is 4e, then typically play will be more interesting if the encounter is framed "Just as you get your breath back, you see XYZ coming towards you" - and so the players, in resolving the encounter, have full access to the suite of mechanical resources that helps make the game interesting - than framing a mechanically less challenging encounter that the players have to resolve without access to their interesting abilities.

And as I said, if the runaway's reinforcement encounter doesn't seem like it would be interesting, I can just decide that the escaped NPC hides in a cupboard. That's not particularly unrealistic, and doesn't seem like any sort of "bending over backwards" to me.

I agree with your first quoted paragraph, though I think maybe we have different views as to what extent this is a virtue of the system.

I'm not sure I agree so much with the second, although it's hard to individuate "DMing styles" with technical precision.

But is it a radically different GMing style to have the reinforcements turn up 3 minutes later at mechanical strength X or 5 minutes later at mechanical strength 2X? I'm not sure that it is, but in 4e those two different choices make quite a difference for how the game is likely to play out at the table.

I'm not sure the "run away" option is so radically different in 4e either. In classic D&D if the reinforcement turn up and the players have their PCs run away, there are the evasion rules to resolve that. (Which to me, at least, are rather sympathetic to the players even at a modest concession to verisimilitude.) In 4e, the same thing could be resolved by way of a short-ish skill challenge. As long as the players are aware of that mechanical possibility (eg because the GM tells them if they ask, or because they know how the GM handles attepts to flee at that particular table) then that is a reason to think that the rest-interrupting encounter with the reinforcements could be interesting, and even perhaps a fun change of pace.

To me it's all about knowing the system, and the tools that it provides to make resolving the fictional situation you want to frame interesting rather than tedious. I personally haven't found that 4e makes this especially difficult for a GM, nor that it constrains options noticeably more than other systems.

I also think, whatever the system, it's important to distinguish player experience from character experience. The 4e DMG2 makes this point nicely when it notes that, if a consequence for failure is the PCs getting ambushed in the night, then (everything else being equal) the players are likely to enjoy resolving the fight even though the characters, obviously, would rather not have been attacked. That's why, when it comes to the run away NPC and the interruption of a short rest, I think it is more helpful to think in terms of table experience than simply in in-world, in-character terms.
The players also had a tantrum over it. One actually said that the DM is not allowed to to do that it is cheating. They had this real entitlement issue that as PC they had rights that the DM was not allowed to violate because that was how the game was designed.

In that situation as a player regardless of the system I would get out of dodge if the party was badly injured and could not handle a new encounter. I certainly would not chose to rest in the same room.

As a DM I had a situation where an encounter turned out much harder than I had planned and the party got their butts handed to them. I had been rolling listening checks to see if the goblins in the guard room heard them. When it went so bad I stopped rolling and decided that the guards were drinking and making to much noise to hear. The players did not know this so they hurriedly searched the room, put a guard on hall and then hide the bodies while the wizard cast prestidigitation to clean up the blood. Then they went in search of a place to hide and rest. They were low on any kind of healing. I made a snap decision that one of the scrolls was rope trick so they could safely rest without worrying about being interrupted.

What I consider stupid behavior is thinking that just because you are a PC you get some kind of plot immunity. Some stupid things I have seen is a low level rogue picking powerful nobles pockets at a ceremony that the PCs had been invited to because they had helped young prince out of a scrape. He failed a roll and got caught and searched and they found all these stolen items. The King stopped to much bad from happening so instead of getting his hand cut off the price of thievery well known in the city. The rogue was given a warning that if he was ever caught stealing in the city again he would lose not his hand but his life. The rest of the party was furious.The player excuse was well I am rogue this is what I do. :mad:
 

Advertisement

Top