D&D 5E Slow Natural Healing: is it the best official rule for both Wilderness and Dungeon campaigns?

Alby87

Adventurer
Hi! Everytime a new OneD&D playtest packet is out, I first check the rest rules... I know the DMG suggests the XP budget for the adventuring day, one can mix different encounters and battles of different difficulty if one master wants to create some adventuring days with resource attrition.

The guideline works good for dungeon adventures and urban ones (string of rooms or encounters). But, for random encounters in wilderness and travels, this is not good: if random encounters rolls give only one encounter for a day, having it sandwitched between two long rests give the players the boringness of doing a meaningless battle. They just need to arrive at 1hp after the battle and everything will be ok for them.

The most speaked "official" rule variant is the Gritty Realism, but that doesn't work for Dungeons or Cities. It "fixes" one part of the game "breaking" the other. There are a lot of "homebrewed" rules, like safe havens, Uncharted Journeys book rules, changing the grittines midcampaign based on the location, and so on, that tries to fix the wilderness ones without breaking the dungeon portion. It seems so strange to me that one should go on custom/non official rules to make the game works (not that there is something wrong in it! Just for sake of talking).

Reading the DMG again, I noticed the slow natural healing rules... why that rule is not often invoked when speaking about this problem? It should fix both part of the game, IMHO.

In dungeons, you slow down things a bit, making multiday dungeons really dangerous because you don't start with full hp every time, but DMs can add some healing potions here and there.
In wilderness, every day you can go nova because you start with all your class feature at full, but after a bad previous day, you go a little more cautious on next encounters. Maybe the party will be lucky, and after a calm wilderness day the will regain HP, if they encounter a new foe, they will be cautious if they don't have full HP.
 

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aco175

Legend
I can see there being two different mechanics for rest. You are traveling and do not get the best sleep and comfort so you cannot regain all your stuff. But, adventuring in a dungeon is more dangerous than on the side of a road so it should be more problematic not less. Is part of this why you only gain half your hit dice back after a rest?

I find that I'm skipping more travel encounters or having the players just describe the goblin ambush and get to the dungeon. This likely comes into play more after 5th level where goblins and bandits are more a bother than a threat. Doing this skips some of the roleplay or information elements that the players might need of could make choices from. Example might be that the PCs negotiate with the goblins and are told about a secret door or the bandits are just hungry farmers being forced into attacking them by the evil thugs. This lets the players explore more and gives them hooks.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
There are no sets of any rules with healing speeds or resource attrition that are going to work for most people. Every single person and every single table wants something different, so worrying or arguing about what should be the "default" in the game is pointless.

Whatever it is that WotC puts in the book... just change it for (general) yourself. Make up whatever rules you prefer for your table, because you're going to be hard-pressed to get 1 out of every 10 posters here on the boards to agree with your ultimate choices.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
There are no sets of any rules with healing speeds or resource attrition that are going to work for most people. Every single person and every single table wants something different, so worrying or arguing about what should be the "default" in the game is pointless.

Whatever it is that WotC puts in the book... just change it for (general) yourself. Make up whatever rules you prefer for your table, because you're going to be hard-pressed to get 1 out of every 10 posters here on the boards to agree with your ultimate choices.
Can't really disagree there. Healing and rest mechanics change the course of play so radically that every table is better off assuming there is no default and just figure it out in session 0.
 

Alby87

Adventurer
Thank you for your responses. I think that I have understood that I have write here a "different" question of what I meant. The question is more "why general consensus for "fixing" the rest is using Gritty Realism and not Slow Natural Healing?". I know people will have different ideas on rules to use at the table, and no one suit all. I hope I explained myself better this time.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I think the resting/recuperating rules should be flexible to the level of activity. Allowing quicker long rests in dungeons or other "highly active" locations should work using the normal rest rules. Overland or long down times might instead using resting rules where a "Long Rest" might happen after a week and a "short rest" might indicate a single night's rest. This lets the DM control the pace of the action and refresh rate of abilities. As long as the changes are communicated, I can't see it being a problem.

For example, the party might be on an overland journey to an important location, which will take 9 days. Each day of travel, the DM can choose to throw 0, 1 or more encounters at the PC. At the end of each day, the characters can take a short rest to recover some abilities, hp or the like. At each end of the week (7th day), and again the night before entering the location (9th day), when the party rests they receive the benefit of a long rest. Whilst exploring the location, the DM might allow short rests to take an hour, and if the party beds down for the night in safe spot while still exploring the location, that might allow for a long rest. Once the party completes its mission and makes the return trip, short rests change back to the nightly model and long rest at the end of the week or upon returning back home.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
The trouble with the dmg rest variants is that PC spells and abilities are based on rounds minutes and hours so changing rests like they suggest will dramatically upend PC power. Once the relative PC power values are shuffled it leaves some classes huge winners and others small to huge losers. That doesn't even get into the bonkers magic item recharge shenanigans.

At the end of the season the GM has just created a whole bunch of problems for themselves by using it and it is still an explosive recovery with no backsliding chances in order to miss the mark on why pre-4e long rests with gradual recovery worked.
 

aco175

Legend
My understanding of slow, natural rest is that you do not automatically gain all your HP and you just gain half your Hit Dice. I think you also would have the other benefits of a long rest in the form of spells and abilities. You just start the day spending your half Hit Dice to gain whatever HP you need and some of the PCs start less than full unless the cleric spends spells.

It seems that this is only a partial step towards what some want in the Gritty Rest feel and is not halfway between the two. Part might be in overland travel you have one encounter every couple days and the party is full everything and can nova on the encounter or is like a party in a dungeon crawl and has gone through a few encounters already.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
My understanding of slow, natural rest is that you do not automatically gain all your HP and you just gain half your Hit Dice. I think you also would have the other benefits of a long rest in the form of spells and abilities. You just start the day spending your half Hit Dice to gain whatever HP you need and some of the PCs start less than full unless the cleric spends spells.

It seems that this is only a partial step towards what some want in the Gritty Rest feel and is not halfway between the two. Part might be in overland travel you have one encounter every couple days and the party is full everything and can nova on the encounter or is like a party in a dungeon crawl and has gone through a few encounters already.
Pretty much, but it still explicitly avoids the benefits of longer recovery & it's pretty brazen about it.
SLOW NATURAL H EALING
Characters don't regain hit points at the end of a long
rest. Instead, a character can spend Hit Dice to heal at
the end of a long rest, just as with a short rest.
This optional rule prolongs the amount of time that
characters need to recover from their wounds without
the benefits of magical healing and works well for
grittier, more realistic campaigns.

Hit dice recovery is explosive, HP recovery from hitdice is explosive. Those two factors mean that the consideration to taking a rest is "As long as the GM doesn't execute a PC or TPK the group & blow up the campaign before the rest finishes, we will be fine". With the old 1-3 per character level per day of 3.x & even slower in 2e before that it meant that the consideration changes to "are we in an area where an interrupted rest could deal 1-3 (or more) points of damage per character level?". The difference is in the rate of recovery not how long it takes.

Even with a few levels tucked in their belt the answer was almost always going to be "duh... of course we are!" in the older editions while with slow natural healing its relevant consideration can be answered with "obviously not because our GM has put in a lot of work and isn't running a meatgrinder funnel". A healer could absolutely use their spell slots to top folks off a bit after a rest & they did, but that's not so easy when many PCs need topping off or a couple need huge recovery & they probably don't want to burn too many slots because Bob was a careless jerk (again). topping off like that from spell slots would carve out a big chunk of their capabilities after the deed is done.

Even with topping off from slots with an interrupted rest there's the obvious concern of "will that dead patrol/monster/etc attract a bigger encounter?" plausible enough that it's a scenario to proactively avoid walking into making it reasonable for the healer+group to tell bob that he needs to shape up & stop being rude to the other party members with his playstyle. Once that was done the group would feel the need to work together as a team to make each other shine by filling each other's weaknesses with their strengths rather than just all going for maximum personal spotlight as long as Alice can step in to soak the consequences for them instead of being awesome at using the strengths of her PC's party role.

Slow natural healing is written so Bob can be rude and Alice won't need to soak anything, in doing so though it preserves most of the problems present in the default resting rates while creating the new ones I mentioned earlier.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
Hi! Everytime a new OneD&D playtest packet is out, I first check the rest rules... I know the DMG suggests the XP budget for the adventuring day, one can mix different encounters and battles of different difficulty if one master wants to create some adventuring days with resource attrition.

The guideline works good for dungeon adventures and urban ones (string of rooms or encounters). But, for random encounters in wilderness and travels, this is not good: if random encounters rolls give only one encounter for a day, having it sandwitched between two long rests give the players the boringness of doing a meaningless battle. They just need to arrive at 1hp after the battle and everything will be ok for them.

The most speaked "official" rule variant is the Gritty Realism, but that doesn't work for Dungeons or Cities. It "fixes" one part of the game "breaking" the other. There are a lot of "homebrewed" rules, like safe havens, Uncharted Journeys book rules, changing the grittines midcampaign based on the location, and so on, that tries to fix the wilderness ones without breaking the dungeon portion. It seems so strange to me that one should go on custom/non official rules to make the game works (not that there is something wrong in it! Just for sake of talking).

Reading the DMG again, I noticed the slow natural healing rules... why that rule is not often invoked when speaking about this problem? It should fix both part of the game, IMHO.

In dungeons, you slow down things a bit, making multiday dungeons really dangerous because you don't start with full hp every time, but DMs can add some healing potions here and there.
In wilderness, every day you can go nova because you start with all your class feature at full, but after a bad previous day, you go a little more cautious on next encounters. Maybe the party will be lucky, and after a calm wilderness day the will regain HP, if they encounter a new foe, they will be cautious if they don't have full HP.
My experience with slow natural healing is that it just puts more pressure on magical healing. This may or may not be seen as an advantage, depending on play style.

In the two games that I’ve played (one as player and one as DM), slow natural healing exacerbated the need for spellcasters to rest and recover spell slots (because they spent more in healing and have relatively few spell slots) at low levels, and didn’t fixed the fact that casters have too many spell slots at high levels (because they still recovered them all overnight).

So in the end, it didn’t solve the issues I was having with 5e (which basically boils down to progression of characters being too drastic and exponential; yes, even martials, just less so than casters).
 

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