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D&D 5E Slower Healing and Longer Long Rests

I’ve been thinking about ways to create more challenging overland and wilderness travel experiences while not completely gutting the six-encounter adventuring day for dungeon crawls. My thought is to slow down natural healing, separate natural healing from long rests, and make longer long rests. Short Rests would remain an hour.

So to summarize:
  • Characters only recover 1 Hit Die and their level + CON Mod Hit Points per day when they awaken from their sleep.
    • Characters may spend Hit Dice before or after sleeping to regain Hit Points, same as a Short Rest.
      • Considering: Hit Dice spent prior to or after sleeping would restore the maximum amount of hit points per die.
    • Characters engaged in Recuperating as a Downtime activity regain an additional Hit Die.
  • Long Rests for recovery of spells and class abilities requires 1 Full Day.
    • A long rest requires a Squalid or better Lifestyle
      • It is up to the DM if the party can find suitable resting conditions away from civilization.
    • During a long rest, characters can engage in things light activity (such as guard duty) and up to one hour of strenuous activity (such as combat and spell casting), but no other downtime activity.
      • A long rest is considered it's own sort of downtime activity can represent things such as:
        • preparing gear, spells, and other elements of their craft
        • meditating or communing with the forces from which they draw their power
        • recovering from stresses of combat exertion or channeling vast amounts of energy
In short, I hope a setup like this would eliminate the daily automatic recovery which makes wilderness travel seemingly trivial while still allowing a party to encamp near a dungeon and launch expeditions every couple of days.

Thoughts?
 
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I’ve been thinking about ways to create more challenging overland and wilderness travel experiences while not completely gutting the six-encounter adventuring day for dungeon crawls. My thought is to slow down natural healing, separate natural healing from long rests, and make longer long rests. Short Rests would remain an hour.

So to summarize:
  • Characters only recover 1 Hit Die and their level + CON Mod Hit Points per day when they awaken from their sleep.
    • Characters may spend Hit Dice before or after sleeping to regain Hit Points, same as a Short Rest.
      • Considering: Hit Dice spent prior to or after sleeping would restore the maximum amount of hit points per die.
    • Characters engaged in Recuperating as a Downtime activity regain an additional Hit Die.
  • Long Rests for recovery of spells and class abilities requires 1 Full Day.
    • A long rest requires a Squalid or better Lifestyle
      • It is up to the DM if the party can find suitable resting conditions away from civilization.
    • During a long rest, characters can engage in things light activity (such as guard duty) and up to one hour of strenuous activity (such as combat and spell casting), but no other downtime activity.
      • A long rest is considered it's own sort of downtime activity can represent things such as:
        • preparing gear, spells, and other elements of their craft
        • meditating or communing with the forces from which they draw their power
        • recovering from stresses of combat exertion or channeling vast amounts of energy
In short, I hope a setup like this would eliminate the daily automatic recovery which makes wilderness travel seemingly trivial while still allowing a party to encamp near a dungeon and launch expeditions every couple of days.

Thoughts?
Works well. I've done pretty much exactly that.

The only thing to consider is how this may influence short rests. If combats tend to be days apart then short rests tend to get taken for granted and certain abilities such as the Fighter's Second Wind become more powerful.

You can account for that by basically limiting the number of short rests per long rest to 2 or 3.
 

Do Long Rests still recover all HP and 1/2 Hit Dice?
Since you're already changing the system, I might suggest taking the opportunity to limit how many fights you can have during a Long Rest and still gain the benefit.
Even during a full 8-encounter adventuring day, you're still not engaging in more than an hour of combat and spellcasting.
 

This might be a bit too slow healing for my taste, with spending HD on a short rest becoming undesirable (better to spend them overnight). I completely agree with the concept, and have worked out something similar by creating a Medium Rest, which replaces the normal Long Rest if not taken in a sanctuary, a semi-safe location (e.g. town). The only change to Long Rests is that they recover all spent HD. Otherwise they only gain the following benefits:
  • Recover 50% of maximum HP
  • As a Short Rest (including spending HD)
  • Recover half maximum HD (minimum 1)
  • Recover half number of uses for abilities that have a number of uses per long rest
    • Half rages per day, half Sorcery Points, etc.
  • Recover half of abilities that can be used only once per long rest are recovered
  • Recover half spell slots per level
This makes adventurers still viable over the course of a full adventuring day, but makes wilderness combats a bit more meaningful, since going nova weakens you for the next day (which might be a full adventuring day).
 



Works well. I've done pretty much exactly that.

The only thing to consider is how this may influence short rests. If combats tend to be days apart then short rests tend to get taken for granted and certain abilities such as the Fighter's Second Wind become more powerful.

You can account for that by basically limiting the number of short rests per long rest to 2 or 3.
Have noticed any changes in play style?

In terms of short rests, I see abilities which reset on short rests as designed to be readily accessible. I considered even dropping short rests as down to 10 minutes even as more breather breaks, but that (to me) breaks the flavor of abilities which are done as part of short rests.

I like the flavor of short rests being an hour of catching a breather and resetting some "per combat" type abilities while also making it a potentially risky decision when done in an active and dangerous region.
 

Do Long Rests still recover all HP and 1/2 Hit Dice?
Since you're already changing the system, I might suggest taking the opportunity to limit how many fights you can have during a Long Rest and still gain the benefit.
Even during a full 8-encounter adventuring day, you're still not engaging in more than an hour of combat and spellcasting.
No. Characters would have to heal up over time or spend some spell slots on healing.

My goal is to decouple "natural healing" from the other class abilities and make it it's own thing.

Good thought on the timing. I suppose it would be comparable to character encamping somewhere, spending a day doing downtime, and then delving into dungeon after they get off their work shift.

Yes, sure, I would be good with that. Of course, they might be heading in with those dungeon denizen are getting ready for their own raids to the surface, so yeah sure. It's a choice... smiles
 

Have noticed any changes in play style?

In terms of short rests, I see abilities which reset on short rests as designed to be readily accessible. I considered even dropping short rests as down to 10 minutes even as more breather breaks, but that (to me) breaks the flavor of abilities which are done as part of short rests.

I like the flavor of short rests being an hour of catching a breather and resetting some "per combat" type abilities while also making it a potentially risky decision when done in an active and dangerous region.
Depends on the context. It means that players don't try to rest in situations that are somewhat implausible. It also means that wilderness travel flows better. Players don't blow their best spells if they don't know they will be able to regain them. It also puts a bit of time pressure on urban campaigns. If the PCs know they will lose a whole day, then they're reluctant to put aside the time for a long rest unless they really need to.

It basically increases the range of activities you can use in the game in which a long rest is something the players have to decide to do and weigh up, rather than something which happens.

With short rests I just ditch the whole 1 hour thing. 5 Minutes not in combat with a hard limit per long rest. Making sure there are spots in the game to take an hour breather puts work on me. Why should I do that work if I don't have to?
 

This might be a bit too slow healing for my taste, with spending HD on a short rest becoming undesirable (better to spend them overnight). I completely agree with the concept, and have worked out something similar by creating a Medium Rest, which replaces the normal Long Rest if not taken in a sanctuary, a semi-safe location (e.g. town). The only change to Long Rests is that they recover all spent HD. Otherwise they only gain the following benefits:
  • Recover 50% of maximum HP
  • As a Short Rest (including spending HD)
  • Recover half maximum HD (minimum 1)
  • Recover half number of uses for abilities that have a number of uses per long rest
    • Half rages per day, half Sorcery Points, etc.
  • Recover half of abilities that can be used only once per long rest are recovered
  • Recover half spell slots per level
This makes adventurers still viable over the course of a full adventuring day, but makes wilderness combats a bit more meaningful, since going nova weakens you for the next day (which might be a full adventuring day).
Yes, the daily wilderness nova.

I like your idea as well.
 


What about spells?
Spells which come back on a short rest would still come back on a short rest

Spells which come back on a long rest come back on a long rest. Parties would have to decide if taking a day off to recover spells is worth it.

It's a lot less fiddly then OAD&D, which had rules for preparing spells which required spell casters spend 15 minutes per level (of spell at levels 1-4, but only if they have had at least 4 hours of sleeps.....). Keeping it to the Long Rest and done keeps it easier and keeps it on par still similar class and archetype abilities.
 

Depends on the context. It means that players don't try to rest in situations that are somewhat implausible. It also means that wilderness travel flows better. Players don't blow their best spells if they don't know they will be able to regain them. It also puts a bit of time pressure on urban campaigns. If the PCs know they will lose a whole day, then they're reluctant to put aside the time for a long rest unless they really need to.

It basically increases the range of activities you can use in the game in which a long rest is something the players have to decide to do and weigh up, rather than something which happens.

That sounds very much like my desired goal

With short rests I just ditch the whole 1 hour thing. 5 Minutes not in combat with a hard limit per long rest. Making sure there are spots in the game to take an hour breather puts work on me. Why should I do that work if I don't have to?

Yeah, I hear that. I just also like to use tension dice, and a party spending an hour futzing about gives me an excuse to roll all six of them and frown and shake my head... :p
 

Do Long Rests still recover all HP and 1/2 Hit Dice?
Since you're already changing the system, I might suggest taking the opportunity to limit how many fights you can have during a Long Rest and still gain the benefit.
Even during a full 8-encounter adventuring day, you're still not engaging in more than an hour of combat and spellcasting.
Oh, I think I misunderstood, you meant interrupted.
Maybe 10 Minutes? Gives them an opportunity cast a spell or quick ritual if need be, but not much more?

Hmmmmm.... I like it...
 

The only thing to consider is how this may influence short rests. If combats tend to be days apart then short rests tend to get taken for granted and certain abilities such as the Fighter's Second Wind become more powerful.
I missed the Second Wind comment, because it is something to consider.

When I think about the way primary spell casters can quickly eclipse martial classes, that might not be a bad thing. It makes the martial classes more steady over time with the spell casters having a little more time between novas.
 

Thank you everyone for the thoughts.

One thing I was thinking about is that "unlimited" short rests give more opportunities to spend those HD in less than optimal conditions.
Not that as a DM I would want to offer up challenging choices on my players... 0:)
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Spells which come back on a short rest would still come back on a short rest

Spells which come back on a long rest come back on a long rest. Parties would have to decide if taking a day off to recover spells is worth it.

It's a lot less fiddly then OAD&D, which had rules for preparing spells which required spell casters spend 15 minutes per level (of spell at levels 1-4, but only if they have had at least 4 hours of sleeps.....). Keeping it to the Long Rest and done keeps it easier and keeps it on par still similar class and archetype abilities.

I like the healing overnight being less... but the needing to take the full day off for spells and other daily powers seems a lot more painful than I'd like. Does short rests staying the same nerf some classes relative to others?
 

I like the healing overnight being less... but the needing to take the full day off for spells and other daily powers seems a lot more painful than I'd like. Does short rests staying the same nerf some classes relative to others?
Yes, I am thinking of keeping short rests the same. Yes, it would definitely shift the power balance between classes.

And yes, it would also likely mean players have to make different types of choices in play. For example, does the spellcaster go nova and eliminate a threat right away? Or do they hold back, using cantrips, possibly prolonging combat and chewing through the HP reserves of the party?
 

I like the healing overnight being less... but the needing to take the full day off for spells and other daily powers seems a lot more painful than I'd like. Does short rests staying the same nerf some classes relative to others?
Only if it means the ratio changes in practice.

Althought that's part of the reason I put a hard limit on short rests.

If you're regularly doing 1 combat days, then it improves the balance toward what the game intends. In theory it could go the other way and lead to 15 encounter days, but in practice I don't think that can really happen. At a certain point the players of long rest classes will start getting too antsy and frustrated and a long rest will have to happen one way or another. Plus you could only do that many encounters if the encounters are generally easy.
 
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