So...resting in 5e

ad_hoc

Adventurer
That's 1.5 combats a session.
That actually feels about average to me for most D&D campaign's I've played over the years.

Shockingly, I've played D&D games where sometimes a whole session goes by and there's no combat at all!
D&D isn't designed for this. Of course if you play a game against the way it is designed you're going to run into problems.

The problem here isn't the resting mechanics.


If you're getting in about 2 combats a session than I suspect you're not going to be waiting 6 combats before allowing PCs a long rest.

You have to factor in real world time considerations as well.
If you're having so few combats then why do the PCs need a long rest?

Why be concerned about the ability to cast Fireball when there is nothing to Fireball?
 

Don Durito

Explorer
D&D isn't designed for this. Of course if you play a game against the way it is designed you're going to run into problems.

The problem here isn't the resting mechanics.
People always say this and it's rubbish. People have been using D&D to play all sorts of different campaigns for decades. Often to play all sorts of different genres within the same campaign. A few weeks ago, we were doing a dungeon crawl - now we're in town doing a mystery, now we're traipsing long distance through the wilderness etc.

So I think "doing it wrong" is a lazy copout. A certain level of robustness is necessary. Given the amount of repetition of this "you're doing it wrong" or "are you making sure you're getting in 6-8 encounters a day?" I see on the internet, then I think it's quite reasonable to say that most GMs are probably not doing it wrong - and the system just lacks robustness.

Although I do think it's better advice to say "are you using one of the long rest variants?" - because if GMs aren't getting in 6 to 8 encounters in a single day it's probably because they don't want to.

If you're having so few combats then why do the PCs need a long rest?

Why be concerned about the ability to cast Fireball when there is nothing to Fireball?
Are you following this at all?

The issue I was discussing was having the same number of combats per long rest - but spaced out over more real world time (and likely game time - though if your campaign was actually playing out in real world time than I guess this wouldn't necessarily be the case.).

So PCs need a long rest for the same reason they always need a long rest.

As for fireball - the issue is the difference between "should I cast my Fireball now or save it for a more important combat in about an hour or so" - or "should I cast my fireball now or save it for a more important combat in a week or two"? Strategically the situation is absolutely identical. It's just that the player may find it less satisfying in the second case.

When you have a big red button that says "be awesome now" you may get frustrated if you start to feel you never get to press it.
 
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D&D isn't designed for this. Of course if you play a game against the way it is designed you're going to run into problems.
The problem here isn't the resting mechanics.
The problem is a game designed to be played only in a very narrow way. The resting mechanics are a small part of that - that can be tweaked to alleviate the problem, a bit, depending on the details.

If you're having so few combats then why do the PCs need a long rest?
After a while, human beings get sleepy. If there happens to be, say, 3 days between major encounters, there'll be some sleep between 'em. Say, "oh, long rests are a week" what happens when there's a month between 'em?
The basic assumption that pacing in terms of imagined in-game time will never much deviate from the pacing of encounters to rests prescribed by the game design's innate class & encounter imbalances is the heart of the problem. One solution (13th Age did it) is to make the latter pacing absolute, rests just happen after n encounters. Another is to vary the opportunities for rests with the pacing of the campaign. They're contrived in different ways.
(Obviously, there's the option of actually having a game with classes & challenges that are balanced without regard to pacing - 'encounter based' is one way of doing that.)

Why be concerned about the ability to cast Fireball when there is nothing to Fireball?
Oh, there's always /something/ to fireball. If nothing else, you can toss them into the sky at night as fireworks.
 
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ad_hoc

Adventurer
People always say this and it's rubbish.
It's really not. It's the heart of the problem. If you take a game and try to turn it into something it's not and then have problems it isn't the game's fault.

Given the amount of repetition of this "you're doing it wrong"
Yes, you are 'doing it wrong'.

Now, I'm not telling you not to play that way.

I'm just saying, if you do, don't be surprised when there are problems and don't blame the game.

The game is achieving its' goals, it's just that the game's goals aren't your goals.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
Resting is one thing I think 5E got drastically wrong, especially retaining the short rest mechanic from 4E. I'd rather they had gone back to AD&D's resting system, which was basically 8 hours of rest = +1 HP and all spell slots recovered.

I tried removing short rests from the game one time and replacing them with a single long rest mechanic, but it was too much work. Too many mechanics are tied to short rests for easy removal.
 

Don Durito

Explorer
Resting is one thing I think 5E got drastically wrong, especially retaining the short rest mechanic from 4E. I'd rather they had gone back to AD&D's resting system, which was basically 8 hours of rest = +1 HP and all spell slots recovered.

I tried removing short rests from the game one time and replacing them with a single long rest mechanic, but it was too much work. Too many mechanics are tied to short rests for easy removal.
Yeah, although short rests are much longer than 4E. In 4E they were 10 minutes which makes them a lot easier to fit in.

Someone upthread had the idea of making them five minutes but limiting the number you can take per long rest. I think that's probably a good idea. It essentially turns the short rest into a long rest mechanic.

In AD&D spell slots weren't recovered by rest. That took extra time (see the OP).
 
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Yeah, although short rests are much longer than 4E. In 4E they were 10 minutes which makes them a lot easier to fit in.
5 min, not that it's an important distinction. In 1e they were the balance of the 10-minute turn in which the combat took place.

Someone upthread had the idea of making them five minutes but limiting the number you can take per long rest. I think that's probably a good idea. It essentially turns the short rest into a long rest mechanic.
It's on the arbitrary side. Just, a simple, per-encounter (or 'scene' for the story set) limit would be fine, too, without the rubric of 'resting' a certain number of minutes or hours to screw with pacing.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
The resource recovery model / resting rules are my biggest single problem with a game I otherwise love. Actual play holds up the 6-8 with two short rests that the DMG recommends as a good balance point between the at-will classes, the short-rest classes, and the long-rest classes. But really, regularly running that many in a single day often does not fit the narrative I want to tell or the pacing I wish.

Doing fewer occasionally is fine - as long as you do more just as often. Alternating <6, 6-8, and 9+ encounters between long rests will let different types of characters shine on different days.

There is a persistent myth that fewer, more difficult encounters keep the balance between the classes. This is because it can keep the same level of deadliness and does force attrition. But that does not mean that it taxes all of the resource models the same way - it does not. And since those resource models are what the inter-class balance is built on, it favors some classes over the others.

A simple example. Consider a caster. Say you have a buff that lasts an entire encounter, and you use it every encounter. It should be clear 2-3 slots used casting it is less than 6-8 slots for a day with more encounters. Now think about a caster affecting foes. If there are more plentiful foes, an area of effect will likely catch more in the same area, making each casting more effective. If there are more powerful foes, because of the nature of only two good saves then a save-or-suck spell will have the same chance to affect them, and each on taken out in more value of enemy negated. Finally, a caster only has a limited number of slots, and then relies on cantrips that are less powerful - if there are less total rounds of combat, and you only have one action per round, that means that more of those actions are using a spell slot instead of a cantrip. (This works the same when you ignore the low level slots that are useful for utility but do less than cantrips in higher tiers.)

My next campaign I'm using the DMG variant of a week for long rests and a overnight for a short rest, with the caveat that there are times when a long rest will be quicker. Resting at Elron's (LotR) is a sanctuary that will give you a long rest even if just overnight. I can fake it with things like a magical fountain that gives one sooner if I'm doing a classic dungeon crawl, though my group likes the 5 Room Dungeon concept better. This is to hit the number of encounters I want between rests, something under my control as DM. It allow me the pacing I want for the story while being supported by the mechanics.

But really, I'm spoiled by how 13th Age does it. They have the rather gamist solution of that a Full Heal-Up ("long rest" equivilant) happens every 4 battles. Could take place over three weeks of travel, or in a single day. The DM can give it sooner if they think the encounters were particularly tough. And the players can take one ealrlier but they suffer a campaign setback, such as reinforcements getting to their foes, the cultists completing another stage of their ritual, the werewolves turning another commoner into a lycanthrope, or whatever makes sense.
 
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The resource recovery model / resting rules are my biggest single problem with a game I otherwise love. Actual play holds up the 6-8 with two short rests that the DMG recommends as a good balance point between the at-will classes, the short-rest classes, and the long-rest classes. But really, regularly running that many in a single day often does not fit the narrative I want to tell or the pacing I wish.
Apropos of very little, there actually aren't a lot of short-rest classes. Warlock, Monk, BM Fighter. At will? Rogue (other than AT), Champion Fighter.

Ask yourself, can we live without the above? Just EKs, ATs, and the other remaining full classes?
I think the answer's 'yes.'

At that point, you just have to worry about the balance among the full casters, 1/2 or 1/3rd casters, and the n/day Rage-bomb barbarian.

There's how many 1/2 casters? Yeah, majority rules. Just run all-full casters. Now the only deal with pacing is how hard the encounters are.

D&D. Fixed.

But, who'll do melee? War Cleric, Valor Bard, Moon Druid, henchlings, hiremen, golems, pets, companions, summons - whatever the Artificer or Necromancer cooked up this week.

Doing fewer occasionally is fine - as long as you do more just as often. Alternating <6, 6-8, and 9+ encounters between long rests will let different types of characters shine on different days.
Yeah, maintain that average can be taxing. A single-encounter day requires half a dozen 9 encounter days to offset.

There is a persistent myth that fewer, more difficult encounters keep the balance between the classes. This is because it can keep the same level of deadliness and does force attrition.
Barbarians, for instance, do pretty well in that model.

But really, I'm spoiled by how 13th Age does it.
13A is generally good design. It set out with many of the same goals and parameters as 5e, but generally found better solutions. Full heal-ups are just one example. Handling TotM's another big one.
 

Don Durito

Explorer
I think it would be relatively easy to turn the Fighter into a long rest class.

Just say you get 3 Second Winds and 3 Action surges per long rest but you can't use more then one in a single round.
Give the Battle Master 10 Superiority Dice per long rest.

This would mean that if the full casters have just decided to go nova and blow everything, the Fighter can blow all their action surges as well.
 

Don Durito

Explorer
13A is generally good design. It set out with many of the same goals and parameters as 5e, but generally found better solutions. Full heal-ups are just one example. Handling TotM's another big one.
Yep. I'll play 5E - but I see no reason to run it when I could run 13th Age or Shadow of a Demon Lord instead.

Both of them do D&D very well, solve lots of problems and are more GM friendly.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Back when I was running the game as-written, I tried sticking to the six-encounter guideline wherever possible, and actually managed to pull it off more often than not. Most of those fights were filler, though, designed to wear through healing surges without ever posing a real threat.

After extensive house ruling, I moved to a five-minute short rest, along with the removal of healing surges and a drastically reduced rate of natural healing. Now, any amount of damage is meaningful, so it doesn't matter whether or not it's all in the same day. (Note that I also changed some key abilities of the fighter and warlock, so that there's no real benefit to chaining short rests.)
I'd like to use you as an example, but this isn't really about you. No disrespect for what's working at your table intended.

The number of encounters in the unmodified game actually serves two purposes. One is the correct amount of risk and danger to the party. Your house rules, or the more common "fewer but more deadly encounters" both serve this purpose.

But another part is the balance between the at-will, short-rest-primary, and long-rest-primary resource recovery models - or rather the balance between the classes that use them.

Think like this: if you have fewer total rounds of encounters between long rests, who benefits? The at-will classes who have a fairly fixed output per round, or the long-rest who can do the same output as they could in a longer day, just cutting out their low-output cantrip because they no longer hanve a need to stretch their slots.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
But another part is the balance between the at-will, short-rest-primary, and long-rest-primary resource recovery models - or rather the balance between the classes that use them.
That's the main reason why I went with extensive house ruling, rather than just getting things to a minimum level of playability. It's the major unforeseen consequence of only changing the resting rules.

The larger part of my extensive house ruling was to re-balance classes so that they gained roughly similar benefits from short rests and long rests.
 

Tom B1

Explorer
I tend to use about 1-3 encounters between rests (long or short depending on the need). I use the 1 hr/8 hr format.

We tend to run about 2.5 hour games with some socializing to we get 2-3 encounters in during a session.

Why so few encounters between rests?

I use lingering injuries, horror, fear and terror, fatigue, and often times when players run across eldritch or otherworldly things, they end up carrying conditions (dizzyness, shakes, strength or con reductions, etc) and conditions have a much greater psychological effect on players than HP loss.

In those situations, short and long rests come less often.

There's not much of a balance issue because the group are a team and they succeed or fail as a group and all players get some spotlight.

Also, another factor contributing is only one is a seasoned D&D player and so there's a lot of tactical and experienced judgment they lack so fights are harder for them.

If I were to contrast them to the my group of PCs who played together for 18 years real-time, their characters could mow through 4 hard to deadly encounters by the book figures in a session because they had focused on synergies, group tactics, role definitions, and had built up a resistance to stupid stuff like people wandering off behind the battle front... oh, 'll go open that door...

In that game, the mage almost never took any damage and rarely more than 1/4 hp. The wall of steel around him and the cleric behind him kept him up and he used necromancy, fire, lightning, etc. to blow up stuff (including sometmes the invisible scout... but eventually the scout requested various charms to protect himself from the mage's spell bombs while he was invisible). That party needed highly mobile and capable foes like demons or drow to seriously test their team - those could skip the meat shields and launch surprising attacks on the casters suddenly and then extract.

But in 5E with a mostly-newbie group of players in a game rife with conditions that go beyond HP loss or spell expenditure, and fatigue and the conditions usually need long rests to clear, there are fewer encounters between rests (and more player fear!).

It all depends on your game and your players.
 

TheCosmicKid

Adventurer
That's 1.5 combats a session.
That actually feels about average to me for most D&D campaign's I've played over the years.

Shockingly, I've played D&D games where sometimes a whole session goes by and there's no combat at all!
1.5 per session sounds about right for my campaign as well. And it's also probably about the average between long rests, not because we always long rest between sessions, but because more often than not the crisis of the day can be solved with some RPing followed by a single fight. This is a distribution with a long tail, though: you never know when you're going to find yourself hunted through a yuan-ti infested jungle and facing lots of desperate skirmishes.

And yeah, the last session was, in its entirety, a high-stakes game of Liar's Dice. Although some participants were armed, bloodshed was avoided. So there's that too.
 

MockingBird

Explorer
I will say, nailing down the rest mechanic has been the trickiest part of 5e to run. Sometimes I feel like I give my players too many opportunities. Sometimes I feel like it's too few. Part of it is I dont like sticking to the "this many encounters per rest" thing. It doesnt feel natural to the story I'm telling. I still enjoy the hell out of 5e though, but that's my one not pick. Really I cant blame the game only me.
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
Long rests are basically the overnight sleep period. Short rests are opportunities throughout the day to take a short break. Both are part of the natural flow of the activity. How many encounters occur in between is whatever the party and DM fit in there following the plot of the story. In my experience, that varies and the assumptions of the encounters per rest needs to be taken with a grain of salt; possibly several grains of salt.

Generally, the number of encounters per rest increases with the level of the characters. That number also changes with environmental factors. A deep dungeon crawl with a sense of urgency and I've played or run 10-14 or even more without a long rest. A wilderness trek might be 0-2 wandering encounters per day, travel by montage, hourly encounter checks, or no different than a deep dungeon dive with a different atmosphere for a major outdoors adventure. I'll also do waves of attacks or timed events in more complex encounters.

At low levels it might be 4 encounters in a day. More encounters or longer adventuring days means less or more short rest opportunities. The 1 hour minimum requirement becomes important on those longer adventuring days to limit the number of short rests possible due to time constraints. Usually short rests are about 1 per 2-3 encounters but vary. I've seen 4 and none. I've seen the "nothing is happening and consecutive short rests" cheese camping in the wilderness too for things like multiple second winds and don't really count that as typical.

What I don't necessarily do is let the players know how many rests they can expect. I might telegraph through details if I think it's important for them to know but I like to keep them on their toes without a consistent number of rests and frequently vary it. Players seem to become more invested in the story when it's actually a story than bean counting resources for a predetermined number of encounters.

Apropos of very little, there actually aren't a lot of short-rest classes. Warlock, Monk, BM Fighter. At will? Rogue (other than AT), Champion Fighter.

Ask yourself, can we live without the above? Just EKs, ATs, and the other remaining full classes?
I think the answer's 'yes.'
That kind of misses the point of the other classes with mixed long and short rest recharge abilities. Abilities like relentless rage, song of rest, font of inspiration, channel divinity, wildshape, second wind, action surge, stroke of luck, sorcerous restoration, arcane recovery, signature spells, hit dice healing, healer feat, inspiring leader feat, and various subclass features are all short rest related abilities.

I think all classes are "short rest classes" given the hit die is a class feature. ;-)

Hit die healing is obviously easy to work around, rangers don't actually have short rest abilities iirc, and the relentless rage timer is pretty minor; however, some of those other abilities are major class features or capstone abilities. There's more to consider than a couple of higher dependency classes or subclasses.

I think the "5 min short rest, max 2 per long rest" works better due to how simple it is over omissions and changes going over everything tied to short rests. That doesn't really fit my playstyle, however.
 

Horwath

Explorer
I typically have 2-4 combats per long rest. I instituted a house rule that short rests are 5 minutes, but you are only allowed two of them per long rest. This allows the short-rest-dependent classes to keep pace, while giving me the flexibility to have as many or as few combats per day as I find appropriate.
We had similar, but 15 minutes rest. Like half time at many sports. 2 per day also
 

delph

Explorer
It depends on campaign. When we played Curse of Strade, we were short in time - too many tasks to do, no time to rests, but we have to. Some times we were out of slots and HP after tough battles, sometimes we need level up. Now in Waterdeep, we have plenty of time to rest and have only one night with 4 battles
 

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