D&D 5E The Hit Point Model of Resource Recovery: Spell Pool Variant Paladin Example


So, after thinking about short rest vs. long rest resource recovery models for quite a long time, I've come to realize that the model that I like the most has been with us since day one, namely, hit points. The basic concept is that only part of your daily resources are available to you at any one time, and in order to access your full daily resources, you need to take one or more short rests.

I've applied that philosophy to vary the class features of my favorite class, the paladin, and I've attached a pdf to share the results of my tinkering. You can use it for inspiration to do your own tinkering for other classes if you want to achieve one or more of the following objectives:

1. Encourage characters to take more short rests in your game, and reduce the incentive for a five-minute work day.
2. Reduce the resource disparity between long rest and short rest classes.
3. Force long rest classes to ration their resources, so that the number of resources available to them at the start of combat encounters are more similar, making it easier to estimate relative encounter difficulty.

The key changes I've made to the paladin are as follows:

Lay on Hands
Lay on Hands is now usable only once per short rest, draws on the paladin's Hit Dice, and can restore a maximum of Proficiency Bonus Hit Dice worth of hit points per use. To compensate for the pool of hit points previously granted by Lay on Hands, once per day, the paladin may regain half paladin level (rounded up) Hit Dice when the paladin finishes a short rest.

Spell Slots
The paladin only gets one spell slot per spell level, and a spell point pool that the paladin may use to recover expended spell slots when the paladin finishes a short rest. The spell slot costs and spell point pool size are based on the Spell Point variant rule in the DMG (the spell point cost for one spell slot per spell level is already deducted from the spell point pool).

Divine Smite
The paladin can use Divine Smite once between short rests (twice from 17th level). From 5th level onward, the paladin will have more spell slots than uses of Divine Smite between short rests. Maybe we'll finally see them casting more paladin spells in play.

Divine Sense and Cleansing Touch
The paladin can now recover expended uses of these abilities when the paladin finishes a short rest by spending spell points from the paladin's spell point pool: 2 spell points for Divine Sense (pegged to detect evil and good) and 5 points for Cleansing Touch (pegged to dispel magic).

I would be happy to answer questions related to specific design choices or to help brainstorm how to modify other classes. Comments to the effect that the changes are not necessary or questioning the need for them are likely to be ignored.


  • Paladin (Spell Pool).pdf
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Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Older thread, but I happened upon this in the “similar threads” section, and I’m glad I did. This is a really cool idea!


Can you elaborate on how these changes are expected to bring about Objective 3?
The key mechanic is that the PC can't access all their daily spell slots at once. A 2nd-level paladin normally gets two 1st-level spell slots and can use them all in a single encounter if desired. With these changes, the paladin only gets one 1st-level spell slot at a time, and must use the spell slot and take a short rest before they can get it back. A 3rd-level paladin normally gets three 1st-level spell slots. With these changes, the paladin has to use the spell slot, take a short rest, use the second spell slot, and take a second short rest before they can access their third spell slot.

I expect this will have the following effects:

1. The PCs will generally take on more encounters between long rests because for at least one or two short rests (during which they spend Hit Dice to recover hit points and spell points to recover spell slots), they are no worse off compared to taking a long rest.

2. The PCs are more likely to spend daily resources between short rests because they only recover expended abilities during a short rest and it makes no sense to hoard their abilities for a big fight as they have no way of accessing their reserves without taking a short rest.

3. The PCs' nova potential is more limited because PCs with daily abilities (spell slots in particular) have approximately only a third of their resources available at any one time.

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