D&D 5E What interupts a long rest?

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Hello

This is a side branch from the thread D&D 5E - The semantics of the spell Sending and I didn't want to derail it, so here we are!

in this thread, @Maxperson said
"A long rest is ruined by 1 hour of walking, any fighting, any spellcasting, or other similar strenuous activity."

I asked: "Do you mean "ruined by one hour of the following: walking, fighting, spellcasting..." or "ruined by one hour of walking OR any fighting, any spellcasting....""
and he replied it was the second.

Now I am sure that I had seen ruling that the first interpretation was correct. This is rather important, because it has a huge impact on how hazardeous it is to take a long rest. The rule states:

"If the rest is interrupted by a period of strenuous activity—at least 1 hour of walking, Fighting, casting Spells, or similar Adventuring activity—the characters must begin the rest again to gain any benefit from it."

note the use of the word "a PERIOD of" . From my reading of the rule, it seems clear that a scare with a couple of stirges during the night will not ruin the long rest.

I'm sort of feeling... torn here. On one hand, ONE HOUR of fighting is one heck of a big interruption. Interrupting a long rest is almost impossible! On the other hand, if any fighting interrupts a long rest, then interrupting a long rest becomes extremely trivial, and this has a major impact on how long rests are taken in the field, so to speak.
 

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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I interpreted it as one hour of any of those things, which is why I house-ruled it to 10 minutes (which is still a long time to fight, but it was a compromise).
 


DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I use the second interpretation, but also realize the truth... nothing actually interrupts a long rest. Because even if there was an hour of fighting or walking or whatever that stopped and reset the 8-hour rest period... as soon as it was done the group was going to take another eight hours regardless. They were going to long rest one way or another. So unless I decided to just throw random fights at them even couple hours until they finally gave up trying... a long rest would be taken no matter how far into the evening and night it started from. And thus I don't usually ever bother with night-time interrupting encounters except in extreme circumstances.
 


Laurefindel

Legend
I am solidly in the camp of "any of the following activities interrupt a long rest: walking more than 1 hour, any fighting that is worth rolling for initiative, any spellcasting."

I tend to be a bit more lenient on spellcasting, like I would not ruin a character's rest because they cast prestidigitation to make their pillow less stinky. Assuming the interruption happened after at least 1 hour, I would still allow the benefits of a short rest before the interruption "happens".

Even wizard scribing things and learning spells would count as strenuous activities. From my college student days, I know that doing homeworks is not considered resting. From my parent-of-elementary-schoolers days, helping with homework is not considered resting. From my parent-of-teanageers days, constantly pushing them to do their homework is not considered resting. From my parent-of-college-student days... actually, I can rest now. Until I've got to get their car out of the ditch or pick them up pissed-drunk, that is.
 
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ad_hoc

(he/they)
At my table when we used to have long rests in the wild I learned it was only fun to let the players know if the rest was going to be successful before they attempted it, or at least to let them know the chances of it.

A single encounter during a long rest is a waste of time if it has no chance of a TPK because the long rest will erase any damage done. And a TPK in such a case is not usually very fun.

One time the group tried to take a long rest in a haunted mansion. Every time they were attacked they reasoned that there couldn't possibly be another encounter. And so on it went. The house attacked them 5-8 times before they finally packed up and left. It wasn't very fun.

Now we have the rule that long rests are only possible in friendly settlements so we don't worry about such things.
 

Rabulias

the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
I believe that sentence is poorly constructed, and would be better as: "If the rest is interrupted by a period of strenuous activity—fighting, casting spells, or similar adventuring activity, or at least 1 hour of walking—the characters must begin the rest again to gain any benefit from it."

Previous editions held that any spellcasting and/or combat interrupted the night's rest. As an example, 3.5 says:
D&D 3.5 PHB p.178 said:
To prepare her daily spells, a wizard must have a clear mind. To clear her mind, she must first sleep for 8 hours. The wizard does not have to slumber for every minute of the time, but she must refrain from movement, combat, spellcasting, skill use, conversation, or any other fairly demanding physical or mental task during the rest period. If her rest is interrupted, each interruption adds 1 hour to the total amount of time she has to rest in order to clear her
mind, and she must have at least 1 hour of uninterrupted rest immediately prior to preparing her spells.

I like the idea of not having to start the Long Rest over entirely, just extending the rest by an hour.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'm sort of feeling... torn here. On one hand, ONE HOUR of fighting is one heck of a big interruption. Interrupting a long rest is almost impossible! On the other hand, if any fighting interrupts a long rest, then interrupting a long rest becomes extremely trivial, and this has a major impact on how long rests are taken in the field, so to speak.
The DM shouldn't be hitting the party every night or even that often. A random encounter now and then isn't going to be that deadly, but it will make resting in dangerous areas a concern for the players.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
A single encounter during a long rest is a waste of time if it has no chance of a TPK because the long rest will erase any damage done.

Huh. I see an encounter as its own reward! Esp. a difficult one that comes when not expected!

One time the group tried to take a long rest in a haunted mansion. Every time they were attacked they reasoned that there couldn't possibly be another encounter. And so on it went. The house attacked them 5-8 times before they finally packed up and left. It wasn't very fun.

Conversely, one of my old group's favorite set of encounters, is when they tried to camp out in gnoll country and kept getting attacked, moving camp, getting attacked again. This happened three times over the course of one in-game evening/night and became increasing harrowing as the party ranger tried to find the safest/most defensible spot to make camp. It was also winter and the cold and forced march stuff was hard on them. It was fantastic and fun. So mileage varies, though obvi you probably shouldn't do that kind of thing too often - just when it is appropriate to what's going on.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
Here we go again :) Doesn’t this question come up annually? The RAW doesn’t make much sense if it requires an hour of fighting as that is some crazy amount of rounds.

My interpretation is that if your brain is fully wakened by either an hour long walk, or any amount of fighting, etc. then the long rest is interrupted and the reward not gained.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
Huh. I see an encounter as its own reward! Esp. a difficult one that comes when not expected!



Conversely, one of my old group's favorite set of encounters, is when they tried to camp out in gnoll country and kept getting attacked, moving camp, getting attacked again. This happened three times over the course of one in-game evening/night and became increasing harrowing as the party ranger tried to find the safest/most defensible spot to make camp. It was also winter and the cold and forced march stuff was hard on them. It was fantastic and fun. So mileage varies, though obvi you probably shouldn't do that kind of thing too often - just when it is appropriate to what's going on.

Is it actually difficult if there are no chance for consequences?
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Sage Advice answered it this way:

I think it's a bit excessive to look at it in either extreme (any fighting vs a full hour of just fighting) and instead focus on activity lasting up to an hour. Any fighting may be too short since shooting a couple of arrows at a minor night predator might be enough to scare it off. That's not exactly what I'd call strenuous. Yet an hour of fighting and an hour of walking should be, in no way, equivalent in level of exertion.
Personally, I'm more inclined to look at treating things with an eye to proportion. I generally treat a combat as being more than the round it takes up - maybe each alert being raised due to a fight or something else costs the group 30 minutes of the hour of excused activity even if it only lasts a couple of minutes.

Ultimately, I think there are perfectly valid reasons taking a long rest in the wild should be not impossible, but also not necessarily trivial depending on how dangerous that particular region is.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I'm sort of feeling... torn here. On one hand, ONE HOUR of fighting is one heck of a big interruption. Interrupting a long rest is almost impossible! On the other hand, if any fighting interrupts a long rest, then interrupting a long rest becomes extremely trivial, and this has a major impact on how long rests are taken in the field, so to speak.
One hour of fighting isn’t just a heck of a big interpretation, it’s 600 rounds of combat! That’s literally never going to happen. On the other hand, a minute of combat here, 20 minutes of walking there, 10 minutes of casting a ritual spell there, another minute of combat, a 5 minute chase sequence followed by another minute of combat, a 25 minute walk back to camp… it’s all cumulative.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Is it actually difficult if there are no chance for consequences?

How do you get "there [is] no chance for consequences" from what I described? There were plenty of consequences, both potential and definite, known and unknown and speculated by the PCs. There were used resource consequences and narrative consequences.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Sage Advice answered it this way:

I think it's a bit excessive to look at it in either extreme (any fighting vs a full hour of just fighting) and instead focus on activity lasting up to an hour. Any fighting may be too short since shooting a couple of arrows at a minor night predator might be enough to scare it off. That's not exactly what I'd call strenuous. Yet an hour of fighting and an hour of walking should be, in no way, equivalent in level of exertion.
Personally, I'm more inclined to look at treating things with an eye to proportion. I generally treat a combat as being more than the round it takes up - maybe each alert being raised due to a fight or something else costs the group 30 minutes of the hour of excused activity even if it only lasts a couple of minutes.

Ultimately, I think there are perfectly valid reasons taking a long rest in the wild should be not impossible, but also not necessarily trivial depending on how dangerous that particular region is.
Sounds like a "Paladins can't smite with a fist. " ruling. I for one will not be playing that way. It's ridiculous.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
One hour of fighting isn’t just a heck of a big interpretation, it’s 600 rounds of combat! That’s literally never going to happen. On the other hand, a minute of combat here, 20 minutes of walking there, 10 minutes of casting a ritual spell there, another minute of combat, a 5 minute chase sequence followed by another minute of combat, a 25 minute walk back to camp… it’s all cumulative.
Still unlikely to ever happen in an 8 hour period.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
"A long rest is ruined by 1 hour of walking, any fighting, any spellcasting, or other similar strenuous activity."

To me, common sense is that this is a list of similarly strenuous activities.

Walking and Fighting are not similar in strenuousness in the same duration, unless we compare 1 hour of solid walking to any fighting whatsoever.

Once we have that, "any spellcasting" shows up as also strenuous.

In essence, long rests require a safe spot to set up camp.

I'd be generous with both "fighting" and "spellcasting"; if you do a bit of sparring exercises, fired a bow at a wild animal at the edge of the fire light, or cast prestidigitation once to clean your bedroll, I wouldn't kill your long rest.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
How do you get "there [is] no chance for consequences" from what I described? There were plenty of consequences, both potential and definite, known and unknown and speculated by the PCs. There were used resource consequences and narrative consequences.

I said:

"A single encounter during a long rest is a waste of time if it has no chance of a TPK because the long rest will erase any damage done. And a TPK in such a case is not usually very fun."

You said:

"Huh. I see an encounter as its own reward! Esp. a difficult one that comes when not expected!"

What I described is an encounter with no chance for consequences unless we're putting TPK on the table which I don't think we should.

So, it isn't difficult at all. Just a waste of time.
 


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