D&D 5E What interupts a long rest?

clearstream

(He, Him)
Let's look at the text again:

A long rest is a period of ex-tended downtime, at least 8 hours long, during which a character sleeps for at least 6 hours and performs no more than 2 hours of light activity, such as reading, talking, eating, or standing watch. 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.

The first sentence explicitly establishes a requirement that to get a long rest one must spend at least 8 hours on downtime. That sentence also says what a character does during downtime: a character sleeps or performs light activity. Thus, anything that is neither sleep nor light activity is not downtime. (See my response to @Rune, below, for an expanded analysis.) You can indeed lie there and look up at the night sky for two hours, if your DM rules that it counts as only light activity (which I hope every DM would). The first sentence also establishes that at least six of the eight hours of downtime must be sleep, and no more than two hours of downtime can be light activity. Ergo, the less of your permitted two hours of light activity you use, the more sleep you need, because only sleep and light activity count as downtime.

The second sentence establishes the maximum amount of strenuous activity that can be undertaken without losing one's accumulated downtime. It doesn't allow strenuous activity to count as downtime.


I didn't say that one must have light activity. I said that downtime (sleep + up to two hours of light activity) must be at least eight hours. If you don't spend any time on light activity then you'd have to sleep for eight hours to meet the downtime requirement.


Yes it does. Look at the entire first sentence rather than just the part you highlighted. The rule tells you what characters do during downtime: sleep and light activity. Even if one read sleep and light activity as merely examples of downtime (and I don't know why one would, given the absence of language indicating such) strenuous activity is not of the same character as sleep or light activity and thus should not qualify as downtime.

Note that the definition of light activity does include language ("such as") indicating that what follows are examples of light activity. The absence of such indicators in the list of what a character does during downtime (in the same sentence, no less!) shows that sleep and light activity are not merely examples of downtime, but are instead an exclusive list.
A character must sleep at least 6 hours, per the errata and may perform up to 2 hours of light activity. If they wish, they could perform 59 minutes of non-interrupting strenuous activity. Or just stare at the stars.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
All of this is making me want to create a rule that says, when you stand watch, you have to make a low-DC save (Con, likely, or maybe either Con or Int, and maybe DC 7 or 9), or you fall asleep instead of staying awake.
They do that on Dark Dice (not sure what DC they use though) and it’s pretty cool!
 

MarkB

Legend
All of this is making me want to create a rule that says, when you stand watch, you have to make a low-DC save (Con, likely, or maybe either Con or Int, and maybe DC 7 or 9), or you fall asleep instead of staying awake.
I just reserve that for when they roll a natural 1 on their Perception check.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Let's look at the text again:

A long rest is a period of ex-tended downtime, at least 8 hours long, during which a character sleeps for at least 6 hours and performs no more than 2 hours of light activity, such as reading, talking, eating, or standing watch. 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.

The first sentence explicitly establishes a requirement that to get a long rest one must spend at least 8 hours on downtime. That sentence also says what a character does during downtime: a character sleeps or performs light activity. Thus, anything that is neither sleep nor light activity is not downtime. (See my response to @Rune, below, for an expanded analysis.) You can indeed lie there and look up at the night sky for two hours, if your DM rules that it counts as only light activity (which I hope every DM would). The first sentence also establishes that at least six of the eight hours of downtime must be sleep, and no more than two hours of downtime can be light activity. Ergo, the less of your permitted two hours of light activity you use, the more sleep you need, because only sleep and light activity count as downtime.
My problem with this reading is that it renders the statement that you can engage in no more than 2 hours of light activity redundant. You could remove that text entirely without changing the meaning, which indicates to me that probably isn’t the intended meaning.
 
Last edited:

Rune

Once A Fool
Let's look at the text again:

A long rest is a period of ex-tended downtime, at least 8 hours long, during which a character sleeps for at least 6 hours and performs no more than 2 hours of light activity, such as reading, talking, eating, or standing watch. 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.

The first sentence explicitly establishes a requirement that to get a long rest one must spend at least 8 hours on downtime. That sentence also says what a character does during downtime: a character sleeps or performs light activity. Thus, anything that is neither sleep nor light activity is not downtime. (See my response to @Rune, below, for an expanded analysis.) You can indeed lie there and look up at the night sky for two hours, if your DM rules that it counts as only light activity (which I hope every DM would). The first sentence also establishes that at least six of the eight hours of downtime must be sleep, and no more than two hours of downtime can be light activity. Ergo, the less of your permitted two hours of light activity you use, the more sleep you need, because only sleep and light activity count as downtime.

The second sentence establishes the maximum amount of strenuous activity that can be undertaken without losing one's accumulated downtime. It doesn't allow strenuous activity to count as downtime.


I didn't say that one must have light activity. I said that downtime (sleep + up to two hours of light activity) must be at least eight hours. If you don't spend any time on light activity then you'd have to sleep for eight hours to meet the downtime requirement.


Yes it does. Look at the entire first sentence rather than just the part you highlighted. The rule tells you what characters do during downtime: sleep and light activity. Even if one read sleep and light activity as merely examples of downtime (and I don't know why one would, given the absence of language indicating such) strenuous activity is not of the same character as sleep or light activity and thus should not qualify as downtime.

Note that the definition of light activity does include language ("such as") indicating that what follows are examples of light activity. The absence of such indicators in the list of what a character does during downtime (in the same sentence, no less!) shows that sleep and light activity are not merely examples of downtime, but are instead an exclusive list.
We’re reading the same words, but apparently not speaking the same language. That first sentence, in its entirety, sets no limitation on the types of activity that that can be engaged in during a short rest. There is no wording that indicates exclusivity present. Indeed, the very next sentence makes clear that least one activity (walking for less than an hour) can be.
 
Last edited:

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
For my entire life waking in the middle of sleep has made me groggy the entire next day. 🤷

Edit: Biophasic sleep is not 3 hours of sleep, 1 hour exertion, 3 hours sleep. It's 6 hours of sleep with a short nap during the day or 5 hours of sleep with a longer(hour-hour and a half) nap during the day. Waking in the middle of the long sleep still messes with you.
No, biphasic sleep is two periods of sleep (usually about two 90-minute sleep cycles each) at night, separated by a period of what D&D would probably consider light activity, and it was standard practice up until the industrial revolution, when the culture of efficiency pushed for getting all your nightly sleep at once.

The fact that you’ve been doing it all your life is an indication that it’s what your body naturally “wants” to do. The fact that it has left you groggy is an indication that you’re probably not getting enough sleep in total, and/or you’re getting it at the wrong time.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The first sentence explicitly establishes a requirement that to get a long rest one must spend at least 8 hours on downtime. That sentence also says what a character does during downtime: a character sleeps or performs light activity. Thus, anything that is neither sleep nor light activity is not downtime.
You're reading things into it to get to that conclusion. Sitting and staring at a night sky is downtime, but not light activity. Light activity is doing something active, but only lightly active. Reading, talking, eating, standing watch, playing poker, etc. Looking up is inactive, but not asleep, yet is still downtime.

5e isn't 3e or 4e with rules for everything. It's not going to spell out each and every little thing that's downtime. Instead it expects that the players and DM can look at something as small as looking up, or being lost in thought and come to the correct conclusion that it is downtime, even if it isn't light activity.
I didn't say that one must have light activity. I said that downtime (sleep + up to two hours of light activity) must be at least eight hours. If you don't spend any time on light activity then you'd have to sleep for eight hours to meet the downtime requirement.
You don't, though. The one and only requirement for the length of sleep is that it be at least 6 hours. The other two hours can be anything up to and including light activity, or up to 59 minutes and 59 seconds of exertion + up to 01 second to 60 minutes and 1 second of light activity. Or it can be sleep. Heck, the rest can be 2 hours of light activity, 2 hours of staring at the stars, 59 minutes and 59 seconds of strenuous activity, and 6 hours of sleep, for a long rest total of 10 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds.
Yes it does. Look at the entire first sentence rather than just the part you highlighted. The rule tells you what characters do during downtime: sleep and light activity. Even if one read sleep and light activity as merely examples of downtime (and I don't know why one would, given the absence of language indicating such) strenuous activity is not of the same character as sleep or light activity and thus should not qualify as downtime.
5e is not prescriptive like that. It doesn't list everything that is light activity or exertion or non-activity that isn't sleep and is still downtime. It leaves that to the group. While there are things that are lightly active that aren't on the list, such as playing poker, shooting rubber bands at flies and typing on a keyboard about what light activity is, that doesn't mean that inactive things such as staring at the stars are not also downtime. They just didn't need to tell you that if you're inactive, but not asleep, that it's downtime. They were pretty sure you could figure that out on your own.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Which brings us back to the absurd. 3 hours of sleep followed by almost an hour of strenuous activity, followed by 3 hours of sleep is NOT restful at all. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
Yeah, but there's lots of things in D&D that are absurd. Like, you can get thrown in a vat of acid and then engulfed in dragonfire and not get a single scar from it, lose any physical abilities, or risk infection (and, in fact, you would be completely healed of any injuries overnight), whereas in real life, either of those things--if you survived them--would cause permanent disability and disfigurement.

Whereas my mother can easily feel rested by sleeping for a few hours at a time. Although I admit that she doesn't perform anything even remotely strenuous by D&D standards in between those rests.

So basically, you have to decide if sleeping in chunks is more or less absurd than any of the other ridiculous aspects to D&D.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
<does search> The "horror actual play" podcast? I may have to listen to that.
It’s pretty good from what I’ve listened to so far. Very well edited! They use a homebrew sanity mechanic that I’m prersonally not a big fan of, but it’s not a deal breaker for me. Also their second campaign apparently has Jeff Goldblum as a regular player. I’m still on the first campaign myself though.
 

BaronVonOwn

First Post
Since long rests including healing up to full HP, if any damage is taken during the long rest, the long rest is cancelled and must be restarted.

As for breaking up sleep, sleeping in 4 hour segments is acceptable due to standard watch periods, but it also assumes that your watch is 4 hours long for a total of 12 hours of rest with 3 watches so everyone can get 8 hours of sleep.

The other thing to consider here is the elven trance feature. Making the rest rules too lax is kind of a nerf to elves.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Yeah, but there's lots of things in D&D that are absurd. Like, you can get thrown in a vat of acid and then engulfed in dragonfire and not get a single scar from it, lose any physical abilities, or risk infection (and, in fact, you would be completely healed of any injuries overnight), whereas in real life, either of those things--if you survived them--would cause permanent disability and disfigurement.

Whereas my mother can easily feel rested by sleeping for a few hours at a time. Although I admit that she doesn't perform anything even remotely strenuous by D&D standards in between those rests.

So basically, you have to decide if sleeping in chunks is more or less absurd than any of the other ridiculous aspects to D&D.
Dragonfire and such in my game are mitigated by hit points. The nature of hit points is that they represent skill, luck, divine intervention, physical, mental, etc. A dragon's breath may "hit" the group, but it really misses them completely unless it drops them below half hit point(minor burns) or to 0, more painful burns, or kills them, burned enough to make the PC dead. The PC is not actually being engulfed by it and ridiculously walking out unscathed. Same with the acid. If he actually takes a real dip, a god or other being help preserve him until he can get out. Good for being a fated PC I guess.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I couldn’t get my players to buy into that for the current campaign (set in a points-of-light version of the Sword Coast, but that’s just so I could use the maps). Instead, I have a much-increased chance of random encounters: while traveling, each hex results in an encounter on a d6 roll of 1, 2, or 3 (modified by speed of travel and danger-level of environment, also roads). Baseline is 2 or less for normal speed.

Camping is slightly different in that there is a roll for each 4 hours. 2 is or less still baseline. 1, if no campfire or obscured. 3 or less if very obvious.

Many encounters don’t end up with hostilities, however. And some are just a continuation of a running joke.
ran into similar. Too many things are linked to specific time periods in minutes/hours & intervals like x per day or a specific time of day (dawn/midnight/etc) to just change how long a rest takes without screwing some players enough that they all start looking for ways to abuse the change leading to a bunch of things that need one off fixes or new very serious problems on top of the ones caused by long rest & short rest class balance being knocked sideways from the "gritty" rest change itself.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
Since long rests including healing up to full HP, if any damage is taken during the long rest, the long rest is cancelled and must be restarted.

As for breaking up sleep, sleeping in 4 hour segments is acceptable due to standard watch periods, but it also assumes that your watch is 4 hours long for a total of 12 hours of rest with 3 watches so everyone can get 8 hours of sleep.

The other thing to consider here is the elven trance feature. Making the rest rules too lax is kind of a nerf to elves.

Because elves aren’t powerful enough without it? Elves remain aware while trancing. That alone is worthwhile, no matter how long rests work.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Because elves aren’t powerful enough without it? Elves remain aware while trancing. That alone is worthwhile, no matter how long rests work.
The text of trance doesn’t say they remain aware. Though that’s a pretty reasonable thing to assume given that it says they remain “semiconscious.” Personally, I just rule that elves can get the sleeping portion of a long rest done with 4 only hours of meditation, leaving 4 hours to keep watch and/or engage in light activity. This is in contrast to the current Sage Advice on the matter (and in my opinion in contrast to the RAI as well), but it is consistent with the original Sage Advice, and I feel like it’s the easier ruling to handle.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
The text of trance doesn’t say they remain aware. Though that’s a pretty reasonable thing to assume given that it says they remain “semiconscious.” Personally, I just rule that elves can get the sleeping portion of a long rest done with 4 only hours of meditation, leaving 4 hours to keep watch and/or engage in light activity.
If they don’t remain aware, then they’re really just sleeping. Possibly with their eyes open.

I will grant that they should probably have disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks while trancing, though.
 

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
@clearstream and @Rune: are we at least in agreement that a character must accumulate 8 hours of downtime to complete a long rest, even if we radically disagree about what "downtime" means?

If so, can we also agree that you successfully complete a long rest if you accumulate eight hours of downtime (including six hours of sleep) before you accumulate one hour of Strenuous Activity?

My problem with this reading is that it renders the statement that you can engage in no more than 2 hours of light activity redundant. You could remove that text entirely without changing the meaning, which indicates to me that probably isn’t the intended meaning.
Personally I'm ok with a few extra words for clarity, both because it's not a technical document and because when writing errata it makes sense to err on the side of redundancy.

Additionally, it seems more likely to me that the designers used a few extra words for clarity than the idea that they wrote two lists intended to be merely examples (in the same sentence) but only included the necessary language "such as" in one of them.

Finally, your interpretation lets Strenuous Activity counts as downtime. Given that Strenuous Activity would not be included in downtime in natural language, your interpretation requires treating "downtime" as jargon. Although the designers were wildly inconsistent with the use of natural language vs jargon, I'm still going to favor an interpretation that lets terms keep their natural meaning.

You're reading things into it to get to that conclusion. Sitting and staring at a night sky is downtime, but not light activity. Light activity is doing something active, but only lightly active. Reading, talking, eating, standing watch, playing poker, etc. Looking up is inactive, but not asleep, yet is still downtime.

I'm reading "activity" as being used in contrast to "sleep". That appears to me to be the most natural way to read the usage in this context. I understand that you disagree.

5e is not prescriptive like that. It doesn't list everything that is light activity or exertion or non-activity that isn't sleep and is still downtime. It leaves that to the group. While there are things that are lightly active that aren't on the list, such as playing poker, shooting rubber bands at flies and typing on a keyboard about what light activity is, that doesn't mean that inactive things such as staring at the stars are not also downtime. They just didn't need to tell you that if you're inactive, but not asleep, that it's downtime. They were pretty sure you could figure that out on your own.
I agree that it doesn't list everything that qualifies as light activity. We know that because the designers used the phrase "such as" when providing the list of activities that qualify as light activity. I think it's significant that the designers did not use "such as" earlier in the sentence when they provided the list of what a character does during downtime. The designers clearly know how to denote a non-exclusive list, and they didn't do so when listing what a character does during downtime, instead listing only sleep and light activity.

So yes, because I agree that the list of what qualifies as light activity isn't exclusive, I naturally agree that there are things other than the provided examples that qualify as downtime. :) I just think they're downtime because they are light activity, whereas you would classify them as something other than sleep/light activity/strenuous activity.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Dragonfire and such in my game are mitigated by hit points.

That's standard in all games.

The nature of hit points is that they represent skill, luck, divine intervention, physical, mental, etc.
Such things, as has been a long-established trope, are meaningless when it comes to falling damage and stuff like that. You can't luck or skill or prepare yourself to avoid that.

A dragon's breath may "hit" the group, but it really misses them completely unless it drops them below half hit point(minor burns) or to 0,
more painful burns, or kills them, burned enough to make the PC dead. The PC is not actually being engulfed by it and ridiculously walking out unscathed. Same with the acid. If he actually takes a real dip, a god or other being help preserve him until he can get out. Good for being a fated PC I guess.
So how do you rule things like being swallowed whole and taking acid damage from that? Or for that matter, sneak attack damage, which "logically" bypasses skill, luck, or anything else like that. If it's all divine intervention, the gods on your world must be very busy!

The point is, there are tons of ridiculous bits in D&D. Fertile half-breed creatures whose parents are not only different species, but different phyla or even come from different realities. The fact that armor and weapons can be bought off-the-rack. That supply and demand have no impact on how much anything costs. That elephants are half the cost of a warhorse. That you wander around exploring and murdering things and eventually, you suddenly gain a bunch of new abilities, even if nothing you did while wandering around exploring murdering things at all tied in with your new abilities (or, if you use training rules, that you can't just train your way to high levels--you have to go around exploring and murdering things in between bouts of training). Dragons in general.

You can either make extensive house rules for these things, or you can just accept that sometimes, things in D&D aren't at all realistic. Up to you.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I agree that it doesn't list everything that qualifies as light activity. We know that because the designers used the phrase "such as" when providing the list of activities that qualify as light activity. I think it's significant that the designers did not use "such as" earlier in the sentence when they provided the list of what a character does during downtime. The designers clearly know how to denote a non-exclusive list, and they didn't do so when listing what a character does during downtime, instead listing only sleep and light activity.
The only thing the lack of "such as" tells us is that they didn't bother to list anything that happens during downtime, but doesn't rise to the level of light or strenuous. There would be no need to list those things OR use wording such as "such as," because all lesser things are aleady included in the phrase "...does nothing more strenuous than...". Staring at the stars is not more strenuous(or even as strenuous) than light activity. It is downtime, though, and it is included in things you can do during a long rest.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Such things, as has been a long-established trope, are meaningless when it comes to falling damage and stuff like that. You can't luck or skill or prepare yourself to avoid that.
Sure you can. Heroes in movies slow their falls by grabbing at things all the time. Or they get lucky and land in something softer than the ground. Good thing there was that pile of leaves at the bottom of this pit. Got lucky that time.

It's up to the DM to describe the situation in a way that's quasi-believable, while not making hit points purely DBZ physical resistance.
So how do you rule things like being swallowed whole and taking acid damage from that? Or for that matter, sneak attack damage, which "logically" bypasses skill, luck, or anything else like that. If it's all divine intervention, the gods on your world must be very busy!
Stomach was light on acid during that time. Maybe the monster only really start producing acid in significant quantities after something is in the stomach for a while. ;)

Sneak attack damage doesn't bypass anything unless it reduces hit points to 0 or dead. Until then all it can do is bruise or make a small cut, and that's only if it drops the victim below half hit points.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top