Delver Rest Breaks, part 2

As I mentioned in the last design update, WotC has started posting previews for its Essentials series. One interesting outgrowth of this is that players started thinking about what the game would be like without daily powers. In fact, there’s an interesting thread on rpg.net on the topic.

The biggest complaints about dailies seem to be:

  1. Missing with such a limited use ability is annoying.
  2. Daily powers encourage the 15 minute work day pattern.

The first point can be mitigated by minimizing the effect of attack rolls on those powers. In fact, most dailies in 4E already have those kind of mechanics built-in.

The second point is a trickier one. As I mention in the last post on rest breaks, this has a lot to do with the cost of rests being low and the benefits being high. This leaves us a few ways to counter this problem:

  • Increase the cost of frequent rests.
  • Decrease the benefits of frequent rests.
  • Add restriction to force rests further apart.

Of those, adding restrictions is probably the most artificial feeling solution. It also works poorly if the party faces a difficult fight and is greatly in need of rest afterwards.

Increasing the cost to rest works more smoothly. In fact, this is probably the frequently suggested solution for DM’s. Such suggestions usually take the form of adding time limits or letting the monster build up strength if the party rests.

The tricky part here is that these tricks are somewhat adventure dependent. After all, you need reasons for time limits and they don’t readily account for things like a run of bad luck. Enemies building up forces also makes less sense if you’re in a scenario where enemies are less inclined to communicate with each other.

Decreasing the benefits of rest gives us a less situational answer. Replacing dailies with something else would do make it so rests are only needed when out of healing surges. The tricky part here is that in doing so we’ve lowered our tactical options a bit. After all, exhausting yourself can be an interesting calculated risk if handled right.

Next time I’ll post up some ideas on how to work around these issues.

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Published in: on July 15, 2010 at 6:40 am  Comments (3)  

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  1. There’s a rule in the PHB which says that you can only take an extended rest once every 24 hours (counter #3 on your list). No doubt this is an attempt to quite literally prevent the 15 minute workday. But unfortunately, it doesn’t always work as intended. In my first 4e campaign (Keep on the Shadowfell), my GM wouldn’t let us rest in the Keep because it had only been an hour or so game time, despite the fact we were out of healing surges and dailies. No doubt it was a knee-jerk reaction to the 15 minute workday from 3.x, but it really led to some rough encounters. And it ultimately resulted in a TPK when our characters fought the final encounter with 1 or 2 healing surges apiece and no dailies.

    Personally, I’d love to see no dailies whatsoever and make it so that the party only needs to rest when they run out of surges. Since you can’t blow your surges all in one battle, it actually prevents the 15 minute workday while still having some sort of resource loss.

  2. Heh, I usually see the opposite issue. Yes, it’s once per 24 hours, but you can fast forward through that just like you fast forward through most of the time taken up by travel or waiting for an even that happens later that day.

    I definitely know what you’re talking about with that keep. We can close to a TPK and we’d been resting every few encounters.

    I do agree outright cutting dailies would pretty much kill the 15 minute workday. I like the idea of having dailies as an emergency resource, but there’s nothing to encourage that kind of use in the system at present. I’ll take a few shots at this in the next delver post.

  3. […] gone over resting in D&D and how it shapes the 15 minute workday in earlier posts (part 1, part 2, and part 3). This time I’d like to take a look at the other effects of rest breaks so we can […]


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