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Homebrewing short and long rest mechanics


Registered User
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I'd love any input on how you might homebrew rest for my particular situation.

I run a 5e campaign with TEN players. I'd have it no other way. It's close friends, family, and those that I've ushered into the gaming space. I love my group, they are consistently present and enganged (we've had 9 or 10 show up 2x/month for 3 consecutive campaigns since late 2014). I've run campaigns for 20+ years with the sweet spot of 3-5, yet my most interesting and enjoyable experiences in my decades of DM experience are with my ten.

I'll admit my failures as the DM first and try an address your suggestions before you suggest them.
1) Don't run so many players. Break them up into two groups. Life, logistics and such give us ALL one night, every two weeks to throw down. It is what it is and I won't change it.
2) Focus more on in-game time. If they rest in a dungeon, the BBEG should pack up and leave. If they long rest after each encounter, the world continues moving. Things keep happening and when they wander into the "quest zone", they realize that it's too late. The bad guys won last night, while they were sittin' pretty in their Leomund's Hut. I do need to focus more on time within my world and that is entirely my failure. I'll work on it.
3) I'm never trying to win. This is their game, it's about them and while I'll not hold punches - session 1 like Colville or TPK for mindless non-plot line stuff (they're aware that I will squash them), I'm not trying to win anything. It isn't me against them. They can mudstomp murderhobo their way through my game if they like. So that isn't my issue.

My issues are:
Combat takes a long time with 10 players. I do A LOT to speed it up, enforcing everything I've read on D&D beyond, Reddit, these forums, Angry GM, etc. The fact is, ten players just take a lot more time than 3 or 4. We play 5pm - Midnight, 2x/month. A good challenging combat (even where I give up, give them the win when victory is obvious, etc.) can take 2-3 hours of real-time. This makes me reluctant to try and adhere to the "multiple encounters between rests" thing to truly challenge the group. We may as well just wargame and fight, fight, fight for 6 hours.

When I create tough, super villain boss guys, they wreck him. CRs are pointless for my game, as my level 4 group will annihilate just about ANY CR 12 or lower. It isn't even close. Environment hazards, timers, Runehammer stuff - I'm getting better at that, but then it starts to feel like I'm trying to kill them. It becomes obvious.

The above creates a situation of "where do we go from here?" They'll wipe out Demon Princes, Dragons, Lichs and Fire Giants by the time they reach level 12. Could I just throw 3 Tarrasque at them at level 15?

Gritty Realism seems too punishing. With ten players, there's always about 5 full casters. 7 days before a long rest is just unfun for those folk.

Regular rest (full heal on long rest, once every 24 hours), makes it video game easy mode where they destroy my world.

Any thoughts?


Registered User
Validated User
CR is based around a 4 person group, if I remember right. Piling 2.5 times that number into them is going to change the balance. Consider how fast CR goes up as you add more goblins, for example.

You probably need to find a way to arrange 3-5 fights in between long rests. The easiest way is just fiat. You get a long rest when the GM says so. Other options are to have a long rest require spending a day in a fortified camp, or only when in some kind of pre-existing dwelling. But that requires some pacing work on your part.


up to no good
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Don't use single tough creatures as opponents without a ton of lair/legendary actions. Multiple creatures is far better for not being nullified by large parties.

For short and long rests switch to one short per in-game day and only one or two long rests per in-game week if the reason for less combat per day so the game world can move along in a game night. You get closer to the number of encounters per rest and there are enough characters that someone will have something to address non-combat encounters even at one long rest per week. Plus big bads don't need to be as big and bad if characters don't come in at full power.

Troy Swain

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For my new campaign I have the perfect amount of players, 4 or 5! But I had a similar problem. Half of my crew doesn't like combat. I did a radical solution, and used the system from Powered by the Apocalypse: that is, only the players roll dice. It makes things really fast. Combat zips by. I set a DC in my head, and then they roll against it. I also add a fail forward. I can point you to the thread here if interested, but it is a radical solution, and your 5e players might not like it.

J. Roberts

Bit Pusher
Validated User
Don't use single tough creatures as opponents without a ton of lair/legendary actions. Multiple creatures is far better for not being nullified by large parties.
Yup. 5e is all about the action economy. Even mooks that die in 1 hit before they even get an action are extremely valuable, as that's 1 more hit that your big bad isn't taking (you also limit the party's DPS a little, since that 32-point blast would have resulted in 32 points against your BBEG, but is mostly wasted wiping out the 10-hit point orc).

Ten players. Geez. Ever thought of recruiting one of them as a co-DM, to make it easier to run bigger combats?


Validated User
On the topic of combat length, I ran a 5e game with 6 PCs + lots of hirelings, I think between 3 and 8 most sessions. In order to speed up combat, I completely reworked the combat round.

In short, I eliminated turns, instead structuring the round in "phases" for different types of action.

Within a phase, all actions were resolved simultaneously. I used, in order (though the order isn't really that important):

> MISSILES (incl. spells with a ranged attack roll)
> MOVEMENT (incl. spells with a melee attack roll)

Each character still gets their move, action, bonus action, and reaction per round; it's up to each player to keep track of that.

We skipped a whole lot of verbal back-and-forth around declaring actions, declaring targets, stating attack roll totals and comparing to AC. For targets, I just assume people attack the obvious targets unless they say otherwise: they focus fire as much as they can against enemies within reach. AC is generally announced early in the fight. Monsters' basic attacks and mooks always deal average damage. We'd get stuff like this:

GM: "Missile phase!"
(clatter of dice thrown by various folks)
GM: "Two hits for 6 on Annette's droid, one for 6 on Doc. From ya'll?"
Peter: "Nope."
Austin: "Misses."
Greg: "9 and 13 with my rifle."
Yonaton: "Three hits for 6 from my squad."
GM: "Cool, one goes down, one badly injured. Movement phase!"

We skip all the "I attack with Advantage, so I get my sneak attack, and I've got Hunter's Mark going, and I'll use my bonus action to attack with my off-hand" and blah blah blah fucking blah. I know you know the rules, just tell me whether you hit and how much you dish out.

No initiative rolls. No out-of-phase actions. Everyone makes decisions at the same time. Everyone rolls at the same time. No procedural chatter that doesn't add new and necessary information. It's very, very fast.

(The full restructured round rules)


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Validated User
I've DM'd in 3/3.5e a bunch of times with large groups (8-10 players at 8th-12th level) and a couple times in 5e. I faced similar issues in 3/3.5e with combats taking a loooong time, and only wanting to do 1 combat per session (and 3e was based on just 4 fights rather than 6-8 of 5e). Some thoughts in no particular order.

>What stat generation was used, and do they have significant magic items? I ask because 4d6 drop lowest can actually give a significant boost to stats, which sometimes can be worth +1 level. Similarly if you are liberal with magic that will have an effect. All of this goes to just how far beyond baseline they are able to tackle.

>What I found in 3/3.5e was that due to action economy, 8 PCs were easily able to tackle encounters at CR+3 or +4. I needed to use CR +7 or +8 to challenge them in a single fight. There were a variety of factors here. Someone in the group would good initiative, so the party would nearly always have ability to set the battlefield to their advantage with a control spell (solid fog, wall of force, etc.). There was significant depth to fighting ranks, so someone hurt could swap positions with another warrior. Focus fire was significant. A lot of the same issues apply to 5e. While a 10 player group would nominally need 2.5x the xp budget of a 4-person party for encounters, I suspect that you would really need 3.5x or 4x, particularly if the party has good stats. On the other hand, a single boss of sufficiently high CR can pose a significant risk of insta-killing PCs, although that may be less likely in 5e than 3e. What I wound up doing in both 3e and 5e for most "boss" encounters was making a single boss who was quite strong, plus throwing in several minions who were weaker but not one-hit mooks. I actually think this works even better in 5e than in 3e.

>For your bosses who you really do want to have as a solo encounter, give them even more legendary actions and a couple extra reactions, as well as good defenses to prevent being taken out by save-or-suck spell. For example, I have a erinyes devil meant as a solo encounter who has a "spell-splitter axe" - she can "split" a spell as a reaction and effectively counter it by making an attack roll.

>For making combat run faster, I don't have a lot of stuff beyond what you already do. I got rid of individual initiative and just do 1e style group initiative variant. I break the party into two groups (e.g., each side of the table) and each group rolls a d10, and the monsters (which can also be broken into groups) roll a d10. No dex bonus, dex is already good enough in 5e. Players within a group can go in any order as long as someone is actively doing something. Parallel action resolution, e.g., as Jeph suggests, would be even faster, but that's a significant departure from baseline rules.

>For house ruling on short/long rests, don't do "rests" as a function of passage of time. Simply say that every 2 fights they get a short rest, and every 6 fights they get a long rest. You may need to carry hp total, spell slots expended, etc. from session to session, but over multiple sessions it should work. This is also better in that it doesn't really matter what type of adventure you are using, e.g., overland, dungeon, etc.


Belongs to an elite order
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Well, I can't help you address all the issues with a 10-person group, but I genuinely think my houserules for Resting are just the ticket for that aspect of what you're bringing up, G gnomewerks . What I hear you saying is, you can throw really tough, overleveled encounters at them, and they'll win, but use up some resources. This is fine and as it should be. But if they then go and rest fully, there's never really any resource management stratum to the game: they just go into every fight fully healed, which drains tension.

What my rules do is make it so a normal night's sleep gets you back some resources—more than a short rest, less than a full rest. A full rest is 24 hours, not the absurdity that is a full week. (As you say, that's way too long.) However, even long rests get you only abilities and Hit Dice, not HP, which makes resource management more of a thing.


(Scroll down; much of what's there isn't relevant to you. But the resting rules will work on their own.)
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