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So what caused the "rest after each fight" thing?

Ivan Sorensen

Amiga fan
Validated User
This was one of the things that a lot of people complained about, and that 4th edition supposedly fixed.

I say supposedly, not to slag on 4th edition, but because Im not familiar with what actually caused the idea that you had to rest after every encounter. It never occured in AD&D or BD&D games I played in, in college (you know, when the game was unplayable?) and I've never witnessed it in the couple of D&D games Ive played or run later on.

So was this something promoted by 3.5 and how did 4th solve it ?

Or is it just one of those internet gibberish things

Inglorious Coyote

Retired User
Basically, magic users are useless without their spells. Some magic users would blow all their spells to end a fight quickly, and then want to rest to get those spells back.

Once a party gets higher in level the magic users gets more and more powerful to the point where without the magic user the party is screwed, so they tended to want the magic user in top form.

Fallen Seraph

Registered User
Validated User
As for the solution with 4e too, it comes from the fact that the spellcasters and everyone else has At-Wills and Per-Encounter so they always have some capacity to fight well.


cried twice in his life
Validated User
It happened quite a bit pre 3E as well, although the "Nap" spell helped a bit. If your ass is on the line you blow everything you have to stay alive, then try to rest to get the goods back again. Simple.


Only One
In 3e, if you operated under the assumption that you were resting after each encounter, spellcasters could get tremendously more powerful. Quickened spells and other metamagic feats let spellcasters burn through their higher level spells rapidly, essentially taking twice as many turns as other players and being more effective than them at the same time. It negated the one weakness of spellcasters - the need to prepare spells ahead of time - because if there's only one fight ahead, you can prepare a wide enough variety to meet any contingency. If there's multiple fights, you have to make sure you have enough of your basic healing and attack spells to survive the day, so your versatility goes way down.

In comparison to 4e, 3e was like this: Fighters, Rangers, and other direct-combat classes only used at-wills, so they dished out constant but low attacks. Spellcasters only used dailies, so they dished out incredibly high damage, but had to rest after a fight or two. The design meant that one side or the other was going to suck at any particular time.


Well, I never!
Validated User
It happened to our group all the time, and I was even responsible a lot of the times as the party cleric. It would take all our wizard's offensive magic and all of my heals, and maybe even then we'd have some party-members low on HP or in need of identifying the recently acquired magic item.

There was this one temple we raided, we literally had to stop and rest every room, or near-about.

"Huff Puff. Well, we made it another 40 feet in 20 minutes. Let's set camp!"

I think we first noticed it as a phenomenon about 10-12th level in 3rd edition. We may have had the same problem in 2nd ed, but never noticed.

We recently switched back to 2nd ed for a 15th-20th level campaign. I don't think it was a problem, but of course we also did what we could to mitigate it having previously noticed it being a problem.


Only One
I think it created a disparity between what the party could handle, and what they could survive. A party could handle 4-5 level-equivalent encounters, which is about the same as in 4e. But a party could survive one encounter 3-4 levels higher than them if they blew through all their resources and rested before.
So I think a lot of GMs tried high-level monsters against their players, saw the monsters go down with ease, and thought 'hmm, that was pretty easy.' So they continued throwing bigger monsters at the party, the party continued mopping the floor with them and resting in-between, and now the group has gone from an average of 4 encounters without a rest to an average of 1.
It's already been noted elsewhere that 4e often has the same overall challenge as 3e, just with a tighter distribution. 4e characters can endure several fights, or they can focus on a single fight...but not tremendously. In an important fight, a PC is probably going to spend an action point, activate a magic item daily, and use one of their dailies. In an all-out, to-the-death match, they're probably going to spend an action point, activate two magic item dailies, and use two of their daily powers. Not a dramatic difference.


Retired User
It also can be the results of an arms race rather than a deliberate attempt to derail the game - an encounter that the DM thinks will be tough to a party thats conservative with its resources might get annihilated because one caster panics and unloads more spells than usual. In order to give the party a tough fight, the DM needs to up the difficulty, which then forces the party to buff harder/burn more high level spells and the whole thing can spiral away.

Another thing is the impact of whoever holds the initiative - if the party is chosing their own pace (particularly when they have access to sufficient divination and teleportation that they can pick the time and place of all their fights) it makes a lot of sense to hit hard targets when you have your buffs running and they don't have theirs. That and the prevelance of save-or-die effects at high levels meaning that its not safe to adventure without Death Ward or ensuring that the most threatening targets are killed before they can act - which is expensive in terms of spell slots.

Because the differential in power between having all your spells available and totally (or even mostly at higher levels) spent is so huge you are often forced to rest - some types of fights are close to impossible without a decent spell selection (Heavy energy draining would be an obvious example).

Now, these problems aren't insurmountable, but theres little good advice in the DMG (or the DMG2) about how to avoid the issue. Its a very easy trap to fall into.

The solution in 4th is to cut the "burst" in favour of endurance - its harder to bring an excessive amount of power to bear in one encounter but its also very hard to fall below about 80% of your maximum potential. While its still generally tactically favourable to rest after each fight (and it will remain so while there are "daily" resources) you are not forced to rest to restore the bulk of your combat potential.

Luther Malevolent

Registered User
Validated User
It wasnt anything new. That's how we played first edition. How else would you play a first level magic user? First combat, use your one spell, time to head home. Either that or sit around waiting all day trying to decide when was the right time to use your magic missile (or whatever spell you were lucky enough to have.)
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