Content of the article: "[D&D 5e] Number of encounters per day, long rests and short rests"
One of the problems I have had recently is creating interesting and fun encounters. In one of my first campaigns I ran a dungeon-esque gauntlet with encounters and traps everywhere … but that got boring to run after a while, and my players agreed that it got tiresome, that there was no logical sense as to why the dungeon was designed like this. Plus it meant that there was little time for RPing, which really bothered me. Finally there was the problem of plot, that I coult not force my players into encounters if they did not want to and I wanted to make the encounters meaningful and plot relavent.
So instead I changed things up, and instead am running roughly a single encounter every 1-2 sessions, which allowed me to make memorable large encounters where my players felt satisfied by the end of it. The encounters were also plot relavent since I could set them up carefully in advance.
However this solution came at a cost: the encounters became easier because the players were always at maximum strength (because of long and short rests). This also meant that the Fighter and Barbarian in the party felt that they were always outshone because the spellcasters could blow all their spell slots in that one encounter.
Also balancing encounters became difficult since there was a fine line between "easy because the party is at full health" and "This is 1 round away from a TPK".
So I was trying to think of a way to solve this, I could have these huge encounters and make multiple sessions be equivalent to one day in game, but I had no way of enforcing that without some serious railroading (esspecially because at this stage I had moved away from the traditional dungeon style of DMing and made it more sandboxy/freeroam).
But about a week ago I finally stumbled across the solution:
The Gritty Realism rules for rests.
These rules mean that a short rest is 8 hours and a long rest is 7 days. This means that I can balance encounters like normal, whilst also not forcing my players into multiple encounters in a single day, which allows me to keep encounters fresh and plot relavent (rather than just there for the sake of an encounter).
TLDR: If you are a DM who likes to have one encounter per session and/or day (in game) then I recommend using the Gritty Realism rules for rests.
- Discussion: Adjust your Short/Long Rest Duration to your campaign needs.
- “Gritty Realism Variant Rules” (DMG p267), but Characters have Proficiency Bonus worth of days to spend using “Normal Rest Rules” which recharge on a Gritty Rest.
- What kind of things have you noticed running Gritty Realism, and what changes did you possibly make (either to the rule itself or other things)?
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