Sunday, January 6, 2013

In Which I Discuss Resting & Resources

In considering the vast array of rulesets I have reviewed, created and pondered over the years, one of the most contentious elements has been the issue of "resting" in the game or the process by which the players regain their characters' resources. I have thought of several of my own solutions and have seen some rather ingenius ones by others. In this post I am going to explicate some of my own thinking on the subject and explicate the solution I will be using for my own games.

In the current iteration of Dungeons & Dragons there are two forms of rest: the so-called "Short Rest" and the "Extended / Long Rest." These two forms of resting interact with the Hit Point resources (Healing Surges and per se Hit Points) and the more complex resources that deal with "Powers" (the special abilities that have limited use).

I like the idea of two forms of rest as it introduces a degree of granularity to resource replenishment and management. This can allow for a degree of strategy in the game, but only if there are some costs and risks attached to these procedures. In this particular ruleset, as written, the only cost appears to be time. And this time cost can be trivial in the context of the world-logic. By default, a "Short Rest" is ~5 minutes and a "Long Rest" is 8 hours -- or a night's rest.

The solutions to the above I have read have been in one of two flavors. Either you make revisions to the structure of replenishing powers, which increases the granularity. Or you make revisions to the resting process, introducing wandering monsters or game-related (plot or otherwise) consequences for taking a longer rest.

My current ruleset utilizes the granularity of the short and long rest which are named resting and upkeep. I have altered the "game time" used for these two procedures as follows: Resting is a period of 6-8 hours inactivity that can be at night or during the day. Upkeep is a period of approximately 1 month or 30 days of rest, recuperation, training and other non-adventuring activities.

I believe that there is some precedent for this sort of large period of rest. In the older ruleset for the Cleric, for example, it is said that the Cleric can cast their spells as indicated per adventure. I interpret adventure to be equivalent to expedition, excursion into the wilderness, dungeon or otherwise. A simple night's rest does not a break in the adventure make. In the pulp and other fantasy-fiction I have read and watched, the hero or band of rogues spend a great deal of time doing "other things" before heading out for a new excursion.

The other side of having rules for the replenishment of resources is having rules for the resources themselves. How will Hit Points or its equivalent be regained? What resources are there to use spells or other limited-use abilities? How are characters differentiated in their ability to utilize these resources?

One of the implications of the resting and upkeep split is that I will have to develop a system to track resources that are replenished by resting and other resources that are replenished by upkeep. I do have rules developed for this, but will save its explication for a future post!

No comments: