The Gassy Gnoll: To Sleep– Perchance to Get Back My Dailies…

Sleep. It’s something this gnoll will get less and less of as the temperatures rise. Too much fur I guess… traps the heat and there’s only so many layers to strip off before you’re embarrassed to death or arrested.

But my drowsy state has raised an interesting point in my muddled mind. Have you noticed how some RPGs seem to recharge abilities faster than the old days? Seems more like a computer role-playing game than a traditional tabletop variety modeling some of the frailties of mortal existence.

Now before y’all get upset about picking on 4E, I’m not really beating on it that much. I’m all for making games fun. And the more fun you can cram into the proverbial “box,” the better. Even so, I was fine with having to rest 8 hours to get back my spells for the day in older versions. Wizards and clerics need their beauty sleep.

sleeping -

4E has introduced the idea of a Short Rest and an Extended Rest. A Short Rest is a 5 minute crash that allows characters to regain any expended Encounter Powers. An Extended Rest is more like the traditional 8-hour rests of old, but only lasts 6 hours, can only be done once a day, and must be done 12 hours apart (on alternate Tuesdays with a pipe wrench in the conservatory while dancing a tango…). Basically the Extended Rest is the only way to get Daily Powers back.

So fine, we now have the ability to take some deep breaths, get a drink of water, and wait for the referee to whistle us back onto the field for the second half… But does anyone else feel like they should be waiting for a power bar to recharge in Skyrim more than working through combat in D&D? I’m good with the At-Will, Encounter, and Daily Powers in 4E. Really it boils things down to a few critical pieces of information for (a bit) quicker resolution of each combat round. And I get the idea behind the need for different recharge times for different powers, but it hits me like one more artificial rule inserted for game balance more than anything that really adds to the system as a whole.

I remember some battles in 3.5E where we were literally on our last legs after fighting wave after wave of beasties in the forest. Our party barely survived and it was by wits and luck towards the end because we were out of spells, ammo, and oomph. But we felt like we’d accomplished something monumental in the dark – we survived! Now with 4E it’s a bit more like calling a time-out on the field for some oranges and water during a kids’ soccer game. Sure, it may be a bit more sportsmanlike and cleaner rules-wise, but the pressure is off at that point.

Now I have read about many different house rules where the difference between Encounter and Daily Power recharge is blurred one way or another. And maybe that’s the answer. I miss the days of trying desperately to survive just another few hours until we’d get those spells back…

I guess I just prefer the old-school way of doing things. Maybe it’s because I’m getting to be a middle-aged fart. I don’t know.

I will say this… I like DCC RPG‘s approach to spells recharging got my attention… “In general, spells are regained within a day of being lost. The exact trigger depends on the magic in question. White magic is regained at the next sunrise; black upon the moon crossing the sky in full; demon magic after a full eight hours of rest; divine magic after resting and praying to the cleric’s god; and so on, as agreed between player and judge based on the nature of the character’s magic.”

It’s open enough to be interpreted however the GM and player agree to interpret it, but offers the flexibility to do whatever they want to do. Can D&D Next please go this way somehow?

What do you think? Am I beating a dead horse? What solutions have you come up with for resting in your 4E (or 3.5E, DCC RPG, or other system) campaign?

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2 comments to The Gassy Gnoll: To Sleep– Perchance to Get Back My Dailies…

  • forged

    Dragon Age broke this up a bit differently than d&d. In it they have the concept of health points and mana points. After combat, you can gain a bit of health back by resting for 5 minutes. You get more back with at least 6 hours of restful sleep. (They don’t give more for spending more time sleeping though.)

    Mana points recharge for each hour of rest and/or meditation, you get a bit back. If the character manages to get 8 hours of uninterrupted rest and/or meditation, they get all their mana points back.

    Shrug. At any rate, Dragon Age RPG is the only other system I can think of that has any sort of take a quick breather after an encounter to recharge — and they did it only for health and none of the other character abilities.

    • Fitz

      @forged – Thanks for the reminder about Dragon Age. I should check it out at some point as well (beyond the one-shot from last year’s Free RPG Day). That nicely addresses my concern however about the difference between mental exhaustion from spellcasting and the physical exhaustion from being in combat. I like the 1 hour of meditation gets back some mana approach.

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