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 Non-time based "rests"?

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spectralent
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PostSubject: Non-time based "rests"?   Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:53 am

4e's unification of the resource scale was undoubtedly a good move; it prevents the issue of everyone adventuring on "caster time" that arose in 3rd, so it was probably a good fix to that problem. However, there is an issue that I can see in that the pacing of the plot isn't necessarily analogous with in-universe time; does anyone have any method of fixing the issue that can arise when there's not a constant time pressure? Principally I was thinking of games with travel between combats, which would mean functionally every fight is fully-rested under the "good night's sleep" model, but I'm sure there are other ideas.
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PostSubject: Re: Non-time based "rests"?   Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:29 pm

The easiest way is to set the effects of a long rest to either trigger after every second milestone (4 encounters) or to once per chapter if you want to take a more narrative approach to it (basically whenever they meet a goal determined by the GM whether it takes them one encounter or seven).

The former results in a more mechanistic approach wherein players know that they can afford to blow every last remaining daily every fourth encounter because they get everything back in the next encounter, while the latter will put them more in line with the '1/day' approach in that they don't know precisely when they'll reach the goal for the chapter (find your way through the monster infested caverns to reach the entrance to the lost kingdom of the dwarves might be an example of a chapter goal).

The first makes it easier on the DM because they don't have to guestimate how many encounters the party will have before they can get the benefits of a rest while the second requires knowing how many side-quests your party is likely to pursue mid-chapter and how much they can realistically take before dropping.

Both have their pros and cons.

My group's preferred answer because it meant less overall tracking was to simply do away with daily resources entirely (you could use 1 daily attack per encounter and 1 daily utility per encounter... if you absolutely needed to use another you could use an action point to use one instead of getting an extra action).
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PostSubject: Re: Non-time based "rests"?   Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:03 pm

All of those methods seem really good and I will possibly incorporate them in future campaigns.

There is something to consider as well, though. From my observations over the years of playing 4E, the daily powers are pretty much unnecessary. A party can face properly created encounters simply by using their encounters and at-wills. The daily powers come in to play typically when the party needs to swing the tide of the battle. And this typically only happens when either the encounter is very hard (like 3 or more levels higher than the party) or when they've just had unfortunate die rolls.

So when I plan my adventures, the only resource about which I really concern myself, is their healing surges. That's kind of the "fuel gauge" of the campaign. When their remaining number of surges get low, especially for the Defender, they really start looking to take an extended rest.

I'd say that if you keep track of how many surges per encounter your group uses on average, and then map that against their total number of surges in the party, you can usually get a good idea of how many combat encounters they can take between extended rests.

I like the idea of the auto reset after the 2nd milestone. And that is pretty close to the pacing of my group (although the Defender now has like 14 surges per day, so that might change). But I definitely like the idea of the "chapter goal" being the trigger as well. That does give some more power to the narrative and would encourage the players to "push on" in the story.

I'd suggest that you try one of these methods and tell the group that it is a "trial basis" to see if it works for your table. If it does, awesome. If not, no problem, try something else.

Oh, and the issue of the party adventuring on "caster time" started WAY before 3rd edition. That was a problem since 1e/2e and that was one of the big driving forces of the design choices made in 4E. I'm actually rather sad to see 5e take a step back in that direction.

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PostSubject: Re: Non-time based "rests"?   Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:37 am

I like all ideas mentioned above.

I personally use a blend of 'X encounters' and 'adventure arcs', meaning that that the party can expect a full heal-up to become available every 4-5 battles, but that's the upper limit: it may be allowed sooner if it makes sense in the story. Also as a GM I try to give some context for the full rest being possible (a safe house, a time lapse, etc...).

Another option I've been experimenting with is to have characters starting with only 1 daily available at the start of the day, but a chance to charge up more after each battle (on a 16+ roll for each one). This creates an incentive to press on rather than resting.
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AbdulAlhazred
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PostSubject: Re: Non-time based "rests"?   Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:11 pm

I always was fond of the 'chapter' approach. I generally work out a kind of narrative pace to the story arc, breaking it up into sub-arcs that each represent an extended rest's worth of effort. Sometimes you can also provide some time pressure (either hard or soft) to bring a sub-arc into the range of being a day long. Other times you can simply move things along, explaining that harsh conditions preclude a good rest, placing a curse on the party that makes them need to perform some task before they can fully rest, etc. Granting SOME powers (say one daily) after a hard night's unsatisfying rest in a cold damp place is fine too, and you can always add another daily at each milestone in that case. Mix it up in different ways and try to structure things so that the players always have a choice, stop, spend resources and rest fully or press on with what they have and perhaps pass an SC to get a partial recharge. The negative consequences should always be scaled too, the bad guys escape for now, but you still drive off their minions and accomplish a subgoal. This allows for the players to either be conservative or up the ante.
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