Working with Extended Rests

Like just about everyone running a D&D game, I like to tweak the rules a little. I think the 4ED rest and recovery rules work. It keeps players in the action and taking an extended rest effectively replenishes all their resources including HP. But I wanted to put a brake on players using all their healing surges, drop severely low on HP, and just take an extended rest to do the same thing next day. I just feel continually taking extended rests could easily be abused.

To get around this I modified the extended rest rules a little having the player recover healing surges differently, and it being largely dependent on their condition before they hit the sack for 6 hours. I feel that daily powers and HP have to be replenished to their full amount, no matter what condition the player was in before the extended rest. Dragging out HP recovery over days just seemed to hurt the player. Besides, if you buy that HP are more about endurance and will power, rather than just tick marks for vitality, it doesn’t make sense hampering HP recovery.

So after an extended rest, the player regains their maximum HP and regains all their daily powers. However, recovery of healing surges depends on the following conditions before they take an extended rest:

Is the player at less than full HP? – If the player has less than full HP before they rest, they gain their full healing surges (HS) -3. If the player is bloodied, they gain full HS -4 (4 less healing surges from their maximum).

If the player is at full HP, how many HS have been currently used? – If the player used 4 or more healing surges, they regain full HS -2. If they used 3 or less, they are at full healing surges after an extended rest.

Players should be encouraged to burn through their healing surges, and possibly use them in combination with encounter powers, to be at maximum HP before they rest. The player recovers less healing surges if they have any damage at all (even being one point under their maximum). So it is worth using up all those surges to get back to max HP before resting.

In addition, if players take a comfortable rest they gain back one more healing surge (a bloodied player resting in an inn would be at full HS -3 after an extended rest, not full HS -4). A comfortable rest means the players are in a sheltered location (not exposed to the elements), eating a prepared meal that is not trail rations, and are in a relatively secure location (not taking guard shifts).

This encourages players to seek out civilization and crash at an inn, rather than being cheap gold misers sleeping in the woods all the time. Granted some players might feel their character is more at home in the wild, but taking the time to get a campsite together, rustle up some food and water, and sleep hoping nothing stumbles on them in the night, will likely make the player not be at 100% the next day.

I’ve been a little lenient applying the comfortable rest bonus to characters using specific rituals. Create campsite ritual (PHB2) is a great example. Using traveler’s feast combined with eye of alarm (or magic mouth at an entrance to a small cave) would also work, especially if the players packed a few tents. I think rituals seemed to be glossed over in 4ED and with a little tweaking, they can add a lot to the game.

That’s it for now. Another example of using healing surges instead of HP to hamper, or reward, the players.Willingham-IronCobra

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