Easing the party into more encounters between extended rests.

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  I'm running my first campaign and I have no idea how progression works in terms of the party managing resources (dailies).  The feedback that I have been getting from the forums is that I need more encounters between extended rests to minimize the abuse of dailies, which has been a constant source of headache for me.  I was thinking that I should stretch out the number of encounters from my usual 2 MAYBE 3, to 4-5 between extended rests.  Here are my questions.
1.  What is your ideal number of encounters between extended rests?
2. Do you think this is a good idea for me to increase the number between extended rests?
    2b.  How can I best ease them into the new format?  (have given them heads up that I am considering increasing the number so not to blindside them)
3.  Should the number of encounters scale with the number of dailies that PC gain as they level up?
4.  How can I curb abuse of extended rests without being a total jerk about in game?

Thanks in advance
1. I don't really have an ideal number _ though 3-5 sounds about right, depending on the circumstances.  Parties will rest after every fight unless a) it was so easy they'd gain nothing but a surge or two (that is, they spent no dailies), b) someone recently died and hungers for milestones, or c) they have real incentive to keep on keeping on (time sensitive quest, worry about where to rest, etc).  So yeah, try for 2 minimum with 3-5 as a vague sort of goal.

2. Yes.  Make it a bit harder to rest (or even, occasionally, impossible or very difficult), give them quests where they're rushed (hostage/prisoner to rescue, bonus reward for meeting a deadline or doing it fast, etc). Try not to make the first fight of a day very hard, with harder fights later (especially rushed harder fights)... if they keep blowing all their dailies on the first fight of the day AND you somehow make them fight again, they'll start to see the sense in saving powers and rationing resources.  Give them perks for milestones (in addition to action points and the perks from items if necessary), like maybe if they hit a 3rd fight they get back one daily or something.

3. Not really all that much.  If you're using the right encounters viz level, 3 encounters for a 21st level party should be about as draining of resources as 3 for a 15th level party, but not as draining as for a 1st level party as Paragon and Epic powers/feats/abilities give some power recovery and whatnot.  Overall, I'd say a typical party will be able to handle more encounters as they hit the 2nd and 3rd tiers, but not every party.  Play it by ear, keep an eye on how they spend resources, and adapt.

4. See above.  And at the first sign of trouble (whinging, moaning, or stoic displeasure) remind them you're trying to increase the fun of the game by having them meet the number of challenges per day that the game is designed for _ if they're using all their dailies in their first fight, then sleeping, then repeat, they basically have at-wills, medium encounters and extremely powerful encounter powers, and they're winning not because they're playing well/smart/etc. but because they're piecemealing the quests. Don't overwhelm them, and if they get in over their heads the first time or two then cut them some slack (maybe knock off HP from the baddies if the party is getting slaughtered), and remind them they're good enough to win more than 1 or 2 fights a day. 

  1. D&D 4e seems to be optimized for 3-4 combat encounters between extended rests, so if you want to keep your players from abusing their dailies a too much, going that route will help in that regard. Usually, this is also the point where players start noticing they're running out of healing surges. So far, this has also been my ideal number. Keeps me at usually two sessions between extended rests and at around six sessions per level, which suits me and my players fine.

     

  2. If your usual number of combat encounters between extendend rests is 2, then yes. It's a good idea your usual to 3-4 combat encounters and keep the 2-encounter workdays for some really hard encounters.

    2b. The number of combat encounters should flow from the story. Given that you normally have 2 encounters per day, you probably have a campaign based in a place that is comfortable for the characters, somewhere where it is quite easy for them to take extended breaks. Consider throwing them against a fort or something where they really have to retrieve something before it's too late. The fort will be well-organized, and have multiple guard posts before they reach the BBEG that has their goal. It'll be easy to introduce multiple encounters in such a situation.

     

  3. No.

     

  4. As said, the numbers of encounters should flow the story.
    If you create stories where time isn't much of an issue and places for extended rests are relatively easy to come by, then allow your players to take extended rests every encounter if they really want to. You made it possible, so don't penalize your players for taking advantage of it. Compensate by making those encounters really, really hard :D
    If you want to curb the abuse of extended rests, your story should reflect this. The princess will be sacrificed at the end of the day and the characters will have to wade through countless cultists to prevent this from happening.
    "You want an extended rest? Are you really, really, really sure?"
    "Yes *snore*"
    "After a well-deserved extended rest, you emerge from the cultist bedroom only to find gory celebration all around. From what you gather from the elated cultists (after subduing one of them), the princess has been sacrificed succesfully, giving their leader immense magical powers. He has now started his campaign against the goodly king, whom you were working for."

    Another way to curb extended rests is dropping them in extremely hostile territory. Consider any of the haunts in XDMC 30. No character should be able to comfortably rest in any of those without being attacked in the middle of their rest, thus deriving them from any of the rest's benefits (such as regaining your daily powers). 

Heroic Dungeon Master
this depends on party composition a lot.
i have a level 22 party who in the last session faced 8 encounters before having an extended rest because they have a restful healing shaman kitted out to heal a LOT. they also have a runepriest for regular healing and damage boosts.
this party gets so many hps out of healing outside of combat that they can take a real kicking. they regularly go 6-7 encounters with no extended rest in scales of war campaign.

another party i am in can do nowhere near this staying power, despite being all dwarfs and having a heal-focused leader.
The BIGGEST source of this problem seems to be the fact that people forget that you can't take an extended rest until it has been 12 hours since the end of your last extended rest, or don't pay attention to that rule.

So, you give them a deadline that they have X number of days to do Y.

They start their day, fight, take extended rest, fight, take extended rest, oh, look, time's up, bad thing Z happens.

I will sometimes have one-combat days, and sometimes my players are exploring a dungeon and have to deal with 3 combat encounters, a skill challenge that can drain resources, and 7-10 traps that can drain resources, all of which happens in one day.

Another thing that might be going on is you might have the "blow your wad" type players, who don't seem to understand that sometimes you should go through the entire day NOT using your dailies, in case something ELSE shows up. 
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
My biggest problem with extended rests is that it is entirely possible for 4-5 encounters to take 4-5 weeks for my group.

Typically that might look like this:

Session #1: Lots of intro, RP discussion, encounter #1 of the day
Session #2: Combat-heavy, encounters #2 and #3 of the day
Session #3: Cancelled, not enough players or DM cannot make it
Session #4: A bit of RP/travel, encounter #4 of the day
Session #5: Encounter #5 of the day.

 . . . it's fun to use a big daily power, but players in a group playing at this pace often feel they have to be miserly with them, and really playing resource-management spanning a month at a time isn't adding to the fun.

The group doesn't have a solution to this yet. Players don't particularly like the Essentials builds without daily powers.

My ideal would be some things that sped up combat - it would need to be twice as fast though (a combat encounter in typically 30-45 mins), and that just doesn't seem possible unless we were on crack.
What is your ideal number of encounters between extended rests?
For me, the answer to the question requires adjusting the question. The number of encounters between extended rests depends on the nature of the ancounters. Number of encounters depends largely on how many resources are used up in each encounter, and I find this has a lot to do with encounter level.

If you wish to encourage your players to "play on" then give them early encounters that allow them to conserve their limited resources. Because the decision to press on is almost always a meta-game one, give the players enough information to make a sound decision.

I am comfortable telling my players the encounter level. This way they do not blow dailies on an easy encounter, and do not hesitate to use them on difficult encounters. (The use of dailies seems to be the predominant trigger of taking an extended rest. The number of healing surges left to the meat shields is a close second.)

Given this:


  • When all of the encounters were at Level or Level-1, they have had as many as eight encounters before an extended rest.

  • When the first encounter of the day was at Level+5 encounter, they were done for the day.


All of this applies only to adventures that allow multiple encounters ina  single day.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
I'm building a quest to test this "problem".
There are sanctuaries which only open certain days of the month ( Every sunday, every 1st of the month or the third day it's raining, in a row, etc. )
These sanctuaries are open only for 4 to 6 hours! No time for an extended rest.
And my first sanctuaries got less fights and as they continue, they're have more and more fights! I'll be able to see how many fights they can withstand.
If it happens to be too hard, I'll give them something that recharges Daily powers or some healing surges.
But I learned one thing cool, make them fight a tough fight then...Another one just after! They're sure to face a "boss" and they use their dailies. But then, they HAVE to fight again without their dailies. The feeling they got is the one that is needed for a DnD game, feel the danger!
I'm playing: Abin Gadon, Halfling Bard Winston "Slurphnose", Gnome Sorcerer Pasiphaé, Minotaur Shaman Eglerion, Elf Ellyrian Reaver (Ranger) DMing: Le Trésor du Fluide (Treasure from the Fluid) Un Royaume d'une Grande Valeur (A Kingdom of Great Value) La Légende de Persitaa (Persitaa's Legend) Une Série de Petites Quêtes... (A serie of short quests) Playtesting: Caves of Chaos We're building the greatest adventure ever known to DnD players! Also playing Legend of the Five Rings and Warhammer Fantasy. Sébastien, Beloeil, Qc. I am Neutral Good and 32 years old.
1. 4 encounters between extended rests seems to be the target number 4e was built around. However, that should be an average, not a constant.
2. Once the characters get mutliple daily powers you either have to go with more encounters per rest or adjust the encounters to keep things balanced. Which way you want to go is up to you. If you do decide to go with a radical change you should warn your players.
3. A little bit. Mostly in that it's easier to put a single encounter that is a challenge to characters with only one daily power, and low level characters have fewer options when things go badly so they need more chance to retreat and rest.
4. Time limits, wandering monsters and intelligent defenders. Even a loose time limit can keep the party from taking rests after too often, and wandering monsters can keep them from just resting in the middle of a dungeon. Intelligent defenders will take steps to make the situation worse on the party, resetting traps and preparing ambushes, keeping the party from resting in the middle of a raid.

At higher level it's also a good idea to keep the party guessing about the number of encounters they will face. Some days are one encounter days, most are 3-5, but I have had one player hit 26 action points in a particularly long dungeon. Also vary the pacing of the encouters rather then always building to the boss fight.

Jay
This has never been a problem for my group, so the first time someone tried to explain it to me, I had an extremely difficult time wrapping my head around it.

I found The Angry DM's article on the subject (link) explains the cause and history of the real problem to me quite well.  I don't remember if he ever actually suggested a real solution for it, but his train of thought might give you some ideas.
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
I build my encounters based upon what the story logically calls for and nothing more. If the story calls for one fight in a day, I better make it good to challenge the players. If they stomp it into dust, good for them. Part of this comes from not using XP but rather leveling the PCs when it feels right to do so. There's no need for X number of encounters worth a certain amount of XP each.

You don't have to say that an extended rest is actually racking out for 6 hours. You could say extended resting (or the benefits of the same) are tied to specific quests or locations. "Find the fountain of Pelor" and you get the benefits of an extended rest.

Are your players taking extended rests becaue they're out of surges or because they want their daily powers back? It sounds like the latter. I would recommend giving back surges or powers as rewards for completing mini-quests (though I hate that term). Skill challenges are another good way to give back resources without extended rest. Talk your way into the good graces of the Goblin King and you get your one daily back (player's choice).

I find resting and when to rest a pretty arbitrary rule, one that is easily broken in pursuit of a good narrative. Break down what an extended rest does - restores powers and surges. Look at your story and ask yourself where you can put little challenges and rewards that provide these benefits in stages. The chance to earn a couple surges back here, a couple of dailies there, and the PCs won't need or desire to have a "official" extended rests outside of where it makes sense in the story that the characters would be tired.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

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This has never been a problem for my group, so the first time someone tried to explain it to me, I had an extremely difficult time wrapping my head around it.

I found The Angry DM's article on the subject (link) explains the cause and history of the real problem to me quite well.  I don't remember if he ever actually suggested a real solution for it, but his train of thought might give you some ideas.



  Thanks for that link, it is very insightful, and I think I can use as a spring board for working around the issues of my "15-minute workdays" that my PCs love.
I build my encounters based upon what the story logically calls for and nothing more.


This.

Also, when designing encounters, you should have an idea of how rested they are likely to be. If it's going to be a 1-2 encounter day, make them tougher. If the story requires 4-5 encounters before a rest, adjust the dificlulty accordingly. An on-level encounter can be quite challenging when dailies are spent and everyone is low on healing surges.

Exteneded rests should always be logical. They simply aren't going to safely setup camp in a haunted village swarming with undead. Or in a dungeon with monsters in the next room. If they try to rest in a dungeon, they should be found by the monsters in the next room. And as previously mentioned, rules state only 1 extended rest every 12 hours.
I'm not sure that the number of encounters is as important as the quality of those encounters.

First of all, not all encounters are combat encounters, so its not assumed that every encounter requires any daily use at all. So when someone says "4 encounters is normal", only one or two of those would be combat. Combat encounters should only take a few minutes of in-game time, so 4 combat enounters would not even burn an hour, forget about 12.

Second, just because it is a combat encounter, it doesnt mean its an epic battle. One DM I had would throw a dungeon full of enemies at us encounter after encounter, then refuse to give us time to rest, claiming not enough time had passed. While this was true, he threw a day's worth of enemies at us within the first hour after our rest. Very rarely did we get into a fight that we didnt almost die. The party is left with few options at that point.

A well planned adventure should be one that spreads out a day's worth of action over the course of a whole day.

 
They simply aren't going to safely setup camp in a haunted village swarming with undead. Or in a dungeon with monsters in the next room. If they try to rest in a dungeon, they should be found by the monsters in the next room.



Damn good way to start an adventure though... nasty wakeup call.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

I think that the last time this conversation came up around me, the two work-arounds that I liked best were:

  1. Just because the PCs are sleeping, doesn't mean the monsters are.  

    • The next morning, after a good night's sleep, the PCs find that the Goblin band has packed up and left the dungeon, taking the kidnapped children with them to parts unknown.  The town reluctantly rewards the party for eliminating the Goblin threat, but the party forfeits their rewards for returning the children safely.

    • You awaken from your sleep to find a Wandering Monster Encounter full of hungry monsters, who batter down the door to the dungeon storage room you decided to camp out in!  Roll for Initiative, with a -10 penalty!



  2. Put time limits on adventures, such as countdowns and competition, to create a sense of urgency that discourages lollygagging. 


    • The PCs must stop a necromantic ritual from occurring at midnight on the Winter Solstice, and time is running out!

    • It looks like the Thieves' Guild is also looking for the Magic McGuffin the PCs are on a quest to retrieve, and the thieves have already got a head start!




However, these are work-arounds rather than real solutions to an ancient problem in D&D that is not mentioned in the DMG, leaving new DMs totally on their own to identify the problem and invent an effective solution on their own
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
However, these are work-arounds rather than real solutions.

You have it backwards.

What you're mentioning are very real and good solutions to the problem and not work-arounds. If the solution stems from the story or flow of the game (such as all the examples you mentioned above), then it's a good solution.

The work-around you're trying to identify is telling the players: "Hey, guys. This extended rest abuse has gone far enough, so I'm going to throw three encounters a day at you. You're not supposed to take an extended rest before that finishes even if it would be feasible."
It's a very clear work-around which leaves no doubt about what's going to happen.

And if you're looking for a solution that's written down, you're looking for the rule "You have to have three combat encounters before taking an extended rest." in the PHB. Which we all don't want.

Heroic Dungeon Master
How can I curb abuse of extended rests without being a total jerk about in game?

fwiw: LFR adventures have such limitations build into the scenarios, often by providing a reason why the mission needs to be accomplished within 24 hours. There are literally hundreds of these (well made) adventures available for free. I run the adventures as written for my home groups... with both saves me prep time and eliminates the players blaming me for any curbing.
However, these are work-arounds rather than real solutions.

You have it backwards.

What you're mentioning are very real and good solutions to the problem and not work-arounds. If the solution stems from the story or flow of the game (such as all the examples you mentioned above), then it's a good solution.

The work-around you're trying to identify is telling the players: "Hey, guys. This extended rest abuse has gone far enough, so I'm going to throw three encounters a day at you. You're not supposed to take an extended rest before that finishes even if it would be feasible."
It's a very clear work-around which leaves no doubt about what's going to happen.

And if you're looking for a solution that's written down, you're looking for the rule "You have to have three combat encounters before taking an extended rest." in the PHB. Which we all don't want.




In a way, you're preaching to the choir:  when I first joined this site, I joined a discussion on this topic, and couldn't understand the problem at all, since I could think of several work-arounds, and some of the suggested work-arounds I saw seemed like they would work great..

Alas, even an elegant work-around is still a work-around

In this case, some creative story-telling can help a DM work around the problem, but doesn't make the problem go away.  The problem being that in the official rules, there is no reason not to take a "15-minute work-day" as frequently as possible.  The DM is instead left to either invent ways to make that a meaningful choice, or invent ways to remove the ability to take an easy Extended Rest out of the equation altogether.

Doing things like interrupting frequent rests with random encounters, and adding time limits to storylines should be options for DMs to tell some cool stories, not requirements to fix a problem that shouldn't be there, as DMs are left to figure out on their own how to write adventures around an awkward spot in the rules.

A work-around is like taking an elaborate detour around a bad direct route:  you get to your destination better than if you took the bad road, but it doesn't make the bad road that should have been faster and easier go away, and convincing people by word-of-mouth to take the scenic route instead doesn't fix the bad direct route.

But, hey: I happen to like the work-arounds, and they do work - I'm certainly not discouraging their use at all, especially when they get the job done, lead to memorable stories, and happen to be the most positive alternative to just letting the frequent rests slide
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
I see your point. I still disagree to calling them work-arounds though, since D&D is a roleplaying game. This makes any story-based or environment-based prevention of extended rest abuse a solution, instead of a work-around. If it would be a work-around, what are we playing D&D for? Apparantly we're either looking for a full-blown roleplaying game without combat or a full-blown skirmishing game, where every rule is ironclad.

But those are just semantics garbling, since I agree with you on general In my case, the problem itself isn't really there, since the solution is already baked into the game's essence itself. If you're playing the role of a hero, would your hero take extended rests every time he bumps his toe? I think not :D
Heroic Dungeon Master
See, the way I see it, at 15 minute work day is inevitable, unless your story calls for PCs to go from level 1-30 in the course of a month or two.

My current game I'm running, there will sometimes be weeks/months between adventures, and within the adventures, there are some days that nothing of importance happens.  Part of that is so that the Players/Characters have time to do things in the city, which they love roleplaying getting contacts and being a thorn in the side of local gangs.

The next part of the adventure, the party is going to try to find a sponsor to pay for an expedition and find a ship/crew for that expedition.  It's going to take a few weeks for that to happen, and even when it DOES, it's going to take a few weeks for their investor to get the supplies, letters of Marque, etc. ready for their expedition into the Frostfell.

During that time, they're not really going to have that many combats, because, well, they're just waiting around.  Now, if they decide to provoke things... But, as far as Story is concerned, there is no reason for combats, because nothing story-wise is saying that there should be a combat.

IF it makes sense for the story, there is no reason for them to take an extended rest whenever they can (i.e. five minute work day).  It is the job of the DM to control pacing; it should be clear to the players when it is safe to take an extended rest, both from a "there are monsters in the next room" sense and "we only have 24 hours until Asmodeus opens the portal to the Nine Hells!"
Salla, on minions: I typically use them as encounter filler. 'I didn't quite fill out the XP budget, not enough room left for a decent near-level monster ... sprinkle in a few minions'. Kind of like monster styrofoam packing peanuts.
Oh, it's really not much of a problem for those of us who...


  • have seen work-arounds (solutions, whatever) for the 15-minute work-day worked seamlessly into the game for years and, accept them now as a normal part of the game,

  • are lucky enough to have players who are immersed in the game enough to do what their PCs would do (press on heroically, in spite of their exhaustion and bruises), instead of taking the easy way out because the default mechanics can allow it, or...

  • are members of a group who remembers a time before video games that allow, and are balanced for, PCs to take frequent breaks even in situations where it should be unlikely, and who haven't come to understand the 15-minute work-day as part of a normal and expected part of the RPG experience.



For inexperienced groups whose background is primarily with computerized DMs, scripted quests, and programmed monster AI, the solution (or work-around) shouldn't depend on new guys writing or re-writing adventures using the story-telling techniques of experienced DMs.  It should be provided by the game designers as a natural part of the rules.

That's not to say that D&D isn't a fun game for me, with or without the 15-minute workday

I've seen this come up a couple times now, and I've seen several DMs complaining that the game is "too easy" for the players without being able to explain why - I have to wonder if they are actually complaining about the same thing.  Perhaps someone should create a thread somewhere about some of the most important house-rules that new DMs should know about, and answers to the 15-minute-workday should be provided as one of the key house rules?
[spoiler New DM Tips]
  • Trying to solve out-of-game problems (like cheating, bad attitudes, or poor sportsmanship) with in-game solutions will almost always result in failure, and will probably make matters worse.
  • Gun Safety Rule #5: Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy. (Never introduce a character, PC, NPC, Villain, or fate of the world into even the possibility of a deadly combat or other dangerous situation, unless you are prepared to destroy it instantly and completely forever.)
  • Know your group's character sheets, and check them over carefully. You don't want surprises, but, more importantly, they are a gold mine of ideas!
  • "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a problem if the players aren't having fun and it interferes with a DM's ability to run the game effectively; if it's not a problem, 'fixing' at best does little to help, and at worst causes problems that didn't exist before.
  • "Hulk Smash" characters are a bad match for open-ended exploration in crowds of civilians; get them out of civilization where they can break things and kill monsters in peace.
  • Success is not necessarily the same thing as killing an opponent. Failure is not necessarily the same thing as dying.
  • Failure is always an option. And it's a fine option, too, as long as failure is interesting, entertaining, and fun!
[/spoiler] The New DM's Group Horror in RPGs "This is exactly what the Leprechauns want you to believe!" - Merb101 "Broken or not, unbalanced or not, if something seems to be preventing the game from being enjoyable, something has to give: either that thing, or other aspects of the game, or your idea of what's enjoyable." - Centauri
The easiest way to solve this is to say" To gain the benfet of a extended rest you must complete two milestones"

I use this but it's not carved in stone. If something went horribly wrong I will let them take a extended rest sooner.
Managing extended rests is something I was just discussing here