Legends and Lore: The Five-Minute Workday

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Legends and Lore:
The Five-Minute Workday
by Mike Mearls

How long do your groups tend to remain in an adventuring environment before seeking a place to rest up? This week, Mike tackles some of the expectations involved in combat-oriented resource management in D&D Next.

Talk about this column here.
 
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There's no reasonable way to eliminate the 5-minute workday as long as you have daily abilities. The dominant strategy is always to rest after every fight in order to get the heavy hitting abilities back.

The problem will only get worse in 5e now that the ridiculous vancian system has retured.
Summary: if the day is too short, casters shine, if it is too long, non-casters shine, so Next will provide tools for the DM to handle this problem.

The article starts by bringing up the point that characters will want to rest after the first fight, and then talks about guidelines for DMs. If players want to rest after the first fight, how will the DM stop them? That's what I want to know. Is the DM supposed to brow beat them into multiple encounters per day? What is the DM's plot doesn't call for multiple encounters per day
Crossposting from comments on the article itself.


This seems like another one of those solutions aimed to try to please everyone that won't actually please anyone.

I mean, the existence of the 5 minute work day is still there. This wild new innovation of giving the DMs guidelines for how much combat to have in a day sounds familiar... in 3e and 4e both we were given guidelines to have about 4 combats per day. Take a wild guess how often THAT panned out. Yeah, it generally didn't because fights will occur as often as necessary for the story being told.  Very few GMs are going to squeeze in an extra 10 rounds of combat to their adventure just because the game says that's what is expected for them to face in a given day.

This seems to me like nothing more than backing away from encounter based resources. Basically they're listening loud and clear to people who say they don't like designing encounters, they want to make things happen organically. But nothing being stated in this article actually affects the 5 minute work day problem it's trying to address. 
The only reason for balancing things around the adventuring day is to appease the grognards. It has no mechanical or roleplaying advantage over encounter-based design.

Now every DM is once again forced to work X encounters per day into their plot, and arbitrarily restrict the party from resting for the sake of balance.
People sometimes wonder why I am so cynical about the development team, and assume they're following the path to hit all of their old mistakes all over again.

Somehow I doubt this article will make them suddenly realize where my perspective comes from, but it sure gives a great example of it.
The Problem with Per-Day Classes

Because the per-day classes willingly choose to spend all their resources at once to go nova,

Because the atwill classes dont willingly choose to lose all their hit points at once,

The per-day classes will always use up their resources sooner, will always be more powerful, and will always force the atwill classes to end the day too soon.



The per-day classes can destroy the game with adventure-halting 5-minute workdays. 

But usually the per-day classes destroy the game in a more subtle way. Whenever they happen to confront a truly deadly hostile, they can go “semi-nova”. Thus the per-day classes flex their winning power, only when they need to, but not spending all of their resources at once. So the adventure still cuts short too soon, but still lasts longer than a literal 5 minutes. The per-day classes prove they are always more powerful than the atwill classes who must suffer the risks when confronting truly deadly hostiles. Thus per-day classes will always destroy the balance of the game.



The opposite problem is also true. Potentially, there are over 100 fully-rested encounters per day. If the day is quiet, and the threats are routine, then the per-day classes run out of resources - after only 5 encounters! - while it is still 9:30 in the morning! - who must force the rest of the party to stop the adventure until the per-day classes can sleep for the day.

 

The current “solution” in the L&L article for the game-breaking per-day classes is unsatisfactory.


 


Possible Solutions
 
The simplest solution is to allow a 1-hour rest as many times per day as necessary to continue the adventuring day.

Another solution is, per-day classes can cast two per-day spells per encounter. They collect two tokens at the start of the day. If they use their atwill cantrips and dont cast per-day spells during the encounter then they keep their tokens and add two more tokens for the next encounter. Thus the per-day classes *can* go nova casting many spells with many tokens, but later, toward the end of the day. This encourages per-day classes to start modest, maintain balance, and continue the adventure with the atwill classes. Unfortunately, this solution doesnt allow the per-day classes to continue the adventure once they run out of the 5 encounters while the day still has 95 encounters left waiting for them. Maybe a 1-hour rest allows the per-day classes to gain two more tokens to push-start the rest of the day.
The only reason for balancing things around the adventuring day is to appease the grognards. It has no mechanical or roleplaying advantage over encounter-based design.

Now every DM is once again forced to work X encounters per day into their plot, and arbitrarily restrict the party from resting for the sake of balance.



Resource management on a strategic scale is impossible in a purely encounter-based system.  Further, a purely encounter-based system mandates that every single encounter be a world-ending life-threatening fight, or it's simply a waste of time.


Balancing everything around encounters is artificial, unnecessary, and poor design, because it locks out legitimate gameplay elements and attempts to solve a problem that does not exist and has never existed in any campaign that is actually run by a DM (as opposed to in video games such as NWN, where the 5-minute workday was actually a real problem).
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
The problem with mr Mearls on the article, is that the 5 minute day isn't a math problem, is a design problem... I doesn't mather how you move, diminish or increase numbers, if the design is flawed, everything is flawed.
Summary: if the day is too short, casters shine, if it is too long, non-casters shine, so Next will provide tools for the DM to handle this problem.

The article starts by bringing up the point that characters will want to rest after the first fight, and then talks about guidelines for DMs. If players want to rest after the first fight, how will the DM stop them? That's what I want to know. Is the DM supposed to brow beat them into multiple encounters per day? What is the DM's plot doesn't call for multiple encounters per day



I have always managed to control the five minute workday by making time meaningful.  Things in my campaign are USUALly time sensitive.  This may be one reason why I never had a problem with fighter/wizard disparity. 

I didn't even have to try to make the day long.  Making time meaningful in the campaign is the first step in squashing a five minute work day.

And if you have the 5 minute workday problem, there is simply the case that the body does not function with 5 minutes of activity and 8 hours of rest.  Sleep deprivation will still kick in. 

The 5 minute workday is a metagame element that is very easy to avoid, and always has been.



CAMRA preserves and protects real ale from the homogenization of modern beer production. D&D Grognards are the CAMRA of D&D!

Resource management on a strategic scale is impossible in a purely encounter-based system.  Further, a purely encounter-based system mandates that every single encounter be a world-ending life-threatening fight, or it's simply a waste of time.


Balancing everything around encounters is artificial, unnecessary, and poor design, because it locks out legitimate gameplay elements and attempts to solve a problem that does not exist and has never existed in any campaign that is actually run by a DM (as opposed to in video games such as NWN, where the 5-minute workday was actually a real problem).



Balancing everything around the "adventuring day" is artificial, unnecessary, and poor design. As a DM, I will be forced to arbitrarily assault the PCs with random encounters whenever they rest in order to maintain game balance and discourage the wizard from unloading all his powers at once. It deliberately prevents me from running a game where the PC's fight once or twice per day.
Yadda yadda poor design, poor design, poor design, bad design, shoddy design, sloppy design, ad nauseum.  We know, we heard you the first 3 times you said 'bad design'.

Reading the article, one would think that perhaps designers have realized that 'the game is the mechanics!' was/is a doomed concept and that the answer is to provide -guidelines- and teach DM's how to handle their games properly as well as (the already-announced) toning down of wizards. 

...now where have I heard that before?  I know someone with a panda avatar who's been saying that for a while now...what's her name again...?  Gah.  It eludes me at the moment.

I support this idea, Mr. Mearls.  Keep up the good work.   But...do take a look at reinstating at least -some- of the old casting restrictions, eh?

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

*Sighs*


If this is the design philosphy of MM and Co. moving forward then it looks like D&D Next will not be the game for me.


For the record, I've always dealt with the "5 Min Workday" by simply telling my groups that they get to recover their spells, etc (extended rest in 4E) when I allow it and not before. There have been times that no rests were granted for 3+ sessions.

The reason I'm concerned is reading between the lines about what this means for the classes and their options and choices.

Wizards and Clerics will get multiple options via their spells (play test materials suggest a Vancian style magic system)

Fighter and Rogue - here are your flat sets of bonuses and themes, no new toys required.


Until I see something different in the new play test materials suggesting otherwise all hope I had for a game that blended the "good stuff" from all editions is gone.


Huzzah to the grognards - the day is yours.


Hmm - maybe I can get into the next 13th age play test.
To recap:
What are they doing about the 5 minute work day?  Nothing

What this means for caster:? You blow a spell at the wrong moment and you are out of luck for the whole day.  Alternatively if you stock up on social or utility spells you won't be able to meaningfully contribute in combat.

What this means for non casters: Your HP is your daily resource.  So getting crit, ganged up on, or any number of random things could cause you to run out of HP early, thus forcing a premature rest.  Congrats! You are now the number cause of your party's 5 minute workday problems.

What this means for combats: Nothing at all actually povides a challenge.  If HP is expected to go down by 25% a fight and you are expected to have 4 fights a day then: The first 3 fights are are going to have no chance to kill the party and the last fight can easily be easily skipped by prematurely resting.  

What this means for the DM: You can no longer plan to have a low combat game.  You must have X number of rounds of combat per day.  Too few and casters will be too powerful.  Too many and the fighter's HP won't be able to take it  and he dies.

What this means for monsters: A monster must have very few HP and far less damage than a PC.  If they have numbers approaching the PCs then the wole HP as a daily resource thing falls apart.  Monsters can only be expected to do about 37% Max HP in damage a fight given the current HP and Hit Die mechanics (if we assume 4 fights per day).
The article starts by bringing up the point that characters will want to rest after the first fight, and then talks about guidelines for DMs. If players want to rest after the first fight, how will the DM stop them?


I'd like to know that too.

It seems they're going to go another edition without adressing the problem beyond the cop-out "You're the DM, you figure it out" response. Well great Mearls, why are we buying this edition again?


That's what I want to know. Is the DM supposed to brow beat them into multiple encounters per day? What is the DM's plot doesn't call for multiple encounters per day



Yeah, honestly I hate the idea that there has to be some mandatory number of encounters per day to balance the game. 4E did a much better job with it at least where everyone was on the same power schedule. Though optimally i'd like to see daily powers go away entirely. If they want vanican powers, that's fine, but have them refresh per adventure instead of per day, or something similar.
Amen. “Ideally, Id like to see daily power go away entirely.”



By the way, I updated my post #7 with ideas for solving the problem with per-day spells.
Balance cannot happen in a vacuum. You must start with a baseline from which you assess balance between options. That is all this article is dealing with, what is the baseline assumption used to balance options. It is a pretty good one actually, since you always want the baseline to envelope all options. An encounter based baseline fails to properly account for daily powers, leading to a 5-minute workday (5-MWD). It can work, if you impose an artificial limit on when you can take an extended rest, but without that bit of hard control, it can devolve into the 5-MWD.

So using an adventure day as your baseline avoids the need for any artificial limiting of the periods you failed to cover, since you cover all options in that timeframe (assuming there are no new class of powers called "Milestone" powers which only recharge when the DM says you reach a Milestone, which could be after several adventure days).

However it does mean that your balance act becomes more complex. An encounter based design only needs consider encounter and at-will powers primarily, with daily powers being the "wild card" that cannot really be balanced for as well since they lay outside the timeframe. But an adventure day based design, while accounting for daily powers, now has to deal with daily, encounter and at-will powers. Furthermore, if encounter powers are still used, there needs to be a new baseline for how long a typical encounter should last, just like they have one for how long (or how many mob level-rounds) adventure days last. Otherwise they will run into unbalanced encounter powers vs. at-wills and dailies. 

This means that whatever they assume as the baseline, the DM will know and can take into account changes he makes for his runs and adjust knowingly. If fighters are "surfers" that is, they rule when waves of mobs come at you, not all at once, and wizards are "blasters" who rule with mobs bundle up for them all at once, then you as the DM can know that wizards will shine in rush encounters and fighters in wave encounters. You can balance the two to make sure all have their time in the sun.

Think of modern combined arms tactics. Infantry, Armor, and Airpower each have their role. Each are good and poor at certain things. They must be used together and in the right combination to achieve success. So groups need to use combined arms tactics as well, with fighters and wizards covering each other's weak spots. Wizards need to be sure not to blow their wad too soon, or they will not perform when a rush hits them group, having wasted their power when it was not ideal to use it.

Not sure how this baseline will stop extended rests from happening before the adventure day is up, that was not described, and it is the key to it all. If they do not make it somehow part of the powers themselves, it will just end up being an artificial limit imposed on the PCs, which is a way to do it, but it would be more pleasing to somehow make it a natural outcome from the way the powers work inherently. For example, a cool-down mechanic could achieve this, so a daily power has a long cool-down time, or not the power itself, but the user I should say. So a wizard can cast say 2-3 daily type spells before using up his reserves. Those would replenish overtime, slowly, faster when resting perhaps, with the balance being you recover fully after 24 hours (or whatever time is decided). Some daily powers use up more of these reserves than others. This is like the power point system, or mana system, you just need to balance it so the points come back when you think they should. If they come back so that the wizard might case another daily or 2 without sleeping due to just the normal non-resting recovery rate, after depleting himself previously, then you need to account for that in your balance. 

Encounter type powers might not use mana in this case, which would represent deep reserves of great power. Encounter powers could draw on shallow reserves, giving less power, but much faster recovery. So you would have a long term tracking for mana, but short term for this other power source, say no recharge rate even needed for it, just say it recharges when you "take 5". Maybe a wizard could choose to weaken himself in the mana side for more encounter side strength, or the other way around. If they balance it well, this can help DMs know how things work and if they diverge from it for certain cases, trying to achieve it overall in average, they know the distortions it will produce. If those are limited, allowing certain choices to shine but then other choices to shine later on, it should work. 
*Sighs*


If this is the design philosphy of MM and Co. moving forward then it looks like D&D Next will not be the game for me.


For the record, I've always dealt with the "5 Min Workday" by simply telling my groups that they get to recover their spells, etc (extended rest in 4E) when I allow it and not before. There have been times that no rests were granted for 3+ sessions.




My party taking extended rest depends on the plot/situations.  When time is of the essense, they will not take extended rest (or even short rests), ofcourse...i am DMing 4e, and they can still relly on encounters. Surges per day is probably the only thing that will push them to retreat to extended rest right now, but surges it's now spread more evenly between charactersnow that they have a artificer.

Ofcourse, it is also because the RP character leader of the group is a very bold character.
Summary: if the day is too short, casters shine, if it is too long, non-casters shine, so Next will provide tools for the DM to handle this problem.

The article starts by bringing up the point that characters will want to rest after the first fight, and then talks about guidelines for DMs. If players want to rest after the first fight, how will the DM stop them? That's what I want to know. Is the DM supposed to brow beat them into multiple encounters per day? What is the DM's plot doesn't call for multiple encounters per day



I have always managed to control the five minute workday by making time meaningful.  Things in my campaign are USUALly time sensitive.  This may be one reason why I never had a problem with fighter/wizard disparity. 

I didn't even have to try to make the day long.  Making time meaningful in the campaign is the first step in squashing a five minute work day.

And if you have the 5 minute workday problem, there is simply the case that the body does not function with 5 minutes of activity and 8 hours of rest.  Sleep deprivation will still kick in. 

The 5 minute workday is a metagame element that is very easy to avoid, and always has been.




Do your players ever make train noises at you or roll their eyes with same old tired approach?
Summary: if the day is too short, casters shine, if it is too long, non-casters shine, so Next will provide tools for the DM to handle this problem.

The article starts by bringing up the point that characters will want to rest after the first fight, and then talks about guidelines for DMs. If players want to rest after the first fight, how will the DM stop them? That's what I want to know. Is the DM supposed to brow beat them into multiple encounters per day? What is the DM's plot doesn't call for multiple encounters per day



I have always managed to control the five minute workday by making time meaningful.  Things in my campaign are USUALly time sensitive.  This may be one reason why I never had a problem with fighter/wizard disparity. 

I didn't even have to try to make the day long.  Making time meaningful in the campaign is the first step in squashing a five minute work day.

And if you have the 5 minute workday problem, there is simply the case that the body does not function with 5 minutes of activity and 8 hours of rest.  Sleep deprivation will still kick in. 

The 5 minute workday is a metagame element that is very easy to avoid, and always has been.




Do your players ever make train noises at you or roll their eyes with same old tired approach?



Its so nice when people make non sensical assumptions.

You have no idea what my approach is or more appropriately what the aprroaches are.



CAMRA preserves and protects real ale from the homogenization of modern beer production. D&D Grognards are the CAMRA of D&D!
*Sighs*
The reason I'm concerned is reading between the lines about what this means for the classes and their options and choices.

Wizards and Clerics will get multiple options via their spells (play test materials suggest a Vancian style magic system)

Fighter and Rogue - here are your flat sets of bonuses and themes, no new toys required.



I assume you're referring to this quote:

As an example of the differences between casters and other characters, a wizard is far more powerful in comparison to a fighter if every monster you expect to fight during an adventure charges the group at once. A fireball damages almost every critter, and webcatches them all in its grasp. Meanwhile, the fighter and rogue work through a few enemies at a time. When you compress fights, a wizard's and cleric's combat spells become much more powerful.

In comparison, imagine if the party fought one monster at a time. The wizard might never opt to cast a spell, since something such as fireball is less effective overall if it blasts only one critter. The fighter, on the other hand, can cut a swathe through the party's enemies, hacking them down one at a time.



That sounds less like a statement of caster dominance and more like a statement of combat roles, like Controller Vs. Striker.


Some casters are non-per-day classes. Some noncasters are per-day classes.


 
It sounds more like per-day classes can go nova any time they feel like it, and non-per-day classes cant.    
A humorous quote from SkidAce, over at ENWorld:



We [the DMs] make a story/scenario.... They [the adventurers] decide how to approach it.

Plan encounters 4 a day everyday? Bosh that notion.

My players would think the evil numerologists were plotting against them.

"You know Bob, we've had four battles every day for four days ... I think the numerologists in that temple we raided cursed us."
 
"Yah Tom, it is odd ... and the last one always seems the hardest...."


This article doesn't address the issue. They acknowledge it exists, acknowledge that in 5e, there will be power imbalance between casters and non casters depending on how long the adventuring day is, and really suggest nothing of value to deal with those problems.

They pretty much seem to be going out of their way to make the game unbalanced if you step outside their guidelines for adventuring day length, which means that they're punishing people who want different lengths without wildly unbalancing the entire game.

And from what I can see, all in the name of not giving non casters abilities that grognards will insist are spells, even though they VERY, VERY CLEARLY are not.

The rules should work for groups that don't play the DM-as-God game. Because a very large part of the fanbase thinks that game is completely worthless.

We further shouldn't be forced to have a specific number of combat rounds per adventuring day in order for the game to be balanced. That's idiotic.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
Pine trees didn't unanimously decide one day that leaves were gauche.
http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
There's no reasonable way to eliminate the 5-minute workday as long as you have daily abilities. The dominant strategy is always to rest after every fight in order to get the heavy hitting abilities back.

The problem will only get worse in 5e now that the ridiculous vancian system has retured.

4th ed had daily powers. In LFR dailies were hoarded until the PCs had meta-gamed the "end of the adventure fight" and would then go nova trivialising the big boss fight. When they incorrectly metagamed they either demanded to rest there and then or on the other end of the scale they would never use their dailies. This also exacerbated the "long fight" problem where fights required some expenditure of daily powers, not because it was a dangerous fight, but simply because the monsters had so many hit points that not doing so made the combat drag on significantly longer. Towards the end of my tenure in LFR people started to work out "if we use some of our dailies in every fight then fights end faster." Unfortunately they got the math wrong (in my experience) in Paragon tier and those fights drag on no matter what you do.

The only way to eliminate the 5-minute work day is to remove daily powers entirely and simply have encounter powers. We then end up with people either always getting their most powerful abilities each fight or they just never get powerful abilities and instead merely have access to ho hum abilities.

In Pathfinder I do not find the problem of the 5 minute work day. It is simply not an issue at the tables I play at. As such I can only conclude that the problem is with the players rather than the game system. These players are willing to spend 30 in game days clearing out a 30 room dungeon and who cares about what this does to the plot. I would argue these players need to change their mindset instead of asking the game system to change for them.

Funnily enough in my single game of the D&D playtest, characters' inability to regain hit points after their spells and healing surge (I mean, hit dice) had been expended was the far greater concern. The role each character played changed as they got low on hit points and had to fall back behind and allow someone else to tank while they made ranged attacks. They didn't conclude "well we're out of our resources, we should go camp now." They concluded "we can go one more fight if we're really careful and think tactically about what we do."

If players want to rest after the first fight, how will the DM stop them? That's what I want to know.

If the players want to stop in 4th ed, how does the DM stop them? Seriously. In 4th ed I can go nova every combat and use all of my daily powers which significantly trivialises tough encounters. How do you stop me from doing it?

This is not a problem I've ever encountered outside of LFR and so I've never had to deal with it.

The only reason for balancing things around the adventuring day is to appease the grognards. It has no mechanical or roleplaying advantage over encounter-based design.

I found the way in which the Caves of Chaos encounters play out to be quite enjoyable and refreshing. I have never seen battles play out the way they do in that playtest except once in Pathfinder where our group said "Come on. We can take on an entire tribe" and the adventure was nice enough to try to limit how quickly new monsters came at us so we would eventually get the hint we can't win this fight (we could, but OOC we ran out of time due to it being a work night).

The per-day classes will always use up their resources sooner, will always be more powerful, and will always force the atwill classes to end the day too soon.

Would people mind not speaking in such absolutes and instead be more general such as saying "in my experience" or "in the past at games I've been at" because time and time again I DO NOT see this happen. When only 1 character wants to rest and the rest of the party wants to push on I've seen that person be told "come on, we can take a few more fights." It is only when EVERYONE has per day resources that I've seen entire tables go "naah, let's rest right now.  We have to rest right now. We've all used our dailies."
let's not let this get lost in the noise:

"The rogue's ability to stealth has to be matched up against the invisibility spell"

So much for caster supremacy!



As far as the real topic...there is no way that the system can force the same result no matter how the DM decides to structure fights.  The DM will always be able to break things, either intentionally or through running the fights poorly.  The comparison between different rates of monsters later in the article is particularly apt:  there's nothing that an XP-budgeted encounter-based design can do to really express the difference between sending in all the monsters at once versus having them come out one at a time.  You still nerf the aoe classes by sending them in one at a time, or nerf the single target classes by sending them in all at once.  And yet they both have the same encounter budget, as per encounter-based design.

My point with this is that the question of what timescale you use for the resources is irrelevant - you can always throw up an encounter that breaks the resource management horribly.  And that's not a fault of the resource system, it's fundamental to all of them.  If you get in a situation where you can ignore resource limitations, then yes, the resource system breaks down.  The solution is to develop methods whereby those limitations stay relevant in more situations.  You won't get it perfect, but you will get it close enough to be viable.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Number-crunching won't fix the 5MW. Player psychology will. There is no built-in incentive for pushing on with the adventuring day, other than not looking like a wuss or risk derailing a DM's plot train. Not all adventures are princess killing affairs that play out like a season of 24, and not all dungeons have a rust monster slowly working his way through the pile of treasure it contains.

So, carrot or the stick? From another topic I mentioned an XP penalty for resting mid-adventure, which would be a pretty ugly but easy to implement stick. How about a carrot instead? For every two life or death situations the players overcome in a row, it gets an 'XP Bonus.' At the end of the adventuring day, the DM adds up XP acquired, and then adds in bonus XP, +10% per XP Bonus. Yeah, it's metagamey, but so is the desire to keep groups moving despite all resource management instincts saying no.
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
Number-crunching won't fix the 5MW. Player psychology will. There is no built-in incentive for pushing on with the adventuring day, other than not looking like a wuss or risk derailing a DM's plot train. Not all adventures are princess killing affairs that play out like a season of 24, and not all dungeons have a rust monster slowly working his way through the pile of treasure it contains.

So, carrot or the stick? From another topic I mentioned an XP penalty for resting mid-adventure, which would be a pretty ugly but easy to implement stick. How about a carrot instead? For every two life or death situations the players overcome in a row, it gets an 'XP Bonus.' At the end of the adventuring day, the DM adds up XP acquired, and then adds in bonus XP, +10% per XP Bonus. Yeah, it's metagamey, but so is the desire to keep groups moving despite all resource management instincts saying no.


This makes a lot of sense. If there is nothing outside of forced time constraints or the threat of wondering monsters who just happen along whenever the DM deems the PCs are being too cautious, then this edition isn't offering anything we don't already have. There ought to be some tested ideas for creating incentives to act like adventurers.

IMO the biggest issue is PC fragility. Treasure, XP, and other hypothetical rewards are meaningless if you die. The more that DDN features costly and/or rare heals, swingy combat, one-hit kills, and shady difficulty metrics, the more you will see PCs retreat to rest before they resume poking everything with an 11' pole.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.

So, carrot or the stick? From another topic I mentioned an XP penalty for resting mid-adventure, which would be a pretty ugly but easy to implement stick. How about a carrot instead? For every two life or death situations the players overcome in a row, it gets an 'XP Bonus.' At the end of the adventuring day, the DM adds up XP acquired, and then adds in bonus XP, +10% per XP Bonus. Yeah, it's metagamey, but so is the desire to keep groups moving despite all resource management instincts saying no.

This is something like what I've suggested, where the XP you gain depends wholly on the actual threat involved.  Instead of quantifying anything based on number of encounters, I just give more XP for fights that go poorly than for ones that are one-sided in the party's favor.

After all, what does anyone learn from letting the wizard kill 20 kobolds with a single fireball?  You can learn a lot more about fighting by engaging them all in melee.  You might have a powerful ace up your sleeve, but you'll want to hold off on using it whenever possible.  Compare the combat prowess of your character with the skill level of a competitive (video) gamer - you don't get any better if you only play on easy mode.

It also has the side-effect of curbing munchkins, since an invincible PC learns nothing while her mortal cohorts do get stronger just from surviving (assuming the enemies even had a turn to move, putting them in some actual danger).

The metagame is not the game.
I really don't know what to say....

Tying balance to an arbitrary number of combat rounds a day is pretty much silly... Either you go for the "numerologists curse" way and try to keep it with whatever means or you'll get an unbalanced game.

That's a really bad answer, coming from an edition where balance was there almost all the time and you had mechanical incentives to go on (action points, encounter powers).

I'm also with Alpha Dork when he says that he's worried about the fact that there is a clear dicothomy between casters and non casters, with the having the nice stuff and the second one having run-the-mill stuff all day long.



IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

Further, a purely encounter-based system mandates that every single encounter be a world-ending life-threatening fight, or it's simply a waste of time.

If the fights are quick enough, it can serve a story purpose without being life-threatening. Besides, while a single encounter system more or less mandates each encounter to have the potential to kill a PC, or otherwise cause them to loose something, that is not the same as making it a world-ending type of encounter. Players will need to accept though that there is a chance PCs can die or loose in somewhat insignificant fights. Whether or not it stays D&D under those circumstances is another matter though...

In my opinion 4e suffers under the fact that running a 1 encounter per extended rest is a challenge, and easy encounters do not cost any resources at all while still taking a lot of time. 3e had more flexibility in that regards, but it favored the 5-minute adventure day a bit too much (obviously avoidable as a DM through the story). I like the token suggestion earlier to limit casters going nova in the first fight...
I've never really had the issue with the 5-minute workday in the sense that players always want to rest after every fight. My problem is that often it doesn't make story sense to have more than one encounter in a day. It is very unusual for me to run dungeons, its just not what my players get into. Usually my sessions last many in-game days, but only have a few fights scattered about them. 4e handles this reasonably well, because everyone has a similar system of resource management. It didn't matter whether I did 1 fight a day or 5, it remained mostly blanced.

D&DN claims to be accomodating of many different playstyles, but in this case it is the opposite. You can either run the "right" number of encounters per day, or the game breaks. There is already a good solution to this problem: 4e's AEDU system. I understand many people hate AEDU. That's fine. But you cannot deny that AEDU is an effective way of ensuring that, no matter how many encounters you choose to run per day, everyone will contribute equally.
"So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been." - Manwë, High King of the Valar
So, carrot or the stick? From another topic I mentioned an XP penalty for resting mid-adventure, which would be a pretty ugly but easy to implement stick. How about a carrot instead? For every two life or death situations the players overcome in a row, it gets an 'XP Bonus.' At the end of the adventuring day, the DM adds up XP acquired, and then adds in bonus XP, +10% per XP Bonus. Yeah, it's metagamey, but so is the desire to keep groups moving despite all resource management instincts saying no.

XP never works as a carrot or a stick if the players pay attention to the game mechanics. The game suffers a lot if the level gap between PCs become too big, so at some point the DM has to stop or runs the risk of loosing players. If it is used for the group as a whole, it matters little since the DM needs to adjust the challenge of the encounter to the power of the group or else ends up with a TPK or make things way too easy to be fun. XP is a tool to help a DM decide on adventure pacing and in 4e encounter balance, but most people I know have gotten rid of it a long time ago. The players have accepted the truth, that ultimately the DM decides when a PC levels anyway, so might as well do away with the book keeping.

The only thing that I have seen work against the 5-minute day is peer pressure and story (and story does not mean railroading - I never force PCs to go on, they are well aware of the potential risks if there are any). The token thing might work as well since that simply prevents going nova.

P.S. The thing that does impact balance is the gp (including items):xp ratio. As such using xp as a carrot might actually backfire, since being higher level with less items is bad, while as a stick it actually favors the PCs. Using it, just means you need to pay even more care to treasure since you will be deviating from the standard.

Without a mechanical reason to continue or a consequence for resting, the existence of the 5MWD will be determined on the DM's ability to replace this missing part.

This is forcing DM mastery and ups the DM's workload. I don't like it.

Can't we do like 4e and add milestones? After a variance amount of experience or time, characters gain milestones that can be used to regain HP and spells.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Can't we do like 4e and add milestones? After a variance amount of experience or time, characters gain milestones that can be used to regain HP and spells.



Seconded. Provide guidelines to DMs for setting up their own milestones and recovery rate according to the pacing they want to achieve in their game. A milestone could be as short as a single encounter or as long as several sessions, or anything in between.

The problem with mathematically balancing the 5MWD on a 'day' basis is that, well, it cannot be done because that's a fictional measure.
Now, since the DM controls the narrative he can manage to balance it himself (at cost of some added overhead), so it is ok to set milestone = 1 day for those who like it that way.
Can't we do like 4e and add milestones?

Milestones did nothing to discourage the 5 minute work day. All they gave you back was an action point every second fight. You could get one EVERY fight by simply having an extended rest after every combat.

How did 4th ed discourage the 5 minute work day?


How did 4th ed discourage the 5 minute work day?



It didn't. But it mitigated it, mostly because of encounters powers allowing characters to remain mostly effective upon a short rest.

Milestones in 4E didn't do much just because getting 1 action point every two fights is not a relevant incentive. However the general principle was good and can be explored and expanded for application in DDN.  

@JohnLynch

4E didn't but it was close. Milestones didn't give enough to encourage continuing and it didn't touch the main reason for stopping in 4E: lack of healing surges.

The sentence after the quoted one explains how. DM hands out milestones, the players spend milestones to regain HP, spells, and other resources or take extra actions. Then you have DM empowerment without increasing the workload to much.

DM 1: You get a milestone every 2 encounters.

DM 2: You get a milestone every time you gain 10% of the XP needed to level. And you can spend milestones for action points.

DM 3: You get a milestone every 4 encounters but you get 2 HD or Double spells per milestone.

DM 4: No milestones. Mind your own resources.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

it mitigated it, mostly because of encounters powers allowing characters to remain mostly effective upon a short rest.

So in order for my encounter powers to be effective, combat needs to last long enough for me to use those encounter powers. Therefore combats have a minimum length of time they must last for.

If WotC can work out what the "minimum number of required rounds" is for these encounter powers to be useful, I would prefer they simply bake that into the math of at-wills.

I don't need to say "I choose you, Tide of Iron" and flip over a power card in order to feel effective. I can instead simply walk up and hit it for as much as damage as I can and be just as good.

Therefore I don't see how 4th ed mitigated the 5 minute work day. Encounter powers are a trick to fool PCs into thinking they haven't used all their resources. Encounter powers are irrelevant. If I use my daily powers I'm using a more powerful ability and thus dealing more damage and thus overcoming the encounter more easily.

Giving everyone daily powers simply changed the conversation from being "one PC wants an extended rest" to "all the PCs want an extended rest."
DM hands out milestones, the players spend milestones to regain HP, spells, and other resources or take extra actions.

So milestones allow PCs to have an "extended rest" without having an 8 hour sleep? Oh sure, they might not get all their spells back or all their healing surges back. But they'll get to choose WHICH spells they get back (i.e. the highest level slots they have available to them), and they'll get enough healing surges to survive to the next milestone.

This discourages the 5 minute work day. It turns it into a 10 minute work day. By handing out "milestones" every second battle, the PCs are able to regain the BEST resources every second battle.

No matter what the rules say, you can easily turn the "extended rest" from an 8 hour event into a 5 minute event if that is what you desire.

I fail to see how this EFFECTIVELY discourages the 5 minute work day. Telling the PCs "alright, don't rest every fight and I'll let you get all your stuff back every second fight" is saying to those PCs that metagame "you win. If you play along, I'll give you what you want."

I still see this as a problem with the player mentality rather than the mechanics. I have never seen the 5 minute work day problem outside of LFR.
The per-day classes will always use up their resources sooner, will always be more powerful, and will always force the atwill classes to end the day too soon.

Would people mind not speaking in such absolutes and instead be more general such as saying "in my experience" or "in the past at games I've been at" because time and time again I DO NOT see this happen. When only 1 character wants to rest and the rest of the party wants to push on I've seen that person be told "come on, we can take a few more fights." It is only when EVERYONE has per day resources that I've seen entire tables go "naah, let's rest right now.  We have to rest right now. We've all used our dailies."  

The categorical statement is true enough.

“The per-day classes ... *will always be more powerful* ....”

The per-day classes are systemically impossible to balance with non-per-day and break the equity among the players.

The will nova whenever they “need” to. And when they run out of power, they will always end the day too soon.

Even at tables where the per-day classes dont kill the game in 5 minutes, they still kill the game in 5 encounters, even while the day itself still has time for 95 more encounters. The per-day classes ruin every single adventure story that lacks 4 encounters per day. And they *always* end the day too soon.