Real solutions to the 5 minute workday

The most recent L&L article didn't actually propose any solutions to the 5 minute work day but instead seems to be creating an environment where if the DM does not adhere to some strict X number of combats per day guidelines the whole of class balance will fall apart.  Well now is your chance to come up with mechanics that might actually help alleviate the 5 minute work day problem.  Below are ideas for one or more classes that could help alleviate any 5 minute work day problems.

1) Vancian casters have  3 mana.  Everytime they cast a memorized spell it costs 1 mana.  All mana recharges with a short rest.  This will prevent chain casting of Vancian spells and require a Vancian caster to actually have to manage their spell slots in combat or use at-wills.

2) Classes have "Plot Coupons" instead of Daily powers.  A player begins the day with 1 plot coupon and gains an additional 1 whenever they finish two important and challenging encounters (additional ones may be handed out by the DM as they see fit). A plot coupon may be spent by a player to use one of the "Plot Powers" that they know. 

3) Some classes have encounter based resources such as a pool of stamina points.  These can be spent to perform heroic exploits.  As long as the abilites are keyed towards situational uses (one power is a whirlwind atttack while another knocks an enemy prone for instance) spamming should remain rare.  

4) Some classes have ToB style maneuvers.  This hybrid at-will/encounter method would allow classes to never run out of their cool abilities while also preventing "spamming".

The 5e Warblade

Want a real solution? Roleplay.
Want a real solution? Roleplay.



Yep, like when the party fights a strong enemy and the wizard has to use all of his spells so their is no TPK, and the party now realizing their big guns are now empty decides to Roleplay by continuing to quest instead of safely wait for the wizard to recharge?  That is about as un-roleplay like as you can get.

What about the group who has a game of intrigue where there is only a single fight every session.  Does roleplay fix the fact that the wizard can blow every single spell to trivialize it, and still have tons of spells for social situations throughout the rest of the game?

Seriously, grow up. 
My solution is milestones that restore daily resources. The DMs and players determine if they will use them, how often they are comfortable with getting milestones, and what they restore.

Because ogres are dumb and there is nothing stopping me from killing them one day at a time.

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!

You know, the 5mw exists as long as you think an adventure day as a "I go on and kill whaever comes in front of me" sort of game. Seriusly, the moment I do not play that way is the momnet I never even heared about five menutes workday. 
My solution is milestones that restore daily resources.



I like this idea, and I'll even go a step further with it by increasing XP rewards for every encounter taken after a milestone without resting and decreasing XP rewards for every encounter taken after resting before reaching a milestone.
You know, the 5mw exists as long as you think an adventure day as a "I go on and kill whaever comes in front of me" sort of game. Seriusly, the moment I do not play that way is the momnet I never even heared about five menutes workday. 



I do not play that way either.  Th only times I have experienced the 5 minute workday is not due to player actions at all but rather DM decisions and luck.  If the group encounters a monster that is too much for them to handle, or the monsters get lucky, or gang up on the poor fighter then the groups resources will be depleted much faster than anticipated.  Somtimes you absolutely need sleep at level 1 to prevent getting tpk'd by 6 orcs.  Once you are out of juice, there is nothing in the rules to stop you from resting.  I am suggesting mechanics that help prevent 5 minute workday prevalence.  It doesn't matter if you never exprienced or noticed it.  Many many many people did. 
Lawolf,

Please refrain from statements that end with that last sentence.

The concept of balancing the wizard through RP is a valid one as is your example of a group that chooses fewer combats in their playstyle.

The solution is to mix it up often enough that your players don't expect a single combat day.

As far as pushing on without the wizard, RP wise I have never encountered a fighter who thought of a wizard as "the big guns". They usually think of him as a bookish wimp who relies too heavily on his "mystical mumbo jumbo", an opinion which is actually reinforced by the wizard running out of spells.

The wizard can keep his flashy lights and hocus pocus hand wavery because my sword does not fail after one little scuffle. It may new to be sharpened but that only takes a moment.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Lawolf, Please refrain from statements that end with that last sentence. The concept of balancing the wizard through RP is a valid one as is your example of a group that chooses fewer combats in their playstyle. The solution is to mix it up often enough that your players don't expect a single combat day. As far as pushing on without the wizard, RP wise I have never encountered a fighter who thought of a wizard as "the big guns". They usually think of him as a bookish wimp who relies too heavily on his "mystical mumbo jumbo", an opinion which is actually reinforced by the wizard running out of spells. The wizard can keep his flashy lights and hocus pocus hand wavery because my sword does not fail after one little scuffle. It may new to be sharpened but that only takes a moment.



I have caused TPKs through that kind of thinking with my fighter/rogue in Castles and Crusades.  RP is a fine solution to individual groups but it neither addresses the fact that the core mechanics of the game encourage the 5 minute workday nor the fact that I roleplay all the time and still enounter the 5 minute workday.

Edit:  It also does not address the fact that more often than not the party NEEDS to rest after biting off more than they can chew so it makes more RP sense to actually rest if everyone is out of resources by 10 am.  
I like Orzel's milestone idea. I also think the concept of "per day" should be switched out for "per adventure"

-Brad

Want a real solution? Roleplay.



Yep, like when the party fights a strong enemy and the wizard has to use all of his spells so their is no TPK, and the party now realizing their big guns are now empty decides to Roleplay by continuing to quest instead of safely wait for the wizard to recharge?  That is about as un-roleplay like as you can get.

What about the group who has a game of intrigue where there is only a single fight every session.  Does roleplay fix the fact that the wizard can blow every single spell to trivialize it, and still have tons of spells for social situations throughout the rest of the game?

Seriously, grow up. 



If the game is nothing but intrigue why does the wizard have combat spells preped at all?  If he almost never fights people why does he have nothing but combat spells prepped?  That makes 0 sense.  He should have maybe 1 or two spells prepped to deal with combat should it arise.  Other than that it should be all intigue based utility and interaction based magic, not combat magic.  If he is metagaming and playing an over the top blaster then he is built for the wrong type of game, and is actively ruinging everyone else's fun (unless everyone is cool with him being that blaster powerhouse that keeps the combats short so they can get back to the intigue).  That there is a disparity between the game you are running and the characters in it.  Redesign the game they are in and shift its focus to fighting, or let the wizard know that what he is doing makes 0 sense and is straight metagame.

Yeah the wizard may be spent, and if there is nothing driving the party forward resting only makes sense.  Nothing you say or do is ever going to make that stop happening.  Now if there is some driving reason as to why the charaters need to move forward, such as having people to save and enemies to foil in the immediate future, then it would be completely non-roleplay to stop and camp for 32 hours.  Sometimes there are consequences for having to nova to save everyone's lives.  

It is entirely a game design issue not a systems design issue.  It can't be helped if the story isn't crafted correctly.  This "problem" should have minimal impact on mechanics, and a greater impact on story writing.  In a compelling story the 5 minute workday isn't a problem.


Yep, like when the party fights a strong enemy and the wizard has to use all of his spells so their is no TPK, and the party now realizing their big guns are now empty decides to Roleplay by continuing to quest instead of safely wait for the wizard to recharge?  That is about as un-roleplay like as you can get.



Fights like that should happen rarely.  Most fights won't be so far above the party level that it requires them to expend all their resources. 




Then the wizard who novas because he knows there aren't going to be many encounters should be slammed hard for metagaming.  He is in effect cheating.   

Seriously, grow up. 



Pot, meet kettle.

Concept:


1)    You have Hitpoints and you have Healing Surges. Surges are the way you regain Hitpoints.


2)    You have Spellpoints and you have Spell Surges. Surges are the way you regain Spellpoints.


3)    You have Actions (1 Action and 1 Immediate Action) per Turn and Action Surges. Surges are the way you gain extra Actions.


You already know how Hitpoints and Healing Surges work.


Spellpoints are like Hitpoints, you lose them when you cast spells. You regain them by spending Spell Surges. A Spell Surge could restore Spellpoint Max/4 Spellpoints per use just like Healing Surges restore Hitpoints Max/4 Hitpoints per use.


When you use an At-Will spell, they do not use Spellpoints because you have so mastered them you can spam them without end.


When you use an Encounter spell, you lose Spellpoints based on the power level of the spell.


When you use Daily spells, you lose lots of Spellpoints, and have the option to also burn a Spell Surge directly with each Daily used, to help restore your Spellpoint pool either before or after you use the Daily (like Second Wind for Hitpoints)


You get only 1 Action each Turn and 1 Immediate Action off-Turn. An Action would be built so it includes your Movement with it, allowing some Actions to not include movement, allowing them to be more powerful, or some to give more Movement making the attack part weaker. Basically your 1 Action includes both movement (if any) and attack.


For example, instead of just a Basic Attack, you now have a Basic Action. When you take a Basic Action you Move your Speed and make a Basic Attack at any point during your movement. Other At-Will Actions could be, for example:


-Tide of Iron: Move your speed and make a Basic Attack at any point during your movement. If you hit, push the target 1 square (2 of you use a shield). “Note: because of how movement works here, you can save some to then move back next to the pushed foe”. If you did not Move before making your attack, you may instead Shift half your speed after making the attack.


So since you get just 1 Action and 1 Immediate Action, spending an Action Surge gets you 1 extra Action and 1 extra Immediate Action (so you have 2 reactions now for that Turn). It could be set up in such a way that you keep that extra Immediate Action until you actually use it (during a round when you use 2 immediate actions), but this requires an extra bit of tracking. Perhaps just say if the user did not use the extra Immediate action gained for the surge, they can get an extra Action instead on their next turn if they do not spend an Action Surge that turn, otherwise they lose the immediate action bonus.


Then, when you reach a Milestone, you regain 1 Healing Surge, 1 Spell Surge, and 1 Action Surge. You may convert any 1 of these into 1 of another, but can only do this once. So if you do not use spells, you convert your Spell Surge into another Action Surge or Healing Surge. If you use spells, you may want to sacrifice that Action Surge for another Spell Surge, or Healing Surge for another Spell Surge. Either way you cannot do this replacement thing more than once (so cannot replace both Action and Healing for a total of 3 Spell Surges).


When you reach 2 Milestones, you restore All back to Max (as if you got an Extended Rest). You could then define Milestones by completing goals the mission called for. If you complete them without combat, great, you come out ahead for the next combat with more surges and such. If you blow your wad too soon, too bad for you, you have to plug through until you reach that 2nd Milestone before you recharge All.


Options can be made for allowing trading of Healing Surges for Spell Surges, for example, or vice versa, and also for Action Surges, but needs to be controlled and perhaps linked to achieving certain things in the adventure (you find the spell laboratory of the evil mage, you may burn up to 2 surges for 2 spell surges), (you saved the princess, swap out surges for up to 2 Action surges), etc.


Spell users would have some class mechanic for how they get Max Spell Surges (like they do for Healing Surges) and non-spell classes would have the same for how they get Max Action Surges. So spell users get Spell Surges and non-spell users get Action Surges. Spell users would still get 1 Action Surge after their 1st Milestone (the only one they get) but they could use it or trade it on for a Spell Surge.


Multi-class spell/non-spell class would have to use the higher of the 2 (Max Spell vs. Max Action Surge) they would get and then divide them between the 2 types as they wanted. So if a Wizard say gets 3 Spell Surges, and a Fighter 3 Action Surges, then a multi-class Fighter/Wizard gets 3 to divide (say 2 spell/1 action, or 1 spell/2 action, etc).


You could use this to balance the classes. Non-spell users get more actions, spell users get fewer but better actions (because their one action with a powerful spell could equal what a fighter does in 2 of his actions say). 

The most recent L&L article didn't actually propose any solutions to the 5 minute work day but instead seems to be creating an environment where if the DM does not adhere to some strict X number of combats per day guidelines the whole of class balance will fall apart.



I didn't read it that way. From this latest post and previous statements it sounds as though there will be an XP Pool that is scaled to be appropriate for characters of a certain level, and thus appropriate for a certain number of daily resources (spells, HPs, etc), and from that XP Pool you can create as many encounter within an adventuring day as you want. They also propose to include guidlines on how to best do that, so that you don't design a game where the first encounter of many absorbs all the daily resources... which is what will avoid the issue of the 5 minute work day.

I have not been lead to believe there will be a requirement for the number of combats per day. If anything, all of what I've seen has been quite the contrary.

While you may not like this particular solution of using the XP Pool and guiding DMs how to construct adventures in a way to not burn up the party's daily resources early and often, it still is one. I actually like that it's still possible for a party to burn up their daily resources early in the day (because if you want a truly open gaming experience, even bad decisions need to be possible... it teaches you how to deal with consequences) but what's important to recognize is that it is not going to be required or expected to do so.
What's the matter, you dissentious rogues, That rubbing the poor itch of your opinion Make yourselves scabs?
Don't penalize... incentivize.

I like the bonus XP idea... additional encounters come with a proportional XP bonus. Say a 10% bonus per completed encounter. So if you'd completed four encounters that day, then you'd get a 40% bonus on XP earned in the fifth. If you're conservative in using our daily resources, then you'll have the juice necessary to fight the Final Boss... and get rewarded with hefty dose of bonus XP. It makes a lot of in-game sense, too.

Wounds Module [updated for Basic]

Proficiency Module

My solution is milestones that restore daily resources. The DMs and players determine if they will use them, how often they are comfortable with getting milestones, and what they restore.

I like this idea, nice one. Another suggestion I have is to come up with Encounter spells, prayers. I know there will be some people out there who will take this as a 'I want Next to be a new 4E' but that's not what I'm suggesting, I am suggesting putting in spells that have a short rest recovery but just like other daily spells they do need to be memorised for the day and once done cannot be changed in a 24 hour period (next day).

This will restrict their power in an encounter (like a daily) but will offer some more ongoing spells during the day. However then spells would be maybe a few levels lower. The spell must be defined with the encounter option, similar to only certain spells being Ritual cast.
Ryanroyce,

Thats a nice solution for some.

You could go further and give a bonus to any encounter where no daily resources are expended.

That's a great DM specific way to give a wizard incentive to preserve spells.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Not bad Larry... I certainly like the idea. It would ruin my hope for Vancian Wizard, Spell Point Sorceror, and AEU Warlock, but it seems pretty sound.
You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!
Want a real solution? Roleplay.



Yep, like when the party fights a strong enemy and the wizard has to use all of his spells so their is no TPK, and the party now realizing their big guns are now empty decides to Roleplay by continuing to quest instead of safely wait for the wizard to recharge?  That is about as un-roleplay like as you can get.

What about the group who has a game of intrigue where there is only a single fight every session.  Does roleplay fix the fact that the wizard can blow every single spell to trivialize it, and still have tons of spells for social situations throughout the rest of the game?

Seriously, grow up. 



Crying about what a wizard -might- be able to accomplish (and only do so with the most heavy-handed, non-subtle ways that are not likely suited to an intrigue game, unless your intrigue game is nothing more than 'get past a dood at a door') is pretty much the -exact opposite- of grown up.

I wonder...when you're feeling even slightly winded, do you refuse to do anything other than sleep IRL?  Why not?  You never wake up going 'You know...I'm only feeling about 90% today...I better not drive.  After all, it's a thousand pound missile so it's truly a matter of life and death...I best not do it unless I'm at maximal optimization.'

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

The solution is twofold.

Nova's can be throttled so that they do not carry an outsized impact.

Resources can be levelset so that some recovery of all resources provides a baseline of effectiveness to design from.
@Valdark

I wouldn't go that far, but you certainly could (these should definitely be optional rules in the DMG). Regardless of how it's done, I think incentivizing additional encounters is the way to go... DMing is the Art of Herding Cats, after all. Let the players think it really is their idea.

Alternatively, if a particular Caster always Novas and all other methods have failed, then you could just have your setting's god of magic frown on the practice and send a curse to show that caster the error of their ways. The nature of the curse would be variable (xp cost per spell, rapid aging, risk of ability damage, negative levels, etc) to the god and their temperament.

Wounds Module [updated for Basic]

Proficiency Module

I don't like the idea of having to use Roleplay sollutions to counter a game's rule failing. But, the XP pool for a day's activities is sort of okay with me. 3E and 4E both had a fight's per day guideline; if you went over that in 3E, casters were out of spells, which meant no healing or big guns; if you went over that in 4E, everyone was out of their dailies and healing surges.

With a pool of XP to work with for the encounters for the whole day, you can make sure everyone shines at different times. A Fighter will shine in a fight with a handful of strong opponents; a wizard will shine in a fight with a singular baddy (someone he can lock down), or one with multitudes of little guys (that he can blast). Similarly, when you know what the baseline is, you can stretch or squish it occasionally: every once and a while, throw a short day to make the caster shine (and if they don't know it's coming, they'll be suprised when something huge comes at them in the second encounter), or a long day to make the non-caster's shine (we're ready to rest guys ... wait, what's that coming?).

Plus, with a pool of XP, you know just how big a fight to throw at them to tax all of their resources. One single huge fight that taxes everyone's spells and hp.

Interestingly, though, for 4E; if we were trying to go for an Essentials style system, where non-casters don't have daily powers, perhaps Surges could be used for HP or for spells? You can use spells to recover hp, and surges to recover hp, then why not surges to recover spells? Then everyone can have the same number of surges, give or take.

I've been against Daily resources since the Psionics Handbook first came out in 3E; it was very easy for the psionic casters to nova, more easier than the slotted casters. I divided their PP pool by 1/4 and gave that to them at every fight.

Also, recovering HP and most spells after every fight is part of modern game design; I guess this is when some people cry "It's like a vidja game!". I think it's good design, though, since you know just what the capabilities of the players are going to be at each and every fight. But that's why I think 4E was nice on the DMs.
Generally the reasoning given against using encounter based resources is that there is a preference for strategic use of abilities that can be worn down over the day. People want encounters towards the end of the day to be stressful and have that "Oh my god I'm almost out of everything we're all gonna die!" feeling going on. 

However, in 4e we already had a system the accomplished the goal of encounter based resource management with a daily component. It was Hit Points/Healing Surges. While some people didn't care for it because it didn't fit their particular interpretation of how hit points worked, the system did successfully meet the goal of making hit points into an encounter based resource with daily limitations.

Why couldn't we have character resources managed in the same way? Encounter based, with long term daily limits? A high level spellcaster might have 20 spells, but can only cast 4 every encounter. A mundane character using stamina might have a system that works like 4e's healing surges, where you can recover 25% of your stamina X times per day during a short rest, giving the character enough to effectively use a limited number of abilities per day, but still having his abilities primarily being encounter based. And so on. 

Basically let people have their daily powers, but put a hard limit on how much they can use without taking a short rest to avoid characters going nova and creating the 5 minute work day. In this model, characters won't always use their abilities, because while they are encounter based, using them affects their long term staying power, so for an easier fight they could just choose not to use it. Seems to me like the best of both worlds.


Edit: As an aside I do like the idea of providing bonus xp for taking on more encounters in a day. The main problem I have with that is it becomes more metagamey. Generally when I say "encounter powers" I'm referring to "Powers that recharge with a short rest", making them easy to define in game. You know for sure the encounter is over and you get your powers back after 5 minutes. On the other hand, you can't use that same definition for encounter when talking about things like gaining exp bonuses. I mean if the characters just use their abilities senselessly and recover them, you won't count that as an encounter I would hope. So that leaves what constitutes an encounter a judgement call, and something a lot of DMs dont want to deal with. Was the rogue getting past that door an encounter? How about that random trap? What about talking to the local sherrif? Are encounters only combat? It seems like something that is more likely to offend and scare away people than powers based on a predefined period of resting.


Crying about what a wizard -might- be able to accomplish (and only do so with the most heavy-handed, non-subtle ways that are not likely suited to an intrigue game, unless your intrigue game is nothing more than 'get past a dood at a door') is pretty much the -exact opposite- of grown up.



Here's the thing.  What wizards "might" accomplish is taking more form.  This last article gave us some more insight into the caster v. non-caster debate.  They said very clearly that casters could shine in early encounters due to their magic and that non-casters could shine in the later encounters.  This means that in a game with few encounters, casters will be able to shine in combat all the time, while non-casters do not. 

What we do not know, is how much more the casters will shine, and since they said no caster dominance and no spell scaling, I would expect them not to be a lot more powerful than non-casters.  However, for those who want very close balance, this latest article is a legitimate concern.  I think it is valid for them to voice their concern over the issue.

That said, the article also said that there would be not only advice, but tools for fixing the issue for DMs who want to use them.  Since it's optional to use the tools, I think it's reasonable to conclude that they mean modules.  So while the concern is valid, I think that overreacting like some have in this thread is not a reasonable response.  Rather, they should offer up solutions (as some have) and wait to see the what is said next on the subject.




That said, the article also said that there would be not only advice, but tools for fixing the issue for DMs who want to use them.  Since it's optional to use the tools, I think it's reasonable to conclude that they mean modules.  So while the concern is valid, I think that overreacting like some have in this thread is not a reasonable response.  Rather, they should offer up solutions (as some have) and wait to see the what is said next on the subject.



"No answers now, Wait For The Module" has got to be the least reassuring stance a preview article can put forward.

There is another problem presented by this article that isn't addressed at all - HP. So if HP measures how much the fighter can fight all day each fight must not do over X% of the fighter's max HP. This also means any variance in damage taken must remain small or the whole of encounter balance will be thrown off. This means that in general no single fight can be challenging, critical hits from monsters must be rare and weak, DMs must play monsters in ways that discourage ganging up, and bad luck can have a dramatic effect on party endurance.

A possible solution to all of these issues would be to have the top 50% of a players HP represent fatigue. The fatigue would fully recover during a short rest but actual HP could only be healed through longer rests and magic. This way individual fights can be more deadly while still providing a way for players to be whittled down after every fight.

That said, the article also said that there would be not only advice, but tools for fixing the issue for DMs who want to use them.  Since it's optional to use the tools, I think it's reasonable to conclude that they mean modules.  So while the concern is valid, I think that overreacting like some have in this thread is not a reasonable response.  Rather, they should offer up solutions (as some have) and wait to see the what is said next on the subject.



"No answers now, Wait For The Module" has got to be the least reassuring stance a preview article can put forward.




I disagree.  A less reassuring stance would be one that did not tell us that they were going to address the issue.  An even LESS reassuring stance would be one that didn't even recognize the issue.  Let's face it.  You are not going to get them to show us mechanics every time they tell us something.  You aren't even going to get that a good amount of the time they tell us something.  Letting us know that they are aware of an issue and are going to take care of it is just about the most reassuring thing that they can do at this time.  Later on when much more is known and much more is set in stone, we can start expecting to see mechanics more often.
There is another problem presented by this article that isn't addressed at all - HP. So if HP measures how much the fighter can fight all day each fight must not do over X% of the fighter's max HP. This also means any variance in damage taken must remain small or the whole of encounter balance will be thrown off. This means that in general no single fight can be challenging, critical hits from monsters must be rare and weak, DMs must play monsters in ways that discourage ganging up, and bad luck can have a dramatic effect on party endurance.



None of that is true.  You can have swingy mechanics involved because they still do an average amount of damage.  If a fight does less, that's okay.  That day was just a bit easier than normal.  If a fight does more.  That's okay.  That day was just a bit more challenging than intended.  

Also, just because they are using HP as a metric, does not mean that they expect that metric to hit 0 at the end of the day.  It could be that they expect that metric to be at 100% at the end of the day, but with no ability to get any more back.  That way if things are a little harder due to the random factor, you might end with 80%, 60% or even 5% if it was particularly hard.  

A possible solution to all of these issues would be to have the top 50% of a players HP represent fatigue. The fatigue would fully recover during a short rest but actual HP could only be healed through longer rests and magic. This way individual fights can be more deadly while still providing a way for players to be whittled down after every fight.



Possibly, but I would still like to see what they already have in mind.
We use to call it premajiculation, The wizard would pop all of his powers in the first encounter and would tell us that he needs to rest.  The out come was ussually met with resentment, and we carried on and handed mister pointy hat a knife to fall on it should he feel all is lost.  Due to cunning we came out on top, sure we were low on hp by the end, but the cleric was there to help us.  We also rarely loaded up on healing spells, normally we had our wall of fighters preventing a flanking manuver while the ranger and rogue would drive in the arrows, and then switch to spear to jab at the guys infront of us.
A possible solution to all of these issues would be to have the top 50% of a players HP represent fatigue. The fatigue would fully recover during a short rest but actual HP could only be healed through longer rests and magic. This way individual fights can be more deadly while still providing a way for players to be whittled down after every fight.

This would take it from one extreme to the other, though. It would essentially become impossible to whittle a party down slowly over the course of several encounters, such that the difficulty of the final encounter is set by how well the party got past the previous encounters.

It would practically be a waste of time to throw in a quick encounter with a couple of goblins or a lone dire wolf, since dealing less than half HP to anyone wouldn't even count.  The PCs could just charge headlong and ignore all tactics, since they'll just shrug off the damage anyway.

The metagame is not the game.
The last fight should be challenging not because the party was licked by kittens all the way until the find the BBEG, but rather because the BBEG is a tough opponent.

It only enforces scry and die tactics if the BBEG is so weak that only to the battle worn party is a he a challenge. He could never show himself to the full strength party and laugh at their weakness.

Now if the party does recover the top half of their HP every fight and the bottom half only through a few days rest, suddenly any fight that does 75% damage to someone becomes very scary. It becomes easy to whittle down a party with fights that only barely do over 50% HP while preventing sheer dumb luck from screwing over a player all at once. Each individual fight can be a challenge.

I see no reason why a fighter who gets a paper cut at 8 am, stubs his toe at 9, bonks his shin at 10, and is scratched by a kitten at 11, should somehow be hard pressed to go 1 v 1 against a goblin at high noon. If the fights are going to be trivial let them be trivial. Don't have them do some arbitrary HP damage just to lower the party resources. I would personally rather have every fight have a chance for death (even if it is a very small chance), than to have only the last fight of the day put the fear in me.
I see no reason why a fighter who gets a paper cut at 8 am, stubs his toe at 9, bonks his shin at 10, and is scratched by a kitten at 11, should somehow be hard pressed to go 1 v 1 against a goblin at high noon.

Have you ever played Kingdom of Loathing?

Jokes aside, you're not suffering a series of minor annoyances that coincidentally cause you to be weaker against a real fight later.  I'm talking real wounds (of various severity), that just add up over time.  If an action hero does get hit by an annoying arrow shot by a weaker minion, it is going to bug him later on during the movie and might just make the difference during the final showdown.  It's okay for an individual encounter to be weak, because encounters don't take place in a vacuum.  Besides, what kind of PC would be so pathetic that it would take 4-5 of them at full power to stand a chance against one bad guy?

Well, that's my logic anyway.  I suppose if you're specifically looking for ways to avert the 5MWD scenario, then making HP into an encounter resource is a pretty good way of doing it.  I just hope they would place such a controversial rule, that would completely invalidate an entire playstyle, into a conveniently separated module.

The metagame is not the game.
Want a real solution? Roleplay.



Herp derp you are so clever I can't believe nobody else ever thought of roleplaying. Wow you've opened my eyes: everyone who doesn't like 5 minute workdays is a bad roleplayer!
You know, the 5mw exists as long as you think an adventure day as a "I go on and kill whaever comes in front of me" sort of game. Seriusly, the moment I do not play that way is the momnet I never even heared about five menutes workday. 



I haven't run this type of game in years. My major desire is a system that supports a low combat game. It is fairly normal for my players to only get into a fight once per day, and often only once or twice per session, with far more interaction, roleplaying, etc. And guess what breaks this type of gaming: classes blanced around X encounters per day. I can't have them spend most of their time roleplaying, because I need to jam 5 encounters into the day or the game balance falls apart. Seriously, stop assuming that people who like 4e mechanics are all combat only players. My group doesn't like the game to be constant combat, that's why we play 4e.
"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
Another idea is to look at the epic spell casting system from 3e. Where you had to make a skill/ability check just to cast a spell. could solve the problem of fighter/rogue/caster balance, and the only focus of combat would be hit points.

The fighter is able to do things like whirlwind attacks or jumping strikes and such like in past D&D, but he would be expected to make an ability/skill check in the process in addition to his normal attack roll. Why not let the spell casters do the same, and still keep individual spells as well as spell levels important to the system. Also since it would be an ability check of sorts this would scale with level just like a fighter or rogue's attacks do.

While this adds an additional dice per character per attack, it would be easy to balance against spell casting where the caster also has to make a DC check against a level check of some sort, a base progression would work the best I feel. 15+spell level, just to cast the spell. Get rid of spells per day, magic point ideas, and milestones. Make every spell a difficulty check balance that versus fighter and rogue special maneuvers and abilities. That way the DM is not railroaded into any sort of encounter per day mechanism, and the only thing anyone has to worry about is hit points.

Mr. Mearls said; "We're using hit points as our tracking mechanism here." This way there is a flexible mechanic that the DM can easily gauge the party status at by only needing to look at their hit points (as I feel it should be anyway). And everything else balances out by just balancing the levels (inherently hit points are balanced with level) with the encounter level. No new mechanic, no other stats to keep track of including spells per day, it simply boils down to "How many hp does the party have left?"

Also to keep in line with the fighter and rogues and all weapon wielding classes' every round usefulness, you can let spell casters use implements to make a basic attack probably a 10-20 ish ranged attack that does an elemental energy damage that is tied to their spell casting stat. So wands, rods, staffs and such, the implement itself can have the damage die and it would represent the spell caster channeling energy through their implement, that way if the caster does not want to risk using up a turn to cast a spell and possibly failing, they can make a basic attack, just like any martial class can and all they have to worry about is one normal attack die roll.

I don't feel damage has to be applied if a caster fails a casting roll, just like a fighter doesn't lose hit points if s/he fails an attack roll or an ability check, which I feel would create a sort of mp/stamina system wrapped up in hp. Failure to cast a spell in-itself causes the combat to go on longer thus hit points will be lost along the way just by being in combat for additional time.
My big concern is that groups or designers will add more complications (action points, timers, mana points, etc) to attempt to deal with this issue. DM can certainly control when and where a party can take an 8 hour rest, plain and simple.

Lock the party into the adventure by some means. Possibilities: the clock is ticking, the exit is sealed behind them, wandering monsters, chased by a beast to horrible to fight, appeal to their pride (have nova laugh and disrespect them if they come back to town too soon), make them fight many smaller battles, give them chances to avoid combat, give them chances to do things to turn a larger battle into a smaller one, let them flee... There are countless ways to end the 5 min workday. Just use them!

I agree with Mearls. DMs need the list of strategies and tools. Players need to role play and avoid metaming.
Edit: As an aside I do like the idea of providing bonus xp for taking on more encounters in a day. The main problem I have with that is it becomes more metagamey. Generally when I say "encounter powers" I'm referring to "Powers that recharge with a short rest", making them easy to define in game. You know for sure the encounter is over and you get your powers back after 5 minutes. On the other hand, you can't use that same definition for encounter when talking about things like gaining exp bonuses. I mean if the characters just use their abilities senselessly and recover them, you won't count that as an encounter I would hope.



I'm not entirely sure what you mean by this, since I'm not factoring presently-non-existent encounter powers into this equation.  Attacking random objects, farm animals, or even peasants wouldn't count as an encounter, if that's what you mean.

If a caster goes Nova in encounter 1 (E1), it still counts as an encounter, but s/he'll have to face E2 with vastly depleted resources.  If they choose to still face E2, then they'd still get the 10% bonus.  This just gives the gamists a logical reason to push on and/or use their resources more selectively, as opposed to the entirely narrative reasons that exist now (which don't matter to gamists).

Don't get me wrong, I like encounter powers and think they should be a part of the game.  I just don't think that they alone are the solution to the 5MWD issue.

So that leaves what constitutes an encounter a judgement call, and something a lot of DMs dont want to deal with. Was the rogue getting past that door an encounter? How about that random trap? What about talking to the local sherrif? Are encounters only combat? It seems like something that is more likely to offend and scare away people than powers based on a predefined period of resting.



Until we see more information on what constitutes an XP-worthy Exploration or Interaction 'encounter', I can't really say (so yeah, DM's judgement call).  At this point, with the playtest as it stands, I'd say that the XP bonus kicks up 10% after every Combat and any XP earned in the meantime (such as from a trap/hazard, a quest, or a social scene) receives the benefit of the current bonus.  So if you beat a trap after the third encounter, then it gets the 30% xp bonus (assuming traps award XP at all, of course), but it doesn't bump up the bonus to 40%.

Wounds Module [updated for Basic]

Proficiency Module

My solution:

Change things such that Vancian resources are not per day, but rather per adventure. 

It solves every problem.  You go on until you're done.  

If you blow your load, that sucks.  Your option is to push on or retreat completely away from the adventure.   

It also lets the GM customize things to suit his group--it would be a perfectly valid interpretation to consider an adventure to be the stuff that happens between long rests.

It also allows for more organic encounter structures--if a journey through the forest takes a week, that week can be a single adventure, allowing GMs to challenge the party without throwing 4 encounters at them on a single day.

I honestly see nothing bad about this idea.
thestoryyeller, I like that.  Obvious solution, and great.

Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
thestoryyeller, I like that.  Obvious solution, and great.




The problem I see with it is that "adventure" is a nebulous term.  It can mean anything from an evening of play to a quest that takes a few months of real time and weeks or months of game time to accomplish.
thestoryyeller, I like that.  Obvious solution, and great.




The problem I see with it is that "adventure" is a nebulous term.  It can mean anything from an evening of play to a quest that takes a few months of real time and weeks or months of game time to accomplish.

That is exactly the point.