Eliminate the 15-Minute Work Day by Using House Rules
A campfire provides warmth and light to those who rest.
by Michael Karkabe-Olson
A long time ago, I ran across a post at the “The Angry DM” in which he discusses what he sees as a problem in 4th-edition D&D, what he calls the 15-minute work day. This phrase is commonly used to describe a tactic in which players expend all their powers, including dailies and encounters, to go supernova, knowing full well they’ll take an extended rest to replenish them. As he puts it they repeat the process for each subsequent encounter to “lather, rinse, repeat, kaboom!” Even if the PCs do not take a long rest, they basically reset their hit points and encounter powers each time they take a short rest, which brings characters instantaneously from near death to full hit points for every encounter they have until they run out of surges.
Well, without going into too much detail, I share his dislike for both these mechanics. I personally find such methods artificial, contrived, stale, and even awkward at times. The death’s-door-to-full-recovery mechanic for short rests is especially disconcerting to me, jolting and unrealistic for my tastes.
So in an effort to create a more gritty, realistic solution for my own games, I use the following house rules. I also added another house rule that makes a slight distinction between magical-type and mundane healing. This house rule makes magical healing a bit more powerful than mundane-type healing and more sought after.