Wes Baker

#RPGaDAY2020 Day 13: Rest

August 13th, 2020

Rest is one of those things I typically handwave away in most of my games, but I’ve started to think more about how resting affects everything outside of the party. When they rested, what was everything else in the dungeon, town, or wilderness doing? This is where random tables come in handy: roll to see if anything disturbs them. I’m a big fan of how Chris McDowell’s Electric Bastionland does it. Roll a d6 and consult the following table:

Roll Result
1 Encounter: Roll a random encounter. It’s there right away.
2-3 Clue: Roll a random encounter. Give a sign that it’s nearby or has passed through.
4+ Clear: No sign of anybody nearby.

My favorite part is the clue result as it can ratchet up tension and show the risk of rest while letting them get that much needed rest in. It’s yet another way to ratchet up the tension.

Besides random encounters, the other thing I’ve been thinking about lately is how long a rest may take when they’re in town. I generally ignore stays of 3 days or less, but if you’re over that then I start to charge you for the costs. This is just an abstraction because, sure, staying for 3 days does cost something, but it’s ultimately a pittance compared to what an average player character earns in a dungeon in B/X Dungeons & Dragons. However, recovering hit points takes a while (1d3 hit points per day) and some downtime activities—like spell research and training—can take a long time, months even. At that point I start to add up how much this will cost you. It still won’t be much, but it will make a dent.