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D&D Long Rest

D&D Long Rest

Long Rest


A long rest in Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is a period of extended downtime, typically 8 hours long, during which a character sleeps or performs light activity such as reading, talking, eating, or standing watch for no more than 2 hours. Characters must have at least 1 hit point at the start of the rest to gain its benefits.

Effects: Once a long rest is completed, a character regains all lost hit points and half of their total hit dice (up to a minimum of one die). In addition, characters regain spent spell slots and can change prepared spells if they have such capabilities. Certain class features, items, spells, and other game elements also recharge upon completion of a long rest.

Usage: Players usually take a long rest after a day of adventuring to restore their characters' health and abilities. Long rests also serve to refresh resources for spellcasters. A character can't benefit from more than one long rest in a 24-hour period, and a character must have at least 1 hit point at the start of the rest to gain its benefits.

Related Terms

Short Rest: A period of downtime in D&D, at least 1 hour long, during which a character does nothing more strenuous than eating, drinking, reading, and tending to wounds. Short rests allow characters to use hit dice to regain hit points and recharge certain abilities, though they're less restorative than long rests.


Hit Dice: The dice rolled to determine a character's hit points (health). The type of dice depends on the character's class (e.g., d10 for fighters). During a long rest, characters regain hit points and can recover up to half of their total hit dice.

Spell Slots: The system D&D uses to regulate the casting of spells. Spellcasters have a limited number of spell slots they can use to cast spells of each level. After a long rest, spellcasters regain all expended spell slots.

Resting in Armor: If a character takes a long rest while wearing armour, they might suffer from exhaustion, depending on the type of armor and the DM's discretion.

Exhaustion: A condition that represents increasing levels of fatigue and has six levels. Effects range from disadvantage on ability checks to death. A long rest reduces a character's exhaustion level by 1, provided the character has also ingested some food and drink.

Leomund's Tiny Hut: A popular spell among adventurers for ensuring a safe long rest. The spell creates a 10-foot-radius dome of force that can be used as a secure campsite, protecting the party from the elements and enemies.

Watch Order: A strategy typically employed during long rests in hazardous environments where one or more party members stay awake in shifts to guard against danger.

Incorporating Long Rests into Adventures: An Essential Guide for Dungeon Masters

The long rest in Dungeons & Dragons is more than a mere game mechanic; it’s an opportunity to elevate the narrative tension, encourage strategic thinking, and enhance character development in your campaign. As a Dungeon Master (DM), how you handle long rests can significantly affect the pacing and feel of your game.

Firstly, consider the setting of your campaign. While in a city or town, it is relatively easy for adventurers to find a safe place for a long rest. However, in hostile environments such as dungeons, wilderness, or enemy territory, the option for a long rest should be a strategic decision that requires careful planning. The threat of ambush or the urgency of the adventure might prevent characters from taking a long rest when they would ideally like to. On the other hand, safe havens like a friendly NPC’s home or a magically protected area can provide much-needed respite in an otherwise challenging landscape.

One practical technique for integrating long rests into your campaign is through the use of watches or shifts. This tactic ensures that at least one party member is always on guard during the rest period. This not only makes for a more realistic adventure scenario, but it also opens opportunities for individual character moments, unexpected encounters, or plot revelations.

The role of long rests in magic usage is another essential aspect to consider.


For spellcasting characters, long rests are crucial for replenishing spent spell slots. As such, managing long rests becomes a significant part of these characters' strategic thinking. Will they save their powerful spells for potential combat, or use them up early, gambling on the opportunity for a long rest? These are the kind of decisions that can deepen player engagement and heighten the tactical tension of your game.

It’s also worth noting that certain spells, such as Leomund's Tiny Hut, are specifically designed to create safe spaces for long rests. While these can be a boon to players, remember that clever enemies might develop ways to overcome these magic protections, or the spell's use might attract unexpected attention.

Long rests also provide an excellent opportunity for character development and world-building. The quiet downtime can allow for moments of role-play, backstory exploration, and character interaction that the often action-packed adventuring days may not accommodate. Perhaps the characters take this time to share tales of their past, or maybe they use the downtime to learn more about the world from local townsfolk or through studying ancient texts.

As a DM, you also have the power to use long rests as a means of regulating the pacing of your game. The necessity of a long rest can impose a natural delay in the adventure, allowing for narrative tension to build. Alternatively, the relief of a long rest after a gruelling dungeon crawl can serve as an effective emotional release.

In summary, the long rest, while a fundamental mechanical element of D&D, also holds a plethora of narrative potential. As a DM, you can leverage long rests to not only ensure game balance but also to enrich your storytelling, deepen character development, and increase strategic gameplay. Approach each long rest in your campaign not just as a health and spell slot reset, but as an integral part of your narrative toolkit.

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