Fixing the 15 Minute Adventuring Day

The Issue

For people who haven’t run into the term, the “15 minute adventuring day” is a phenomenon where players in RPGs with strong resource-management element (such as spell casters in Pathfinder and similar games) that reset daily, often use some of their most powerful options, then decide not to go forward with any more encounters until they have regained everything.

How often a group of adventurers gets to rest is hugely variable to play style, and a huge part of the question of balance between casting classes and nowcasting or limited-casting classes.

But… there’s no reason restoration of what are after all MAGIC abilities needs to be tied to sleep., Maybe you get spells back once per week. maybe you recharge your mystic powers only when the right conjunctions occur. Maybe you need to see your holy powers thwart evil before you have the righteousness built up to restore those abilities.

In short we make these things “per day” because that is how games do it, and because it’s easy, not because there is any internal logic to it.

So if it’s an issue… change it.

The Metaphysics

Some players want to have an in-world justification for any rule, especially any rule that restricts their existing power curve and tactics. So, give them one.

Magic does not follow a set schedule. Holy power isn’t tracked on a punch clock. Even your amazing extraordinary powers require the circumstances for them be JUST right, and that doesn’t happen just because the sun went down and came up again.

These things are tied to fate, destiny, and the ebb and flow of eldritch powers that are unseen and barely understood.

You only recover your daily abilities and spells if you have properly slept, as per the normal rules, because you need to be rested and ready when the Right Moment comes. And if you prepare spells, you still need to take an hour to do so once the Cosmic Well of Mystic Might refills.

But instead of happening every day? That happens when Cosmic Conjunctions and the Destiny of Living things has come to a Juncture.

The Rules

Cosmic Conjunctions? Also known as every 3d3 encounters. On average between 3 and 9 major things happen to characters between recharges, and they don’t know exactly when the Big Recharge is coming.

Encounters 2 more more above your APL count as two. Encounters 1 under your APL count as 1/2, and those 2 or more under your APL don’t count at all. The GM determines how many encounters it’ll take in secret once you hit a reset, and tracks how many encounters you have had since then.

Groups with strong ties track this as a group, but the GM may choose to track individuals separately as the GM prefers.

No wizard knows the hour of the Grand Conjunction that refills HER spells. No cleric can say exactly when the will of the gods renews them. It happens when it happens.

Until then, you just need to husband your resources, and no there’s no point in going home and resting up. If you don’t seek your destiny? Then destiny won’t reward you with power.

So you might as well keep seeking well past 15 minutes into your day.

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About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a developer for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, the project manager for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on March 14, 2017, in Adventure Design, Game Design, Pathfinder Development and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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