Sleeping on the job

This is something thats been on my mind of late, mainly because I’ve been getting to bed after 1am!

Not so bad for me, but I do feel the effects… After time… But what if you are an Adventurer?

How does a lack of sleep effect you?

There were some interesting points raised in the “Wilderness Survival Guide” rules for sleep and how it affects PC’s.

The basic premise is that PC’s should only ever spend 16hrs a day in active pursuits, the remaining 8hrs are for eating, drinking and resting/sleeping…

But he also needs at least 5hrs sleep in 24hrs, not really leaving much time for drinking copious amounts of booze and boasting about his deeds!

But, what happens if he doesn’t get 5hrs?


  • Less than 5hrs: +1 to dex checks.
  • Less than 4hrs: +2 dex, +1 str, -1 to hit
  • Less than 3hrs: +3 dex, +2 str, +1 wis, -1 to hit, -10% off climb, -25% Movement rate.
  • Less than 2hrs: +4 dex, +3 str, +2 wis, +1 Con, -2 to hit, -20% off climb, -33% Movement rate, weight allowance 1/2 normal.
  • Less than 1hr: +5 dex, +4 str, +3 wis, +2 Con, -3 to hit, -30% off climb, -50% Movement rate, weight allowance 1/4 normal.



This as you can see represents the character getting progressively more tired as the lack of sleep affects them. Also, this won’t happen until the character goes at least 2 days without at least 5 hrs sleep.
Also, if the character has at least 5hrs in those 2 days any ill effects will be negated.


Have you had one of those nights? The ones where you try your best to sleep but still… Something happens, like the AC is bust, or there is a car alarm going off forever? Imagine living in a fantasy world? You try to sllep in Plate armor, your cold, up the side of a mountain and its raining…


Consider these:
  • -1 hr if the character isn’t relaxed.
  • -1 hr on bare ground.*
  • -1 hr personal temperature below 0.
  • -2 hrs personal temperature above 90.
  • -2 hrs wind over 20 mph.*
  • -3 hrs light/mod rain and no shelter.*
  • -3 hrs wearing metal armor but plate.
  • -4 hrs wearing plate armor.


*These modifiers don’t apply if wearing plate, the character is assumed to be protected from these, but its really uncomfortable, hence the -4!


These modifiers add up, so the character may end up with no sleep at all… They can of course rest more, to negate the effects.
Sleeping in a lighting storm, hail or sandstorm is going to be pretry impossible even in a shelter…


So where do these rules fit into your campaign? Wherever you like of course, they don’t need to be applied just in wilderness games either they are valid anywhere…

Sleep and spellcasters

Now if you’re a Mage or Cleric, well things get a little more complicated…

So, in the first edition, to recover spells, you need to rest, which doesn’t mean sleeping if you don’t wan to, or can’t. It means, instead, the spell caster takes it very easy. They do not ride a horse or march along, they certainly do not fight or dig holes or polish shoes. At best, they sit and talk, nap and doze, eat and drink, sleep if they wish, peruse their books, think, and plan. If their period of rest is interrupted, they must start anew. If they cast a spell (other than a cantrip) they have to start again..


A Spell Caster must Rest:
  • 4 hrs for 1st or 2nd level spells
  • 6 hrs for 3rd or 4th level spells.
  • 8 hrs for 5th or 6th level spells.
  • 10 hrs for 7th or 8th level spells.
  • 12 hrs for 9th level spells.


Now, after resting for the hours they need spend 15-minutes/spell level memorising spells.. Not so bad for a few spells… But if you have 100′s of spell levels, that’s going to take some time.

In the 2ed, to get your spells back you need to sleep, not rest. Anytime after you have slept for 8 hours or more and have not yet cast any spells (other than cantrips), and its been 24 hours or more since you last memorized a particular spell slot, you may fill that slot again. It takes 10 minutes to memorise a spell, per level.

I believe Cantrips don’t need to be memorised, they just… Happen.. (BTW I use Cantrip as a non weapon proficency)

I believe the 3, 3.5 & 4e rules have changed this once more, thoughts from people like GK & CK would be appreciated here.

So how is this affected by sleep?

I never really thought about this till today, but personally, I think the 1e rules are the best, the level of spell affects the length of time to rest, imagine you are in a dungeon, you’ve used many of your higher level spells but you only get 6 hrs rest… So you only get a maximum of 4th level back… This also gives that sensation of needing rest after casting all of your spells…

More from me soon…

Jen – 28-06-10

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