Solving The Extended Rest Riddle

I started to listen to the Exemplary DM podcasts while driving this week. One of the hosts briefly mentioned the idea of Endurance Checks to replace or build upon the Short and Extended Rest mechanics. I found the idea intriguing because I have run into so many situations as a player and as a DM when it does not make any sense AT ALL to take an 8-hour Extended Rest in the story. However, moving forward with more combat is a death sentence for one or more characters. So I find that I spend a good deal of my time thinking about resource management, both for my own resources (as a player) and considering my players’ resources (as a DM).

"This appears to be a fine place to camp."

As a player, the drain on my Daily powers throughout combat encounters is a factor, but I’m not overly concerned about it. Yes, they are powerful and useful, but the more worrisome problem for me is running low on surges. I play a rogue, and I took Durable (2 more surges) right away because I’m more of a front-line striker in our group. On Saturday, I was fully charged to start the night and after two encounters, I was down to no Daily powers and 3 surges (from 9). Two of the other players in the group were down to 1 surge by the end of the night. (We are playing through the Scales of War campaign if you are curious). Our group is just starting a big dungeon delve, but three of us are on death’s door. It does not make any sense to rest in a hostile environment, but we pretty much have to before or after the next encounter or we are likely to die. When playing, I would like to focus on more on the story and encounters than resource management. 
 
As a DM, the current mechanics limit the type of story I can tell. Even if I run encounters below the party’s level, they still use up Daily powers and surges. The party in my group is currently assaulting a tower. They had two relatively easy encounters (at their level or below) but have several more ahead of them. It will not make sense for them in the story to rest for 8 hours before taking the tower, but forcing them to go through a few more encounters without an Extended Rest is not terribly fair. I’ve been thinking of ways around this for several weeks, and one possible solution is presented below.

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