I had this bonkers idea that I wanted to share.

I’m not a fan of the “Fifteen Minute Workday,” because it makes it difficult to run an adventure of the “Timed Mission” variety — sometimes you want the PCs to push themselves to the limit, and sometimes it should be necessary.

It really doesn’t work when the group decides to rest after every second or third encounter (sometimes after the first) in a day. It’s part of the reason I’m generally in favor of “encounter” powers, but against “daily” powers.

On the other end of the spectrum, you get “insomniac” characters — everything regenerates, so there’s no reason to stop unless you have to A) level up, or B) take advantage of a short-term XP boost. (Former Oblivion, latter Skyrim.)

So where do you draw the line, and how do you encourage players to rest and adventure responsibly? I’d like to try and answer this–

Let’s say for a moment that we’re using mechanics like say, healing surges and encounter powers a la 4e D&D — the former a daily resource used for recovery, the latter an encounter resource used for a variety of purposes.

When you take an extended rest, you get everything back — from hit points to powers. When you take a short rest, you spend healing surges from your pool, recover the use of encounter powers, and psych yourself up for the next fight.

Here’s where I want to diverge from the 4e model — see, “milestones” occur after the party completes two encounters. A milestone awards the PCs an action point and charges up some items, usually magic rings and such.

Milestones are annoying and difficult to keep track of primarily because they have such a minimal impact on gameplay — magic rings don’t tend to hit the field until the Paragon tier, and by then you have so much magic junk it’s like, why?

Actions points are always handy, but receiving one every other fight can be cumbersome to keep track of — some players hoard them, others don’t bother.

So here’s a thought: instead of a short rest bringing back encounter powers — they recharge after a milestone. It might sound contrary to the concept of an encounter power, but hear me out. The “action point” mechanic becomes a straightforward encounter thing, so you don’t have to track it separately.

Instead, you have a list of powers that you can use and check off. You hit a milestone and you can erase the check-marks. You don’t accumulate things.

But if you get back encounter powers after a milestone, what stops players from just “going nova” and then resting for a five-minute workday?

After the first milestone, PCs receive 10% bonus XP.

What stops them from becoming insomniacs? A dwindling supply of healing surges. As the party spends surges, continued adventuring becomes deadlier — but starting with the third encounter of the day, they get more XP per fight.

The sweet spot is probably around five encounters — the party recovers their powers after the second milestone, then goes nova in the fifth encounter.

This might help solve the problem. We’ll see.