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Dead Tired! How Exhaustion Works in Dungeons & Dragons – Posts

You get drained. I get drained. And whereas they might exist in a world of swords and spells, your characters get drained, too. However on the subject of exhaustion in fifth-edition Dungeons & Dragons, we’re not simply speaking about yawning by means of roleplay as you battle to focus in your character sheet after a protracted day of gaming. We’re speaking concerning the moments when your characters aren’t fairly as quick as they wish to be and when their normal luggage of methods simply aren’t coming collectively. In essentially the most excessive instances, we’re speaking a couple of situation that would result in dying.

Right now, we’re having a look at how exhaustion works, tips on how to mitigate it as gamers, and the way Dungeon Masters can use it to amp up the stakes in storytelling. So, attempt to keep awake, OK?

How exhaustion works

Whereas there’s a myriad of ways in which one can achieve exhaustion in D&D that we’ll get into later, one of the widespread ways in which a personality will threat the consequences of exhaustion is by touring by means of environments which can be bodily and mentally taxing, comparable to excessive warmth or chilly. A DM will doubtless ask gamers to make a Structure saving throw for each hour spent in these harsh situations. 

As in actual life, exhaustion works in waves. The longer you keep awake or the extra you tax your bodily and psychological sources, the more serious the situation turns into. With exhaustion guidelines, your character strikes by means of six ranges of detrimental results that stack as you progress by means of the record. The degrees of exhaustion are: 




Drawback on means checks


Velocity halved


Drawback on assault rolls and saving throws


Hit level most halved


Velocity diminished to 0


Loss of life

Methods to take away exhaustion

These later ranges would possibly really feel fairly bleak, so let’s focus on some methods to take away exhaustion. The only means is considerably apparent: sleep. Whereas characters who keep awake for twenty-four hours with out a lengthy relaxation will achieve a degree of exhaustion, a typical 8 hour lengthy relaxation together with foods and drinks will cut back exhaustion by one step. Characters who’re affected by a number of ranges of exhaustion will want a number of nights of relaxation to totally get well.

The larger restoration spell can even cut back exhaustion by one degree. This Fifth-level spell does price 100 gp price of diamond mud although, so it may be fairly costly to make use of as a therapy. Nevertheless, if a personality is teetering between ranges of exhaustion, particularly the ultimate two, it might be definitely worth the materials price as a stopgap.

Magic gadgets can even allow you to get well from exhaustion. The potion of vitality removes any ranges at present being suffered. Being raised from the lifeless both with a spell or with a magic merchandise just like the ring of temporal salvation will take away one degree of exhaustion. However once more, you would possibly wish to contemplate simply ready and sleeping once more earlier than going that route.

Avoiding exhaustion altogether

You may also simply wish to discover methods to cut back the chance of exhaustion within the first place. Relatively than threat journey exhaustion from chilly environments, spend money on hotter clothes that may can help you routinely succeed on the saving throw. Contemplate taking off medium or heavy armor or discovering methods to make your self resistant to fireside harm earlier than touring by means of excessive warmth. Don’t deal with Structure as a dump stat and as an alternative construct it as much as help in these saving throws. Should you’re not already proficient in Structure saving throws, contemplate taking the Resilient feat when you’re taking part in in a survivalist marketing campaign like Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus or Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden. 

What causes exhaustion?

Drow elves looking up at the sun while walking through a desert

Along with the intense journey situations talked about above, exhaustion may be inflicted on characters in a number of alternative ways. If characters run out of rations whereas touring, they could achieve exhaustion from thirst or hunger. Characters who determined to push their journey limits previous 8 hours in a single day, aka a pressured march, threat gaining exhaustion in the event that they fail a Structure saving throw. Likewise, characters with out an innate swimming pace or magical intervention might want to make Structure saves each hour they spend swimming.

There are additionally some particular instances that trigger exhaustion:

  • Sure monsters just like the CR 2 gingwatzim from Candlekeep Mysteries or the CR 18 sibriex from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes have assaults that may trigger exhaustion.
  • The sickening radiance spell causes short-term exhaustion that lasts for the spell’s 10-minute concentrated period.
  • These who solid Tenser’s transformation should move a DC 15 Structure saving throw when the spell ends or endure from exhaustion.
  • The dream spell can not directly trigger exhaustion by denying the goal the advantages of a protracted relaxation in the event that they fail their Knowledge saving throw.  
  • Path of the Berserker barbarians who use their Third-level function, Frenzy, routinely take some extent of exhaustion when it ends.
  • There are additionally a number of magic gadgets that may enhance the chance of exhaustion, such because the ring of x-ray imaginative and prescient from the essential guidelines or the Piercer sword from Acquisitions Included.

Vital Function: Name of the Netherdeep ties the mysterious substance ruidium from that journey’s narrative to the exhaustion chart. To keep away from spoilers, we can’t go into how that works right here!

Methods to make use of exhaustion in your recreation

As a DM, exhaustion may be one of the helpful instruments in your field. Any state of affairs within the recreation may be made more difficult just by placing the characters by means of the wringer earlier than they get to it. Having characters cross huge, tough terrain in harsh situations on their technique to an encounter can actually promote the function of the characters as heroes. Even when you don’t have a tendency to make use of rations and meals in your recreation usually, organising useful resource administration struggles when coming into into the wasteland of Avernus or the Biting North of Wildemount can increase the stakes on adventures and add some drama to doubtlessly repetitive days of journey.

Exhaustion can even work as a means of upping the issue setting on encounters. Should you really feel like your gamers are chopping by means of even a few of your larger CR monsters, discovering methods to interrupt their lengthy rests previous to an enormous struggle might nudge the scales right into a bit extra steadiness.

On a pure roleplay degree, exhaustion could make for some enjoyable storytelling. Mechanically, having drawback on talent checks would possibly result in some extra artistic options to widespread issues. Gamers who wish to get deeply into character on the desk may additionally discover some enjoyable new angles to their roleplay when their character just isn’t at their finest and brightest. 

Exhaustion FAQ

What does exhaustion do?

Exhaustion is a situation that imposes tiered detriments to characters’ skills. It could even result in dying if not remedied by the sixth degree.

How you can take away exhaustion?

One degree of exhaustion may be eliminated with a protracted relaxation that’s mixed with consuming and consuming. There are additionally different methods of eradicating exhaustion, detailed above.

Does larger restoration treatment exhaustion?

Sure, larger restoration removes one degree of exhaustion. 

What creatures are resistant to exhaustion?

Normally, constructs, elementals, and a few undead (however not vampires) are resistant to the exhaustion situation. (Here’s a record of monsters with immunity to exhaustion.)

Is exhaustion automated after skipping a protracted relaxation?

In keeping with the expanded Dungeon Grasp’s Instruments in Xanathar’s Information to Every part, no. At the very least, not instantly. On the finish of a 24-hour interval with no relaxation, the character should make a DC 10 Structure saving throw to beat back a degree of exhaustion. The DC for this will increase by 5 for each 24 hours the character doesn’t relaxation.

Riley Silverman (@rileyjsilverman) is a contributing author to D&D Past, Nerdist, and SYFY Wire. She DMs the Theros-set Cube Ex Machina for the Saving Throw Present, and has been a participant on the Wizards of the Coast-sponsored The Damaged Pact. Riley additionally performed as Braga within the official tabletop adaptation of the Rat Queens comedian for HyperRPG, and at present performs as The Physician on the Physician Who RPG podcast The Recreation of Rassilon. She at present lives in Los Angeles.

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