The problem with Varied Character Reset Times

Using your character’s powerful spells now may solve your current problem, but what future challenges will you then be missing that magic for? Resource management can be an engaging part of an RPG, but an imbalance of when players get those resources back can cause a divide in the group’s planning.

When one player argues he needs to sleep, another rolls her eyes and kicks down the door anyway. This conversation is rarely a fulfilling role playing experience, and the break in game flow is felt by everyone at the table. It is often up to the already-overwhelmed GM to inject danger or offer time-appropriate respite in order to mediate the group’s recovery frequency.

Even if the game seems to be moving at the desired pace, a player may be feeling under powered and underwhelmed. If the all-powerful wizard forces the party to find sleep after every fight, the quick-recovery fighter rarely gets to shine. Likewise, if the wizard holds back because he never knows when the “right time” is to use his cool abilities are, he may eventually come to resent the fighter’s every-encounter specials.

Having resource-recovery checkpoints vary between players puts an unnecessary pressure on the GM to keep the game running smoothly. There are multiple solutions that make this type of game work, but the simplest is often best: just avoid it completely.