The short rest is 5 long minutes. It’s short enough where it’s convenient to recoup from and for most fights, but it’s long enough where it’s sometimes silly and allows the story’s timeline to be filled with all sorts of new DM-conjured ramifications. More horrible yet wonderful battles and trials for your heroes!
And, yes, the short rest also clearly suffers from Sounds Too Gamey Syndrome (and yes, I’m trademarking this!), one of my 4e pet peeves. As much as I try whether I play or DM to reword the short rest in-game into something more elegant, most players are fine saying painfully horrid things like, “Wait, we should take a short rest,” repeatedly, while inside an evil-flavored meat grinder of a dungeon.
For those of you who still wince or feel awkward saying or hearing “Short Rest” in and out of character, try this alternate or additional rule… wait for it…
A Moment’s Respite
5 minutes too long? Is something going to get destroyed or someone going to get killed in those 5 minutes? Want to push the action faster onto the next scene or encounter, while still allowing some recuperation, and without much math getting in the way?
Then you want a Moment’s Respite. How does 60 seconds sound instead? Nine Hells, call it whatever amount of seconds you want under 60.
Now what? How about one healing surge to spend per character, maximum? No ability to anticlimactically identify magic items, like you’d get during a short rest. But you do get a very quick injection of adrenaline, healing or a third wind (cool skill power, by the way, especially on my revenant!).
Simple, easy, and strikes a balance between moving the action, doing the math, and keeping things a bit more realistic as far how much time you really need or have to catch your breath, mend a bad wound, and get right back to it.
Happier (Recovery) Times
What bothers your most about Short Rests and Extended Rests in 4e? What is the one thing you’d change about them? Does their duration also feel awkward in your story and games? What optional rest rules do you use in your games?