Short Rest Classes: 5e Variant

During a discussion on the direction of 5e, and what we think will happen long term with a 6e or 5.5 or whatever, the topic of short rests came up. In my opinion, short rests are one of the best mechanics in 5e, and it’s a shame the recent trend is to disregard them. It very much seems like the pending revision will eliminate the mechanic, and the question if it’s too challenging to write each class with a short rest mechanic or not came up. I threw out an offhand framework for how I’d go about it (in 4 minutes of effort, including typing), to show I don’t think it would be all that challenging. There was some friendly encouragement to write them all up, and a sense of me calling myself out as I thought about how 4 min of effort for a half thought out idea is a lot easier than actual classes. Regardless, I figured I’d at least flesh these out some more. I specifically will assume the long rest features still operate as normal, along with any other features I don’t mention.

General Rules

These are general rules that will help your game if you do decide to play with the class changes. If you play with the whole lot of these, I guarantee your group will be taking short rests all the time. They are also in line with the “If I were doing 5.5e to focus on short rests” mentality the rest were written with.

  • Bonus Action Potions: Potions are a bonus action. 
  • Goodberry: This spell is no longer available to any class. See the druid feature. 
  • Extra Healing: Whenever a character is subjected to magical healing, they can choose to spend a hit die and regain hit points in addition to the magical healing. 
  • Rituals: The casting time on a ritual is 5 minutes, and they can only be performed during a short rest. Divine rituals are renamed Prayers, but otherwise the same. 
  • Shorter Short Rests: Short rests only require 5 minutes.
  • Spending Hit Dice: You can spend one hit die to heal per short rest. No more. You can take multiple short rests if you want to spend more. 

Optional Multiclass Rules

These rules make dips and multiclassing very tempting. Having iconic stuff recharge after a short rest and bringing them online by levels 2-4 means that folks can dip and get everything quickly. Below are two optional rules to help restrict that depending on what you want with your games.

Rule 1: The first rule is straightforward and easy. I would simply implement a 5 level mandate. You can’t multiclass until level 6. Your first class has to be taken for 5 levels straight. This moves the needle for very powerful multiclass builds to come online from level 4 or 5 back to 7 or 8. Most 5e games take place between 3-8 and folks won’t usually want to delay “being good” until the end of the campaign. And if they do, cool. I’m not worried about a level 10+ character being OP.

Rule 2: If you are worried about OP 15th level characters, you may consider mandating 5 level dips. You can only multiclass if you’ve taken at least 5 levels of all your other classes. If you have less than 5 levels in any class, your next level must be in that class. Mandating 5 level dips eliminates the “I just want one feature and go right back to my real class” problem. See viable examples below. 

  • Paladin 5/Warlock 5
  • Paladin 7/Warlock 5
  • Paladin 7/Warlock 13
  • Paladin 5/Warlock 5/Sorcerer 5/Wizard 5. 
  • Paladin 7/Warlock 5/Druid 5/Monk 3


The artificer is generally agreed to not be great. This won’t fix it, but that’s not our goal. We are going to let the artificer whip up potions during a short rest, and I’m going to model them after one of my favorite feats, Chef. 

Brew Potion: At third level, whenever you take a short rest, you can brew a batch of special potions using an Alchemist’s or Brewer’s Supplies. You can prepare enough of these potions for a number of creatures equal to 3 + your proficiency bonus in one batch. You can only brew one batch of potions, no combinations. They must all be the same type. At the end of the short rest, you can distribute these as needed, and they retain their potency until your next long rest. You can only ever have one batch enchanted with your magic at a time. If you attempt to brew a second batch of potions, the original batch becomes a sticky, inert sludge. You know the recipe for a number of potions equal to your proficiency modifier. 

  1. Quick Healing: When you drink one of these potions, you regain 1d8+Int mod hit points. 
  2. Spider Climb: For the next minute, the drinker gains the benefit of the spider climb spell. 
  3. Water Breathing: For the next minute, the drinker gains the benefit of the water breathing spell. 
  4. Elemental Resistance: You gain resistance to an elemental type, chosen by the artificer at potion creation. This resistance lasts until you take damage from that source, or one minute. 
  5. Dragons Breath: As an action on your next turn, you can vomit forth a breath weapon as though you were a dragonborn. The elemental type is chosen when the artificer brews the potion. This attack uses the artificers save DC and deals 1d6 damage of the appropriate type per point of artificer proficiency modifier. 
  6. Acid: This potion is just a vial of acid. You can throw it up to 30ft as a ranged attack dealing 1d6 points of acid damage per point of the artificers proficiency bonus to a creature struck, or you can dump it on something to dissolve it. You can also put stuff in it to dissolve it. 
  7. Quick Escape: (Requires level 9). The drinker can immediately teleport 60ft in any direction they choose. 
  8. Stoneheart: (Requires level 9). The drinker begins to turn to stone. They must immediately make a constitution saving throw against the artificers DC. If the saving throw fails by 5 or more, the creature is instantly petrified. Otherwise, a creature that fails the save begins to turn to stone and is restrained. The restrained creature must repeat the saving throw at the end of its next turn, becoming petrified on a failure or ending the effect on a success. The petrification lasts until the creature is freed by the greater restoration spell or other magic.
  9. Revivifying Tonic: (Requires level 13). If the drinker is under the effect of the Death Ward spell until the end of their next turn. 
  10. Elixir of Life: (Requires level 17). As an action you can pour this potion down the throat of any creature slain within the last hour and restore them to life with one hit point. 


Barbarians are a quick and easy one. I’ll also deal with the “everyone plays Totem Warriors” problem while I’m at it. It doesn’t exist anymore. Now everyone gets it, but they don’t all get it exactly. Also, they are specifically usable when you aren’t raging. 

Rage: A barbarian’s rage recharges on a short rest. They no longer gain an increasing number of rages per long rest. Instead, it’s just one per short rest forever until it becomes unlimited. 

Totem Warrior: Starting at third level, a barbarian can call upon the totems to provide a benefit until their next short rest. A barbarian can only have one of these active at a given time, but can rotate through any of them after a short rest. 

  1. Bear: When you successfully land a melee attack, you gain temporary hit points equal to your con modifier. At 6th level, your carrying capacity doubles, and at 14th level you are immune to fear.
  2. Eagle: Opponents have disadvantage on attacks of opportunity made when you take the dash action. At 6th level, you gain darkvision and can see up to 1 mile away discerning detail as though it were just 100ft away. At 14th level, you have a fly speed equal to your base walk speed. 
  3. Elk: Your walking speed is increased by 10ft. At 6th level, you gain a charge attack. When you take the dash action, you can make a single melee attack at the end of your dash against one creature in melee reach. At 14th level, as part of your movement, you can move into the space of a creature your size or smaller. This creature must make a strength saving throw or be knocked prone, and take 1d12+Str damage. If the creature is already prone, they have disadvantage on the saving throw to avoid the damage. This trampling is done as part of your movement and requires no action. 
  4. Tiger: Your jump distances and heights are doubled. At 6th level, you gain proficiency in two of Athletics, Acrobatics, Stealth and Survival (chosen each time you enter the Totem) and you treat attacks against an unaware target as an automatic critical hit. At 14th level, any attack against a Paralyzed, Petrified, Restrained or Stunned target is a critical hit. 
  5. Wolf: You gain advantage on attack rolls against creatures if one of your allies is also adjacent to the creature. At 6th level, you gain the scent ability, and your attacks against creatures you have advantage on may cause them to fall prone. Creatures of your size or smaller that you hit with advantage must make a Dexterity saving throw or fall prone. At 14th level, any creature you knock provokes an opportunity attack from any ally (not including yourself) that is also adjacent to the creature.


With the healing changes, bards just got a lot to do during a short rest. Most people are getting a single hit die off a short rest, so song of healing is a lot better. Bards should be one of the classes who does stuff during short rests now, more than uses it just to recharge things. Regardless, we will play with inspiration a little. 

Bardic Inspiration: You can inspire others through stirring words or music. At the completion of a short rest, choose one creature other than yourself within 60 feet of you who can hear you. That creature gains one Bardic Inspiration die, a d6. This inspiration die lasts until you take another short or long rest. 

The creature can roll the die and add the number rolled to one ability check, attack roll, or saving throw it makes. The creature can wait until after it rolls the d20 before deciding to use the Bardic Inspiration die but must decide before the DM says whether the roll succeeds or fails. Once the Bardic Inspiration die is rolled, it is lost. A creature can have only one Bardic Inspiration die at a time.

Your Bardic Inspiration die changes when you reach certain levels in this class. The die becomes a d8 at 5th level, a d10 at 10th level, and a d12 at 15th level.


Rituals and healing changes mean our cleric is probably busy most rests. Regardless, we are going to give them another buff for healing during short rests. Additionally, you probably have folks deciding to wait for healing until a short rest, encouraging the group to take them more. 

Tend the Wounded: At third level, when a cleric casts a spell that restores hit points during a short rest, that spell restores maximum hit points. 


Druids are wonky to begin with. We will still see what we can do, but Druidic Rituals (renamed Prayers) are one big area. Goodberries with the new healing rules should also be a nice buff to help with the wildshape nerf. 

Wildshape: Wildshape can only be entered, exited, or the form changed at the end of a short rest (unless the druid is forced out early by magic or through hit point loss). All other functions work as normal. 

Goodberry: At third level, a druid can harvest magical berries from the landscape regardless of the terrain during a short rest. This functions as though you had cast the goodberry spell.


Battlemaster is a top tier fighter, and it’s also a fun fighter. So it’s just part of being a fighter now. You can’t take it as your subclass anymore. 

Battle Master: Starting at third level, you gain access to Battle Maneuvers that are fueled by special dice called superiority dice. These are chosen from the Battle Master subclass list, and not reprinted here for brevity. 

  • Maneuvers. You learn one maneuver of your choice. You can use only one maneuver per attack. You learn one additional maneuver of your choice at 7th, 10th, and 15th level. Each time you learn new maneuvers, you can also replace one maneuver you know with a different one.
  • Superiority Dice. You have two superiority dice, which are d8s. A superiority die is expended when you use it. You regain all of your expended superiority dice when you finish a short or long rest. You gain another superiority die at 7th level and one more at 15th level.
  • Saving Throws. Some of your maneuvers require your target to make a saving throw to resist the maneuver’s effects. The saving throw DC is calculated as follows: Maneuver save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength or Dexterity modifier (your choice)


Right off the bat, making short rests 5 minutes will drive the monk’s utility up. Their ki recharges on short rests, and this will let them essentially blow all their ki every encounter, or maybe every other encounter, with minimal fuss. Traditionally, they recover on a dual timer system. A short rest (1 hour) where you spend at least 30 minutes in meditation. We are eliminating the second timer. A monk gets their Ki back if they spend 5 minutes catching their breath or “Refocusing”. That said, Monk’s aren’t a top tier class, and everyone else gets something fun here, so we are going to reduce some other Ki costs as well. My goal is folks should be using one a turn by mid levels.

Flurry of Blows: No longer requires a Ki point. You can just do it.

Empty Body: Ki costs are halved. 

Subclasses: No subclass feature costs more than 2 Ki points. If it does, reduce that value to 2.


Paladin Smite’s are their big thing, and making players pick between that or spells is not the greatest. Why give two theoretically cool class features, only to make them pick one. 

Divine Smite: Starting at 2nd level, when you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack, you can choose to deal radiant damage equal to your charisma modifier to the target, in addition to the weapon’s normal damage. If the target is an undead or a fiend, the damage is instead 1d4 per point of charisma modifier. This ability can be used a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier per short rest.


I like the image of a ranger being a hunter, almost like a Batman who goes into his batcave and grabs the Kryptonite ring when Zod shows up. Rangers are getting the ability to spend short rests re-configuring their loadout based on the prey they are hunting that day.

Favored Enemy: Beginning at 1st level, you have significant experience studying, tracking, hunting, and even talking to a certain type of enemy.

Choose a type of favored enemy: this can be any creature type of your choice. Although, if you select Humanoid, you must select two races of humanoid (such as gnolls and orcs).

You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track your favored enemies, as well as Intelligence checks to recall information about them. Lastly, you can add your Wisdom modifier to damage rolls against them. 

You choose one additional favored enemy at 6th and 14th level. During a short rest, you can reconfigure your tools, silvering or blunting arrows, dosing your sword in poison, or natural herbs of the right type. By doing so, you can reassociate one of your favored enemies from one type to another. 

Enemy Bane: Starting at 6th level, during a short rest, the ranger can enchant one weapon to function as a Bane weapon. This can be a single melee weapon or ranged weapon. This functions as a variant of the Arrow of Slaying. 

  • A Bane weapon is meant to slay a particular kind of creature. These are extremely focused, down to the named creature. For example, a Goblin bane weapon applies to Goblins only, not Hobgoblins or Bugbears. A Red Dragon Bane weapon applies to Red Dragons but has no effect on Blue. Conversely, a Hobgoblin Bane weapon works on all Hobgoblins, regardless of whether they are Hobgoblin Warlords, Devastators, or Iron Shadows. The type of creature matters far more than the job that creature has. When used against an applicable creature, it must make a DC 17 Constitution saving throw, taking an extra 6d10 force damage on a failed save, or half as much extra damage on a successful one. Once a Bane weapon deals its extra damage to a creature, its magic is expended. 
  • Alternatively, a Bane weapon can be tied to a specific creature, for example Greg the Hobgoblin Iron Shadow. When used on Greg, the effects are far more potent. Instead, the Constitution Saving throw reduces the target to 0HP automatically on a failed save, or deals 6d10 force damage on a save. 


I’m a little stuck on Rogues and am open to ideas on this one. I wanted to give them something that would let them use their big thing more often and came up with a feint mechanic. 

Feint: At third level, you can use your cunning and guile to lure your opponent into poor position, as a bonus action. Provided the enemy can see you, you can make a Deception check opposed by the target’s insight check. If you succeed, you gain advantage on your next attack against them this turn. You can use this ability a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus per short rest.


Like the other classes with a pool of points, Sorcery points are an easy one to move to a short rest recovery. For this class, we are simply halving the point pool (round up) and setting recovery to short rests. We will do some changes to Flexible Casting. One, we are buffing it and letting you get 9th level spells back, and two, we are reducing the points costs across the board, accounting for the lower point pool value. 

Flexible Casting: You can use your sorcery points to gain additional spell slots, or sacrifice spell slots to gain additional sorcery points. You learn other ways to use your sorcery points as you reach higher levels.

  • Creating Spell Slots. You can transform unexpended sorcery points into one spell slot as a bonus action on your turn. The created spell slots vanish at the end of a long rest. Each spell slot can be recovered by spending a number of sorcery points equal to its spell level.


Letting warlocks get shorts rests in 5 minutes, and letting everyone else push for warlocks should really help them out on its own. No additional changes. 


The changes to rituals really changes the Wizard’s utility. It drives them to be the one to suggest a short rest anytime they want to cast one, which means it’s going to come up a lot. No additional changes. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: