Short Rest 5e

A short rest is a period of downtime, at least 1 hour long, during which a character does nothing more strenuous than eating, drinking, reading, and tending to wounds.

A character can spend one or more Hit Dice at the end of a short rest, up to the character’s maximum number of Hit Dice, which is equal to the character’s level. For each Hit Die spent in this way, the player rolls the die and adds the character’s Constitution modifier to it. The character regains hit points equal to the total. The player can decide to spend an additional Hit Die after each roll. A character regains some spent Hit Dice upon finishing a long rest, as explained below.

Player’s Handbook, pg. 186

Short Rest 5e

In Dungeons and Dragons, resting serves as both a narrative pause and a crucial game mechanic. 5e has two types of rests; a long rest and short rest. Here we’ll be discussing how short rests work, clear up rules questions, and give tips to dungeon masters on how to run short rests.

We also compiled all the different class and subclass features that recharge after a short rest, as well as feats and official magic items. And for good measure, we’ll also go over the alternative resting rules laid out in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, in case the base version of the system doesn’t work for you.

How Does Short Rest Work in 5e?

At any point, players can decide they would like to take a short rest. In order for a character to gain the benefit of a short rest, they must spend at least an hour at leisure.

If a character succeeds in resting for one continuous hour, they gain the following benefits:

  • The option to heal. A player may spend 1 or more Hit Dice. For each spent, they roll a die (class specific) and add their Constitution modifier to the result (of each roll). A play may spend 1 Hit Die at a time or more than 1 at a time.

    A player’s total amount of Hit Dice is equal to their character level. Some Hit Dice are regained after finishing a long rest.

  • The ability to recharge features. Many class and subclass features recharge after completing a short rest. Comprehensive list below.

  • The ability to recharge feats and magic items. Some feats and magic items can only be used once before requiring a short rest to use again. Comprehensive list below.

  • The ability to perform other tasks. A period of short rest can be used for a number of different tasks. Identifying a magic item, attuning to a magic item, using tools (in ceratin ways), and training are all examples. They’re all discuseed more comprehensively below.

The entire party can take a short rest together, or any number of characters can take a short rest while the others engage in some other, more strenuous activity.

Hit Die by Class

Class Hit Die
Barbarian d12
Bard d8
Cleric d8
Druid 1d8
Fighter d10
Monk d8
Paladin d10
Ranger d10
Sorcerer d6
Warlock d8
Wizard d6
Artificer d8

Short Rest 5e Rules

  • If a short rest is interrupted before 1 hour, you must start over. Any amount of strenuous activity during the one hour breaks the short rest “timer,” and characters will need to start over again if they want a chance of getting the benefit of a short rest. Here’s confirmation from Sage Advice.

  • Players can always try to take a short rest. There’s no cap on the number of short rests a character can take in a given adventuring day or session. As Jeremy Crawford points out in this thread, short rests should be viewed more as a “narrative pause” than a “button you press.”

  • The rules suggest two short rests per day. “About one-third and two-thirds of the way through the day” (DMG 84).

    It also suggests that an adventuring day consistest of 6-8 medium-hard encounters. (DMG 84). However, this doesn’t necessarily mean combat encounters. In fact, the DMG explicitly hints that if the day “has more deadly encounters, [players] can handle fewer” (DMG 84).

    In other words, an adventuring day might involve one puzzle, one roleplaying encounter, two bouts of moderate difficulty combat, followed by another roleplaying encounter, followed by a challenging combat encounter. Two short rests should be plenty sufficient for a day like this; not so much for a day that involves 5 moderate fights and 3 super challenging ones.

    The point is, the rules and intended game design leaves room for DM interpretation (and player input) on how frequently short rests can be taken and under what conditions.

  • RAW, an interrupted long rest of 1+ hour doesn’t count as a short rest. If players tell the DM that they’d like to take a long rest, a 1-hour short rest isn’t automatically included in that period (rules-as-written).

    This means that if a long rest is interrupted, no character gets the benefit of a short rest, regardless of how long they’d been continuously engaged in activities that are eligible for short rest benefits. Here’s Jeremy Crawford confirming that this is indeed how it works, as well as Mike Mearls in a separate thread.

    He also confirms that DMs are free to allow “truncated long rest” to still “confer the benefits of a short rest if it was at least an hour long,” a ruling I tend to go with at my table.

    I think Jeremy’s interpretation of the intended rules (and the logic behind the rules as written) is that a long rest involves multiple stages.

    For example, A player might start by brushing their teeth, honing their sword, etc. (all short-rest eligible activities), but then stands watch or has a heated discussion — now all of a sudden a DM is left to consider what exactly every character was doing during each chunk of time, as well as the precise moment when the long rest was interrupted.

    It just creates an unnecessary headache, and so both the narrative and mechanical function of short rests and long rests were explicitly divorced. However, for my two cents, check out my DM tips below.

  • You can concentrate on a spell during a short rest. As long as a player doesn’t fall asleep (and become unconscious and therefore incapacitated), they can maintain concentration on a spell.

    This also applies to Elves during their trance.

  • A Druid in Wild Shape can gain the benefits of a short rest. Once a Druid reaches at least level 4, they can stay in their Wild Shape beast form for up to 2 hours.

    They’re allowed to spend 1+ hours of that time while staying in beast form and still get all the benefits of a short rest (including recharging uses of Wild Shape itself). Here’s Sage Advice confirmation.

    Of course, the time spent in a short rest does still count against Wild Shape’s total timer.

  • You can’t lose hit points on a Hit Die roll. You will always gain at least 1 hit point from a Hit Die roll, even if you have a negative Consitution modifier.

    For example, if your Constitution modifier is -2 and you roll a 1 on your Hit Die, you don’t lose 1 hit point; you gain 1 hit point. Sage Advice confirmation.

  • You can take a short rest while resting in a vehicle. If a character is resting the back of a cart, for example, they can take that time for a short rest. After all, it fulfills the conditions of doing “nothing more strenuous than eating, drinking, reading, and tending to wounds” — it’s just sitting in a cart!

    However, if you’re driving the cart or riding a mount, that takes effort and prevents a character from taking a short rest. Just ask anyone who’s driven for a few hours if they feel well-rested from the experience.

  • You can only identify magic items during a short rest (technically). Because the rules state that the only alternative to the Identify spell for identifying magic items is focusing on it while in physical contact with it during a short rest (DMG 136).

    Since we established above that a short rest is not part of a long rest, using a long rest to identify a magic item is technically not allowed. That being said, almost any DM will allow it (and we think they should).

  • You can take a short rest without expending any Hit Dice. It’s important to note that the rules for short rests only state that “a character can spend one or more Hit Dice” — they don’t have to spend them, though. Players are free to take a short rest for other reasons without expending any Hit Dice.

  • You can’t identify and attune to a magic item during the same short rest (DMG 138).

  • The Catnap spell also gives the benefits of a short rest. Introduced in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, the Catnap spell allows 3+ players to gain the benefits of a short rest if they nap for 10 minutes.

    Note that these benefits don’t extend to things like identifying magic items, attuning, using tools, etc. because, well, the players are unconscious.

short rest 5e

Other Ways to Use Short Rests in 5e

Besides gaining benefits from a short rest, players can also do the following things during a short rest:

  1. Identify a magic item. If a character spends their short rest in physical contact with a magic item and focuses on it, the item will be identified at the end of the short rest. The player learns the item’s properties and how to use them.

    Narratively, this is described as the player focusing on clues that the item offers (symbols, writing, etc.) or experimenting with it. This isn’t necessary for potions; their properties can be discovered immediately upon tasting (DMG 136).

    Some DMs might disallow this and rule that only the Identify spell can be used to discover the properties of a magic item.

  2. Attune to a magic item. Some items require more than identification — they require a character to “attune” with them before they gain the benefits of its magical properties. Until then, the item is just a regular item, even if it’s been identified.

    Let’s turn directly to the rules here:

    Attuning to an item requires a creature to spend a short rest focused on only that item while being in physical contact with it (this can’t be the same short rest used to learn the item’s properties). (DMG 138, emphasis added).

    Once the short rest is complete, the player is attuned to the item. They know how to activate its magical properties on command.

  3. Use tools for certain things. More on this below.

DM Tips for Short Rests in 5e

The following tips are for dungeon masters looking to run short rests at their table. I incorporate a mix of all of these at my table when I DM, so feel free to pick and choose ideas you like.

  • Taking a short rest during an adventure should require at least some effort to be safe/stealthy. I opted not to put this in the “rules” section because it’s not a rule as such. But it is a good dungeon master guideline to follow.

    For example, in the Starter Set adventure, Lost Mines of Phandelver, one dungeon makes specific mention of a room that’s well-suited for resting: “the storeroom is a secure resting place. No monsters come this way. Moreover, the storeroom door is in good shape and can easily be blocked or barred from the inside” (LMoP 45).

    Use this example to guide your own way of thinking. The question isn’t “can players try to short rest here“; the question is “what’s likely to happen if they try to short rest here?” Reward players for picking smart places to take a short rest; punish those who fail to learn the lesson.

  • Have monsters rest too. If players only slightly damage creatures before they get away, make sure those creatures heal up while the players do. Maybe they even get some allies, if they’re a social sort. Even creatures of only slight intelligence can plan, set up defensive positions, and create other advantages while the party rests up.

    Or maybe instead of resting, they persistently attack players foolish enough to try to rest while their location is known.

  • Create urgency. Remember that dungeons aren’t static places where monsters sit around waiting for adventurers to wander into them. Introduce wandering monsters, environmental uncertainty (a cave that’s unstable, a room that amplifies the sound of the players’ conversation, etc.), and time crunches that make it unfeasible for players to take a short rest.

    Here’s Jeremy Crawford confirming these as the basic tools in a DM’s toolkit for applying anti-rest pressure.

  • Multipart encounters. This fits in with the “urgency” tip. Multipart encounters can be things that the players accidentally stumble into (a goblin calling his friends, which leads to more friends, which leads to a bugbear attack, etc.) or more of a gauntlet situation that players willingly enter.

    The first one’s great for springing a surprisingly difficult encounter on your players. Gauntlets are great for testing how efficient a party can be about using their resources wisely.

  • Aim for balance, but don’t worry about a quota. The two short rest per long rest per 6-8 encounter model introduced in the DMG is an okay place to start, but don’t fixate on it too much (DMG 84).

    Instead, think of things more narratively — does it make sense that the players could successfully take a short break in the location they are in, with the conditions they’re experiencing, and get away with it for at least an hour?

    Also, think about character balance. It’s no secret that some classes (Warlocks, Fighters, Monks) get more mileage out of taking frequent short rests. If you’re looking to balance a certain character (one way or another), playing with your short rest flexibility is a fairly safe dial to turn.

  • Allow interrupted long rests to count as short rests. Ultimately, the rules-as-written system is kind of silly. Players might know that they’re “pressing a rest button,” but narratively, the characters are just chilling out.

    As long as a character spends at least an hour of their long rest actually resting (as opposed to the two hours of allowed light activity and/or the one hour of allowed interruption), we recommend giving them the benefit of a short rest. They did fulfill the requirements, after all.

    By the same token, allow players to identify magic items over a long rest by calling part of that period a short rest.

  • Require safe rooms. The Dungeon Master’s Guide explicitly leads DMs to the idea that empty rooms “can be a godsend for players who need a safe play to take a short rest” (DMG 298).

    Make sure to reward players who make the effort of scoping out these extra-nice bunkers and fortifying them and/or standing watch in an intelligent way.

  • Throw new players a bone. When it comes to people who are new to the game and/or literal low-level characters (looking at you, Warlocks), try to be a bit more generous with how frequently/under what conditions you allow for a short rest to succeed.

    It can be really frustrating to feel hopelessly useless after one bout of combat or to be constantly harassed by wandering monsters as you try to progress through the story.

    We’ve made a few suggestions to dissuade players from taking excessive short rests, but you don’t need to implement them as a baseline part of your DMing style — just keep them in your back pocket as strategies for countering more experienced players and rewarding them with a richer, more reactive world.

Class Features That Recharge After a Short Rest in 5e

The following class features recharge after a short rest:

  • Barbarian. Relentless Rage (PHB 49)

  • Bard. Song of Rest (PHB 55)

  • Bard. Font of Inspiration (PHB 54)

  • Cleric. Channel Divinity (PHB 58)

  • Druid. Wild Shape (PHB 66)

  • Fighter. Second Wind (PHB 72)

  • Fighter. Action Surge (PHB 72)

  • Monk. Ki (PHB 78)

  • Rogue. Stroke of Luck (PHB 97)

  • Warlock. Spell Slots (PHB 107)

  • Wizard. Arcane Recovery (PHB 115)

  • Wizard. Signature Spells (PHB 115)

  • Warlock. Invocations: Cloak of Flies, Ghostly Gaze, Tomb of Levistus (XGtE 56)

  • Artificer. The Right Tool for the Job (can create a tool over a short rest) (TCoE 13)

  • Fighter. Superior Technique (TCoE 41)

  • Monk. Dedicated Weapon (TCoE 48)

  • Ranger. Tireless (TCoE 56)

Generally speaking, Warlocks, Monks, and Fighters get the most benefit out of short rests.

Subclass Features That Recharge After a Short Rest in 5e

  • Cleric (Knowledge Domain). Visions of the Past (PHB 60)

  • Druid (Circle of the Land). Natural Recovery (PHB 69)

  • Fighter (Battle Master). Superiority Dice (PHB 73)

  • Warlock (The Fey). Fey Presence (PHB 109)

  • Warlock (The Fey). Misty Escape (PHB 109)

  • Warlock (The Fey). Dark Delirium (PHB 109)

  • Warlock (The Fiend). Fiendish Resilience (change resistance) (PHB 109)

  • Warlock (The Great Old One). Entropic Ward (PHB 110)

  • Wizard (School of Divination). The Third Eye (PHB 116)

  • Wizard (School of Transmutation). Shapechanger (PHB 119)

  • Barbarian (Path of the Ancestral Guardian). Consult the Spirits (XGtE 10)

  • Bard (College of Glamour). Enthralling Performance (XGtE 14)

  • Bard (College of Glamour). Unbreakable Majesty (XGtE 14)

  • Bard (College of Whispers). Words of Terror (XGtE 16)

  • Bard (College of Whispers). Mantle of Whispers (XGtE 16)

  • Druid (Circle of Dreams). Hearth of Moonlight and Shadow (can use during a short rest) (XGtE 22)

  • Druid (Circle of Dreams). Walker in Dreams (XGtE 23)

  • Druid (Cirlce of the Shepherd). Spirit Totem (XGtE 23)

  • Fighter (Arcane Archer). Arcane Shot. (XGtE 28)

  • Ranger (Horizon Walker). Detect Portal (XGtE 42)

  • Ranger (Horizon Walker). Ethereal Step (XGtE 43)

  • Ranger (Monster Slayer). Slayer’s Prey (XGtE 43)

  • Ranger (Monster Slayer). Magic-User’s Nemesis (XGtE 43)

  • Rogue (Swashbuckler). Master Duelist (XGtE 47)

  • Sorcerer (Divine Soul). Favored by the Gods (XGtE 50)

  • Sorcerer (Storm Sorcery). Wind Soul (XGtE 52)

  • Warlock (The Celestial). Celestial Resistance (gain temporary hit points at the end of arest) (XGtE 55)

  • Warlock (The Hexblade). Hexblade’s Curse (XGtE 55)

  • Wizard (War Magic). Power Surge (XGtE 60)

  • Artificer (Armorer) Armor Model (change model) (TCoE 16)

  • Barbarian (Path of the Beast). Beastial Soul (TCoE 25)

  • Druid (Circle of Stars). Star Map (perform star map-making ceremony) (TCoE 38)

  • Fighter (Psy Warrior). Psionic Power (TCoE 43)

  • Fighter (Psy Warrior). Telekinetic Adept (TCoE 43)

  • Fighter (Rune Knight). Rune Carver (TCoE 44)

  • Fighter (Rune Knight). Master of Runes (TCoE 46)

  • Rogue (Phantom). Whispers of the Dead (TCoE 62)

  • Rogue (Soulknife). Psionic Power (TCoE 64)

  • Warlock (The Fathomless). Fathomless Plunge (TCoE 73)

  • Warlock (The Genie). Genie’s Vessel (vessel-making ceremony) (TCoE 75)

  • Warlock (The Genie). Sancutary Vessel (allows for a party-wide, sped-up, empowered short rest) (TCoE 75)

  • Wizard (Order of the Scribes). Awakened Spellbook (can remake book) (TCoE 77)

Other tasks that classes and subclasses can perform over a short rest include:

  • Fighter (Eldritch Knight). Weapon Bond (PHB 75)

  • Warlock (Pact of the Blade). Pact Weapon (PHB 108)

  • Warlock (Pact of the Tome). Book of Shadows Ceremony (PHB 108)

  • Warlock (Pact of the Talisman). Talisman Ceremony (TCoE 70)

Race Features That Recharge After a Short Rest in 5e

The following racial features recharge after a short rest:

  • Dragonborn. Breath Weapon (PHB 34)

  • Elf (eladrin). Fey Step (DMG 286)

  • Gnome. Fade Away (XGtE 74)

  • Elf (high). Fey Teleportation (XGtE 74)

  • Half-orc. Orcish Fury (XGtE 75)

  • Halfling. Second Chance (XGtE 75)

Feats That Recharge After a Short Rest in 5e

  • Inspiring Leader (PHB 166)

  • Martial Adept (PHB 168)

  • Chef (can cook a special food over a short rest) (TCoE 79)

Several boons (optional level 20 bonus rewards that DMs can reward) also recharge after a short rest (DMG 232).

Crafts That Can Be Completed As Part of a Short Rest in 5e

Xanathar’s Guide to Everything introduced a number of extra tasks that players could perform over a short rest, provided they’re proficient with certain tools:

  • Alchemist’s Tools. Potable Water (XGtE 79)

  • Cook’s Utensils. Prepare Meals (XGtE 81)

  • Forgery Kit. Quick Fake (XGtE 81)

  • Painter’s Supplies. Painting and Drawing (XGtE 83)

  • Thieves’ Tools. Set a Trap (XGtE 84)

  • Weaver’s Tools. Repair (XGtE 85)

  • Woodcarver’s Tools. Repair (XGtE 85)

Optional Short Rest Rules From the DMG

If you’re not happy with short rests in their base form, the Dungeon Master’s Guide gives plenty of optional rules to make them more or less powerful.

Optional short rest rules that make players lives easier:

  1. Giving the benefit of a short rest after a milestone. The milestone XP system is one that many DMs use, but there’s an oft-overlooked part of this rule’s section. Just as DMs can reward players with XP and treasure, they can also choose to give players the benefit of a short rest (the opportunity to spend Hit Dice, feats, features, and items).

    This can make for a particularly welcome reward if you’re running a multipart encounter, players are working their way through a gauntlet, or are otherwise in a situation where taking a short rest just isn’t feasible.

  2. Epic heroism. Changes short rests to 5 minutes and long rests to 1 hour.

Optional short rest rules that make players lives harder:

  1. Healer’s kit dependency. Requires players to expend a healer’s kit in order to use Hit Dice to regain hit points during a short rest. (DMG 266)

  2. Gritty realism. Changes short rests to 8 hours and long rests to 7 days. Warning: this (perhaps counterintuitively) ends up benefitting classes that like short rests more.

As always, the DM is ultimately the god of the game’s universe. It’s up to them (and the players at their table) to decide how short rests fit narratively and mechanically into the experience.