[RPG] Must 5e elves take a long rest


If an elf uses their trance regularly, takes short rests periodically, and is willing to forego the benefits of long rests (hit points and dice restored, spell slots and abilities restored, etc), is there anything that would require them to take a long rest regularly?

My understanding is that sleep and long rests are distinct, and that either can occur without the other. Further, there my be repercussions for a character who decides to forego sleep (e.g., exhaustion or CON checks to see if they can stay awake)? But so far I don't see any explicit penalties for avoiding a long rest in RAW…

The reason I specify an "elf" is because some DMs on fora have argued that there is no "long rest button", e.g., that once all other conditions have been met, a long rest automatically occurs. I am considering a cheesy build based on taking no long rests. By limiting my character to an elf, I can still trance to avoid exhaustion, but also avoid 8 consecutive hours that could be considered a long rest.

Best Answer

The long rest mechanic is used for the purposes of restoring resources (spell slots, hit points, class feature uses, etc) to party members. Outside of this there is no reason, mechanically, for any character to take a long rest, let alone elves.

As you mention in your question, long rest and sleep are not the same thing -- sleeping is really a roleplay choice (or something that happens when you are affected by certain spells), whereas a long rest is use of game mechanics. Of course there may be penalties for not sleeping (your DM may cause exhaustion levels to increase, for example) but there are no penalties for not long resting (aside from the lack of recovery).

Ordinarily the two concepts are generally treated as the same or at least as happening at the same time ("We go to sleep and take a long rest,") but no, as far as your question is concerned and given the constraints you have provided, there is no need for an elf, or any other character for that matter, to long rest.

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