View Full Version : Fatigue/Exhaustion Rules

12-13-2009, 10:31 PM
Hi, folks. Some time in years past when I still followed D&D 3.X, I could swear that I came across rules regarding how a character can push themselves to stay awake for several nights without dozing off. Of course, I could just be confusing this with the "forced march" rules.

I know that a fairly simple set of rules could be deduced for such circumstances (Constitution checks of cumulatively increasing difficulty) but I was just curious if anyone here can recall such a set of rules and, if so, where they can be found. This situation has come up in a recent campaign and it has me curious.

So, does this sound familar to anyone?

12-13-2009, 11:21 PM
rules regarding how a character can push themselves to stay awake for several nights without dozing off.

Good question. I didn't find any mention of "sleep" (or lack thereof) in the core books beyond the side effects of sleeping in armor. (Apparently with the Endurance feat you can sleep in Medium Armor with no penalties... nice.)

I would say that you should treat sleep under the same rules as fatigue. If you don't sleep you have to check for fatigue, and make another check the next day, perhaps two if you are doing anything besides eating and guard duty... You'll have to make another check to stay awake the 2nd night and every night thereafter.

After the 2nd night with no sleep you have to make two checks to stay awake on the third day, three checks on the fourth day... and so on. (It might make sense to say that you can avoid one of those checks if you take like a minimum 1/2 hour power-nap.)

Also, in addition to the fatigue checks you should suffer penalties to certain skills that require you to be alert... like spot and listen... probably a -1 cumultive penalty for every day, and every night, you don't sleep without taking a power nap.

Of course all of that ^ would be kind of complicated to keep track of and likely not necessary from a roleplaying standpoint unless a PC is on guard duty for days without sleep and has to stay alert for some reason. Hero's always have to travel and fight battles constantly without sleep... ever watch LOTR? Those poor hobits being forced to sleep on rocks without pillows... oh the humanity!

12-14-2009, 06:56 AM
Forced March

In a day of normal walking, a character walks for 8 hours. The rest of the daylight time is spent making and breaking camp, resting, and eating.
A character can walk for more than 8 hours in a day by making a forced march. For each hour of marching beyond 8 hours, a Constitution check (DC 10, +2 per extra hour) is required. If the check fails, the character takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/injuryandDeath.htm#nonlethalDamage). A character who takes any nonlethal damage from a forced march becomes fatigued (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#fatigued). Eliminating the nonlethal damage also eliminates the fatigue. Itís possible for a character to march into unconsciousness by pushing himself too hard.

Frankly I consider this a little too hard on people having done a bit of hiking in my day. (I'm looking at the SRD right now, not the book) I don';t see a great deal on sleep itself. The only mention being that casters need a "good night's sleep". So pushing on without this sleep means no spell recovery.

From personal experience and reading on various sleep deprivation studies, I would start with fatigue and move to negative levels after 48 hours of no sleep.

My suggestion:

-- A Character that has gone 24 hours without sleep is fatigued.
-- A Character that goes 48 hours without sleep is fatigued and takes a negative level.
-- For every 12 hours beyond that double the fatigue penalty (once) and add a negative level.

-- Every 3 hours make a Constitution check (DC 10 +1 per 3 hours over 24) to avoid 1d6 lethal damage. PCs that hit 0 hit points can no longer say awake

As to forced march, I would at the least add the Characters Con bonus to that eight hours. and increase the DC on the Con check by only +1.

12-14-2009, 09:43 PM
Interesting info. Thanks, Tesral.

12-15-2009, 04:01 AM
Interesting topic, and potentially disturbing scenario for player. If anyone has really gone without sleep for a good amount of time, like myself, I can tell you that right around the 72 hour mark, it is very difficult to get to sleep, and your mind starts playing with you. Sleep deprivation Psychosis is the clinical term, Hallucinations are very real, and unlike anything that is drug induced ( as far as I know, and I am not a pristine clean person in that department)

As far as game play, I think fortitude checks after 24 hours starting at a DC of 15 and going up one every hour afterwards until you reach a DC 35. Afterwards I am not sure if I would punish players with negative levels, but defiantly -1 on Str, Dex, and Cons for every 2 hours they continue to remain awake. I'd also start just flipping through the monster manual and churning out impossible creatures at then, dealing non-lethal damage. And really begin to play with their heads. In fact not sleeping for a very long time will kill you, just as dropping to 0 Cons will as well

In addition if they make it to the point of that 72 hour window, afterwards it's just not as simple to lay down and try to sleep, they will need to do something like get hammered drunk. Knock themselves out or whatnot. And I'd say the whole time they are awake once in to the loss of Abilities they should be considered to be exhausted for everything they do.