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Xanathar's Guide to Everything (p. 56) adds Aspect of the Moon as an option for one of their Eldritch Invocations:

Aspect of the Moon

Prerequisite: Pact of the Tome feature

You no longer need to sleep and can't be forced to sleep by any means. To gain the benefits of a long rest, you can spend all 8 hours doing light activity, such as reading your Book of Shadows and keeping watch.

What exactly is considered "light activity" for the purpose of this invocation? For example, would casting a spell, casting a ritual, making a short rest, copying spells and/or using a tool be considered light activity?

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    \$\begingroup\$ That ability would be handy in real life. If I could read all night, I could get another degree ;-) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 2, 2018 at 2:43

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From the 5e SRD rules on resting (p. 87) one can find the definition of light activity (emphasis mine):

A long rest is a period of extended downtime, at least 8 hours long, during which a character sleeps or performs light activity: reading, talking, eating, or standing watch for no more than 2 hours.

By contrast, strenuous activity is defined right after:

If the rest is interrupted by a period of strenuous activity—at least 1 hour of walking, fighting, casting spells, or similar adventuring activity—the characters must begin the rest again to gain any benefit from it.

This means that this feature is effectively changing the usually required 6 hours of sleep and 2 hours of light activity (as indicated in errata, see this related Q/A), allowing you to spend all 8 hours doing light activity instead.

The light/strenuous activity distinction is not changed so the quoted definitions should apply as normal.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Here's the corresponding section of the basic rules on DNDBeyond: dndbeyond.com/compendium/rules/basic-rules/adventuring#LongRest \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Aug 1, 2018 at 19:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok, that makes me ask: if you're testing at night and get jumped by goblins and slay them all in five minutes (combat is fast)...does that not count because it wasn't an hour? Or is the hour qualifier only on "walking"? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 1, 2018 at 23:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Draco18s Check this related Q/A for that \$\endgroup\$
    – Sdjz
    Aug 2, 2018 at 0:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ The linked errata seems to somewhat change the interpretation. In the eratta'd version (at least as I read it), any length of watch is still considered "light activity". \$\endgroup\$
    – mbrig
    Aug 2, 2018 at 4:29
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The rules for a long rest mention examples of light activity as "reading, talking, eating or standing watch".

It also mentions that a long rest is interrupted by at least 1 hour of strenuous activity which it lists as "walking, fighting, casting spells or similar adventuring activity".

It seems reasonable that casting a few spells or ritual spells (as long as it doesn't take too long or requires physical activity), copying spells or other activity that takes little time and can be done while relaxing is probably OK.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Casting spells of any kind is considered "strenuous activity"; by definition, it's not "light activity". That said, I'd assume it still follows the overall rules of not interrupting the long rest unless you spend more than an hour doing it. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Aug 1, 2018 at 19:22
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The description of a long rest is given in the PHB and on D&D Beyond. Partially, it says:

A long rest is a period of extended downtime, at least 8 hours long, during which a character sleeps or performs light activity: reading, talking, eating, or standing watch for no more than 2 hours.

"Light activity" is "reading, talking, eating [,] standing watch for no more than 2 hours" or other things of that kind.

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Actually @PJRZ. The list you are referencing states "at least 1 hour of walking, fighting, casting spells, or similar adventuring activity". They way you have phrased it suggests that each activity is subject to the 1 hour precursor. Where in actuality, only the walking is subject to the 1 hour. Reading this, the commas are important. It should be read as a list. 1 Hour of walking. ANY fighting. ANY Casting Spells. ANY Similar Adventuring Activity. A 2 minute fight is 20 rounds of combat. That is a lot of combat. There is zero chance that only after 600 rounds of combat is your long rest interrupted. The way you read this line is very important.

So to summarize:

Long Rest

A long rest is a period of extended downtime, at least 8 hours long, during which a character sleeps or performs light activity: reading, talking, eating, or standing watch for no more than 2 hours. If the rest is interrupted by a period of strenuous activity — at least 1 hour of walking, fighting, casting spells, or similar adventuring activity — the character must begin the rest again to benefit from it.

Anything that fits into Reading, Talking, Eating, or Standing Watch, can be considered light activity. 1 hour of walking. Casting of any spells (1 action or otherwise), Fighting (ANY Fighting), or similar adventuring activities are considered strenuous activity and not applicable to light activity.

There is also this in consideration of Light Activity...

Does the Trance trait allow an elf to finish a long rest in 4 hours? The intent is no. The Trance trait does let an elf meditate for 4 hours and then feel the way a human does after sleeping for 8 hours, but that isn’t intended to shorten an elf’s long rest. A long rest is a period of relaxation that is at least 8 hours long. It can contain sleep, reading, talking, eating, and other restful activity. Standing watch is even possible during it, but for no more than 2 hours; maintaining heightened vigilance any longer than that isn’t restful. In short, a long rest and sleep aren’t the same thing; you can sleep when you’re not taking a long rest, and you can take a long rest and not sleep.

Here’s what this all means for an elf. An elf can spend 4 hours in a trance during a long rest and then has 4 additional hours of light activity. While an elf’s companions are snoozing, the elf can be awake and engaged in a variety of activities, including carving a lovely trinket, composing a sonnet, reading a tome of ancient lore, attempting to remember something experienced centuries before, and keeping an eye out for danger. The Trance trait is, ultimately, meant to highlight the otherworldly character of elves, not to give them an edge in the game.

This further expands our light activities to include; carving, Song/Poem Writing, reading a tome of ancient lore, and History checks.

I am sure there is more that can be considered light activity too.

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