For a level 10, 4-player party, the daily difficulty budget is 36k, so they could have 6 encounters of a CR 10 monster. However, I think this assumes they have time to patch up after a battle or even have a short rest.

How do I find a budget or multiplier for back-to-back encounters with virtually no time to rest between them?

If there are normally 2-3 encounters between a short rest, how much more difficult would it be in terms of number and hazard to have them back-to-back?

Would it be appropriate to apply the modifier for a group of enemies, despite not fighting them all at once? (Although 2x for 6xCR10 seems a bit too much...)

For the purposes of the question, let's not go in depth regarding specific abilities and short-rest recharges.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Your general assumption is correct, based on the DMG. (Para 1). I am not sure how one would begin to assign values to the answer to this since many classes have short rest recharging, not just warlocks: Second Wind/Action Surge Fighters; Cleric Channel Divinity; Wizards Arcane Recovery; Monks and Ki, Druids and Wild Shape. This is a multi-variable problem that is also heavily influenced by DM timing and pacing. (This is a great question to think about as a DM, but I am not sure that it can get a stackable answer). To tighten the scope, provide an actual party with actual classes/sub classes \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1, 2019 at 22:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ the difficulty could vary greatly depending on how the PCs budget their abilities from encounter to encounter. If they don't know they're going to be bombarded, they may use everything in the first and be dry for subsequent encounters. Or if one gets swingy with dice it could throw everything off. This seems like it'd be very difficult to evaluate in concrete terms, since there are so many factors that can affect the outcome or efficiency of combats. I'm honestly not sure we can answer this to the satisfaction of RPG.SE, at least in its current form. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1, 2019 at 22:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @falsedot I have made a large edit to attempt to narrow down what your looking for \$\endgroup\$ Feb 2, 2019 at 2:24

1 Answer 1


In the guidelines for designing encounters in the DMG (page 83), under "Multipart Encounters", it lists XP calculations for Wave Battles. This may be what you're looking for. There it says to keep each encounter discrete but warns that if the total XP is over 1/3rd of adventuring day's XP budget, the encounter would be harder than expected.

Therefore, as long as the sum of the XP from each wave is less than a third of the day's exp, you could estimate the difficulty as if they were separate encounters.

If you want more specifics, the Adventuring Day section might be good, where you add up all of the encounters.

  • \$\begingroup\$ no idea why there was a downvote, that was exactly what I was looking for. added a bit more info based on the section you mention, thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – falsedot
    Feb 8, 2019 at 9:38

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