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I'm running a game for a group entirely made of engineers and programmers.

One of them approached me with this custom spell, and asked me to include it into the game.

Brew of the Boosted Brain

Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: Touch
Components: S, M (a few spoons of coffee powder and a jar of hot water; sugar to taste)
Duration: Instantaneous

Classes: Sorcerer, Wizard

You infuse water with your magic, turning it into a black, somewhat bitter drink that fills whoever consumes it with energy and vigor.

If a creature consumes one dose of the beverage created by this spell during a short rest, it gains all the benefits of a long rest instead. A creature must complete a regular long rest without using the brew created by this spell before being able to benefit from it again. A single casting of this spell produces five doses of brew.

My gut feeling was to make this a rather low level spell - maybe even a cantrip, since it wouldn't be able to be used over and over forever, but it seems that it would enable some very powerful resource recovery during dungeon delving.

On the other hand, the idea of caffeinated adventurers amuse me so much to block this spell entirely, so I really wanted to make it part of the game.

What would be a good level for this spell?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @greysage Nap Stack allows you to stack long rests on top of each other. The usage of that spell is more towards removing negative levels, diseases and ability damage quickly than replacing a single rest. \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar Feb 4 at 21:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Orc'sPlunder It is intended to affect everything affected by a long rest, yes. I'm not sure how to clarify this further, honestly. English isn't my first language >.<" \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar Feb 4 at 23:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @T.Sar-ReinstateMonica "the benefits of a long rest" is how I remember seeing it everywhere--I think you're fine, there. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 5 at 1:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ What is the state of your game? Does it already have a lot of homebrew? Do you know what the player wants to do with this spell? IMO this is a crazy powerful spell, so it's interesting to see your response that it could well be a cantrip. Clearly your games are different to mine :) \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Feb 5 at 4:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @pwi The group is around sixth level at the moment. We don't have a lot of homebrew, but a few houserules instead. My perception regarding this spell is that while it appears powerful, it is more a RP thing than anything else - it will allow my players to effectively take two "adventuring days" inside a single regular day. The goal of my players is to reduce the "lost time" that a long rest creates - they aren't comfortable with the amount of "hours doing nothing" it creates every day, and want to cram more stuff on the clock. Plus, a gnome druid hyped up on coffee seems hilarious. \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar Feb 5 at 8:40
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My bad, I removed my previous post as this paragraph from the PHP had slipped my mind:

A character can't benefit from more than one long rest in a 24-hour period, and a character must have at least 1 hit point at the start of the rest to gain its benefits.

(PHB p.186)

I really like the spell and can see how it could be helpful and fun in the right campaign.

...but the level has to be much higher than a Cantrip and the spell needs to be more limited.

It's up to you as a DM of course and your campaign may accommodate this spell but, for the sake of a spell that is balanced with other spells and mechanics in the game, I really think it cannot be a Cantrip, or even a 1st- or 2nd-level spell.

When comparing Brew of the Boosted Brain is a much more powerful than the 3rd-level spell Catnap (XGE, p.151) as this only restores the benefit of a shor-rest over 10 minutes (instead of 1 hour) and requires a long-rest for the recepient to benefit again from the spell.

My suggestion is that you make this spell at least a 3rd-level spell and have a very clear limit that you can only benefit from this spell once every 24 hours and you must have a long rest in between uses, too.

For a typical campaign setting this could be a game-changer, as you could get two long rests in a 24-hour period. You will need to ignore the PHB's rule about only having one long rest per day. If as a DM you allow the part to benefit from more than one long rest in a day, then, as I had said in my previous answer, you potentially can fit 5 long rests in one day.

You need to set a house-rule on the maximum number of times a PC can benefit from a long rest.

The alternative option, is to just allow the benefits of the spell to happen every other day.

For example: on day one, I have a regular day of adventuring with a regular long rest (8 hours); on day two we get trapped in a hazardous dungeon and I am running out of spell-slots, so I use Brew of the Boosted Brain and have a short rest, from which I'm feeling pumped and ready to go; on day 3 I have a regular long rest; and so on.

Without these limits, the spell breaks the PHB rule of only benefitting from one long rest in a 24-hour period. That is fine, but I would suggest you do set an upper limit. Otherwise, the whole scenario of benefitting from a long rest up to five times per day becomes a reality in your campign - and a few high level Wizards could start their very own Zombie apocalypse.

The other side of the coin!

In the DMG there is a Rest Variant called EPIC HEROISM where you can gain most of the benefits of a long rest with a one-hour rest! However, it also points out limitations on higher-level spell slots as I have suggested above. You could simply include the spell-slot limitation into Brew of the Boosted Brain instead. Again, not a Cantrip! :)

EPIC HEROISM

This variant uses a short rest of 5 minutes and a long rest of 1 hour. This change makes combat more routine, since characters can easily recover from every battle. You might want to make combat encounters more difficult to compensate. Spellcasters using this system can afford to burn through spell slots quickly, especially at higher levels. Consider allowing spellcasters to restore expended spell slots equal to only half their maximum spell slots (rounded down) at the end of a long rest, and to limit spell slots restored to 5th level or lower. Only a full 8-hour rest will allow a spellcaster to restore all spell slots and to regain spell slots of 6th level or higher.

(DMG p.267)

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    \$\begingroup\$ I went with this answer because of the Epic Heroism alternative rule. I ruled that the Brew of the Boosted Brain enables short and long resting as if they used the Epic Heroism rules, and made it so that if you long-rested while using the Brew you only recovered one use of each use-limited abilities and one spell slot for each level you can cast. This allowed me to make the Brew a cantrip without messing things up too much. \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar Feb 10 at 11:24
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Level 3 or 4 would be enough with a small tweak to the wording and usage.

If you treated the spell like a Long rest shortener, rather than a Short rest booster, you could make it a low level spell without ruining too much balance. You consume the brew at the start of a long rest and the rest can be finished in just 1 hour rather than 8. This maintains only gaining benefits from 1 long rest per 24 hour period. Resetting the brew use would come from the next legitimate long rest.

The "brew" would just allow the adventurers to reduce sleep time if they were in a hostile environment or on a time sensitive mission.

I also think that the spell slot used to make the brew shouldn't be restored unless it is with a legitimate long rest.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd suggest additionally giving anyone who consumed this a level of exhaustion starting 24 hours after the brew was quaffed. Maybe drinking a second one before a real long rest still counts as a long rest, but doesn't do anything about the exhaustion (so 2 levels of exhaustion after the second brew wears off). Drink too much and it'll put you in a coma. Alternatively, you can't cast the spell while under the effects of a brew. \$\endgroup\$ – aslum Feb 5 at 21:52
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At least 2nd level, probably much much higher

For a baseline, compare the Pearl of Power. This uncommon magic item, requiring attunement, can restore one spell slot, of low level, for one character. It is clearly much less powerful than the spell you describe.

The DMG (p.128) suggests that a magic item can only be created by a spellcaster who can cast any spells the item produces, and further gives guidance that 3rd level is a reasonable point at which a character could create an uncommon magic item. From this we can gather that the effect of a Pearl of Power, much weaker than Brew, should be about a 2nd level spell (available to a 3rd level caster.)[1]

But you are creating something much more powerful. It restores all spell slots, including the one used to cast it, and does so for an entire party, as well as all class features (not to mention the HP restored.)

There's not much guidance for what level this spell should be, since for the most part, 5th edition does not allow this type of repeatable resource renewal. I'd suggest that if you allow this spell, it must have a material cost, otherwise it will essentially always be used. There is precious little reason not to do so. Further, I'd suggest that the brew created must expire at some point. Otherwise, it might as well not cost any resources at all, since it can simply be created and saved during downtime.

Based on very little precedent, I'd also recommend this being a level 9 spell. At any other spell level, there is too little cost to simply saving a spell slot for Brew. At least at 9th level, it is guaranteed that the caster will given something up in a prior encounter to be able to use it (though even then, they still have a 9th level slot after they use this spell.)

But I'd recommend not doing this

This spell causes all sorts of problems. Mage Armor (and other 8 hour duration spells) can now be used without taking a spell slot, just drink the brew after using them. Warlocks, monks, and other classes balanced around short rests are drastically weakened, whereas wizards can now pull out all the stops twice per day. Wizards can now switch their prepared spells during short rests, making them much more versatile. Only once before taking a "real" long rest, yes, but even two long rests per day is more than the game is balanced around.

In short, this spell will have extreme consequences for game balance, even at 9th level. I'm not sure it's worth doing just for the joke. I'd recommend drastically reducing its scope before trying to give it a level.

Unless the intent is for this spell to replace a long rest

If the intent is for this spell to replace your "real" long rest, then you most likely want to reword it. As written, the spell does not make your short rest become a long rest, and you are able to benefit from more than one long rest per day. If you instead clarify that this is a long rest for the purposes of the rule dictating one long rest per 24 hours, then this solves many of the problems of the spell.

[1] Obviously the exact effect of the Pearl of Power would be problematic on its own as a second level spell; this is just to give an example of how the proposed spell is wildly more powerful than a cantrip.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't disagree with you, but I have to point out that the rules say you can only benefit from a long rest once every 24 hours. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Feb 4 at 23:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ The way the spell is currently worded ("gains the benefit of a long rest") implies to me that it is not intended to be a long rest. I believe the current wording gets around that, since the character is benefiting from one long rest, and one short rest that gives the benefits of a long rest. If that's not the intent, it would certainly change this answer. \$\endgroup\$ – 1600hp Feb 4 at 23:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ You also can't use this spell/potion twice without taking an actual long rest in-between \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Feb 4 at 23:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ True, but I don't think it would take more than one long-rest-like short rest to unbalance things. I will clarify that in my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – 1600hp Feb 4 at 23:29
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Change the duration of long and short rests

The problem you are having is that the players do not enjoy the idea of long rests taking so long. Would forcing them to use this spell constantly actually help? If you do force them to use this spell constantly, does balance matter?

To fix this problem you should simply reduce the duration of long and short rests. The Dungeon Master's Guide has optional variant rest durations, the Epic Heroism variant has 5 minute short rests, and 1 hour long rests.

While you may not want to go that far, why not change your game to have 1 hour short rests, and 4 hour long rests.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That's an option. In any case, I wouldn't be forcing them to use the spell - it was proposed by one of the players, not by me. \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar Feb 6 at 6:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.Sar-ReinstateMonica You aren't technically forcing them, but they don't have any other options. Be aware that by not changing the way that rests work, you are effectively force them to use this spell. When players come to you with homebrew to fix a problem, that would be the time to worry. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Feb 6 at 8:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ some players love to suggest Homebrew even when there is no problem at all for all sorts of reasons. I don't think it is fair to generalize like that. \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar Feb 6 at 10:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.Sar-ReinstateMonica You said before that there is a problem and that this homebrew is ostensibly to fix this problem. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Feb 7 at 0:42
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This spell has many issues. If you want a more powerful game it's a good way to get one, still needs rewriting. Like so.

Brew of the Boosted Brain

Casting Time: 1 minute

Range: Touch

Components: S M (costly, rare) (Powdered illithid brain, green dragon horn, fire newt mucus, and the hair clippings of a famous elven scholar (or other highly intelligent, long lived humanoid)) (Sugar to taste.)

Duration: Instantaneous

Classes: Cleric, Warlock

You infuse the water and powder with your magic, turning it into a black, somewhat bitter drink that fills whoever consumes it with energy and vigor.

If a creature consumes one dose of the beverage created by this spell during a short rest, that short rest instead counts as a long rest in all respects except removing fatigue/exhaustion, including regaining spells, hp, abilities, and being unable to gain the positive effects of a long rest twice in 24 hours. After receiving this bonus, creatures that received it also gain -2 to Dexterity and Intelligence checks, as well as any task requiring fine motor skills or concentration, and 2 Levels of Exhaustion.

Creatures may also consume the brew as a Standard action to gain the effects of a Short rest (following otherwise all normal rules of short rests), gaining only half the penalties listed above (cumulative with existing penalties).

Brew of the Boosted Brain can be used multiple days in a row, however the penalties are cumulative, and at 6 levels of Exhaustion, the creature will die.

A long rest without using the brew removes all penalties caused by Brew of the Boosted Brain, although long term abuse of the Brew may result in unforeseen consequences.

A single casting of this spell produces five doses of brew.

Et voila. For a more complicated spell text, we have a better spell.

It now relies on expensive, weird things. Finding them can be a quest. Losing them can lose access to the spell. It's also more magickey.

The spell now benefits short rest users. Not as much as long rest users, because the short rest:long rest differences are just way too large and unwieldy to bridge very easily with a single spell, but at least they get something. Making the spell warlock and cleric only makes the three guys who will most benefit - sorcerer, wizard, druid - unable to cast it themselves.

There are now penalties to magical enhancement that mean you might want to just regularly rest if you can instead. This is a fairly minor tradeoff that will often be ignored but such is life. Making it more restrictive is hard without making it an automatic no, and it seems like the goal is to increase the power level of the game.

This will lead to more magic being used in fights and to solve problems, and overall the power of full casters will increase substantially. More closet trolls and magical gear aimed at non full casters will help them keep up, alternatively you could make some more powerful things like this aimed at fighters and warlocks and so on to keep them up to scratch.

Overall this is quite doable.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ -1; you appear to be adding some sort of house rule vis a vis "rare" components. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Feb 5 at 13:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you should try to pare the wording down to something a bit more wieldy and in-line with 5e design (i.e. static penalties are rare, usually preferring to impose Disadvantage). Also, the OP is asking for a level the spell should be at, if you are proposing a rewrite, I think you should include an appropriate level with it. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Feb 5 at 14:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, you indicate that the character gains the benefits of a long rest but then proceed to to list every benefit of taking a long rest as an exception. What benefit does this rewritten version grant? \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Feb 5 at 14:20

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