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Example when being able to determine that order matters: periapt of wound closure, an attunement item that benefits spending hit dice.

Picture the following scenario: The party is beat-up after a few fights and decide to take a short rest. There is a brief argument as to who needs healing most, and eventually, one character is chosen - let's call him Genji.

Thus, Genji pulls out the party's periapt of wound closure, and spends the next short rest fiddling with it. Now, at the end of the short rest, two effects happen:

A character can spend one or more hit dice at the end of a short rest, up to the character’s maximum number of hit dice, which is equal to the character’s level.

And

Attuning to an item requires a creature to spend a short rest focused on only that item while being in physical contact with it (this can’t be the same short rest used to learn the item’s properties). This focus can take the form of weapon practice (for a weapon), meditation (for a wondrous item), or some other appropriate activity. (...) at the end of the short rest, the creature gains an intuitive understanding of how to activate any magical properties of the item, including any necessary command words.

Obviously, it's highly desirable for Genji to first attune to the magic item, then spend hit dice, since their rolls will be doubled - but is that actually viable?

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7 Answers 7

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RAW, it appears to work.

There is no guidance given for the order in which these two effects would occur. Both happen "at the end of a short rest". So when it comes time to roll hit dice at the end of the short rest, we can ask "am I attuned to the periapt?", and the answer will be "yes", because it is the end of the short rest.

However, I would not allow this to work.

At the table, I would rule contrary to the ruling I offered above. The narrative idea behind a short rest is that you gradually recover over the course of the hour, and the narrative idea of the periapt is that it is supplementing that recovery for the duration of your rest. Within the fiction of the game, you do not suddenly pop up to being healthy at the end of the hour, and in the same way, without the periapt supplementing your recovery for the duration of the rest, you should not benefit from it at the end of the rest.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You have to be wearing the Periapt in order to benefit from it's effects when you roll your hit die (specific restriction from the item itself), but the character doesn't know this until after they are finished attuning, so it really depends on whether or not they wore the periapt while attuning, and accidentally got the benefit (because wearing it certainly fulfils the requirement being in physical contact with it) \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Jan 26 at 14:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ So you can both apply the rules as per RAW, and fulfil the narrative side of things as well. Now, this attunement strategy for a character might be dangerous if they happened to try to attune to a cursed necklace that happened to want to choke them once they finished a short rest \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Jan 26 at 14:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @illustro OP included in their research the rule "this can’t be the same short rest used to learn the item’s properties" - and described a situation in which a party holds the periapt in common and wants to decide who should use it. Presumably they already know how the periapt works and the same character that will be using may even have attuned to it previously, although they are not currently attuned. I don't think it is realistic, as you suggest, that the character doesn't know that they need to hold the periapt until the attunement ends. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Feb 3 at 19:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kirt answers here have multiple different audiences. The OP is one, people on the internet with the same or similar problem are another, and the experts here are the third. Ideally answers should cater for all three. This is part of why we ask people to include quotes in answers instead of just providing a link, for future readers (the OP can visit the presumably valid link now future readers might not be able to) \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Feb 3 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, I was addressing @ThomasMarkov's sentence "Within the fiction of the game, you do not suddenly pop up to being healthy at the end of the hour, and in the same way, without the periapt supplementing your recovery for the duration of the rest, you should not benefit from it at the end of the rest." with those comments, not the OP \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Feb 3 at 20:12
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It might work, except for those cases in which is doesn't

The lead sentence for a "short rest" is:

A short rest is a period of downtime, at least 1 hour long, during which a character does nothing more strenuous than eating, drinking, reading, and tending to wounds.

So "during" that rest, the character is spending time tending wounds. Not just just popping a Stim Pack and gaining back their hp.

For attunement, you have to look at the deeper description:

This focus can take the form of weapon practice (for a weapon), meditation (for a wondrous item), or some other appropriate activity.

So the act of attuning to an item is a process that takes time over the course of the short rest. And logically speaking, so does regaining hit dice. But that activity can be quite strenuous; such as the example of a weapon. So in that case, a character would not be able to attune to a weapon and tend their wounds in the same hour.

And now we have the "Well, maybe" part

We now have a clear argument that there are times when attuning and healing hit dice cannot happen in the same hour. But what about other items?

Maybe tending your wounds is an "appropriate activity" while attuning to a periapt of wound closure?

The attunement passage mentions meditation for Wondrous Items. Mediation seems to fall into what is allowed while healing hit dice. But what about Wands? Rods? Rings? Armor? Does every item require its own judgement call?

What about things like Bracers of Archery? They are a Wondrous Item, but wouldn't it make sense that you would need to be practicing with a bow while attuning?

Related Shenanigans

What happens when the character currently attuned wants to use it along with the newly "most beat up" character? Technically, Character A is attuned to the item all the way up until they are not.

So now you have the situation of Character A, who is attuned to the periapt of wound closure and wears it as a long necklace1, starting their short rest at 1:00pm. Ten minutes later, Character B starts attuning to the item. Character A is still attuned until it is broken, and since it's on a long necklace, Character A can still wear it while Character B meditates on it.

Then at 2:00pm, Character A has finished their short rest and gained the benefits of using the periapt of wound closure and rolled for double hit points. At 2:05pm, Character A takes off the necklace and hands it to Character B to wear. At 2:10pm, Character B is now "at the end of a short rest", has attuned to the periapt of wound closure, and are wearing it so they also gain the benefit of getting double hit points.

As a DM, I'd say no

If the player wants to use hit dice during the short rest, then they are out of commission for most all other activities. There are exceptions, such as the Bard's Song of Rest, which states that the Bard can use hit dice while also performing.


1: The definition of periapt states it is "an item worn as a charm or amulet." So having it on a necklace is not out of the question.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I want you to know that a variant of the Related Shenanigans was what was my initial post before I realized you have to spent hit dice at the end of a short rest. Also, I am now realizing with a strict reading it's impossible to attune to some items at all - you need to spend a short rest practicing with a weapon, which is too strenuous an activity to allow you to short rest, so you cannot attune to it. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 26 at 0:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @vonBoomslang, it's not impossible. You just do it outside of a short rest, like say during a long rest. Long rest is eight hours with six hours of downtime. So that's two hours you can play with your sword. \$\endgroup\$
    – MivaScott
    Jan 26 at 1:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @vonBoomslang The attunement rules provide for a specific exception to the normal short rest rules. Normally you cannot practice with a weapon during the short rest, however, if you are attuning to an item, the process of attuning is explictly carried out during a short rest and includes taking the form of weapon practice (for a weapon), which overrides the normal short rest restriction due to the application of the Specific vs General rule \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Jan 26 at 13:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MivaScott Re: Shenanigans, it is important to remember that a short rest is not an hour, it is at least an hour. If, as a DM, you don't like the periapt-relay your players are attempting, you are entirely within RAW to tell the first character that their short rest ended after an hour, but the second character needed an hour and 50 minutes to complete their short rest. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Feb 3 at 19:51
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With a strict reading, the optional rule from Xanathar's won't let you choose the order

This rule states:

In rare cases, effects can happen at the same time, especially at the start or end of a creature's turn. If two or more things happen at the same time on a character or monster's turn, the person at the game table - whether player or DM - who controls that creature decides the order in which those things happen.

This optional rule only applies when things happen at the same time on a character or monster's turn. So strictly reading it, this can't be applied at all because there are no turns when short resting. Thus there is no rule (optional or otherwise) about ordering these events.

It is up to the GM how these are ordered

However, the events of "Spending Hit Dice" and "Attuning" are certainly both happening at the same time (they are both triggered "at the end of a short rest"). Maybe your GM will allow you to determine the order, maybe they won't. Lacking any rules, it is up to them to decide. The GM may even allow the Xanathar's rule to apply during short rests; it's already an optional rule after all and whether it should only apply during combat is a different question entirely.

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Provided it is being used in your game, the optional rule on Simultaneous Effects from Xanathar's Guide to Everything lets you choose the order (if you are wearing the Periapt before your attunement ends)

This rule states:

Most effects in the game happen in succession, following an order set by the rules or the DM. In rare cases, effects can happen at the same time, especially at the start or end of a creature's turn. If two or more things happen at the same time on a character or monster's turn, the person at the game table - whether player or DM - who controls that creature decides the order in which those things happen.

It's clear from the first sentence that non-simultaneous effects are determined either by the rules, or by the DM.

It's clear from the second sentence of the rule, that it covers both simultaneous events in combat and out of combat, otherwise it wouldn't include the caveat:

[...] especially at the start or end of a creature's turn.

As a result, we should interpret the rule in that more generous light.

It's also worth pointing to the PHB rules on tracking time (emphasis mine):

In combat and other fast-paced situations, the game relies on rounds, a 6 second span of time described in chapter 9, "Combat.".

So, from this it's clear that if we need to track simultaneous, or other slower but still fast-paced effects, we should be using rounds to track time and resolve these things.

So, if an effect is actually simultaneous with another, then we should be looking at rounds and (if necessary within rounds) turns to determine when the simultaneous effect actually happens. Then we apply the optional rule from XGtE to resolve the conflict.

Are these effects actually simultaneous?

You have quoted (most of) the relevant rules for the features we need to look at. I will quote all of them here for clarity:

The rules on Short Resting state:

A character can spend one or more hit dice at the end of a short rest, up to the character’s maximum number of hit dice, which is equal to the character’s level.

The rules on attuning to an item state:

Attuning to an item requires a creature to spend a short rest focused on only that item while being in physical contact with it (this can’t be the same short rest used to learn the item’s properties). This focus can take the form of weapon practice (for a weapon), meditation (for a wondrous item), or some other appropriate activity. [...] at the end of the short rest, the creature gains an intuitive understanding of how to activate any magical properties of the item, including any necessary command words.

Based on these two sets of rules, both the attunement and your rolling of hit dice for that short rest are simultaneous events.

We should also consider if the specific magic item modifies any of this logic (since magic is one of the primary sources for specific exceptions in the game).

Periapt of Wound Closure states:

While you wear this pendant, you stabilise whenever you are dying at the start of your turn. In addition, whenever you roll a Hit Die to regain hit points, double the number of hit points it restores.

So, provided you attuned to the item, during your short rest, and were wearing it before the short rest and your attunement ended, then yes, the simultaneous events rule from XGtE would apply (if it is being used in your game) to the rolling of hit dice and having the attunement to, and therefore doubling apply from, the Periapt.

Conclusion (tl;dr)

Since both attunement and healing are determined at the end of a short rest, and they happen to the character, it's very reasonable to conclude that these are in fact simultaneous effects that happen on the character's turn. Therefore we should conclude that the character gets to determine the order.

There is of course, one important caveat to this, as mentioned above; the Periapt of Wound Closure requires you to be wearing it in order for you to gain its effects. You aren't, however, required to wear it in order to attune to it. So if your character is simply touching it to attune as someone else is wearing it, then no, your character doesn't gain the benefits of the Periapt.

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Parsing timing at the 'end of a short rest' is a red herring

Both the units of time and the sequencing rules in the game are abstractions, put in place for when the things happening are conflicting and / or contingent. If you have multiple characters and opponents in a combat, you are trying to represent a situation in which events are simultaneous. But in order for everyone to have a turn, and because what you are able to do may be affected or prevented by what someone else just did, we have initiative rules. Everyone is acting simultaneously in the six-second combat round, but we agree on initiative order to resolve their actions.

Similarly, you could have just one character involved in a time period, but their actions occur simultaneously with environmental effects so that the order of resolution on their turn matters.

In cases where there is no conflict and no contingency, however, the order of resolution doesn't matter. When multiple characters in a party finish a short rest at the same time, we don't roll initiative or invoke Xanathar's in order to see which PC gets to roll their HD first. There is no conflict and no contingency involved - RAW perhaps the cleric regains hp before the barbarian, but since in practice everyone agrees on the outcome we don't bother to determine which happened first, we just let both happen.

So this question is not actually about what happens first (attunement or spending hit dice), but rather about whether there is a conflict over which happens first. Obviously the player would like to gain the benefits of both, and in particular would like to have Genji already attuned to the periapt when he spends his HD. Were it up to the player, the attunement would happen first; there is contingency, but no conflict. The DM could simply permit this, in which case there is no conflict either and we can just assume that it happens. If the DM does not want this to happen, that is the conflict that needs to be resolved. It is DM vs. player interest that is potentially in conflict, not two events triggered by the same 'end of short rest' time period.

So why doesn't the DM want this to happen?

There are lots of reasons the DM might not want to permit this; perhaps they consider it abuse of the idea of attunement which binds a magic item to a specific character. Perhaps they find it hurts immersion by disrupting the narrative of slowly recovering from wounds over the hour and makes it seem like a character hits the rest button at the end of the hour and suddenly pops up fresh. Perhaps they simply worry that if the periapt can be shuttled between characters to always aid the one who most needs it, the power of the item has become more than they considered and it is unbalanced, or it will create a source of tension among the players over who needs it more and thus disrupt the social contract.

Any DM considering disallowing the same short rest to both attune to and use the periapt should first spend some time examining why they don't want to allow it - what negative effect they think it will have on play. They will then be better able to provide a ruling that specifically and satisfactorily addresses their own concerns.

It is not a yes / no answer

Fortunately, a DM has considerably finer-scale options than simply 'allowing or not allowing this to work'. A close reading of the rules for rest here is helpful (emphases mine):

A short rest is a period of downtime, at least 1 hour long, during which a character does nothing more strenuous than eating, drinking, reading, and tending to wounds.

Notice that a short rest is at least an hour long; that is the minimum. A DM is entirely within RAW to have the party wait an hour and then declare that they are not fully rested yet - they still need another 30 minutes, another hour, or so forth. Indeed, the only limit on how long a party might need for a short rest is that it shouldn't exceed the time required for a long rest. Further, a short rest is awarded to a specific character on an individual basis, not to the party as a whole. Thus, a DM is also within RAW to say that one character needs one hour to obtain the benefits of a short rest but another requires two hours.

Once this is realized, the DM has a flexible 'sliding scale' to apply. For a DM who considers it most important to maintain the mystique of magic items, it is easy to say 'the intensity of effort required for attunement ('focused on only that item') means that you are not healing at all during the process; yes, you can attune and heal in the same short rest, Genji, but that short rest will take you two hours to complete.'

A DM who wants to maintain the narrative of rest as time spent doing restful and curative things can say, 'Yes, Genji, while you are attuning your body is somewhat resting, but you are not able to eat or dress your wounds. You gain the benefits of a short rest after 90 minutes, and you can spend only half the HD you would otherwise be allowed - if you want more healing than that you have to rest even longer.'

A DM who wants to maintain a tradeoff between optimization and in-game activity can say, 'Yes Genji, you can both attune and then use the periapt for HD, but you'll need just an extra ten minutes of downtime. The mage gets to ritual cast and the rogue is scouting during this ten minutes so why don't you go get the pizza and you can join in when you get back?'

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In the specific context of attunement, I would give it.

The rules for attunement state:

Attuning to an item requires a creature to spend a short rest focused on only that item while being in physical contact with it (this can't be the same short rest used to learn the item's properties). This focus can take the form of weapon practice (for a weapon), meditation (for a wondrous item), or some other appropriate activity. If the short rest is interrupted, the attunement attempt fails. Otherwise, at the end of the short rest, the creature gains an intuitive understanding of how to activate any magical properties of the item, including any necessary command words.

As described in your question, being attuned to is sort of like 'fiddling with', checking out, and learning how to work - like a puzzle.

I would argue that as the product of attunement (see emphasis above) entails understanding success of its operation, the benefit of attunement should definitely be available at the end of the rest. I say yes, let Genji get the double effect.

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    – order
    Jan 25 at 18:21
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    – V2Blast
    Jan 25 at 21:46
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The DM decides

Because “the DM narrates the results of the adventurer’s actions” (PHB p.6).

If the DM chooses to use the optional rule from Xanathar’s:

In rare cases, effects can happen at the same time, especially at the start or end of a creature's turn. If two or more things happen at the same time on a character or monster's turn, the person at the game table - whether player or DM - who controls that creature decides the order in which those things happen.

Since these happen at the same time (the end of a Short Rest) and both of these things happen to the same character, the player decides

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