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Does the following, very cheesy character concept, violate any RAW? Please cite rules or official rulings in your answer. (Apart from RAW, I expect my DM to disallow or limit the concept, in the interest of balance. That is not part of my question.)

Elf. Multiclass: Sorcerer 2+ / Warlock 1+ / Bard 1

  • Never takes a long rest. Ever. See question, Must 5e elves take a long rest? Specifically, whether adventuring or not, she makes sure that every 8 hour block includes more than 2 hours of combat or strenuous activity, to ensure that no interpretation of long rest rules would allow a long rest to be automatically triggered.
  • Converts warlock spell slots into sorcery points. See @JeremyECrawford's tweet.
  • Converts sorcery points into sorcery spell slots (or into spellcasting spell slots, once also multiclassing Bard) via Flexible Casting
  • Spell slots created from sorcery points disappear upon long rest, as per Flexible Casting and a tweet from @JeremyECrawford; therefore these created spell slots will not disappear until used, e.g. for a character taking no long rests
  • Spell slots created from sorcery points are in addition to, and not restoration of the sorcerer's spell slots which refresh on a long rest. This is not 100% clear from RAW or clarifications. But:
    (a) Flexible Casting uses the phrase, "additional Spell Slots";
    (b) the rule stating that created spell slots disappear on long rests is superfluous if created spell slots can only replace expended spell slots -- to have meaning it must be possible to create spell slots which are not replacements;
    (c) flexible casting does not use the word "recover", which is the word used for wizards' Arcane Recovery
  • Restores warlock spell slots on a short rest, and repeats the cycle above, converting warlock spell slots to sorcery points to sorcerer (or spellcasting) spell slots
  • During periods of downtime, takes as many short rests per day as permissible, to build up a stockpile of created sorcerer spell slots
  • Stockpiling requires using bonus actions out of combat, discussed elsewhere
  • Stockpiling requires having short rests on downtime days, discussed in a comment below
  • While adventuring, during combat, uses created spell slots to cast spells, and/or uses flexible casting to convert those spell slots back into sorcery points
  • While adventuring, after combat, will use created spell slots with Bard spells to restore hits points, since restoring hit points via long rest is unavailable, and via hit dice is mostly unavailable

I'm pretty sure this is not RAI, but does it violate RAW in some way?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Won't you have to worry about exhaustion levels? \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Rose Jun 18 '17 at 22:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that per the latest errata, a character must actually sleep for 6 hours in order for a long rest to occur. Whether elves' trance also satisfies this updated requirement, I do not know. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan Henderson Sep 19 '17 at 17:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DanHenderson it does. 4h of elf trance is the equivalent of 8 hours of sleep. And a long rest. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Sep 24 '17 at 17:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Similar to @DanHenderson's point, Xanathar's Guide to Everything has new guidelines on what happens if you do not get a long rest that may make many answers here outdated (though that, as well as all other DM tools in that book, is optional). \$\endgroup\$ – CTWind Nov 14 '17 at 21:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Part of our fine cheese collection. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 May 15 '18 at 18:29
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The big issue with this seems to rely on being able to stockpile spell slots through short rests during downtime. Unfortunately, in the Resting rules (page 67 of the basic rules), it states:

Adventurers can take short rests in the midst of an adventuring day and a long rest to end the day.

This leads me to believe that RAW, characters cannot take short rests during Downtime days and so the theoretical character has no chance to stockpile spell slots.

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Not necessarily a violation, but a concern, which I noticed thanks to Weaveworker89’s comment, that may affect this character’s ability to maintain this approach:

Adventurers can take [...] a long rest to end the day.

Long rests are what end an adventuring day. Without them, an adventuring day never ends, and thus a new day (including, e.g., a downtime day) doesn’t begin.

This means that the character, should he wish to maintain and/or grow his stockpile of spells, must remain constantly in “adventure mode.” He cannot take advantage of any downtime-only activities.

This does address the problem raised by Weaveworker89’s answer: since the character is eternally “in the midst of an [endless] adventuring day,” he can always take short rests, even if we stipulate that short rests cannot happen on a downtime day.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast It may be a separate question, and I do not know the answer, but I’m not suggesting that the PC does require downtime. I’m saying that if there are certain things the PC can only do during downtime (like maybe crafting, though I’m away-from-book and cannot double-check that crafting actually mandates downtime). It’s an impediment, not break. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 19 '16 at 20:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have asked the question, as I am not sure if it is required. You are right, crafting takes downtime: it is the currency of crafting. "For every day of downtime you spend crafting, you can craft ... " p. 68 Basic Rules. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 19 '16 at 20:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ It says "Adventurers can take..." It doesn't necessarily mean they must. \$\endgroup\$ – Adeptus Jul 25 '16 at 6:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Adeptus Except that nothing else in the rules indicates any other way to end the day, which means yes, they must, because it’s the only available way. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jul 25 '16 at 11:37
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This no longer works under RAW, due to wording changes in later printings. Once your elf uses the Trance feature for four hours they satisfy the conditions for a long rest, and thus take a long rest.

The recent errata change, due to updated wording in the PHB clarifies how long rests now work.

Long Rest (p. 186). The first sentence of the rule now reads, “A long rest is a period of extended downtime, at least 8 hours long, during which a character sleeps for at least 6 hours and performs no more than 2 hours of light activity, such as reading, talking, eating, or standing watch.” In addition, you regain at least one Hit Die when you finish a long rest.

The Sage Advice Compendium clarifies how this interacts with an elves Trance feature

Does the Trance trait allow an elf to finish a long rest in 4 hours? If an elf meditates during a long rest (as described in the Trance trait), the elf finishes the rest after only 4 hours. A meditating elf otherwise follows all the rules for a long rest; only the duration is changed. [This answer has been altered as a result of a tweak to the rules for a long rest, which appears in newer printings of the Player’s Handbook.]

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It seems that, technically, yes this is mostly legal by RAW except for two things. If you try to argue from RAW then you have to be aware that the RAW does not feature many of the things that the RAI take for granted. Most notably, the RAW does not explicitly permit you to take actions, bonus actions, or cast spells outside of combat nor can you actually take a short rest when not adventuring. This is all interpretation. Fairly obvious interpretation, sure, but then, so is "No you cannot stockpile a functionally infinite number of spell slots by getting less rest than normal." Therefore, RAW you would have to do all of your conversions during combat. This doesn't completely break the build. However, it does prevent you from stockpiling spell slots while avoiding combat.

Next, you seem to have trivialized the cost of having to use magical healing instead of natural rest. This will mean from a practical standpoint that a percentage of any spell slots you convert (probably the entire thing) will need to be reserved for healing.

You have to manage your time much more carefully. If an average combat is 5 rounds, your character is spending roughly 1 hour resting for every 30 seconds of strenuous activity (in a dungeon). However, you also have to make sure you have a solid 2 hour block of activity between every 6 hours of relative rest or you'll trigger a long rest automatically.

Your character's activity cycle would be completely incompatible with a normal adventuring group. You would be resting when they want to adventure and adventuring when they wanted to rest. You'd also have to travel separately to maintain your schedule.

Any of this aside, you would lose your stockpile the first time you took a long rest. A long rest per the RAW is just a long period of inactivity; it need not be willingly undertaken. Being held in a jail overnight, rendered unconscious at an inopportune time or any number of other things would wipe out your stockpile in one fell swoop. And of course, this would leave you weaker than a similar character with a different build because this one sacrificed better up-front power options in return for the ability to stockpile spells.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The one thing I think would make this answer better would be some discussion of where the demarcation between in- and out-of-combat is. It's GMs call, of course, so what can the player do to sway that call? Always be readyin'? Describe each trek through a forest in 30' increments? (So help me, ask for a description of the trees' locations every 30'?) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Apr 24 '16 at 3:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's easy to be in combat. Bring one party member on board. Engage them in combat. They always skip their turn while you spend all your bonus actions cheesing it up. Also, healing doesn't have to always be magical -- potions, the healing kit, etc can help. But your most valid point is in how "easy" it is to lose your entire stockpile. Getting rendered unconscious for long enough may trigger the rest unavoidably. You stand to lose more as you stockpile more, kind of like how a tower of blocks is harder to keep upright the more blocks it has. \$\endgroup\$ – user27327 May 2 '16 at 10:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ On the contrary, there are a number of spells and abilities whose primary utility is outside of combat. Leomund's tiny hut, for example, or the primal awareness ability of a ranger result in expending a spell slot and taking casting time outside of combat. The former is primarily used for shelter (in preparation for rest) and the latter is often used to control encounters (either tracking quarry or finding a place miles away from enemies). So your statement that "RAW does not explicitly permit you to take actions, bonus actions, or cast spells outside of combat" is COMPLETELY FALSE. \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Kotlicky Jun 19 '17 at 11:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ But tiny huts casting time is not 1 standard action, but 1 minute \$\endgroup\$ – Garret Gang Sep 29 '17 at 14:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since I'm still getting comments about this, let me clarify. My point is not to say that you can't actually cast spells outside of combat. Obviously you can. Obviously you can even cast spells with a casting time of one standard action outside of combat because it would makes no sense that you wouldn't be able to do something just because your time is no longer being chopped up into discrete segments. Rather, that is the point; to illustrate the absurdity of attempting to look only at the RAW and ignoring obvious considerations not explicitly mentioned in the rules. \$\endgroup\$ – Wesley Obenshain Oct 13 '17 at 15:32
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New (optional) RAW Makes It Possible, But Expensive

As CTWind mentions in a comment on the original question, since this question was originally asked Xanathar's Guide to Everything set out new optional rules for going without a long rest.

GOING WITHOUT A LONG REST...

Whenever you end a 24-hour period without finishing a long rest, you must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or suffer one level of exhaustion.

It becomes harder to fight off exhaustion if you stay awake for multiple days. After the first 24 hours, the DC increases by 5 for each consecutive 24-hour period without a long rest. The DC resets to 10 when you finish a long rest. (XGtE: p.78)

If your DM decides to follow this rule, that means that within a short time (a week for most possible characters), you will begin to gain a level of exhaustion every day that you do not take a long rest, regardless of how well you roll on a Constitution Saving Throw. And if six levels of exhaustion are accrued, your character will die (PHB, p. 291).

Note that at sufficiently high levels your strategy can still be a net-gain, with some modifications. This rule can only produce one level of exhaustion each day. And 7 Sorcery Points can create a 5th level spell slot. And if you were a Divine Soul sorcerer (XGtE, p. 50) you can learn the 5th level spell Greater Restoration at 9th level, which removes a level of exhaustion. If you were a Divine Soul Sorcerer 9+/Warlock 3+ you could produce 4 Sorcery Points per short rest, and thus could generate enough Sorcery Points in a day to cast Greater Restoration once each day, and still have enough sorcery points left over to generate other useful spell slots.

Unfortunately, this strategy will require at least 100 gold pieces worth of diamond dust every day, which can quickly deplete an adventurer's supply if used during downtime. But it is still a possible option within the rules.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What about Aspect of the Moon? The one that gives you "you don't need to sleep". \$\endgroup\$ – Stackstuck Apr 21 at 19:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Stackstuck The lack of a need for sleep does not negate the need for a "long rest" (the rules on Aspect of the Moon dictate how you can take a long rest without sleeping). And that is precisely what the rule cited above deals with. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme Apr 21 at 20:04
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This does not violate the RAW.

Explicitly, you can CREATE (not refresh) slots with Flexible Casting. As you pointed out, the JC tweets support that RAI.

The Sage Advice tweet still leaves open whether the slots created are "Pact Magic Slots" or "Spellcasting Slots". The exact language is:

Multiclassing: Spell slots from Spellcasting and Pact Magic are interchangeable (PH, 164). Flexible Casting cares about slot level.

That is a non-answer. It goes on to say:

Multiclassing/Flexible Casting/Pact Magic: Sorcery points can create a slot that's used with Pact Magic. It's not a "warlock slot."

So, I read that as "you can make Pact Magic short refresh slots" using those sorcery points.

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This violates RAW

Original question used Crawford Tweets to justify the cheese, setting the precedent for tweets/sage advice as RAW.

Sage Advice on 8 hours automatically triggering long rest, but only once per day. You'll note Mearls doesn't deny the automatic trigger and only clarifies that you get the benefits only once. This trigger makes avoiding long rests impossible.

Much of your work is predicated on that initial point which, unfortunately, makes this a stinky cheese.

She therefore can not escape the long rest and resource reset.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Apr 20 '16 at 2:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ When one tosses in the new invocation from XGtE that makes it possible to not sleep, this gets even more interesting. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 15 '18 at 12:30

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