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Say you're under the effect of a poison gas which deals d6 damage every hour. Is that considered

more strenuous than eating, drinking, reading, and tending to wounds. (PHB 186 Short Rest)

for the purposes of preventing a short rest?

This condition occurs in

Tales from the Yawning Portal's module Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan

and I'm unclear on the intent of the authors.

EDIT: In the original module it was damage per turn, and as you say there was no similar rest mechanic. The question is: is the module balanced with players being allowed to take short rests, or is the module balanced with players being unable to take short rests? Does that clarify?

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    \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, that feature was in the original module when it was built for AD&D 1e. Are you interested in that level of intent (in terms of clarity) historically, or why it was left in for this edition (in re intent)? Point being that short rest mechanics in 5e did not exist in 1e. Or, is your intent question having to do with the short rest mechanic itself? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 12 '17 at 19:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Stardancer, it looks like you may have accidentally created two accounts, which is why you can't comment on your question or edit it freely. Please see this help page on how to get the two accounts merged. \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Apr 12 '17 at 22:37
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RAW: Nothing explicitly prevents you from taking a short rest while suffering damage over time.

Checking both the PHB and DMG there is nothing that would indicate taking damage in the manner you describe preventing a character from taking the short rest action and spending hit die to regain HP.

As your quote mentions, the focus is on strenuous activity by the player characters, and while suffering from poison would not be restful it does not seem like it would go against the requirements for a short rest.

A more story-focused interpretation would be that bed rest is often required when healing from sickness, and while still suffering from sickness.

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