I think the real question you're trying to ask here is: **How can I avoid letting my players take free long rests whenever they want?** In the situation you described, your group felt free to use lots of resources on a minor battle, because they knew they could just rest right afterward. There are two approaches I use to avoid this. - One approach is *time pressure*: if the group is on a time limit, that gives them a finite number of rests they can take before. - The other approach is *wandering monsters*: if the group tries to rest in a dangerous area, I make up an encounter (or I have an encounter prepared) and I use that. In either case, I try to communicate the time limit or the environment danger clearly, so that characters don't overuse resources on early encounters. ----- To answer your question literally: you need to have a clear reason why the characters can't just long-rest whenever they want, and you need to communicate that in advance so that they know to conserve their daily powers. If they overuse their daily powers and *then* you decide their actions should have consequences because that wasn't what you wanted, they'll feel that you're being unfair.