When does a Force march 'clock' reset RAW?

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Coronoides
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When does a Force march 'clock' reset RAW?

Post by Coronoides » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:04 pm

RAW question. I've looked and can't see how a creature resets the clock on a Forced March (PHB181). It can't be per day; RAW an ancient gold dragon can fly for 25 hours non-stop no problem before the save DC to avoid exhaustion is high enough for there to be even a 5% chance of failure. If a creature has levels of exhaustion it's fairly clear but if not then what? I've searched online and can't find a ruling but my google-fu is weak.
Last edited by Coronoides on Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When does a Force march 'clock' reset RAW?

Post by Hugin » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:44 pm

We'll have to bring a couple of other rules to get an answer to this one I believe.

For the Forced March, there is no "clock" reset. Notice that the forced march section doesn't mention any time-frames other than "beyond 8 hours" and "each hour past 8 hours". It is in continuous application until the forced march ceases or the creature dies. And yes, this could be several days.

The question then arises, how long must the forced march be ceased before being reset? I believe it to be for a Long Rest. In the Resting section (PHB 186) it says, "Adventurer's can take... a long rest to end the day" and "A character can't benefit from more than one long rest in a 24-hour period...". I'm taking it that a long rest essentially ends your activity "day", which can be a actual day (at minimum) or potentially even longer.

Using the Forced March rules, the Ancient Gold Dragon has now flown for 9 hours and must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or gain a level of exhaustion. With his +16 Con saving throw he's good to go. By the 12th hour, the DC is 14 and he's still flying along fine.

After hour 16, the DC is 18 and the dragon theoretically has a 1 in 20 chance of failure (roll of 1 + 16 CON bonus = 17). However, even if he did, he could use a Legendary Resistance to turn a failed save into a success.

After 24 full hours of continual flying, the saving throw DC is 26 and is at the dragon's average roll of 26 (average roll of 10 + 16 CON bonus = 26). At this point he's probably failing the odd throw since he's rolling after each and every hour, but can at least avoid the first 3 failures. But every hour gets successively more difficult.

I whipped up an excel sheet to do the sampling and recorded 25 test runs... because I love playing around with excel and I was really curious. So here's the results:
|first LR|second LR|third LR|lv 1 exhaustion|lv 2 Disadvantage |lv 6 Death min |16 |19 |22 |23 |26 |30 avg |20 |23 |25 |27 |30 |33 max |30 |31 |33 |34 |36 |39

The chart shows the hours after which the dragon rolled his first fail and used his first Legendary Resistance (LR), then the 2nd and 3rd ones. His next fail gets him his 1st level of exhaustion, then I show when he gets his 3rd level of exhaustion because at this point he now has disadvantage on his saving throws. Lastly I show the hour after which he got his 6th and final fail because he's now dead.

The chart also shows the earliest hour (min), latest hour (max), and average hour for each stage. So in the ultimate endurance flight of 25 ancient gold dragons, the first one to die did so after 30 hours of forced flying, while the winner and final survivor stopped in the 39th hour.

There you have it. I got REALLY carried away with it to entertain myself but I hope it helps.

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Re: When does a Force march 'clock' reset RAW?

Post by Coronoides » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:59 am

I think the game designers at WOTC dropped the ball on this one. There is no obviously right RAW. I've posted this question in a couple of places for good measure and received two well justified interpretations of RAW; the one above and one other.

The above above hangs on the definition of a day being the interval between the end of one long rest and the end of the of the next, which is a minimum of 24 hours based on statements on PHB page 186. Looking at page 181 makes the accumulation of forced march DC cumulative until exhaustion stops the character OR the 'day' is ended by taking a long rest. The problems being that this draws kinda a long bow in defining a day based on a sentence that did not outline this definition of a day explicitly: Quote "Adventurers can take short rests in the midst of an adventuring day and a long rest to end the day.". However, this might merely reflect an expectation by the designers. It does not say something very clear like 'for the purposes these all rules a day is defined as the period between the end of a long rest and the end of the next long rest'. That the rules for travel (PHB181) come before this sentence about 'a long rest to end the day' cast more doubt.
However, I think this interpretation produces results in play that would better match real world expectations and is likely the one I would use in most instances.

Ok Version two.
This interpretation refers only to the wording of the forced march rule itself without combing through the book. PHB181 the very first sentence of the forced march rule is: "The Travei Pace table assumes that characters traveI for 8 hours in day." . The interpretation then assumes that this very first sentence sets a frame within which the rest of the rule operates, namely 'a day'. It also assumes that without any obvious special ruling about a day being a weird length a day is the common sense 24 hours long. Under this interpretation if creature travel for more than 8 hours (within a day) then the DC is raised by 1 for each hour (within that day) over 8. This does not draw any 'longbows' about implied definitions of a day made on a different page and present after the forced march rule.
However, this implies that the 'clock' is reset back to baseline at the end of a day (24hours), which is fine for most creatures but those with high CON saves can hike or fly until the need for sleep stops them. We know going without sleep requires CON saves (PHB177) but there are no rules for sleep deprivation. The upshot of this is that how long a creature with a very high CON save can travel for is dependent on what house rules you make for sleep deprivation. A level of exhaustion per day with a brutal CON save to avoid would be reasonable, 2 levels would be more realistic limiting most people to 3-6 days but thats not RAW, that's me making stuff up.

Let's take this to the next level! Has anyone seen a ruling from a member of the WOTC design team on this?
Since there is no ruling in the latest Sage advice Compendium perhaps someone with a twitter account can try @JeremyECrawford
Maybe ask 'how many hours can an Ancient Gold dragon fly for in a forced march?' then sit back and watch the worms come out of the can.
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Re: When does a Force march 'clock' reset RAW?

Post by Coronoides » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:32 am

Hugin wrote: ...After hour 16, the DC is 18 and the dragon theoretically has a 1 in 20 chance of failure (roll of 1 + 16 CON bonus = 17). However, even if he did, he could use a Legendary Resistance to turn a failed save into a success.

I whipped up an excel sheet to do the sampling and recorded 25 test runs... because I love playing around with excel and I was really curious. So here's the results:
|first LR|second LR|third LR|lv 1 exhaustion|lv 2 Disadvantage |lv 6 Death min |16 |19 |22 |23 |26 |30 avg |20 |23 |25 |27 |30 |33 max |30 |31 |33 |34 |36 |39

The chart shows the hours after which the dragon rolled his first fail and used his first Legendary Resistance (LR), then the 2nd and 3rd ones. His next fail gets him his 1st level of exhaustion, then I show when he gets his 3rd level of exhaustion because at this point he now has disadvantage on his saving throws. Lastly I show the hour after which he got his 6th and final fail because he's now dead.

The chart also shows the earliest hour (min), latest hour (max), and average hour for each stage. So in the ultimate endurance flight of 25 ancient gold dragons, the first one to die did so after 30 hours of forced flying, while the winner and final survivor stopped in the 39th hour.

There you have it. I got REALLY carried away with it to entertain myself but I hope it helps.
Very cool. I hadn't thought of the LR effect. Looking at your data looks like unless there is a heroic adventuring emergency a dragon would just fly 16 hours a day then long rest to keep LRs in reserve and avoid exhaustion. However, if the stakes are high enough to warrant traveling for longer then this tension would warrant a 'roll-fest' to build the tension at the table.
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/fz4zql2yhlyut ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

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Re: When does a Force march 'clock' reset RAW?

Post by Hugin » Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:19 pm

I would wager that if you asked WotC for an answer to this question they would likely respond in a similar fashion to what I have done; take the rules that we do not have detail on and apply your own reasoning to it. When I looked at the rules they seemed to be relatively clear that the 'clock' keeps ticking until there's a long rest *because* it didn't provide a limit or restriction to the continuity of the checks described.

In a sense, it follows the same logic as the 'clock reset' for hit points and spells; if the adventuring day goes beyond midnight, or even a 24-hour period, the adventurers don't get their hit points and spells back because of a day-clock reset. They don't get those back until they have a long rest.

Anyway, that's my view on it. I know it's probably not satisfactory for you but that's the way I see the RAW. :)

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Re: When does a Force march 'clock' reset RAW?

Post by Coronoides » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:16 am

Hugin wrote:
Anyway, that's my view on it. I know it's probably not satisfactory for you but that's the way I see the RAW. :)
I personally am going with your interpretation. I was just putting the other one out there for folks.
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/fz4zql2yhlyut ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

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Re: When does a Force march 'clock' reset RAW?

Post by Hugin » Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:53 am

Coronoides wrote:
Hugin wrote:
Anyway, that's my view on it. I know it's probably not satisfactory for you but that's the way I see the RAW. :)
I personally am going with your interpretation. I was just putting the other one out there for folks.
Ah, yes. Though to be quite honest with you, I am now very curious to know exactly how they'd respond.

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