Resting and Split Types

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(Throughout this, I say things like “8 hours of sleep”, “4 hours of Trance”, etc. I use these as the default values, but they are very malleable. For example, mice actually sleep for 14 hours. It is just much easier to say “8 hours of sleep” than “the amount of sleep that is required for the specific creature.” So, alter these numbers as appropriate)

Another question that came up regarding Wild Shape, though it can be easily expanded to all other transforms, is what exactly do long-term changes of form do to rest requirement? If you are an Elf Druid (like Asëa), and you spend 24 hours as a wolf, what happens? Do you need to sleep? Or Trance? How does it all work. 

Using our new concept of Split Types, precisely what kind of rest is needed becomes relatively simple. Sleep and Trancing (etc) are a special case when it comes to types: they are both Mental and Physical processes, and as such they have two components. Your brain needs some amount of (mental) rest, and your body requires the same amount of (physical) rest. Evolution takes care of setting these two equal for all natural creatures. If your brian requires 4 hours of some type of rest, you will have naturally evolved a body that also requires 4 hours of inactivity, etc. Naturally, no creature requires different amounts of physical and mental rest. It is only when types diverge, however, that issues ensue.

To maintain sanity, your brain requires rest per your mental type (that is, an Elf needs 4 hours of Trance, a Human 8 hours of sleep, and so on). To prevent Fatigue or Exhaustion, your body requires rest per your physical type (so a human body requires 8 hours of physical rest, an elf body needs 4 hours of physical rest, and a mouse body needs 14 hours of physical rest). Note that the kind of rest for your body is always the same whether you are an Elf or a Human: your body requires a period of physical inactivity, there is nothing special about it. We should note that while I see no actual rules for going insane from lack of sleep/Trance, we should infer that there is such a rule which will be enforced, and likely much more swiftly than it was with V. 

Now, there are three main types of “rest” that creatures can require – there is the “I don’t need no stinkin’ rest!” type (Plants and probably others), the “I just need to Tance” type (Elves, and maybe others), and the “we’re normal!” type (Humanoids, Animals, and basically everything else). There may be others that I don’t know about, but frankly it doesn’t matter, because they are all handled the same.

Since Mental Type is the least likely to change, we define when a creature needs to rest based on Mental Type (in fact, since there is nothing that can change Mental Type without also changing physical type to the same exact type, this is a very safe basis). In any case that this basis breaks (which are fairly obvious, as indicated below), use the point of transformation as a basis.

So, permutations. In all cases, assume a Physical but not Mental transform. 

  • A Plant somehow manages to get transformed (physically) into an Elf. Mentally, the Plant never needs to rest. However, the Elf body expects 4 hours of rest (not necessarily Trance, just complete inactivity. Trancing is purely mental, and the body requires the same amount of physical rest). So, 20 hours after the transform, the Plant-Elf must spend 4 hours doing nothing. This is a case where the logic breaks: since the Mental Type (Plant) NEVER NEEDS rest, we revert to basing physical tiredness on the point of transform. 
  • A Plant somehow manages to get transformed into a Human. Again, it mentally never needs to rest, but the human body expects 8 hors rest. So, 16 hours after the transform, the Plant-Human must spend 8 hours resting. Again, starting as a Plant breaks and we base on time of transform.
  • An Elf transforms to a Plant. She mentally requires 4 hours Trance, approximately 20 hours since whenever she last Tranced. Her Plant body requires no physical rest, however, so she may forgo Trancing with no adverse side effects to her ability scores (that is, she will be neither Fatigued nor Exhausted), but she risks her sanity (Trancing is a mental process that can be accomplished in any body).
  • An Elf transforms into a Human. She mentally requires 4 hours of Trance, and 8 hours of bodily rest. So, 20 hours after her last Trance, she must Trance for 4 hours to recharge her mind (and partially her body – the body gets full credit for time rested, after all. Time spent immobile and restive is time spent immobile and restive!). After her Trance, she still needs to spend 4 hours resting (though she is awake and alert during this time) to get her body fully rested. She can act after just the 4 hours of Trance without risking her sanity, but will be Fatigued or Exhausted after prolonged use. If she were to transform back to Elf after 4 hours of Trance but before finishing her physical sleep, she would count as Fatigued (only physically, no adverse affects to sanity) because she acted before letting her body fully rest. That the rest would have been sufficient for her Elf body is unimportant, she acted before physically fully rested and so is Fatigued (that is, changes in type do not apply retroactively).
  • A Human transforms into a Plant. He mentally requires 8 hours of sleep, but physically requires none. So, 16 hors after his last sleep cycle, the Human-Plant must “sleep” (essentially, let his brain shut down. There is no analog in a plant, but he would be able to slip into unconsciousness) to rest his brain, but needs nothing physically. He can forego sleep with no chance of Exhaustion or Fatigue, but risks his sanity.
  • A Human transforms into an Elf. He mentally requires 8 hours of sleep, and the Elf body requires 4 hours of rest (not necessarily Trance, just rest). So, 16 hours after his last sleep cycle, he must sleep for 8 hours. This innately fully rests him physically, as the 8 hours he spent sleeping exceeds his physical requirement of 4 hours rest.

(And no, I don’t know how or why a Plant would end up transformed into a Human. I just didn’t want to leave obvious gaps.)

This basically equates to requiring MAX (physical,mental) time spent “resting” in some manner, based off of (24-mental rest time) hours since last mental rest (or transform if last mental rest was never), with the precise type of rest needed depending on Mental and Physical Types. This means that a Human needs to spend at least 8 hours time in any form to protect sanity and physical abilities. An Elf need spend 8 only if her physical body requires that much rest, but must spend 4 even if her body does not require it (since she must always Trance). A Plant need only rest sufficiently to recover the physical body if it manages to get transformed. This also means that an Elf never actually needs to sleep. She needs to Trance, and spend time physically inert, but never actually sleeps. And a Human would never actually Trance,  even in an Elf body, he would just sleep (which is enough physical rest for the body). And a Plant never does anything but spend time physically resting its new body (4 hours if it transforms to an Elf, 8 if anything else). 

Note that this also logically leads to an Elf maintaining their Sleep immunity against spells in any form (assuming that the spell in question causes mental shutdown equivalent to sleep. If the sleep spell actually saps energy from the muscles and causes physical inability to act, then the Elf would be vulnerable to that spell but should be in her natural form anyway. Since there is no such caveat in the rules, I presume that all spells that cause sleep cause mental shutdown which is why Elves remain immune, their brains are simply wired differently). This goes hand in hand with our Split Type transformation analysis, it is a Mental Ability that stays in place with the brain. 

This also holds to when Mental and Physical type change (Baleful Polymorph and Polymorph Any Object come to mind). In this case, try to base timing off last mental rest (so, an Elf that is transformed via Baleful Polymorph into a mouse would need 14 hours of sleep (yes sleep!) 10 hours after her last Trance, and from then on is on an 14-hour sleep cycle). It again breaks in the case of changing Mental Type from Plant to anything else, so revert to the time of transform in that case. 

So, in this way, we get all of our questions answered nicely: a non-Plant can never safely forego a rest period, but simply spending the night as a bear doesn’t risk her sanity because she can still mentally Trance plus spend 4 hours immobile to rest the body, etc. If she transforms to a nocturnal form in the day, or a diurnal form at night, we care only about the last time she mentally rested, so as long as she does not push those times, there is no issue (so, she could be an owl in the daytime easily, or an eagle at night, provided she keeps her Trance schedule). 

It also gives us a nice answer for hibernation. Let us assume that a bear (or any other creature that hibernates) physically and mentally needs to spend say 3 months in hibernation. So, let it be midwinter, and she transforms to a bear. The bear’s mental needs are unimportant, only it’s physical (since she retains her mind), and we do not look at Fatigue until her next mental rest cycle, so she can act normally all day as bear. At her next mental rest cycle, she requires 4 hours Trance, and she triggers the bear body’s requirement of ~1.5 more months hibernation (since it is midwinter) to avoid Fatigue. So, she cannot spend a long period of time as a bear in winter, but she can spend “bursts” of time in a bear form. Note that she can do 4 hours of Trance as a bear, and then transform back. She would count as Fatigued for a day (because her body was not fully rested before the transform, and that it becomes so after is ignored – the idea is to never let mental and physical sleep cycles diverge), however, if she did that. So, she cannot get stuck as a bear, but if she waits too long to transform out of it, she spends a day physically Fatigued (with no adverse effects on her sanity). 

One last thing: Prevent “hacking the system” –  since it is not until level 24 that a Druid can maintain a single Wild Shape for 24 hours, we need to account for the fact that if you were to spend 24 hours as say a bear, it would be by chaining multiple Wild Shapes (that is, Wild Shape Elf to bear, and then 1 round before that runs out, wildshape bear to bear, and keep that up). Since we are basing everything off mental rest, there is no way to claim that physical rest is magically restored by transforming bear->bear. So, even if she Trances just after transforming to a bear (literally instantaneously), the bear’s body requires 8 hours (physical) rest, so needs 4 more. Thus, as far as I can tell, there is no way to metagame with forms to avoid rest completely unless you mess with Polymorph Any Object and/or Baleful Polymorph, and going to those extremes just to avoid sleeping is asking for divine retribution from someone!

The only question left is: If a transform of any kind (Wild Shape, Polymorph, Lycanthropy, etc) wears off naturally (due to the spell/effect running out of time, or being dismissed by a third party) in the middle of a rest cycle, what happens? I’m inclined simply to say that it is a thoroughly startling experience that wakes you and spoils both your mental and physical rest (this is the simplest solution, as it prevents oddities like an Elf returning to elf form and still needing to finish 8 hours physical rest because her rest started in a body that needed it). It makes sense, too. I presume that you would feel any physical transform as ribs and vertebrae are grown or lost, internal organs are re-arranged and/or grown or lost (think cows and extra stomachs), skeletal and nervous structure are rearranged… It is a very dramatic change happening over a very short period of time (most transforms are a Standard Action). That they normally do not provoke Attacks of Opportunity might imply that they are not that physically distracting, but just because you are able to maintain focus while transforming does not mean that it doesn’t feel really, really strange! 

Oh, and one last caveat: the level of mental rest that humanoids need might prove impossible to obtain while transformed into an aquatic mammal (whales, for example, sleep each half of their brain for 1.5 hours at a time, which means that they never actually are completely asleep). It is impossible to actually sleep yourself into drowning, but if a human Druid of level 24 or higher decided to spend a month as a whale, they would go insane due to never being able to sleep enough to rest their brain, unless of course they beached themselves in which case they might die for other reasons if they insisted on not returning to their human form. Most of the spells that permanently change type include a “if the new type would prove fatal, the spell fails” clause. Since a change to an aquatic mammal isn’t necessarily fatal (it just causes insanity), this does not change any of the possibilities with those spells (though it may make aquatic forms more attractive when used offensively). The Water Breathing Spell would enable a creature to obtain the correct amount of sleep (providing a long enough duration), and creatures like elves might be able to pull it off without spells since they have higher mental discipline (Ethan thought maybe a Feat….)

Resting and Split Types

Wings of Redemption dylanryan