Finding Safety



Just had a session with a new group and had interesting issue with the group looking for Safety.

After a few scenes exploring the dungeon the group felt a rest was needed although they were not that hurt and it became their number one priority find a safe place to rest. They kept asking questions: can we rest here? is this safe? etc…

At first I had two things in mind, I could either:

  • Show how unsafe all the places were by letting then try to rest to face the random encounters (rats everywhere, resting beside a secret door or at the entrance of the dungeon where someone could pop up)
  • Just say that they feel unsafe and let them come up with the reasons. There could have been several reasons, since there was a two paranoids in the party.

During the session I used the option two since we had little tile to play but I came up with something else to try for the new session.

Whenever they want to rest, they need to discuss among themselves why the place and moment are suitable for rest. On the table Ill have a Safety coin (or token) and Ill only flip to the Safety side once they feel safe, if for some reason it’s not flipped, it’s up to them to describe why they don’t thing it’s safety to rest there.

With this we can stay inside the fiction and and they don’t need to keep asking.

In the end they found a faction that they became allied with and found a room to get some rest.


The Brazilian steakhouse method. I dig it.

I think the ultimate goal will be to condition your folks so that, as long as events are unfolding, there is no safety, and they just don’t ask until there is a clear break in environment or pressure. The safety coin seems like a good method.


The only real rest my players get out on the field or while dungeon delving is “Take a Breather”. The only way they can truly rest completely for proper recovery is if there is something out there that is actively safe (They once rolled a successful HEX and found a cabin protected by a ghost of a friendly Pilgrim) or if someone is part of the Holy Order and has found a Shrine for Sanctuary. Nights are not safe in the wilderness and DEFINITELY not in Dungeons or Caves.


OMG! :exploding_head: How I did not realize that… and shocker, I’m Brazilian! XD

I’m curious to see how long they could go in the dungeon without being able to have Safety.

I think they would starting doing trips in and out of the dungeon to be able to find some rest somewhere but at the same time I’m still learning the system and it’s limits.

Ill try to follow the Safety Stickler strictly next session and use the coin as a reminder and see how it goes.


Keep in mind that this can be tuned to how you play your games OR how dangerous an area is.

Maybe your PCs can usually find safety even in caverns or dangerous areas, but they’ll have to rest a full night. Maybe they can only do a minor rest and get spells and do “Take a Breather”. And then BOOM! An area that is so dangerous that resting becomes off limits and resources become scarce. This is where items that allow you to heal or repair become very important!


Yeah, I tend to run my games like a TV show. We play in 3 hour sessions each week, and one or two sessions might be an arc of the show. During that arc, there is no rest. Resting only happens between sessions: at the very start of an arc or at the very end of an arc. When events are in motion, there is no “down time,” except for maybe a one action beat between scenes — a brief moment to reload or take a recovery action. Full rest, true rest and safety, has to be earned.

Another way to think of it might be a video game where you only get a save point at the start and end of mission. While you are “on mission,” there’s no break in events unfolding.

One of the hallmarks of my style in this regard is making sure players are always feeling pressure through every scene. That pressure isn’t always combat, but there are always events happening that force players to take action. ie, I want them so busy that they can’t think about resting.

I also want to deprive resting so they: reach a point where they feel ragged, and they feel as though they barely scraped by. As a result, they feel as though they really accomplished something worthwhile and walk away from the table high fiving. You just don’t get those moments unless you keep the pressure up and deny rest until later.


I’ve only run one game so far, and this little thing keeps getting stuck in the back of my head… “What if players try to game the ‘no rest’ system by unconventional actions”. An example would be “Now that we cleared this room in the dungeon, we all head back to town for rest, then come back to do the second room, infinity”

Same issue with players that want to claim they will spend a month in town just studying a new skill or spell.

I’m considering adding a ‘time’ component vs negative actions. Like, each adventure needs a time table, hidden by me of course.



In my personal games, I keep a calendar and travel and time records. I give out timelines for things to get done. If there is too much time wasted, then they can lose their adventure and it is considered abandoned OR a failure if it was a dangerous situation. Like Alex stated, you have to keep the pressure up.

Next adventure is time sensitive. You don’t have to keep a calendar for it, but you can say that they have 12 days to get this done before something bad happens. Being transparent with them will always work. It takes 3 days to travel to the adventure or dungeon, so now they only have 9 days left. if they really want to go back to town and fully rest, this will take 6 days of travel plus 1 day of actual resting. That will literally leave them with 2 or fewer days of actual adventure work!

If they keep wasting time, situations ALWAYS get worse! Perhaps another rival band of adventurers find the cave the players were exploring and see them leave and go on ahead. Now when the players return, they’ll see that it’s been explored recently and that the place has been looted!

Or a new set of monsters have moved into that first room and they could be more dangerous.

Perhaps the person they were trying to rescue has been moved to a new location, if not outright expired.


An example would be “Now that we cleared this room in the dungeon, we all head back to town for rest, then come back to do the second room, infinity”

This seems like a pretty easy thing to counter as the DM. Immediately to mind:

  • “The only way out is through.” Construct the cave/dungeon in such a way that once they are in, they must complete the dungeon.
  • “Enemies Alerted”. Sure, the party can leave and come back but their smell and noise will permeate the dungeon; alerting the monsters to the thread. As a result, the monsters and challenges will be more challenging when they come back.
  • “Opportunity Lost”: Somehow hint that a valuable prize of some sort is ahead. If the player retreat, then there’s a cave-in or really big monsters that make the prize inaccessible. Or, the prize is just gone. When they get back to town, another band of adventures got to the prize first.

There’s no end of ways that you can counter players who are trying to game the system.

DMs are the world. “We control the horizontal. We control the vertical.” Fighting us is like trying to fight the ocean.


Well I’m not a fan of trying to make it a player vs GM sort of situation when I play but I do over all agree the GM is the world. I think a lot of the your points are a great way to make the the characters understand they can’t just go back after every room and expect nothing to change.

After all if it takes the players 1 day to get back to town the things living in the dungeon will have had 3 days (2 days of travel, 1 day of rest) to find the damage the characters have done and adjust as needed. If the monsters live in the dungeon things will be harder when the characters get back. If the BBEG was using it as a safe haven they are likely to leave and go somewhere else all together. Likely leaving some traps behind.


Ah, I agree.

DMs are the world. “We control the horizontal. We control the vertical.

This phrase is a reminder to myself that as the GM, I control all aspects of the game. Situations arise or defuse as I need them to. I hold that power in trust for the players. They’re looking for a good time and I’m looking for a good time. The way I described it initially was a bit extreme. Thanks for the reminder.


I like the way you framed the 3 options. Ill add them to my menu of options for when dealing with this kind of scenario.


Jus to add a bit to my initial proposal I used the Brazilian steakhouse method and worked quite well. The players were discussing in game among themselves what was making things dangerous and why they could not rest.

They currently have only one safe place to rest in the Dungeon and it’s under the protection of a kobold faction. I now added a threat to the faction - a Spider is hunting and killing the kobold patrols. So I basically attached a clock to their safety and if they don’t deal with the threat in a day or two they will lose their safe place.

On top of that they are doing a quest for the Kobolds and they have their own interests, so a lot of interesting choices on the table.

On another note, the attrition system is working great and it’s much more flavourful then just abstract HPs that only have relevance in combat. They need to keep finding creative solutions since the items and skills keep getting disabled.