Friday, September 18, 2015

4 Ways to Reduce The Amount of Sleep Your Pathfinder Characters Need

Sleep is one of those things we rarely think about in Pathfinder. Most of the time it's just a way to get back spells, repair ability damage, and put a tic in a box that another day on the road has ended. However, if you've ever been ambushed in the middle of the night by angry monsters, there's a good chance you started looking for ways to keep your characters functioning with less shut-eye.

Here are 4 methods that will reduce your need to sleep. While there are others, these common methods are open to a wide variety of characters, and don't require playing a particular race or template, or taking a particular class or prestige class. Also, while there are spells that reduce or delay your need for sleep, and purchasing them in wand or scroll form is fairly simple, this article will be focusing on more permanent methods.

Now, without further ado...

Method #1: The Ring of Sustenance

Actual appearance may vary.
Probably the most common method of reducing your sleep is to buy a ring of sustenance (Core Rulebook 483). For a mere 2,500 gold, and a week to attune the ring to the wearer, you no longer have to eat or drink, and you only need to sleep for 2 hours a night. If you ever take the ring off, have it stolen, or one may assume wander through an anti-magic field, it will take an additional week to re-attune to your body.

Still, it's a great way to make sure you don't end up in the middle of the desert without enough water.

Method #2: The Verdant Bloodline

Never be afraid to branch out to other solutions.
The verdant sorcerer bloodline (Advanced Player's Guide 141) grants you photosynthesis at level 3. This ability lets you snack on sunlight, reducing your need to eat, sleep, and drink as if you were wearing a ring of sustenance (and, one presumes, if you are in a place where you're getting plenty of light). The ability also gives you a +2 on saves against poison and sleep effects.

Before you start pointing out that I said I wouldn't be covering class abilities, I'd like to show you how you can get this power without being a sorcerer. All you need to do is take Eldritch Heritage and Improved Eldritch Heritage (Ultimate Magic 149 and 152), and select the verdant bloodline. This method requires a middling-to-high charisma score, and eats up a lot of feats, but it can work for those who are willing to pursue it.

For other useful things you can do with this feat tree, check out Powering Up Your Pathfinder Characters With Eldritch Heritage Feats.

Method #3: The Light Sleeper Trait

I think I heard the rogue. Down the hall, behind a locked door.
A trait I recommended in my Unsullied character build, Light Sleeper allows any character to gain the benefits of a full night's rest after sleeping for only 4 hours. While you could just play an elf with the elven trancing trait from Elves of Golarion, this trait allows you to gain the same, short-sleep benefits while expanding on the reasons for them. Is the wizard's consciousness attuned to the motion of the spheres, energizing her and setting her rhythms? Is the half-orc used to the brutal life of kill or be killed, and as such has learned to function on less sleep to remain less vulnerable? Or did the alchemist simply invent red bull, and it's altered the way his circadian rhythm works?

Method #4: The Awakened From Stasis Trait

Most players are going to get a louder-than-average "No!" for this option (something you're going to hear a lot whenever you try to take something out of People of The Stars), but this one is my personal favorite. Awakened From Stasis states that you woke up recently from slumber in a glass egg. You were in a cavern surrounded by other beings who were still asleep, and watched over by strange, silent automatons shaped like massive crabs. You gain a full night's sleep after only 2 hours due to your time in stasis, but you still have no idea where you came from. Are you from another plane? Another planet? Were you from the time of the Azlant Empire? And why were you chosen to be put in this bizarre bubble?

Perhaps if you go adventuring, you'll find out!

Bonus 5th Method! Restful Armor

Found on page 210 of the Advanced Class Guide, restful armor gives you the benefits of 8 hours of sleep in 2, and it allows you to comfortably sleep in whatever kind of armor you're wearing. It may be the only way to make a suit of plate armor as comfortable as a down bed. You can only gain this effect once per day, though, and you gain no additional benefits from further rest.

No Rest For The Wicked

That concludes this week's Crunch topic, but I've got a question for my readers. Do you prefer this listicle setup, or do you prefer broader topic coverage as with previous guides? Also, if you have alternative methods for shortening the amount of rest a character needs, feel free to leave them below in the comments. If there are methods I overlooked, but which are still generally available (not restricted by class or race), I'd be happy to revise the list to include them.

It's a big game, I'm sure I left something out.

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  1. Always happy to see a crunch article from you, but I think you might have slipped slightly on #3. Or, at least, you might want to clarify that elven trancing is from Elves of Golarion, not core Pathfinder, and therefore may not necessarily apply to every game. Core Pathfinder Elves retain the immunity to sleep effects from D&D, but they no longer have the paragraph from the PHB (page 15) that starts 'Elves do not sleep.' (Personally, I always thought that was a mistake - to leave the immunity in but not the paragraph about them trancing as an explanation, but it's never been updated in the errata, so...)

  2. I have a GM who likes to mess with sleeping characters, so these are nice to know about, thanks.

  3. There's a few way you can become a thinking undead that needs no sleep. There's a few capstones that make you an outsider. I'd argue for limited wish.

    1. These are all options, but the goal is to find methods that aren't limited to class (ruling out most capstone abilities), and which will be useful in your average campaign/AP (which rarely reach past the mid-teens). Generally speaking, the lower the level you can manage it, the more actionable the methods are.

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  5. The Knights of the Inner Sea book provides the most powerful way: the Keep Watch spell. PFS legal. Can by cast by a 1st level wizard, and as long if you don't do any vigorous activity, you don't need to sleep that day. And if you get hold of an item or ability that lets you cast it at will, you won't need to sleep ever again.