Exhaustion 5e

Exhaustion While Travelling 5e

Exhaustion is primarily a mechanic to address overexertion while adventuring. This means that any extreme circumstances can cause a level of exhaustion. There are a number of effects that cause exhaustion including:

  • Not eating or drinking enough
  • Exposure to extreme heat or extreme cold
  • Traveling for longer than 8 hours in a day
  • Going 24 hours without a long rest
  • Falling into frigid water
  • Swimming for more than 1 hour
  • Rowing a boat for longer than 8 hours
  • Monsters, spells, and traps with exhaustion effects

Removing Exhaustion

A newer rule proposed in Xanathar’s:

Whenever you end a 24-hour period without finishing a long rest, you must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or suffer one level of exhaustion.

It becomes harder to fight off exhaustion if you stay awake for multiple days. After the first 24 hours, the DC increases by 5 for each consecutive 24-hour period without a long rest. The DC resets to 10 when you finish a long rest.

Sleep/Long Rest

The simplest way to remove a level of exhaustion is by completing a long rest, assuming that food and water is also ingested as part of the long rest. The one caveat to this is if you slept in medium or heady armor, sleep doesn’t reduce your exhaustion level. Sleeping in light armor is fine for reducing exhaustion, however.

Keep in mind that if you are still exposed to extreme heat or cold during a long rest, saving throws against exhaustion will need to be made.

Class Features

In Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, the Deft Explorer feature allows 10th-level rangers to reduce 1 level of exhaustion on a short rest.


Barring magical artifacts, the only other way to fix exhaustion is to use the Greater Restoration spell, which can reduce the target’s exhaustion level by one.


Other Notes about Exhaustion:

Unfortunately the mechanics are not clearly or consistently defined. It appears the GM would need to to determine a frequency of the Constitution saves and their DC for different cases.

For instance “Frigid Water” (page 110 of DMG) which states:

A creature can be immersed in frigid water for a number of minutes equal to its Constitution score before suffering any ill effects. Each additional minute spent in frigid water requires the creature to succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or gain one level of exhaustion…

This is even more impacting that extreme cold – having you make a save every minute instead of every hour. Perhaps you could use this to say that cold temperatures cause saving throws every 2-3 hours.

Heavy armor on Chult probably should have more effect.

Beyond the price being three times the norm, is there any real disadvantage to having heavy armor in the jungle? The only thing I think I’ve seen is maybe making exhaustion rolls for dehydration?