Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
That is quite high, though speed of play and hours of session vary wildly. It also brings up the question of resource expenditure again, as if they're running 6 encounters per day, they're actually below 20% per encounter- and thus are scrimping to less than 20% in order to manage. If you're running some underleveled fights (which are 10-30% on the table) so 6/day would be fair, but which are then optimized and advantageously terrained to make up for it, then you are indeed pushing harder than the book says.
Most fights are under leveled. I typically balance for the adventuring day rather than individual fights. When terrain (or other miscellaneous factors like surprise or unknown enemy abilities) are an issue, I factor them into the overall challenge and am usually pretty good at still hitting the 80% per adventuring day average.

Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
Easy check, the sidebar on page 54 tells the difference in treasure gained vs wealth expected, which you can subtract to get the expected consumables used. If they're using more than that, then by the book they are using more than expected. That said, if they're staying above WBL in permanent useful items, then it's fine mechanically. But if they feel that expending consumables means they're failing, you should probably rethink your treasure system. It'll mean they'll have less wiggle room, but they might be less annoyed?
Basically, the players tend to attack all of the optional encounters, and are thus above WBL, but also a bit more resource starved then normal. If they are beaten up going into a fight, they will typically use consumables before hand to make up the difference. The extra treasure they get from optional fights is typically more than they get lose from consumables. This results in them having an overall higher WBL than normal in permanent equipment, but also using more consumables than normal.

Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
Did you also tell them why? 'Cause not telling them why would be pretty dismissive. I'd be more interested in hearing a player explain why they think they should be ending with X higher amount of resources (seriously, would be interesting).
I have told him that is the balance point I am shooting for because the game would snowball into an out of control monte-haul scenario if I made it much easier and I believe that challenge and risk are necessary aspects of an RPG from both a narrative and mechanical level to make it seem real and worthwhile.

As for why he wants it, that is a bit off the beaten path as it involves house rules.

Basically, I allow scrolls to be crafted XP and GP free, but I also use a long rest variant. In effect, this means that he can save unused spell slots from one adventure to another, and he feels like if he ever ends a mission using more scrolls than he creates he is "getting poorer".

Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
As for 1/5 having multiple downs, you've said that's only 1/30 encounters, which yeah by the DMG is actually way better than normal odds. Though this makes me notice something else: at 6 encounters per session, if those are level average, they're leveling up almost every other session. This game must have gone 1-20. But also, leveling up that fast probably means they barely had time to even use, let alone grow fully accustomed to, a particular level's worth of abilities and foes before rushing off to the next. If you're constantly fighting harder foes without seeing your previous foes crushed under your new comfortable power level, well yeah.
When we play by the book D&D, yeah, they tend to level up every other session. Typically I play a variant like E6 or the like where advancement isn't so extreme though.