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Cyrad wrote:The original designers deliberately built the math of the game such that a CR=APL encounter uses up 20%-25% of a party's resources.
I've heard this claimed, but I've never seen any evidence of it.
Most finite resources (barbarian rage, spells per day, bardic performance) increase in quantity as you level up. But the number of rounds a battle takes does not, in my experience, increase as you level up. So the chance of running out of resources after four battles seems to decrease every time you level up.
Well, there is the explicit statement in the 3.0 DMG that "an encounter with an Encounter Level equal to the PCs' level is one that should expend about 20% of their resources."
So it seems it was intended. OTOH, you're right that resources expand in quantity as you level up, and encounters don't seem to last longer, so it may well be they tried, but simply didn't do a very good job.
Though it's although worth considering that although number of spells increases, the number of top level spells doesn't. You could think of expending one of your top level spells in each fight, plus a bunch of less significant lower level ones (or at low levels just firing a crossbow).