Keep Watch and Sleeping


Rules Questions


Can I cast the spell Keep Watch everyday on myself and never need to sleep again? Is there any drawbacks to this other than devoting a first level spell to it?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

RAW there are no consequences.

If I where the GM, after a few nights I will start to apply damage to your mental stats, unrecoverable until you rest.


It's not really much better than the Alarm spell, though it does scale better with level.

I suppose part of the balance is in how you interpret "vigorous activity".


Diego Rossi wrote:

RAW there are no consequences.

If I where the GM, after a few nights I will start to apply damage to your mental stats, unrecoverable until you rest.

Any particular reason? The spell gives all the benefits of a full night of rest so why would their mental stats start to decline?


The weird thing is that this same source has the bed of iron spell, which is completely invalidated by the keep watch spell.


Melkiador wrote:
The weird thing is that this same source has the bed of iron spell, which is completely invalidated by the keep watch spell.

I guess that it's for the guy who really wants to sleep.


To answer OP, yes. You can keep using keep watch every night with no negative effects. Why you would want/need to though I don't know, since "vigorous activity" is actually a pretty broad spectrum. It's not just physically vigorous activity, but all vigorous activity. The only clarification it gives is "including fighting," but for a magic user, "fighting" can include simply casting spells.

The inference drawn from this is that casting spells is considered vigorous activity, so you can't cast any spells during the duration without breaching keep watch. Most GM's also rule that you can't craft during this time either, since it takes both physical and mental strain and serious attention.

Personally I think the thing it is best used for is to keep your darkvision/high perception party member up as your lookout all night. It's also helpful if you're pressed for time in a situation and need to decipher unknown texts, read through texts, take the time to read and understand a wisdom text or riddle/question, if you wanted to transcribe new spells into your spellbook from a different source, etc...

However, any and all of theses things (except being a lookout), can be ruled as "vigorous activity" by your GM. An exceptionally hard linguistics check might be too much of a mental strain for your character and breach the spell, and so on. This is one of those areas that's really left up to GM discretion for the purpose of game balance.

EDIT: It's also incredibly useful if you have a character being effected by nightmares or other sleep-related curses/problems.

Note: This spell does not *prevent* a creature from sleeping (magically keeping them awake). They can still choose to sleep at will, they just don't need to.


I'd rule that anything that requires a roll constitutes a "vigorous activity" whether physical or mental. You can still take 10 on things as that implies a routine activity, and routine is never strenuous.

Picking up 50lb weights can be fun for an 20STR barbarian to pass time, but a strenuous activity requiring an athletics check for a 10STR rogue. It's all subjective.

A wizard can read a difficult treatise on magic for fun. A fighter will tear their hair out trying the same.

But at the end of the day Keep Watch can be cast every day and forgo the need to sleep (which is mechanically only useful for high perception people on actual watch... and the spell breaks as soon as they actually hear/spot something that calls for perception check). Storywise, picture yourself staying awake for 8 hours, deep in the woods, unable to do anything that requires more than minimal concentration. Now think how bored you would be. Sleep is good.

The Exchange

And give up dreaming, desna forbid


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jeff Morse wrote:
And give up dreaming, desna forbid

plus the food is fantastic.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Talonhawke wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
The weird thing is that this same source has the bed of iron spell, which is completely invalidated by the keep watch spell.
I guess that it's for the guy who really wants to sleep.

The human mind is not made to work constantly without pausing every so often to reboot and rest. While there are several spells that allow people to bypass the need for sleep, I feel that doing that for a long period should require a change in the basic nature of the creature doing it.

Becoming a half elemental or a half outsider together with spell use will work. Probably there are other ways, but if you don't sleep at least a couple of hours every day, after a time you are no more human.

There have been studies of the effects of sleep deprivation on soldiers, and the results show that we aren't made do live without sleeping.


That said, there are drugs that will keep you awake and keep you from feeling tired...until you have a psychotic break and try to kill everyone around you. The brain just can't handle extended periods of time without sleep (11 days is the world record).


I would consider that to fall under all the benefits of sleep personally.

In fact wasn't there an NPC in one AP that had been just removing his fatigue everyday without issues?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Sleep deprivation is a form of torture used to extract information... the mind will break.

But this is a fantasy game, and there is no written drawback to using magic as a direct replacement for sleep.

There are items that allow you to exist without the need to eat, which is quite comparable.

The Exchange

LordKailas wrote:
Jeff Morse wrote:
And give up dreaming, desna forbid

plus the food is fantastic.

LOVE that spell


Diego Rossi wrote:
Talonhawke wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
The weird thing is that this same source has the bed of iron spell, which is completely invalidated by the keep watch spell.
I guess that it's for the guy who really wants to sleep.

The human mind is not made to work constantly without pausing every so often to reboot and rest. While there are several spells that allow people to bypass the need for sleep, I feel that doing that for a long period should require a change in the basic nature of the creature doing it.

Becoming a half elemental or a half outsider together with spell use will work. Probably there are other ways, but if you don't sleep at least a couple of hours every day, after a time you are no more human.

There have been studies of the effects of sleep deprivation on soldiers, and the results show that we aren't made do live without sleeping.

What did the studies conclude with regard to the amount of sleep needed when magic was involved to reduce/eliminate the need for sleep?


bbangerter wrote:
What did the studies conclude with regard to the amount of sleep needed when magic was involved to reduce/eliminate the need for sleep?

I mean, it probably depends on which study you're looking at. But I believe that practitioners of magic have found that not only does using magic augment your sleep not have any negative side effects. There are benefits to prolonged use. Your skin becomes more sensitive to ambient magical vibrations (a sort of buzzing sensation). It becomes easier to ignore your surroundings and enter a meditative state. Best of all it becomes much easier to see the unseen. While the first two benefits are often gained pretty quickly, the third benefit takes a bit longer to kick in.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

If magic can sustain basic bodily needs like hunger, thirst, and exposure to heat/cold elements, I see no reason why magic cannot also sustain the need to sleep.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Pathfinder: Here are rules governing the need to eat, drink, and sleep, and all the horrible things that happen if you fall behind on those.

Also Pathfinder: Here are a couple of level 0/1 spells that relegate those rules to the waste bin.

Frankly, it's a wonder anybody on Golarion ever eats, drinks, or sleeps.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
blahpers wrote:

Pathfinder: Here are rules governing the need to eat, drink, and sleep, and all the horrible things that happen if you fall behind on those.

Also Pathfinder: Here are a couple of level 0/1 spells that relegate those rules to the waste bin.

Frankly, it's a wonder anybody on Golarion ever eats, drinks, or sleeps.

Don’t forget endure elements....

Never mind, no need to sweat it...

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Keep Watch and Sleeping All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.