Exploring DnD 5e: Monsters, Illusions, and Zombies

Three of my players joined forces to escape a town overrun with monsters in the last Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition quest. The rules were mostly smooth sailing with only one question about elves trance. In this blog I will talk about the quest of the Burning Church and the lack of clarity on trance rules.

Lucy and Thomas’s characters met up, one an elf druid the other a human paladin, on their way to figure out why a church in a remote town had burnt down. The same time Genesha (my GM controlled bard half-elf) and Matt’s character, a gnome fighter, were in a wagon heading to the same church for medical aid. The two parties ran into each other when both heard a scream in the woods and went to aid the poor soul whom had made the shriek. It was not until they got there that they realized it was a banshee and two harpies.

In a daring bout of courage, Matt’s character flew off for aid while the paladin barely kept himself and the elf alive. After the fight the two groups combined for safety. There wagon got stuck in an ooze trail across the road and all of the party was a little on edge from all the monster yells and howls they were hearing from the forest around them.

Once arriving in town, they found many villagers walking around outside, but these villagers did not seem normal. They all had pale skin, dark circles under their eyes as if they had not slept, and would not respond to any kind of stimulus, much like a zombie. While the players were freaked out, they continued on their quest.

The elf and paladin were surprised to find a church had been rebuilt in the ashes of the old, and Genesha and the gnome were surprised it was not the church they were looking for. The person running the church was a normal human without the zombie like behavior and appearance of the other, which immediately rose suspicion. This suspicion went further when the paladin found that the priest knew absolutely nothing true about the god he claimed to be worshiping and that the priest was blissfully unaware of the zombie like people outside.


Leaving, they went to the local inn where the response-less inn keeper stood at the desk. After taking the keys they spent the night. The question arose about trance, if trance, a special ability of elves that make it so they meditate for four hours instead of sleeping, was equivalent to a long rest. The book reads that “After resting in this way, you may gain the same benefits that a human does from 8 hours of sleep.” So although it says nothing about long rest, logic would show that sleeping 8 hours gives a human a long rest, therefore a trance having the same benefits of 8 hours of sleep would also be a long rest. But because it never explicitly states if trance can be counted as a long rest, it might instead mean you just gain benefits of sleeping (which removes and prevents exhaustion levels).

In the end we ended up deciding it could count as a long rest, although most people online disagree with this ruling. We decided this because the elf was not abusing trance and was only using the extra hours to read books.

After their sleep they went through a montage of scenes where they went to collect a rare plant that might wake the people out of their zombie states, ran into a gorgon whom was a protector of the woods and worried about all the monsters that were appearing in the woods, did some exploring of the town, went to a twilight service at the church where all the zombie people attended. At this twilight church service they realized the priest was under an illusion. All the people dropped dead, and the town was swarming in monsters with the party locked in the church.  They found hordes of black gems that made them feel despair when touched. They escaped from the church, Matt with his cloak of wings, Lucy turning into an elf and rampaging through the town with Thomas’s Paladin on her back.


Next adventure will be with the other half of the group, Peter, Mason, and Max whose characters were all sent to the Dark Citadel, a slaving capital, to meet with a barkeep named Eyesore.