Encumbrance, Water, Feed, and Beasts of Burden - Am I Doing it Right?

The setup for my new campaign is that the party is being hired to serve as guards for a slightly higher-level group. Their expedition is to a set of barrow mounds two days away in the wilderness where it is believed a holy relic can be recovered.

The local church is funding the expedition to the tune of 1,000gp. I’ve put together an equipment list. However, in dealing with mules and encumbrance, especially that of water and feed, I think I may be doing something wrong.

The numbers are based upon having a week’s worth of food & water for 13 individuals and their 6 mules. It seems like the mules can’t carry enough water and feed for themselves for a week in addition to a reasonably amount of extra equipment. Are week-long ventures into the wilderness without a road (and therefore no cart) something that’s not supposed to happen?

Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.

This is the tally sheet:

1,000gp worth of pay & equipment

125gp 25gp per PC (5) for one month of work reporting to Priest Smid

20gp 2lb. of Birthwort (2/6 stone)
20gp 2lb. of Comfrey (2/6 stone)
20gp 2lb. of Goldenrod (2/6 stone)
20gp 2lb. of Woundwart (2/6 stone)

26gp 13 thick wool blankets (2 1/6 stone)
260gp 13 Tents (13 stone)

Adventuring Equipment
6gp 20 Flasks of Common Oil (3 2/6 stone)
2gp Small Hammer (1/6 stone)
25gp 1 pint of Holy Water (1/6 stone)
1gp 12 Iron spikes (1/6 stone)
20gp 2 Lanterns (2/6 stone)
4sp 4 10’ Wooden Poles (4 stone)
2gp 2 Coils of 50’ rope (2 stone)
4gp 8sp 6 Large sacks
1gp 6sp 2 Tinderboxes (2/6 stone)
4sp 24 Torches (4/6 stone)

8gp 2 Hand axes (2/6 stone)
2gp 2 Crowbars (2/6 stone)
12gp 3 sledge hammers (3 stone)

Beasts of Burden and Foodstuffs
120gp 6 Mules (20 stone comfortable/40 stone max each - 60’ move)
168gp 168 stone of feed (4 stone/mule/day for a week - 168 stone)
1gp 2sp 4 x 20 gallon barrels filled with water (80 stone)
13gp 13 weeks of iron rations (2 1/6 stone)

279 3/6 stone weight (240 stone - 6 mules max carrying capacity)

125gp pay to the PCs
853gp 4sp equipment
978gp 4sp Total (21gp 6sp under budget)

My apologies for the lack of formatting of the list. Looks like tab characters aren’t supported.

We tend to graze our mules rather than having them haul their own feed. Not sure if that’s how it’s supposed to work, though.

Similarly, it’s been my assumption that in any reasonably wet climate, you don’t need to carry water for more than a day or two.

You’ll find brooks, streams, rain, etc, often enough that you don’t need to carry an enormous amount of water. In an extremely arid area (tundras, deserts, badlands, etc), carrying water becomes a challenge, but if you’re just traveling through a forest I’ve always assumed you can refill your water relatively often.

I seem to recall that there are a few places where it explicitly tells you that you need to consume extra rations to reflect water consumption, like somewhere in the rules for naval travel. That implies to me that you typically don’t otherwise need to carry water supplies in the wilderness, unless you are trying to make a run across some barren desert. Ships have plenty of storage capacity, and empty deserts really should be difficult to cross!

War horses can’t subsist on only pasturage for weeks at a time, in part due to the fact that they are typically present in high enough densities that they’d overgraze the best locations near camp, which is why they need open supply lines. Smaller numbers of animals don’t create the same burden on available grass, and mules particularly are hardier and could do well with minimal feed supplements.

Agree with jedavis and Aryxymaraki - unless you’re in a desert or at sea, you probably don’t have to worry about carrying feed and water.

If you’re in a desert, you’re going to need to get to an oasis basically every day, which is pretty much realistic, AFAIK - Christian crusaders in the Holy Land, for instance, were basically unable to fight after one day of not reaching an oasis…

EHamilton is correct, too. Core book, page 96, “Rations and fishing” (sub-heading of “Sea Adventures”). Based on that, I’ve gone with a basic 1 stone/day supply weight for my Crimson Sun campaign, which does require carrying water by default*. The cost is trivial (1 gallon at 1 bit, equal to 1 cp in the core rules), but the weight is an issue, obviously, when you have to carry 1 stone of water for every day you intend to travel between oasises.

  • I’m handwaving stuff in the tradition of the old AD&D 2E Dark Sun rulebook, which gives 1 gal/day as the basic rate of water consumption, completely unrealistic though it is for hot and arid conditions including marching 8 hours a day and fighting. Realism just isn’t that important.

I 90% agree Ehamilton, and would require that feed be carried for warhorse or race horses. Its probably too much detail but grain/feed fed horse out perform free ranging horses. A warhorse could survive on free grazing but would loose muscle mass thus speed and endurance.