This a bit of pettifoggery, but should a week’s rations count as a stone for encumbrance rather than an item? I mean, it’s got to be 10 pounds at least.

Agreed. Possibly, as you use them up, count them as one item per day. Food, even preserved food is heavy. Hikers can’t carry several Weeks of food in their packs… One is scout the limit in real life, along with other gear.

A week’s rations is about 7 items. I wrote a post about this on my blog, but here is the relevant part:

From ACKS (pg 94), “Each day, characters must consume food and drink weighing a total of one stone. This assumes 2lb of food and 1 gallon (about 8lb) of water.” Since stone and items are abstract units of encumbrance, lets restate the requirements as 1 item of food and 5 items of water per person per day.

I feel like much of the information about rations is somewhat vague. Moreover, with the exception of long sea journeys and desert travel, could you not reasonably assume that water is freely available? That’s at least how I’ve done it, while I appreciate the issue of running out of rations being a major part of the danger of wilderness travel, it ends up so fiddly that getting my players to buy in is like pulling teeth.

When traveling in areas where water is plentiful and journeys are of limited duration, you can probably just have characters buy rations once, assume monthly upkeep handles replacements, and ignore water requirements (assuming they can find streams or springs. For longer journeys in less friendly environments (such as deserts and oceans), you might want to track these things. The bottom line is deciding whether tracking rations adds to the game or is just a tedious detail. Unless you want to make a point about how difficult or expensive it is to cross the savage wilderness, you can hand waive it.

In my hexcrawling house rules, I set it up so that foraging and hunting generate water as well as food. I’m still debating how to handle barren environments, but I’m leaning towards penalties on the foraging and hunting throws.

As for player buy in, I’ve simplified the accounting as best I can by translating everything to items of food and water. That way, the party accountant just needs to list the number of food and water items the expedition has, the number of people and mounts in the expedition, and the number of food and water items a person or mount needs each day, and then do a few quick calculations at the end of each travel day.

We’ll see if that’s enough if they ever leave town.

Breaking it up into discrete item chunks is definitely a sensible idea. Will likely use in future; thanks!

I wouldn’t even expect a check for water in most locations, most of the time. I’d count a day of food as one item (1/6 stone) most of the time, iron rations possibly longer/item (hard tack is pretty light)

NOLS’s guidelines for rationing (which uses staples, and a mix of regular grocery and dehydrated foods (not freeze dried) recommend between 1.5-2.5 pounds of food, per person, per day (depending on exertion).

American Civil War era recommended rations weighed in at just over 2 lbs, and consisted of hard tack, meat (usually salted) and dehydrated vegetables.

Regarding Iron vs Standard rations, I don’t think weight would make much of a difference.

Regarding encumbrance, that’d make a week of rations count as a heavy item (one stone). When travelling without ample water (drought or desert), that’d drop to 1 stone/day due to carried water.

Great blog post James. I appreciate how you broke the Wilderness Adventure system down into five sentences that could fit on a 3x5 card.

Your blog posts are great. Very interesting. I have a question about the MPs - You say that Hunting costs 8MPs. Would that imply you can’t Hunt if your base move only gives you 6MPs per day? Or is the MP cost of Hunting given to give players a benefit if they have a surfeit of MPs?

(apologies for the off topic…)

The intention is to give a benefit for a surfeit of MP (and emulate that scene in Fellowship of the Ring where Aragorn rejoins the hobbits with a deer over his shoulder). I was going to assume that, if you wanted to hunt, but your load was such that you had less than 8MP available, then you would leave your excess gear in camp while you went hunting. But then Alex pointed out that dwarves and gnomes have a max movement rate of 60(20), so I’m not sure how I’m going to handle that. I’ll probably just rule that hunting costs 8MP or your max MP, which ever is less.

Alex is still figuring that one out, so don’t let me distress you too much.