Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Get them to ration - at least three meals per day

This started as a post on getting players to track how many rations they have, inspired by James Young at Ten Foot Polemic. See if you can spot where my mind took a side track. I maintain that the ideas below will stimulate zealous ration tracking.


I'l like to have the party think of the little things in life. How much longer will the light last? Does the ranger have enough arrows for all these goblins? When do we run out of food? And normally D&D doesn't give players a whole lot of incentive to track that. James tackles how to change that - either by motivating players or building resource depletion into your overloaded encounter die (SUCH a great innovation).


Nice, solid meals are how you recover hit points without ending up in debt to the local surgeon or cultistcleric. They're also good for social interaction, and are a nice way to not die of starvation.

Stolen / adapted from the GLOG:
  • Long rest: a good night's sleep, eight hours at least, and a solid meal at the start or finish. Heals up to half your hit points of damage if you can sleep somewhere safe, dry and warm. Lacking this, you only heal 1d6+level hit points. Either way, recover a level of fatigue. Takes 8 hours and a full ration. Can do this once per day.
  • Short rest: either...
    • a relaxed meal time somewhere safe and comfortable to take your mind off things: heal 1d6+level hit points. Takes an hour of time and a full ration. Can do this once per day.
    • a quick bite - fifteen minutes of breathing space in a safe, uninterrupted lunch: heal 1d4 hit points. Takes a half-ration.
From Asterix and the Chieftain’s Shield, a childhood favorite.            
The chief is going to a spa to diet, and has planned a trip
along all his favorite eateries. If I was home sick and could
stomach this page, I knew I was getting better.


Adventurers can benefit from up to three meals per day, most often breakfast, lunch and dinner. Only one of these can count as the full meal as described above - you do not benefit from a second full meal on the same day.

Second breakfast, elevenses and supper are for Hobbits. Their special cultural background and reinforced stomach lining allows to them to handle and benefit from double rations. This works out to six meals per day, two of which may be full meals BUT they only recover half as many hit points on a day where these dietary requirements aren't met.


  • Hobbit - cultural signifier of Halfling eating at "a comfortable level" (i.e. "appalling gluttony" to the rest of us).
  • Halfling - neutral identifier of the race. Also used by Hobbits as pitying term for one who is being consistently and cruelly underfed. Ironically: "he's trying to avoid becoming a Halfling".
  • Goblin - a Hobbit or Halfling who, after suffering crippling deprivation, has done what Hobbits and Halflings refer to as Going on a Diet. This is considered to be taboo, repulsive behaviour and as such is not a topic of polite conversation. If the topic comes up, Hobbits will take care to emphasize that "it was not just them as was at fault". If you starve one of them, you clearly deserve what's coming for you. Finding your soap replaced with special sauce, most likely.
(+ArnoldK has great backstory to this, that I won't be using. Read it anyway - he's good.)


A week of hard work at "subsistence level" (an ordinary person's food intake) will allow a Hobbit to switch to gritty survival mode. Their emergency metabolism kicks in as they learn to survive on one full meal and two quick bites per day.

Hobbits starved even beyond the requirements of this emergency metabolism -and really, what monster would do such a thing?- can get Bad Ideas and turn into Goblins. Halfling families talk darkly of great-uncles and -aunts who went exploring with the big folk and were forced to Go on a Diet out in the wastes. Kids will asked returned heroes is they ever "went paleo". Beware the vacant eyed Halfling who has stopped complaining about being hungry. Odds are, they are now eyeing your meaty calfs as you march.


Exact time scales for Hobbits to get Dietary Ideas are hard to pin down. Most can survive 2xCon days in survival mode without more than grumbling. (Grumbling A LOT). Days of true starvation (without full meals or with less than three meals per day) count double for this timer to cannibalism. After 2xCon days, the Hobbit or Halfling makes a Wisdom check with a penalty equal to the number of saves already made.They failed? Then they failed to spot that the idea they just had is a Bad one.

Treat your Halfling to an extravagant feast at least monthly, and they can go double the number of days (so 4xCon) on what Humans call "standard meals". You will have to pay for at least three full meals and six quick bites to have a day qualify for a feast. Do this too often, and risk full Hobbit metabolism reasserting itself (Any feast triggers a Constitution check with a penalty of the number of feast days + starvation days in the last month to avoid this happy return to Hobbitdom).


Many tragic stories exist of Hobbit families adopting Goblins to try and cure them of their unfortunate eating habits. This can end in celebration (Uncle Folco recovered!), rejection (Uncle Folco was too far gone and has gone to live in the country) or conversion (Is Uncle Folco perhaps onto something?)

Feed your Halflings.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Something wriggling this way comes

One or two more sessions of Pathinder / Eberron, a short interlude as a player, and then it's time for a completely new campaign. I'm torn between trying to run a campaign of Trail of Cthulhu (extreme pulp / Night's Black Agents style), or to try and build Sunless Sea into a seacrawl.

Either way, yesterday's visit to the record shop turned up this beauty for theme music and inspiration. Horrors from the deep it is.

The Ocean - Rhyacian