The Gaia Chronicles
Rules for Thirst, Hydration and Hunger
Rules for Hydration and Hunger with Supply Management
The easiest thing to do to reduce bookkeeping and make it simpler is to (instead of treating each piece of food as something else to keep track of) group rations together. Figure out how much your group needs to eat each day (per person) and how much they need together. Then figure out how much enough food for one day for everyone should cost and how much it weighs.
Example: Let’s say each human or human-like creature needs ~2500-3500 calories (They are walking/fighting all day, which tends to make one hungry). That’s several loaves of bread, or maybe one loaf, a half-pound of red meat (dried/smoked), some vegetables and a flagon of beer or two (that’s the stuff to give the troops!). Feel free to tweak the numbers if you disagree. All together, I’d guess maybe 2-4lbs, so let’s say 3lbs per person. I’d estimate the price at 5sp, although it depends what the economy is like in your game, and what different things cost. If the PCs want to pay a little more for more compact food, raise the price to 1gp or so.
Thus, if we have a party of 4 (human, half-elf and two dwarves) who can be expected to eat about the same, one day of food for everyone weighs about 12lbs and costs 2gp. If they are going to be travelling for a week, that’s (7 × 12 =) 84lbs and (7 × 2 =) 14gp. However, after 2 days they decide to turn back. After 4 days’ travel, they’re back home. Take off (4 × 12 =) 48 lbs of weight to leave 36 lbs of food (12 days of food for one person, or three days for four people).
The advantage of this is that if the group is exploring a dungeon, they can pay for food in days at a time, letting them plan ahead. Also, they and you know when the food should be gone. If you have someone Creating food, then they simply produce their own food-days, which you can add to their total.
Optionally: To simulate spoilage, make food keep for about a week (depending on what it is – if the group pay more, it should last longer) then roll 1d6 for each food-day left. If a 1 comes up, it’s spoiled. Increase/decrease the numbers if you want.
Starvation And Thirst
Characters might find themselves without food or water and with no means to obtain them. In normal climates, Medium characters need at least a gallon of fluids and about a pound of decent food per day to avoid starvation. (Small characters need half as much.) In very hot climates, characters need two or three times as much water to avoid dehydration.
A character can go without water for 1 day plus a number of hours equal to his Constitution score. After this time, the character must make a Constitution check each hour (DC 10, +1 for each previous check) or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage.
A character can go without food for 3 days, in growing discomfort. After this time, the character must make a Constitution check each day (DC 10, +1 for each previous check) or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage.
Characters who have taken nonlethal damage from lack of food or water are fatigued. Nonlethal damage from thirst or starvation cannot be recovered until the character gets food or water, as needed—not even magic that restores hit points heals this damage.