log in or register to remove this ad

 

5E Food weight consumption and weight of food/rations

pdzoch

Explorer
So I am about to run a campaign with an austere environment and I am refreshing my memory on the rules for food and water consumption, travel distance, weather impacts, and exhaustion.

However, I’ve come across a weird incongruity in the rules regarding feeding requirements.

According to the DM’s Guide, a medium creature requires a pound of food and a gallon of water per day.

However, the rations, which provide food for one day, weighs 2 lbs. (Player’s Handbook). I suppose I can assume that the extra pound is due to packaging (excessive apparently).

Then when I look at large creatures, like a horse, they require 4 pounds of food and 4 gallons of water per day. But the feed for animals weigh 10 lbs per day of feed. Granted, the feed in very generalized and does not account for the different types of animals.
The foraging rules work well with the food and water weight consumption requirements.

I think what I will do is reduce the weight of the rations to 1lb per day of food to match consumption rates.

And I will do the same for feed for the size of the animal the feed is for: 4 (instead of 10 lbs) pounds for large animals like horses and camels, but a huge animal like an elephant the feed would weight 16 lbs. I’m not sure if I will adjust the costs also, but it makes sense that I should.

Has anyone else noticed this incongruity?

How has anyone else managed food weight requirements (especially in an austere environment)?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

I make a good faith effort to avoid destroying/killing wagons and mounts. They are not completely immune to plot issues, but characters are far more likely to find an ogre stuffing his face at the wagon than having looted, killed the horses, and run away.

In an austere environment I will definitely keep track of "days of food and water", but I still don't keep track of the weight on the wagon beyond saying that it's really heavy. Kegs full of water. Stacked rations. Bandages and splints. Maybe a spare wheel and axle (just one each). Etc.
 

pdzoch

Explorer
I just thought of something regarding the weight disparity of rations per day and food requirements per day. Food spoils. Rations don't. So a pound of is all that is needed fresh, but it will spoil if not consumed within a day. Whereas the rations can keep for a long time, but weigh more. I wonder if the trade-off was intended in the rules when it was written.
 

Blackrat

He Who Lurks Beyond The Veil
I’m almost willing to argue that those weights are intentional. A human might need 1lb of food, but that’s the minimum to keep you from adverse effects in the long run. However, you might feel hungry most of the time. Rations of 2lb per day would give you enough to actually feel nourished, as opposed to just surviving. So, you can eat half a ration per day to keep going, but that doesn’t mean you ain’t miserable doing it...
 

ccs

40th lv DM
I just thought of something regarding the weight disparity of rations per day and food requirements per day. Food spoils. Rations don't. So a pound of is all that is needed fresh, but it will spoil if not consumed within a day. Whereas the rations can keep for a long time, but weigh more. I wonder if the trade-off was intended in the rules when it was written.

That argument might work for "people" food. Might.

But it becomes absurd when applied to animals. I can assure you that the animal feed - grain & hay - in my RL barn is not spoiling on a daily basis. If it were... $$$!:(
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Unless it's hot and you are sweating a lot, a gallon is too much. Even the frequently reported value of 2 litres a day is an exaggeration (you have to read the entire paper), although I would expect rations to be lower in water (and then you might actually need the 2 litres)
 

pdzoch

Explorer
That argument might work for "people" food. Might.

But it becomes absurd when applied to animals. I can assure you that the animal feed - grain & hay - in my RL barn is not spoiling on a daily basis. If it were... $$$!:(

Perhaps the "Feed" for animals is like the human rations then, which explains the excessive weight to need? It does not spoil, but it is also not fresh grazing grass.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Unless it's hot and you are sweating a lot, a gallon is too much. Even the frequently reported value of 2 litres a day is an exaggeration (you have to read the entire paper), although I would expect rations to be lower in water (and then you might actually need the 2 litres)
A gallon includes cooking, a bathing. So Gallon of food, 1 pd of rations is close enough for government work and 5E.
 

DMMike

Guide of Modos
Food spoils. Rations don't. So a pound of is all that is needed fresh, but it will spoil if not consumed within a day. Whereas the rations can keep for a long time, but weigh more. I wonder if the trade-off was intended in the rules when it was written.
Probably not intended. They had bigger issues to worry about, like "when is magic not magic" (still unresolved). I would expect rations to do more feeding than fresh food, not less. The fresh food might be healthier, but it's more water-weight. Rations should be more nutrient-dense. . . but maybe since "rations" feed a character for a day, that's supposed to include the necessary water?

Unless it's hot and you are sweating a lot, a gallon is too much. Even the frequently reported value of 2 litres a day is an exaggeration (you have to read the entire paper), although I would expect rations to be lower in water (and then you might actually need the 2 litres)
The water recommendation is for adventurers, not couch potatoes.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I’m convinced that the 2 lb. rations was a typo. Not only is it incongruous with the daily requirement of 1 lb. of food, it’s also inconsistent with the weight of rations in past editions. (Here’s an insightful article on the matter). I tried checking to see if Jeremy Crawford has weighed in on the matter, but all I could find was a tweet from Mike Mearls saying rations were 2 pounds because “it’s all heavy, awful junk food” which is the opposite of what travel rations should be, and a follow-up question about whether the extra pound might be packaging, to which he said “I have no idea. Assume 2 pounds of food.”

Personally, I have ruled for years that rations weigh one pound per day, and the packaging weight is negligible. I never noticed that the weight for a day of animal feed was similarly incongruous cause I don’t get a lot of players riding mounts, but if it comes up I will definitely change the weight to be consistent with the listed food requirement. Thanks for pointing that out!
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I’m almost willing to argue that those weights are intentional. A human might need 1lb of food, but that’s the minimum to keep you from adverse effects in the long run. However, you might feel hungry most of the time. Rations of 2lb per day would give you enough to actually feel nourished, as opposed to just surviving. So, you can eat half a ration per day to keep going, but that doesn’t mean you ain’t miserable doing it...
The problem with this interpretation is that eating a half ration is explicitly stated to count as going half a day without food, despite half a ration equaling the daily food requirement by weight.

I just thought of something regarding the weight disparity of rations per day and food requirements per day. Food spoils. Rations don't. So a pound of is all that is needed fresh, but it will spoil if not consumed within a day. Whereas the rations can keep for a long time, but weigh more. I wonder if the trade-off was intended in the rules when it was written.
And this doesn’t work either because dried food weighs less than fresh food due to the lack of water weight.
 
Last edited:

I wonder if the issue is that yes, you need one pound of food, but given that you can subsist with half, that's why they made trail rations 2 lbs. I wonder also if we, as more recent players, think of rations more in terms of what they sell at REI for example (prepacked/MREs/etc) when maybe the creators used two pounds as "Well, it's only a pound, but its volume takes up 2 lbs space. Plus, it's just hard tack and salami and some cheese wrapped suboptimally"

Either way, this is a good discussion for a game I'm getting ready to run
 


However, I’ve come across a weird incongruity in the rules regarding feeding requirements...

Yes, D&D's rules on food and water are unrealistic and they have to be. Not every large or medium creature is built the same.

1 pound of food a day

On Earth, normal humans average around 3-4 pounds of food consumption a day. We'd starve on 1 pound, and adventurers are very active people. But, 1 is a simple number. Now the 1 gallon of water per day? That actually is recommended.

Ration Weight

Actually, they're not far off from real-life. A quick search of the Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE)(a military ration), shows they weigh 18-26 ounces (16 ounces in a pound, so over but not quite 2 pounds) and provide enough food for 1 day, albeit at only 1200 calories not meant for long-term consumption. And, these are generated with far superior techniques to seal and package than in a medieval setting, so medieval rations may weigh more. Which brings you back to the 1 pound thing. You'll die eating only 1 pound.

Simple Fix

In my current Dark Sun game, where survival rules are more important, I bumped medium creatures to requiring 2 pounds of food and quadrupled the math from there. A large creature, such as an ogre, would need 8 pounds of food a day.

Horses

From a quick net search, horses range from 900-2200 pounds in weight and require at least 1.5% of their body weight in food each day. For a 1500 pound horse, that's 22 pounds, not 4. Your horse would die eating 4 pounds a day. Even 10 pounds of oats would be starving a 900 pound horse, which needs at least 14 pounds a day.

So, it's not an exact science, but at least if you bump the medium creature requirement to 2 pounds of food per day, you start to get somewhat more realistic numbers, and you don't have to rework the system (other than cutting off the starvation loophole, which is a separate topic).
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I wonder if the issue is that yes, you need one pound of food, but given that you can subsist with half, that's why they made trail rations 2 lbs.
Nope, because half a ration is one pound of food, and the rules explicitly state that eating a half-ration counts as going half a day without food.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Food
A character needs one pound of food per day and can make food last longer by subsisting on half rations. Eating half a pound of food in a day counts as half a day without food.

A character can go without food for a number of days equal to 3 + his or her Constitution modifier (minimum 1). At the end of each day beyond that limit, a character automatically suffers one level of exhaustion.

A normal day of eating resets the count of days without food to zero.
Water
A character needs one gallon of water per day, or two gallons per day if the weather is hot. A character who drinks only half that much water must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or suffer one level of exhaustion at the end of the day. A character with access to even less water automatically suffers one level of exhaustion at the end of the day.

If the character already has one or more levels of exhaustion, the character takes two levels in either case.


Ration 1 day
Type: Adventuring Gear Cost: 5 sp Weight: 2 lbs

Rations consist of dry foods suitable for extended travel, including jerky, dried fruit, hardtack, and nuts.


this from D&D Beyond. Players handbook.
So for 50 cents you getting two days of food, So Either a typo in the ration. Either change it to 2 days. Or Weight down to 1 pd.
Can you give page number or chapter for the DMG please.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
1 pound of food a day

On Earth, normal humans average around 3-4 pounds of food consumption a day. We'd starve on 1 pound...

That entirely depends on what the food is. A pound of celery, yes, you're going to have an issue. But moose goo (a honey, peanut butter, and corn flour mixture favored by some hikers) runs at like 130 calories per ounce - a bit over 2000 calories per pound. Almonds and peanuts run like 160+ cal/oz, and pecans and walnuts more like 190 cal/oz. So, you can hit a 2500 calorie diet with 14 oz or so of mixed nuts. Toss in some dried fruits and jerky for other nutrients, and for the short term on the road, you can manage on a pound of food a day.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
That entirely depends on what the food is. A pound of celery, yes, you're going to have an issue. But moose goo (a honey, peanut butter, and corn flour mixture favored by some hikers) runs at like 130 calories per ounce - a bit over 2000 calories per pound. Almonds and peanuts run like 160+ cal/oz, and pecans and walnuts more like 190 cal/oz. So, you can hit a 2500 calorie diet with 14 oz or so of mixed nuts. Toss in some dried fruits and jerky for other nutrients, and for the short term on the road, you can manage on a pound of food a day.
Who needs lembas bread when you’ve got gorp.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
DMG page numbers 109-111 Wildness survival.
MRE. Each MRE provides an average of 1,250 calories (13% protein, 36% fat, and 51% carbohydrates) and 1/3 of the Military Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins and minerals. A full day’s worth of meals would consist of three MREs. That is almost 4K of Calories. But this thinking is you are very active. Dodging bulettes.
 

COMING SOON! Halloween Horror For 5E

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top