D&D 5E Food weight consumption and weight of food/rations


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Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
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 don't think this is necessarily the case. What's stated is that eating half rations meets subsistence requirements. Then, it goes on to state that eating a half pound counts as half a day without food. It doesn't state that a half ration weighs half a pound, contradicting the item weight. What do you think of the alternative interpretation that I've set forth in my post up-thread?
 

Reynard

Legend
D&D survival rules have always been a combination of hand waving and misinterpretation. People can survive a very long time without food, even while remaining pretty active. See "Naked and Afraid" and "Alone" for examples.

That said, the goal of D&D survival rules should not be emulate reality. The goal should be to be fun for the group involved, and so they should be broad enough with a few dials that one group might not bother at all and another might count every calorie. With that being the case it is probably a prime example for one of those modular rules systems were were promised back during the playtest period.
 


BlivetWidget

Explorer
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 don't think this is necessarily the case. What's stated is that eating half rations meets subsistence requirements. Then, it goes on to state that eating a half pound counts as half a day without food. It doesn't state that a half ration weighs half a pound, contradicting the item weight.

This. The actual rule is:
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.


Now, I'm not defending the way it was written - it seems designed to mislead because the implication to most native English speakers is that they are equating half rations to half pounds. But given that the sentence does not exist in isolation (the book says a ration is 2 lbs and that you need 1 lb per day), if we look at it carefully we can see they are not saying that a half ration counts as half a day without food.

The interpretation we're left with is that rations are 2 lbs, you ought to eat the whole thing, you can eat 1 lb but the negative effects are not sufficient to affect the game, and if you eat 1/2 lb it starts to have game effects.

Again, poor wording but not actually contradictory.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
This. The actual rule is:
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.


Now, I'm not defending the way it was written - it seems designed to mislead because the implication to most native English speakers is that they are equating half rations to half pounds. But given that the sentence does not exist in isolation (the book says a ration is 2 lbs and that you need 1 lb per day), if we look at it carefully we can see they are not saying that a half ration counts as half a day without food.

The interpretation we're left with is that rations are 2 lbs, you ought to eat the whole thing, you can eat 1 lb but the negative effects are not sufficient to affect the game, and if you eat 1/2 lb it starts to have game effects.

Again, poor wording but not actually contradictory.
I disagree. This reads as a post-hoc justification rather than a natural interpretation of the text. “A character needs one pound of food per day and can make food last longer by subsisting on half rations.” Regardless of what the ration equipment weighs, the implication of this sentence is that one pound is what is needed, but eating half as much as you need can extend how long you can subsist on limited resources. The following sentence, “eating half a pound of food in a day counts as half a day without food,” further clarifies the long-term effects of eating half as much food as your daily requirement.

Ask yourself, if the weight of a ration had been one pound, as it is in other editions, would reading this sentence have made you think it should be two pounds? Would you have questioned the apparent incongruity, as many people have done with the two-pound ration?
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
This. The actual rule is:
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.


Now, I'm not defending the way it was written - it seems designed to mislead because the implication to most native English speakers is that they are equating half rations to half pounds. But given that the sentence does not exist in isolation (the book says a ration is 2 lbs and that you need 1 lb per day), if we look at it carefully we can see they are not saying that a half ration counts as half a day without food.

The interpretation we're left with is that rations are 2 lbs, you ought to eat the whole thing, you can eat 1 lb but the negative effects are not sufficient to affect the game, and if you eat 1/2 lb it starts to have game effects.

Again, poor wording but not actually contradictory.
I agree that it's a poorly worded attempt to express what I think the author(s) probably had in mind. If it's read, however, with the assumption that a ration is two pounds, it not only all makes sense, but it also becomes apparent that eating a full ration has a purpose, namely to reset your days without food to zero.
 


BlivetWidget

Explorer
I disagree. This reads as a post-hoc justification rather than a natural interpretation of the text

I’m not trying to justify anything, I’m only trying to find an explanation that fits the facts. Interpretations of implied meanings are only that; however confusing their text is, it does not explicitly contradict itself.

You can try to change the facts to fit your interpretation, but I wouldn’t consider that to be a particularly fruitful endeavor. If you genuinely believe the explicit parts of the text to be in error, you should submit errata or tweet Crawford for confirmation.

Until the text changes, I think it’s only rational to assume that what it says is true for the game.
 

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