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


Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
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.
That’s fair.

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Hmm holding the books to my head. You Reek AH! No one in WOTC cross reference these sentences. We shall beat the editors.
Especially when you consider Create Food and water

You create 45 pounds of food and 30 gallons of water on the ground or in containers within range, enough to sustain up to fifteen humanoids or five steeds for 24 hours. The food is bland but nourishing, and spoils if uneaten after 24 hours. The water is clean and doesn’t go bad.
It assumes 3 lbs of food and 2 gal of water...


Dusty Dragon
Especially when you consider Create Food and water

It assumes 3 lbs of food and 2 gal of water...

Oh boy....

But... WHAT IS THIS!?!!?

"The water is clean and doesn’t go bad. "

doesn’t go bad period

Forever sterile (sort of) water?!? Now that is some high falutin magic. Lots of industrial application for that water.



If you want to add a bit more complexity and coolness... maybe port over the "Food Point" system from Powers & Perils? ( Powers and Perils - P&P Rule Books ; you're looking for Book 1.3 ...it's the latest 'updated by the community' one ). [Oh, PS, yes, all totally legal; "we" got permission from Avalon Hill, TSR and then WotC...and even Richard Snider, the writer of the system, even posted there on occasions ...including his never-finished "2nd edition P&P"].

Short version: All food and drink has a Food Point ("FP") value. Typically 1/4, 1/2, and increments of 1. Food weighs, well, whatever the food weighs. Just put a crown of broccoli on the scale at the store; that's how much it weighs. Then you, the Referee, choose it's FP value. There are some already for the Referees use as a guideline. For example...

"Travel Ration ; Cost 1BB (Brass Bit) ; Weight 1/4 lb ; Description - 1FP of non-perishable, dried meat"
"Grain ; Cost 10 CC (Copper Coin) ; Weight 10 lb ; Description - 10FP of grain, bagged; usable by Characters and Herbivores"
"Ale ; Cost 3 BB ; Weight 1.5 lb ; Description - 1 quart of Ale (container extra), 1FP"

Anyway, each Character has a Weight (and Height, obviously). The weight of the PC (and race) tell you how many FP's per day the Character needs. For a 190lb Human, for example, needs 3FP/Day. The same weight, but a Dwarf, needs 1FP more (dwarves all need 1FP more), so 4FP/Day. If, for some reason, you have a portly Elf of 190lb, would only need 1.5FP/Day (elves and faerries need 50% of whatever their weight lists).

It would be dirt simple to do the same thing for D&D races and whatnot. One thing it does...it makes "huge characters" (re: the "My barbarian is 7' tall and weighs 427lb! GRRR!!!!!" ; "Ok, you need 10FP/Day, right?" ;) )...uh...lets just say that you end up with MUCH more reasonable characters (size wize) in the group. :)

PS: And yes, animals have FP/Day requirements too; a 'standard' Riding Horse would need 3FP/Day, and a well-trained, large War-Dog would need 2FP/Day, and that elf Ranger with the Hawk animal companion? Yeah, chances are the hawk is eating as much or more than the elf, needing 2FP/Day. :)


Paul L. Ming
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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.

it is quite opposite really.

Rations are usually dehidrated at packed with high-calorie food.

So a pound of food. half a kg to keep it simple that is almost 50% fat could have around 2500-3000 calories.

Fresh food contains lots of water, but then you reduce that water from the water that you need to drink.

That is why there is a need of a gallon of water per day, 4L. If you eat normal fresh food and are not in a Sahara you need only half of it.


I do not know if I am as hung up over the realities of the numbers as much as I am the incongruities of the numbers within the rules.

It seems that the weight of food required per day was written only in context of foraging and it did not count the costs and weights of purchased food. I'm not sure that anyone really considered food for grazing animals while traveling, especially in a normal wilderness which is full of various vegetation that can be grazed. It also seems that the foraging rules seems more suitable for the carnivores on the trail that need game but can be supplemented with nuts, berries, roots, etc. The foraging rules determine a poundage of foraged/hunted food, but it doesn't specify type of food. Although it could include grazing feed, I doubt many DMs require it as long as the region has grass.



Well, if one doesn't want to go the more crunchy Powers & Perils way, what about the Dungeon World way? We actually did something similar to DW back in the late 80's for our B/X game. Come to think of it, we still kinda do use those old I came up with back when I was still but a newb DM. In a nutshell you have a choice: spend money to simply buy "food" (basically, rations as per the rules), BUT, you could opt to have a person or two "hunt and gather along the way". All that did was incur one extra chance roll for a random encounter and shave off 1 hour of travel time. If no encounter, then food and water for everyone, and mounts was assumed to be found. No need to keep track of weight/amount because it was assumed as well to be 'eaten/drank' throughout the day as it came about. I would, as DM describe little 'filler world-building fluff' along the way... "You travel for a couple hours, then come across a nice book. Savvin is lucky enough to notice some blueberries growing in a nice patch! After a half hour of gorging and drinking fresh, cool water, the rest of the day is spent walking, with Yor managing to snag a large trout in a small pond near your camp". That kind of thing.

Anyway...the actual amount of food/water needed by someone varries, obviously; some need more, some less, typically based on size and activity, but some people just don't eat much. I think the 5e rules are like all the other rules; guidelines. For me, 4L of water a day is NUTZ! I'm lucky to get through a single glass of the stuff! I drink fluids all day...typically carbonated juices I make my self, or cola, coffee, tea, milk, etc. But water? shudder Unless it's ICE freaking cold (as in forming ice crystals in the glass), I'm generally not keen on it.


Paul L. Ming

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