Is Resource Management “Fun?”

Warpiglet-7

Satan’s Echo Chamber! Muhahahaha
I have seen threads where people say combat is boring!

Others who say shopping in town is boring!

Exploration is busted and no fun!

Yet others want to get through endless talking and smash skulls!

Diverse preferences!
 

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Let's say they're trekking over a long distance in the open. Typically, there's really only two relevant resources, food and water. The typical problem is that food and water are so easy to procure, but it only does one thing and that's keeping the characters fed. But it doesn't take much food at all to accomplish that. It almost feels like players have to want to starve and dehydrate themselves on purpose.
Only two? :ROFLMAO:

Man, you are missing a lot of options.
 

That's more play time than the super bowl, and it's only stretched out to 3 hours!

Resource management can be fun, but some I find to finicky to want to bother with. I don't really care to track arrows, spell components (love the replacement of the component pouch or spell focus for this), or rations unless the PCs are put in a dire situation, like being stranded in a desert or island somewhere and have to find their way out. For standard adventuring, I don't really worry about it though because I don't find it to be a fun part of the game.
I generally run campaigns that last hundreds of hours....

But your point about 'unless placed in a dire situation'. First, you don't want to signal your players that a dire situation is coming by suddenly starting to track gear.

Secondly, poor planning or unexpected demands can create a dire situation. To use a D&D example: what if the dungeon you're clearing room by-room is six levels instead of the expected three? What if the loot acquired isn't in handy coins and gems, but artwork such as carved tusks and inlaid armor?

I generally find that resource management becomes more interesting as players leave the lighter 'spell or magic item for everything' systems like D&D, and venture into systems that require more player involvement.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
But your point about 'unless placed in a dire situation'. First, you don't want to signal your players that a dire situation is coming by suddenly starting to track gear.
I actually disagree with this a bit, I think it's perfectly fine to say to your players "you no longer have easy access to supplies, until you make it back to civilisation, your resources will be tracked". While they do have easy access to supplies, I just don't see the point of that fine an amount of tracking.
 

bloodtide

Legend
There is an enormous, rich middle-ground between the extremes of your two examples.
The thing is, like so many other things, there simply is no middle ground. Things just don't work that way.

But I wonder what you would think a "middle ground" is? You either keep track of resources or you hand wave it all away. What is the middle?

The players ship has 12 days of air left, the closest place with air is 15 days travel: they have to use crazy resource management, macguyverisums, tricks, clever ideas and desperate actions to make that trip...often at a high cost.

So what is the middle here? What is less then "Keeping track of air is badwrongfun and too hard, so your ship can just go anywhere in the universe and never ever worry about air"? Is the "answer" going to be DM might sometimes randomly on a whim say a place is "too far" and say something like "oh you just need to buy some air for 50 gold, then you can go anywhere"? That is nowhere near any middle, that is right next to "go anywhere don't worry about air".

What is the middle?
 

Teo Twawki

Coffee ruminator
The first rpg that drew me into its world was Twilight: 2000. And without detailed attention to resource management, T2k could easily just be an unironic violent fetish fantasy game instead of an immersive experience of character survival.
 

The thing is, like so many other things, there simply is no middle ground. Things just don't work that way.
The fact you don't see any middle ground doesn't mean there isn't any. I've seen it done!

Scum & Villainy, for example, abstracts away the details of ship maintenance while making it potentially quite challenging to keep the ship going.

It's about like saying the only alternatives are tracking every single nick your character takes and rolling against infection... Or being immune to all damage, making combat meaningless.
 

Irlo

Hero
The thing is, like so many other things, there simply is no middle ground. Things just don't work that way.

But I wonder what you would think a "middle ground" is? You either keep track of resources or you hand wave it all away. What is the middle?

The players ship has 12 days of air left, the closest place with air is 15 days travel: they have to use crazy resource management, macguyverisums, tricks, clever ideas and desperate actions to make that trip...often at a high cost.

So what is the middle here? What is less then "Keeping track of air is badwrongfun and too hard, so your ship can just go anywhere in the universe and never ever worry about air"? Is the "answer" going to be DM might sometimes randomly on a whim say a place is "too far" and say something like "oh you just need to buy some air for 50 gold, then you can go anywhere"? That is nowhere near any middle, that is right next to "go anywhere don't worry about air".

What is the middle?
I’m happy to discuss this with you. I need to ask you to stop framing the issue in dismissive terms. I dislike tracking resources, and I’m not saying that doing so is wrong. I find it tedious, not difficult. I’m not expecting my every effort to succeed.

If you’re willing to stop doing that, let me know and I’ll give you some of my thoughts about the middle ground to support a Firefly-like fantasy game.

If you’re not willing, then let me know and I’ll go on my way.
 
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bloodtide

Legend
The fact you don't see any middle ground doesn't mean there isn't any. I've seen it done!

Scum & Villainy, for example, abstracts away the details of ship maintenance while making it potentially quite challenging to keep the ship going.

It's about like saying the only alternatives are tracking every single nick your character takes and rolling against infection... Or being immune to all damage, making combat meaningless.
I just wish you could have given an example. To say some game I've never heard of has a great system does not help.

You keep track of things or you don't: there is no middle ground that I see. The Archer has 20 arrows or infinite arrows. If you would say they have an impossibly high number of arrows like 500, then sure that is "less" then infinity, but it's still the same. If you say the archer automatically gets 20 arrows at the start of any encounter, again that is still infinite.

If you’re not willing, then let me know and I’ll go on my way.
I'm ok with that.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
I just wish you could have given an example. To say some game I've never heard of has a great system does not help.

You keep track of things or you don't: there is no middle ground that I see. The Archer has 20 arrows or infinite arrows. If you would say they have an impossibly high number of arrows like 500, then sure that is "less" then infinity, but it's still the same. If you say the archer automatically gets 20 arrows at the start of any encounter, again that is still infinite.

I offered three different methods of tracking ammo earlier in the thread, one of which was your method of counting every individual arrow shot with each attack roll counting as a discrete attack.

I mentioned The Black Hack, an OSR version of D&D that uses Resource Dice. This is an abstraction, but it is not infinite arrows.

I mentioned Stonetop, where the player can take less ammo and then no ammo as a consequence for a partial hit. They can select other consequences, or they can select to drop to low ammo, and then to no ammo. Again, this is not infinite arrows.

Examples exist. These are not the only ones.
 

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