Level Up (A5E) Mass People Journey System Version 2.0 (Simplified)


So after tinkering with the system here: Level Up (A5E) - Mass People "Journey Survival System" version 1.0,
I created a version 2.0 that uses much more standardized and simplified numbers. This isn't quite as accurate as the original system in order to gain that simplicity, but honestly its still pretty close all things considered.

This system is designed for a DM who wants to model a group of "hunter gatherers" using the journey and supply system. Ultimately I made the system over the course of a month to reduce the number of rolls and rounding. This also includes the impact of powerful rangers and druids which can greatly increase supply. Feedback is very welcome!

Using the System: So for each month a group is in the wilderness, do the following:
  • Determine the Terrain Hex Quality and the base Supply Loss / Gain
  • Adjust using the Supply Modifiers
  • Make a single Feast roll (modified by Hex Quality and Capacity) to further adjust the supply.
  • Add up all supply adjustments.
  • Provide fatigue to the group for every -50 supply they are at. Positive supply is stored, assuming there is enough supply capacity.

Time: This system is based on months comprised of 30 days.

Terrain Hex: Terrain is divided into Hexes with a diameter of 24 miles. A region may contain one or more terrain hexes.

Group: A set of roughly 50 medium sized people. Multiple groups can live on the same terrain hex (assuming proper capacity, see below). Perform a single set of rolls for all groups together.

Supply: It is assumed that a group spends the vast majority of a month focused on food gathering and hunting, remaining within a single Terrain Hex. The table below shows how much supply is gained or loss over the month, depending on the quality of the Terrain Hex. A group can store a maximum of 500 supply at base. The maximum can be increased by the use of pack animals or wagons.

Terrain Hex Quality (per month)
Supply Loss/Gain (per Group)Feast
No Hunt-1150No roll

  • Best – Tier 0 terrain with multiple advantages to hunt checks (such as a good forest near a flowing river).
  • Good – Tier 0 terrain with advantage to hunt checks.
  • Standard – Tier 0 terrain with no advantage or disadvantage to hunt checks.
  • No Hunt – Either a terrain incapable of hunt checks or the group decided not to hunt that month.

Supply Modifiers

Supply Loss/Gain (per group)
+1 Tier Difficulty / Migrating*^-150
Group is Proficient in Survival^+150
Group has detailed knowledge of the Terrain^+150
Per Snare^+50**
Per Ranger/Druid+50***
Per Ranger/Druid (5+ level)+100***
*Penalty is -75 in Good/Best Terrain. Winter months are considered a +1 or +2 tier difficulty.
**Snares provide +0 when Migrating or in territory that doesn’t allow hunt checks. Bonus is halved during winter.
***If a Druid commits most of their spells to survival, multiply the supply gained by their spellcasting level. Ex: A 6th level druid would provide +600 instead of +100 supply.
^Bonus or Penalty is +0 when not hunting

Migration: A migrating group is able to move a number of terrain hexes based on their travel pace in a month:

Crawl: 5
Slow: 20
Normal: 30
Fast: 40

Capacity (Optional): Capacity is designed for DMs who want to encourage migration. Each terrain hex has a maximum capacity number, which represents the number of groups a terrain can support (the number can be negative). For every group above the current capacity, -2 to the feast roll. If the penalty is -10 or higher, you can no longer hunt on the terrain. Once a terrain is at maximum capacity, it cannot be increased further.

Feast Roll: At the end of each month, roll a D20 (DC 10). The roll has a -2 for every group above the current capacity.
Success: +50 supply per group
Critical Success: +100 supply per group, +1 capacity
Critical Failure: -50 supply per group, -1 capacity

Fatigue / Doomed

At the end of the month, all groups gain 1 fatigue for every -50 supply (per group). The total supply of the group is reset to 0 if its negative.

A group of commoners is having to migrate through a Tier 1 Feywood, with a capacity of 1. The commoners currently have 100 supply stored.

Feywood give advantage to hunt checks, so this is a “good quality” terrain, so a base of 0 supply. However, it’s a Tier 1 terrain, so -150 supply. Further, the group is migrating, so another -150 supply.

At the end of the month, the group makes their feast check. The capacity is 1, so no penalties, and the check is at advantage because of the good terrain.

The group rolls a 10, so +50 supply.

In total, the group has supply equal to 100 (stored) – 0 (good quality) - 150 (migration) – 150 (tier 1) + 50 (feast) = -150 supply. The group takes 3 fatigue (1 for each -50), and their supply is reset to 0. They made it, but the group is very haggard from the journey!

Example 2
A group is become stranded in a Tier 2 frozen waste, trying to survive a light winter. A friendly second level druid is with them and has a detailed knowledge of the area, and is willing to use all of their nature magic to help the group survive. The group are proficient survivalists and have 3 hunting snares with them, but currently do not have any stored supplies. While the group would love to migrate out of the area, they know that they will need every bit of food they can gather to survive the winter.

A frozen waste is a Standard Quality Terrain. We have +2 tiers for the terrain, +1 tier for the winter. The group rolls a feast check at disadvantage and fails, gaining no additional supply.

Supplies for the Month = 0 (stored) -350 (standard terrain) -450 (Tier 3 terrain) + 150 (detailed knowledge of the area) +150 (proficient in survival) + 0 (feast) + 100 (2nd level druid using all of their magic on survival, so 50 x 2 = 100) + 75 (3 snares = 150, halved to 75 in the winter) = -325

The group is now at -6 fatigue (-325 / 50 = 6.5, rounded down as normal). The group barely survives, suffering massive ailments. They were lucky though, a critical failure on the feast roll would have left them at -7 fatigue and killed the group. Still they are hardly out of the woods, and without some unexpected boon are unlikely to make it another month.

Example 3
100 traveling pilgrims (aka 2 groups) have decided to spend the winter in a Tier 1 Tangled forest with Capacity 1, that also has a nice flowing river in it. The pilgrims are fully stocked with 1000 supplies, though they are not survivalists and don't know the area well.

For the supplies, we have the following modifiers

Supply = 1000 (stored) + 100 (best terrain x2 for two groups) - 300 (Tier 1 + winter = Tier 2, but penalty is halved for best terrain, x2 for two groups) = 800.

They make the feast roll (with advantage for the terrain, but at a -2 because they are 1 over the capacity of the forest). They succeed and get +100 supply (+50 x 2 groups).

After the end of the first month, they are at 900 supplies

In the second month, the lose another 200 supply, and have the worst luck, getting a nat 1 on the feast roll! That is -50 x2 groups = -100 supply! Further this means the capacity of the terrain has dropped from 1 to 0.

Total: 600 supply

The last month of winter kicks up a very nasty blizzard (increasing the tier by another +1, for an additional -300 supply, or -500 supplies for the month). For the feast roll, they are now at a -4 penalty (2 groups in a terrain with a capacity of 0). They fail the roll, so don't gain or lose any supplies.

Total: 100 supply

While the nasty winter at the end was brutal, the pilgrims were well prepared, and came out of winter none the worse for wear.
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So let me break down the system a bit.

Terrain Quality: What I did was look at the core journey math for 50 people all doing hunt checks over the course of a month. Instead of advantage I just used a +5 for better scaling, and then just curved the numbers into a reasonable approximation that were easy to use.

Supply Modifiers: For migration I assumed that a stationary person was receiving a +2 bonus for hunt checks, since they weren't multitasking on anything else. Therefore migrating groups lost this bonus. Further, since each tier of terrain provides a +2 to DC, it was easy to create a standard modifier for tier difficulty.

For winter, just adding another tier of difficulty seemed the simplest way to handle it, with a few more adjustments to things like snares to give some flavor reasonability (aka its highly unlikely that snares would be as effective in winter as they would in spring).

For the Ranger and Druid, I assumed some basic survival knacks for the base numbers. And then I took a look at what a druid could do with spells like create water or create food and water....got an idea on just how much supply that could generate, and then created a quick way to show that effect if you did it over 30 days (the answer by the way is a LOT....no one beats a druid at delivering raw supply)

Feast Roll: This was an attempt to add just a bit of randomness into the system, as we are replacing a number of survival checks with static values. It was also a way to bring back some of the "rounding" I had done to get the numbers closer to their true math value, but without the players having to think of it. They just roll the d20, and maybe get a bonus (or penalty), eassy peesy.

Capacity: This was probably the most "superfulous" part of the system, mainly for my own efforts as I want to encourage movement and migration in my campaign. I do think its easy to remove from other people if they didn't want to bother with it.

Fatigue: My assumption was that a group would attempt to spread out its hunger and thirst as much as possible to lessen penalties, and so this was a simple way to provide penalties while keep the math easy to use. It also gives the group a bit of pad, as negative supplies that don't quite to -50 are ignored.


I want to check a few scenarios between my system and the "true math" of the journey rules, just to see if I'm getting reasonable numbers with my approximations.

Scenario 1: Migration on Standard Terrain
50 people with no proficiency on standard Tier 0 land. Technically the rules assume migration, so this actually the "standard" as far as the base numbers.

Real Math: -600 supply per month
System: -350 (terrain) - 150 (migration) = -500. +/- 50 supply

The system is a bit more forgiving at the moment.

Scenario 2: Scenario 1 on Tier 1 land
A simple increase in the land tier (aka DC 10 -> 12 hunt checks)

Real Math: -750
System: -350 (terrain) - 150 (migration) - 150 (Tier 1) = -650. +/- 50 supply

Still a little forgiving, but I am modeling the decree of change perfectly.

Scenario 3: Scenario 1 with Survival Proficiency
Add in a +2 to hunt checks for proficiency

Real Math: -450
System: -350 (terrain) - 150 (migration) + 150 (Prof) = -350. +/- 50 supply

Again perfect change, just a little too forgiving.

Scenario 4: Migration on "Good Terrain"
So now we look at terrain where I would have advantage on hunt checks.

Real Math: -157.5
System: 0 (Terrain) - 150 (migration) = -150. +/- 50 supply

Pretty much spot on!

Scenario 5: Tier 2 Good Terrain
Real Math: -487.5
System: 0 (Terrain) - 150 (migration) - 300 (tier) = -450. +/- 50 supply.

Looking really good, just slightly more forgiving than the base.

Scenario 6: Snares
Snare = 2 supply per day (assuming 16 hours of use) * 30 days = 60 supply.

System: 50 supply

I think this is pretty reasonable. 60 supply would require the snares to be in nigh constant use. Over the course of the month, I think a bit of maintenance and downtime would be expected. So this seems a good approximation.

Scenario 7: Druid Spellcasting and Supply
Using Create/Destroy Water or Create Food and Water, we have the following notes:

1st - 1 = 30 per month
2nd - 2 = 60 per month
3rd - 3 = 90 per month
4+ - 3 + 2 per spell level above 3rd

So it looks like the system does decently well until about 8th level, then the higher level slots just really start pushing that up. Though realistically once a druid is at 9th level it can basically completely compensate for a group's supply needs. I might just put in a clause that says "at 9th level, a druid can completely take over a group's supply needs"

Conclusion: So in general I'm pretty happy with the results, it looks like my system (though a simplification) is still in the ballpark as compared to directly rolling all of the hunt checks. I might reduce the feast impact and make the bad result worse to bring my numbers a little closer to the actual, I'll have to think about it.

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