Level Up (A5E) Purchasing, Carrying, and Expiring Supply

RocjawCypher

Villager
While going through the explanation of how exploration and supplies work, I got to thinking about a few things:
According to the Adventurer's Guide, "You can carry a number of days’ Supply equal to your Strength score, in addition to your equipment, weapons, and armor." Which would mean that for most players, you can stock up for a 10+ day journey without issue, at the expense of 5 or so gold. However, in the Example of Play section in the Trials and Treasures book on pg 116, it says

"Varskyle asks if the group has enough Supply for two days of travel. Krarg claims he can carry for more than just himself, but that the group should stock up before journeying out so each adventurer buys rations and filled waterskins together each is worth 1 Supply). When they head out every member of the party has 3 Supply, except for Krarg who carries 6 Supply."

It feels like that's a big feat for Krag! He has the capability to carry twice as much as everyone else- except that even a fairly weak wizard with a strength score of 8 can carry more than that without issue. In fact, it feels as though 8 supply pretty much negates the need to worry about losing supply for any journey that takes less than a week. That said, I did see the entry for Barrow Bread: "it perfectly preserves and maintains the temperature of any food tucked inside it for up to a week, protecting and preserving 1 Supply." This could just be resistance to losing supply, but it also could be interpreted as supply spoils in less time than a week. If supply lasts until used, there's no reason for my players not to have way more supply than I can threaten. However, if it spoils in a few days, that seems a little too punishing- what's y'all's interpretation of the rules here? How do keep supply management relevant for a low level party?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

While going through the explanation of how exploration and supplies work, I got to thinking about a few things:
According to the Adventurer's Guide, "You can carry a number of days’ Supply equal to your Strength score, in addition to your equipment, weapons, and armor." Which would mean that for most players, you can stock up for a 10+ day journey without issue, at the expense of 5 or so gold. However, in the Example of Play section in the Trials and Treasures book on pg 116, it says

"Varskyle asks if the group has enough Supply for two days of travel. Krarg claims he can carry for more than just himself, but that the group should stock up before journeying out so each adventurer buys rations and filled waterskins together each is worth 1 Supply). When they head out every member of the party has 3 Supply, except for Krarg who carries 6 Supply."

It feels like that's a big feat for Krag! He has the capability to carry twice as much as everyone else- except that even a fairly weak wizard with a strength score of 8 can carry more than that without issue. In fact, it feels as though 8 supply pretty much negates the need to worry about losing supply for any journey that takes less than a week. That said, I did see the entry for Barrow Bread: "it perfectly preserves and maintains the temperature of any food tucked inside it for up to a week, protecting and preserving 1 Supply." This could just be resistance to losing supply, but it also could be interpreted as supply spoils in less time than a week. If supply lasts until used, there's no reason for my players not to have way more supply than I can threaten. However, if it spoils in a few days, that seems a little too punishing- what's y'all's interpretation of the rules here? How do keep supply management relevant for a low level party?
Sort of like the rules for a ranger not being able to get lost even though journey mechanics don’t let you get lost. My plan in these cases is to wait for when (during a journey) a critical failure or failure mentions spoiling supply or getting lost. If the player(s) have barrow bread or ranger never lost ability, I will say they don’t suffer those particular effects.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
While going through the explanation of how exploration and supplies work, I got to thinking about a few things:
According to the Adventurer's Guide, "You can carry a number of days’ Supply equal to your Strength score, in addition to your equipment, weapons, and armor." Which would mean that for most players, you can stock up for a 10+ day journey without issue, at the expense of 5 or so gold. However, in the Example of Play section in the Trials and Treasures book on pg 116, it says

"Varskyle asks if the group has enough Supply for two days of travel. Krarg claims he can carry for more than just himself, but that the group should stock up before journeying out so each adventurer buys rations and filled waterskins together each is worth 1 Supply). When they head out every member of the party has 3 Supply, except for Krarg who carries 6 Supply."

It feels like that's a big feat for Krag! He has the capability to carry twice as much as everyone else- except that even a fairly weak wizard with a strength score of 8 can carry more than that without issue. In fact, it feels as though 8 supply pretty much negates the need to worry about losing supply for any journey that takes less than a week. That said, I did see the entry for Barrow Bread: "it perfectly preserves and maintains the temperature of any food tucked inside it for up to a week, protecting and preserving 1 Supply." This could just be resistance to losing supply, but it also could be interpreted as supply spoils in less time than a week. If supply lasts until used, there's no reason for my players not to have way more supply than I can threaten. However, if it spoils in a few days, that seems a little too punishing- what's y'all's interpretation of the rules here? How do keep supply management relevant for a low level party?
It does seem like lose half the party supply is the primary threat without involving trans continental type distances.
 

Stalker0

Legend
While going through the explanation of how exploration and supplies work, I got to thinking about a few things:
According to the Adventurer's Guide, "You can carry a number of days’ Supply equal to your Strength score, in addition to your equipment, weapons, and armor." Which would mean that for most players, you can stock up for a 10+ day journey without issue, at the expense of 5 or so gold. However, in the Example of Play section in the Trials and Treasures book on pg 116, it says

"Varskyle asks if the group has enough Supply for two days of travel. Krarg claims he can carry for more than just himself, but that the group should stock up before journeying out so each adventurer buys rations and filled waterskins together each is worth 1 Supply). When they head out every member of the party has 3 Supply, except for Krarg who carries 6 Supply."

It feels like that's a big feat for Krag! He has the capability to carry twice as much as everyone else- except that even a fairly weak wizard with a strength score of 8 can carry more than that without issue. In fact, it feels as though 8 supply pretty much negates the need to worry about losing supply for any journey that takes less than a week. That said, I did see the entry for Barrow Bread: "it perfectly preserves and maintains the temperature of any food tucked inside it for up to a week, protecting and preserving 1 Supply." This could just be resistance to losing supply, but it also could be interpreted as supply spoils in less time than a week. If supply lasts until used, there's no reason for my players not to have way more supply than I can threaten. However, if it spoils in a few days, that seems a little too punishing- what's y'all's interpretation of the rules here? How do keep supply management relevant for a low level party?
I do agree with you on the T and T example being confusing (it may have just been a cheap party not wanting to buy supplies, but as a core example it is confusing. I will report it on the bug list.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
My assumption is that most Supply is rations--dried meats, hardtack, and other bleh stuff that isn't going to go bad except in unusual circumstances (failed exploration challenge stuff, mostly). But the barrow bread can be used to preserve fresh meats, cheeses, and vegetables which would spoil without refrigeration.

All in all, I think the barrow bread is mostly there for RP stuff ("enjoy your granola, guys; I've got a nice fresh BLT here!") unless you decide to homebrew some rules for scurvy or constipation. Which... that's a bit too much realism for me. ;)

(I have no idea why the pregen characters don't start with as much Supply as they can carry.)
 

MarkB

Legend
Given how thoroughly the concept of Supply has been abstracted from the normal rules for carrying capacity (to the extent that you can carry the same amount whether you're otherwise naked and unequipped, or you're in full plate and carrying enough equipment to be skirting just under Encumbered), I'd be tempted to unlink it from Strength entirely. Instead, you can carry a number of Supply equal to your Wisdom score, and that represents how long you're able to keep your food and water properly preserved before it starts to go off.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Instead, you can carry a number of Supply equal to your Wisdom score, and that represents how long you're able to keep your food and water properly preserved before it starts to go off.
Just a small change, use the word "preserve" instead of "carry".... that should reinforce the new flavor you are going with and make it much more palatable to be wisdom instead of strength.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Given how thoroughly the concept of Supply has been abstracted from the normal rules for carrying capacity (to the extent that you can carry the same amount whether you're otherwise naked and unequipped, or you're in full plate and carrying enough equipment to be skirting just under Encumbered), I'd be tempted to unlink it from Strength entirely. Instead, you can carry a number of Supply equal to your Wisdom score, and that represents how long you're able to keep your food and water properly preserved before it starts to go off.
That might actually be pretty logical. A character with a higher wisdom is less likely to bring extraneous "well we might need x" that won't be needed for anyone going where they are going. Few arctic explorers & Iditarod racers need bug spray & mosquito netting while few jungle explorers are going to be successful with taking things vulnerable to heat & humidity. It's also quite a bit more rare to have a bunch of high wis PCs in a party than high strength ones.
 

VelvetHobo

Villager
I assumed what the writers intended was "You can carry a number of days’ Supply equal to your Strength modifier score ...."

Otherwise, it just makes no sense that everyone can carry 10 days food and water without any encumbrance penalties; and many martial toons will be carrying 14-18 days food without any issue. It makes the entire system moot if you use the raw strength score, rather than the modifier.
 

MarkB

Legend
I assumed what the writers intended was "You can carry a number of days’ Supply equal to your Strength modifier score ...."

Otherwise, it just makes no sense that everyone can carry 10 days food and water without any encumbrance penalties; and many martial toons will be carrying 14-18 days food without any issue. It makes the entire system moot if you use the raw strength score, rather than the modifier.
What, so someone with an 8 in their Strength score can carry -1 Supply, and you need strength 12 to carry a packed lunch?
 

RocjawCypher

Villager
I assumed what the writers intended was "You can carry a number of days’ Supply equal to your Strength modifier score ...."

Otherwise, it just makes no sense that everyone can carry 10 days food and water without any encumbrance penalties; and many martial toons will be carrying 14-18 days food without any issue. It makes the entire system moot if you use the raw strength score, rather than the modifier.
That was my thought as well! But at the same time, that orc wouldn't be able to carry 6 supply, and an average human at 10 str couldn't carry any at all...

I think I'm going to end up doing something along the lines of "Your rations expire after 1 week. However, Barrow Bread can keep rations stable for up to a month- but accidents can still damage it." That way for short journeys, players are slightly incentivized not to waste gold- losing 2 or 3 gp. because you over bought isn't a big punishment, but for the first tier, it's enough to keep them frugal. Then, at later tiers when you might set out on a months long journey you can cough up 2.5 gp per supply, making it so they actually feel the pinch- 75 gp for a month long journey is enough to make a tier two think about foraging.

Edit: Additionally, once you get to Tier 3-4, you're likely facing threats that can take enough of your supplies out that the 8-20 carry limit can still be threatened even for only a short journey. If you think of supplies as an abstraction of "What you need to travel through a region each day" rather than just food, you can also have higher tier regions require more supply per day in the form of torches, salves, and protective garbs.
 
Last edited:

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I assumed what the writers intended was "You can carry a number of days’ Supply equal to your Strength modifier score ...."

Otherwise, it just makes no sense that everyone can carry 10 days food and water without any encumbrance penalties; and many martial toons will be carrying 14-18 days food without any issue. It makes the entire system moot if you use the raw strength score, rather than the modifier.
I thought the same and was pretty sure I saw a strength mod min1 preview or hint at one point.
 

VelvetHobo

Villager
What, so someone with an 8 in their Strength score can carry -1 Supply, and you need strength 12 to carry a packed lunch?

I mean, the negative is obviously nonsensical and is easily dismissed. And yes, 12 to carry a packed lunch. Is that the best outcome? Likely not. But when you account for the fact that it is "free" and allows you to use your encumbrances for other gear and items it starts to make more sense. Like any game dynamic, it does not perfectly reflect the real world.
 

MarkB

Legend
I mean, the negative is obviously nonsensical and is easily dismissed. And yes, 12 to carry a packed lunch. Is that the best outcome? Likely not. But when you account for the fact that it is "free" and allows you to use your encumbrances for other gear and items it starts to make more sense. Like any game dynamic, it does not perfectly reflect the real world.
Except that there is no mechanism to carry any supply at the expense of carrying less gear. If your party's net Strength bonus is less than the number of creatures in the party, they can't even carry a day's worth of supplies between them - and this in a game where a balanced party needn't necessarily include any strength-based characters at all. In what way does that make sense?
 


VelvetHobo

Villager
Except that there is no mechanism to carry any supply at the expense of carrying less gear. If your party's net Strength bonus is less than the number of creatures in the party, they can't even carry a day's worth of supplies between them - and this in a game where a balanced party needn't necessarily include any strength-based characters at all. In what way does that make sense?
Supply has a weight of 2lbs (pg.329).
Page 330 suggests that if you carry zero supply, you have room for an additional bulky item.
Page 373 provides rules for hiring porters to carry only supply - which is quite reflective of real world adventuring (eg. Mountaineering) and provides a way for any party of any build to carry sufficient supply without encroaching on normal encumbrance.

Supply is a mechanic that tries to both simplify the tracking of food and water, and to give it more importance in the exploration pillar. I don't see any rule that says you cannot use your normal encumbrances to carry more supply and since it is given a specific weight, it seems to me that you absolutely can choose to carry 15 days supply at the cost of 30 lbs of other gear.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Except that there is no mechanism to carry any supply at the expense of carrying less gear. If your party's net Strength bonus is less than the number of creatures in the party, they can't even carry a day's worth of supplies between them - and this in a game where a balanced party needn't necessarily include any strength-based characters at all. In what way does that make sense?
A mount can carry half it's strength in supply/bulky items & not need to consume any as long as it can spend an hour a day grazing()AG341.

Depending on if you look at the statblock or the AG341 table an 8 gp mule has a strength of 12 or 14 & if pulling a 15gp cart can carry 40 supply.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
Of note: most of the bulk and weight of a portion of supply should be in the liquid (whether water or the more traditional alcoholic traveling potables). The traveler will need considerably more of that than food during the journey. Spoilage for such shouldn’t be an issue, nor for dried/preserved rations like cheese, nuts, or salted meats.

Scavenged foods (and water) would be more of a concern. Either outright bad from the start, or quick to spoil (even water can have growth in it, which is why alcohol was preferred for travel in our own history).

Personally, I’d have scavenged supply spoil overnight if uncooked, 3 days if cooked but not preserved, and no general duration for preserved food (special conditions may apply). If kept in very cold or very arid conditions, they’d last twice as long. In very warm (but not arid) and/or very humid conditions, I’d divide it by three.

Also note: dried foods that get soaked are no longer dried.
 

MarkB

Legend
Of note: most of the bulk and weight of a portion of supply should be in the liquid (whether water or the more traditional alcoholic traveling potables). The traveler will need considerably more of that than food during the journey. Spoilage for such shouldn’t be an issue, nor for dried/preserved rations like cheese, nuts, or salted meats.

Scavenged foods (and water) would be more of a concern. Either outright bad from the start, or quick to spoil (even water can have growth in it, which is why alcohol was preferred for travel in our own history).

Personally, I’d have scavenged supply spoil overnight if uncooked, 3 days if cooked but not preserved, and no general duration for preserved food (special conditions may apply). If kept in very cold or very arid conditions, they’d last twice as long. In very warm (but not arid) and/or very humid conditions, I’d divide it by three.

Also note: dried foods that get soaked are no longer dried.
All very good points, though regarding the alcohol, it only takes a small amount to kill bacteria in water so long as the source is reasonably fresh (running water or melted snow), so even a relatively small supply of strong spirits can go a long way in 'freshening up' any water scavenged along the way.
 

Rune

Once A Fool
All very good points, though regarding the alcohol, it only takes a small amount to kill bacteria in water so long as the source is reasonably fresh (running water or melted snow), so even a relatively small supply of strong spirits can go a long way in 'freshening up' any water scavenged along the way.
In D&D, all it takes is a cleric!
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top