Level Up (A5E) Survival Game with Journey Rules - Need Assistance with some rules aspects


So the premise of my new game is: The party has been dropped into a strange unfamiliar world with a large group of refugees (probably 200 commoners effectively). They start with limited (often broken) equipment and resources. Their goal will be to navigate the world, keep the refugees alive while finding strange sights and dealing with various threats. Sometimes I image the group will travel around caravan style, and other times the party may bunker the refugees in a "haven" and explore areas for resources when needed.

I have literally been waiting for the Level Up rules to run this game, and I'm excited to put the new journey rules through its paces, as I think this style of game should really hit on the new exploration pillar focus of the game.

So, I could use some help in drafting how the core survival mechanics will work:

Desperate Supply Variant

I think for this game, that the desperate supply variant is best (aka food and water is separated into two different pools, and you need some of each for every long rest). But I want to ensure I'm using it correctly, so I can see 3 flavors, and I want to see which one the designers intended (or maybe something different than I am imagining).

Version 1
A strength 10 party member can carry 10 supplies. I'm thinking that the player will have to fill those slots with water OR food. So players will run out of supplies twice as fast as the core game assumes. However, water supplies can be fully refilled at any good water source. The idea then is that water is a true feast or famine scenario, while food is the slow trickle down.

Version 2
A strength 10 party member carries "20" supplies, 10 water and 10 food. If this is the intention, than it looks like the only real change from the standard supply variant is that the players need to acquire "containers" to carry the supplies. So there is an initial struggle to acquire the needed containers, but once acquired, the game essential moves into the "standard supply" version.

Version 3
The intention is that players no longer have "free supply slots". The variant mentions that players need 1lb of food and 8lbs of water per day, and the assumption is that comes out of the players carrying capacity. I would assume if this is the case, water could be "fully refilled" at any water source, and its mainly the challenge of carrying enough water that truly becomes the issue.

Community Supply Consumption
Next on the list, how to determine how much supply the refugees are consuming. Lets use the "standard supply" numbers to keep things easy for the moment.

I'm assuming the refugees are commoners, mostly farmers. Therefore, they probably have no bonus to survival. I would assume that all of the commoners are doing the "hunt" journey activity (aka hunter/gatherer style). If I look at a week of survival, how fast will the commoners go through their supplies?

200 people
Survival: +0
Strength: 10 (aka can carry 10 supplies per person, or 2000 supplies for the group)

FeyWood Tier 1 (I think this will be where the party will start off, so DC 12 with advantage)

Supplies Gained from Hunt: 1,113 supplies (including the double supply for critical success)
Supplies consumed: 1,400 supplies.

Supplies Lost: 287 supplies / week
Weeks to 0 supply if full stocked: ~7 weeks

People Fatigued from Critical Failures: 3.5 (assuming I don't consider the entire 200 person group as a 'party')

The fatigue is probably small enough I can ignore it most of the time. It will likely only come into play in scenarios where the group is already starving and have several levels of fatigue, as the 3.5 "extra" could push us into the "you have to travel at a slower pace".

Frozen Waste Tier 2 (DC 14 no advantage....seems a good representation of a "harsher" land that is still in theory survivable, or maybe the feywood in winter).

Supplies Gained from Hunt: 560 supplies (including the double supply for critical success)
Supplies consumed: 1,400 supplies.

Supplies Lost: 840 supplies / week
Weeks to 0 supply if full stocked: ~2.4 weeks

People Fatigued from Critical Failures: 70 (assuming I don't consider the entire 200 person group as a 'party')

I think the Feywood seems to work alright. I think the 287 a week is high enough that it makes it "critical" for the party to focus on extra sources of food. However, if they do get a "big windfall" and are able to stock up everyone.... than they can go 7 weeks before they need to do it again. That gives me enough downtime to let the party focus on other activities..... seems reasonable.

For harsher lands, it looks like it will be pretty much the party having to constantly search for "extra supplies" to keep the caravan afloat, which again seems reasonable enough. So when the party goes into a winter scenario, I think it will clearly show that they may have to take some risks and get creative to keep the caravan rolling.

Community Supply Consumption (Not Traveling)
So the final question is what should change (if anything) if the caravan is not journeying, but instead staying in one place and just trying to survive.

At first, I thought maybe I should reduce the supplies consumed. However, the rules already assume a single lb of food a day. That is already VERY LOW for a traveling person, most hikers can easily consume 3-4 lbs of food a day if they are traveling the 8 hours a day the rules assume. So I don't think going below 1 lb of food is reasonable, even for a stationary person.

However, the rules note a "multitasking penalty" of -3 if you are trying to do two activities at once. So if the caravan isn't traveling and is instead just focusing on pure hunt and gather survival, it might make sense to give everyone a +3 bonus to their survival checks.

If I did that, it would change the numbers as follows:

FeyWood Tier 1
Supplies Lost: ~88 supplies / week
Weeks to 0 supply if full stocked: 22 weeks

Frozen Waste Tier 2
Supplies Lost: 630 supplies / week
Weeks to 0 supply if full stocked: 3.2 weeks

So that seems pretty reasonable. A group of inexperienced commoners can almost live off some good land if they focus their entire attention to it, but still needing a "windfall" periodically to stay afloat. The frozen waste though still seems pretty harsh, it seems rather impossible for the caravan to survive there for any period of time without a major secondary source of supplies.

So what do people think, do these seems like reasonable uses of the Journey system to reflect the survivalist bent?

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So if I go with version 2 above (and just assume players have to acquire the containers needed, but otherwise just have the supply slots).

It looks like gear wise they will need:
1 backpack (5 lbs) - This carries up to 30 lbs of food, so basically all the food a person should be carrying anyway.
2 waterskins per Day of Water (10 lbs)

So effectively a character with 10 strength would need 105 lbs of containers in order to store their full 10 supplies of food and water, leaving only 45 lbs of carrying capacity (OR am I supposed to only use the .5 lb for the empty container if I'm keeping slots?)
Each +1 supply requires an additional 10 lbs of containers (waterskins), so effectively each point of strength is gaining you +1 supply and +5 lbs of carrying capacity if you fill your supply slots to capacity.

So it seems under that variant, its more likely players will want less waterskins and try to refill them more often, so maybe 3 days worth or so. That's 35 lbs, which is probably more reasonable, but then the players only have "3 supply slots" effectively, if I'm thinking about it correctly.

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