Sunday, July 24, 2016

Rules: Survival and Food Gathering

Awesome book by the way.
I was thinking about the really cool poisoning gathering rules from Dungeon Fantasy 16 and I then starting thinking about how some games have food power up mechanics, and I was thinking that the system for gathering Poisons was a pretty good stencil to trace for a similar mechanic for foods. So without further ado, let's take a look at some random thoughts on having a more detailed food gathering system.

How Gathering Works

As per Dungeon Fantasy 16 we use Survival [This Terrain] to usually gather food, but there are a few other skills that can be used, like Fishing, or ranged weapons skills, camouflage, and stealth. The one modifier we always want to take into account against our Survival skill of course, are the foraging modifiers on p. 22 of Wilderness Adventures.

Identifying Specialty Food

It's fun when an area has interesting minute details to make it feel special and unique, so in a brand new location, we might discover that there is a local specialty. This can be discovered using Naturalist, Herbal Lore, or potentially Gardening or Farming. If you don't have a solid idea as the GM of what kinda feature you'd like to imbue the local area with, here are some tables for fun. First step, roll 1d and divide by 2, rounding up. This is how many specialties you can find in your particular geographic area. Next to determine one particular specialty roll 1d again:

RollTypeRequired Skill
1-2Vegetation Survival
3Herbs Herbal Lore
4Fish Fishing
5GameRanged Weapon or Traps
The required skill indicates the skills needed to harvest the type of specialty discerned, rolling a 6 indicates it is harvested from a monster and requires battling to harvest. Attracting the specific beast might be done with any of the ways one would intentionally engage a specific enemy.
The next table indicates what type of bonus is associated with this specialty, and requires rolling 2 dice:
1-2,1-2Especially Light 
1-2,3-4Especially Nutritious
1-2,5-6This food has multiple special properties.
Reroll twice and apply both.
This result is cumulative.
3-4,1Increased Striking ST
3-4,2Increased Active Defenses
3-4,3Increased Weapon Skill
3-4,4Increased FP
3-4,5Restores HP
3-4,6Increased Basic Move
5-6,1Natural DR
5-6,4Dark Vision
5-6,5Speak With Animals
This is a simple chart broken down so that rolling 1-2 on the first die means a meta-property of the food is unique, 3-4 means a "mundane" buff, and 5-6 means an exotic buff.
If an item with a particular quality is a specialty of the local area, then all penalties against skill to find it are divided by 2. In the insanely wacky circumstance that a location has the same exact specialty multiple times, multiply the divisor by 2 for each occurrence (eg, if it is twice the specialty, the divisor is 4, and if it is thrice the specialty, multiply the divisor by 8.)
I left the bonuses vague because I like the idea that maybe there are especially rare good versions of a particular plant/herb/fish/etc. with especially good powerups. No one is stopping you from putting a hard number on the max/min/only value possible, or saying, for example, roll 1d to see how much natural DR is possible and using that as a constant.
Now let's take a look at some example roll modifiers.

Length of Time

The default time is 3 minutes. Use the Extended Duration table from Basic Set, p.105. To increase the time of the bonus to a specific duration, use a modifier equal to -1 per every +5% of the modifier. Eg, 9 minutes is -4, and 30 minutes is -8.

Food Weight

For food that is 1/2 the normal weight, the modifier is -2, for 1/10, it is -4.

Nutrition Value

For food that counts as two daily meals, the modifier is -2, for 3 daily meals, -4.

Mundane Advantages

Anything that is just "more better" than normal has a modifier of -1 for every 5 character points of advantage given.

Exotic Advantages

For very unusual advantages, the modifier for the affliction is -2 for every 5 character points of advantage given.


Use the Size and Speed/Range table from Basic Set - Campaigns, and divide the linear measurement column by 10, and read it as HP recovered. The penalty to the roll is the value under Speed/Range. EG: finding an item that recovers 1 HP is a -4, and finding an item that recovers 10 HP is -10.

Time To Gather

Use the same rules on p.45 under Poisons.

Other Thoughts

These numbers are really rough and just me thinking out loud, so they are bound to be unbalanced. Some things are going to be really hard to find, but looking in a place that is renowned for "healing jerky" is going to make it a lot easier to find than if you need to look somewhere else. Also, benefits like this greatly increase the utility of some survival skills, making the party naturalist potentially as powerful as an alchemist or mage if they can find killer ingredients easily, and I'm personally fine with that.


  1. I like it! Sounds like something similar-ish I did for a Hyborian Age campaign, but mine were all set-piece, not random gen or anything like that. Definitely something worth remembering.

    1. The random rolling tables are there just as "creativity prompts." I do a lot of agile GMing, so I only focus on details if details become relevant, or if they are just the things that I happen to care about, so if you look at the tables, they don't ever define anything with super specificity, but just give you a template of a power-up and a source to look for that power-up, but it doesn't define quality, duration, the actual manifestation of the item, etc.

    2. I like it! A fun writing exercise might be creating a few solid examples...might do that myself at some point.

  2. I am very happy to discover your post as it will become on top in my collection of favorite blogs to visit. Rules of Survival Aimbot


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