Monday, February 6, 2023

Torches, Rations and Ammunition

 My live-at-the-table group is currently playing B4 The Lost City and I am trying to run it more or less as-written.  The reason for doing it that way is because when I was a kid, I actually very rarely played published modules.  I'd read them like books, but most of our games were homebrew.  

B4 The Lost City was one I never played or read, so I was after the genuine (intended) experience.

To that end, I thought: I should really track light, water, food and ammo very carefully.  Part of the tension in this adventure comes from being careful with supplies and figuring out how to replenish them.

But you know what? It just didn't work out, and it left me wondering: do most tables track this stuff? Or do they hand wave it? Or something in between?

When I say it didn't work out, I mean, it didn't feel fun. It felt like work - something else to remember to do.  Also, it was a bit unintuitive. Am I really counting off each hour? It seems to me that play style would almost feel like a board game or would at least grind down to a crawl.  I'm curious to know what you do? If you have found a method to track this stuff that's fun and really works in practice, I'd love to know.  Do you use supply dice? Or trackers like this?

or this?

These systems all look cool but what really works for you?


  1. I play with all of these in my solo game (and even use that second tracker you linked incidentally). Turn structure really helps keep track of time passage in dungeons, and rations give a realistic limit of travel before heading back to town.

    Don't touch the stuff in group games though unless players are invested. Once played in a party some time back where we (the players) all tracked inventory, rations, torches, etc. GM trusted us to be honest and we were. We also drew our own maps and took notes with exploration being a key activity, so it was a heavy part of the game loop (versus combat). This really requires buy in from player end though, doing it all as a GM is no fun.

  2. That 'buy in' you mentioned is the whole trick, isn't it. Gotta see what your players want and not force the issue.