Sunday, November 26, 2023

Been Thinking About a New D30 Table (Just since this morning.....)

Been Thinking About a New D30 Table (Just since this morning.....)
One of the reasons I agreed to be a regular guest poster here at the Tavern is because I was advised to push myself a bit out of my comfort zone creatively and having to post on a schedule here is a big part of that....therapy(?). I have found, however, that the regular schedule....knowing that I have to post something on Sunday tends to kind of "hang out" in the back of my mind, causing me to see a lot of things through the lens of some OSR gaming. Ok...so some HackMaster gaming too, but I'm not trying to go there today.

Because this last week was Thanksgiving, and Black Friday, I'd been thinking of community celebrations and even mercantilism.....BUT I'm not going to share any of those thoughts that had been on my mind for a couple of days.

As I'm sitting down to perform this weekly duty, my home smells absolutely-effing-delicious, savory even. A buddy had gifted me a venison leg roast and I needed to get that thing out of my freezer and into my crockpot. It's been cooking since this morning and won't be ready for several hours more. The smell has been making my stomach grumble and my mind has been churning as well.

This venison was shot locally and it's been a while since I've dined on wild game. It got me thinking about hunting on the trail, in game of course. The earliest mention of foraging or hunting for food I can find in D&D is from back in 1983, specifically in the Expert rules (page 21 if you want to see for yourself). Of course I think it's a little too simple (TL;DR move 2/3 rate for the day and only a 1/3 chance of finding food). The next mention is in the 1986 Wilderness Survival Guide (page 53) and I won't bother to summarize it here because it's way too cumbersome. Holy crap, the foraging and hunting rules went from two small paragraphs in Expert to over three pages of content in AD&D.

First off, I'm definitely going to have to create a d30 Hunting/Foraging table that falls somewhere between these two extremes. Not sure I knock it out in a week (I have stuff going on this week) but it's officially on my to-do list. I've got some ideas.....

First off, I think the rules for foraging are a little light...period. Mostly because the simple side of the equation includes not just foraging for vegetation, but also meat from small game. I like the time cost personally, but I think 1/3 success rate, generically, is too low. Don't even get me started on the WSG data. Holy crap, it's way too complicated and success rates are abysmal.

I really think that both sets of these rules are a bit skewed, presumably due to current ideas of foraging/hunting, especially in more densely populated areas that make up the majority of the US. When you're talking about a less populous fantasy world, I think small game has to be in abundance, probably to recockulous levels sometimes (read some frontier/early American accounts....bison herds to the horizon or flocks of birds that took days to pass overhead). Factor in the plethora of monstrous humanoid species and just, well actual monsters that populate the various encounter tables. Tons of monsters, if not apex predators, tend to be towards the top of the food chain and in order to be towards the top, well, there has to be a substantial base. 

While I get that there would be background vs. environmental factors (like an Elf underground), the average PC probably has a much more...rural(?) background than we as players do. Foraging for food wasn't so much a "thing", as just a minor aspect of life in general. It's much harder to forage as a thing these days (illegal in some places, overharvesting, etc.), but it still exists. In an environment rich with wildlife, there should be a corresponding increase in edible vegetation as well (you know, stuff my food eats).

Anyway, as I typed earlier, I've got me some ideas......hopefully they will coalesce well. 


  1. Maybe you could trade more speed for a better chance of success? 1/3 movement = 2/3 success. Upon success, roll on the table to see what's for dinner.


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