Throughout the day, players “accumulate” health points to be regained at the end-of-day’s long rest by the food choices they make. The amount of health points accumulated is based on a 4-tier nutrition system.
4 tiers of nutrition, each meal providing a certain percentage of the character’s total health pool for the end-of-day rest:
- Very Good: 20%. This tier is based on a high amount of considerably nutritious food in a meal. After eating a Very Good meal, for the next hour, you have proficiency in Constitution saving throws and advantage on Constitution based checks and saving throws.
- Good: 15%. This tier is based on a moderate amount of generally nutritious food in a meal. After eating a Good meal, you have advantage on Constitution based checks for 1 hour.
- Meh: 10%. This tier is based on a low amount of generally nutritious food in a meal.
- Bad: 5%. This tier is based on a scarce amount of food of any nutritional value, or any amount of very poor quality food (such as rotten or spoiled foods). Eating rotten or spoiled food has a 50% chance of giving you the Poisoned condition (DC 10 Constitution saving throw) for 1 hour.
For example, a character with 23 max health has 1 Very Good meal and 2 Good meals. At the end of the day when they take a long rest, they will regain 55% of their HP (13) [12.65 rounded up].
Using Survival checks, the Ranger’s Natural Explorer, and the Outlander’s Wanderer feature
Keep in mind, the amount of food able to be found is limited by the availability and plentiful nature of the land. The quality and amount of food found are subject to these factors. Very high Survival checks in a land scarce in food could sometimes yield meal results of only a Meh quality, whereas Low Survival checks in a land abundantly plentiful in food can yield meal results of a Good quality for many persons. It is up to the DM to specify what kind of land is being foraged, and to determine the amount and quality of the food found based on Survival checks and the land’s type.
Here are some general guidelines for land that is of average quality for food foraging:
- Low Survival checks [1-5] are intended to provide food of a Bad quality for a singular person.
- Average Survival checks [6-11] are intended to provide food of a Meh quality for a singular person.
- Higher Survival checks [12-17] are intended to provide food of a Good quality for a singular person.
- Very high Survival checks [18 and higher] are intended to provide food of a Very Good quality for a singular person.
Characters of the Outlander background who have the “Wanderer” Feature, upon use of the Feature for a particular meal, can find food of a Meh quality for 6 characters total. The nutritional tier of this meal will increase to Good if there is excess food for a smaller amount of characters (3 or less) or if additional food is supplemented. If used in conjunction with a successful Survival check of at least 18, the nutritional tier of the meal (for 3 characters or less) will increase to Very Good.
A Ranger with Natural Explorer can find double the amount of food when they have the Wanderer Featuer as well. This doubling also applies to the amount of characters that a meal’s nutrition tier can be increased for.
Not eating any meals (Starvation)
At the end of the day, if you have not eaten any meals of at least Meh quality and you do NOT have the Starving condition, you regain 10% of your total health pool but then gain the Starving condition.
If you have the Starving condition at the beginning of a day, you temporarily lose 2 Constitution points (to a minimum of 1) and gain a level of exhaustion; these penalties can stack. If you have a negative Con mod, you begin to lose HP equal to your negative Con mod at the end of each day while Starving. Finishing a long rest after eating a meal of at least Good quality will remove the Starving status effect, restores the proper amount of health points you have accumulated throughout the day, and you regain all the Constitution points you have lost as a result of Starving.
Going a full day without drinking water will place the Dehydrated condition on a character. Being Dehydrated causes a player to gain a level of exhaustion, have disadvantage on Perception checks and Constitution saves, and have a 25% chance to fall prone due to light headedness during each round of combat or when performing athletic feats or stunts. The Dehydrated condition is removed when a character has drank at least a quart of water.
Why implement this variant rule?
This rule adds an element of how the players feed their characters throughout the day, and to place more consideration what foods are collected and consumed.
Actually having an in-session dinnertime for characters opens up time for roleplay and discussing the current events as well, and provides a distinct mechanical benefit to a character’s day-to-day survival.
What campaigns are being considered to use this variant rule?
Currently, the Adventuring campaign is being considered for this variant rule, but is still tentative.
EDIT1: Made changes to the system to remove burden of knowledge of nutrition on the behalf of the players and the DMs, as well as to accommodate low level characters who would have very little amounts of Hit Die to work with.
EDIT2: Added bonuses to certain meal types and expanded the Outlander’s options for food collection.
EDIT3: Added some guidelines and specifications for Survival checks and the Ranger’s Natural Explorer class feature. Clarified some terminology.