4 Reasons Why Food is Important in D&D

Are... Are you gonna eat that?
Since my very first D&D campaign I have always asked that my players make sure their characters eat in game. Whether they keep a tally of rations or specific food items they carry as a DM I like my players to be thinking about food.

Now, I am not picky, I just ask that you eat something. So a meal comprised of an apple is good enough for me; it is simply that you have to eat and of course the less you do, the hungrier your character will become.

Some people can find this tedious, but here are four reasons to include food in your D&D game.


1. It Sets the Scene

What would Dragonlance be without Otik's Spiced Potatoes? Honestly, probably the same, but what those potatoes did was set a scene. They made you care a little bit more about the Inn of the Last Home and it's owner Otik Sandath. The same will go for your players in game. So setting a lavish feast, describing how little food the party has remaining, or even just giving a tavern a special on the menu will help absorb your players into the scene.

This is probably the easiest way to include food in your campaign, as it doesn't require your players to keep track of it. You can simply include food/meals as a driving force, or description where you deem necessary. So you want the party to feel desperate and a little helpless? Tell them their food is low. On the other hand you want to shower them with affection, throw them a feast with a seven course meal and come up with each course. Your players will appreciate it and it will help them get into the scene.

2. The Unending Quest

The thing with food is that you always need more of it eventually. If you are interested in having your players keep track of their rations, then you have given them an unending side quest. They always have something to do and something to be concerned about: the food supply.

I have also done this with water, and I personally find that a little too tedious (unless you are in the desert ), so I tend to leave it out. But up to you of course!

If you look through the lists in magic encyclopedias, gnome inventions, and all manor of D&D resources, you will find a ton of magical items that solve the problem of food. The designers (at least at one point in the game's history) obviously wanted you to consider food, and have it be a problem. So why not add it to the list of things your players need to deal with in their party?


3. A Reason to spend Pocket Change

Gold in D&D is very easy spend. Silver and copper however are not as easy to empty your pockets of. Since most items your players will care to buy are valued in gold; silver and copper can tend to get ignored. However once you add food, you have a whole new story.

Bread, Vegetables, Cheese? These items are certainly not worth a gold piece, but a copper or two? Maybe as high as a silver depending on size and quality? Absolutely!

Food gives your players a reason to get rid of their pocket change in the market, in taverns, at a farmers field, etc.etc. And since they are always looking for more food, they will always be spending that cash.


4. Helps With Timing Events

My Players like to role play through every day. This is largely because we have a campaign featuring time travel, and it simply made handling that easier, but also the guys just wanted to.

Mentioning that your players are hungry and need to stop to eat is a useful way to break up and help plan out your game. Lunch time for example can serve as a good middle point for each day, to arrange a small role play or battle based encounter around. It also gives the players a chance to stop and talk about the events in game.

Whether it is a simply roadside lunch stop, or a grand feast with a nobleman, a meal can serve as a specific encounter in game and you can plan events accordingly. I have hosted a few games where the players get invited to meals with Lords, Ladies and other important figures and these events become the pinnacle feature of the day that the players must plan around. Which is good focus and pacing for a DM.


So there are four reasons to include food in your campaign. Of course, if you focusing on a more battle intense, dungeon crawl type game then perhaps leave food out of it, unless you want to add in a hardcore survival element. But if role play is your focus, then food will only add to that.


Written by: Andrew Gregory

Image Sources: All images from the 1989, and 1995 2nd Ed AD&D Player's Handbooks and the 1995 DM's Guide
4 Reasons Why Food is Important in D&D 4 Reasons Why Food is Important in D&D Reviewed by Jade GamingNews on 10/05/2018 02:05:00 pm Rating: 5

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