Savage Worlds Hunger Rules

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scribemike
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Savage Worlds Hunger Rules

#1 Postby scribemike » Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:49 pm

I've just received and read through my copy of Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition. It's a fabulous game, simple, but realistic. I'm really excited to play. I especially love how the rules, while simple, manage almost always to elegantly capture reality (or, heroic reality anyway :) ).

Which is why the hunger rules (page 105) are so glaring, at least if I'm understanding them correctly. It appears to me that, by the rules, a character could die from starvation in just a few days (gaining a fatigue level the second day, then up to two more levels each additional day until death results). The thing is, of course, that unlike psychic bolts or world-war-III-level background radiation, this is a hazard that is extensively well-documented.

The fact is that a human being starves to death in a matter of weeks, not days.

The rules would work perfectly, elegantly, if the passage that calls for a roll every 12 hours were changed to a roll every 5 days, after the first roll is failed. Allowing for the vagaries of dice rolls, that should result in death by starvation starting at about 20 days, which seems about right (the standard "rule of three" for hunger in the survival manuals say three weeks, but there have been documented cases of people surviving for two months or more with only occasional ingestion of slight amounts of wild edibles).

The hydration rules, I think, should remain the same; unlike hunger, thirst can and does kill in only a few days.

Anyway, like I said, it's a beautiful game. I think, in fact, that if the rest of the rules weren't so perfectly balanced between realism and simplicity, this example wouldn't strike me as so glaring a problem. Of course, I could simply be misreading the rule.

Also, I did look in the rules errata and clarifications, and also did a search using the terms "hunger" and "starvation," but was unable to find anything on this here on the forums; just in case, I apologize in advance if this has already been covered.

Thanks for the great game!

Now, among all the intriguing setting offerings, the hardest question is which one to use ... :mrgreen:

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Tom Servo
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#2 Postby Tom Servo » Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:11 am

I guess hero's have heroic appetites. Having a wild die and bennies require vast amounts of calories. lol

Personally I'd like to see the rule somewhere between your idea and the rules as written. I agree a character can be incapacitated far too quickly as it stands, but in your system a Wild Card character with bennies and a good Vigor stat could potentially survive months.

Perhaps a way to do it is to keep your system but give a -1 penalty to the roll for every 5 days without enough food. After 20 days the character would be rolling at -4, on top of any fatigue levels. This would definitely ensure a character won't die within a day or two but also ensure that they cannot live indefinitely off of hot dice (unless they are really hot.)

This might seem harsh, but after 20 days even an unskilled character should be able to make a survival check and find some grub (or grubs) at some point during that time.

Just an idea.

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#3 Postby SlasherEpoch » Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:17 pm

Alright, change it to a roll a week. Your reasoning is sound.

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#4 Postby 77IM » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:05 pm

Another solution -- keep the rules the same, except once Incapacitated due to hunger, you stay that way (basically too weak to act) for three weeks, and then die.

This way hunger is still a big concern in the short term, and there is less variation between characters (so a high-Vigor character can't just shrug off eating for a few days, or go months without food).

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#5 Postby Count Zero » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:56 pm

77IM wrote:Another solution -- keep the rules the same, except once Incapacitated due to hunger, you stay that way (basically too weak to act) for three weeks, and then die.


That's basically what I do - reduce them to Inc. and decide whether they are dead or not based on the 333 rule. Has it been 3 minutes w/o air, 3 days w/o water, or 3 weeks w/o food? If yes, then adios amigo.
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#6 Postby Snate56 » Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:19 pm

And, by the way, Welcome Aboard, scribemike! That is if you didn't wander off because nobody answered your post! :-D

Sorry about that


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#7 Postby CAM » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:26 pm

I give PCs an automatic Fatigue level if they go without sufficient food and rest for a day.

For each subsequent day without food and rest I make them make a Vigor roll (TN 4) to see if they incur a second level of Fatigue.

I have never played beyond this, but the rules I told the players were as follows:

Once a second Fatigue level has been incurred, I shift it to a weekly roll to see if they become Incapacitated. I raise the TN by 1 for each additional week. If they are incapacitated then the rolls continue, with another failure indicating death through starvation or deydration.

This way I figure some people would starve quicker than others. Not a rule I would want to put in effect, but just a framework I thought of.

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#8 Postby Cutter XXIII » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:27 am

Since no one has said it yet, I'll put in the obligatory suggestion to try it in play before you houserule it.

Two reasons: I think that in actual play, it's likely to take a Wild Card longer than three days to actually die of hunger (due to the relative ease of succeeding on a simple Vigor check, combined with access to bennies).

Secondly, while stretching out the "dying from hunger" timeframe seems to make more "realistic" sense, in effect it removes the threat from most gameplay. Playing through two or more weeks of in-game starvation and scrounging for food isn't likely to be an action-packed experience at the game table. :)
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#9 Postby Mort » Tue Jul 27, 2010 12:52 pm

Cutter XXIII wrote:Two reasons: I think that in actual play, it's likely to take a Wild Card longer than three days to actually die of hunger (due to the relative ease of succeeding on a simple Vigor check, combined with access to bennies).


My rough napkin math is strongly agreeing with the OP rather than this Cutter (average WC has a 80%ish chance of making a given check, 60%ish with a -1, 40%ish with a -2).

I'll do the full thing later but it looks like 4 or 5 days to WC death and maybe 2 days for extras.
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#10 Postby jpk » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:14 pm

You have, with a d6 Vigor Wild Card, a 25% chance of failing a straight Vigor check, 55% at -1, and 69% at -2. That provides only a 9.5% chance of failing the first three Vigor rolls in a row (including the Fatigue penalties). That drops to 6.5% to fail the first four in a row.

Just so you know, and that assumes you ate all your bennies before you started starving. ;-)

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#11 Postby Clint » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:32 pm

I'd say the original poster's idea had the best merit for "realism." Make the initial roll as listed until the first fatigue level is gained, and then switch to a roll per 5 days or weekly. Also covers the fact that when the body enters "starvation mode" (loses a level of Fatigue), it alters how it works.

Of course, using those rules potentially means adding others as well. After the Fatigue level is gained, characters won't be able to exert themselves as long, will require more rest, and will have to make rolls for actions that don't normally require them.

Also, the Survival skill will have to be altered somewhat to account for rolls per week instead of per day, as it doesn't really make sense to make daily rolls to find food and weekly rolls to avoid hunger. The previous issues should probably impact that roll.
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#12 Postby Mort » Tue Jul 27, 2010 1:41 pm

jpk wrote:You have, with a d6 Vigor Wild Card, a 25% chance of failing a straight Vigor check, 55% at -1, and 69% at -2. That provides only a 9.5% chance of failing the first three Vigor rolls in a row (including the Fatigue penalties). That drops to 6.5% to fail the first four in a row.

Just so you know, and that assumes you ate all your bennies before you started starving. ;-)


The average success chance of a wild card, without penalties, is 78.25%, calculated off the average of the d4 to d12 success chances, not the success chance of a d6. It's a stronger representative since the d6 odds aren't that great at modelling the effect of penalties on the extreme die types. For the sake of simplicity, I neglected aces (which have a substantial effect on the d4).

Also, the OP was suggesting the rolls were made every 12 hours, not every day. I'm not carrying my SW book so that's what my estimates are based off.

The bennies are pretty irrelevant for an ongoing process as the best they'll buy you is an extra period of life per benny - they don't spread across rolls so they aren't a substantial benefit in a meatgrinder setup.

Hope that clears up what I was saying.
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#13 Postby jpk » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:17 pm

Mort wrote:The average success chance of a wild card, without penalties, is 78.25%, calculated off the average of the d4 to d12 success chances, not the success chance of a d6. It's a stronger representative since the d6 odds aren't that great at modelling the effect of penalties on the extreme die types. For the sake of simplicity, I neglected aces (which have a substantial effect on the d4).

First, you ain't aimin' to challenge my math, are you, pardner? We might be a-fixin' to tussle if them's the beans in your pot.
:blam:

Second, I find the deviation amongst the dice too wide for me to be comfortable with a d4-d12 averaging system, but we all draw the line in a different spot (as if that were even possible), I suppose.

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#14 Postby Mort » Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:29 pm

jpk wrote:
Mort wrote:The average success chance of a wild card, without penalties, is 78.25%, calculated off the average of the d4 to d12 success chances, not the success chance of a d6. It's a stronger representative since the d6 odds aren't that great at modelling the effect of penalties on the extreme die types. For the sake of simplicity, I neglected aces (which have a substantial effect on the d4).

First, you ain't aimin' to challenge my math, are you, pardner? We might be a-fixin' to tussle if them's the beans in your pot.
:blam:

Second, I find the deviation amongst the dice too wide for me to be comfortable with a d4-d12 averaging system, but we all draw the line in a different spot (as if that were even possible), I suppose.


Go for your stats gun hombre :cannon:

:P


More seriously, aye, each to their own. Short of figuring out the frequency of each die type occurring and working from there, any reasonable method is a close enough approximation.
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#15 Postby Clint » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:16 pm

Point is, as Matt said, it's not realistic hunger; it's game-relevant hunger. Even then, it's hunger for games where hunger isn't major issue except maybe on a specific occastion. If it were a big deal in the setting (like for post-apocalyptic for example), then Setting Rules related to it (and Survival) would be very likely.
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