Supply Die: An Alternative to Counting Pennies

I have found that tracking rations is awful. Maybe there is a way to make counting individual rations interesting but I don't see it currently.

I value mechanics which force players to make hard choices and take risks. Right now the only way rations in my games currently have people making hard choices is when they run out. Then there is the question of trying to push on, take time to try and hunt for more, or turn back. This is an interesting choice but it is a rare occurrence given that players will just load up as much as they can if they know there is a possibility they could run out.  This would seem to be fairly unrealistic and definitely boring. People don't pack everything they need in exact portions. What does a day's rations look like? Even if, and someone might say this in the comments so I am preempting it, even if it is fairly realistic, it does not promote making hard choices and taking risks.

Here is something that does.

Before leaving civilization, choose Short Trip or Long Trip.

Short Trip: Costs: 1gp per person. d6 Supply Die. 1 Inventory Slot.

Long Trip: 5gp per person. d10 Supply Die. 2 Inventory Slots

All these work as Usage Dice, which you roll after each day of travel. Rolling a one means you downgrade the die along the die chain, ending in the d4.

These Supplies feed and hydrate everyone in the party. Each person in the party must reserve the number of inventory slots for the supplies or a henchperson or pack animal can carry them but not much else.

If you need any of the following things:

  • 1d4+1 Torches
  • 50ft Rope
  • 1d4 Ammo Die/Upgrade Ammo Die of Arrows or Bolts.
You can roll your Supply Die to rummage through your packs to find them.

This gives plenty of chances for players to take risks and make hard choices. Do I get arrows that I need and risk depleting supplies?


  1. This feels very UVG to me, with a little bit more tactical choice. I'd personally probably just say that each person can only carry one unit of supplies, and the die is based on cost. Wagons and things like that can carry additional supplies.

    I wonder if there's space to include rations in here?

    1. My intent was for Supplies to replace rations. If you were to do this on an individual level, each person would roll their Supply die every day to show them slowly eating and drinking their rations.

  2. What would you do if the party split and each wanted to take half the supplies?

    1. That would be a pickle. I would probably divide the rations into dice as evenly as possible, using the die chain. Likely each would be left with a d4 or a d6. Or you could just keep tracking it as one. The Die is an abstraction so it can still stand for the supplies of the group as a whole even if the group is divided.


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