On resource management
Although another of the West Marches themes that I want to hold to (although I have a feeling it will be difficult for me) is the idea that “adventure is out there; being in town is safe… and boring”. Although I’m open to revising my plans, the original intention is to avoid any in-town politics, instead assuming that supplies will be handled appropriately by NPCs once the PCs bring them in.
That said, I do intend to keep resource management front-and-center most of the time, whether the resources in question are how many hours you can travel in a day, how much food and ammo you’re carrying (either for your own use or to supply the town), how many redshirts are alive in town, or how many redshirts are sane enough to go out on your expedition…
Q: Well, do you handwave food and water, sleep and rain? If you do everyone will break their load limit. If you don’t then it’s just window dressing and I’ll drop the bedroll or the like.
A: I generally have handwaved that kind of stuff (and encumbrance as well, for that matter) in the past, but I think those kinds of details/that kind of resource management would be fairly significant in a game focused on exploration and wilderness travel in an area where you generally won’t have a friendly settlement close by to stop off and restock. There’s definitely something to be said for “we have just enough food left to make it back to town; do we turn back now or press on a little further and count on being able to forage successfully on the way back?”
On the other hand, Savage Worlds seems rather generous with the Survival skill giving food, water, and a place to sleep for a day for one person on a success (nearly 50/50 odds for a wild card with d4 skill) or for five people on a raise. As far as I tell, the roll is completely free to take and doesn’t even consume any traveling time. Given that, it definitely seems possible that food and water, at least, may not be worth the effort to track.
My plan, then, has been to track food, water, encumbrance, ammunition, light sources, and… umm… I think that should cover all the expendable resources… for at least the first couple sessions, then evaluate how much of an effect they’re actually having and how much bookkeeping overhead they create and decide what to do about them from there.
The two exceptions are time and fatigue, which are definitely in and staying: For long-distance trips, make a Fatigue roll after 8 hours of travel, with another Fatigue roll for each additional two hours of travel after that. These Fatigue levels will recover at a rate of one after each full night’s sleep, so you can travel 8 hours per day more-or-less indefinitely, and may be able to continue beyond that on at least some days.
My intention in adding the “check Fatigue after 8 hours hiking and each 2 hours after that” rule wasn’t to track every hour, but rather because I’m not happy with RAW technically allowing you to hike for 18 hours, sleep 6, then do it again the next day, and the next, and the next… without ever tiring or suffering any ill effects from doing so. In practice, I would expect the standard 8 hours of hiking to be spread out over 12-14 hours of game-world time, with resting, foraging (for those free Survival rolls), meals, etc. mixed in throughout that time and I have no desire to try to figure it out in any greater detail than that.