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Food on the road - what to take and forage for during travel

Discussion in 'Research' started by Jess A, May 23, 2013.

  1. Tevaras

    Tevaras Minstrel

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    Formula for number of mounts - rearrangement of general formula

    Clarification: Fp, Fm, and Fh are the food requirements per day per animal/human that is needed after any grazing/foraging has been deducted (if they can find it on the way the party does not need to carry it).

    And for those that just want to calculate the number of pack animals a quick bit of formula rearrangement yields:

    Np = [ D x ((Nh x Fh) + (Nm x Fm)) - (Lm x Lm) + E ] / [ Lp - (D x Fp) ]

    with the variable definitions from previous post.

    Notes:
    - if [ Lp - (D X Fp) ] is not a positive number then the pack animals will eat more food (that must be carried and cannot be located en route) in D days than they can carry - replenish food more frequently, or find better pack animals.
    - if [ Lp - (D X Fp) ] is zero then the pack animals will only be able to carry the food they need to eat between resupply - replenish food more frequently, or find better pack animals.
    - if (Nm x Lm) is greater than D x ( (Nh x Fh) + (Nm x FM) ) + E then the mounts have sufficient spare (after rider and worn equipment/clothes are accounted for) carrying capacity so that you do not need extra mounts.

    Or much more simply you could just make something up - it is your world ;).
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013
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  2. Jess A

    Jess A Archmage

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    But why make something up when I can spend an evening doing a math equation? ;)

    In any case, thanks for this. It's useful in any case. And a spot of fun for the sake of curiosity, for those who say there is no point going into this much detail.
     
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  3. Tevaras

    Tevaras Minstrel

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    Good morning Jess A,

    <sigh> I need to improve my proof reading:
    And if you really enjoy an evening of mathematics - go for it ;-)
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013
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  4. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    I just did and I now need 24 pack animals for my MC's "stealthy" escape in to the wilderness.
    I knew something was off.:p
     
  5. Tevaras

    Tevaras Minstrel

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    Too many pack animals for stealthy escape.

    Good morning CupofJoe,

    Oops, maybe I should not have provided the formula? - ignorance is bliss? ;)

    A number of things for you to think about trying:
    - relax some of the restrictive assumptions, like being able to graze/forage more food. If you assumed the party had to carry their own water, that would make a huge impact.
    - assume that the 'people' have to carry their own personal kit: e.g. weapons and armour, eating irons, bedroll, tent/canvas lean to, etc.
    - do not use mounts - horses fodder 'eat' into the carrying budget (see grazing above though). But they would have to walk then.
    - increase the quality (carrying capacity versus food requirements) of the pack animals.
    - use a magic flying carpet ...
    - have some of the party improve their foraging/wilderness survival skills.
    - provide for more frequent spots where supply replenishment is possible (reduce number of days of food that needs to be carried), did they think to hire a local guide?.
    - have the party acquire the pack animals and provisions half a day out of town, that way their escape from town can be much more stealthy.
    - ignore the reality and substitute your own: have them take two pack animals (it is your story, and some people probably would not care for this detail) :)
    - other ideas I am sure you can come up with, good luck :).

    Have a good day,
     
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  6. Jess A

    Jess A Archmage

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    Or we could have a bottomless pit bag and put rations that never go bad into it, and everything else. No pack animals needed, no foraging!
     
  7. Lunaairis

    Lunaairis Sage

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    did they know they would need to escape before hand? if so they may already have had a party sent away ahead of them carrying a majority of the supplies they would need.

    That or rob some poor saps to make up for more supply's.
     
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  8. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    actually that's a very good idea... there are "friends" ahead of them that can help...
     
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  9. Tevaras

    Tevaras Minstrel

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    Good morning Jess A,

    reminds me of the good old Bag of Holding (from AD&D). Such a useful item that!

    Have a good week,
     
  10. Tevaras

    Tevaras Minstrel

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    Good morning Lunaairis,

    good idea, forethought and planning can go a long way.

    Stealing from 'some poor saps' would depend on the M.C.'s morals, or maybe one of their companions had different morals and stole without the M.C.'s knowledge. Could make for an interesting scene when the disapproving M.C. finds out about the theft - how will they react?

    Or (possibly) more interestingly, perhaps the M.C. did a very good deed before, and that someone is now repaying the favour by organising the supplies at the right moment: the M.C. escaped knowing they would be in trouble if they could not find food to run away a long distance, but things were so dire they escaped from town even knowing they could not make it more than a day's travel. Then lo and behold, they are helped just in time. As a twist, the person(s) doing the favour could be returning the favour from a pervious generation to the M.C., e.g. the M.C.'s father or grand father. This would leave a slightly confused M.C. on receiving the 'repayment'.

    So many possibilities - take your pick CupofJoe :)

    Have a good week,
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
  11. Tevaras

    Tevaras Minstrel

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    Spot the obvious typo - oops :eek:, correction:

    Np = [ D x ((Nh x Fh) + (Nm x Fm)) - (Nm x Lm) + E ] / [ Lp - (D x Fp) ]

    Where:
    - Fh, Fm, and Fp is food and water per 'creature' per day that cannot be foraged/grazed.
    - E is the equipment taken, including weight of food and water storage.
     
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  12. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    the foods my characters lug around:

    beans. I know it's along the lines of stew, as in, takes longer to cook, but my mercenaries use beans and rice, oats, anything dried that can be heated in water. Sure, it's baby food, but when traveling, a group of mercenaries on a mission aren't going to stop and chase rabbits. Let's just say, a dozen men on horses pretty much clear the immediate forest of game animals. About the only thing they might attract are bandits... and I hear they aren't good eating. :)

    I'm a fan of a two-day trip having things like rolls, cheese (in wax), bacon (wrapped in paper), fruit. Pretty much everything stays good for two days.

    FYI, when the pioneers set off west, they carried POUNDS of bacon, wrapped in paper. I guess it kept well enough, because they used it a lot. So that's something to think about. Meat can be cured and as long as it's properly covered, it can stay good because it's been smoked and salted. Not everything needs to be dried, it just needs to be cured so it doesn't rot. Then packaged in wax or paper, where it won't get bugs and fresh air (which delivers microbes).

    Fruit stays fresh on the counter or in a sack for weeks. And they ripen at different times of year. (Apples- fall, peaches- early to late summer, grapes- early to late summer.)

    On n interesting note, I watched survivorman tonight and he said you can eat rabbit and deer droppings because the animals' digestion doesn't sap all the nutrients and actually turns rough food people can't digest into digestable material. Not my first choice, but if I was starving... Rabbits actually frequently eat their own droppings and redigest the nutrients.

    Water is the bigger problem when traveling. Sometimes, if you're really thirsty, rather than kill that deer for meat, you'd do better to follow it to water :) And speaking of deer... if you should come across an animal you can kill for food, you can rip off a leg bone and the marrow inside will stay good for more than a week. Marrow is one of the best sources of protein and fat calories available in the wilderness.
     
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  13. Tevaras

    Tevaras Minstrel

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    Good evening Caged Maiden,

    interesting about the bone marrow, I was not aware it kept that long.

    You are right about the water being the biggest problem. An active human in a hot climate can require eight litres or so per day. That's eight kilos of weight per day. Most explorers when they travel through desert areas seem to rely on a watering hole every day or two.

    I like the beans idea, I think they keep very well, just add water. I think Lentils are also a type of bean, and if kept dry they store very well, perhaps in a clay jug/urn? You can make quite a nice thick soup/sludge which may not look very appetising, but it is food, and does fill the stomach nicely.

    Rice might be another good food to take, it also stores very well (if kept dry), and a cup full is enough for a couple of meals.

    I would suppose the types of food taken depend on whether you will replenish every couple of days (in which case you could take more perishable food), or if you cannot replenish for a five days (or more).

    Depending on the technology of food storage, you could take food that will last a month or more. E.g. polar and Antarctic explorers used a lot of tinned food, but their nutrition knowledge was not so good in the early 20th century, so their health suffered.

    Most people will eat almost anything in a desperate survival situation, some years ago a rugby team crashed in the Andes (1972 Andes flight disaster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) and survived for a long time before getting rescued. People were rather coy about what they ate ...

    Have a good weekend,
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2013
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  14. ALB2012

    ALB2012 Maester

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    Watch Bear Grylls - he will eat and drink anything...including his own pee kept in the innards of a snake... blurgh!
    More seriously though many cultures eat locusts and other crunchy insects, there are tubors, roots and leaves.

    I would agree, rice and seeds are good, beans, legumes, anything pickled keeps although I wouldn't want to be travelling in a group where the main food was beans and pickled onions...that could be very flatulent.

    Smoked meat/fish lasts a while, cheese keeps if stored correctly. Hard tack type biscuits keep.

    I guess it depends who is carrying this grub - are there mules, pack horses, oxen, wagons, camals, other beasts of burdens or are the party carrying it all. A person can actually carry quite a bit but of course this is very tiring. Remember they need tents, bedrolls, cooking utensils, weapons, at least one set of clean clothes etc.
     
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  15. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I had a hunter character join party once and he stopped to fish when the rest made camp; Fishing is a great skill in the wild and unlike other hunting, where you must take time to butcher an animal (not to mention track it, shoot it and chase it), fishing takes only a line and hooks, bait being an abundant resource near rivers. Never forget that fishing is readily available and doesn't require poles. Hand-feeding a line is easy enough and fishing takes much less time than stalking a deer. IN fact, deer hunting is a pretty big operation. Pheasant live in fallow fields, geese migrate twice a year in huge numbers, squirrels are abundant in wooded areas. If you're really traveling and need to hunt along the way, deer aren't the first choice, and probably don't make the top ten of readily available, edible game.

    Also, just as a side note, when forging through deep wilderness between towns, many deer have been wiped out by poachers or villagers. And you might be traveling on noble lands, where hunting large game is illegal. Poaching deer was punishable by death, hence why England still has deer. Because otherwise, if just anyone could have killed and eaten them, they would have been extinct in the Dark Ages. But my point was, if you're in the true wilderness... you could run into less desirable animals while stalking quietly through that overgrown forest. No one wants to come face to face with a boar, with only a few arrows on their side. Something else to consider. Staying near the road or river might be an adventurer's best bet.
     
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