Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The "Official" OD&D Thirst and Starvation Rules...

Back in my pre-teen years in the 80s (my era of  "I need Gygax/TSR to tell me how to do this properly!") I would furiously tear through my Expert D&D and Dungeon Masters Guide looking for the rules for thirst and starvation. I mistakenly believed that I had somehow missed them while reading the rules; it couldn't be an omission, or else why would they have food and water in the equipment lists, nevermind Expert foraging & hunting rules?

Eventually "improved" editions of D&D included rules for such (and a million other) situations and I was satisfied... until I turned my back on such ways and returned to my youth with confidence and a DIY perspective.

Anyways, I'm editing together an OD&D rules & houserules booklet for my own game, and I decided to do some research on the rules for the OD&D-referenced Outdoor Survival Avalon Hill boardgame; although I was unable to find a PDF of the rules, I did find the following on Boardgamegeek:
 Whoah... OD&D had rules for Thirst and Starvation from the very beginning...

BTW The numbers in the "Life Level Index" track seem to be the movement allowance; you run out of food and water? Good luck getting back to civilization...

(I love the icon for the 0 movement section of the track; new Blogspot avatar perhaps...)

BTW, does anyone have a PDF with the Outdoor Survival rules? Abandonware and all.


  1. I played a bunch of outdoor survival way back in the olden days. Basically you start at point A and try to get to point B without dropping dead along the way. Getting lost and wandering off track was death. The OD&D wilderness rules coupled with the charts you post will work fine together.

  2. Check your email. ;)

  3. I went without food and water for five days once, and those rules have woefully neglected to include the point when your pants start falling down.

  4. I got to play it for the first time with my father and brother last summer. The attrition is brutal. Every turn you aren't near food/water you get weaker. And as you get weaker you can move less and less. So the path you navigate through the wilderness is essential. Except . . . you have to roll a d6 to see if you can go in the direction you intended (you're lost). You can usually tell several turns ahead that you're screwed and will die.