Monday, August 15, 2022

Logistics, Foraging, and Murderhobos

In gaming, we call adventurers "murderhobos." Essentially, nomadic travelers who pillage and kill their way around the countryside, yet somehow claim they're doing good.

As acoup makes clear, in the past, the term for these types was "soldiers." Armies did the same - traveled to their destination (where they intended to rape, pillage, and kill) and along the way they'd "forage." By forage, we mean rape, pillage, and kill. Pretty much all that murderhobos don't do in game is the sexual assault portion of the whole deal. But otherwise, it's take what they can, kill when that facilitates taking, and self-justify all of it along the way. Those who resist are foes, those who don't should have resisted. And they expect a reward for doing so and expect anyone they "help" - as defined by the PCs - to provide anything they need on top of the reward.

ACOUP has a nice little series going about this - logistics for ancient/medieval armies.

Part II deals with "foraging."

Logistics I
Logistics II
Logistics III

With games, though, we tend to gloss over the effort it takes to travel. Small groups has less issues. We also tend to just let PCs buy some "rations" and check them off as if everyone can just eat pre-packaged perfectly-sized meals three times per day and march at maximum efficiency.

In reality, though, it's more than a little nastier than that.

Food for thought, on the subject of how you get food for armies.


  1. I can't help but think there is a major difference in moving 7 guys vs moving 17k guys though.

    1. That's what I meant about small groups have less issues. And the notes in the articles about small groups vs. large groups are mostly relevant as well.

      But either way, "foraging" has a lot of overlap with adventurers looting, except that most players I've dealt with assume you can find every needle in every haystack with just a quick search.

  2. "With games, though, we tend to gloss over the effort it takes to travel."

    Oh, I never do. I love to punish PCs who fail to consider exactly where they are going, what lies betwixt here and there, and what they plan to eat and drink (and where they'll sleep) along the way. I delight in punishing them.

  3. I have had a lot of fun with the ones who think create food solves everything and forget critical effects, especially with weirdness magnet.


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