If You Smell What The Party Is Cooking – Gathering & Crafting in Cairn

Image: Breath of the Wild Study 3 by Anato Finnstark

I spent quite some time during the recent holidays working on a new hexcrawl setting, as a sort of ‘happy place’. Inspired by the tone of Breath of the Wild and Dragon Quest, I set out to create world of ‘adventure is exciting!’ and ‘travel is a wondrous thing to do!’.

I used Block, Dodge, Parry as my base engine, because of course I did, and since it’s essentially an ‘expansion’ of Cairn, I dove into Yochai Gal’s WIP Cairn 2e Wilderness Exploration rules. I personally love them, and I’m really excited to see where they go next!

I run my games in Foundry, and I’ve been eager to try out Ripper93’s amazing Gathering and Crafting modules, so tinkering I went. I finally settled on not using the Gathering module and keeping the crafting very simple, but along the way, I came up with some simple modifications to Yochai’s rules that I thought I’d share.


Characters can hunt, fish, or forage for food, each participant collecting 1d4 rations worth (maximum 3 qty per slot).

The ‘Supply’ Action, Cairn 2e WIP rules

I’m going to split this up into multiple specific activities, and link certain activities to required tools. These tools take up inventory space, which ties into the core Fatigue/Inventory mechanic at the heart of Cairn.

A character with relevant experience or equipment increases the supplies discovered by one or two steps (i.e. 1d4 becomes 1d6, etc.).

The ‘Supply’ Action, Cairn 2e WIP rules

Nice and simple! I’m going to use this same ‘ladder’ (1 – 1d4 – 1d6 – 1d8 – 1d10) to account for various terrain types. This makes picking the right tools for the job an interesting choice to make before you head out.


Hunting requires a bow and will get you raw meat. Raw meat is not edible unless prepared at a campfire with cooking pots (1 inventory slot). Raw meat takes up 1 regular inventory slot.


Foraging requires no special tools, and will get you Fruits & Vegetables. 1 ‘serving’ of Fruits & Vegetables takes up 1 regular inventory slot, and can be eaten raw. Consuming it counts as a meal for the purpose of preventing deprivation.


Fishing requires a fishing rod (1 inventory slot) and will get you raw fish, which takes up 1 inventory slot and can also not be eaten raw.

Various Terrains

Terrain TypeHuntingForagingFishing
The returns for a single Supply action. Note that characters who are skilled at a certain activity, ‘upgrade’ their spoils 1 tier (d4 >d6)

Cooking & Eating

  • Raw Fish can be prepared at a campfire with cooking pots to make Grilled Fish. Eating Grilled Fish counts as a meal, and removes 1 Fatigue.
  • Raw Meat can be prepared at a campfire with cooking pots to make Grilled Meat. Eating Grilled Meat counts as a meal, and removes 1 Fatigue.
  • Fruits & Vegetables only counts as a meal, and does not remove Fatigue.
  • However, cooking Grilled Meat or Grilled Fish together with Fruits & Vegetables makes for a Tasty Meal, which removes all Fatigue.

While you will likely prepare these meals at the camp where you will also spend the night (and thus remove all your Fatigue), a Tasty Meal can be invaluable to preserve for later – when you’re in some deep dark dungeon, where sleeping is out of the question.

What do you think of these rules? Too simple? Needs a bit more salt? Let me know!

4 thoughts on “If You Smell What The Party Is Cooking – Gathering & Crafting in Cairn

  1. Stoked to hear more about this hexcrawl setting. That vibe is very much what I want in my games. =)

  2. Where are you getting your fish if you can’t eat them fresh from the water?! Haha

    But yeah, all in all this is really cool. The only change I’d make is to swap “tasty meal” for “balanced meal”, but that’s because my own food tastes vary so much with other players’.

    I can also imagine some really lovely lonely-fun being had writing the food lists for different areas on my maps: the Uphills of Ashek are rich in thickskin pears, while Thorn Valley is known for its nuts.

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