Shawn and I were working on Chainmail Bikini this week when we realized we had no idea what the classic D&D “food rations” should look like. These are some of the most common objects in the game, and yet we never see them.
The only time I’ve seen them depicted is in the 1990 game Eye of the Beholder. Someone actually has a screenshot of the game which shows the food rations here.
I’ve sort of carried this image with me since then, although I hadn’t thought about it until Shawn brought it up. In that game they look sort of like a square wrapped in brown paper and tied up with a + of white string. I suppose I’ve always pictured them them this way. This suggests that most adventure parties have people carrying around wads of brown paper and loose string in their packs, or that most parties are made up of rampant litterbugs. (Maybe this is another difference between Lawful and Chaotic characters.) It also suggests that brown paper must be both fireproof and watertight, since players regularly encounter plenty of both without ruining their provisions.
Which brings up another interesting point: What was in them? I’m sure I could Google around and find someone who has not only thought about this, but who has actually prepared and eaten the food rations in real life. (We geeks are funny that way.) But just looking it up is no fun. Roleplayers deal with this stuff all the time. How do you picture them? What do you imagine they have in them? What do you think they taste like?