Over at rpgwatch, they have a snippet from a Q&A about Eschalon: Book II. It deals with one of the most unnecessary mechanisms ever put into CRPGs: food.

I already expressed something of how I feel in the comments to Book II: Official. There is no reason to have eating requirements in a game.

You put me in a fantasy world where I can wave a hand to throw fireballs, invoke ice storms, or throw lightning bolts. Where I can speak an invocation to heal mortal injuries, cure diseases, or detoxify poisons. Where I can drink a potion to make me invisible, faster, or see in the dark. Then you say, “And to make all this realistic, we’ll put in food!”.

Realism has nothing to do with food. It has to do with the world and what goes on in it. Get me to care about that world. Get me to care about the people in it. Get me to care about the story. Those are the things that matter. Having to lug around rations is both superfluous and irritating.

It adds unneeded worry to the game rather than playability or fun. I have more important things to do than fret over whether my “bag o’ bread” is full enough for an excursion or to get me back to town alive.

In the early days, there were RPGs that required food. But those were the early days, when designers were still coming to grips with translating paper & pencil to the computer. They didn’t always do everything right, and one of their mistakes was the food requirement.

Twenty-plus years later, I would hope developers would be sophisticated enough, and competent enough, to create games that don’t need the crutch of potential starvation to appear “real”.

That has also been my own experience with live gaming (and not just D&D). In all the years I DM’d, only once was food a critical matter. In that instance, the party escaped death with literally just the clothes on their backs and a couple of hastily-snatched weapons. That was a unique situation, never repeated.

Likewise, in games where I was a player, food was never an issue. We had better things to do, such as having a good time role-playing and beating up monsters. Obsessing about food would have added nothing whatever to the fun. Rather, it would only have annoyed everyone.

Happily, most CRPGs today skip the victuals. Not one of the last nine RPGs I played required eating, and I certainly didn’t miss it. That includes Eschalon: Book I, which brings us back to our starting point: the sequel.

Going by the snippet, it still isn’t certain whether eating will be necessary in the game. Naturally, I’m hoping it will dropped and forgotten, now and forever. But if it isn’t, well, then I have to make a decision.

Should I get the game, blow the dust off my trusty hex editor, and arrange matters so I don’t have to worry about that “bag o’ bread”? (And give the game a black mark for including it) Or should I just skip it entirely, saving myself time, money, and aggravation? Something to ponder. In the meantime, food? Forget it. I’d rather starve.

Book II food snippet on rpgwatch