"I heal 1d4 by eating an apple. Can I still charge the enemy?"


Hey guys,

I don’t know whether I’m draconic as a GM or I don’t get the idea. Here and there I encounter players who want to use food for healing in the sheer moment. Maybe it’s coming from video games, but even there I don’t get the point of eating a bunch of apples and refill HP.

For me, healing should be granted by medical, technological or magical aids (bandages, nano repair, spellcasting etc.). Maybe food can be used to aid regeneration during a rest… but eating them in front of your enemy? Doesn’t feel right.

In recent oneshots, I enjoyed giving my players the freedom to build their character without double checking with me. We’ve been playing a horror-ish game where some of the people took “a couple snickers bars which heal 1d4 each”. I stated, that this isn’t fitting the theme for me and got a “why?” in reply.

Am I a jerk?


“AITA for telling my players to build setting-appropriate characters without exploiting weird loopholes?”
No, I don’t think so.


I don’t think you are a jerk, but I also think it’s natural for players to want to keep their characters safe. Hopefully they will still collaborate with you in creating a good horror atmosphere, even if they “cheated” a bit.

Also, depending on the type of horror, it can potentially make a lot of sense to have ordinary things represent safety and healing - possibly even a Snickers. In the end, it comes down to how we perceive HP. Some ppl think of them as injuries, but in many games that doesn’t make sense.

So a good tip might be to meet them halfways: let them have their Snickers, but let monsters (but not mundane things) attack something else than HP. For example, let it give a condition: first hit slowed, second hit paralyzed, third hit dead.


Nah. Say, “hey, let’s just reskin those as trauma packs.” And move on.


Since my arrival eight months ago, you have always seemed to be a very thoughtful, logical, and fair DM, so I don’t think that’s the problem. You’re not a jerk. You just went to the trouble to establish a certain tone, and the players’ metagame-influenced response to it seems to have rankled your sensibilities. It would mine.

That said, given that the Runiverse tends to live under the normative banner of “Stength, Honor, Beer,” and that to a certain extent our loot-focused game has affirmed the mostly comical trope of eating food and drinking alcohol being restorative (scan those D100 tables, right?), it’s no surprise that you’ve run into this tonal clash with your players in-game.

Fortunately, our fellow Shield Wall members have given you excellent suggestions above. “Attack” other aspects of the character sheet and/or establish a sanity or adrenaline mechanic to play up the horror tone. That apple might put a little fuel back in your tank in terms of your physical health, but will it keep you from having a nervous breakdown? Make the characters at least as scared of going mad or stroking out from shock as they are of getting eviscerated—but still keep them afraid of getting eviscerated. :skull:

Me? I’d put razor blades in the apples. :apple: Just sayin’… :wink:


These are all great suggestions. Personally I just let it roll, especially if they role :wink:

However, I see where this can be a problem. @Alex nails this one on the head for me, as always. The most important thing, to me anyway, is that everyone has fun. Cheers!


I don’t think that you’re a jerk, I think you have the right idea. However, assuming that you were playing ICRPG, were the players aware that you changed the rule? To my knowledge, they went above & beyond by eating snicker bars rather than just roll their CON check!


You eat a apple my good man have you not watched Snow White. Do you know who what happens if you eat a apple? Have you not watched Disney Cartoon movies? hehe


To me, that’s the difference between potions, med packs, and player abilities. Food, if packed, is a downtime recovery in my games. Get potions, med packs, and other stuff for the thick of combat. It’s a role playing game; the mechanics should inspire the fiction.
Just my two cents. :slight_smile:


Once everyone understands the distinction you are making between different types of healing, then alles klar (or whatever hehe).
Although, if the system is as fluid as ICRPG, or at least your games of ICRPG, then I don’t see the need for a mechanical difference between stim-packs or roast boar (‘by Toutatis!’). And as others have said, fun and RPing uber alles, klar.


Food is the main method of healing in our games

we went full breath of the wild with it

1 food heals 1d6 + CON and eating the food takes a whole action

this can be apples, fish, mushrooms, whatever

as an action with a cook pot you can combine up to 3 food into a dish which combines the food healing together. So if you cooked 1 dish from 3 food it would now heal 3d6 + CON when consumed

the idea is it heals more for 1 action

potions are more rare and heal full hearts instead of a random amount.

The players have fishing poles and pick fruit off trees and a few have the cooking pot in their bag to make dishes when they have a spare moment and an open fire.

One player was an old granny pirate with a rifle, and her starter item was a custom heirloom cook pot where she can cook a dish with 1 food as if it was 3. they enjoyed roleplaying the sweet old granny making soup who would turn into a stone cold killer in battle with her rifle.


Sounds fine. You run the way the world works. They get creative within that context. Especially for a horror game, I would say that a candy bar would not heal hp, but if you had a separate sanity counter or fear counter, that might prevent panic, or perhaps regen some traumatic magic stamina drain a la Harry Potter and dementors.


You can also put razor blades in candy bars. 🪒 Or also straight pins. 🪡


Yeah. This is just a gap in player expectations versus DM expectations. Players want healing items and love consumables, so the key here is for the DM to manage the expectations and just close the gap, so everyone is on the same page.

“Hey, you took some healing consumables! Epic! Although, in a fantasy setting, of course you can drink some red liquid and heal yourself. But in a modern day setting, you can’t just eat a candy bar. If that worked, no one would ever go the hospital; they’d just go to the gas station. So, let’s just reskin these consumables as trauma packs, you know, like the kind carried by swat officers or military medics. Does that work for you?” And maybe, “How do you think Mary ended up with those?” And then you’re off and and running.

If I got pushback, I’d just be firm. “Haha, sorry, no, you don’t get to have a magic candy bar in a zombie apocalypse.” That little bit of chiding is probably enough to just move on.


I don’t think it is unreasonable to say no to food automatically healing PCs. I see food predominantly as a necessity, no food so long like water and bad things start happening physically to the PCs. Food can also be a source of problems… disease, poison, mundane law or religious law breaching… and magical food. Now if the apples are super special magical healing apples okay they heal… but regular apples no, or if they are cursed, mind altering or poisoned then again no. I have ruled in keeping with Conan stories wine/spirits can restore a few HP once a day but the PC must not be in combat or exerting themselves “it’s medicinal”. However if you want to go with the food heals… then I say go bold and weird, and right out of player’s normal comfort zones! Example I learned yesterday by accident via an online game guild I am in that in Taiwan baby mice the younger the better (think new born eyes closed) cooked in soy sauce are a real life cultural cure for Asthma and a medicinal alcohol cure is made by putting said baby mice in wine… yesterday’s side conversation between Taiwanese players was traditional lung cure recipes every time I hit the translate button. So go bold! Apples are much too mundane… think weird foods they just can’t lug around, maybe find latter… but no one is going to be Woking up fresh baby mice in soy sauce in the heat of battle. Boiled bat wings in coconut sauce or in a wine sauce I would let heal something… rat is suppose to be good for stamina… Powdered Earthworm, snake bile, snake blood, oil made from specific sp of snake the list goes on… but for me apples need to be special magic apples hard to get and not very good shelf life.