Tracking ammunition in Dungeons & Dragons is a lot like tracking encumbrance: they’re both rules that make sense and should be utilized due to the intriguing effects they can have on the game, but are routinely ignored because of the added level of bookkeeping they bring along with them.
I understand how tedious it is to count every single arrow that happens to be kept within your quiver during the game, but I also lament the loss of those moments during the heat of combat where you reach back to find out that you’ve run out of ammunition.
Because of that, I’ve always wanted to find a simplified method of ammunition tracking, one that allowed for those tense moments without the unnecessary bookkeeping. Thankfully, I think Dungeon World has the solution.
Dungeon World is a fantasy role-playing game that is Powered by the Apocalypse. The game has several interesting mechanics that I believe one can easily adapt for Dungeons & Dragons, but today I’m going to focus on a rule inspired by Dungeon World‘s Ammo Tag.
Every type of ammunition has a numeric rating, usually 3, which abstractly represents the amount the characters currently has within her possession. As long as this rating is above 0, the character has ammunition of that type.
During combat, each time the character rolls a natural 1 on an attack roll with a weapon that utilizes that type of ammunition, they lower the rating by 1. When the ammunition rating has reached 0, the character has runs out of ammunition and must purchase more.
Like the revised rules for Encumbrance, this rule abstracts the bookkeeping to make it easier to perform during the game. As long as you have an Ammunition Rating above 0, you’re fine. The added element of only lowering the Rating on a critical failure makes it even easier.
There is a question on how to handle magical ammunition, but I would track that as normal since most characters will not have a large abundance of such ammunition. You can try using this rule for other types of ranged weapons, like javelins or throwing daggers. In that case, I’d probably give them a lower Ammunition Rating, possibly a 1 or a 2.
((NOTE ~ This is a revised post, based upon a previous one I made last year on the old blog)).