Lunch, Defined

by mshrm

The question has come up, once or twice: What’s a meal? The GURPS rules say that a character needs three meals a day, or else bad things begin to happen. What qualifies?

At one point in our jolly apocalyptic adventure, Hanna made a meal out of several energy bars. According to GURPS After the End 1: Wastelanders, in a pinch, a single MRE can be split four ways. (Happily more-or-less matching the way we played it.) Several references indicate that a standard can of beans should count as one meal. The way I see it, a “standard GURPS meal” is anything that’s about a half pound and provides a few hundred calories… and, in tight circumstances, I’m willing to skimp a bit on the half pound of weight.

From knowing my players, I’m guessing that this will lead to two further questions.

First, what about nutritional deficiencies? Rabbit starvation? Scurvy? Beriberi? The answer is, if any PC settles down and announces a plan to eat the same thing, day in and day out, for weeks on end, I’ll start devising diseases and that PC will start making HT checks. Unless somebody occupies a cheese factory or some such, I doubt it’ll be an issue.

Second, and more importantly:  can you make a meal out of beer?

I would say, for purposes of the apocalypse, yes, a fair amount of beer could count as a meal, by itself. The nutritional density is low, though, so we’re talking about several drinks. The higher the number of calories, the fewer bottles would need to be consumed, but then, the number of calories is tied directly to the alcohol content. A review of the drinking rules from B439-40 points out some of the hazards of this course of action.

(Note for the players: This was where I was headed, last session, when I had my total train-of-thought derailment…)