Five years ago I wrote a post about compelling players to observe some kind of nutrition rules for campaigns. It was a mental exercise and no more: just an example of the sort of thing that can be reviewed and considered but which is impractical for actual gaming and accounting.
That idea has sat on the shelf since I proposed it.
And now, today, I had an idea. Have a look at this table, that I've only just designed:
Sorry about the size of the text; I recommend opening it in another window.
Undoubtedly, some are not familiar regarding my very basic rules about the consumption of food. I am now very seriously considering augmenting those rules by implementing the above table where it comes to where the characters eat and how much effort they make towards that goal.
Basically, the characters make up their mind what sort of food they want to eat and how they wish to prepare it. The next day, after they've slept, they make a saving throw on the top third of the table; for the most part, the saving throw is going to have no effect on most of the characters. If it does have an effect, it is likely to be on less than 1/3rd of the party, even if the sorest rations are consumed without any cooking. However, it makes a significant difference if the party wants to take the time to get themselves a proper wagon, or eat from a kitchen in a house they build, or eat at the local tavern when they get the chance. The above could seriously punish characters who insist on eating food out of their pockets rather than spend a little for the boar at the local tavern.
Note that the actual food eaten does have some influence. If the characters do not buy leafy vegetables for their campfire or chuckwagon, they don't get the chuckwagon's effect, no matter how nice the cooking is. The same is true if the characters insist on drinking beer and not wine or coffee - at least, with regards to amateurs. I see I will have to make a note that the kitchen has to obey the rule of food choices, but the tavern and up the scale from there does not - because with vegetable stock, cooking with wine and so on, the fortified benefit is cooked right into the meal.
The chance of disease eating field rations is 1 in 20; but I see that the chance is only 1 in 400 with campfire food and 1 in 8000 with wagon food. I think that's fair. Characters need to know what they're doing in making their food choices.
Incidentally, the cellar food option comes from a game, Patrician III:
This is the sort of meal that the players can only get if they know people (or they've joined a guild or some such in a given area). The lord's kitchen, obviously, requires knowing someone in nobility or royalty circles.
There is an ultimate solution for the proposed rule: Heroes' Feast. A cleric can obtain the spell at 11th level.