A Question of Sense


I recently finished a survivalist-start playthrough (ants ate me, was wearing chitin armor made from BEES, shit was embarassing). and it raised some questions. Recipe questions, mostly. For instance, why can I learn automatically to craft an ironshod quarterstaff yet the quarterstaff needed to shoe with iron is beyond me without a book? Why can I not carve a baseball bat out of a log? Why do I learn how to make strange food beyond the basics (aspic comes to mind) with nothing but Cooking skill? Why can’t I forge chainmail without recipes yet I can put the bits that I cannot craft together?

On a different note, maybe it’s just a math error but the food values are ridiculous. Eating a lump of tallow would give some +6000 value, while cornbread ended up being like 30 or so. Why are johnnycakes considered “Junk Food” when the ingredients are as simple as you can get (Very annoying for a lumberjack with junkfood intolerance)? Why is Apis such a dick when the BEES surrounding him are relatively easy to deal with via crossbow?

A positive note: clay is baller as shit. It’s so easy to make containers and, with the assistance of Xotto, it looks absolutely gorgeous on display. I wish I had gotten the opportunity to spike that maple grove I passed by and hang clay pots under them while getting through the rest of winter but, alas, ants.


Hmm ok.
[key: R = research answer | NB = yes should be makeable without book | B > recipe should require book to learn from what I know | X = should not be craftable ]

Iron Shod > R: SEEMS like it should be doable without recipe, could be a reason
Baseball bat > X: need lathe and GOOD wood, otherwise just a club which we have
food > B/NB: could go either way, survival recipe, could made of necessity or overlooked
Chainmail > NB: The links are already made, your just layering them/ attaching them as needed

Huh, I thought food got overhauled fairly recently… maybe its still in the works?
…What? Is Apis your character? NPC? Is he just having difficulty dispatching them? NPC’s have a lot of workarounds in them. Best not to think/look/or interact too directly with their heads… they explode when uncertain, better they be certain but wrong then the alternative.

UGHHH yes… My current character dreams of making a forge of clay


Forging chainmail is a labor-intensive process that requires training, though not a whole lot of skill. (It was usually given to the apprentices)
Tying your armor down together so it fits snugly and doesn’t hinder your movement is a regular part of putting on a suit of chainmail, though, and isn’t hard to figure out, it could be worked out with trial and error.


I’m pretty sure the regular quarterstaff is automatically learned. You just need bashing skill at 2.

And a lump of tallow is just straight fat shoved down your gullet. Johnnycakes being junk food is still weird though, that’s true.


Tallow is nearly pure fat, at 9 kilocalories per gram. A chunk of tallow is 110 grams, for 1000 kilocalories.

Cornbread is a mixture of carbohydrates, proteins, water, and air. There’s a little fat it in but mostly the first two. Carbs and proteins are 4 kilocalories per gram, a chunk of cornbread is 60 grams, and shockingly, it has 198 calories.

Twice the weight of fat at more than twice the calories per gram works out to 5 times as many calories per item. Funny how that works out.

Honestly, the biggest issue to me is the inconsistent sizing of portions. I’d like to move toward having ingredients in the 50-60 gram range and finished meals in the 125-250 gram range. But I’m not doing the nutrient rework (thankfully) so I’ll let KorGgenT do his thing.


I only met Apis once and it was passive, but I don’t really get what it is. I would much prefer a giant queen bee.

(Apis is a weird bee humanoid mutant monster inside giant bee Hive. I’m pretty sure it’s not an NPCs which makes it even weirder since it looks human)


I dig what you are saying and I think for health reason this would make sense. But in america, most people are fat. The reality is that the average meal is well over 400 grams, if going purely by weight.

A good example is Mountain House. A camping/hiking freeze dried food package will state 350-400 grams and serves 2. Well I know for certain that most people who buy it would scarf it down in one sitting and want more. Just 1 person lol

Keep in mind it is before adding the weight of water to re-hydrate it.

Fast food and restaurants serve double the average camp entree. Olive garden for a common example should kill a horse by numbers alone. People flood those places like crazy.

If anyone wanted to win a war against the USA. They’d just chill and let everyone explode from eating so much xD


Yeah but mlangsdwarf’s point isn’t trying to standardize the amount the way you describe. In game it takes 3 “bites” to eat a veggie sandwich. That’s certainly not a full meal, but each bite is the “serving” he’s referring to. Oh which there is no consistency.


So I do. Well. Teach me to not doublecheck my recipes.

Yet I can forge a pasta extruder with no recipe book, and that seems like it would be much more complicated than interlocking metal rings.

I would not be opposed to having a lathe be a craftable or constructable tool used for recipes that call for one, but by the same note, I should then need a potter’s wheel to craft the more complicated clay items, such as the hydria or the large jug.

A lathe doesn’t seem too complicated.

As for the tallow situation, it wouldn’t have been an issue since I wasn’t exactly looking to eat straight tallow, instead using it to craft other things. Thing is, its crazy value ended up becoming part of whatever food recipe it was used in. Things like pemmican, leaving me with tallow-crafted pemmican giving me some crazy food value in the thousands while lard-crafted pemmican gave me perhaps one fifth of that value. Seriously, I could be starving and not be able to finish one portion of pemmican without becoming full. I like how different ingredients lend different nutritional values to the finished product, but this just seems off.


That might be a good point. Lard is rendered fat so I would think it would have more calories than tallow since tallow is fat and water.

Then again you also make cracklins as a byproduct of tallow. So that could explain the discrepancy.


Yeah, but that’s more an argument that the pasta extruder should be a book-learned recipe.


Lathe being a thing is tied in with the machine shop ideas of making fixed machinery good enough that a survivor can make pre-cataclysm level gear. Its an idea that has been tossed around for a little while, but to my knowledge no one has wanted to take on making a mod for factories and factory equipment, and kevin hasn’t heard a varient of the idea well enough thought out and balanced he considered good enough to be a project goal.

I can see the lathe being simple enough to be doable without a full factory, but not to the level of being able to make anything more useful than a baseball bat. At least not without a full machining factory setup being crafted in the process of making the lathe feasible for more extensive projects…


After updating past the version I was using, the problem seems to have gone away, so it more-than-likely was just a math error making the tallow that valuable.
edit: dipped my toes into reddit to confirm
72 votes and 36 comments so far on Reddit

ah. there was a bug where a certain value didn’t get saved, causing the calories in crafted things to jump. i suggest updating the game. I don’t know what build that fix was put in.


You should be able to start with a lathe, and use it to build a better lathe. While I believe there are a lot of things that should be out of the reach of a single survivor or a small basecamp, a decent lathe isn’t one of them. A lathe adequate to rifle a gun’s barrel is 17th century technology and doens’t require unreasonable amounts of motive power or manufacturing precision.


I’m 100% on board with a metal lathe being constructable (detail here, metal lathes and wood lathes are very different things, wood lathes are very imporoviseable). It just needs the chain of requirements (furnace, crucible, casting, filing etc) researched and incorporated into the involved recipes, because it is very much not a trivial thing to do.

Also, be aware that the expected balance point for bootstrapping a machine shop is somewhere between, “this is a ridiculous thing to do, but we’re going to add it because it’s cool” and “there are some very contrived scenarios where this makes sense since you’ve eliminated all the alternatives”, so I fully expect bootstrapping from scrap to a functional machine shop to take a month or more of crafting time, not counting skill gain and scavenging.


While it might take a while to craft, there are places that we could justify putting intact pieces of requirement. Regional schools for example might have a machine shop - my high school did for instance. While giving the player a fully kitted out machine shop is probably too much, leaving one or two pieces of equipment in usable state seems reasonable.

Or labs for a fully kitted one, as that would make some degree of sense.