There are reasons to keep track of encumbrance and lighting and rations. If you don't, PCs with 8 strength can carry every weapon they find on a dead enemy forever, anybody can chuck endless flaming lamp oil at monsters, and nobody ever has to kill a bugbear for meat. You can't run a survivalist-style session if you don't.
But it is boring.
In the middle of writing a comment to Jeff's post on the subject, I had an idea.
Basically, tie checks for "maintenance" stuff to things that will happen at the table anyway. A table specific to your table. Basically, you make a drinking game out of the actual sitcom of your gaming group.
This is mad old school, since it injects some of that player skill rather than character skill into PC survival.
Mine would go like this...
One of the following things happens to the PC...
-PC's lamp or torch goes out.
-PC must roll a strength check or be exhausted by the amount of stuff s/he is carrying.
-PC must roll a con check or get debilitatingly hungry (-1 on things) until s/he eats.
Every time that PC's player does any of these things in a non-combat stiuation...
-Rolls a fumble in a non-combat check that otherwise would have no consequences.
-Drops dice, minis, or any game-material on the floor.
-Idly leafs throught the PHB looking for stuff their PC wil be able to do once she levels up.
-Texts at the table.
-Talks about her (real life) pet--or anyone else's.
Whether you tell your players you're doing this is entirely up to you. In my case, I guess I just did.
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