Some more teeth to the lifestyle rules, and as a result some talking about your brain on drugs.
To make this work, let’s talk Rations. Rations are your spell components, your food, your your torches, your arrows, your bandages and even your oil, but not your potions or scrolls. You consume a Ration of weight each night and time you short rest in the field, and refill them whenever you long rest in a town or go shopping.
Some terrains (deserts, arctic) may require specialty Rations beyond these.
In a dry desert you need to carry 8 pounds of water per person per day.
In a cold and barren environment, you need to carry 8 pounds of firewood per person per day.
While living at the wretched level, you do not have lightsources or rations except as acquired through play — including during a long rest! In particular, food and water must be explicitly acquired onscreen or you starve. Bright side, rations don’t weigh anything: you have 0.
Squalid 1 sp/day or Poor 2sp/day
You do not have any rations, but are capable of rests in your home base, once secured at this rate. If forced into adventure, you’re gonna have to acquire your goods on-screen.
Modest 1 gp/day
While living at the modest level, each ration weighs 4 lbs. Your light source is torches.
Comfortable 2 gp/day
While living at the comfortable level, each ration weighs 2 lbs. Your light source is an oil lamp.
Wealthy 4 gp/day or Aristocratic 10gp+/day
While living at the wealthy level or above, each ration weighs 1 lb. Your light source is a lantern of any type.
If your character is a burglar or similar, one who needs a hooded lantern but only when on the job: you need to spend the Wealthy rate for days when you adventure, but when not adventuring you can track your supplies at the lower level. I guess you could also mix-and-match light source stuff, but the whole point is to make each short rest cost an explicit slice of your weight allocation — and therefore reward high strength. So long story short, pretend the PHB didn’t mention oil flasks and 1sp, and suck it up and pay a ration for your adventuring needs.
Now, let’s talk about what else you can do with lifestyle expenses: vices.
A Vice is a source of comfort and joy for your character, though bad for the body (or the body politic). It represents a substance or activity of a slightly unwholesome nature, and one which can be so rewarding to your character that they continue to chase the dragon. Not all characters with a vice have a problem, but it is a constant temptation.
Addictions are rated on a scale: absent (0), minor (1), moderate (2), severe (5) and lethal (10). The number indicated by the descriptor is the addiction rating.
Multiply your lifestyle expenses by your addiction rating (except for absent — even without vices, you still have to pay lifestyle!). Thus absent and minor addictions don’t carry a gp cost.
On Psychological Addictions:
If your character’s tastes run to the slovenly trulls, substitute psychic damage for poison damage in the below, and switch the uses of wisdom and constitution below. Medicine cannot help you kick the habit but psychology can; substitute Persuasion. You’ll understand in a moment 😉
Trying a vice for the first time forces a DC 8 constitution save or acquire a minor addiction.
Once per session, you may agree to “binge” next time the opportunity exposes itself in order to give your character inspiration. In fiction, though things go well for them this time, the next time they find themselves at peace, their temporary relief leads to them chasing the dragon (so to speak).
Go partying and indulge your vice.
It requires half your current addiction rating in downtime days (minimum 1).
It deals a number of d4s of poison damage equal to your addiction rating (so abstention deals 0 damage, a moderate addiction 2d4 poison damage, and so forth). You are entitled to a DC 8 + addiction rating constitution save for half damage.
Your addiction scale increases by one (absent to minor, minor to moderate, etc).
Other than the lifestyle cost and temptation issues, an addiction doesn’t present an ongoing challenge to your character. They’re high functioning heroes, and we don’t generally die of old age. It’s perfectly reasonable to track each day spent under a moderate or worse addiction as 2, 5 or 10 days for purposes of aging rules. Since I don’t track those, I rely on the binge and recovery cycle to cause our heroes to OD and perish.
Avoid partying and indulgence for a number of days equal to your rating, and try to kick the habit.
You take a number of d6s of poison damage equal to your addiction rating (a current severe addiction deals 5d6 damage). You are entitled to a DC 8 + addiction rating wisdom save for half damage.
Make a DC 8 + addiction rating wisdom save at the end of the period to avoid the temptation to seek out your substance. If you succeed your addiction reduces by one step on the scale (major to moderate, and so forth). Anyone with a medicine check and restraints may substitute their medicine check for your wisdom save.
One last lifestyle hack: Hirelings and Organizations.
A CR 0 creature costs 2sp/day
A CR 1/8 creature costs 2gp/day
A CR 1/4 creature costs 4gp/day
A CR 1/2 creature costs 10gp/day
Mercenaries willing to go into a specific dungeon with you charge 30 days up front, renegotiated after each dungeon.
A small or medium creature eats 1 ration per day.
A large creature 4 rations.
A huge creature 16 rations.
A gargantuan creature 64 rations.
In the interests of simplicity, rations for hirelings are always 2lb, and they’re willing to share rations with their employer.
An organization provides a lifestyle equivalence and generally one or more staff — generally a level of lifestyle and the same value in hirelings, intended for use along the goals of the organization.