I am planning on building my first ranger ever, and I was wondering about the Natural Explorer feature. One of its benefits when in your favored terrain is:

When you forage, you find twice as much food as you normally would.

The Outlander background's Wanderer feature (PHB, p. 136) states:

In addition, you can find food and fresh water for yourself and five other people each day, provided that the land offers berries, small game, water, and so forth.

Would these features stack so that theoretically a Ranger outlander (in their favored terrain) can find enough food and water for more than the 6 people, up to 12? Would the ranger only have to forage every two days?


3 Answers 3


Rules As Written they probably don't work together, so ask your GM

The rules on "Foraging" (DMG page 111) state:

Characters can gather food and water as the party travels at a normal or slow pace. A foraging character makes a Wisdom (Survival) check whenever you call for it, with the DC determined by the abundance of food and water in the region...

A foraging character finds nothing on a failed check. On a successful check, roll 1d6 + the character's Wisdom modifier to determine how much food (in pounds) the character finds, then repeat the roll for water (in gallons).

Certainly the Ranger's Natural Explorer feature would apply here:

When you forage, you find twice as much food as you normally would.

But the Outlander Background's Wanderer feature states:

In addition, you can find food and fresh water for yourself and five other people each day, provided that the land offers berries, small game, water, and so forth.

The question now is "Does the Wanderer feature count as foraging?"

Foraging is defined (and only mentioned) in sections talking about things to do while traveling. The Wanderer feature, however, has no such restriction, in fact, it never mentions a time-requirement or anything of the sort. Like many background features, it is not a very defined ability in terms of the game-rules.

Though searching for food is certainly similar to the common English sense of the word "forage" the DMG specifically defines the process of foraging and it does not seem that the Outlander's feature follows these same rules, so I would say it is does not count as foraging.

Ultimately, there aren't rules set forth for how the Wanderer's food finding ability works, it seems like it just happens whereas foraging, as defined in the rules, involves a Wisdom (Survival) check.

The Wanderer feature does not follow the same rules as foraging (or really any rules) so it would be up to your GM to decide whether it counts as foraging

  • \$\begingroup\$ Also important to note that the party will need enough water storage for this :) Finding water and carrying it can be two different things (especially in a survival campaign where this might be important.) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 16, 2019 at 23:55

Yes. The outlander can find food for 6 "normally" so a natural explorer doubles that to 12.

That would be a plain reading of the descriptions given.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Paladin54, welcome to rpg.se! Take the tour and visit the help center for more information. I believe this answer is correct but could use some additional support. See this meta for ways to support this kind of answer. Good luck and happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin
    Sep 17, 2019 at 1:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome Paladin54! Please take our tour when you get the chance to learn more about how this site works. Can you explain about your answer more? Specifically you might think your interpretation is an easy natural reading, but clearly OP doesn't otherwise they wouldn't have asked. So explaining more (and referencing the specific parts of the rules that support your reading) is going to make this answer much much better. Feel free to edit your answer to improve it as much as you can! \$\endgroup\$ Sep 17, 2019 at 1:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose I don't think it's a case of the OP not Seeing this as A plain reading, but rather that a natural reading of the rules is not the one typically used on the Internet when it comes to fifth edition-- people will typically try and find a way to disallow plain readings of the rules when those readings would result in absurd consequences or bonuses for player characters. I would suggest that the answer, rather than argue that this is a plain reading of the rules, argue that using a plain leading of the rules is a good epistemology. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 17, 2019 at 1:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer that would certainly work as well! My only point is that this answer needs a bit more support and meat (IMO) for it to be truly useful. Any way they want to do that would obviously be fine. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 17, 2019 at 1:20

Probably not, but ask your DM.

In 5th Edition, similar effects don't tend to stack.

Combining Spells:

The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don't combine, however.

Temporary Hit Points:

If you have temporary hit points and receive more of them, you decide whether to keep the ones you have or to gain the new ones.


Multiple instances of resistance or vulnerability that affect the same damage type count as only one instance.

There isn't a rule specifically dealing with the interaction between the Outlander background and Ranger's Natural Explorer ability but, using the precedents set above, it would be logical to conclude they are not meant to stack.

But this is interpretation of intent, not rules as written, so consult with the DM to see how s/he wants to play it.


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