It is surprising how little that does to answer the question. If it wasn't important enough to notice and freak about earlier instances, then why is it important enough to freak out about this instance?
reminder to keep it civil and to remember not everyone will agree with you, so there is no need to get mad about that.
Here's my thoughts on this, Sean is an unexperienced guest, who's new to DnD (as I've understood it). So I'm going to cut him some slack, he does not know better and since he's a temp guest "for fun" Adam propably has also cut him some slack.
Now if our core member creates a Ranger next (they'll die, they always do), THEN, I expect them to follow the rules.
Arrows are not hard to make. Seriously, all you need is a short rest and an experienced bowman would have 2 more arrows.
Salvaging resources for arrows is not difficult. You need brances or sticks, feathers or sturdy jungle leaves, small rocks and a whetstone.
Most DM's don't make swordmen maintain their swords, or spearmen maintain their spears (which would break every other fight, altough this is not accounted for in the rules).
I see no reason for why a player should be more vigilanr about their weapon just because they choose to be ranged. Ammunition for a bow is extremely simple to make, it shouldn't be such a cumbersome responsibility on the player to keep track of. Just assume the badass warrior player character is on top of his/her shit, unlike the actual player.
We do this in so many things when playing D&D. Why are arrows such a weird deviation?
Apparently because the rules say otherwise and better late than never to start following them.
I see it as maintaining the ability to fight as whole. Player characters are most of the time heroes that should be able to maintain their needs or they wouldn't really be that heroic. Any ranger worth a sack of salt needs to be able to make some kind of an arrow. Much like casters can have a component pouch (PHB p. 151) for their spells and they don't need to gather any extra ingredients after the first purchase. They just go about their business and collect extra stuff on the go.
It certainly wasn't a rule for Sean as Adam was hot on him for using up nearly all his bolts.
I really really dislike that JP's character is magic/skilled enough to reload crossbows instantly (while running around, being attacked, doing other things), but not magic/skilled enough to carry enough bolts to support this.
Arrows/bolts should be like torches. You have enough in the beginning to not worry about the supply for multiple dungeons. At which point you can restock so cheaply that it isn't worth talking about.
A sword is a weapon system.
A bow and arrow is a weapon system.
A bow without arrows is a stick. A dull blade is a metal stick.
Does that help you visualize how buying arrows is the same as sharpening a sword?
In my campaign we track ammo using dice. It's a bit different, a bit weird and probably not balanced but it's worked really well in our campaign.
Basically every time you take a shot, you roll a die. So starting with a full quiver you roll 1d20. On a roll of 2-20 you lose no arrows, on a 1 you drop down 1 die tier. So then you'd roll 1d12 for every shot, dropping down again on a 1, repeat until you roll a 1 on a d4 and that's when you are completely out of arrows/shots.
Our ranger has run out of arrows a couple times but generally this allows him to go much longer without having to constantly track his ammo/worry about refilling. Worst case scenario you roll a 1 on every die and that would result in only 6 shots but the chances are so low of that it's not an issue.
I like that the lower the die, the higher chance of running out sooner is, so it puts a bit of urgency on the player without them having to think "oh I only have 5 shots left cause that's how many arrows I have" so it becomes "I'm rolling a d4 so I could run out at any moment so I should make these shots count". Magic arrows are counted individually.
Of course this method might seem super overpowered because it means a ranged weapon may not run out of arrows for a LONG time if they roll well but generally our ranged weapon users run out when it seems reasonable. I just know we all hate tracking ammo and this solution has worked wonders for us in our game although it's not for everyone.
As this is quite a blast from the past in terms of forum posts, i'd like to add that as of now, i have started counting monster arrows. Players tend to be tough enough and armored so highly that they can get shot 20 times by bunch of goblins from the dark and not break a sweat.
Tho, i still don't require players counting their arrows but few do now that i do it too for monsters.
Sorry my fault! Been reading up on all posts to pass time at work
I usually just count the rounds. If it's been 20 rounds, all active monster archers have no more arrows.
If a player is actively playing ranged on an encounter but he didn't track his ammo, I use the same concept, then I divide by 2 to determine recovered arrows.
For a single combat? How many combat encounters do you run where they last for twenty rounds?
Hence, monsters usually never run out of ammo, and when looting comes I have an idea how many arrows players can loot.
I did have a lizardfolk nest encounter that lasted a while. Though I'm not sure if that reached 20 rounds, I just remember a spiritual weapon's duration ended mid-encounter.
I'm not sure if you've seen Roll20's show, but Adam totally had to track the Manticores' tail spikes. They definitely ran out. Although there was also a long rest which regenerated them too.
That's because a manticore has specifically 24 tail spikes. Hence, monsters "usually" never run out of ammo.
I thought of something that surprisingly wasn't brought up.
If you gave archers unlimited arrows, they might try to do something cheesy like use their new power to build a house of arrows! It would be like if the cantrips weren't extremely clear about their limitations.