Thanks, Dewwy, for this suggestion.
Someone pointed out to me that when parties go on very long adventures far away from civilization, it’s not just food and light sources they can run out of, but arrows are also a limiting factor for how long they can go before having to return to resupply. But there’s always plenty of arrows around after a fight, many of which are still perfectly usable.
In D&D 3rd edition, there was a rule that all arrows are destroyed if they hit, and have a 50% chance to be recoverable on a miss. To that you’d have to add all the arrows still in the quivers of fallen enemies. I’ve never heard of anyone actually doing that because it’s just too fiddly to count the number of misses arrows that were fired, on the minor chance that a player actually cares to go looking for them. There’s a lot of such rules that are too fiddly for actual use that D&D has collected over the years. But here’s a very simple and easy alternative solution.
If PCs go collecting arrows after a fight, they recover 1d10 arrows for every archer involved in the fight.
It’s a complete abstraction, of course. But for something this minor, abstracting it is exactly the way to go. Those arrows might still be in the quiver of dead or captured archers. Some might stick in corpses or somewhere in the ground or trees. And a lot got broken on impact or disappeared into the undergrowth. 5.5. arrows on average per archer might be a bit low, but for the purpose of adventurers deep in the wilderness, we actually want arrows to seem like a limited resource. If there’s more around than the players would ever need, then there’d be no point in tracking them in the first place.
I also found out that someone who’s skilled at it can make a stone arrowhead in 15 minutes. It takes a bit more to make a complete arrow, so let’s say 2 arrow per hour. In a whole day of working, a character with the required skill could make 20 arrows, which just happens to be the default quiver size in most games I’ve seen. For my campaign, I’m thinking of treating stone arrows just like regular arrows, except that they use a die one size smaller to roll for damage.