Friday, May 3, 2013

Inventory Management & Encumbrance in Older D&D

This replaces the encumbrance rules in Men & Magic


All mundane portable storage containers that are strapped to, looped around or otherwise attached to a PC are either small containers or large containers.

Large Containers are things like backpacks or large sacks (think Santa). Outside of exotic PC origins (PC's body is especially suited to hauling large loads), a given PC cannot carry more than two large containers currently in use (ie, have stuff in them). [+Talysman the Ur-Beatle has pointed out that this limitation is pretty much extraneous. Good point.]

Small Containers are things like scroll cases, belt loops, bandoliers, braces, ammo pouches and quivers. PCs can have any number of these containers on them.

Items stored in Small Containers are regularly vulnerable  to wear and ruin from exposure to the elements but are easier to get at while the PC is under duress.

[I don't really care for "small container," "large container" as top level terminology. I normally use in-diegesis terminology when playing with this system ("large containers" becomes "backpacks or large sacks" for example). If anyone has a suggestions for different top level terminology, let me know, please.]


If the PC isn't under duress (ie, she's got a turn to look for, find and use the thing) then

the player can simply have her PC use the item "as normal"*

If the PC is under duress (ie, less than a turn to act or the action might be contested) then:

  • she can use anything in a Small Container as normal
  • for the PC to use as normal something stored in a Large Container without spending a round looking for it, the player must roll a 1 in 6. It's found the next round if the roll isn't successful.

*"As normal" means that the usual rules apply: the PC being able to access the item has to make sense.


Anything equipped, readied for immediate use or stored in a Small Container is vulnerable to circumstantial damage, impairment or destruction. 

It can get wet and ruined, it can be crushed in combat, dissolved by magic or ooze, etc. This happens in two situations:

  1. The moment (ie, round/turn, whichever is the applicable metric) a PC who has recently taken damage is now no longer in immediate jeopardy (ie, the round after the PC has fallen in a pit or the round following the end of combat).
  2. The second* turn/round a PC has been in an environment that might prove immediately dangerous to things exposed (highly acidic cave vent; very hot, moist jungle; fording/swimming a river, etc). The GM decides whether an environmental is so dangerous.

In either situation, the player rolls a d6. On a 2 an item is damaged, broken or lost. On a 1 two items are damaged broken or lost. The player chooses which item(s) are gone. Failure to choose in a timely manner (like, ten seconds), means the GM chooses for you (or the GM lets dice decide). It's the GM's call to describe what happened to the item.

NB: Things in Large Containers are still vulnerable, just that they aren't regularly vulnerable. If the context makes sense (ie, you fall into a pool and are submerged, if you fall and land on your backpack) then the contents of a Large Container are subject to the same hazard.

*or sixth, your call.


Players are expected to manage what is stored where on their PC. When trying to use a readily available item, the player should be prepared to demonstrate to the GM that the item is readily available. Players should also be prepared to show what items are readied to the GM when their PC is placed in a vulnerable position. Players need not differentiate between which Small Container an item has been stored (ie, I don't care if it's hanging off your belt or its in a small sack hanging off a bandolier or you've got it shoved in your sleeve, I just want to know if its available for immediate use and therefore regularly vulnerable).

picture: Prophet #21 B. Graham & S. Roy

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.