Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Armor and Inventory

You've already seen most of these rules in some form or another, but I wanted to write them all down here because GODDAMMIT encumbrance and helmet-scavenging don't have to be complex and they can even be fucking FUN.


You have a number of inventory slots equal to your Strength score.  So, if you have Str 13, you can carry 13 things.  (This may seem low, but I don't like to think of adventurers clanking around like thrift stores or hoarding newspapers like old ladies.  Leave the rolled-up paintings on the donkey.)

If this your inventory slots are exceeded by 1-5 items, you are halfway encumbered (you struggle to swim  and move a little slower).  If this number is exceeded by 6-10 items, you are fully encumbered (you sink like a stone and move at half speed). If you want to carry more than that, you're just staggering around, like a dude trying to carry all his groceries from the car in one trip.

A number of your inventory slots are fast inventory, equal to half of your Dexterity score.  These are items that you can reach instantly--hanging from your belt, in a scabbard, whatever.  Draw a box on your character sheet (top of the inventory, maybe) to indicate this.  So, if you have Dex 11, you have 5 items that you can draw/use at a moments notice.  Everything else is in your backpack, and takes 1d6 rounds to dig out, or 2d6 rounds if you want to avoid scattering shit all over the floor.

You can buy a fancy backpack that gives you +2 inventory slots, or you can buy a fancy bandoleer that gives you +1 fast inventory, but you can't wear both at the same time.  Your players will be fighting over who gets the pocketed belt and it will be awesome.

Armor takes up slots equal to its contribution, so full plate (+6 AC) takes up a whopping six slots.

Huge items (i.e. polearms) take up two slots.

Bundled items (i.e. daggers) can be carried in bundles of three, and must be small enough that you could pick up a trio of them using only one hand.

Packs of items (i.e. potions or scrolls) can be carried in packs of ten, and must be small enough that you can pick ten of them using only one hand.


Light Armor (i.e. leather) give you +2 AC.
Heavy Armor (i.e. full plate) gives you +6 AC.
. . . Stats for medium armor are proprietary, and will be released in a later appendix.

Players can buy/handle armor in those terms, or they can deal with. . .

Modular armor is easy.  Just assign a value to each piece of armor and let 'em add the pieces up.  Since other factors are derived from the +AC total, a player can add and discard as much or as little armor as they want.  These are just baselines.

Helmet +1 AC

Leather Jacket +1 AC
Plate Shirt (Breastplate) +2 AC

Steel Gauntlets +1 AC

Leather Pants +1 AC
Plate Pants +2 AC

I know I didn't put shoes on there, but I figure they give benefits that are useful but still not huge enough to warrant an AC improvement.  Iron shoes let you run on caltrops but soft leather ones let you sneak.  Any shoe at all will give you save when you step on horrible flesh-eating slime.  So boots are worth wearing even though they don't give +AC.

Anything else, adjudicate.  If your player wants an AC improvement from wearing wolf head pauldrons and a loincloth, practice saying yes.  That's worth at least +1 AC.  Just remember that no combination of normal, boring armor can exceed +6 AC.  I recommend making leather very cheap, and plate shirts and pants very expensive.

Armor Penalties

If you have +3-4 AC, you are halfway encumbered (as above).
If you have +5 or more AC, you are fully encumbered (as above).
Magical bonuses don't count towards these penalties.
These penalties overlap (not stack) with the ones from carrying too much inventory.

Scavenging Armor

Since armor is now modular, scavenging it is likewise easy.  But before you start trying on every snot-encrusted goblin helmet you find (holy crap I can't believe it fits you, you've got a seriously tiny head), it would be behoove you to learn about

Armor Quality

Crappy armor loses a point of AC whenever you take a critical hit.  (It breaks.)
Average armor has a 50% chance to lose an point of AC when you take a critical hit.
Masterwork armor has a 1-in-6 chance to lose a point of AC when you take a critical hit.
Magic armor is masterwork armor that can't be damaged by normal stuff (only demons/magic swords.)

Most breaks and tears can be mended by a blacksmith.

This Picture I Found

Explain it to me.


  1. I love the encumbrance slots idea. So simple and playable.

  2. Performance artist Nick Cave:

  3. If I ever wanted to actually take the time to track encumbrance and inventory this seems like a good system. I like that by limiting the amount of slots people actually have to think about and prioritize what they will lug around.

    I currently just roll with a "whatever seems reasonable" encumbrance system. If it occurs to me that the PC's have a ridiculous amount of stuff and the logistics of moving that stuff adds an extra, fun dimension to play I will bring it up. Other wise worrying about encumbrance and inventory just isn't worth my time. If players describe how there going to lug a ridiculous big thing out of the dungeon and it's vaguely plausible I'm cool with that. If they have a mule they can carry lots of stuff, if they have 2 mules and a hireling, they can carry a million stuff.

    That all said, for a resource focused game, where I DID want to worry about encumbrance, this is the way I would do it.

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  5. Great system!

    Didn't I see that pic in a photo essay on European shamanism? Maybe I'm misremembering things ...

  6. Those are kukeri, representative of Bulgarian divinities of protection and fertility. The kukeri scare off evil spirits.

  7. I like this a lot. Thanks for posting.

  8. Those are folk costumes representing some sort of wildmen or demons, the folk stories and tradtions they are tied to stretch accross the indo-european world. I thnk those are babugari (sp?). I suppose they'd be 5 equipment slots.