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"Inventory Slot" system in a "Survival Mode" game?


Homebrew


New campaign details for context:

I'm just starting a Pathfinder campaign with two close mates wherein we each play one of three evil drow brothers who have just been exiled from their Underdark city when it falls to an assault by a illithids and their multitudinous thralls. The idea is that as we're all about to get turned into driders (having been cut loose from our family after a botched assassination attempt on the war leader of a rival house), the illithids attack. The sacrifice of our PCs is interrupted, and between all the globes of darkness and the fwooping of mind blasts, the PCs escape into the drider tunnels - with nothing but the equipment they managed to loot from a single drow mook on the way out. The idea is, Underdark scavengers. Living off Nature's bounty, such as it is in the Underdark, able to buy virtually nothing.

Having played games like Baldur's Gate, Resident Evil and Diablo, we're all familiar with the "Inventory Slot" system, and having played that first session, we're contemplating coming up with a similar thing for this. Actually, as I'll be GMing it 95% of the time (the other two have reluctantly agreed to run the odd session to let me not GM), I'm quite happy with standard encumbrance rules (albeit enforced strictly by the book, which I rarely do). However, the others are keen to explore this idea, so here I am :)

Actual question: Has anyone ever used a slot system for gear with PF? I'm both canvassing for ideas, and keen to hear anecdotes on how successful/entertaining/fun it was.

Cheers in advance!


How is your slot system distinct from magical item slots that already exist? Or the optional piecemeal armor rules?


Whale_Cancer wrote:
How is your slot system distinct from magical item slots that already exist? Or the optional piecemeal armor rules?

The general idea would be that unequipped items require slots too. So maybe a backpack provides six slots for unequipped items. A regular book might take up one slot, while a spell book may take up 4.

That kind of thing. Weight encumbrance is still tracked, and a factor, but so are slots for the way you store unequipped items.

Does that make sense?

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'd strongly advice against implementing such a mechanic. Unless you start out with a huge list of 'slots' different items use, it will probably be frustratingly abstract (why does my knife take up the same space as your book? Couldn't I just slide it in besides the other objects?, Can't I keep the tinderbox within the pot so it won't use up an additional slot?) or become a topic of endless debate. Just use common sense in regard to bulky items (sorry, the third set of plate armor is to much to carry around in the same backpack).


feytharn wrote:
I'd strongly advice against implementing such a mechanic. Unless you start out with a huge list of 'slots' different items use, it will probably be frustratingly abstract (why does my knife take up the same space as your book? Couldn't I just slide it in besides the other objects?, Can't I keep the tinderbox within the pot so it won't use up an additional slot?) or become a topic of endless debate. Just use common sense in regard to bulky items (sorry, the third set of plate armor is to much to carry around in the same backpack).

I'd be quite happy not to use it, as you say.

But my players seem to want it, so I'm investigating the idea. Indeed, if this thread generates nothing but negative feedback, I'll quite happily take that to my players and suggest we don't do it :)

Also, it must be noted, I don't have such a system devised yet. I'm only in the very first stages of considering it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think it could end up getting a little cumbersome to track. And you would have to go through every item in the game and figure out what kind of 'slots' it takes up. Then there are things like, is there a difference in the slots between a backpack and a belt pouch? What about a bandolier? What about items that could theoretically be bound to the outside of a container (like a bedroll tied to the bottom of a backpack). As feytharn mentioned how do you account for the really wide variety of items size and shape? Can you really only carry 6 potion vials in a backpack because they each take up a 'slot'? What happens when magic comes into play? How many slots does a bag of holding have? Do you really want to be tracking it when it gets to that point?

I think item slots are a really gamist mechanic and I personally wouldnt like them, but then again, short of sheer weight I generally dont worry about how people are carying things in my game. So do as you and your group want, but just keep in mind this will be alot of work, OR you will have some very odd situations on your hands.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Consider mine the first drop for the flood then ;-)


Inventory management puzzles are pretty annoying in online and console games. It would annoy the hell out of me if I had to use such a system. I think it adds a level of complication and bookkeeping which is unnecessary, as several above posters stated.

That said, you'll probably want to go "graphic" with it for scale and so on, like Neverwinter Nights, just to get the framework going for putting it into text form. Roughly "40 slots" (like NWN); a potion might take 1 slot, an extra quiver 3 slots, a tome or book 2 slots, etc - all based on relative size.

Hope that helps.


I'm detecting a theme here - which is pleasing me immensely :)

Thanks for the feedback so far, folks.


Use a piece of wide lined graph paper, and cut out a piece with the appropriate amount of squares.

It will make tracking slots easier.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Do a search for encumbrance by 'stones'. I saw it somewhere, once. Possibly an OSR blog.

The basic idea is that you can carry stones of weight = strength. Weapons are 1-2, armor is 1-4, and lighter objects like paper we don't care about.

Any more complicated than that, and yeah, it's more math than fun.


maybe this thread can address your concern with a different method.

i printed it out and gave it to my players but we have yet to do the actual trek across the desert...

The Overland Round


Each item already costs a slot. That slot is called.. weight.

If your PC's persist and demand to use some weird slot system then just convert 1 slot = 1 lb and allow fractional slots. ( so multiple items that weigh less than 1lb could all fit into 1 slot until 1lb was reached.)

Then all you have to do is figure out the weight capacity of containers to know how many slots it contained, give an abstract of X by Y by Z slots to account for dimensions and go from there.

Of course, this doesn't account for actual volume but then again RPG type game slot inventories don't ever account for volume anyway.
(why yes, that plate mail is 4x3 and you can certainly fit 4 of of them into your backpack with 8 longswords 2 longbows and 3 spears. The flap even closes!)

As for what is "gained" by doing this..
err.
nothing?

But if its what they want, it should work simply enough to not be a headache for you to setup initially.

-S


rainzax wrote:

maybe this thread can address your concern with a different method.

i printed it out and gave it to my players but we have yet to do the actual trek across the desert...

The Overland Round

That's very cool! Thanks!


I'm sort of toying around with a slot system idea myself. I've always hated the amount of bookkeeping involved with tracking encumbrance, but if I don't, it always seems like everyone has bags of holding when they don't. Usually I just sigh and accept this fact, but I'm toying around with this idea.
You have a number of item slots that directly corresponds to your strength score (14 Strength = 14 slots). One-handed weapons take up 1 slot and two-handed take up 2. Worn armor and clothing takes up no slot. Other items are based on how many hands it would take to lift. If you could pick it up with 1 hand, then it is 1 slot, and if it would take both then it takes up 2. Certain items will add slots, some of which will restrict what type of items can go it those slots. For example, a backpack will take up 1 slot since it can be lifted with one hand, but add 6. Meanwhile a potion bandoleer will take up one slot, and add 10 for potions only. Then there is the common sense rule. If you can't store something on your person in some fashion that makes sense, no, you can't take it. There are no medium or heavy loads.
At first glance this may seem just as or even more complicated than the current encumbrance system, but for me at least, it is a lot easier to keep track of from the ease of making on-the-fly judgments about how many slots an item takes up.


I'd run it with the normal carrying capacity, but if they wanted to get fancy, they could make sure they know the capacity limit of each container they have.

For example, a standard backpack weighs 2 lbs and can hold 2 cubic feet of items. If cubic feet don't work for you, try using lbs. If a standard backpack can hold up to 8 lbs of items (pulled from d20 modern) and is a small item itself, you know you can store up to 8 lbs of items in a standard backpack, so long as those items are at least one size category smaller than the backpack.

So, all you have to do is take each container (backpack, belt pouch, or chest) and figure out how much it weighs, what size the container is, and how much weight the container can store. The container can safely store any item whose weight does not exceed the remaining weight available for the container and whose size is at least one category smaller than the container. So long as the characters in question can carry the container + contents in weight they should be fine.

In addition, you could add item descriptors such as bulky or long to denote items that count as being one size category larger than normal for purposes of storing in containers, such as scroll cases.


Thanks for the ideas Ivan and Pheoran - I'll point my players to this thread and we'll discus it. I'm still leaning towards just using common sense, but they both take a particularly gamist approach, and seem to have this rosy nostalgic idea of inventory slots... Sigh.


Pheoran Armiez wrote:

I'd run it with the normal carrying capacity, but if they wanted to get fancy, they could make sure they know the capacity limit of each container they have.

For example, a standard backpack weighs 2 lbs and can hold 2 cubic feet of items. If cubic feet don't work for you, try using lbs. If a standard backpack can hold up to 8 lbs of items (pulled from d20 modern) and is a small item itself, you know you can store up to 8 lbs of items in a standard backpack, so long as those items are at least one size category smaller than the backpack.

So, all you have to do is take each container (backpack, belt pouch, or chest) and figure out how much it weighs, what size the container is, and how much weight the container can store. The container can safely store any item whose weight does not exceed the remaining weight available for the container and whose size is at least one category smaller than the container. So long as the characters in question can carry the container + contents in weight they should be fine.

In addition, you could add item descriptors such as bulky or long to denote items that count as being one size category larger than normal for purposes of storing in containers, such as scroll cases.

My fading memories of middle and high school tell me my standard backpack can hold up to 50lb's of books and folders. :)

Because apparently every single one of my 7 classes has to assign bookwork each night.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

I would agree with the others and say that inventory management is annoying video games, and it's going to be all the more annoying calculating it by hand in a table top game.

But if you are going to try it, I'd dig up 3.0 resources (including d20 Modern where it could be helpful) and check item sizes. Items used to have a size -- a potion was Tiny, a dagger was Small, a longsword was Medium. For weapons, basically the size was that if a Medium creature could hold the weapon in one hand easily, it was a Medium size weapon. A weapon half that size was Small (but would have been a normal one-handed weapon for a Small creature). You could go back to appointing item sizes, and then from there assign slots -- a Small item is 1 slot, Medium 2, Large 4, Tiny is half a slot, Diminutive is a quarter of a slot, and Fine is an eighth. That would at least provide a set system for determining how many slots a given item takes up.

Alternately, if you have lots of time on your hands, make item colorforms and a graphical backpack for people to arrange them in. ;)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Pheoran Armiez wrote:

I'd run it with the normal carrying capacity, but if they wanted to get fancy, they could make sure they know the capacity limit of each container they have.

For example, a standard backpack weighs 2 lbs and can hold 2 cubic feet of items. If cubic feet don't work for you, try using lbs. If a standard backpack can hold up to 8 lbs of items (pulled from d20 modern) and is a small item itself, you know you can store up to 8 lbs of items in a standard backpack, so long as those items are at least one size category smaller than the backpack.

I always thought d20 modern's calculations for what various containers could carry were way low.

For example, this standard backpack looks like from its dimensions it can hold a heck of a lot more than 2 cubic feet or 8 lbs of material... it doesn't actually give a weight breakdown but still.


Actually make it a puzzle. Make pentominoes and 4 and 3 square equivalents and assign each item a corresponding size of 3-5 the first time the party encounters it. Then for each instance of the item pick a shape from a hat and write the item on it. Very gamist and a better puzzle than Diablo had.


Don't reinvent the wheel. Chances are, if you're thinking about it, someone else has also thought about it.

possible solution


@JTibbs and DeathQuaker: I agree d20 Modern containers don't reflect actual carrying capacities, but I used it as a suggestion anyway, just to show how it might work. I wholeheartedly recommend restating containers to show a more realistic "capacity" for items.

I remember junior high school, too.


DeathQuaker wrote:
Pheoran Armiez wrote:

I'd run it with the normal carrying capacity, but if they wanted to get fancy, they could make sure they know the capacity limit of each container they have.

For example, a standard backpack weighs 2 lbs and can hold 2 cubic feet of items. If cubic feet don't work for you, try using lbs. If a standard backpack can hold up to 8 lbs of items (pulled from d20 modern) and is a small item itself, you know you can store up to 8 lbs of items in a standard backpack, so long as those items are at least one size category smaller than the backpack.

I always thought d20 modern's calculations for what various containers could carry were way low.

For example, this standard backpack looks like from its dimensions it can hold a heck of a lot more than 2 cubic feet or 8 lbs of material... it doesn't actually give a weight breakdown but still.

Said backpack has a stated capacity of 1551.2 cubic inches, which is slightly less than .9 cubic feet.

Thats a fairly small backpack though, fit more for a young child than a teenager or adult. It says it could fit 2-3 textbooks. Mine in highschool could fit 6 (unfortunately).

1551.1 cubic inches full of paper (standardized density of .04 pounds per cubic inch) is slightly more than 62 pounds.

(for paper density: http://www.aqua-calc.com/page/density-table/substance/paper-coma-and-blank- standard)

A real backpack would probably be ~1.5 cubic feet, and could carry around 80 pounds, though not comfortably unless it had a frame.


Am I the only one who thought minecraft


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

It sounds like your players are looking forward to a simple system using inventory slots.

I say Go For It. Give them the standard Diablo 2 40 slots. Use the same small/medium/big & wide/narrow mechanics of Diablo for weapons and armor. Let ammo stack up the same (though maybe to 100, not 350). Even give them a potion belt for move-action potion draws.

If you want to get fancy - print out the inventory, provide gluesticks, and paper cut-outs of items they find. Or just pencils and let them draw in the items.


Just steal directly from the Diablo games. Wouldn't even take much work.


considering most people outside doing serious things, and not going to high school, would carry a rucksack and not a back pack. I have carried rucks weighing upwards of 60 pounds. An adventurer with an average intelligence score would know how to pack one (the heavier stuff goes on top so you dont slip a disk) especially a character with a background in some kind of military. Im just saying using a backpack as something an adventurer would have is just silly. Even though i know thats how its listed in the core rule book. Just use encumbrance rules, since its already a system in place. If they want slots, just have backpacks can hold 50 pounds of gear seeing as there are endless possibilities on how to pack one. If they want the "realism" of having limited supplies, make sure no one can cast create food/water, and then only have a backpack hold 15 handheld items or 50 pounds, whichever comes first. Seems reasonable. Then ask how characters deal with other things. Like for instance they can tie the rope around their bodies, therefore eliminating the need to place it in the rucksack, er, backpack. It seems like they want a lot of roleplaying. And then to really make things real have spells like fireball and shocking grasp and other evocation spells that deal damage to a character be able to effect gear. Cuz seriously, how does a flamestrike cast from a hopped up cleric not ruin someones mundane water skin? Or acid breathed from an ancient black dragon not ruin everything thats not magically protected and is mundane?


Also if i was playing i wold just use my slots for bags of holding. Therefore rendering slots completely useless. So you would have to ace those out of the equation as well.


when designing stuff you gotta think like a character. Then and only then can you plan for characters.


Have a look at Torchbearer RPG.

It definitely has the most fun take on inventory rigor that I have read.

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