Different kit for different tasks, yes? Heck, I carry different stuff if I'm going to work or to the pub, never mind something more strenuous.
|Random image search picture showing more or less what I normally have in my pockets|
But what if you're doing all the things in that first list at the same time? In other words, what do you take with you if you're a dungeoneer in a fantasy roleplaying game? And how on earth do you carry it all while still being able to smite the ungodly(TM)?
One game approach is to handwave it all away - who wants to keep track, it's a game not an audit for a haulage company. Then all players look like this:
Go on, jump that chasm/climb that rope/crawl though that opening/run away/fight anything with all that gear on your back. I'll just sit here and roll you a new character to replace your dead one, shall I?
Another approach is that of Torchbearer, an RPG that gives the original Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay a run for its money in bringing about the deaths of its player characters in the most squalid and unedifying ways. Mostly, at lower levels anyway, dying of thirst or fainting of exhaustion and lack of food before being consumed by two elderly kobolds and their pet centipede, Gerald. In Torchbearer (which uses a version of the burning wheel mechanics), if you don't bring the right kit, you die, possibly from drinking foetid water as your flask runs dry.
I'd actually like to play in a Torchbearer game, but that's not part of today's post. No, this is more about how to GM a retroclone of early edition D&D (specifically Basic Fantasy RPG) so that encumbrance is a meaningful burden for the characters, but not burdensome for either GM or players. Furthermore, I want the parameters to
I decided to start in the real world to get an idea, then generalise, simplify, and round to the nearest whole number to get something workable. Here then, is the standard kit of a medieval foot slogger:
This photo is from a series of thirteen made by Thom Atkins that groups the kit carried by British soldiers between 1066 and recent deployments in Helmand Province. Aside from tiny but touching similarities (every picture contains a spoon), they give a good idea of battlefield essentials. More modern kits contain more of the survival type pieces a dungoneer might need, but the miniaturisation and stackability makes comparisons unhelpful. I'll have to think about backpacks for those bits.
Look at the picture for weapons, though, considering this is a man who has dressed specifically for battle - a dagger, a falchion, a bow. Yes he also has a knife for eating, and an axe for firewood or pointing archers' stakes, but he doesn't have ALL THE WEPPUNZ!
Nope, I'm not having that in my games!
Why fuss about this now? Well, partly it's because I'm getting more comfortable in my role as DM so I can start to see points that I'd like to tweak (merely weight counting doesn't cut it for me), and partly because we're shifting to BFRPG from Swords & Wizardry so character sheets are being updated anyway. I gathered them in last session and one player looks like he'd happily end up like the figure above if I don't stop things soon (Yes, Jean, I'm looking at you with your spare weapons and lute).
Fortunately, there is the internet! And unsurprisingly I'm not the first person to ponder this. I found a link and two character sheets that were pretty close to my initial way of thinking so I'll be merging them into a monstrous hybrid that will be hard-wired into the character sheets I'm sketching out, hopefully in a way that is intuitive but fulfils my brief.
The link - Rottenpulp (Anti-hammerspace) by Matt Rundle
And the character sheet layouts popped out on an image search that lead me into Reddit. I passed my saving throw and escaped, fortunately!