Encumbrance and equipment

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Deprecated mechanic.png This article covers a deprecated game mechanic.

There are two main reasons why game mechanics become deprecated. They either have been fleshed out in more detail and became a full fledged proposal this way. Or they have been rejected in favour of other proposals and have been abandoned. Either way: deprecated game mechanics are no longer utilized by the mechanics department at this point.

This article covers how the encumbrance game mechanic should work in PARPG.

How much can a person carry? Well, a hell of a lot less that most computer games. What can be carried will be restricted both by weight and bulk. The combination of Effective Mass and Bulk are called a the character's Encumbrance. Each item carried must be "stowed" somewhere (belt, pouch, backpack, boot) or in-hand. You can carry a single two-handed item or two one handed items. I will be kind and say that you can do any basic "travel" or "skill" things no matter what you are carrying. Some locations or encounters may go better for you if you put your weapons away.


Bulk of Items

These go roughly on 3-to-1 scale. This is purely bulk, weight is totaled separately

  • Teensy (paper clip, coin, seed) - you are only limited by the total weight of these items, they are assumed to have zero bulk if they are in a container (possibly this could capped at a very large number like 10,000)
  • Tiny (bullet, AA battery, key)
  • Very Small (watch, pencil, pocket knife)
  • Small (hip flask, hand grenade, baseball, pack of cigarettes, large knife, small book, flare)
  • Medium (machete, pistol, first aid kit, large reference book, torch, 1 hit location worth of armor)
  • Large (1m sword, 1 handed axe, monkey wrench, large first aid kit, 3 hit locations worth of armor)
  • Very Large (rifle, crossbow, spear, shoulder bag, big tool kit, sleeping bag, sm. tent (2 person), 4-6 hit locations worth of armor)
  • Extremely Large (medium box, back pack, watermelon, >6 locations worth of armor)
  • Huge - (large chest, bicycle, major appliance) these things cannot be carried for long distances, but can be moved.
  • Too Big - You cannot lift or move this alone

These can be scaled 0-9. If we really need it we can use decimals. If the examples above are not sufficient, I can put some real dimensions.

Inventory "slots"

In addition to hands, the following are places to carry things on a person:

  • 1 extremely large (or smaller) thing on your back (anything bigger than medium must be strapped like a back pack
  • 1 very large (or smaller) thing over each shoulder
  • 10 small + 1 large thing on belt (3 small = 1 medium thing)
  • 10 very small things in pockets
  • 1 small thing in each boot or strapped to leg

You cannot carry 3 very large things - both shoulders and 1 back. You can attach 1 large item to a single very large one "for free" (i.e, strap a crossbow to your backpack without using up backpacks' space). The above could be modified for extremely large or small body types (not yet defined)

Everything must be carried in a slot, or inside a container that is, itself, in a slot. The character might have some "excess" short term capacity to move something he is not officially carrying at the cost of some endurance or subdual damage (mechanic not yet defined)

Inventory Slots version II

Now, with added playability (to avoid Player having to "Tetris" his inventory - which we all agree is super annoying)

the player can have 1-2 items in hand (some items are two handed). These require zero action points/phases to "Ready" for use in combat or drop

The player has 7 "Prepared" Slots:
1 is Very Larger (or smaller)
2 are Large (or smaller)
1 is Medium (or smaller)
4 are small (for ammo clips, typically)

Things in "Prepared" slots can be readied in one phase or action (X action points). Should this require one hand free if you don't drop something?

These slots can be named - shoulder, belt, pockets etc. for added chrome but functionally it doesn't matter.

These slots can be drawn as 4 1x1 squares (small), 1 2x1 rectangle (med), 2 3x1 rectangle (large) and 1 4x1 rectangle (V. Large). Since this is a nice even number "16" units of bulk it can be easily arranged in the GUI.

Everything else the player has is "stowed". Items are either stowed in pockets or folds or whatever (abstractly - just a pool of space), or in a backpack. Backpacks can be either Large, Very large, or Extremely Large.

Lets give a small item 1 bulk. Very Small is .3, Tiny is .11. We could round those off to 1/4th or 1/10th (instead of 1/3 and 1/9th). Medium = 3, Large 9, V. Large 12, Ex. Large 36.

Instead of stowage factors for each item, we'll just double these numbers for Container capacity.

Extremely Large (this is like a full frame pack) backpack: 72
Very Large: 36
Large: 18
Medium: 9

PC should probably start with some size bag (medium?) - perhaps paying equipment points for a larger one at character creation.

So there very little tetrising. There are slots where you must place items you wish to be available in combat. Then the player has some "pool" of bulk carrying capacity of his pockets + backpack size. Pockets would basically be a constant, say 5 Add to this 9-36 for current backpack size. There would be no in game distinction between pockets/belt/shoulder/pack (most of the interesting ones are abstracted in the "Prepared" slots anyhow) Pack animals (including humans), sleds, wagons, and vehicles would just have a maximum bulk and weight, but would be a separate pool each (so that they can be stolen, or gifted, or traded). I think the barter interface should seamlessly access all these extra pools. This stuff could never be accessed in combat so there is no need for slots.

You should not really tetris the slots because it should be maximized for combat efficiency, not capacity. Now "should" is a funny word because I know the temptation to maximize carrying capacity can sometimes take on excessive importance in an RPG.

It might make sense to let the Player "save" certain "load outs" for his "Prepared slots". You could "instantly" switch load outs as long as you weren't in combat.

Mass/Weight is totaled separately. Well packed stuff will have reduced effective mass (Call it Stowage = 0.5)

Weight of Items

Items have mass equal to their weight in Kilograms. The total Effective Mass a character can carry is a function of his size and some "strength" stat (mechanic not yet defined). The character's own mass ratio (how fat they are) may influence this (mechanic not yet defined). Any item carried will have a "stowage factor" from 0.5-1 which represents how well it's packed. Stowage can be a function of the item itself, what it's carried in, or how it's carried by a character.

Effective Mass = Stowage X Mass

Something carried in your hand will have a Stowage of 1. Something perfectly stored and strapped to a person has a Stowage of 0.5 - for example, a holstered pistol . Clothing or armor that is WORN has a Stowage of 0.5. Putting a rifle on a shoulder strap has a Stowage of 0.75. Anything that fits in a backpack or bag has a Stowage of 0.6. Strapping an smaller object to a larger one (maximum 1 per larger object) - as in the crossbow/backpack example above has Stowage factor of 0.6. Other values are possible, to be added by designers.

Exceeding Encumbrance Capacity

You cannot exceed your "bulk slots" capacity. That's what hands are for. Drop what's in your hands, then do what you need do. Note that because of the "stowage" rule, if a player has "maxed" his encumbrance, he may cross a threshold when he (for example) draws a stored weapon (Stowage of that item goes from 0.5 or 0.6 to 1). The GUI should give a hint to a player that he needs to leave a buffer in his weight capacity (perhaps just take the 1/2 the mass of player's largest weapon or tool) You can temporarily exceed your Weight capacity - with penalties to agility type skills, endurance costs, and movement rate (exact mechanic not yet defined)

Container Items

Containers are things you put other things in. If you can carry the container, it's an Item that you put other Items in. The size of the container (use 1-8 of the Bulk scale above, although 8 is pretty useless) represents what it can carry. A very large back pack can contain 3 large, 9 medium, 27 small or 81 very small items.

Carts, Vehicles, and Beasts of Burden

The Player can use other things (including people) to carry stuff for him. They function pretty much like a person above, but with different set of slots, weight limit, and exceeding weight limit effects.

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