Encumbrance and Inventory

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Accepted mechanic.png This article covers an accepted game mechanic.

Accepted game mechanics have been reviewed by key developers of the mechanics department and have been accepted as ready for implementation. Once these accepted mechanics have found their way into the game, they become implemented game mechanics.

This is a detailed proposal for how to handle equipment and inventory.


Weight and Bulk

All items have a weight (in kg) and a bulk (in arbitrary units). If necessary, the "density" of an item is it's weight/bulk (this is most useful in reverse - if you know the r.w. density of an item, you can solve for either the weight or bulk given the other - and a translation of bulk to r.w. volume).

Bulk Scale

These scale as follows. Note the jump in factor from 4 to 2 after "Small". This is purely bulk, weight is totaled separately

  • 0 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)
  • 1 Tiny (bullet, AA battery, key)
  • 4 Very Small (watch, pencil, pocket knife)
  • 16 Small (hip flask, hand grenade, baseball, pack of cigarettes, large knife, small book, flare, 1 hit location worth of armor)
  • 32 Medium (machete, pistol, first aid kit, large reference book, torch
  • 64 Large (1m sword, 1 handed axe, monkey wrench, large first aid kit, 3 hit locations worth of armor)
  • 128 Very Large (rifle, crossbow, spear, shoulder bag, big tool kit, sleeping bag, sm. tent (2 person), 4-6 hit locations worth of armor)
  • 256 Extremely Large (medium box, back pack, watermelon, >6 locations worth of armor)
  • 512 Huge - (large chest, bicycle, major appliance) these things cannot be carried for long distances, but can be moved.
  • >512Too Big - You cannot lift or move this alone. If it's <=1024, then 2 people can treat it as a Huge object, etc.

1 point of bulk corresponds to roughly 1 fl oz. (Medium 32 = 1L)


A container is an item or "fixed map object" that has a capacity. A back pack might have a Capacity of 300. Designers are encouraged to use "real world" bulk values (approximate), but could increase the "capacity" of the container to account for the ability to pack things well making them easier to carry.

Weight and Bulk limits

A character (possibly animal-NPC or even vehicle) an has a MAX weight capacity depending on his physical stats. This is a hard cap. He will suffer moderate penalties at 1/2 this capacity, and heavy penalties at 3/4ths this capacity. It is understood that the player (or AI) should strive to keep his character at under the 1/2 encumbrance capacity, and can temporally exceed this with only minor penalties for most actions. At the same time - the penalty must be severe enough to prevent Players from just using the hard cap or 3/4th cap as a default.

Penalty could move on a graduated scale like the following:

  • At 1/2 maximinum weight capacity - no effect.
  • Above maximum weight - no actions (other than dropping stuff) allowed)
  • Between the 2: effective_stat/skill = normal_stat/skill * ( cos ( ( (weight / max_weight ) - 0.5 ) x 90 ) )

Bulk capacity is limited by "slots", and "containers". Containers must be in slots. Each slot can hold ONE item, of maximum bulk depending on the slot definition. A container can hold any number of items subject to it's maximum capacity rating.

From the interface and programming perspective - "full" containers cannot be nested, but you can put an empty container in a "slotted" container. In this way the "bulk container" capacity of a character can be determined easily. The default container (pockets) has a capacity of 32. For more a bag, sack, or backpack is required. (PCs should probably start with one, but this is a separate mechanics section - CharacterCreation#StartingEquipment

Slots are considered "ready" and can be accessed in combat with a single action. Things in containers are NOT considered ready (no matter where the container is slotted) and will require multiple combat actions to access. Combat actions and the amount of time they take are specified here CombatSystem#Actions

"Hands" are special slots which are active. They can hold one "very large" item each, or one "huge" item together. Note that some very large items require two hands for proper use.

7 slots are:

  • Back (max Extremely Large)
  • Left Shoulder (max Very Large)
  • Right Shoulder (max Large)
  • Left Hip (max Medium)
  • Right Hip (max Large)
  • Belt 1 (max Small)
  • Belt 2 (max Small)
  • Belt 3 (max Small)

Realism note: It is assumed that the PC, in some down time, with some trivial materials (leather, string, bits of metal), can "rig" his slots to efficiently carry things (i.e., strap things to his belt or back, fashion crude straps). No skill roll, game time, or action is required for this.

Vehicles and Pack Animals

These are considered to be containers that cannot be picked up, but they can be moved (controlled) by a character (either player or AI). They have a simple bulk and weight limit. The can be accessed while trading or shopping directly, or from inventory screen, but NEVER in combat. No, you cannot take the .44 Mag out of your glove compartment while driving! It's dangerous.

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