Item types

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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.

Items are a subclass of ActionObjects which can be carried around by characters. They can be divided further in to sub classes (and sub-sub classes) as follows (this is not necessarily a software design Class, but it could be in many cases).

Items can be "stowed" or "equipped" (i.e, on and active). Some objects can be both simultaneously. Classes can overlap to a small extent.

Item availability in-game is discussed here.

Dropping, Throwing, Hiding

Items can be dropped, thrown (depending on Mass and Bulk), and Hidden (not sure there is a point to hiding stuff). They can be transferred to other characters. Small items can be stolen from or planted to certain "slots" on other characters (only applied to conscious characters; unconscious ones can be 'rolled' and stripped like they were dead)

Crafting Items

Some items can be created or modified from other items. This is called Crafting.

Immobile Items

By the above definition, this seems to be a contradiction - however it may be more practical from a programming stand point to consider very large "Items" to simply be identical to regular Items, but cannot be moved, picked up, or put into inventory. Example might be a Large shop (many tools), or fixed Machine gun emplacement.

Item Quality

Items are generally rated on a 1-5 scale. This rating is called the Quality or Q rating. Q=3 is an item of standard quality (no modifiers). Unless specified Q=3 by default. Lower qualities items may give penalties to skills, provide less value/benefit, or break more easily. Contrarily, Higher quality items may give bonuses, provide more value and/or break less easily. Value could mean "barter" value or caloric/fuel value -- any quantitative measure. Note that instead of having less "value" (or higher breakage chance), it could have standard value but be 2x as heavy or bulky.

The penalites or bonuses for a specific item need not all be implemented, they are just examples for reference.

  • Q=1 is an ersatz or jury-rigged item - value=20% of standard, breakage 2x as likely, skill penalty = -20%.
  • Q=2 is a poor quality item - value = 50% of standard, breakage more likely., skill penalty = -10%
  • Q=3 is standard no modifiers
  • Q=4 is a high quality item - value = 150% of standard, harder to break, skill bonus +10%
  • Q=5 is a superior quality item, value = 200% of standard, impossible to break, skill bonus +20%

Note that for some tasks, a tool like a wrench might give a +10%. A Q=1 Wrench would not give 0 bonus but rather only +8%. The more useful a tool is for a task (say a tool kit worth +100%) the more important the Q rating is

Other item properties

This is a list of other properties items might have.


By default, items are not breakable, although a poor quality item might become breakable. Also, if someone mis-uses or jury rigs an item (uses a sword as a crow bar), it might break


Some items are flammable. They need to have a fuel rating (KJ/kg) and maximum intensity (Kj/s). This is important if you need to make a fire. This is a sub-class of Consumable.


Some items (containers) are openable.


Some items that are Consumable are edible. They have a rating in Kcal/kg. You need to eat them to gain benefit, but they will be "deducted" automatically from the Players' inventory at the "ration rate" defined. Edibles are typically Burnable... to convert 1 Kcal = 4.184KJ.


Some items (usually consumables) are divisible, that is - they are measure in "units" (kg, typically), rather than individual items. Some consumables (typically liquids or powders) have to be put into containers.


This is the default. Items that are not Self-Contained need to be inside Containers or they are lost.

Useful Things

These are "useful" things that are not consumed when used. Some of them directly enhance a skill (example: tool), some enable certain actions (flare gun). Weapons are a special case of this - enabling and enhancing combat skills. Some Useful things require consumables to function.


These are items which are required for a particular action. They may sometimes be linked to skills, but not always (for example, a radio which enables communication at a distance.


Explosives, like some kinds of tools (see below) are multipurpose. The can be used as components to build things (bombs) or as improvised weapons. They are often used in RPGs to "blow stuff up" to progress past a certain puzzle, level, or quest. Levels designers/mappers/writers have to be careful about making certain "blockers" subject to destruction by explosion, because of the known player tendency to horde things and reload a lot.


These are items which decrease the difficulty or enhance the effect of certain actions. Note that if a task is extremely difficult without an particular enhancer (i.e, rebuild a carburetor without a auto repair kit), it could act as an enabler.


Tools are either specific or general. A hammer or wrench can be use for lots of tasks. A shear can really only be used to cut stuff. Some big heavy tools (crowbar, hammer, axes, etc.) can be used as improvised melee weapons, or possibly missile weapons (thrown, or nail gun). Tools function in Tasks or Crafting templates. They could be mandatory ("Catalysts") or just provide bonuses to the task.


Schematics are special objects that "teach" you how to Craft other objects. They may substitute for using a "Knowledge" type skill before an "Engineering/Building" type skill. They may also provide bonuses (or minuses, if they are bad!) for using the "Crafting" skill or skills.


Schematics are special objects that "teach" you how to Craft other objects. They may substitute for using a "Knowledge" type skill before an "Engineering/Building" type skill. They may also provide bonuses (or minuses, if they are bad!) for using the "Crafting" skill or skills.

Weapons (including non lethal weapons and shields)

These are broken out because they are integral to the combat system. Weapons can be enhancers (brass knuckles), but are usually enablers (you cannot use a gun skill without a gun). Most ranged weapons either are consumable (hand grenade) or use them.

Melee Weapons

These are weapons that function at short range while being held. They don't (typically) use consumables (possible exception is an electric stun gun). The different length of a weapon determines of far away it can be used. See: Melee Combat

Ranged Weapons

See Missile Combat

Guns ("Chemically Powered Missile Weapons")
Cartridge Guns

These are modern weapons that fire bullets (consumables). They can be single shot (requiring a "cock" action), semi automatic, burst fire, or fully automatic - or combinations. They have a capacity of ammunition (and in that way are actually Containers as well!). Each mode "single/burst/auto" may consume different amounts of ammunition per action. They cause recoil when fired, reducing the effectiveness of following actions. They are never silent, but can have their noise lowered by a modification (silencer). Other enhancements, such as "scopes", "laser sights", and "winter triggers" can be added. They can be loaded, held without firing, and stowed loaded. This category includes all firearms that are intended to be used by a single person - culminating in a Light machine gun (example SAW, or M60). Note that it's very atypical one person to carry any significant amount of ammunition along with even a light machine gun.

Blackpowder Guns

These are "new construction" guns that fire black powder shot. They are typically of worse effectiveness (range, power, reliability) than cartridge guns. They are always single shot, and take multiple actions to reload. Their advantage is that the ammunition is easy to manufacture. They cannot be modified. They can be loaded, held without firing, and stowed loaded.

Grenade Launchers

This are often integrated into modern assault rifles, but also can be "stand alone" (Support) weapons. They are simply guns that shoot grenades. THESE WEAPONS ARE UNBALANCING AND SHOULD BE ADDED TO THE GAME WITH CARE.

Support Weapons

These are weapons, typically machine guns and mortars which are portable (but often extremely large or break-down into a few large components) but designed to be used by a crew of 2-3. You basically cannot "hold" these weapons, you must set them up. It's possible (after set up) for a single person to fire one with extreme penalties. Generally, a single person cannot carry the weapon and a significant amount of ammunition (although even 1-2 Mortar shells could be considered "significant"). A rule of thumb is that 1 "action" (full burst or mortar shell) worth of ammo will be at least a medium if not large object. THESE WEAPONS ARE EXTREMELY UNBALANCING AND SHOULD BE ADDED TO THE GAME WITH CARE.

Muscle Powered Missile Weapons

These are large weapons which fire "bolts" or short arrows. They are single shot, and slow to reload. They can be enhanced by a scope. They can be loaded and held for firing with no effort, but cannot be stowed this way.


These are large weapons which fire "arrows". They are single shot, but reasonably fast to reload (2 actions). They cannot be held at ready indefinitely (how to define this?)

Thrown Weapons

These are weapons than can be thrown. They can usually be picked up again. Some are consumable (explosives), and some double as melee weapons (spears, knives). You can actually throw any weapon at someone, but unless it's designed to be thrown it will be nor more than a distraction. However, if a pistol is out of ammo...

Throwing Assists

This is a group of "primitive" levers that allow the user to throw something better. Classic examples are slings (throw rocks), sling shots, and atl-atls (throw spears). I guess since the invention of elastic, sling shots are just slings that are much easier to use. Typically, the ammunition for these weapons is not consumable, but it could be (you could, for example, put a grenade in a sling shot.


Consumable are items that are destroyed when they are used by a character.

Food & Drugs

Food is required to stay alive. It is measured in 100 calorie (kcal) units (eg., 1 apple), (active) People generally require 1500 cal/day. This is called "full rations". This amount will be deducted automatically from the players' inventory per party member per day (or possibly in 3 groups of 500 cal), when the player is traveling. The bulk and weight of food units varies - but it should be roughly 100 cal/small item. If the player is in a town or location, other arrangements (auto barter deduction) can be made for food (especially if a multi-day action - such as learn-by-training is taken by the Player. Drugs are consumables that alter your stats temporarily (generally negatively), and are sometimes addictive.

Types of Drugs

The effects of a specific drug (effect on stats, skills, other gauges, time of effect, effect and length of hangover, addiction rate, withdrawl effects) have to be defined by designer on a drug-by-drug basis. Many recreational drugs (i.e, Alcohol) can be used by characters in game to reduce Stress. Many recreational drugs usually have in-game effects (good or ill - for example pain killers or stimulants). Drugs are often addictive, which is handled in-game like a particular type of "Disease Wound"

The following is just a basic framework, not a complete list.


Can be mild, like caffeine or powerful like methamphetamine (speed) or cocaine. They have a positive effect on some mental skills, and can be used to temporarily reduce fatigue.


Eg. Alcohol, Heroin, Valium - the more powerful ones act as excellent pain killers, but mostly they just reduce perception based skills or cause sleepyness. They are often addictive.

Pain Killers

Eg. Asprin, Demerol, Fentnyl, Vicodin. These can help an injured or wounded character ignore pain effects of injuries. The more powerful ones are addictive.


LSD, PCP, Mushrooms (Psilocybin). These completely alter your perception for long periods. Effectively, a PC would be "out of player control" for 8-12 hours. They are not addictive.


As distinct from some useful drugs above - this would include first aid kits, sutures, bandages etc.


There are two types - these are not classified as "drugs" (although they obviously are) above because they typically don't enhance or degrade stats, nor are they addictive. The two types are "antiseptics" which are applied to directly to wounds, and "anti-infectives" which are typically pills (pre-war only) to counter act an infection (often the result of not treating a wound!).


These are specific "antidotes" or "vaccines" against viral diseases. There are no "broad spectrum" anti-virals in the game.

Blood and Plasma

Since Icelus wants to make creatures have a "liquid Container" with blood - may as well allow for tranfusions/infusions. Should be rare "written" events only. (Although in an icy world, it's much easier to keep things fresh).

Organ transplants

OK, now I am just being silly.

Raw Materials & Components

These are things that are consumed or combined to make other things. Some examples: steel, wood, plastic, spare snowmobile parts, used bullet casing (can be made into bullets), gunpowder. Food or other chemicals useful in their own right may also be components (example - potatoes + yeast + fermenting and distilling apparatus = vodka)


Stuff that gets shot into people. A bullet will often leave a spent cartridge (see above) which can be reloaded if you can get a slug and smokeless powder (with the proper skills and tools). Arrows can be recovered if they hit something, if you miss they are considered lost (this is an approximation).

Arrows and Bolts

These come in two types - piercing/target and broadhead. One has better armor penetration, the other does "more" (better?) lethal damage. The difference may be academic; getting hit with an arrow is pretty bad.


This is ammunition for "normal" guns. Shotguns have bird shot, buck shot, and slug in order of increasing penetration. Regular bullets come in armor piercing (AP) and "regular" (possibly hollow point, but see note about arrows). AP has superior penetrating power, but is slightly less lethal. Tank shells and bombs (god forbid) also come in HE and even incedinary, nuclear, chemical, etc.


Generally speaking. stuff that is burned for heat or to drive engines (vehicles, pumps, generators, etc). Some crafting tasks may require fuel/heat (e.g, forging or blacksmithing). Almost anything dry you can eat, you can burn. Fuels are also rated in kcal/unit (unit can be a mass or volume). Example of types of fuels:


Wood, peat, dung, coal

Fabricated (Organic)

Grain Alcohol, Wood Alcohol, biodiesel, some petroleum products (in special circumstances)


Gasoline, Diesel, Lighter fluid, "Duraflame" logs, "garbarge" - including clothing, other petroleum products.


This is stuff that you wear. It covers a certain number of hit locations. Clothing can be given particular game properties that influence NPCs reactions, or even act as a disguise. Light and Heavy cloth has a basic small armor value. All clothing (including armor has it's bulk and weight halved. Clothing is rated to a certain temperature in Degrees C. Below this temperature, the clothing no longer functions to keep character warm, and he loses heat. Precise mechanics to be determined later. (Note, you could actually flip this around for very hot places). Clothing is also "waterproofed" or not. This is important as non-waterproofed clothing that gets wet will degrade it's T rating.


This is clothing that is specifically worn to prevent damage (and look cool). Armor has different protective values vs. crushing, cutting, impaling/bullet damage. It's a matter of opinion what type of damage bullets (or for that matter, shell fragments) do. It may depend on the ammo type (see above). Most armor will be basically useless against bullets - except small sporting rounds (.22 LR, bird shot). Only bullet resistant materials (i.e, kevlar) or reasonable thick steel (ca. 5mm) will really help against a even a moderate energy bullet.

Heavy armor bits, especially on joints or full torso, have a restrictive effect reducing agility skills. The effect can be partially overcome by a "Maneuver in armor" skill.

Armor - in the sense of "beyond the basic padding effect of winter clothes" does not really help much with bad weather. There are certain exceptions.

Other protective gear

This is special clothes to protect against some chemical, radiation, or biological threat. They are often cumbersome and hot (not a big issue here). If pierced by anything sharp - they may lose some or all of their protection (depending on specific threat, etc.)


Mentioned previously in Encumbrance and Inventory these are essentially items that old other items. They may reduce the effective bulk (and possibly weight) of their contents.

Dry containers

For carrying stuff. Could be bags and backpacks, or immobile locked lockers.

Liquid Containers

Bottles and cans and such. They hold liquids. This is important because, unlike "dry" containers, you MUST carry liquid in a liquid contianer. Some liquid containers can, instead, hold dry goods.

Quest Items (aka MacGuffins)

This is just a catch all for items that someone else wants. Any of the above items can be a "quest item" if you have a quest to deliver it somewhere.

Unique Quest Items

These are things that are SOLELY for quest completion. Thinks like personal tokens, or written messages - by definition they have NO other game function. It makes sense to give these items zero bulk and weight so as to not punish a player for hauling them around. Exceptions may occur.

Information and Learning Aids

These are things that provide some information or assist in study function in the game. The two examples below are considered low-tech paper. It's conceivable that some electronic version could be founds still functioning (remember: No Internet in 1988!)


Well, specifically - marked maps - these can put places or locations on the players World map, or activate new areas to explore. They are not necessarily "consumed" but they usually have only one use.

Text books

These are used to assist in study of a skill. They generally provide a one-time bonus to learn-by-study. Other books may act as "references" for certain knowledge skills and provide a skill bonus to the use as long as they are readily in hand. Generally, books are of little use once a subject is "mastered".


These are things that ~EVERYONE wants, but generally serve no useful purpose. Drugs that give no (or very little) game benefit to the user (cigarettes, alcohol, others) could be considered luxuries, as would most pre-war entertainment devices (books, magazines, photos, etc.). "Precious metals and stones" will probably still have some value for status among any "upper class" citizens of the apocalypse - as might possible ANY rare pre-war item. Consumable luxury items may also relieve Stress

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