Dragonslayer Adventures: Inventory

The inventory system of Dragonslayer Adventures in inspired by Knave, Cairn, and this post about ItO.

Making a change. Want to catalogue my reasons why.

Before:

Optional Rule: Inventory. A PC may only carry 8 items on their person as part of their backpack. Smaller items may be grouped and count as one item.

Current iteration in action

Then I played Cairn and got a good feel for how slot-based inventories function.

Go play it, it’s a great game.

(Pick up Cairn here for free, you ANIMAL)

Look at how stinkin’ beautiful this backpack is. The “Hand” option for each item is also brilliant, reducing the number of erases a player has to do to switch weapons/tools.

Quick note for those who haven’t played online: slot systems are FANTASTIC digitally. Management is so easy with automatic numbered lists and no messy erasing. Give it a try the next time you’re in an online game.

Cairn only gives 10 slots of stuff to fill unlike Knave and other games that give you slots based on how high your Constitution of Strength is. Because Dragonslayer Adventures is stat-less, it needs to be a set number. And 10 feels intuitive. The increase from 8 to 10 will be explained in a bit.

Cairn, like Weird North and Electric Bastionland, makes a distinction of “Bulky” and “non-Bulky” items. In Cairn, Bulky items take two slots. While this could make sense and look appealing on a paper character sheet, it’s just confusing for the digital space. You could write the item twice, which may make it seem you are wear two sets of heavy armor. You could put a star on a filled inventory slot below the item that is Bulky… Eh. One item is one item. If an item is specifically unwieldy, solve that diegetically.

Cairn also uses Fatigue, a condition that fills inventory slots. This is actually brilliant for a game like Dragonslayer Adventures that relies so heavily on item management. Your items are more important than race or class or level. In fact, they usually determine your “class” and “level.” So Fatigue works as a penalty in combat or during travel or for casting magic (Cairn’s original and primary use of Fatigue), increasing pressure on the decision to keep or drop certain items. This is also one reason for the increase from 8 to 10 slots, giving me at least one “free” Fatigue to inflict on players.

Another change to the system is to address a boo-boo. Cairn makes this boo-boo too, so we’re both guilty. That’s right Yochai, I’m calling you (and myself) out. Here it is:

Right here.

On the character sheet, not in the inventory section, is the monies. Not in the backpack, but somewhere in the nebulous pockets of adventurers. 1 GP or 10000 GP, don’t matter. It makes coinage a high score and more like XP than an actual item in the world. (But I mean, that coin is so perdy tho).

I’ve done this too, putting coins under “Notes” for each player rather than making them a piece of the inventory. This is the second reason for increasing the number of slots from 8 to 10. It gives players back a slot that I had basically already filled for them.

Yet this will change the way players look at money, asking how to leverage money as a tool. I think of Old-School Essential’s rule about flinging money down the dungeon corridor to assist in an escape. I think of bribes to get what they want. I think of using coins as part of a ritual or maybe as a conductor of electricity.

Money is item.

After these considerations:

Optional Rule: Inventory. A PC can only carry 10 items. Smaller items may be grouped and count as one item. For example, 1000 coins count as one item. If a PC overexerts themselves or is deprived of a need, they gain Fatigue, which lowers the number of items they can carry by one.

3 thoughts on “Dragonslayer Adventures: Inventory

    1. Yochai brought up this point too. Another fun one is odd local currencies. In Belly of the Fishy Beast, it became canon that the fishmen traded in silver forks (a goofy The Little Mermaid reference). 100 silver forks for one slot. Trade them in the next town over if you choose, but they’re probably not worth as much.

  1. If the point of a system is to be fast and flexible, it seems like as long as there’s a rule, there’s enough.
    Why 8 items? Why, the reason might be different every time. Size, weight, the sit of the pack.
    Still, I’ve always liked the Diablo system of stacking items on a grid. The trouble on the tabletop is that you have to have a representation for each item (or be willing to draw and erase a lot).
    The fatigue condition filling inventory slots is indeed very clever
    “Coin purse” of a standardized size could also be an item; perhaps on your way to store the haul you could pay for small things (a drink, celery and peanut butter) out of a pouch, but it only dematerializes into non-encumbering liquidity after you’ve taken it to the bank or used it to make a large purchase. You couldn’t do the small-purchases thing with e.g. jewelry unless you were willing to mutilate it and had a willing barterer.
    (Wrote that as I was reading)
    Ah! You’ve already got it.

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