An Old-School Swords and Fantasy RPG Blog

Equipment Rules and Characters Sheets

As I mentioned in my previous post House Rules, I’ll be going through most of my supplements one by one with explanations, tips and reasonings for some of my decisions. Today I’m going to start with my equipment rules and the custom character sheets I use. A lot of this is gonna be pretty simple and straightforward, but that’s okay, that’s one of the reasons I chose to start here. As we go through a few more of the supplements, you’ll start to see how some of them interact to create desirable rules synergies. I’ve done my best to avoid interdependencies in order keep all of them truly optional, but 1 or 2 of them work best when used together.

Equipment

I think the most important part of these rules is the actual inventory system. It’s loosely based on Lamentations of the Flame Princess with it’s Stone based inventory system. The basic idea is that instead of tracking pounds or coins of weight you keep things abstract with a Stone of encumbrance being equal to five items. This means all you need to do to check your encumbrance is count up the items on your sheet. I absolutely love this system because it lets players just write down items without worrying about tracking weight and its made tracking encumbrance dead simple during play. However, I’ve found that having 5 items to a Stone is a little too lenient for my tastes and I’ve accordingly reduced it to 4, which is right in the sweet spot that really drives players to make a choice in terms of what they wish to carry.

Next up is the equipment list. Most of these prices are based on Adventurer Conqueror King System, which I look to for a lot of my economic assumptions. The items for sale are mostly pretty standard stuff that you would see in most RPG equipment lists. The exception to this are the healing herbs, which I’ve found help take a little of the sting out of the Save or Die effects (which would otherwise be even more brutal in my game because I use a single saving throw.)


Healing Herbs

  • Snakeroot – 2 in 6 chance of neutralizing venom.
  • Mustard Seed – Causes vomiting, 2 in 6 chance of curing poison.
  • Poultice – Heals 1 HP if applied overnight.
  • Woundwort – Heals 1 HP after an injury.
  • Flamewort – Heals 1 HP after a burn injury.
  • Rosewater – 2 in 6 chance of curing a disease.
  • Belladonna – Cures lycanthropy, but save or die.
  • Garlic – Causes a Vampire to cringe for 1d4 rounds.
  • Wolfsbane – Lycanthropes struck need to make a save or flee as if turned.


The equipment packs were priced out to each add up to a roll of the 3d6x10 starting gold. I made sure to pick out items a party will definitely need on their first delve. This has significantly sped up the longest part of character generation, although I still allow players to purchase their starting equipment if they’d like (no one has taken me up on this so far.)

Make sure when printing to select “Flip on short edge.” Once the sheet is printed, fold it in half.

Generic-Sheet

The file above is a generic character sheet, but I also have class based versions. Note that there are some system-based idiosyncrasies to these sheets (e.g. thieves’ use d6 for their skills). If you would like an editable google-doc version of the character sheets to make modifications to, please email me at Dontworryivegotasword@gmail.com.



Well, that’s all I got for now. The next few posts will probably be shorter, but have more interesting content as we start to cover house rules that are a little less common.

3 thoughts on “Equipment Rules and Characters Sheets

  1. I really like your starting equipment packs. Very slick.

    I also have a list of apothecary items similar to yours. Actually a surprising amount of overlap. Happy to send you mine if you want to expand the selection. Willow, poppy, sage, a few minor poisons…

    Finally, why did you opt for stones vs. the revisionist-OSR standard of “strength score = item slots you can carry”? No shade intended, just curious what you like about it.

    1. I’d definitely be interested in checking out your apothecary items! You can email me at Dontworryivegotasword@gmail.com or post it here.

      I never liked tying encumbrance to strength score, especially not as tightly as “strength score = item slots.”

      Firstly, having strength score and item slots directly correlate (as opposed to having strength modifier affect it) gives each individual point of strength a more direct impact on encumbrance than any other ability has on any aspect of the game (if using B/X or a derivative.)

      Secondly, I don’t like strength even having an impact on inventory to begin with. From a gameplay perspective I think strength as the main ability for melee combat is already of a significant importance for many classes outside of fighters, (clerics and thieves) and adding encumbrance to that list would make it probably the most important ability in the game. I also don’t like having some fighters being more able to wear armor without penalties than others when it’s supposed to be a core feature of their class. From a verisimilitude perspective, I don’t think strength actually should affect your ability to carry gear that much. If anything it should be constitution, but that ability is already universally valuable for all classes.

      Thirdly, almost all of the methods that tie inventory to strength are overly restrictive outside of 1-shots or short campaigns. Old-school play is driven by encumbrance in a couple ways. Characters’ ability to find creative uses for items they collect and to prepare for different eventualities by bringing along different items is very important and restricting that too much changes the game a lot. Also, character’s ability to collect treasure is directly tied to the speed at which they can gain experience and level up.

      You’ll notice that while my inventory system is different, the thresholds for encumbrance mirror those in the B/X optional encumbrance system (4, 6, 8, 16). If you ignore gear and weapons, the impact of armor in my system is the same and the weight of coins is 1/10th. Once you take into account the fact that I convert the vast majority of coinage my PC’s find to silver pieces, you’ll realize that my system actually largely mirrors that one.

  2. “Nightshade – Illegal. Ingestible poison. 2d6 damage. Causes dizziness, pupil dilation & sensitivity to light.

    Hemlock – Ingestible poison. Extremely bitter. 1-3d6 damage. Causes paralysis.

    Wolfsbane – Contact poison. 1d6 damage (3d6 if ingested). Causes nausea, vomiting & diarrhea (prevents HP gain from resting). Cultivation is considered blasphemous by worshippers of Wolf god.

    Willow – Pain killer. +1 HP heal. Only effective once per watch.

    Poppy Milk – Pain Killer. +d6 heal. Causes intoxication & is highly addictive.

    Sage – when burned reveals the presence of ghosts & incorporeal spirits.

    Aloe – Burn treatment. +1d6 HP heal for fire damage only.

    Potpourri – protects against bad smells”

    My healing herbs are statted for my homebrew but fairly easily adapted I think.

    Thanks for the thoughtful response on encumbrance! You make some really good points.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.