Tuesday, November 13, 2012

[D20] Dungeoneering Equipment, Simplified

How many times have you had (or, as a GM, seen) equipment lists like this:

Backpack containing bedroll and winter blanket, large sacks (2), candles (4), full waterskin (2), grappling hook, 50' silk rope, hammer, iron spikes (5), block and tackle, bell, caltrops (3), crowbar, flint and steel, hooded lantern, flask of oil (3), line and fishhooks (3), manacles, iron rations (1 week), small steel mirror, soap, whetstone and greasy rag, bucket, iron pot, 10' pole, keelboat (with full crew), pouch of belladona, horse plate barding, and bandages and healing salve.

Belt pounch containing flint and steel, map case with parchment (4), pen & 1 oz. bottle of ink,chalk sticks (4), candles (2), large stone head, signal whistle, iron rations (2 days), water flask (full), wooden holy symbol, and masterwork thieves tools.

Never mind the encumbrance issues, these lists, while fun to assemble, are completely out of control.

So I propose the following: a broad category called Dungeoneering Equipment. Anything that doesn't include weapons, armor or shields, magic items or specialty items would be covered by this category.

Starting values of Dungeoneering Equipment has five boxes like so [_] [_] [_] [_] [_]. If you've been in the dungeon for a while, the GM will ask you to strike off one of the boxes [X] as used and that would be considered eating, drinking, using bandages, torches and other consumables. At any point, if you want a specific piece of equipment, like a grappling hook and a whole bunch of silk rope, it'll cost you a box [X] but you then get to write down that specific piece of equipment on your sheet. As a rule of thumb for the GM, assume the value of the item(s) are around 10 gp, so each box would be equivalent to a grappling hook and 50' silk rope or a hooded lantern and 7 flasks of oil.

Recharging a Dungeoneering Equipment box is easy - just spend 10 gp while you are in town or at an inn and it's opened up again. Adding more boxes to the original 5 is also possible at the same cost except that is limited by your Strength modifier (i.e., a Strength modifier of +2 allows a maximum of 7 boxes).

It is also possible to recharge a box while in the dungeon but there are constraints: 1) an inhabited area must be specifically (and successfully) searched to find supplies, 2) there is no penalty for searching areas inhabited by humans or demihumans, but a -2 penalty is levied for searching areas inhabited by humanoids, and -4 penalty or more for other creatures and monsters, 3) the search takes at least 10 minutes, and 4) only one box can be recharged for that search area unless specified by the GM.

For example, Jim, Giles and Orin are searching an orc nest for supplies after slaying the orcs. They get a -2 penalty for the search and successfully make the roll, avoiding the rat jerky and other questionable meat to find some supplies, recharging one of Orin's Dungeoneering Equipment boxes.

Later on, they're low on supplies again and, after killing a otyugh, search with a -6 penalty and find nothing worth salvaging. The scene fades on a desperate situation ....

Here's how it'll look in a PC write-up:

Phillip of Tradetown, Halfling; Level 1, Alignment: Neutral, Abilities: Strength 9, Dexterity 13, Constitution 10, Intelligence 13, Wisdom 11, Charisma 12. Armor Class: 6 (leather armor, -1 Dex); Hit Dice: 1d6, Hit Points: 6. Attacks: short sword (1d6), short bow (+2 to hit, 1d6). Languages: Common, Elvish; Special Abilities: +1 initiative, halfling abilities. Equipment: dungeoneering equipment [_] [_] [_] [_] [_].


  1. Ooo, this looks like a neat system for abstracting general equipment. I'd come up with an Equipment Point system, but yours seems more elegant to me. Many thanks.

    -Ed Green

  2. Echoing the above comment, in that whenever I try to move on to more abstract ways of handling commonly carried items it ends up being more complicated than letting people just make their lists. Sharing this if it's cool with you?

  3. Thanks for your kind words and feel free to share around. I am interested on how this works in actual play so if you use it, let me know!

    Also, I have two more categories (Ammunition and Traveling Equipment) that are going to post today and tomorrow. Check them out!


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