Limited number of quick use items and time requirement

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Limited number of quick use items and time requirement

Postby youngneil1 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:24 pm

What do you think about a limited number of, say five, quick use items per character? Like potions at a belt, a magic wand easily drawable, a scroll in a side pouch?

These migth be used with not much time requirement (perhaps instantly instead of an attack or perhaps requiring an addtional preparation turn, idealy configurable for item types by the moudle author).

Using other items - i.e. those not palced in one of the quick item slots - from teh depths of the backback in comabt would take much longer, say five rounds or so, again configurable.

Might be a nice tactic component, when deciding which character keeps which items in his limited item quick use slots.
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Re: Limited number of quick use items and time requirement

Postby Lurking Grue » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:50 am

I am in favor of something like this, most certainly. It makes sense to have a limited number of quick items (I'd go with 4) that can be accessed in combat without too much of a hassle (e.g. it takes only a turn to ready/use a quick item), as these are the items which are supposed to be on your belt or bandoleer (or maybe satchel even). Anything else is considered to be packed away in your backpack and it takes a lot more time to get it (remove pack, open it, search for the item, dig it out, etc.), e.g. something like 1d4+1 or 2d4 turns. Having the whole inventory avalailable to the character on a moments notice has alway bothered me in CRPGs. To say nothing of changing whole suits of armor (for heavens sake!) in the middle of the combat, not missing a beat. There ought to be strict restrictions to item accessibility and switching gear in the middle of combat, IMO. And if you're hunting for an item inside your backpack, you're hardly concentrating on your surroundings or able to defend yourself efficiently - massive defense/AC penalties to such characters are in order! (Think about this. You're facing 3 angry orcs, all ready to attack you. You decide to put your sword away, drop your backpack and search for a potion you're sure you packed away in there somewhere. "Timeout, my orc adversaries. Go smoke some blackweed. I'll be back in a minute. We'll continue this fight then." Eh, wot?!)

I'd also like there to be a limit to how many larger items can be on your quick item slots (if it's supposed to represent what you have on your belt, that is, and not a personal item limbo from which you pull items from). Maybe only two larger items could be on your quick item slots (of which there are 4-6 total). What constitutes as a "larger item" then? Perhaps anything larger than a dagger. So, you could have your belt stuffed with daggers (all slots), but couldn't do the same with long swords (max. of 2 long swords on the ready items). Or what do you think, is this too much of a complication?

I have another idea concerning this, something taken from my PnP house rules. I'll explain the PnP version first, then speculate how it could be applied to CRPGs. Right. Every character has basically two encumbrance scores, one for combat (called "Combat Enc.", surprisingly enough) and one for non-combat (called "Travel Enc."). Combat Enc. contains the weight of all that you wear (clothing, armor, belt pouches, quivers, etc.) and all that you wield (i.e. have in your hands, like a sword and a shield). This is the encumbrance score from which all combat modifiers due to encumbrance are calculated. Travel Enc. contains the weight of Combat Enc. added to everything else you might carry with you, like your backpack (with a bedroll tied to it). However, it is assumed that you drop your backpack before entering combat, to shed that extra burden and give you more maneuverability. Thus, your backpack does not burden you in combat and your encumbrance penalty is lower than it would be if you had it on. (Sidenote: anything in your backpack is not available to you if the pack is on your back anyhow. You'd need to drop it, then open it, dig through it, etc. Not wise in combat where people are trying to kill you. See above.)

Now, to put this in a CRPG, the simplest way would be to restrict access to anything but quick use items during combat. Anything else is assumed to be in your backpack, which is assumed to be "out there somewhere", on the edge of the combat map where you dropped it before entering combat, i.e. not available. Once combat is over, you automatically pick up your backpack and can access all the items in it again. The backpack's weight would not be counted in your encumbrance during combat. Simple and effective, IMO. What say ye?

P.S. Most of the encumbrance stuff I blather about above would only make sense with individual inventories, of course. For party inventories, encumbrance would just be ignored, I guess.
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Re: Limited number of quick use items and time requirement

Postby youngneil1 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:34 pm

No access to backpack in combat at all and eight quick access item slots (but with some items taking several spaces, see below) for quick access sounds fine (and simple) for me, too.

To keep the size classification of those items simple, one could use the following approach of three items sizes:

Small, 1 slot item: small hardy potions, thrown daggers, darts, caltrops, etc.
Medium, 2 slot item: One handed medium sized weapons, fragile/larger wrapped potions, extra gauntlets...
Large, 3 slot items: Two handed weapons, perhaps an extra helmet...

The space in quick access inventory taken should then be another definable field for items. Ideally max size of the quick access inventory (8 here) could be definable by module author, too.

Another two potentially definable fields for items could be "time to use" (time needed to read that scroll, quaff that potion...; by default instant, but using the attack action of that round) and "time to ready" (time needed to equip an item, e.g. don an armor piece).

As for Combat Enc. / Travel enc. I am undecided for I will probably not use encumbrance. What you describe sounds interesting and reasonable though (I would expect dropping that backpack to take a round, too, though).
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Re: Limited number of quick use items and time requirement

Postby Lurking Grue » Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:45 am

Disclaimer: Writing in a hurry, sorry if this is incomprehensible...

youngneil1 wrote:Small, 1 slot item: small hardy potions, thrown daggers, darts, caltrops, etc.
Medium, 2 slot item: One handed medium sized weapons, fragile/larger wrapped potions, extra gauntlets...
Large, 3 slot items: Two handed weapons, perhaps an extra helmet...

Hmm, I don't know. That's maybe taking it too far, IMHO. It could easily get confusing as to what size each individual item is (e.g. wrapped potion vs hardy potion, above), at least without simple visual clues to the size of the item, something akin to "multi-slot" item icons (like in Dungeon Siege 1-2 or NWN 1). But I don't see that happening as it would require a fundamental change to how the inventory is handled (and while I don't mind it, this would add the oft-hated "Inventory Tetris" to the game too). I'd like to keep it at two sizes at maximum (e.g. small and not small). YMMV.

youngneil1 wrote:Another two potentially definable fields for items could be "time to use" (time needed to read that scroll, quaff that potion...; by default instant, but using the attack action of that round) and "time to ready" (time needed to equip an item, e.g. don an armor piece).

Yes, a "time to use" variable would be good. However, I wouldn't use two different variables for this (one to ready and other to use), but instead bundle these as one variable. This would represent both the time it takes to get the item (ready it) and the time it takes to use it (drink, read, etc.). Some items would only need readying (like a sword to be drawn) and thus have shorter times to use, while others which need both readying and using (like a scroll, that needs to be taken in hand and then read) would take longer. For quick use items, the default could be one action (turn) to ready and/or use it, unless the author defines a longer time (like 2 turns to ready and then read a scroll).

youngneil1 wrote:I would expect dropping that backpack to take a round, too, though.

Yes, it does. But this is generally relevant only in ambushes. In other times, when there's enough time to ready yourself (a few seconds will do), it is just assumed you drop your backpack (etc.) before engaging in combat (unless you specifically state you're not dropping your backpack). This in my PnP games, that is.

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Re: Limited number of quick use items and time requirement

Postby youngneil1 » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:29 pm

Hmm, I don't know. That's maybe taking it too far, IMHO. It could easily get confusing as to what size each individual item is (e.g. wrapped potion vs hardy potion, above), at least without simple visual clues to the size of the item, something akin to "multi-slot" item icons (like in Dungeon Siege 1-2 or NWN 1). But I don't see that happening as it would require a fundamental change to how the inventory is handled (and while I don't mind it, this would add the oft-hated "Inventory Tetris" to the game too). I'd like to keep it at two sizes at maximum (i.e. small enough for quick use list and not small enough). YMMV.


As we would not rely on icons being used in inventory (or so I thought), but instead the description of the item in a list (with an optional icon in the detail info box for the item), we hopefully would not get a tetris situation. The place taken in the quick slot list would therefore just have relevance for the length of the list (e.g. max. 8 entries when all items are small). If a module author finds this too much detail, he could just leave the standard default size coming with every item at medium 2 (allowing for 4 quickuse items). If you would want certain items to be not placeable at all in quickslot, just set size to 9 in the example used here. I see no drawback here - it's one more property field of int type for items (size) and an additional quick use list in inventory screen, which we all - so far at least - seem to favour anyway. In my campaign there'll be an alchemist like class (Disciple of Thirteen), who will not cast spells, but instead use powders/potions/oils. I really would like therefore to have the option of assigning different sizes (here) and usage times (see below) for his various creations. This will make balancing easier for me and keep more variance in gameplay. Other clases might e.g. want to set traps they carry with them (perhaps my thief class), use scrolls, etc - all these might get some additional depth if the better onces take away more space (or take longer to equip and use).

Yes, a "time to use" variable would be good. However, I wouldn't use two different variables for this (one to ready and other to use), but instead bundle these as one variable. This would represent both the time it takes to get the item (ready it) and the time it takes to use it (drink, read, etc.). Some items would only need readying (like a sword to be drawn) and thus have shorter times to use, while others which need both readying and using (like a scroll, that needs to be taken in hand and then read) would take longer. For quick use items, the default could be one action (turn) to ready and/or use it, unless the author defines a longer time (like 2 turns to ready and then read a scroll).


I would like to stay with two variables: So, when the combat interface would probably have a "use" (trigger an effect that is not a regular attack) and a "equip" (take in the hand/don) button. Let's imagine a sword that also can cast charge based lighting strikes on "use": the time for equipping the sword might be 1 round (or perhaps instant with some fast draw skill). The time to call lighting from the sword might be longer though (perhaps chanting something for two rounds). Would be nice to have flexibility here. Same with wands, staves, etc.

A click on the "use" button would only show those items for choosing that are ready to use for this character (starting the timer for usage, if 0, use instantly). To get an item into the list, one would have to ready it beforehand via "equip" command - only exception: items with "equip"-timer set to 0, these would appear directly in the use list (if they are palced in the quick slot inventory or equipped in another on body/in hand slot, of course).
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Re: Limited number of quick use items and time requirement

Postby Lurking Grue » Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:51 pm

Ah, now I see it. I think I kind of misunderstood you before. So basically items would have a Size value, which would then determine how much space it takes on the list and all that. OK, good. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea. :) I can already see other uses for an item's Size value, like controlling if something can be picked up at all (e.g. something that's simply too big or ungainly, even if it's not that heavy), or figuring out if an item will fit inside some container (can't put a halberd in a backpack, etc.). Yes, this would be cool.

youngneil1 wrote:If you would want certain items to be not placeable at all in quickslot, just set size to 9 in the example used here.

This is especially great, as I really dislike having polearms and other large weapons be carried and kept ready like they were small daggers or something. I'd even like to restrict PCs to carrying only one polearm, period. (I'm fussy like that...) But yeah, restricting them from quick slots is the next best thing.

youngneil1 wrote:I would like to stay with two variables: So, when the combat interface would probably have a "use" (trigger an effect that is not a regular attack) and a "equip" (take in the hand/don) button. Let's imagine a sword that also can cast charge based lighting strikes on "use": the time for equipping the sword might be 1 round (or perhaps instant with some fast draw skill). The time to call lighting from the sword might be longer though (perhaps chanting something for two rounds). Would be nice to have flexibility here. Same with wands, staves, etc.

You're exactly right. I forgot (my excuse: I read your previous post and replied in a hurry ;)) that you might not want to use a usable item right away, but still have it ready in hand. Yes, we need both Time to Use and Time to Ready with different separate commands.

The good thing about all these variables and such is that, it's still possible for an author to ignore most of them if he thinks they're too much detail. JUst go with the default values or set them to 0 (depending on the variable) and worry about them no more. Flexibility is the key.
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Re: Limited number of quick use items and time requirement

Postby youngneil1 » Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:13 pm

The good thing about all these variables and such is that, it's still possible for an author to ignore most of them if he thinks they're too much detail. JUst go with the default values or set them to 0 (depending on the variable) and worry about them no more. Flexibility is the key.


Yeay, great to hear. That flexibility is what I like the most, too. Let me add, that it's really fun discussing here in the froum. I have the feeling with combined ideas we really get a clearer (and very nice) picture of the possible game/games with each day. Very motivating, thumbs up :-)!
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