Sithraider
 member, 177 posts
Sun 15 Mar 2020
at 04:29
Detailed (crunchy) Equipment Management in Modern Games
Hey all, I was curious what tools you guys use fro tracking detailed resources in games. I tend to use game systems like PbtA that more or less hand wave those things. I remember playing in a Twilight 2000 game years ago that had very detailed gear tracking; down to individual bullet weights.

Anyway, I'm looking for a good resource for an upcoming PbP game here.

So far, I'm looking at an off-site web resource called lighterpack.com. I use it for actual backpacking and it is fantastic. I'm not sure about the popularity of using a second website though as it might be too cumbersome for some players.

Other ideas?

~Thanks!
evileeyore
 member, 298 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Sun 15 Mar 2020
at 05:02
Detailed (crunchy) Equipment Management in Modern Games
A spreadsheet.
Sithraider
 member, 178 posts
Sun 15 Mar 2020
at 05:05
Detailed (crunchy) Equipment Management in Modern Games
I've used spreadsheets before but inevitably someone either doesn't have the correct software, or they mess with the simple equations. Though I guess I could use google docs and lock the calculations.

Is that what you use for GURPS?
evileeyore
 member, 299 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Sun 15 Mar 2020
at 05:22
Re: Detailed (crunchy) Equipment Management in Modern Games
Sithraider:
Though I guess I could use google docs and lock the calculations.

That would work if you need other people to have access to them.

quote:
Is that what you use for GURPS?

I use spreadsheets to track everything.  I used to make D&D character sheets in excel (and track equipment, spells, etc), I currently use Open Office* for GURPS (character sheets, equipment, etc).


* Because I stopped paying for excel decades ago.
Gaffer
 member, 1604 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Sun 15 Mar 2020
at 05:35
Re: Detailed (crunchy) Equipment Management in Modern Games
Is the game ABOUT how much stuff you can carry? There's a reason why more recent games started reducing this kind of record-keeping.
Sithraider
 member, 179 posts
Sun 15 Mar 2020
at 06:45
Re: Detailed (crunchy) Equipment Management in Modern Games
@ Gaffer - No, the game is definitely not about how much stuff you can carry. But it is a Survival themed game and most people I've played with in the past have gotten pretty into the details of those bits. I personally tend towards the Dungeon World style of resource management, especially with ammo. But it has caused some issues in previous survival games Ive run.

@ evileeyore - I'll use some google-fu and see what spreadsheets I can come up with. I hadn't even thought about open office.
evileeyore
 member, 300 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Sun 15 Mar 2020
at 12:16
Re: Detailed (crunchy) Equipment Management in Modern Games
Sithraider:
But it is a Survival themed game...

Yeah, while a Survival genre game isn't about carrying capacity per se, what you carry might just mean the difference between life and death, so knowing what the Character has on them is meaningful.

quote:
@ evileeyore - I'll use some google-fu and see what spreadsheets I can come up with. I hadn't even thought about open office.

If you're used to excel, Open Office will annoy you with its lack of "user features".  I mean they're there, it's just excel is far more user friendly, which is down to features that Open Office does not implement due to a) being free and b) excel having patented.

However Open does have decent online resources, so learning how to parse equations is pretty easy.
Ski-Bird
 subscriber, 80 posts
Sun 15 Mar 2020
at 12:29
Re: Detailed (crunchy) Equipment Management in Modern Games
However it is that you track it, my suggestion would be that you track it.

I am admittedly a bit anal about this in the games that I run (resource allocation being a big part of the game, I mean).  But I realize that it might not be everyone's cup of tea.  Asking each of your players to be meticulous would cause a few problems:

1) Some of the players won't be as meticulous as you would like.

Example: A post from one of your players uses some sort of expendable (bullet, potion, whatever).
  • They, not being as meticulous as you would prefer, might not adjust anything on their sheet.
  • A few days go by before you sum up the action and remind the player to adjust their inventory.
  • A few days go by from there and then the player posts again (but they do not update anything)
  • A day or so goes by from there and having seen that the player posted, you remember to check their sheet ... only to find that it is unchanged.
  • Wash, rinse, repeat.

Quite a few of these instances will occur in tandem and many of them will overlap (multiple players, multiple posts, etc).

It's tough to put that genie back in the bottle.

2) Not every player enjoys that level of detail in a game.  You'll be shutting the door to a large number of folks at the very outset.  Or worse yet ... great players join, only to discover that the bookkeeping is not fun and they withdraw.

3). Even if you did have folks that were good at adjusting their stuff ... how would you even know if if was being done?  If you checked the sheet and it had like ... half a clip remaining.  What's to say that the next time the item gets used (say, weeks or months from now) that you would even remember that the item had half-a-clip remaining before this next use.

A possible way would be for you to make a note of where stuff is at ... but if you're going to go through all that mess ... why make the players do it at all?



tl;dr

For games where resource allocation matters, I track the trackable stuff for my players in a public thread.  If I need to, I enclose the item in a 'private to' message so that other folks aren't privy.

For games where it doesn't, I liberally apply handwavium to stuff like this (and reserve the right to take it away when the story could benefit from a twist, like a complication from Fate if you are familiar with that game).