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Inventory

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In Shadowrun Awakened characters will have lifestyles to live in, but when they venture out, they'll need to bring some of their necessary equipment (guns, grenades, commlinks, toasters, kitchen sinks). This covers the general area of using gear without specifying any particular item that must be included in the game. This article also includes the "concealability" mechanic.

Game Rules Description

In Shadowrun, characters equip themselves for all conditions: hacking, driving, sneaking, and combat. The particular items vary by skills and styles, but most runners like having toys. Unlike in D&D and other games, Shadowrun does not emphasize "looting" or otherwise accumulating wealth through picking up tiny items one at a time. Runners are paid by the contract, not by the gold pile. This means inventory should be designed to facilitate a character's identity and skills, but should not be used as an area of micro-management.

In Shadowrun, inventory items have varying size. This size relates to how easily they can be hidden on the person, lending to their "concealability". Since Shadowrun is a world with laws and a lot of runner gear is illegal, successfully cloaking an object's presence is a useful endeavor. In Sr4, gear size directly correlates to a perception bonus offered to potential observers. They fall into these particular groups (here they are given non-canonical titles):

  • Miniscule - RFID Tags, slap patch, micro-electronics (-6)
  • Tiny - Holdout Pistol, monowhip, ammo (-4)
  • Small - Light Pistol, Knife, Microgrenade (-2)
  • Medium - Heavy Pistol, Taser, grenade (+0)
  • Big - Machine Pistol, medkit, club (+2)
  • Large - SMG, stun baton, sword (+4)
  • Huge - Assault Rife, Katana (+6)

The listed bonus is halved during a physical search. Items in SRA should each fall into one of these size categories if carried by a character.

In order to express the limited volume on a character, we propose using a slot-based inventory system. Unlike in classic fantasy games (Diablo, etc), there will be no generic inventory area. Generic inventory areas will be provided by slotting a container (backpack, cargo pants, pocketed vest, etc) that itself has secondary slots for storage. This will enable character to carry various sundries in a backpack, but only if they choose to wear a backpack. Characters who insist upon the style offered by Tres Chic clothing, will likely be able to carry one gun and a commlink - if they're creative. The initial proposed slots (and accompanying maximum item size) include:

  • Outfit - An abstract slot with no set size, more or less covering the whole body that only accepts clothing & armor (EG chameleon suit, armor vest, full body armor, etc). The clothing slots is able to close any other slot available given the design, but it also likely to yield the largest amount of sub-slots. Various models of armor may have the same rating, but yield different slot configurations.
  • Head - An abstract slot with no set size, encapsulate the whole head. Equipment could range from a single pair of sunglasses, to AR goggles, to a helmet (optionally sporting AR or thermo goggles for example). Only items designed for the head can go here.
  • Back - 1 Huge Slot - All of the character's back, enabling carrying a backpack, rifle with a strap, or concealed holsters in the lower-back. Very likely to be preempted by heavier armors.
  • Shoulders - 2 Medium Slots - For shoulder holsters, climbing rigs, etc, and likely to be eclipsed by heavy armor.
  • Hands - 1 Huge Slot - This determines what the character is holding at the moment. This could be one rifle, two SMGs, or a medkit. This slot is likely to be occupied by active inventory and may not necessarily be part of the inventory screen, just keep in mind that hands must be limited to only one Huge item or two items of Large or less.
  • Forearm - 2 Small Slots - The whole forearm-wrist area, useful for holdout pistols or some electronics. Possible to be overwhelmed by armor's forearm guards or bracers.
  • Waist - 1 Huge Slot - The belt of a character where they might keep hip holsters, swords, commlinks, or other electronics. The waist's exact slots may rely entirely upon one's outfit.
  • Legs - 2 Small Slots - The shin, knees, and potentially part of the thighs. Intended for things like ankle-holsters or special boots.

Slots of a given size may be treated as two slots of one concealability size lower, EG the hands slot (huge) could be used to hold two SMGs (2 large slots). Current thinking is the sub-division below one level may continue either linearly (each level adds one more slot) OR may be dependent entirely on the outfit or equipment in the slot which may offer sub-slots. Some items will only fit into some slots; EG helmets only go on the head. Slots may be occupied by an item of any size less than there maximum, as long as the item is compatible with the slot. Items that occupy primary slots (those listed above) may offer secondary ones (additional storage slots); however, there will be no nesting within secondary slots. This list assumes all manageable entries, outfits are expected to play a large role in defining further character slots, to the point where they truly define the available slots for a character and this list is only the possible slots offered by an outfit.

Technical Implementation

The goal is to present a somewhat realistic system that enables users to streamline item management, minimize space available for looting, and force them to define themselves through the limited gear they can carry. The slots and sub-slots concept does run the risk of creating a clutter interface and some confusion; we must handle it carefully. This is one area where we want decisions, but not management. The items that a character picks up should also automatically slot into the smallest possible space with a preference toward secondary slots (since they are likely to be pure storage).

There will be an inventory screen that the user may bring up. This screen may or may not integrate with the screen that lists cyberware and other innate gear. The intention is to allow the user to move their items around the body in this screen and also potentially specify items that will be dropped once the character exits the screen. This will give the users a space to temporarily store items of any size while working on their layouts, without forcing them into a situation where they can only swap items (something that wouldn't be very usable). The inventory screen should clearly indicate the size of a given slot at a glance.

The assets team must develop rules defining what areas of the player model may accept what intended slots for items. Sticking to these rules will enable modellers to make items up to a certain size and shape and rest assured that they will not clip into any items that follow the same rules (EG if the head slot has a standard limited size and back slot has a standard limited size, then helmets and backpacks should never erroneously intersect with each other.