Here we present the rules for items – pricing them, acquiring them, and creating them. We also list a few example items for each cost category; we have longer lists for mundane cultural items, combat equipment, magical items, and chemicals; and rules for skill kits.

Basic Rules

Items are broken into five categories, called cost categories: trivial, minor, moderate, major, and extreme; these categories are described in their own sections below. This determines their cost both at character creation (see Character Creation) and when purchased using the rules for purchasing items (see Wealth, Income and Lifestyles). These categories represent each item's cost, but they also correspond loosely with how important we expect each item to be in defining a given character; "how important is this purchase" is a useful guideline for GMs assigning costs to items that are not listed.

Why Not Specific Prices

Why do we use cost-categories instead of specific prices?

For three reasons:

  • one, because it actually is realistic: before central banks and stable currencies, bartering (without fixed prices) was common;
  • two, because it saves people having to do "cash-register math," which is never an exciting step in an adventure; and
  • three, because it allows us to skip boring and tedious details — because, for characters with very high levels of wealth, the exact cost of a night at an inn is an unimportant detail (see also the rules for bartering in Wealth, Income and Lifestyles).

We recommend that you don't worry about the difference between the price of a tent and the price of a meal. In principle, that difference is well below the "threshold of importance and interest" that we choose to care about in this game — and just as importantly, since an ideal "adventuring party" will include at least one "provisioner" character, that difference should also be unimportant in practice. (See also Wealth, Income and Lifestyles.)

Some items have tags. Many of these tags do not have "mechanical" affects themselves — although traits, classes, powers, and other rules may refer to them. (The special abilities of weapons are something of an exception: combat in general has more specific rules than the rest of the game, and so the items commonly used in combat have more specific rules as well.)

Several of these items are heavy or cumbersome. Rather than attempting to track item weight in detail, items that are particularly heavy are given the Heavy tag. To determine how many Heavy items a character can carry without penalty, divide their STR by 5. For every additional Heavy item beyond this number, the character suffers a -10 penalty to all physical actions. (Of course, GMs can apply other appropriate penalties as well; a character cannot choose to carry 500 suits of plate armor in exchange for a -495 penalty to physical checks — which would then be limited to the maximum penalty of -60.)

Common Items by Category

Here we list some examples items for each cost category. Some of these items are common, like tool kits or work animals; others are rare or unique. This list is by no means exhaustive; GMs and players may of course find countless other diverse items for sale in the Commonwealth's shops, carried by travelers from the Kingdoms of Men or littered on the shores of distant islands.

Note that we also list services here, since services are acquired using the same rules (and fall into the same cost categories).

The mages and artisans of the Commonwealth have a serviceable command of magic; while magical items tend to be rarer and more expensive than non-magical ones, a number of common magical items (and potions) are widely available throughout the Commonwealth. While some examples are given here, we will also provide a list of some sample magical items later.

Trivial Items

A trivial item is an item of no notable cost, like a fork or a candle. Usually, you shouldn't purchase a trivial item on its own; you should usually purchase a skill kit rather than purchasing a bunch of trivial items separately (since trivial items are often the kinds of things that are included in skill kits). (See Wealth, Income and Lifestyles.)

The following are examples of Trivial items:

  • a meal
  • a candle
  • a fork
  • a weak magical potion
  • a simple magical item
  • (the services of) a local messenger

Minor Items

A minor item is an item of little cost — worth tracking, but only if you have limited funds.

Most minor items are intended to be single, useful items — things that are worth keeping track of, but that aren't very important to how your character is defined.

Like trivial items, it is often a better idea to purchase a skill kit than to purchase a minor item separately: a tent, knapsack and bedroll could be presumed to be included in a Survival Skill Kit, for example.

The following are examples of minor items:

  • a tent
  • a knapsack
  • a bedroll
  • a ladder
  • a lantern
  • a pet (a bird, a cat, a dog, a rat)
  • a common magical potion or item
  • a night in an inn
  • rations for 7 days (see Travel)
  • an outfit (may be more or less expensive based on style and quality)

Moderate Items

A moderate item has notable cost: though they're within the means of an average family, they will be very expensive, having a notable impact on their finances.

Most minor items are intended to be significant to your character concept; their signature weapons, their distinctive armor and the tools with which they practice their trade all show up at this tier.

The following are examples of moderate items:

  • a rowboat
  • a weapon
  • a suit of armor
  • a shield
  • a skill kit
  • a work animal (like a guard dog or ox), farm animal (sheep or cattle), or mount (a horse or cave salamander)
  • three day’s convalescence
  • (the services of) a priest

Major Items

A major item is expensive; entirely beyond the reach of the poor, and of notable expense even to the wealthy.

Most major items play a major roll in defining a character — maybe as important as a power, since they have the same price (see Character Creation. They might include a distinctive heirloom weapon, a unique magical item, the shop where they run their business, or their estate.

Example major items include:

  • a shop
  • a home
  • a powerful or unique magical item (see below)
  • one month’s work by an artisan

Extreme Items

Extreme items are of extraordinary worth — only available to the most wealthy, they represent fortunes, treasures and power-bases.

Most extreme items are intended to play a major role in how you define your character, possibly opening whole new options up to them; a caravel is among the newest, largest and most capable types of ocean-going vessels, for example, and having one might open up whole new avenues to a player.

  • a seaworthy ship (like a Caravel)
  • an estate
  • land-holdings
  • a prosperous trading business
Designing Major and Extreme Items

We claim that you can purchase unique magical items and priceless, character-shaping treasures, but we don't give you an actual list, and we don't give you rules for making them. So, where are these alleged treasures supposed to come from?

Simply put, players and characters make them themselves.

Designing major and extreme items is a collaborative process between players and GMs. A player who has a magic item in mind describes it to the GM, and then the GM and player work collaboratively to build a description and rules for it.

There are a few examples throughout this section, but we will provide you with some guidelines below (these guidelines are most applicable to magical weapons).

  • Items should have clear rules. You don't have to specify everything exhaustively, but you should make sure that the GM understands what the player definitely can do (and wants to do) with their item, and you should make sure that the player understands what they definitely can't do (and what the GM considers out-of-bounds). You should also look out for any "special cases" and what-ifs that you'll need to cover.
  • Items shouldn't eclipse other options. An item you're paying 10 CP for should probably be better than an item you're playing 5 CP for, but an item should generally never completely outstrip some other character design. Major things to look out for are that an item should never completely remove the need for a specific character archetype, should never grant the same ability as a power-but-better, and should never replace the need for a skill.
    • This is why you shouldn't add a "hard invisibility" cloak, for example.
  • Items shouldn't open certain Pandora's Boxes. There are some items you just shouldn't introduce into the game — even though people are going to ask.
    • Items that add "flat" aptitude bonuses or "flat" damage boosts are a bad idea. The former is at once too powerful (because it effects too many skills too cheaply) and not as useful as it seems (because of how the D100 system works), and the latter is unbalancable unless you start giving enemies ever-increasing DUR (which forces every other character to play the same damage-stacking game).
    • Items that give you extra actions or turns in combat are a very bad idea.
    • "Impulse" healing potions are a bad idea too. Healing is supposed to be difficult, and making it too easy short-circuits some deliberate game-design choices. (If you find yourself in frequent need of an impulse-healing item, consider running your game in a system that's designed to focus on combat-heavy adventures.)
Mundane Items

We've got lists of weapons, armors, and drugs; why isn't there a list of mundane items, like tents and saddles?

The short and direct answer is that most of those should be handled by purchasing an appropriate skill kit (see below). If you're purchasing a lot of saddles, ladders and tents, then you should probably just purchase one or two skill kits to cover the job you're trying to gear up for.

Why isn't there an item list?

So, why are we leaving all this design work up to players (and GMs)?

One reason is just that it's a lot of damned work! We're a small team, and creating a large list of diverse, high-quality items would be quite an undertaking!

But there are other reasons too — and our laziness isn't even the most important one!

We also don't believe that it's possible to create a list of magical items that is exhaustive (in the sense that it covers most of the magical items that people would want) without being unwieldy (in the sense that it would be far to vast to be useful). Any very large list of magical items will encumber all players with a huge list of items that they have to navigate, hoping that the item they want is in there somewhere. If it is, then they're at least in luck; if it isn't, then they're tasked with designing their item anyway! (Albeit, we concede, with dozens of existing items in useful guidance.)

There's the additional problem of balancing all those items. Most very large lists of magical items will frequently be narrowed down to a few very powerful items (that are considered essential) and a large number of weaker items (that are never used). Designing a list of dozens of magical items such that no one of them is notably stronger or weaker than any of the others is a practical impossibility.

Both of these concerns apply even more to a system for designing magical weapons. Given such a system, anyone who wants a magical weapon now has to fight through all those rules; if those rules are flexible enough that they could produce any reasonable magical item, they'll almost certainly be so huge that trying to use them will be a major undertaking; and designing those rules such that every item it produces is balanced against all the others is a practical impossibility.

Skill Kits and Shops

Skill Kits and Shops contain the tools and materials that characters use to practice a given trade, profession or skill; depending on the skill they're purchased for, they could include everything from a tent, a backpack, and flint to a legal books, paper, pen, and ink.

Skill kits, as the name implies, are smaller kits; they usually contain just the essentials, and are small enough to be portable (without the Heavy tag). Shops are more extensive facilities — they represent officies, smithies, and libraries. They contain far more equipment and resources, but aren't portable — they're large enough to fill a large room at least. Shops provide a +10 bonus to checks made with the linked skill.

Skill kits and shops are associated with a specific skill, like Survival or Profession: Lawyer; we call that the linked skill.

Some tasks can't be attempted without a skill kit or shop; this is at the GM's discression. Notably, most Craft skills can't be used without access to tools.

Normally, we don't track what's inside a skill kit or shop; we simply assume that they have any tool that is common and useful in the practice of a trade. For example, we'd assume that a Medicine skill kit would have bandages, a needle and thread, and we'd assume that a Profession: Blacksmith shop would include an anvil and a forge.

When a character buys a skill kit or shop, they they may specify three items that the 'kit or shop definitely, specifically contains; this is useful for establishing that your character definitely has a particular favorite blacksmith's hammer in their blacksmith's shop, for example, without buying it separately; or establishing that their survival kit includes cold-weather clothing in particular. When you buy a skill kit, you can name three [Minor] items that it definitely contains; when you purchase a shop, you can name up to six [Minor] and three [Major] items that it definitely contains.

Getting Items out of a 'Kit

Sometimes characters will need a specific item, like a piece of rope, a piece or paper, a map of a region, or a tome on the laws of a specific culture. How do they determine if their 'kits or shops have those items?

First, the GM decides if the item is a common tool, resource or supply for a given skill; a possible resource; or impossible.

If the resource the player is after is common, then the 'kit or shop simply has that item; this is at the GM's discretion, but GMs are encouraged to be generous. For example, if a Character had a skill kit for their Profession: Lawyer, then, if they need paper, pen or ink, they could easily find those resources. If the character lives in the Dragonshire, then it would certainly also have books on the law of the Dragonshire; it would probably be reasonable to assume that the kit also has books that cover the basic laws and customs of the territories around the Dragonshire — like Northland and Heartland provinces, and the Kingdoms of Men.

If the the character is after is possible, then they can roll a check using the linked skill; if they succeed, then the 'kit or shop had that item.

If the item is impossible, then the 'kit or shop doesn't have that item.

Traveling and Shops

Shops, in general, aren't portable; if a character has a shop but needs to travel, they can produce a skill kit from the resources in their shop. Ordinarily, this is a Task Action with a one hour time-frame, and requires a simple success check for the linked skill. The check determines how well-stocked the kit is; a failure implies a -10 penalty for checks to locate possible items.

Shops are large enough that they can't be carried by a character, but that doesn't mean that they can't be moved at all. Some vehicles are large enough to contain shops; the wagons that make up Halfling trade-caravans, for example, are large enough to carry shops — if only just. Some large ships can also carry shops.

Creating Items

Characters can use their Craft skills to create items directly. This requires an appropriate skill kit or shop, raw materials, and at least basic proficiency in the craft skill to be used.

Normally, only a Simple Check is called for; a skilled blacksmith can make a spike, plow, or batch of nails without much chance of failure — although the time required or quality of work might vary. Of course, a (normal) check can be called for under circumstances where failure is likely — such as when using improvised tools, or when rushing the job.

Normally, for Trivial, Minor, and Moderate items, we do not track raw materials; we assume that if you have a skill kit or shop, you have the resources that you need. At the GM's discretion, Major and Extreme items may have special resource requirements — in particular, securing the resources to craft an Extreme item might be an adventure unto itself.

The time required to craft an item is at the GM's discretion, but we provide the following guidelines:

  • Trivial Item: two hour Task Action per batch
  • Minor Item: two hour Task Action
  • Moderate Item: 1 shift Job
  • Major Item: 20 shift Job
  • Extreme Item: 150 shift Job

Note that the crafting "system" as presented is somewhat minimal. How do you know if you have raw materials? Under reasonable circumstances, your character just does. What does your character know how to make? We haven't stated any limits to what your character knows, so they know how to make pretty much anything it's reasonable for them to make. (Of course, Knowledge or Craft checks may be required for a character to know how to produce an unusual, exotic or novel item.)

This system is designed to be light-weight, and to allow Crafter characters to make a large impact on the game with minimal "drag"—if you've noticed that, taken together, this means that a party with a competent chemist can, for example, have basically as many jars of Tar as they want, then you're correct! That's the reward for having a character who invested in chemistry.

Of course, that's not appropriate for all groups; some players might want a little more guidance on what's possible, or prefer a deeper system — and, conversely, some GM's might want to put more limits on what their crafters are capable of. If you fall into either of those categories, consider the rules in Advanced Crafting in Alternate Rules.