I had this weird thought some weeks back — nothing feels like it happened so long ago, but the subject is one I wrote about in my journal at the beginning of October — how I might use mundane equipment in an RPGMaker game, where you’re generally expected to create a more abstract roleplaying experience, such as the games in the Final Fantasy series, and not a simulation experience.

The items found in most first-level character kits — backpack, bedroll, waterskin, rations, and torches — seemed more obstructive than anything else for a computer roleplaying experience. But then I got to thinking about what the items can represent, rather than just what they are in a literal sense.

A backpack, belt, bags, pouches, and vials all represent a character’s ability to carry things they need, whether they’re tools, supplies, or what have you. They represent a certain amount of self-sufficiency. Personal freedom — go where you want to go, do what you want to do. Just make sure you packed what you’re going to need.

The bedroll, waterskin, and rations all represent needs of a character, above and beyond whatever tools necessary for the tasks ahead of them. Sleep, to recover their energy from the day’s work, water, to quench their thirst and keep themselves hydrated, and food, to nourish their bodies and provide the fuel they need to keep going. Three pieces to an all-important, resource-management puzzle.

Without water and sleep, the mortal body breaks down quickly, and though food is slightly lower on the list of priorities, it is still of vital importance. Bear in mind, these items are heavy, and can be difficult to transport and preserve, not to mention obtain in the first place. All three attract vermin, and invite disease and parasites.

Finally, I considered torches and rope — more specifically, the applications these objects see in the employ of adventurers. While it may be true that torches, as light sources, are used by anyone who needs to see in the dark, including watchmen and such, for adventurers they are used for exploring dark places, such as wooded areas and subterranean caverns. Rope is used for traversing similar such areas.

Some of these objects have binary functions — an adventurer either does or does not have a backpack, bedroll, or rope. Some of them are consumable and after a few uses must be replenished — food, water, and torches are removed from one’s inventory as they are used — and only so many “uses” of each object may be carried at once.