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Inventory tracking without sheet

OK, so I’ve been working on the inventory sheet for months now, these last couple of days especially.

Getting pretty familiar with the math (that I cooked up to pretty closely approx the pound counts), and…

I cooked up these rules that come very close to giving the same results, outcomewise.

The question is: are they too complex to manage? The inventory sheet I made pretty much does all of this for you, and has the added flavor bonus of telling you know where everything is. Doing the following by hand could be a pain.

The area

You need any ruled area (like the dinky little equipment area on most character sheets) or just a hand made bullet list on scrap paper or w/e. I’m going to use the word “slot” for these rows/list-entries/bullets.

The number

Take your armor and divide its pound weight by five, round down. Subtract that number from your strength score.

That’s how many items you can carry.

Size categories

I use the same size categories with this rule that I do for my inventory sheet.

Tiny items
You’d put it in your pocket. One coin, one gem, one candle, one piton, or such. Around 50 per lb.
Small items
You’d put it in your bag. Lanterns, flasks, tinderboxes, messkits, or such. Around 1 lb.
One ration counts as two small items. Is an annoying exception to the normal categories. Around 2 lb.
Medium items
Weapons, shields, bow+full quiver, or such. Around 5lb.
Big items
tents, bedrolls, blankets, 50ft rope, one-gallon-waterskins or such. Around 9lb.
Heavy items
One these five items: pike, maul, greatclub, heavy crossbow, two-gallon-waterskin. Another annoying exception. Around 15 lb.

So to put a big item you must also have a slot occupied by a ration, small item, or tiny item.

Block that many slots out right away. (Draw a bold line on your ruled paper, or make that many bullets in your hand drawn list, or w/e.)

(Holy shit that’s too few?) Mark yourself as Encumbered (-10 speed) to add your strength score to that.

You can do this once more and go to Heavily encumbered (-20 speed and disadvantage on all physical rolls).

Having a backpack is presupposed, pay for one if you’re buying your own gear.

The catch

You can not have more big items than small items.

Keep track of your small items with a “-“ and your big with a “+” in front of them.

If you would ever add a big item and you don’t have enough small items to cover it, mark another empty small slot right away with a - on an empty line.

A heavy item occupies three slots all on its own. It works as if it were three medium item, it doesn’t look at either your small nor your big items.

One coin per line, are you serious?

Pouches and sacks work like they do on the inventory sheet.

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A small pouch counts as a small item and can have 50 tiny things in it.

A medium pouch counts as a medium item and can have 250 tiny things in it. Small things can go in there, and each takes as much space as 50 tiny things. Rations can go in there, and eachs takes as much space as 100 tiny things.

A sack counts as two heavy items, i.e. it take up six slots all on its own. It can carry 1500 tiny things, or 30 small things, or 15 rations, or 6 medium things, or 3 big items or any mix of that.

So you can put a coin on one line or you can get a pouch.♥︎


For this example, she has 11 strength and a 10lb leather armor.

So she can carry nine items. 11 - 10/5 = 11 - 2 = 9.

In the example, she could go to 20 items (9+11) by becoming encumbered and she could go to 31 by becoming heavily encumbered.

She chooses

Leaving the last line already blocked out so that she doesn’t have to re-think about this until all of her lines are full up. If she wants more slots she can become encumbered and get eleven more (her strength score).

We carried you in our arms

So the number one point of inventory tracking is to see how much the player characters weigh. Do they trigger pressure plates, can they carry each other etc? This is trickier with this rule than with the sheet but it’s possible:

Weight – pressure plate

Note each PCs body weight in pounds, divided by 5, add their own strength score. (This includes both gear and armor.) Add it again if they are encumbered, and again if they are heavily encumbered.

Drag you out of there

Dragging capacity = strength score times three for heavily encumbered, times four for lightly encumbered, times five for unencumbered. Times six if they are dropping everything including armor.


I’d still rather that we use the inventory sheet but I’m still glad I found these rules. They’re sort of a… scrappy emergency version?