Rules in tabletop adventure games often revolve around limiting and enforcing character or referee actions. Inventory and encumbrance is there to prevent characters from carrying more than is realistically believable. Injury systems in some games penalize stats or certain actions to simulate the injury and prevent the player from just ignoring it.
These rules are often unnecessary and can be substituted with a simple question: “Ok, but how do you deal with ____ ?”
- A character has a broken arm, they attempt scale a low all.
- “But how do you do that with a broken arm?”
- A character tries to carry 4 suits of armor and several swords.
- “Where to you put them?”
A simple question re-frames the issue in the players mind and forces them to creatively deal with the obvious problem. Instead of engaging with mechanics, the engage with the fiction cleverly attempting to devise a solution.
- “I push a crate up against the wall so I climb over it using just one hand.”
- “I tie a rope to a shield and use it like a sled to drag items around behind me.”
Stat penalties and mechanical gidgets are unnecessary, imagination, creativity, and good player-referee communication do all the work.