3 x 5 Item Cards
Rules for keeping track of items and equipment:
Our campaign uses 3 x 5 index cards in order to keep track of all the important
items carried by player characters. When you find, or buy a significant item
(something more important than rope or rations), you record the item on a 3
x 5 index card (use the format shown below).
When your character gives an item to another character, you simply give the
card to that characters player. If you lose an item, you simply give the appropriate
index card to the DM.
The 3 x 5 index cards have many benefits. We use them for the following
- They facilitate accurate calculation of player charcter encumberance/weight
- They greatly improve item portability.
- If you want to trade an item with another character, neither character
has to erase the item from their character sheet. Neither character needs
to record the item on their character sheet. Players simply exchange
3 x 5 cards.
- If you gain an item, you don't need to write it down on your character
sheet. This is helpful if you've run out of room, or if you want to list
it after your shaving kit, but your mirror is listed after the shaving
- If an item is lost or destroyed, you don't need to erase it from your
character sheet. You simply hand the 3 x 5 card to the DM.
- They allow you to easily categorized and organize groups of items. For
example. Store all your backpack items in an envelope labelled 'Backpack'.
to the envelope. You could also use one of those file card boxes and some
tabbed index cards to separate groups of items. To facilitate weight calculations,
you could place the total weight of the backpack and its contents on the
outside of the 'Backpack'
- They create physical tokens, representing imaginary objects. Thus
enhancing the role-playing aspect of your game.
- By using ink, the DM can ensure the integrity of the items description.
i.e. The +1 Common dagger is less likely to become a +3 Dagger of piercing
when the description is written in ink.
- They're easier to maintain and update than standard equipment/item record
- The use of item cards reduces duplicate item entry when recording treasures
- The index card provides plenty of room for recording notes regarding the
item. Much more room than a single line on a character sheet.
- The index card provides an excellent place to record uses of magical charges
or ammunition used. Simply create little squares on the card, and put an
'X' through the square when the charge is used.
Format / form of the 3 x 5 item card:
Below is an example of a 3 x 5 item card. The example includes instructions
for the creation/format of the 3 x 5 item card.
Note that some items, upper right corner and the back of the
card should be completed in pencil. The rest should be filled out in ink.The
cards may be handwritten or typed.
Are there any drawback to this method of item accountability?
Not a hell of a lot. You need to write down the items description. Wait a minute,
you had to do that before, you just didn't have as much room. You have to record
where you're carrying the item. Well, you probably should have done that before.
Otherwise your DM wouldn't know whether that crystal of spell storing is susceptible
to the Fireball or not...
"Hey; that reminds me! You guys got off lucky in
that last encounter! Damn lucky."
Hmmm, I can't seem to come up with any valid drawbacks. Maybe
there aren't any?
If you have any questions or feedback about the format or use
of item index cards, please feel free to contact me.
Return to the 3E Campaign page.
Author: Robert L. Vaessen e-mail:
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since 15 Jul 03.