During the course of Felltower, three things have been true:
- Town is a "safe space," where nothing bad happens to PCs unless they blow in-town rolls, and nothing bad happens to their stuff except for the same cause.
- PCs come and go.
- Some objects have special utility in the dungeon, and players love to pass items off between everyone.
So how do we deal with those items, #3, in the safe space that is town, #1, when #2 means the entire party can be completely different from Felltower 1 as it is in Felltower 101?
What do we do when someone finds an odd key and then much later other characters want to use it?
This campaign is relatively pro-transfer between characters.*
Here are the guidelines we used.
It's safe in town.
First and foremost, it's safe. If it's in town, no one is going to mess with it. I don't need some complicated explanation of how you've guarded it. For all we know Gerry's rented room has a pile of skulls in it, skeleton parts all over, and his pile of spare silver and gold near the door. No one messes with it.
Someone has to own it.
It's okay for keys, Bells of D'Abo (no longer an issue, but still), weird items the PCs salvage, etc. to be "in town."
What is not okay is for them to be vaguely "in town" in some kind of nebulous space that all PCs, new or otherwise, have access to.
And since someone owns it, you have to ask that player if you can use it. If it's your other character, yeah, no big deal. They'll say yes. Everyone says yes . . . but if Dryst has it, you can't just "borrow it from Dryst." You have to ask. And if said PC is AWOL, it's tougher - if Borriz or Honus Honusson is off being the Honus of his tribe, or Chuck Morris has it . . . good luck. Those guys aren't hanging around Stericksburg handing out their odd loot because you think you figured out what it's for.
But if you do get it . . . then your guy has it until it goes back to the owner. If that's what you've agreed to do with it.
If no one seems to own it . . . that's where the next bit comes in.
You have to know who has it.
Not only does someone need to own it, but they need to have it written down somewhere. "We found this is session 68, someone must own it, although no one mentioned it since . . ." = it's gone unless someone finds it listed on their sheet.
A few magic items have gone out of the game this way . . . and I could care less. If you lose the only key to the magic door to the fabled Whatsit of Whichplace, then it's gone forever and I don't care.
It has to make sense.
A PC handing over a key to some magic door is one thing . . . a couple of PCs who pass around a powerful magical ring or belt or helmet or whatever between delves is another. This isn't a free-for-all where all of your sword-using guys use the same magic sword or your wizards pass each other the $45,000 necklace that you found to use as a power item. "Quest item" like items only, please, or group items (like the long-lost bridge, say, or some particularly odd piece of gear the group purchased.)
Disadvantages matter, too. Explain to me how your cleric with Intolerance (other religions) is sharing with your pagan barbarian, again?
All in all, this works pretty well. And it saves me from having to track what the players found, in case someone reads an old session report and gets an idea. Check with the other players - the tool you need may not even be around anymore.
* I've long said I'm a big fan of Borderlands 2. I got it back in 2013 and I still play it, long after Borderlands 3 came out. Heck I played it yesterday. There is a way to store items in town, and transfer - in their words, "twink" - items between characters. Hurrah for that! But I'd love full-on one-player-all-characters storage. When I wanted to transfer items from character A to C, but also needed to swap something on B and D, I spent a good chunk of time loading up characters, running them to the storage spot, swapping in items, bringing in someone to take them out, then back to the first guy because I have 6 items to transfer, etc. etc. By the end I'd lost track of one item and had to do it again to get one of them over. Gee, that was a fun way to spend most of an hour on a shoot-and-loot game . . . shuffling gear around. So I understand completely the idea of "community items." But I prefer it as "community access," instead. Because unlike Borderlands 2, these aren't all one player's items. I might seem like I'm wanting one thing for myself and another for my players . . . but this method does seem to work well in Actual Play.