A long time ago, people played roleplaying games. The standard was that a party full of different fantasy versions of yourself, like elves, bards and wizards, entered a dungeon and tried to gather as much treasure as possible. Then there was the DM, who opposed these dungeoneers’ efforts by designing the dungeon to be as difficult as possible. But the system allowed the players to have tools with which to navigate these traps and difficulties. When faced with a mysterious door, a statue or perhaps a trap door, having or not having a 10-foot pole was all the difference in the world.
This created this need for preparedness for the players. When you had the possibility to stock up on supplies, you needed to think of everything and carry everything. If you didn’t, then the GM’s death traps would get you. This sense has carried over in the culture of roleplaying. Meticulous inventory gathering, encumberance and looting everything that might even remotely be useful.
As a person who likes to focus on the narrative, the characters and the themes, rather than the actual simulation, I feel that this instinct to log and define what you are carrying at any given time interferes with roleplaying a lot. When people open the gear tables and see what they can buy, it slows down the game.
That is why I am immensely grateful for a single skill in the FFG Star Wars roleplaying game system (which really needs a proper name for itself): Vigilance. Vigilance has several uses: Determining initiative when the character has prepared for combat, resisting sneakiness when the character is not actively searching for it, and determining whether the character is carrying some piece of equipment.
The last part is incredibly liberating, since no longer will the players have to lug around a convenience store’s worth of stuff. Whenever a situation arises for which the players have prepared for, but did not remember to mention taking the equipment with them, you can just roll Vigilance. With a success you remembered to pack the binoculars, or climbing gear or something. If it is very unlikely that the character would have prepared for the problem, just increase the difficulty.
It also makes money useful mid-action. I was planning on allowing the players to retroactively purchase stuff that would be perfect for the situation with a Vigilance check, assuming that they have the necessary encumberance for having been carrying it. This way I would encourage the players to just keep a pool of possessions from which they can draw it as the need arises. It removes a lot of unnecessary bookkeeping, which is always wonderful.