In RuneScape, items are physical objects that a player may have in their inventory. Players distinguish them by their names and graphics. The game additionally distinguishes items by ID numbers that are not visible to players in-game.
Items can be described by a number of characteristics:
- Graphics: All obtainable items have graphics. There are four main types of graphics items may have:
- All items may be held in the inventory and therefore have inventory pictures. This inventory picture also appears in the Grand Exchange box and the equipment screen, albeit its outline and shadow may vary. The inventory picture is actually a 3D model, though it is only shown at one angle and has an outline (usually) and shadow added to it. Most textures, also, currently do not appear on inventory icons - note that items shown on a Grand Exchange Database search page (on the RuneScape website) will have textures, even though they appear similar to their in-game inventory icons.
- Items may actually be seen in 3D when dropped on the ground, and will use the same model as their inventory icon (they may, however, appear at a different size or orientation, and will also be affected by graphical settings such as textures).
- The third kind of item graphic is equipment that is equipped on the player, which is a 3-D model that is usually more detailed than the inventory/dropped appearance.
- A fourth appearance for items is an appearance in a chatbox, such as when an NPC gives you an item, and it appears as a larger version of the inventory icon (with textures if you have them turned on). This appearance is also used on an item's Grand Exchange Database page. This fourth appearance may be seen any time for any item you can take anywhere, for example by attempting to insert the item into the primed body bar slot in Elemental Workshop 3.
- In addition, some items may have graphics for other situations, such as animations, POH mountings, or the player's head when talking to an NPC. All of these graphics will usually look similar to each other, normally only varying in detail.
- Name: Most items have a unique name for that particular item. Some may have the same exact name, yet have different purposes.
- ID: All of the items in RuneScape have a unique number that identifies it. Only one item has the same ID, unlike how multiple items can have the same name. The ID of an item can be used to lookup Grand Exchange prices and get additional information about an item from the database, such as the examine text and value. Seemingly identical items may have different IDs as they are used for different purposes.
- Tradeability: Many items may be traded between players; however, many quest-related, holiday, and miscellaneous items cannot be traded (and cannot be transferred in any other way such as the Party Room) and therefore are often called untradeable items or non-tradeables. Almost all tradeable items may be traded on the Grand Exchange and therefore are associated with a certain price range of numbers of coins, which can change when the Grand Exchange updates its prices. The only tradeable items that cannot be traded on the Grand Exchange are a very small number of useless items such as burnt fish. Naturally, coins are an item that cannot be bought on the Grand Exchange either as they are the main currency in RuneScape.
- Weight: All unstackable items have weight which affects the player's ability to run. The higher a player's weight, the faster he/she loses energy while running.
- Item stacking (Stackability): Some items such as runes or coins will pile up in a single spot in the inventory. Other items such as buckets will take one spot per item and therefore are non-stackable. All items that are "stackable" have zero weight. Most non-stackable items may be converted to a stackable form using a bank note, but bank noted items lose most of their properties as they just become a piece of paper. Bank noted items may deposited in the bank and then withdrawn back as usable, unnoted, non-stackable items.
- Equippability: Some items, such as weapons or armour, can be worn, giving bonuses or penalties to combat statistics. Many equipped items also have other effects.
- The High Alchemy or Low Level Alchemy spells may be cast on most items to convert them into coins. The number of coins obtained per item is specific for each item. All tradeable items may be "alched", and items may be "alched" one by one while in banknote form. Even if an item is untradeable, it sometimes may still be converted into coins via the High Alchemy or Low Level Alchemy spell. An example of an item falling under this category is a partially degraded piece of barrows equipment.
Not every item is tradeable, and of the items that are, not every tradeable item is tradeable on the Grand Exchange. When RuneScape was first released, all items could be traded. However, many quest items were made non-tradeable following complaints in 2002 that this made quests too easy. Untradeable items are not limited to those used in quests; other items, such as clue scrolls, charms and most exclusive Treasure Hunter rewards, are also untradeable. Jagex also made some junk items untradeable in November 2007 due to them being used in scams.
In general, most tradeable items are tradeable on the Grand Exchange, however. The most common exception to this rule is coins. In general, almost every tradeable item has a "drop" option rather than a destroy option and will display itself on the ground. Exceptions exist (such as implings in jars).
Trivially, any tradeable item may be offered to another player via the trade screen and this may be the only way to get items not available on the Grand Exchange.
As a basic rule, tradeable items share properties and they may be:
- Traded to other players
- They will appear to other players when dropped
- Sold to a general store or speciality shop
- Can be stored on a familiar
- Fed to baby trolls
- Converted into notes
The latter three rules, however, are not limited to tradeable items. Untradeable items may or may not be alchemiseable and a handful of them will be accepted by a baby troll. Similarly, some tradeable items cannot be alchemised, such as bonds and certain Treasure Hunter rewards. The special teak and mahogany logs, and bane ore could be converted into notes despite not being tradeable.
Even if an item is tradeable, free players will not be able to trade it away to players nor a shop if it is a members only item. However, they can sell members only items on the Grand Exchange as of an update in 2016.
In June 2010, there was a glitch that allowed players to trade untradeable items while in Daemonheim. A player was able to drop an untradeable item, which would appear to other players. However, most untradeable items could not be transferred this way in practice because they had to be smuggled in (using another glitch) via a familiar, which could not hold untradeable items. Extreme and overload potions were among the most commonly transferred as they were among the few untradeable items that are made from tradeable materials. The glitch was fixed after about a week of its discovery. A similar glitch was discovered after Legacy Mode was released; this glitch was patched shortly afterwards.
Some untradeable items, such as lilies of the valley, can be given to another player by using them with the recipient. There are also items that can only be traded for similar items, such as some seasonal Treasure Hunter rewards. They cannot be placed in a Beast of Burden, and are considered Restricted trade items. The types are:
- Golden chinchompa feed
- Grinning idols
- Tuska mask parts
- Eir's spear and helmet
- Box of Valentine chocolates candies
- Crown of Seasons items
- Cloak of Seasons items
- Pet of Seasons items
- Golem outfit parts
- Challenge tokens
- Ethereal outfit parts
- Shark outfit parts
- Jadinko eggs
- Divination outfit parts
Dropping and Destroying
Many items may be dropped on the ground. There is no limit to the number of items that can fit in one place on the ground. However, items dropped on the ground disappear after a certain time. Tradeable items appear to other players 60 seconds after being dropped, and disappear after another 150 seconds if not picked up. Untradeable items simply disappear 180 seconds after being dropped. Items received as a drop from a monster disappear 120 seconds after they were dropped, if they are left on the ground. Items dropped in the Wilderness will appear immediately, regardless of their value. This can be useful in "clan fights", where dropping food may aid an ally.
If Ranged projectiles are dropped on the ground as a result of their usage, they appear to other players one at a time, and correspondingly disappear one at a time.
Some items may not be dropped on the ground; they have no "Drop" option in their right-click menu. Instead, they have a "Destroy" option, which allows the player to remove the item from their possession.
The destroy option was introduced with the Garden of Tranquility quest. This is a feature in RuneScape for certain quest-related items, discontinued items, Treasure Hunter items, and holiday drops that replaces the usual "Drop" option available to all other items. It most often applies to items which cannot be traded. There is usually a warning screen that appears when "destroy" option is selected that asks if the player is sure they want to destroy the item, and also explains how to get the item again (or that it cannot be re-obtained). Members-only items will always have a "Drop" option on free worlds; however, trying to drop the item will still trigger the dialogue box for destroying the item.
These items cannot be dropped, but may be picked up if a player has a full inventory upon receiving one. While in the inventory, they can only be destroyed. This option was most probably introduced by Jagex to prevent players from using the drop trick for certain items. The only tradeable items with a destroy option are impling jars with an impling trapped inside, Hunter kits and tradeable Squeal of Fortune items, such as grinning idol parts.
Sometimes if a player wishes to drop a high-value item a warning screen will appear. The item is not protected by anything, so other players will still see it after 60 seconds, and it will still disappear after another 150 seconds. Be careful of what you wish to drop.
Some items are discontinued, meaning no more can be created. Some discontinued items are tradeable; these items are worth millions of coins because of their rarity. Some discontinued items are non-tradeable; this includes non-tradeable "fun" holiday items as well as obscure items that many people do not know about, such as the War ship.
There are few discontinued items that have practical uses; some are used for showing off or for fun, others cannot be displayed in any way.
The option to sell tradeable discontinued items to General stores was removed from the game because there is no reason to do so.
There are also many items that are, in a way, partially discontinued; they can only be created a certain number of times for one player, often just once, but can be brought into the game by new accounts. This is often the case with quest-related items. These items may be nontradeable or tradeable. The Amulet of accuracy used to be an example of such an item, but updates in October 2010 drastically changed the mechanics of this item.
- If one selects the option to "take" an item, and the item disappears before reaching it (or picking it up) a message that says "Too late - it's gone!" will show in the chat box.
- It is possible to get the text "null" to appear, by right clicking on an item that gets used at the same time as the click. Doing this can make the use option say "use null with X"- X being the item you are using it with.
- Items in the inventory will remain there even if the player is wielding them in an animation, such as woodcutting a yew tree.
- The maximum amount of an item the player can have in an interface (bank, inventory, Grand Exchange slot, etc) is 2,147,483,647 due to the amount being stored as a signed 32-bit integer. In the Java programming language, an integer has a maximum value of 231-1 or 2,147,483,647.
- On 17 August 2011, the item taking animation was changed.
- As of the 31 January 2012, names of items have been colour coded to show if they are members items or not. Members items are coloured orange and non-members items light blue.
- Before 19 April 2012, members' items on free-to-play world would appear as "Members object", losing all their properties and changing their examine text to: Login to a members' server to use this object.
- There are currently over 39,000 items in RuneScape.