Items Kept on Death is a menu accessed from the Worn Equipment button on the Interface that shows which items players will keep when they die. Generally, only the three most valuable items will be kept, and these items will be shown in this menu.
The value of items are not based on market value or Grand Exchange prices, but is based on the store (or alchemy) value of the items. Rare items such as partyhats will NOT be kept on death, unless a player has less than three items (four when using Protect item), even if the market value of an item, such as a Blue partyhat (worth 452,400,000 coins) is substantially higher than the majority of Runescape's various items and accessories.
In addition, stackable items are considered as individual items, and the value of those items is based on a single item, even if the combined total worth of the items is far greater than any other items. For example, if the player is only carrying 400 coins, only 3 coins are retained upon death as each coin is valued individually.
If players are skulled by entering the Abyss, or by entering PvP worlds or Bounty Hunter, they will lose all of their items when they die. There was an update in which you may NOT use the Protect Item in PvP worlds or Bounty Hunter. This prayer originally was what people who player-killed (PKed) when PKing so that their best item could be protected while they used other low costing items for protection. (e.g. A PK'er would use bandos godsword with rune armour.) However, there was a later update to Bounty Hunter worlds so that you could automatically protect one item. The duration of being skulled lasts for 10 minutes of playing time, and may be avoided by wearing a Forinthry bracelet when entering the Abyss.
The term "safe" refer to the fact that it is safe to die within the minigame. Safe minigames, such as Castle Wars, Duel Arena , Soul Wars or Fist of Guthix, allow players to keep' all their items' upon death.
In the Duel Arena, players may challenge other players to a staked duel. This means that items (or coins) are put at stake during the duel, and the winner is awarded with the staked items.
However, since the Duel Arena is a safe minigame, players will not lose any items (except the staked items) if they die during the duel.
When players die, gravestones may appear on the spot where the player dies. (However, this is not the case in safe minigames, Corporeal Beast slaying, Wild Jade Vine killing, dangerous Clan Wars or on PvP or Bounty Worlds.) Gravestones may last for 2-6 minutes, depending on the type of the gravestone. During this period, a dead player will be able to respawn and retrieve any remaining items that are not kept on death from the gravestone. (As noted below, "unkeepable" and untradeable items cannot be retrieved from the gravestone.)
Certain untradeable items, like the Ring of Visibility and Runecrafting pouches, cannot be kept upon death. This is regardless of whether the item is the most valuable item, or if Protect Item prayer is used. When player dies, the item is lost forever, cannot be retrieved from the gravestone of the player, and will not appear to other players.
There appears to be two types of item not kept on death. Items which are never kept, no matter what, and items that are not available from your gravestone even if you return in time. In the image, notice how the Ectophial is not outlined in white and indicates it will be available to be reclaimed. If it falls below the items kept on death, it will not be reclaimable.
These items are highlighted in the Items Kept on Death screen. They are destroyed automatically if you die in an unsafe manner such as regular play or an "unsafe" minigame.
Some of these items include:
These items will be saved if they are kept in the inventory upon death, but will not appear at the gravestone if they are not kept upon death. Items that have a 'destroy' rather than drop option usually fall into this category.
Some of these items include:
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