## I benchpress 500 pounds: Carrying capacity

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The average strength 10 character has a maximum load of 500 pounds.  Ridiculous.

In 2e, a pack mule had a carrying capacity of 500 pounds.  Strength 18/00 had a carrying capacity of less than 500 pounds.  More than 500 pounds would slow down a domesticated elephant.

According to what I know I can comfortably deadlift, my equivelant strength in 5e is 7.  That makes me insecure of my masculinity.  The rules should be changed for that reason alone.  Plus I have a good idea what 500 pounds worth of stuff looks like, and loading the average Joe up like a pack mule would be asanine.
Valdark
Joined Dec 1969
That's dragging 500 lbs. Or dead lifting in the sense of being able to get a portion of the object off the ground.
It isn't something you can carry around. You'd be able to push or drag it at 50ft per minute vs the 300ft per minute that your character walks.
It is also a maximum which means that if a boulder weighs over 500 lbs you cannot use a Str check to get it rolling down a hill.

This actually isn't too far off.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

We're also talking about a "load" here, not actually holding all 500 lbs.

But really, weight in D&D has always been stupid.  Weapons, for example, are almost universally twice (or more) the weight of their real world equivalents.  A Greatsword weighs 15lbs.?  That would rip a man apart swinging it around.  A real world "big sword" that would qualify in D&D as a Greatsword weighed 8-9 pounds maximum.  A typical sword in the medieval era would weigh 2-3 lbs.

So, yeah, just assume these are fantasy pounds that actually weigh half of what a real world pound would weigh.
Unenumbered carrying weight = STR x 10
Maximum encumbered carrying weight = STR x 20
Maximum push/pull/drag = STR x 50

I don't consider myself "average" strength. I've done time in the military and have had to pick up and carry large amounts of weight, upwards of 300 lbs at times. According to these calculations, this would have put me, personally, at a STR of roughly 16. I don't really think my STR was that high...but this doesn't mean that D&D has to be spot-on in their calculations of what STR means what weights are allowed.

I don't think the STR to carrying weight calculations are too off...not for simple math, at least.

I don't know about anybody else, but I don't want to have to deal with complex mathematical formulas just to determine a simple solution...it would rip the fun out of a game for me.
drwonder
Joined Dec 1969
I have had to push my suv up a slight hill... its curb weight is 3700lbs... I have str of 75? I dont think so.

There are so many factors to a weight to strength ratio. Pushing a 1000lbs block of wet soap on ice is different then pushing 500 lbs on sand.

There also a difference in volume between holding 100lbs of steel vs 100lbs of feather pillows. Both can be done, but I would rather try to carry 100lbs of steel around all day (even with my 75 str).

Then again I would not want to be swinging around an 15lbs greatsword for very long either... (SledgeHammers now days weight 10-20 lbs)

I don't care how far off it is as it is just a way to try to keep people from carrying 10 swords, 3 suits of armor, 3 months food/water supplies, still pick up that giant treasure chest of gold coins and have one hand free to wield that 10lb sword...
I'm no slouch.  I could march all day with a 60kg kit.  Though if I were to make a comparison to 5e, that would allow me to generate enough draft force to drag a plough through friable soil at 3 and a half miles per hour.  All day.  Every day.

Valdark
Joined Dec 1969

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

wpgdave
Joined Dec 1969
The recent rules for carrying capacity (4e and the current playtest) tend to break down fairly quickly when you step away from anything but average strength.  The reason for this is that the developers have opted for simplicity over realism.

The current rules make calculation easy (good), but result in strength scores being linear (bad).  3rd edition had an exponential system that doubled your carrying capacity every 5 points.  This kept strength scores for really strong characters/creatures from getting out of hand (good), but required table-lookups or memorization (bad).  It's all of matter of how important one views these pros and cons to be.  Personally, I prefer the 3rd edition approach.
lokiare
Joined Dec 1969
What I find hilarious is that you can weigh down a medium sized creature to encumbered and then still have the same move speed by long jumping...
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What I find hilarious is that you can weigh down a medium sized creature to encumbered and then still have the same move speed by long jumping...

That sounds like someting to start another thread/topic with. It is kind of silly to slow somebody down via weight but allow long-distance loping runs at full speed via long jumping.
I have had to push my suv up a slight hill... its curb weight is 3700lbs... I have str of 75? I dont think so.

Keep in mind that your suv is on wheels which reduces the drag that would otherwise keep you from moving your vehicle. Also, the wheel and axel system allows your car to pick up and hold onto momentum, to help your push, which is something that wouldn't be present in dragging an object.

So really, your efforts to move your car doesn't mean that you have a 75 STR, it just means that you have several things working in your favor to help mutiply your potential. This would be much like how less effort is needed to lift a heavier object off the ground using several pulleys set up in the right positions to magnify your pull.
matt.b
Joined Dec 1969

I like the new strength system. Previously you had to have exceptional strength to wear heavy armor and use a bastard sword. In this edition you don't have to have a god's strength to carry all the stuff a real adventurer has.

As a side note from real life. One of my brothers is 6'2" tall and weighs 120 pounds. In 2e terms his strength score is 17. In fifth ed he has a more reasonable score of 7 or 8.

Valdark
Joined Dec 1969
Hah,

Great point lokaire

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

I was off on my math.

2.5 miles per hour while dragging a plough.  An average human (+1 strength, minimum, racial bonus), can generate enough tillage to plough several acres per day.  The same avarage human generates actual horsepower with what they are capable of dragging.

I don't care how far off it is as it is just a way to try to keep people from carrying 10 swords, 3 suits of armor, 3 months food/water supplies, still pick up that giant treasure chest of gold coins and have one hand free to wield that 10lb sword...

10 longswords.  50 pounds.

3 suits of  plate armour.  150 pounds

120 days rations.  120 pounds

Free hand for '10 pound sword'.  10 pounds

That leaves 170 pounds free for the chest full of coins.  No weight for the chest was given, but coins come in at 50 to the pound.

So that is 8500 coins.

A strength 10 character can pick all of that up and move and fight, albiet at 5 feet per round and at disadvantage.  The average human can carry more.

Having had my .mil experience...that amount of carrying capacity seems a little on the high side for what's believable for an average person. But hey, it's a fantasy setting where the people, by default, are pretty hardened even before they consider a small stint of adventuring...which brings the numbers closer to the realm of believability.

Besides, the math is simple...it's at a level where anybody can sit down and play without having to worry that their college level trig classes are going to be needed (yes, I've seen a game or two like that...).
Personally, I've always felt that, although LIFTING should be a function of one's Strength, the sustained CARRYING of any amount of weight (for anything beyond a couple of rounds) should be a function of a characters Constitution. Then again, maybe that isn't relevant to the conversation.

Still, I think benchmarks should be relatively rooted in the real world (I don't want to use the word "realistic"; it IS a fantasy game, after all) and the math, while simple and to the point, doesn't hold up well to scrutiny.
Valdark
Joined Dec 1969
I don't think the intent is that the lift drag are supposed to represent anything except the max at what you can move with a Str check. Now they definitely should have left in max encumbrance from previous editions to reflect this.

Also on te note of the plow you are also assuming there is no drag from the blades running through the ground.

You can pull the plow on top of the earth not through it.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

They did leave in max encumbrance. Max encumbered = x2 max unencumbered. Max unencumbered = x10 STR score.

Simple math
Valdark
Joined Dec 1969
Ah so they did, sorry was reading the thread and not the packet.

That certainly proves Tigerblood's example flawed.

He calculated a Str 10 character carrying well over his 200lbs max.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Yeah...the 500 lbs would've been the max push/pull/drag (x5 max unencumbered). The math is still flawed to the high-side, but not in a hugely unbelievable way...it's still simple calculations, and easy to run with.
Joined Dec 1969

I came up with this off the top of my head, it makes it mostly easy to calculate and it might be more in line with realism, it allows for slightly more than light load did in 3.5 (for average str) but less than initially set by the playtest here.

(STRMOD x10) + 50lbs

STR 01 = 0lbs (things less than 1lb are fine)
STR 02 = 10lbs
STR 05 = 20lbs
STR 08 = 40lbs
STR 10 = 50lbs
STR 12 = 60lbs
STR 15 = 70lbs
STR 16 = 80lbs
STR 18 = 90lbs

I was looking at some random Google/Yahoo searches and found that average military weights are generally 50lbs for gear and restricted to a max of 100lb (usually). Remember the basic carrying capacity in D&D should be for what is allowed for totally unrestricted movement and functionality (i.e. if you had no gear it should be basically the same as it is with you under your weight cap). These numbers make sense if you think of an average person as STR 10 and say an average military person as maybe STR 12 leaving their max at 120lb and max carry without being restricted to 5ft moves (encumbered but still mostly mobile). Most average people can lift half their own weight so size should factor into these, so the basic rules of small is half and large is double should work. This system isn’t perfect either but balances ease of use with a more realistic set of numbers. I know I sure as heck would not be comfortable carrying around 100lbs all day without it affecting my performance even if it was properly distributed in a backpack or etc. let alone fight with it.

Hope this helps.

Ahglock
Joined Dec 1969
The rules seem fine to me.  They are quick and easy and not too far off from realistic.  As for all the pull X all day arguments, do we really need a rule to say yeah pushing a weight at your limit is tiring and you wont be doing that all day?

Edit to add, they can change the multipliers a bit and it would still be fine or do what was sugested about and have a multiplier with 50lbs added on for the next level.  Just keep it quick and easy and within reason.  Don't get me wrong dead lifting 500lbs is not something the average guy will do without a huge adrenaline burst.  The carry/carry encumbered seemed a bit more on point though.  I weight lift and you wont see me dead lift 500lbs, leg press sure no problem but dead lift not so much.  But for a quick easy system where you group dead lift and push it works.
kurishae
Joined Dec 1969
I was thinking a nice compromise here would be:

Max Light Load = up to 5 x Strength Score (50 lbs for 10 STR)
Max Heavy Load = up to 15 x strength score (150 lbs for 10 STR)
Max push/drag/deadlift = up to 45 x strength score (450 lbs for 10 STR)

In other words:
Light Load = 5 x STR

Easy.

I think this is realistic, because assuming that I have 10 STR, I could probably carry 50 well-distributed pounds around all day without too many adverse effects. 100 would wear me out, but I could manage, and 200 would be like carrying another one of me around and would not be sustainable for long when running around adventuring. 150 seems perfect to me as a maximum heavy load.

450 isn't quite as heavy as 500 either, so maybe some people will see that as more feasible.

(FYI, 20 STR would be Light:100, Heavy:300, Push/Drag:900. A Large-sized Horse with 20 STR would be double that, which seems almost right.)

EDIT: That being said, I think the current rules are suitable enough, and you can't beat its simplicity.
mjkrepel
Joined Dec 1969
I agree that the current DnDN rules are broken.

However, the biggest problem I see with the rules is the fact that lifting and dragging have the same max weight. The fact is that 4.0 used the same math but did not include lifting in the the list of things that the average human can do with 500 lbs. At least in every game that I played, this seemed reasonable.

That being said, it is a huge oversight to say that the average human can lift 500 lbs and a gigantic departure from the former rules used to calculate max capacities. IMO returning to 4.0's math for these numbers would fix most of these issues we are seeing with Next's numbers.

Medium load would then be up to 10xSTR. Heavy load and max lift would be 20xSTR. Max drag or push would be 50xSTR.

Simple, easy, and more aligned with reality. Everybody wins.
CarlT
Joined Dec 1969
I agree that the current DnDN rules are broken.

"Broken" or "not realistic"

They are not the same thing.

Broken means it actually harms gameplay

Not realistic means it just doesn't conform to your calculations of how you think the world should be simulated.

Do the inaccuracies in the carry weights really break your game?

Carl
Rory
Joined Dec 1969
I agree that the current DnDN rules are broken.

"Broken" or "not realistic"

They are not the same thing.

Broken means it actually harms gameplay

Not realistic means it just doesn't conform to your calculations of how you think the world should be simulated.

Do the inaccuracies in the carry weights really break your game?

Carl

It sorta relates to the overcosted poison thread. I would rather limit poison usage with weight than artificial cost. Cant do that if everyone hauls like a mule.

CarlT
Joined Dec 1969
I agree that the current DnDN rules are broken.

"Broken" or "not realistic"

They are not the same thing.

Broken means it actually harms gameplay

Not realistic means it just doesn't conform to your calculations of how you think the world should be simulated.

Do the inaccuracies in the carry weights really break your game?

Carl

It sorta relates to the overcosted poison thread. I would rather limit poison usage with weight than artificial cost. Cant do that if everyone hauls like a mule.

How much do you think Poison weighs?  I suspect the weakest person could carry enough poison to kill an army.  So I don't see how weight is going to balance poison....

Carl

Rory
Joined Dec 1969
I agree that the current DnDN rules are broken.

"Broken" or "not realistic"

They are not the same thing.

Broken means it actually harms gameplay

Not realistic means it just doesn't conform to your calculations of how you think the world should be simulated.

Do the inaccuracies in the carry weights really break your game?

Carl

It sorta relates to the overcosted poison thread. I would rather limit poison usage with weight than artificial cost. Cant do that if everyone hauls like a mule.

How much do you think Poison weighs?  I suspect the weakest person could carry enough poison to kill an army.  So I don't see how weight is going to balance poison....

Carl

Item damage is another cost control. Players are more likely to purchase kits to hold poison, potions, acid and oil. The best kits are thick padded and somewhat heavy. Poison is weightless. If I didnt roll for equipment damage it would have no weight and player's could buy an insane amount (in certain rare locations where its stocked) especially since I would keep it cheap and sell it in bulk. Potion, and acid flasks, are only a pound each. You would have to play it this way or you are going to end up with some really videogamy inventories.
The_Jester
Joined Oct 2003
5064 Posts
The recent rules for carrying capacity (4e and the current playtest) tend to break down fairly quickly when you step away from anything but average strength.  The reason for this is that the developers have opted for simplicity over realism.

The current rules make calculation easy (good), but result in strength scores being linear (bad).  3rd edition had an exponential system that doubled your carrying capacity every 5 points.  This kept strength scores for really strong characters/creatures from getting out of hand (good), but required table-lookups or memorization (bad).  It's all of matter of how important one views these pros and cons to be.  Personally, I prefer the 3rd edition approach.

I'm not a big fan of looking stuff up on a table for play. But encumbrance is something you check once -at character creation- and then reference off a sheet. And only if you're using it.

As long as you're not changing stats (like 3e) it shoudn't be a problem. Make a table.

Plus, that means super-humanly strong creatures (19-25 str) can lift appropriately more amounts. A large-sized ogre or Minotaur should weigh easily 1600 pounds, and should be able to lift their bodyweight.

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I don't mind the crazy encumberance rules as is.  It just means that the average person in the dnd world is a lot stronger than the average person in our world.  I'm okay with that.

Its also nice because it makes putting a 12 in strength instead of an 8 somewhat meaningful for not melee fighters.