Unencumbered Carrying Capacity Seems Too High

This is a split from a previous post.

The carrying capacity is currently listed as 10x your Strength for unencumbered movement.That means a Strength 10 character can carry 100lbs unencumbered. This seems extremely unrealistic. I'm a pretty strong guy, able to bench 230-250 on a good day, with a best of 315. Back when I was in the US Army, I was in great shape. However, 100lbs of gear was uncommon and was very fatiguing. 

Most military "light" packs are anywhere from 30-50lbs plus weapons, ammo and clothes. This allowed for quick, tactical movement. Heavier packs would be any where from 60-120lbs including gear. Heavier gear is meant to be moved from point-to-point so you can set up camp.

I would suggest unencumbered be your Strength x5. Strength 10 would be 50 pounds. Strength 18 would be 90lbs, unencumbered.
Maximum carry encumbered would be unencumbered x3 (or Strength x15). Strength 10 would be able to carry and lift overhead for a short time 150lbs max. More than that and you will have to drag, put it on a cart, or get help. Drag and dead lift seems about right at x5.
It's not supposed to be realistic.
These are fantastic heroes, not normal people.
 It is very genreous and heavily encourages strength as a dump stat even more since dex is so uber. Probably need to be halved.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Meh.  I don't even track encumbrance.  Unless the PCs are bringing their lucky cinderblock collection along on the adventure, it's not worth the fuss.
It's not supposed to be realistic.
These are fantastic heroes, not normal people.


Decent point, and I'm just as interested in how others feel, keeping in mind that we, collectively, have a chance to provide input into this next edition. It may be that it really doesn't matter enough to most to even warrant asking for the change.

For me, I'd welcome the minor change. I think it would encourage players to cooperate, hire retainers, bring wagons, and other ways to stay unencumbered. In the military, you become creative at hauling gear because walking sucks. Wink 
Haldrik found an interesting article about appropriate loads for soldiers in combat.  If we assume a soldier has an above-average Strength (and I think it's fair to assume that), let's say they have an average Strength of 12.

Accordign to the article, soldiers are hindered if they carry more than 60 lbs!  That would be an encumberance rule of Strength score ×5 (Strength ×3 for Small creatures) or about half the encumberance currently used.  Supine creatures should be able to carry up to triple what upright creatures of the same size can.  Each size category up gets an additional ×8.  Let's call this their "Encumberance Unit" or EU.

So here would be my encumberance rules:

If you carry less than 1 EU, you suffer no penalty. If you carry between 1 and 2 EU, you suffer disadvantage on all Ability checks and cannot move more than ten feet.  If you lift between 2 and 4 EU, you cannot take any actions or reactions and can only stagger five feet.

Personally, I'd be okay with that rule.  But they should also reduce the weapon and armor weights, which right now are all about twice too high. 

I posted this in your other thread, so I will summarize:


1. changing this would impact cross class and ability score balance.  So it can't just be a simple encumbrance rule change.  Dex is already the best ability, and this would just make it better by making light armor more valuable (although it could limit str as a dump stat)


2. a lot of games (including mine) don't track encumbrance at all.  It's a pain. I tend to give my players a bag of holding as one of their first magical items, to clear encumbrance issues from the narrative. 


So this sounds like an interesting module, for people who want a grittier, more 'realistic' style.  I could actually see the fun in dealing with a more serious encumbrance issue, the need for pack animals, the desire to take off armor for long trips (and the heightened risk of ambush), the desire to drop backpacks when fighting (posting interesting ideas for mid combat theft, or that if you flee you are abandoning gear), but while all of that is interesting, it would take a particular type of game that many people arent' interested in playing. 

A rounder calculation is: 50 lb + 10 lb per Strength bonus.

Strength × 10 + 50 lb
A rounder calculation is: 50 lb + 10 lb per Strength bonus.

Strength × 10 + 50 lb


Haldrik, would you mean for max carry?
My two copper.
It's not supposed to be realistic.
These are fantastic heroes, not normal people.




this point is invalid.

10 is the strength value of a human commoner, meaning that 10 is the value of a common human. since a human commoner is about one of the only thing in DnD we can compare to our world as a frame of reference, it must mean that our commoners and dnd human commoners should have -ahem- common, restrictions.

if our average human can't carry around 100lbs then the dnd equivilent should not be able to because it is our anchor, our reference point, the only thing we have to guage and contextualize the strength stat with.

 
It's not supposed to be realistic.
These are fantastic heroes, not normal people.




this point is invalid.

10 is the strength value of a human commoner, meaning that 10 is the value of a common human. since a human commoner is about one of the only thing in DnD we can compare to our world as a frame of reference, it must mean that our commoners and dnd human commoners should have -ahem- common, restrictions.

if our average human can't carry around 100lbs then the dnd equivilent should not be able to because it is our anchor, our reference point, the only thing we have to guage and contextualize the strength stat with.

 



DnD is not realistic, nor should it be. if your going to require realistic limitions then why have magic? magic is hardly realistic.

realistic carrying capasity also means certain builds cant be done. like a gnome who wear's plate, there is no good reason you should not be able to play such a character if you want, realistic or no. (try making one in 3.5 where you have -str and 3/4 normal carrying capsity)

---
when all is said and done do you want to play a game where you need to have 5 donkey's to carry stuff? or spend 15min trading stuff after each fight that you find loot so everyone can walk without penalty? or look up weight info on a chart rather then mulitplying by 10?
Insulting someones grammar on a forum is like losing to someone in a drag race and saying they were cheating by having racing stripes. Not only do the two things not relate to each other (the logic behind the person's position, and their grammar) but you sound like an idiot for saying it (and you should, because its really stupid )
It's not supposed to be realistic.
These are fantastic heroes, not normal people.




this point is invalid.

10 is the strength value of a human commoner, meaning that 10 is the value of a common human. since a human commoner is about one of the only thing in DnD we can compare to our world as a frame of reference, it must mean that our commoners and dnd human commoners should have -ahem- common, restrictions.

if our average human can't carry around 100lbs then the dnd equivilent should not be able to because it is our anchor, our reference point, the only thing we have to guage and contextualize the strength stat with.

 



No, the strength of the average commoner is whatever the DM says it is.  Could be 6, could be 16.

Also, NPCs are not PCs, so what they can do and what PCs are capable of are wildly different, because they are not the protagonists in a fantasy story.  The PCs are.
Encumbrance is one of those weird things about D&D that only matters until it doesn't.

Some observations:

1) most characters who don't need Strength to function tend to not carry around a lot of weight anyways.  They prefer light armor and weapons, and probably wouldn't need to carry more than 50 lbs. of gear.  The only time they could become encumbered is by carrying around treasure, which leads us to...

2) most characters who need Strength to function have enough of it, that even when you take into account the weight of their weapons and armor, tend to have a lot of extra carry capacity they don't need.  Thus, anything particularly heavy (such as treasure) the party needs to lug around tends to be handed to characters like the Fighter.

3) Like rations or ammunition, there's not much point in actually tracking Encumbrance.  If you do, then characters in games that have moderate amounts of magic will purchase Bags of Holding, Everful Quivers, Eternal Rations, and the like, fairly quickly, and never worry about it again.

Your typical Bag of Holding can contain a lifetime's supply of arrows, and arrows aren't really expensive enough in bulk that it's going to make much dent in a hero's wealth.

There is a caveat here, and it has to do with the magic level of the game.  3e and 4e had a default baseline, and point 3 really only applies to those kinds of games, where Encumbrance is a low level problem at best, and forcing the players to spend resources on Bags of Holding and whatnot basically becomes a "tax".

People used to lower magic/lower wealth games might balk at the idea that a party can pay a thousand gold to purchase Eternal Rations and never worry about the minutiae of tracking rations ever again.  And really, if you like your games gritty and with a touch of realism, then it's perfectly fine to ignore this point.  However, there's one more thing to consider...

4) the weights of weapons, armor, and equipment in D&D tend to be wildly inaccurate, sometimes hilariously so.  If you want to switch to a more accurate encumbrance system, there will be amusing consequences if you do not similarly adjust gear weight.  For example, if you decide light load is no more than 5x STR, a 16 STR Fighter is going to have a heck of a time with 50 lb. plate mail, a 10 lb. medium shield, and a 4 lb. longsword!*

*weights taken from 2e PHB ("Black" Revised Printing).                  
"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks
It's not supposed to be realistic.


It makes my skin crawl everytime I see someone use that argument.

Guess what? I like swords. I like bows. I like armor. They are real things. I really like playing in a medieval game world with a TON of real things in it (things I like a LOT... did I mention that?), but also with dragons to fight, and wizards and spells and whatnot. The bottom line is that the realistic parts make the fantasy parts seem more real in the mind's eye. This is called the 'suspension of disbelief', and it is a fundamental element of fictional storytelling.

If the game didn't have those kinds of real-world things in it, then I would likely never have started playing this game decades ago. I like D&D because it is a game in a medieval setting with medieval weapons and other medieval aspects... and depending on the particular campaign type it could have a high or a low level of fantasy included. Just because a game may have fantasy elements doesn't mean that the real-world elements can't be at least somewhat realistic. They don't have to be exact, of course, but it helps a lot if the designers at least try to make things like this seem plausible.

So when it comes to encumberance, why not try to keep it at least somewhat plausible? It's not going to detract from the fantasy elements, right?

So I agree with the OP. They should make encumberance more realistic, because as it stands now it is downright comical. That's not good for suspending my disbelief.

Leadership and class choice should have NOTHING to do with each other, EVER. Conflating the two is simply horrendous game design.
Haldrik found an interesting article about appropriate loads for soldiers in combat.  If we assume a soldier has an above-average Strength (and I think it's fair to assume that), let's say they have an average Strength of 12.

Accordign to the article, soldiers are hindered if they carry more than 60 lbs! 


Yeah, and let me tell you that is a LOT of weight to be carrying around all day, even for a 180-pound guy who is in good shape. Of course, a lot of that is on your back, which makes it pretty hard to deal with. If it were somehow perfectly distributed around your body then it wouldn't be quite as bad.

In comparison, in trekking/backpacking the rule-of-thumb is that you should never carry more than 25% of your body weight. Any more than that and it can really hinder your ability to keep your balance, not to mention the fatigue factor. 
Leadership and class choice should have NOTHING to do with each other, EVER. Conflating the two is simply horrendous game design.
On the other hand, a lot of the weapons at least (and I'm guessing the armor too?) have a rather higher weight than they probably ought to.  A 10 lb. one-handed weapon seems... rather unwieldy.  They could probably do with halving the carrying capacity and also halving the amount a lot of equipment weighs.  It would be more realistic for those who want to keep track of that kind of thing, and really wouldn't very much affect people who just want a basic "is this even remotely possible" reality-check and think the system is fine now.
On the other hand, a lot of the weapons at least (and I'm guessing the armor too?) have a rather higher weight than they probably ought to.  A 10 lb. one-handed weapon seems... rather unwieldy.


Yeah some of the weapons are a little off, if I recall. But a couple extra pounds from one weapon isn't nearly as noticeable as a weak, scrawny dude carrying a hilarious amount of weight.
Leadership and class choice should have NOTHING to do with each other, EVER. Conflating the two is simply horrendous game design.
I'll admit that its completely unrealistic, but it is extremely easy to use. No more having to find an obscure chart hidden in the PHB to figure out how your Strength score relates to your carrying capacity. Besides, in any game that kept track of weight closely, everyone with low Strength just bought a donkey at the beginning. This is a time saver, mainly.
Multiplying by 5 would be harder than multiplying by 10, but not by a lot I don't think.  Even if you have a 8 strength score, you can still then carry 40 pounds; that's really plenty for most purposes (and you wouldn't expect someone with a str of 8 to be carrying a "heroic" amount of weight anyway, or at least I wouldn't).
I gave the very same feedback after the 1st playtest packet. Strength x 5 just fits the numbers better.
Most melee weapons are about 3 lb each: sword, mace, etc.

Most two-handed “heavy” weapons are about 6 lb each: two-hander great sword, kanobo great mace, etc.

Generally, anything heavier is a “ceremonial” weapon, used in pagentry but unfit for combat use.
Most melee weapons are about 3 lb each: sword, mace, etc.

Most two-handed “heavy” weapons are about 6 lb each: two-hander great sword, kanobo great mace, etc.

Generally, anything heavier is a “ceremonial” weapon, used in pagentry but unfit for combat use.



Yup and plenty of 4lb two handed weapons and 2lb 1handed weapons. I think Pikes will excede the 6 lbs.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Yeah. Im thinking of the weights as average. So melee is 3 lb ±1 (about 2 to 4 lb). Even a “heavy” weapon is about 6 lb ±2 (about 4 to 8 lb). Occasionally there are exceptions, but these weights are so consistent, it is unnecessary to list weights in the weapon tables. All normal weapons are approximately 3 lb. It rarely matters what the precise weight is, such as varying by ½ lb. If necessary the DM can guestimate if a weapon is slightly above or slightly below the average.
That would be an encumberance rule of Strength score ×5 (Strength ×3 for Small creatures) or about half the encumberance currently used.  Supine creatures should be able to carry up to triple what upright creatures of the same size can.  Each size category up gets an additional ×8.  Let's call this their "Encumberance Unit" or EU.

So here would be my encumberance rules:

If you carry less than 1 EU, you suffer no penalty. If you carry between 1 and 2 EU, you suffer disadvantage on all Ability checks and cannot move more than ten feet.  If you lift between 2 and 4 EU, you cannot take any actions or reactions and can only stagger five feet.

Personally, I'd be okay with that rule.  But they should also reduce the weapon and armor weights, which right now are all about twice too high.

I like these numbers (if the weights are also reduced).  In my experience, gamers who track weight also prefer a bit more accuracy in the numbers.  So to me, there is no downside to changing this.  Groups that don't track it won't care, and groups that do get more accurate numbers.

Groups that don't track it won't care, and groups that do get more accurate numbers.


Agreed.  this does seem like win-win and a very easy change to make that shouldn't have a lot of unintended consequences.
Not sure if armor really needs weight adjustment. It could be a simple fix of

"Armor only applies half it's weight toward encumberance while worn" Wearing a 20 pound chunk of metal meant to be distributed around the body feels like 10 pounds, but putting it in your backpack will still be 20 pounds of weight.

I can tell you from experience that the ceramic plates in modern armor feel a whole lot heavier in a rucksack, or carrying it than they do while wearing it.

I also think that the encumbrance rules are way to lenient. Personally, though, I would rather they do away with actual numbers and move to a more abstract system like WFRPG 3e. Every item has "encumbrance points." You can only carry so many encumbrance points worth of items. An items encumbrance points are based both on its weight and how awkward it is to carry. And, it is very easy to go over your basic encumbrance minimum. I have seen archers with a low STR in that game often carry around only 10/15 arrows in order to avoid going over their limit. I MUCH prefer that to D&D’s Skyrim like “carry the world in your backpack” gear system. 

Not sure if armor really needs weight adjustment. It could be a simple fix of

"Armor only applies half it's weight toward encumberance while worn" Wearing a 20 pound chunk of metal meant to be distributed around the body feels like 10 pounds, but putting it in your backpack will still be 20 pounds of weight.

I can tell you from experience that the ceramic plates in modern armor feel a whole lot heavier in a rucksack, or carrying it than they do while wearing it.



+1
I also think that the encumbrance rules are way to lenient.


I'm not sure if I would define it as lenient. Current playtest encumbrance rules state that once you are encumbered you take disadvantage on every attribute check, save, and attack (yes, you somehow become less able to lie, remember things, etc. because you're carrying something heavy). I might suggest that the current playtest carrying capacity rule is too generous.
20 strength can carry 200 lbs.  lift/drag weight limit is 5X that, or 1000 lbs.  

The real world deadlift record is in excess of 1100 lbs.

This is practiclly right on the money, I'm not sure why people think it's so damn unrealistic.



I also think that the encumbrance rules are way to lenient.


I'm not sure if I would define it as lenient. Current playtest encumbrance rules state that once you are encumbered you take disadvantage on every attribute check, save, and attack (yes, you somehow become less able to lie, remember things, etc. because you're carrying something heavy). I might suggest that the current playtest carrying capacity rule is too generous.




I do think that disadvantage should apply only to Str, Dex, or Con related tasks. I would also like to see an in-between penalty that is less drastic than disadvantage. For example, if you carry over 5X your strength score you may only move or attack on your turn, not both. If you carry over 10X your strength score you gain disadvantage on all Str, Dex, or Con related checks and attack rolls and you can only move or attack on your turn, not both. Etc. 

20 strength can carry 200 lbs.  lift/drag weight limit is 5X that, or 1000 lbs.  

The real world deadlift record is in excess of 1100 lbs.

This is practiclly right on the money, I'm not sure why people think it's so damn unrealistic.






True, but you'd think somebody that specialized could have taken a feat that would raise his carrying capacity by a certain amount. Since he is specializing and setting himself apart from other people. I'd like to see a Strong Back -type feat for people that want to do 10x Str Score. I don't think it would be feat-tax either, since most people really don't need to carry that much.
This is practiclly right on the money, I'm not sure why people think it's so damn unrealistic.


I have less problem with the upperlimit as the threshold of when one is encumbered.
20 strength can carry 200 lbs.  lift/drag weight limit is 5X that, or 1000 lbs.  

The real world deadlift record is in excess of 1100 lbs.

This is practiclly right on the money, I'm not sure why people think it's so damn unrealistic.




Citation needed?

www.iwf.net/results/world-records/ suggests that the world record for lifting is 263kg or 580lbs.
Super-high encumbrance limits feel like sort of a compromise design that doesn't really appeal directly to anybody. I tend to pay attention to encumbrance only as a "that's severely pushing what you should be moving from place to place" measure, rather than tracking it directly. For DMs like me, specific encumbrance rules don't see a lot of daylight, since I mostly use a more subjective absurdity-based carrying limit that sometimes gets temporarily handwaved anyway. It's just not something I care to worry about, and traditionally at medium-low levels the game has had magical ways to circumvent carrying capacity anyway. On the other hand, for people who really do want to track encumbrance closely and model it in that fashion, super-high encumbrance ends up being a kind of poor model of encumbrance anyway. I'm sure that there are some people that it works out for, but in general, I think that encumbrance should follow the Critical Fumble Tables Design Principle - when there's something that some people are really into and some people mostly ignore, you should design it to be maximally appealing to the people who are going to use it most agressively, not minimally annoying to the people who aren't going to use it anyway.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
This is practiclly right on the money, I'm not sure why people think it's so damn unrealistic.


I have less problem with the upperlimit as the threshold of when one is encumbered.


Agreed. Assuming STR scores represent a normal distribution curve, 10.5 would be the average. x10 would make a person encumbered if they were carrying around 105 pounds. That's how much wy wife weighs. Granted, she's a little thing, but I can't imagine trying to carry her around all day long. Being an Army vet (and Airborne to boot), I've carried my fair share of distributed and undistributed loads.
I think the problem here is people think 10 Strength is average for the real modern world.  It isn't.  In the modern world, most people live very sedentary lives and sit at a desk or stand at a cash register for half the day and sit on a sofa and watch TV the rest of the day.  The average real world office worker or cashier probably has a strength of 4 or 5.  

Even the modern military has it easy compared to to a commoner of the middle ages, while a marine might be considered the pinacle of health and in great shape based on what we have today, is a marine who has spent 3 months training in boot camp really going to be stronger than a peasant farmer who lived in the middle ages and had to walk everywhere, carry nearly everything by hand, toil for 16 hours a day, etc?  Even modern weaponry is designed so that strength is not really a factor in using it.  Modern soldiers are trained to run and have a certain level of generall fitness, but brute strength is not the focus.  Modern soldiers may only march with 60 lbs, but that is because modern humans just aren't as strong on average as the humans in D&D.  Most of those modern soldiers are running around with 8 or 10 strength.

A knight in  the world of D&D next would be carrying a tremendous amount of weight around in any combat situation.  Plate armor is 50 lbs, a shield adds another 5 lbs, a bastard sword adds another 10 lbs, another 15 lbs for 3 spears kept across the back, a backpack with bedroll rations water adds another 20 lbs- we are at 100 lbs already.  With a 5Xstr limit, only with maximum strength could such a character move around unencumbered.

With a 5Xstr limit, anyone of average strength or below couldn't even move unencumbered with plate armor shield and a weapon- on top of the movement penalty already applied for wearing plate.  This seems a little excessive. 
It's not supposed to be realistic.
These are fantastic heroes, not normal people.



they are fantastic heroes because they have 20 instead of 10 strength.
We could call the weights of everything a fantasy abstraction and call them rooks .. then the 10 rook, sword weight wont give the informed historians the giggles and encumberance carried is based on that.

That said I like the idea of armor worn being treated as half weight or better .. and using more realistic weapon weights and names would give me unreasonable joy.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

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