Encumberance

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I just recently listened to D&D Podcast #15, and a question was raised that kinda caught Dave Noonan and Mike Mearls somewhat off guard: What's going to be done about encumberance. They noted that it hadn't really been discussed much. I have a very strong opinion on this: ABOLITION! I'd say it is the single most unused "system", more dust than grappling even. Admittedly though, it seems like an important game aspect. Video games calculate everything for you, so it's a giffy there, but the time consumed in accuratly tallying all katillion of your items even at fairly low levels is ridiculous. I remember my first "D&D experience": I was pouring over the 3.0 PHB, readying myself for "Dungeon-Mastering" (a strange and cryptic position, that I thought at the time was akin to being a lawyer for the game), and I was reading the rules on equipment, and somewhere in there it mentioned encumberance, and tallying everything you owned. I snorted and moved on.
Let's look at what encumberance does for the game (both negative and positive.)

Negative:
1.) (the obvious one): Time spent tallying. Major time sink.
2.): Time spent maximizing dragon hoard-looting / Why can't they just take all the treasure at once? If it's out in the wilderness then maybe they won't be able to retrive it before vultures/thieves take it, but otherwise, PC's should get the treasure they deserve.
3.): Impromptu DM weight generation. Or, "How much does Item X that I'm about to sell as soon as we get to the town weigh?"

Positive:
1.): Determining whether or not you can pick up/rescue PC "X" from certain digestion when party is on the run.

So, my point is that encumberance is an encumberance. Now, I'm not saying let the players essentially have a bag of holding for the entire game, but this most certainly has to be streamlined. My suggestion: Categorize all items (except "weight negligible" ones and gold) into 3 categories: Light, Medium, and Hefty. Your strength modifier determines how many Medium items you can carry, and Light items are, let's say, the equivalent of 5 Light's, while one Hefty is equivalent to 5 Mediums. This is IMHO (haha) simply brilliant, because it allows very easy DM interpretation of items. We just went from "Precisely how many onces are in this flask, dearest DM?", to "Is this a Light or a Medium?".

In conclusion: I sincerly hope that someone in R&D (that's the one that's working on 4E right?) who reads this takes it to heart, and rips encumberance from the cozy crevice that is the lifeblood of the game in many ways; equipment.

What do you guys think?
Your suggestion would certainly cut down the need to keep track of the weight you´re lugging around, but it wouldn´t really "solve" the problem.

For my players, I used DM fiat several times. Maybe not the perfect "solution", but it work for us. I just said "As long as you don´t overdo it, carry as much as you want. But if you start lugging around plate armors or whole armories..."
That's actually how I play, but I doubt that'd make it into the rulebooks, so I offered an alternative :D
Your suggestion would certainly cut down the need to keep track of the weight you´re lugging around, but it wouldn´t really "solve" the problem.

For my players, I used DM fiat several times. Maybe not the perfect "solution", but it work for us. I just said "As long as you don´t overdo it, carry as much as you want. But if you start lugging around plate armors or whole armories..."

That is how all every game and system I ever played in did it. The only time those rules get enforce is when someone pushes it to hard. I never had to use them as a GM, Knock on wood.
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