Wrecan's Proposed Encumbrance Rules

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These rules are intended to eliminate much of the math currently used to track encumbrance. I do this by eliminating the need to keep track of the weight of every item on a separate column. Now the player can monitor both his carrying capacity and the level of his encumbrance in the same place he lists all of the treasure he maintains. This Encumbrance System basically comes in two parts.

Step One: Calculate the Character's Encumbrance Score
Every character has an Encumbrance Score, which is equal to the character's Strength score (not the modifier), and two potential modifiers (neither of which apply to Medium humanoids).
Size: For creatures with a Size Category other than Medium, use the following modifier:
[CENTER]Fine
Here's how magic items would be converted.
Bag of Holding
Type I: Occupies 1 GS, Holds 10 GS
Type II: Occupies 2 GS, Holds 30 GS
Type III: Occupies 3 GS, Holds 60 GS
Type IV: Occupies 4 GS, Holds 100 GS

Handy Haversack
Occupies 1 GS, Has two 1-GS pouches and one 5-GS pouch.

Ehlonna's Quiver
Occupies 1 GS, Compartments can hold missiles or thrown weapons as follows: six GS worth of missiles (arrows, bolts or sling bullets), eighteen GS worth of thrown or light weapons, six GS worth of 1-GS melee or ranged weapons

Gloves of Storing
Occupies no GS, but does occupy the Hand Body Slot for magic items. Can hold one item of 2 GS or less.

Portable Hole
Occupies no GS, and creates an extra-dimensional space of 10 feet x 10 feet. This should be left to DM discretion, but could conceivably be packed with up to 500 GS of gear.
I like your ideas and I am even considering porting them over into my game.

My only concern is when most of the anti-MMO people see this they are going to scream about you turning D&D into a MMO, hehe.

A slot system is extremely efficient and works well. Of course, that's why MMOs and computer games have been using it for so long now.

:D

Nice work!
Thanks!

Oddly enough, I've never played a MMO. I'm just trying to come up with a way to avoid all the math of adding up the weight of torches and candles and whetstones and coins.
Thanks!

Oddly enough, I've never played a MMO. I'm just trying to come up with a way to avoid all the math of adding up the weight of torches and candles and whetstones and coins.

*nods*

Yeah, I have never been a fan of keeping track of those kinds of things either. I always hand wave it or keep so little on my characters that the DM never makes an issue of it. A slot system would work very well for me.
Agreed. The problem is that the choices now are an incredibly arcane system of Strength charts and fractional poundage, which is a lot of work for little benefit, or totally ignoring encumbrance and ending up with this:

IMAGE(http://members.aon.at/planetharry/images/comics/Nodwick.jpg)

A long time ago I decided that the encumbrance rules should only be considered and enforced when there is nothing better to do… that is, usually, at very low levels, before character bookkeeping becomes a more time consuming task.

At 1st – 5th level keeping track of encumbrance adds a challenge and a factor to consider by low level characters while they all still have 1 attack and a just few spells per day.

At later level it is just not fun unless some player, in order to minmax (and just bedause of this) creates a character with Str > 8. In that case the gloves are off… but that’s because I consider that with low str basically you are ‘buying’ a ‘flaw’ (in White wolf terms), or a handicap, or whatever in order to get an advantage (probably a stat 18 on something), so it is the DM’s duty to let the player feel the pain of making such decision.

Bottom line; whatever system you consider, it should be FUN. Most people’s time is precious and it seems a waste of time to spend good Roleplaying time doing boring bookkeeping.
Agreed. My thinking is that PCs have to write down what they own anyway. So if I can make an Encumbrance system that is as simple as writing down what you own, it's worthwhile.

Why have encumbrance at all? First, it's one of the few benefits of Str to a non-melee combatant. Ignoring encumbrance turns Str into even more of a dump stat. Second, it adds another dimension to combat by increasing and decreasing speed. In the above example, the fighter can boost his speed during combat by dropping his sack and backpack. If he has to flee, he loses some stuff. If he wins, he picks it up later. Third, it opens you up to new effects, like crushing damage.

However, these benefits are only worthwhile if Encumbrance is easy. Here, I think it is. First, by grouping objects by how they help the character (essentially, by skill), you avoid the picayune equipment purchases. Let's see, a fishing hook... and a bell... ooh... how about a magnifying glass... Now, you figure out what skills your character excels at and buy equipment to complement it in a package. So now you've eliminated most of the math, counting fractional pounds, and figuring out how many pieces of parchment go in a pouch.

Second, by determining encumbrance increments, you eliminated the cumbersome Strength charts. Now it's just a matter of writing down your equipmentin columns (something you'd have to anyway), and seeing how many columns you fill.

The alternative, imo, is to just ditch encumbrance altogether, but I think that loses a lot of potential storytelling.
I know no system is perfect, and some people will find a way to nitpick this, Wrecna, but this is a VERY slick and comprehensible system.

And I noticed the typo I made on your username, but considering how close it is to an iconic VBBEG, I decided against correcting it. :D
I don't know if the mathematical equation neccessarily jives with the "feel-good, fast and easy" rules 4th edition is placing forth, but I absolutely love the gear slots idea (mmog inspired or not).
I don't know if the mathematical equation neccessarily jives with the "feel-good, fast and easy" rules 4th edition is placing forth, but I absolutely love the gear slots idea (mmog inspired or not).

Thanks to everyone!!

As for the "math", the truth is that WotC can fudge it. The slots are simply five more than your aggregate Str and Con modifiers. Small sized creatures have half the number of slots in each increment as Medium creatures with a minimum of 1/increment.

Now it doesn't feel like math because there's no equation, right? Then you have a little section called "Encumbrance for Unusual Sized Creatures" in which you introduce all the multipliers in a single table.
At any rate, nitpicking my own system, the biggest flaw is it doesn't let you individualize your equipment. For those people who like knowing they have four candles, eight torches and an extra whetstone in their pack, this limits options. That's why the DMG or UA or Arms & Equipment Guide should have optional rules listing the component of each kit, prices and weights.

But make the nitpicky method the optional one, please.

(Also, I'm not sure if this holds together when applied to mounts. A horse would have something like 100 slots per increment, which ends up to be something like 4,200 pounds of encumbrance, or about 7 times too much. A 3rd edition horse would only get 14 slots per increment, which would require a Str and Con of 10 each (700 lbs.). So maybe we need to play around with the Size multipliers.
(Also, I'm not sure if this holds together when applied to mounts. A horse would have something like 100 slots per increment, which ends up to be something like 4,200 pounds of encumbrance, or about 7 times too much. A 3rd edition horse would only get 14 slots per increment, which would require a Str and Con of 10 each (700 lbs.). So maybe we need to play around with the Size multipliers.

Or the base slot amount can be adjusted based on creature type. Right now, you have biped gets 5 slots, quadruped gets...actually, how are you coming up with the 100 slots per increment for the horse, before I continue with my point?

You're making me think about this way too much, and I don't even DM a group to houserule a mechanic for. I'm sticking with my earlier typo and referring to you solely as Wrecna from now on.
I think the trick is that most players have a big assortment of small items. Do amulets, rings, spoons, belt knives, small lengths of string, the ears of your fallen foes, a shiny rock, two bottles of ink, blank parchment, two broken quills, a slightly less shiny rock, several different ioun stones, an assortment of healing and buff potions, and an altogether non-shiny rock EACH take a single slot? Or are they "free"? Or something in between?
Do amulets, rings, spoons, belt knives, small lengths of string, the ears of your fallen foes, a shiny rock, two bottles of ink, blank parchment, two broken quills, a slightly less shiny rock, several different ioun stones, an assortment of healing and buff potions, and an altogether non-shiny rock EACH take a single slot? Or are they "free"? Or something in between?

If they are worn, they take up a magic item body slot (amulet, rings, etc.) Otherwise, you have two choices. 1) Charge him a slot for "trinkets" and let him carry up to 15 pounds of whatever crud he picks up or 2) convert each and every item into the weight of a coin and then charge him a slot for every 500 coins worth of tchochkes he carries. The first is more consistent with the Slot mentality. The second is just engaging in the old fractional poundage problem again.

Unless your PC is an obsessive souvenir hound, this shouldn't be an issue.
how are you coming up with the 100 slots per increment for the horse, before I continue with my point?

I was wrong. A hores gets 400 slots!!
10 (size) x (5 + 3 (Str) + 2 (con)) x 4 (quadruped) = 400 slots.

Let's see some carrying capacities of creatures of various sizes in 3.5... I'm using maximum load without dragging for both (thus the x3 modifier on my Wrecan calculations)

Diminiutive Biped (bat): (Str 1/Con 10): 2.5 lbs. (.05 slot/increment)
Diminutive Quadruped (toad): (Str 1/Con 11): 5 lbs. (.11 slot/increment)
Tiny Biped (grig): (Str 5/Con 13): 25 lbs. (1 slot/increment)
Tiny Quadruped (cat): (Str 3/Con 10): 22.5 lbs. (1 slot/increment)
Small Biped (gnome): (Str 11/Con 14): 86.25 lbs. (2 slots/increment)
Small Quadruped (dog): (Str 13/Con 17): 150 lbs. (3 slots/increment)
Medium Biped (elf): (Str 13/Con 10): 150 lbs. (3 slots/increment)
Medium Quadruped (donkey): (Str 10/Con 12): 150 lbs. (3 slots/increment)
Large Biped (minotaur): (Str 19/Con 15): 350 lbs. (8 slots/increment)
Large Quadruped (warhorse): (Str 16/Con 15): 600 lbs. (45 slots/increment)
Huge Biped (cloud giant): (Str 35/Con 23): 12,800 lbs. (285 slots/increment)
Huge Quadruped (elephant): (Str 30/Con 21): 9,600 lbs. (215 slots/increment)
Gargantuan Biped (roc): (Str 34/Con 24): 22,400 lbs. (500 slots/increment)
Gargantuan Quadruped (ancient red dragon): (Str 39/Con 29): 67,200 lbs. (1500 slots/increment)
Colossal Biped (tarrasque): (Str 45/Con 35): 204,800 lbs. (4,500 slots/increment)
Colossal Quadruped (great wyrm red dragon): (Str 45/Con 31): 307,200 lbs. (6,900 slots/increment)

Let's try this formula: Str x Size (x1.5 for quadrupeds)
If the Strength bonus is -1, 0 or 1, use +1 (which means there is a x1 modifier for all Strengths between 3 and 7). Multiply this number by the size modifier and add half again it for quadrupeds. Creatures that are Small or bigger round up the increments to the nearest fraction. Round down, but never to a number lower than one.

Size Modifiers: Diminutive = x1/4, Tiny =x1/2, Small = x1, Medium = x2, Large = x5, Huge = x20, Gargantuan = x50, Colossal = x300; quadrupeds = x1.5

Numbers listed below are in increments, not total weight.
Diminiutive Biped (bat): (Str 1): .25 slots (vs. .05 slots/increment in 3.5 terms)
Diminutive Quadruped (toad): (Str 1): .375 slots (vs. .11 slots/increment in 3.5 terms)
Tiny Biped (grig): (Str 5): .5 slot (v. 1 slot/increment in 3.5 terms)
Tiny Quadruped (cat): (Str 3): .75 slot (vs. 1 slot/increment in 3.5 terms)
Small Biped (gnome): (Str 11): 3 slots (vs. 2 slots/increment in 3.5 terms)
Small Quadruped (dog): (Str 13): 6 slots (vs. 3 slots/increment in 3.5 terms)
Medium Biped (elf): (Str 13): 8 slots (vs. 3 slots in 3.5 terms)
Medium Quadruped (donkey): (Str 10): 9 slots (vs. 3 slots in 3.5 terms)
Large Biped (minotaur): (Str 19): 31 slots (vs. 8 slots in 3.5 terms)
Large Quadruped (warhorse): (Str 16): 40 slots (vs. 45 slots in 3.5 terms)
Huge Biped (cloud giant): (Str 35): 233 slots (vs. 285 slots in 3.5 terms)
Huge Quadruped (elephant): (Str 30): 300 slots (vs. 215 slots/increment)
Gargantuan Biped (roc): (Str 34): 566 slots (vs. 500 slots/increment)
Gargantuan Quadruped (ancient red dragon): (Str 39): 975 slots (vs. 1,500 slots/increment)
Colossal Biped (tarrasque): (Str 45): 4,500 slots (vs. 4,500 slots/increment)
Colossal Quadruped (great wyrm red dragon): (Str 45): 6,750 slots (vs. 6,900 slots/increment)

This works out pretty well. Small, Medium and Large creatures get a bump, but that's needed because items are being grouped into bulkier kits and weapon weights get rounded up.

You're making me think about this way too much, and I don't even DM a group to houserule a mechanic for. I'm sticking with my earlier typo and referring to you solely as Wrecna from now on.

As long as people don't start referring to you as MLo"Kas"so, that should be fine. ;)
Okay, so I think we've got it worked out for varying sizes. Let's see how this compares to 3.5 for playable races at varying Strengths. Below is a table that compares Small (x1) and Medium (x2) bipeds on the forumula listed above for Strengths between 3 and 28, which is basically the range for playable character Strengths. The first is the 3.5 encumberance translated into Slots/Increment and the second number is the Slots/Increment number found based on the formula

[b]Str Fin-x&#8539; Dim-x¼ Tin-½ Sm-x1 Med-x2 Lg-x5 Hg-x20 Gar-x50 Col-x300[/b]<br /> 3 0/0 0/0 0/0 1/1 1/2 1/5 1/20 2/50 4/300<br /> 4 0/0 0/0 0/0 1/1 1/2 1/6 2/26 4/66 8/400<br /> 5 0/0 0/0 0/0 1/1 1/3 2/8 3/33 6/83 12/500<br /> 6 0/0 0/0 0/1 1/2 1/4 2/10 4/40 8/100 16/600<br /> 7 0/0 0/0 0/1 1/2 1/4 3/11 5/46 10/116 20/700<br /> 8 0/0 0/0 0/1 1/2 1/5 3/13 6/53 12/133 24/800<br /> 9 0/0 0/0 1/1 1/3 2/6 4/15 7/60 14/150 28/900<br /> 10 0/0 0/0 1/1 1/3 2/6 4/16 8/66 16/166 32/1000<br /> 11 0/0 0/0 1/1 1/3 2/7 5/18 10/73 20/183 40/1100<br /> 12 0/0 0/1 1/2 2/4 2/8 6/20 12/80 24/200 48/1200<br /> 13 0/0 1/1 1/2 2/4 3/8 7/21 14/86 28/216 56/1300<br /> 14 0/0 1/1 2/2 2/4 3/9 8/23 16/93 32/233 64/1400<br /> 15 0/0 1/1 2/2 3/5 4/10 9/25 17/100 34/250 68/1500<br /> 16 0/0 1/1 2/2 3/5 5/10 10/26 20/106 40/266 80/1600<br /> 17 0/0 1/1 3/2 4/5 5/11 12/28 24/113 48/283 96/1700<br /> 18 0/0 1/1 3/3 5/6 6/12 14/30 28/120 56/300 112/1800<br /> 19 1/0 2/1 4/3 5/6 7/12 16/31 32/126 64/316 128/1900<br /> 20 1/0 2/1 4/3 6/6 8/13 17/33 34/133 68/333 136/2000<br /> 21 1/0 2/1 5/3 7/7 10/14 20/35 40/140 80/350 160/2100<br /> 22 1/0 3/1 6/3 8/7 11/14 23/36 46/146 92/366 184/2200<br /> 23 1/0 3/1 7/3 10/7 13/15 25/38 50/153 100/383 200/2300<br /> 24 2/1 4/2 8/4 11/8 15/16 29/40 58/160 116/400 232/2400<br /> 25 2/1 5/2 9/4 13/8 17/16 33/41 66/166 132/416 264/2500<br /> 26 2/1 6/2 10/4 15/8 20/17 43/43 86/173 172/433 344/2600<br /> 27 3/1 6/2 12/4 17/9 23/18 49/45 98/180 196/450 392/2700<br /> 28 3/1 7/2 13/4 20/9 26/18 57/46 114/186 228/466 456/2800<br /> 29 4/1 8/2 15/4 24/9 33/19 67/48 134/193 268/483 536/2900

Okay. That works pretty well. Average Strength is a bit better under this system, which is all right because the Kits will fill up slots faster than buying individual items. Larger creatures with low Strength are exaggerated, but few creatures that big should have a Strength so low. (Also, I think 3.5 understated such capacities)
From a recent miniatures article, it now seems Ability bonuses are three higher than they were in 3.5. I am editing the tables to reflect this change.
You could add a fraction unit to the system, to account for all the shiny stuff that adventurers tend to pile on...

Maybe make it so that everything that's not listed weighs 1/10 of a unit and doesn't add to encumbrance until it adds up to a full unit.

Some smaller items might even be a 1/100 unit, so that you could have a way to keep things like potions and/or rings.

So you could add to the encumbrance table a separate "1/10 unit" table with 10 lines, and every time you fill a column there, you'd fill a line at the encumbrance table, or if it's a 1/100 unit column, you fill up a line at the 1/10 unit table.

I can actually see the tables on the character sheet... The encumbrance table, and a 1/10 table and 1/100 table (only one of each, to save space) at the side. Then on the 4 pages sheet you could use a full page and have some 4 or 5 of each fraction table, so you can keep even MORE potions and other stuff...

AND that removes the need for keeping abstract "units" of stuff that doesn't really need to go together. I like the idea of keeping things like "sleeping kit", "climber's kit" and "camping kit" together (why buy pitons if you don't have a rope and a hammer, after all), but putting the merchant's scale in an "investigator kit" is kinda off.

With some things, you could even "upgrade them"... So that carrying coins doesn't encumber you too much while you keep them on a low number.

I could go on forever with examples and ideas, but I think you get my point. :D
You could add a fraction unit to the system, to account for all the shiny stuff that adventurers tend to pile on...

That's a good point.

One way to do that is to declare that all clothing has sufficient "pockets" to handle less than 1 slot of equipment, which doesn't count as weight. Then all the elements of a Kit could be broken out into fractions. If someone wants to carry around a pocketful of change, and a bell and a needle and thread and a piece of chalk, it would go into the character sheet under "pockets", and if you go over one slot, you move it into a pouch, sack or backpack.
That's a good point.

One way to do that is to declare that all clothing has sufficient "pockets" to handle less than 1 slot of equipment, which doesn't count as weight. Then all the elements of a Kit could be broken out into fractions. If someone wants to carry around a pocketful of change, and a bell and a needle and thread and a piece of chalk, it would go into the character sheet under "pockets", and if you go over one slot, you move it into a pouch, sack or backpack.

That's my line of thought alright. I'm using my current group of players as basis... I've given them lots of orcs to fight, and those orcs had lots of potions; one or two pots per orc = one busy cleric (the party's inventory keeper). And then you have issues. How many pots can the cleric (Str 10) carry by himself? How many pots can he keep in his backpack before they start falling off? etc etc.

As MHolland above, I'm actually thinking of working this system into my current 3.5 game.

My players all have masterwork potion belts (FRCS book), so I'm thinking I'll make those occupy 1/10 of an unit, and hold 10 pots each. I'm also thinking of introducing some type of "potion box" that'll hold a hundred (they're still far from 100 but there's more orcs on the way ;) ) and weigh a full unit. So, the cleric could theoretically keep 400 pots in his backpack... Guess I'll buy 400 tabasco bottles and see if I can stuff them in my backpack. Gotta have some real physics in the system, right? :D

Think I'll look into it in the weekend if I get the time. And now I just remembered I got to get a treasure together for friday night!

*runs*
I've updated the system. Instead of using STR modifiers, we'll just use the STR ability score. This actually simplifies things a bit and adds more variation to the encumbrance levels as you increase STR.
Is it just me, or this actually more complex than the existing encumbrance rules? You haven't cured the issues with tracking light, medium, and heavy encumbrance. All you've done is added a layer of complexity in terms of fitting your equipment into slots.

What is the advantage of "Gear Slots" compared to measuring your equipment in terms of 1 lb "slots?" The only thing I see that this system adds is the ability to magically hide weight inside of an infinite stack of sacks & backpacks which have no encumbrance but which aren't that useful since most kits and other gear can't actually fit into them. (See 3 slots for a large sack vs. 8 slots for a disguise kit.)

Count me as not a believer in this schema as presented.
Is it just me, or this actually more complex than the existing encumbrance rules? You haven't cured the issues with tracking light, medium, and heavy encumbrance. All you've done is added a layer of complexity in terms of fitting your equipment into slots.

The difference is the developers do the work by creating the kits ahead of time, as opposed to how it works now with the players doig all the arcane math.

Moreover, it eliminates the irrational and arbitrary encumbrance charts. Quick. How much can a 16 Str person carry. Is there a formula to that? No.

This system simplifies it. STR x SIZE x 1.5 (if quadruped) and divide by 3. That's it you're done.

What is the advantage of "Gear Slots" compared to measuring your equipment in terms of 1 lb "slots?"

I think 20 slots with only three category of items (1 slot, 2 slot, 3 slot) is easier to keep track of than 176 slots with an infinite number of categories, includig fractional ones.

The only thing I see that this system adds is the ability to magically hide weight inside of an infinite stack of sacks & backpacks

Nothing is invisible. If you want to carry around a case of empty sacks, you buy a 1-slot "sack kit" which would have enough empty sacks to fully encumber 4 humans were they filled.

See 3 slots for a large sack vs. 8 slots for a disguise kit.

Wha? Where do you get the notion that a disguise kit is 8 slots. A disguise kit is 8 pounds in 3.5. It is one slot in my variant rules.

Count me as not a believer in this schema as presented.

Okay. Consider yourself counted.
Moreover, it eliminates the irrational and arbitrary encumbrance charts. Quick. How much can a 16 Str person carry. Is there a formula to that? No.

This system simplifies it. STR x SIZE x 1.5 (if quadruped) and divide by 3. That's it you're done.

That is an advantage. I too would like to see a more directly linear system.

Nothing is invisible. If you want to carry around a case of empty sacks, you buy a 1-slot "sack kit" which would have enough empty sacks to fully encumber 4 humans were they filled.

I don't see anything about that in your rules. Instead, you state:

(a container occupies a slot equal to one-tenth its capacity, rounded down -- i.e., a container that holds less than 10 slots of gear doesn't itself occupy space. [...])

Seems like infinite storage to me.

Wha? Where do you get the notion that a disguise kit is 8 slots. A disguise kit is 8 pounds in 3.5. It is one slot in my variant rules.

Ah. Misread that I thought the (8) next to it was the number of slots it took up. My bad.

Still this lends itself to a certain amount of unrealism. You're basically doubling or tripling the amount of stuff that a person can carry by your own chart. This means that an average strength human (10) can carry about 66 lbs without suffering any penalty (or under the slots system a suit of heavy armor and a 10' ram). I think that would wind most people.
Seems like infinite storage to me.

Pretty sure he's saying that the container itself doesn't add any encumbrance. So an empty sack is negligible. If you look at the example, you see that items in the container still encumber as usual.

It looks like a reasonable system to me, but I have to admit I rather like the flavor of adding up the weight of your gear. It's kind of fun to think about how many pounds your different things weigh... I think it adds a bit of realism. Castles and Crusades has a system similar to this and it works fine, but I think I just like the pound system better.
D&D is always balancing realism against ease-of-play. Yes, the slot system sits closer to the side of ease-of-play than to realism. It's my belief that you cannot have both and my purely anecdotal experience has shown me that asking players the count up pounds is going to result in most parties not bothering with encumbrabce at all. And then you end wth Nodwick-type characters carrying around hundreds of pounds of gear with no penalties. And then you've really sacrificed realism.
Pretty sure he's saying that the container itself doesn't add any encumbrance. So an empty sack is negligible. If you look at the example, you see that items in the container still encumber as usual.

Makes sense. Needs clarification, though.

D&D is always balancing realism against ease-of-play. Yes, the slot system sits closer to the side of ease-of-play than to realism. It's my belief that you cannot have both and my purely anecdotal experience has shown me that asking players the count up pounds is going to result in most parties not bothering with encumbrabce at all. And then you end wth Nodwick-type characters carrying around hundreds of pounds of gear with no penalties. And then you've really sacrificed realism.

I think this could mostly be fixed by dialing back the multiplier a bit or using a system that increased in a fashion that was still monotonic and linear but did not use a straight line.

Personally, I find that encumbrance rules are pretty much the entire reason for having a bag of holding or a portable hole. Even so, I don't think my party has really given much thought to encumbrance either. It's one of those rules that only matters outside of combat (since no one sets their character up to be heavily encumbered when equipping them for combat) and when taking Str damage (which usually gets ignored).
D&D is always balancing realism against ease-of-play. Yes, the slot system sits closer to the side of ease-of-play than to realism. It's my belief that you cannot have both and my purely anecdotal experience has shown me that asking players the count up pounds is going to result in most parties not bothering with encumbrabce at all. And then you end wth Nodwick-type characters carrying around hundreds of pounds of gear with no penalties. And then you've really sacrificed realism.

Allow me to add an example. In my current gaming group, there are 2 strong (STR 20+) and 3 weak (STR 10-11) characters. They bring along 4 pack mules and the cleric's donkey (yeah, weird :confused.

The mules (and donkey) mean that they generally don't need to worry about carrying the loot from dungeons to town. 2,900 lbs., and when they can drag along 2 wagons, the mules can pull them for a 14,000 lb. total.

The two melee buffs can each carry over 400 lbs. each. That's more than enough for them not to worry about carrying encumbrance (armor is what slows them down).

And it leaves the other three characters. The halfling sorcerer has an easier time, since mostly everything is half weight for her. The other two are a problem. Whenever a magic item pops up, I need to a) look up its weight in whatever book it is listed on (I mostly use two books - DMG and Magic Item Compendium, but it's still a pain in the neck); and b) stop the game while the players add up all the stuff they're hogging around.

I like wrecan's idea for the speed it would add to that last part. If the equipment list on the character sheet was built in a way that by writing down what you're carrying automatically gives you your encumbrance, players would almost never need to spend time calculating their final encumbrance. All it would take is some general definitions of weight units, like Wrecan has proposed in the first post.

If every light weapon weighs the same, a rogue wouldn't need to worry about trading his short sword for a light mace; if all clothing items (cloaks, boots, bracers etc.) weigh 1/10th unit (so that a fully equipped character would need 1 weight unit for clothing items), DMs won't need to check the book everytime a Cloak of Resistance is found. Also, this saves up book space, as instead of listing "this item weighs X lb." in every other item description, you can just have a paragraph stating that "magic items worn on the body use up 1/10th of a weight unit each".

Going on with my train of thought, the rules could already "reserve" the first encumbrance slot for the "basic outfit". Every character starts the game with the 10 body slots "used up" in whatever way they see fit (so you have no game effects wether your character wears a mundane cloak or not), plus a backpack, belt pouch, and general adventuring gear that could be specified in the PHB. Perhaps even some package options for leaders, strikers, defenders and controllers or for arcane, martial and divine powers...

And there I went, rambling on again...
I think this could mostly be fixed by dialing back the multiplier a bit or using a system that increased in a fashion that was still monotonic and linear but did not use a straight line.

I disagree. I don't think encumbrance goes unused because it doesn't let you hold enough stuff. I think encumbrance goes unused because it requires too much bookkeeping, with people having to calculate item weight to the pound (or occasionally the tenth-pound or even hundredth-pound).

Personally, I find that encumbrance rules are pretty much the entire reason for having a bag of holding or a portable hole.

Agreed.

It's one of those rules that only matters outside of combat (since no one sets their character up to be heavily encumbered when equipping them for combat) and when taking Str damage (which usually gets ignored).

Yes, but out of combat, it's basically the only reason for Strength. Either eliminating encumbrance or, as we have now, having a system that is so cumbersome it may as well not exist, minimizes the importance of Strength.

I'm clarifying the container rules.
I really like this system! As expressed before, there are sure to be some anti-video-game D&Ders who might spazz over this, but I think its really good!
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I disagree. I don't think encumbrance goes unused because it doesn't let you hold enough stuff. I think encumbrance goes unused because it requires too much bookkeeping, with people having to calculate item weight to the pound (or occasionally the tenth-pound or even hundredth-pound).

Actually, I meant that I thought that my issues with the unrealism of your suggestion could mostly be solved by dialing back the amount of stuff you let people carry. Under your system, it would take nearly 200 lbs of stuff to immobilize the average human. I don't think the average person could carry around 100 lbs without injuring themselves.

Yes, but out of combat, it's basically the only reason for Strength. Either eliminating encumbrance or, as we have now, having a system that is so cumbersome it may as well not exist, minimizes the importance of Strength.

Personally, I don't have a problem with this -- I think it's the way that all the attributes should go. The #1 thing I hate about the d20 system is the way that changes to attributes require so much bookkeeping. I think more attributes should be like Strength rather than they other way around.

[Edit: To clarify, Strength without the irritation of looking at the encumbrance chart. Simpler is better.]
Sometimes it's the bulk or awkward shape of an item that makes it cumbersome, rather than its weight. Things like that ladder, 10' poll etc.. may need to be raised an encumberence slot or two to account for this. Other than that I can see this system working quite well
I'm not sure about this kits thing.

Though I have an idea, have pre-made kits that represent what can be carried is a slot. Then give individual items numbers that represent how much of a individual stot they take up. This way people can build their own kits, and once built it can be put aside for future purchases.

This way people can have individualized kits.

For example almost every character I play has a crowbar.

Let's say a crowbar takes up half a kit, let's say a hammer, or a chisel also takes up half a kit.

You could now build multiple kits

Crowbar+hammer
hammer+chisel
Crowbar+chisel

Once a kit is built you can use it again and again.

This allows custom kits, but once made they don't need to be made again, and more common kits can come prepackaged in the equipment section.

This way people can individualize their equipment, and the entire process can be made quicker, allowing those who don't care to grab pre-made kits and those that do to make their own.

Those who want to do the math can, and once done it doesn't need to be done again, and those that don't want to don't have to. It's a win win situation for everybody.
That's a neat idea. If you make "stone" the unit for encumbrance, you just list thinks in terms of stones. And make things decimal. So everything is a number of stones, or .5 Stone, .01 Stone, etc. (I'd make a coin .01 Stone).

Kits could be specially packaged items built to reduce encumbrance. So it saves weight to buy things in kits, even if the Kit contains stuff you don't otherwise need.
Kits could be specially packaged items built to reduce encumbrance. So it saves weight to buy things in kits, even if the Kit contains stuff you don't otherwise need.

This reminds me of the "adventure starting kit" detailed in PHB2. You get some 16 gp worth of equipment and pay 15 gp for the "package deal".

It is, of course, negligible, but shows that Wizards has been making some attempts at simplifying shopping and carrying and stuff that SHOULD be made simple.
It is, of course, negligible, but shows that Wizards has been making some attempts at simplifying shopping and carrying and stuff that SHOULD be made simple.

QFT
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Ok, here's my take at encumbrance rules: No encumbrance rules. Remember that quip from one of the designers "the game works but we haven't written any encumbrance rules yet"?

Exactly. The game works without them. The only rule you'll ever need is that characters are temporarily down one step in the condition track if they carry very heavy (corpse, big chest, dragon hoard). For all else, just ignore the rule. Once pack mules / handy haversacks / bags of holding / portable holes / walking chests are purchased, nobody cares about encumbrance anymore anyway.
I love this idea, but I am a bit curious as to how you add up all of the worn equipment? With all of the equipment slots in 3.5E, I am wondering if only the armor you wear, and the weapon(s) and/or shield you wield are counted. Otherwise I would have to have over 16 strength on a wizard in order to stay under light encumbrance with just all of the magical jewelry that he would wear. Other then this little thought, I do love these encumbrance rules. I tried it out on a fighter, and it took me less time to make a table and list out his possessions within it, then it took me to figure out how much he could carry within the 3.5 rules.
I love this idea, but I am a bit curious as to how you add up all of the worn equipment?

Clothing and any adornments (brooches, amulets, rings, bracers, boots, hats, etc.) don't occupy any Gear Slots (unless it's cursed!). You only ever to worry about that if you're carrying a case of amulets.
This system is almost worse than the weight-based system.

I don't get why people are fellating this, as if it were a great idea. The reason people carry bags of holding IS to carry more stuff, not because it reduces arithmetic.

There are two problems with encumbrance rules: Unrealistic, and time-consuming. This solves neither. The concept is much less intuitive than adding up numbers and comparing them to the max you can hold. Multiplying ability scores by an arbitrary system of size modifiers and then dividing (rarely getting whole numbers) and then making a list of that size and drawing lines--it's just complicated. People who thought turn undead was simple would balk at this.

The lack of realism is even worse, really. A human wizard with 10 STR gets six slots. So if he carries a backpack with his spellbook, a couple of wands, and a scribe's kit in it, then wields a staff and carries a spell component pouch and a couple of daggers on his belt, he's encumbered already? This doesn't even begin to address the problem that his backpack CAN ONLY CARRY FOUR THINGS. So a backpack can't hold five wands? I mean, this is silly.
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