D&D 5E Any house rules for a video game-inspired slot based carrying capacity system?

For groups that bother with Carrying Capacity/Encumbrance there's nothing I hate more than doing pound for pound accounting for a characters items and equipment. So I want something that resembles the Inventory Screen in a lot of video games you see out there, maybe not the so-called "Inventory Tetris" where you have to click and drag things that are narrow and wide to optimize, but at least something where you have a number of slots based on your strength score and size (including powerful build) and certain feats/magic items, where items can take up 1 or more slots (like dagger or any light weapon being 2 slots, rapier or any one-handed weapon being 4 slots).

Also looking for something like Quick slots for how many things like potions, bombs and other non-weapon items one can readily use in a single combat encounter.

log in or register to remove this ad


The dark one :)
I had a rule like that but never finished listing item slots and never tested it.

I used base slot value = size + str score (small: 10, medium: 14, large: 20)
And max value = size + 2 x str score

You get disadvantage on some skill checks as well as attack and dex based saves when over your base value.

Edit: really tiny items took no slot (ring, amulet, etc...) some like 100gp or a potion took half slots and the max was heavy armor at 6 slots but I never took the time to test and finish item listing. I also think number of slots is a bit higher than I would want on a second tought.

Edit2: backpacks also had a limited amount of "slots" so even if you could carry more no way to carry multiple armors without a mount or a cart
Last edited:

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Maybe something like:

- Slot total: Size + Str mod + Con mod (covers both worn items* and backpack)

- Readied item slots: 1 + Dex mod + Int mod (specially crafted belt/pouches/scabbard can add a bonus). Those items may be readied using an Item Interaction. Readied items can be stacked by genre (healing potion, pitons, ball bearings, alchemist fire etc)

- Special containers take 1 or 2 load slots of the backpack, but allow to stack diminutive (potions bag, scroll case, coin pouch, quiver). If no special container is used, diminutive items are considered Small, as they are loose in your backpack or pockets.

- Foraging in your backpack to grab a loose (aka non-readied item) requires 1 minute. Items with a Load of 3 or more cant be put in the backpack; they need to be holstered to the bag. Only 2 items can be holstered to the bad in this fashion.

- Worn items: each character can wear: 1 pair of boots, 1 pair of gloves, 1 armor, 1 helmet, 2 rings, 1 amulet, 1 cloak, 1 belt and use their two hands to carry 1 item in each one (if available) or 1 item of Load 3+.

Load per Item size
  • Diminutive: 0 if worn or put in a special container, or 1 if loose (coins, potion, scrolls, ring)
  • Small: 1 (light weapons, helmet, normal cloths)
  • medium: 2 (light or medium armors, one handed weapons, cloaks, noble regalia)
  • Heavy: 3 (heavy weapon, heavy armor, shields)
  • Cumbersome 4 (a chair, a small creature, heavy clay pots)-
  • Burdening 5+ (a giant's weapon, a medium creatures, a heavy desk)


He / Him
I've always found this idea intriguing! I whipped up this super simple form that players could use. I haven't tested any of the math, so that would need to be played around with.



  • Inventory.pdf
    55.3 KB · Views: 53


Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I like PF2’s bulk system. An item that weighs about a pound or less is Light. An item that weighs about 2-5 pounds is 1 Bulk. An item that weighs more than that or is particularly cumbersome for its weight is 2 Bulk. 10 Light items add up to 1 Bulk. If I remember correctly, PF2 lets you carry 5 + Strength mod Bulk before becoming encumbered, but you could easily adjust that as needed.

As an alternative to strength-based weight/bulk limits, you could go “true” slot-based. For example, you can carry a one-handed weapon on each hip, a two-handed weapon on your back, and a weapon or shield in each hand, plus a coin pouch and a backpack. A coin pouch can hold up to 600 coins, and a backpack can carry up to 6 Bulk worth of equipment.


I am always using a system I've seen years ago.

Most items have a weight ot 1. Items smaller than a dagger are free. Items that need two hands to carry have a weight of 2 or more.

Up to your Strength score is unencumbered, up to double your Strength score is encumbered, and up to three times your strength score is heavily encumbered.

Write your inventory as a list with numbered lines, and mark the lines where encumbrance goes from none to medium, and from medium to heavy with color. Items with weight greater than one take up as many lines accordingly. All you have to do js make sure you have no empty lines above an item, and you never even need to count how many items you carry. If you're over the marked lines, you're in the next encumbrance class.


I've done a bunch of these.

One (from 3.5e days) had a bunch of specified slots, matching the various magic item slots plus a few more, and then a number of generic 'pack' slots. Characters were supposed to put items in the relevant slot on their character sheet, and stop when they ran out.

My most recent (5e) one just gives characters 10 'slots' that they can fill with any item of their choice, where a 'reasonable' number of identical items count as 1 (so 5 potions of healing are 1 slot, but 1 pot of healing and 1 pot of greater healing are 2).

None have ever really been satisfying, largely because groups have inevitably found a bag of holding in short order and made the whole thing moot!


Guide of Modos
Go old Final Fantasy. Each character gets 4 slots: weapon, arms, head, body. Everything else is in a character's unlimited "inventory," and requires part of a movement to be accessed. If the inventory looks big, the PC is encumbered.

By the way, a PC gets to use zero potions when wielding primary weapon and shield. Even if the potions are strapped somewhere accessible. Potions are what squires are for :devil:


My homebrew system uses a slot-based approach. It’s based on B/X D&D, so it should be applicable to that and other editions. See below for a summary. The way it works is the character sheets have lists for carrying, containers, etc. If an item takes a slot, you write it on a line. If it takes two (or more), you write it big across multiple lines. Taking an item out of a container requires an action (and the player would erase the item from the container and write it in the carried section of their sheet).

Carrying capacity: Is 6 + Strength modifier. Carried items are in located sheathes, belt pouches, or strapped to the character’s body. They may also be held in the character’s hands (“equipped”).
Equipped items: Are held in hands or worn (for armor and shields). Some equipped items require a different number of slots to use than to hold (e.g., a longbow requires 1 slot but takes two hands to shoot).
Containers: Hold items and provide expanded capacity. Items in containers do not count against carrying capacity.
  • Money pouch: Holds 1 slot (or up to 100 small items). Every character has one. The money pouch does not count against carry capacity. If a character has multiple, only one does not count.
  • Backpacks: A standard backpack takes one slot and has 4 slots of storage, an expand backpack takes 2 slots and has 8 slots of storage.
  • Sacks: Small sacks have 2 slots and large sacks have 6. A small sack requires one slot when equipped, 1 slot to carry empty, or 2 slots to carry with contents. A large slot requires 2 slots when equipped, 1 slot to carry empty, and 6 slots to carry with contents.

Determining Slots​

One hand: Takes 1 slot. If an item can be held comfortably in one hand without help or accessories (such as a hook or string to dangle the item).
Two hand: Takes 2 slots. As above except the item requires two hands.
More hands: Takes 2 slots per person required to comfortably lift and move the item.
Small: Takes no slots if stored in a container or 1 slot otherwise. 100 small items in a container take 1 slot. If an item can be grasped between the forefinger and thumb without help or accessories.

Encumbrance Effects​

Going past your limit reduces your speed by 25%. For every two slots carried beyond your limit, it is reduced another 25%.
  • 6+STR to 8+STR: 25% reduction
  • 8+STR to 10+STR: 50% reduction
  • 10+STR to 12+STR: 75% reduction
  • 12+STR or more: 100% reduction (no movement).
In 5e, you should probably have disadvantage on ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws that use Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution when your speed is, e.g., reduced by 50% or more. In 3e, each reduction would increase your armor check penalty by 2 (−2 @ 25%, −4 @ 50%, −6 @ 75%, −8 @ 100%). Apply penalties for other systems as appropriate.

My system is you can carry your Strength in "things". If you can comfortably carry it in one hand, weighs about 5 pounds, or the size of a soccer ball it weighs one thing. A sack of 1000 coins is a thing. Objects that take two hands are two things. Armor weighs half their AC bonus in things, round up.

Three things can be accessible on your belt; usually your coin purse, main weapon, and dagger. Often one or the other is replaced with a potion case or wand holster. The potion case can hold three potions. One object is strapped to the side of your backpack or "on the top" so it can be easy to get to. Everything else takes time to rummage through the backpack.

Carrying up to 1/2 STR in things? Full move (30). 1/2 +1 to full strength is hindered (25), and up to twice strength is crawling (20).

Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition Starter Box

An Advertisement