D&D General Backpacks and Sacks Carrying Capacity and Dimensions

As a DM I would really not have time for such bookkeeping! I'm super busy during the game and exhausted when we're done. I'm listening to players and keeping notes of what happened in-game, meanwhile pulling up stat blocks, maps, notes, pictures and of course describing the world to the players. I try to never stop the game-flow for administrative reasons.

In my world, Bags of Holding are quite common, and can hold an unlimited number of small items, and the players usually get at least one early on, and more as the game progresses. Also, players keep track of their inventory and coins, and I never double-check.

If it gets ridiculous, I will intervene, but that typically only happens with single large items. That's a single challenge which can be resolved.
 

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Yora

Legend
I only have carry weight capacity, and even that comes in pretty big chunks "bigger than a dagger, but does not take two hands to carry" is the going definition for an item that takes up 1 space in the inventory. Encumbrance is important, because it limits what tools and how much supplies they can bring, and what they will have to leave behind to be able to take the treasure back.

Backpacks and sacks have pretty much negligible weight and value. If the players would want to, they could all just be packing 3 backpacks and 10 sacks every time they leave town, to make sure they really have the storage space to store all the stuff. But what would that add to the game? Tedious bookkeeping for the sake of tedious bookkeeping.
 


Well, I guess that's a good way to curate your player base and find the right participants for your game. ;)
It is part and parcel of a growing trend. I find it increasingly hard to find players.

I don't want to deal with rations. It is no fun.
I don't want to deal with object interactions. It is no fun.
I don't want to burn a turn to don or remove a shield. It is no fun.
What do you mean I can't carry 6 javelins, a long bow, a two handed sword, 2 quivers of arrows, 2 daggers, and my backpack over my chain mail, while climbing a wall? You are are a really bad DM.
 

I only have carry weight capacity, and even that comes in pretty big chunks "bigger than a dagger, but does not take two hands to carry" is the going definition for an item that takes up 1 space in the inventory. Encumbrance is important, because it limits what tools and how much supplies they can bring, and what they will have to leave behind to be able to take the treasure back.

Backpacks and sacks have pretty much negligible weight and value. If the players would want to, they could all just be packing 3 backpacks and 10 sacks every time they leave town, to make sure they really have the storage space to store all the stuff. But what would that add to the game? Tedious bookkeeping for the sake of tedious bookkeeping.
There is tedious book-keeping, and then players who choose to ignore the rules because they actually take effort, thought, and tradeoffs.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
It is part and parcel of a growing trend. I find it increasingly hard to find players.

I don't want to deal with rations. It is no fun.
I don't want to deal with object interactions. It is no fun.
I don't want to burn a turn to don or remove a shield. It is no fun.
What do you mean I can't carry 6 javelins, a long bow, a two handed sword, 2 quivers of arrows, 2 daggers, and my backpack over my chain mail, while climbing a wall? You are are a really bad DM.
Well, so long as you are able to find enough players to run your game... it doesn't matter if anyone else past that doesn't prefer your style. It's only if you can't find anyone to play at your table that you'd have to start perhaps changing your focus just to get people to sit down.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I personally hate when players just hand wave way container capacity. I consider it no less cheating than to ignore regular carrying capacity, ammo, rations, etc. I know all of those are commonly ignored as well, but to me this is only a matter of degrees between ignoring spent spell slots, HD, and other abilities.

[/rant]

There is a difference between a group agreeing to handwave encumbrance and individual players refusing to do so in a game where that is the expectation. Like I said, for my current groups encumbrance is eyeballed and we just use common sense to decide what is reasonable, since the time and energy it takes to do the specific math seems not worth it. That said, if something becomes a point of contention ("Whaddya mean I can't carry a 600 lb stone statue around?") then we'll do the math - but I haven't run into anyone who objects to obvious limits in decades.
 

Yeah, but for a lot of people, those are one and the same. :) It all depends on the type of D&D adventures a person prefers to play and/or run.
I always shake my head at those players that say "I am here for the RP", when dealing with encumbrance is as immersive as it gets.
Players that are truly there for the RP experience SHOULD embrace the detail oriented parts of the game. If someone spends 4 days to write up a 3 page backstory for their char, with a full lineage going back 3 generations (that is no hyperbole), then they can damn well track how many arrows they have, and how much weight they are carrying.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I always shake my head at those players that say "I am here for the RP", when dealing with encumbrance is as immersive as it gets.
Players that are truly there for the RP experience SHOULD embrace the detail oriented parts of the game. If someone spends 4 days to write up a 3 page backstory for their char, with a full lineage going back 3 generations (that is no hyperbole), then they can damn well track how many arrows they have, and how much weight they are carrying.

This is like saying that since someone likes eating apples one time, they should also like eating oranges everyday. They are not remotely the same in terms of effort, frequency, taste, and reward - at least not for many, if not most people.

As for things like ammunition, I do think there should be some system in place for dealing with the possibility of running out (some people like an ammo die, my groups keep actual track) but it should be as detailed or abstracted as the group is comfortable with.

I, too, in general, have an old school vibe with my DM style - but I also feel like there have always been a range of player preferences that have been at odds with my style since the 80s - this is nothing new. People complained about keeping track of encumbrance back in 1E days. I first ran across an ammo die optional rule in 2E, clearly because some people didn't like keeping track of arrows, some people prefer VTTs and D&D Beyond because it keeps track of that stuff for you. I also know "new school" players for whom part of the fun is detailing where every bit of gear is on their body and how, even though there are other game preferences that make us a bad match for playing together.

For me, sometimes the puzzle of "how are we gonna carry all this stuff?" can be fun - but that fun (again for me) has diminishing returns. I don't want to spend time at the table figuring it out in a detailed way every session - and I don't like assigning homework for between sessions (even though some things, like leveling up - are best done then, so it is not always avoidable).
 

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