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D&D General Backpacks and Sacks Carrying Capacity and Dimensions

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).
The thing is, and I believe you agree with me on this, is that once the baseline, (the initial homework) is done, re: the weight of items being carried, or tracking ammo, or rations, maintaining those numbers are trivial.

You fire an arrow, you subtract it from the quantity on your sheet (5 seconds work). You eat a day's rations, you reduce your rations by 1 (5 seconds work) AND you subtract 1 or 2 pounds from the weight you are carrying (also 5 seconds work). You come across a hoard of loose coins, mostly copper. NOW you have to have a conversation in group about how to carry that.
 

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Why don't you just use a digital character sheet? Any of the good ones will track encumbrance for you and the players and then you get what you want (tracking the minutia) and the majority of players get what they want (not tracking minutia).
 

Why don't you just use a digital character sheet? Any of the good ones will track encumbrance for you and the players and then you get what you want (tracking the minutia) and the majority of players get what they want (not tracking minutia).
I am old school. I always use paper and pencil when I play or DM. But I would be screaming at the tide coming in if I tried to stop players from using digital char sheets. If the good ones so indeed track this stuff, even more reason why players should not whine about it.
 

toucanbuzz

Legend
We handle backpacks, sacks, etc., by using slot encumbrance. If you track what comes in starter backpacks, it matches quite well. Encumbrance is as much a matter of space as it is weight.
 

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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
The thing is, and I believe you agree with me on this, is that once the baseline, (the initial homework) is done, re: the weight of items being carried, or tracking ammo, or rations, maintaining those numbers are trivial.

You fire an arrow, you subtract it from the quantity on your sheet (5 seconds work). You eat a day's rations, you reduce your rations by 1 (5 seconds work) AND you subtract 1 or 2 pounds from the weight you are carrying (also 5 seconds work). You come across a hoard of loose coins, mostly copper. NOW you have to have a conversation in group about how to carry that.

I just don't assume that what is trivial for me is trivial for everyone.
 




J.Quondam

CR 1/8
Unless a game is tightly focused on survival, I'm generally not terribly interested in nitpicky, per-ounce encumbrances. On the other hand, I usually won't not consider weight/bulk at all in D&D, because, imo, having the risk of losing a pack, or less effective combat, or forced choices (like take the treasure versus take their comrades' body) makes for a better game. Genre depending, of course.

I prefer more abstract encumbrance systems, where items (or bundle of items) take up limited slots*; and/or are tracked probabilistically, eg, any item used might be the last. Abstract encumbrance still gives opportunities to impose interesting decisions on characters, without the fiddliness of tracking the weight and volume of every last doodad on their person.


* Slot systems are especially nice, imo, because they are easily translated into physical cards or tokens that make the tracking easier to adjust than numbers on a character sheet.
 

Khel

Villager
I would like to say this and give a brief example, 1st: i'm not saying make it difficult or time consuming but...... here is the example- if a person has a strength of 16 then we know that 16 x 15 lbs= 240 lbs able to carry. All i'm saying is that I think that me as a player and or a DM should either give the DM or the players an idea that HEY go ahead carry it BUT a backpack will still only carry by 2e rules 50 lbs which now leaves the rest to be sorted out I don't need to know all of it just that you are aware, and that you have come up with the means to do it. because whether walking through a Dungeon or the Forest 240 lbs held in your arms like fire wood , will not as we all know leave you to attack or defend.
Again i'm very understanding and know that it can an does become time consuming, and that's why I say just as long as you know how much each thing can carry and that you have enough to be able to do so and to be able to attack or defend then the time consumption goes down.
Personal feeling here the OLD way......... the NEWER want what the Video games give you quick fast battles an we are done ...... the use of using the mind to me has gone down a lot. *And Yes all the above could be carried by Magic but there again how much magic is in your Game. Lastly if you look at the example in the POST about a Military backpack that can carry 120 lbs why can't we make one in the Game....... get it magically made to act like the Hewards handy haversack or a bag of holding........... we can!!!!! WILL cost but hey. Sorry Lengthy again........ I cam up with bandoliers that held potions....... my wands had a thin wire attached at the end you held and secured to my wrist that way, let go pull sword or able to cast spell....Heck I even came up with special boots that held 3 arrows on the outside of them........all ways to carry more and less time consumption ......and in MY book just because it says you can doesn't mean you can.......an old DM taught me that.
 

Unless a game is tightly focused on survival, I'm generally not terribly interested in nitpicky, per-ounce encumbrances. On the other hand, I usually won't not consider weight/bulk at all in D&D, because, imo, having the risk of losing a pack, or less effective combat, or forced choices (like take the treasure versus take their comrades' body) makes for a better game. Genre depending, of course.

I prefer more abstract encumbrance systems, where items (or bundle of items) take up limited slots*; and/or are tracked probabilistically, eg, any item used might be the last. Abstract encumbrance still gives opportunities to impose interesting decisions on characters, without the fiddliness of tracking the weight and volume of every last doodad on their person.


* Slot systems are especially nice, imo, because they are easily translated into physical cards or tokens that make the tracking easier to adjust than numbers on a character sheet.
That is reasonable. Encumbrance is just as much about volume and location on a body as weight. Carrying 50 pounds of cotton candy is a lot harder than carrying 60 pounds of armour.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
How does a player add or subtract from dice rolls on a constant basis without being able to master "x-1"?

All I am saying is that with no other reason to doubt them, I assume that if a player says to me that while they can handle aspect X but also doing aspect Y is too much, I will accept that on a good faith basis and try to find a compromise. And heck, some folks do have trouble when it comes to adding or subtracting from die rolls on the fly. Assuming the other aspects of play from them are a good match for the games I run, I find that saying "How can we help with this?" is more productive than "That is trivial and you should be able to do it!" Maybe you've had more success with the latter approach, but the way you talk about players suggests to me you have discovered more frustration than success. 🤷‍♀️

And like when a group can't come to an accord and just going your separate ways with no hard feelings is the best course, I think I am done arguing about this. To reiterate my original position: For my group's tastes and needs, ballpark determinations of things like encumbrance and rations place enough "realistic" limits on what PCs can do.
 



Khel

Villager
WE know that in Real Life we can go without food for awhile but we can generally only live for around 3-6 days without water (not getting into specifics) SO If the Zombie Apocalypse were to happen we know what we need and roughly how much of it to survive..... WHY should it be different in the GAME........ oooooo its just to time consuming, We do it everyday without thinking most times........ AGAIN I'm not saying it has to be played with the encumbrance and if it, SHOULD be played that way then NOT to take up most game time, just that if it is used then do your Parts as Players and at least in MY case give me an idea of what your carry all your gear in, and as for rations I play that: you get to a city you tell me what your doing if I don't hear restocking then HOPE you hunt or someone in the party does or shares their rations next time, why because after awhile it will affect your speed either in travel or when you least expect it IN BATTLE, AGAIN this is my way of doing things and have no reason if I were to sit at a table an play as a player with a group an they don't play that way, that is their choice, BUT the Minute the DM hits me with a question about any of mine ...... I would tell them to check the other players out because I will have mine accounted for.
We all know by now we each have different ways of playing this was just started to GIVE those that do use encumbrance an where its AT things to look at.
 

Khel

Villager
Exactly...You have a radius of 15 feet, and anyone who wants to hit you within 5 feet will do with the blinded condition as they approach you.
Well..... that would really depend on how well spun the cotton candy armor was by its AC score the tighter the weave the better AC.... but 50 lbs of cotton candy weighs less than the 60 lb of armor but there again the Bulkiness of the Cotton candy by weave or spun texture would come into Play. If it was like padded armor more bulky chain or plate mail less bulky and tighter spun cotton candy...........:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: could really see this being made......
 

Khel

Villager
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.
In my case Nope, I bring a Wagon or 2 with Mercs. to guard it or them and move on......and yes I have wagon specs. for anything from the Conestoga Wagon, Prairie Schooner, British Army General Service Wagon to the Borax Wagon that holds 10 tons........... all done on my own time. and not during Game with the exception as to check with the DM on which if any or ALL they would allow.
 

Khel

Villager
I am old school. I always use paper and pencil when I play or DM. But I would be screaming at the tide coming in if I tried to stop players from using digital char sheets. If the good ones so indeed track this stuff, even more reason why players should not whine about it.
Wonders why its so hard to write arrows and then do hash marks for those used...........not hard my god you were just in battle the creature is laying there with 5 in it...........an 1 broke when you polled them out........ just how hard was that???? And I also am Old School gotta have the paper and pencil + pen for Notes in note book.......... but that's just me
 

Well..... that would really depend on how well spun the cotton candy armor was by its AC score the tighter the weave the better AC.... but 50 lbs of cotton candy weighs less than the 60 lb of armor but there again the Bulkiness of the Cotton candy by weave or spun texture would come into Play. If it was like padded armor more bulky chain or plate mail less bulky and tighter spun cotton candy...........:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: could really see this being made......
Let's not forget to factor in what happens when cotton candy armour gets caught in a rainstorm......
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
The thing is, and I believe you agree with me on this, is that once the baseline, (the initial homework) is done, re: the weight of items being carried, or tracking ammo, or rations, maintaining those numbers are trivial.
Yeah, but they're annoying and a pain and not worth the effort to even bother. Just because you don't agree doesn't mean for those other players it isn't true. ;)

I mean I don't keep track of all that stuff nor make my players do it because I get no satisfaction from it. But I've curated my player base such that I don't have any players who want, need, or demand that sort of bookkeeping so it isn't a problem. Hopefully you have been able to do the same but in reverse... and you have a table with players who enjoy the logistical problem-solving of adventuring.
 

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