D&D 5E Encumbrance by carrying capacity - an easier way

toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
And I get that armour is heavy, but that puts plate+shield+sword at 15 slots. Not even the strongest human is going to be able to carry a 6-slot pack on top without being encumbered. RaW might be too generous, but this might be pushing things a bit too far in the other way IMO.

The RAW variant is STR x5 pounds before becoming encumbered. With Plate (65) + Shield (10) + Long Sword (3), we're at 78 pounds. A 16 Strength character can bear 2 more pounds of anything before becoming encumbered. Add a backpack and you're down -10 speed. In prior editions, heavy armor automatically slowed you to 20 speed. So the RAW aren't being changed and the designers actually kept it in line with precedent. However, unlike prior editions, if the heavy armor wearer can lighten the load, they can move normally. (I linked in another reply an article of someone spending his day in heavy armor, and there's a youtube video out there of something testing whether you can swim in breastplate armor, answer is yes).

Also, rations are still proportionally under-weighted. Carrying food for a week and water for a day should be heavy.
That's been a source of debate as far as whether rations should weigh 1 or 2 lbs. A ration supplies 1 day of food (1 pound by the rules is needed), leading people to wonder WTH is the other 1 pound of those rations? Mike Mearls replied it's heavy junk food. In war, weight and speed is important, and I'm in the camp that rations, which are designed for wartime situations, would be as light as possible.
 

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toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
I would be really interested to learn how realistic it would be to carry (not wear) any armor out of a dungeon as treasure. How feasible would it be for one person to carry a suit of plate? What about chain mail? What about leather?

has anyone ever done this IRL?

Never tried it in real life, though I've handled at Ren Fairs and with an SCA pail various replica armors. It'd be difficult I'd imagine because (1) you'll be carrying pieces with straps hanging loose and (2) all the weight is centralized in your arms, not spread out over your body. In a gym comparison, it would be similar to why you can't lift as much when using only your arms (e.g. a curl) as when you do dead lifts and use arms, legs, and middle core.

With all that said, that's WAY too much realism for any system.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
I would be really interested to learn how realistic it would be to carry (not wear) any armor out of a dungeon as treasure. How feasible would it be for one person to carry a suit of plate? What about chain mail? What about leather?

has anyone ever done this IRL?
I've never carried a suit of armour very far, nor all pieces in one trip, so it's hard to tell. I can tell you however that I've never carried a suit of armour very far in one trip because it was highly inconvenient to do so; it didn't stack well, it would have been heavy, and awkward. The chainmail alone was in its own bag and was quite hefty, and yet relatively comfortable to wear.

I think the hockey gear is a good analogue. It's a big and heavy dofflebag you don't want to carry much further than between your car and the locker room, it's not that handicapping to play with once it's on, but yet you're happy to get out of it after a match. And you're stuck with that hockey stick wherever you go. It's annoying to carry until you get to play with it, at which point it is a useful tool for keeping balance and lean on, not to mention essential to the game. I'd suspect an adventurer would feel the same about a halberd.

I'm on the fence about D&D's encumbrance. In the game, encumbrance is an on/off thing from the moment you put it on. Real life's encumbrance usually starts to show in certain conditions or after a certain time. My hiking pack doesn't slow me down much in the sense that my unencumbered friend isn't faster than me, but I'll probably be more tired than him after a full day's hike. Over a period of a few days, I would cover more distance if it wasn't for my gear so in effect, I guess my speed was reduced. But in 5e D&D's terms, I'd be closer to accumulating exhaustion levels faster, or my "overland day" would be shorter before it would be considered a forced march.

I tried to design an encumbrance mechanics with that in mind but quickly abandoned it; I'm not sure the hassle would make that much of a difference on the enjoyment of the game. Perhaps in a more realistic wilderness survival game it would... Until then I'm staying with my simplified encumbrance rules which are limiting enough to avoid abuse but otherwise relatively inconsequential.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
How do you account for this difference in your own games?

With a Bag of Holding?

I would be really interested to learn how realistic it would be to carry (not wear) any armor out of a dungeon as treasure. How feasible would it be for one person to carry a suit of plate? What about chain mail? What about leather?

has anyone ever done this IRL?

Sort of? I have done my share of heavy list fighting in the SCA, and to do that we have to lug armor around.

Broadly speaking, a suit of armor for a large man will fit in a hockey bag or the archtypal military dufflebag. Chainmail takes much less space, but for anything with a semi-rigid breastplate, the above is true. Historically, the archetypal full set of steel plate armor runs 30 to 55 pounds.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I like a mixed approach.

Combat gear - if you are wearing it or have it readily accessible for combat it counts here.

Stored gear - everything else

combat gear encumberance value is maybe 5*str

stores gear encumberance value is 5*str

if either encumberance you then you are encumbered.
 

Someone wore a real suit of plate armor all day and while sweaty was able to function, but he didn't pack any gear. SCA people might tell you it's the helmets (trapping all the heat in your head) rather than the armor that makes it intolerable.
Doing ordinary everyday stuff. Not Hiking. Not carrying additional weight and gear.

Now imagine you're carrying an extra 20kgs of gear (what's that about 45 pounds?) and you're hiking for half an hour up a hill in a metal suit that traps heat on top of layers of thick padding.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
How do you account for this difference in your own games?
Armour is listed with two weight values, "worn" and "carried", at roughly a 3-to-4 ratio.

Which means, the armour you're wearing is always the lower value, but if you're carrying around another set as a backup (which some Fighter-Thieves do; wear the plate but carry a suit of leather for sneaking) you're using the higher value for that one.
 

Firstly I do not think worn clothing (except for fur coats) counts against your encumbrance.
Secondly 20 sandals?
I know in prior editions your worn clothes did not count, but I saw nothing in 5E for that.

Oh, and the sandals are the spell component for Divination. It requires something sacred to the deity (which is consumed) and my god is the god of wanderers. The DM found one sandal to be acceptable, so I have 20 pairs for a total of 40 castings. We just left civilization, and I have no idea if we'll be near civilization again for quite a while, thus I stocked up.
 



toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
@Greenstone.Walker That's half of the equation, but I also liked the Anti-Hammerspace idea of "where is my stuff" and even Conan the Barbarian can't carry everything. Hence combining it with a visual.

If you don't care to know how the characters are juggling all the junk they have on their bodies, there's nothing that says you have to. But if we're going down that road, it needs to be as simple as possible. Hence the appeal of the Matt Rundle visual and where I was aiming.
 


3catcircus

Adventurer
If you want to deal with encumbrance "realistically" go get some type of non-d20 based modern RPG and see how they handle it.

Better yet, go download "The Modern Warrior's Combat Load: Dismounted Operations in Afghanistan, April - May 2003."
 


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