D&D 5E Is Anyone Using Variant Encumbrance?

Our DM do before so we really have to compute the weight that we can carry vs our STR score limitations and its a pain - but a bit realistic I guess?

It prevents players to bring extra equipment (extra sword, extra armor, 50 rations etc).

You can carry weights beyond your limit but you'll have penalty. We can just say in a fight we drop our extra weight/equipment but when we need to run - you'll have to leave them, you can't carry them in haste. If someone casts an AOE spell on the area where our equipment are, they get damaged, torched, frozen etc.
 

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GMMichael

Guide of Modos
My DM doesn't use it but I plan for it just for fun . . . When combat looms, the pack is ditched.
Can I get this guy in my game group, please?

If you wander into a pack of orcs and don't tell your GM "I drop my pack," then you deserve your encumbrance penalties. If you're on guard duty (like one of the orcs) you have an advantage - your pack has been dropped, and you're already equipped for a fight.

Having played PF exactly once. . . I've decided that I'll avoid Encumbrance rules entirely. I play D&D to explore ancient ruins, have epic battles, and interact with the world in a meaningful way (and collect loot at the same time); not to micromanage my inventory
Hey, D&D! Can we get an optional rule for this guy? Equipment slots: you get exactly X, Y, and Z to fill, and you don't have to worry about encumbrance. Nor can you carry more than that.

Cernor raises the meta-question for me: what's the point of encumbrance if it's not fun?

  • GM aid. GMs can make dungeons more interesting if PCs can't carry a solution to everything.
  • Verisimilitude. There's no believability in the game if the party halfling is carrying four suits of armor.
  • Balance. Dangerous word, I know. But, well, the wizard's equipment (spells) don't weigh anything. Not fair to the fighter, right? Make that wizard carry the bedrolls.
 

Rhenny

Adventurer
When I play, our group uses it, and so far it hasn't really been an issue. It makes strength more important, and it makes a Dwarf a benefit to the group as well. Also, using Fantasy Grounds, it is easy to calculate (automatically when the equipment is entered).

Bag of Holding also becomes much more valuable. We are still looking for one of those. lol.

When I DM, I don't use it though. Like many of you, I'd rather worry about other things when I run a group.
 

Syntallah

First Post
Yes, I use it and have been happy with the results.

It has led to some interesting decision points: what armor the Cleric (Str 10) should take, the Rogue with the Mobility feat that would normally have [one-of-everything-from-the-equipment-table] must carefully choose his gear or lose the benefits of his high speed, etc. And it's fun for the Dwarf barbarian to talk smack as he could easily carry the whole party, but just has his shield and axe.

Most of my group has been playing since the late 70s and we used to track encumbrance back in the day. So, 5E has that nostalgia thing going...
 

nomotog

Explorer
I really shouldn't try. It's one of those rules that not only do I forget. I forget that I forget it. If I was going to use it, I think I would try to make it a lot tighter and simpler.

Something like you can carry one extra item for every point of your str modifier, or maybe something with containers. I kind of have a odd liking for container paper doll simulation. Different types of backpacks that hold so many items and require different stats to use without being burdened. Then you could do things with containers that give you bonuses like medic bags that let you carry unlimited bandages at the cost of a lower inventory space in general.

But like I said, I really shouldn't.
 

Joe Liker

First Post
We only worry about extra weight when it's an obvious problem, such as finding a huge mound of copper and silver coins that need to be rescued.

By a certain level, that's not terribly interesting anymore, so I give them a way to sidestep the problem, such as a magical bag or a set of scales that can convert coins into gems.
 

thalmin

Retired game store owner
I just finished playing in a campaign where the DM did not use th varient encumbrance rules, but I did. It was a personal challenge for me,but I enjoyed it. The campaign I am starting this week will use the varient rules as well.
Like above, I have been playing since early AD&D, and have nearly always used encumbrance rules. It's part of the game.

One of my all-time favorite activities at GenCon was a seminar titled "You're Going to Carry All That?" run by Wm. /John Wheeler. It was hilarious. The audience would decide how to outfit a character, then John would get a volunteer from the audience and load him up with what was suggested. The poor victim could do little more than stagger around.
 


Use variant encumbrance if you think logistics is fun, and you want all the PCs to drop their packs at the first sign of danger--and then maybe somebody can steal those packs.

If you think all that is boring, and you just want to handwave it all and say that everything on a PC's character sheet is on their person at all times, use the normal encumbrance rules.

Part of me would like to use the variant rules, but I suspect that the added complexity wouldn't really add anything worthwhile to my game. Maybe I'll give it a try at some point though.
 

We only worry about extra weight when it's an obvious problem, such as finding a huge mound of copper and silver coins that need to be rescued.

By a certain level, that's not terribly interesting anymore, so I give them a way to sidestep the problem, such as a magical bag or a set of scales that can convert coins into gems.

See, that's the thing: if you're not using encumbrance rules in the first place, Bags of Holding lose a lot of their coolness because they're mitigating a non-problem.

This thread is definitely making me think...
 

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