D&D 5E Is Anyone Using Variant Encumbrance?

True. For new players to DnD, this is not recommended. I guess its for players and DM who wants the game more 'realistic' - "No as a human, you cant carry two extra armors, an extra mace, 50 torches, 50 rations with your regular set equipment."

This also give STR an added value in game. Before, we let our barbarian carry our extra/heavy items. Although we have a table rule that if the barbarian player is absent during a session, so are our equipment that he carries. :D
 

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I just rule most used mundane items doesn't sell or at best sell for a 1/5th book price. That really cuts down on players trying to haul too much back. Treasure and valuable commodities of course sell for full.
 

machineelf

Explorer
I really liked the encumbrance rules of the playtest. I don't know why they decided to change it. As I remember correctly, you were encumbered if you surpassed 10 times your strength score. There wasn't really a light encumbrance, just heavy. And if you surpassed it I believe you had disadvantage on everything, and lost half your movement speed. I might have some of those details wrong, I'll have to go check.
 

I don't use the variant encumbrance rules, but I actually do enforce the standard carrying capacity. Normally that means that we see how much weight you are carrying during character creation and then don't really check it again unless you are carrying a lot of extra stuff, or the party is attempting to haul a bunch of loot out of a dungeon. I think that many players would be surprised how easy it is to go over your carrying capacity, even with standard rules.

In my next major campaign I'm thinking of beginning the campaign using the encumbrance rules and making the PCs pay for every meal and track every arrow. I also will have the characters whose backstories imply lack of much physical exertion make rolls to avoid penalties (perhaps a level of exhaustion) occasionally, and play up the fact that they find walking through the wilderness with giant packs all day and sleeping on the ground quite uncomfortable.

Then, as the characters gain more experience I'll start gradually phasing out that level of detail. The unconditioned penalties won't last long at all. The change from encumbrance to normal carrying capacity will probably kick in once the players have gotten used to the effects of encumbrance and have a feel for what they can carry without problems. Then, as they start acquiring enough cash that food or lodging no longer matters much, I'll transition over to monthly upkeep costs.

The funny thing is that in my LMoP campaign I tried to transition the PCs to upkeep costs at 2nd level, but they didn't want to. They didn't feel like they had enough money for such fuzzy prices where they might end up overpaying. I thought it was funny, but if that's how they want to do it I'll let them.
 


Chocolategravy

First Post
Encumbrance is something that we have not been worrying about, but I was updating the character sheets yesterday and I decided to add in the weight for equipment. The weight of an explorer's pack is 59 pounds. The weight of scale mail is 45 pounds, the weight of a shield is 6 pounds and the weight of a rapier is 2 pounds. A PC with these four items and only these four items (i.e. a typical first level Dex based PC) will be carrying 112 pounds and would be lightly encumbered at Strength 22 or less, and heavily encumbered at Strength 11 or less.

There are a lot of problems with the encumbrance rules and equipment weights, they need to be either fixed or not used.

Several items are far heavier than they should be and for worn equipment the weight should have less of an impact than if it was carried.

Also the numbers are just bad. The "Farmer's Walk" event in strong man competitions carry more than a 20 STR person's carrying capacity... in each arm, so more than double. The most someone could deadlift with the encumbrance rules is also about half what people can actually deadlift.

As a quick fix you might want to double carrying capacity. If using the variant rules, double the values to x10 and x20 or halve worn equipment like armor or in a backpack.
 

S

Sunseeker

Guest
I don't really run encumbrance for your general gear. If a player wants to push the envelope I might invoke it (ie: they want 6 swords, two glaives, 3 maces, one of each kind of pack, a tuba, etc...) but otherwise I'll only bring it into play when a player wants to move something particularly heavy (other players, obstacles, etc..)
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
As a quick fix you might want to double carrying capacity. If using the variant rules, double the values to x10 and x20 or halve worn equipment like armor or in a backpack.

Thanks for this suggestion. I was using someone else's Excel spreadsheet for the character sheet and it defaulted to the variant rules. I just thought, those rules pretty much suck. But this house rule would more or less bring in the best of both worlds. A partial limit for those players who want to really carry a lot, and a high enough number that those players who do not want to worry about this stuff can do so if they only have more or less the basic stuff on them.

Thanks.
 

Klaus

First Post
Encumbrance is something that we have not been worrying about, but I was updating the character sheets yesterday and I decided to add in the weight for equipment. The weight of an explorer's pack is 59 pounds. The weight of scale mail is 45 pounds, the weight of a shield is 6 pounds and the weight of a rapier is 2 pounds. A PC with these four items and only these four items (i.e. a typical first level Dex based PC) will be carrying 112 pounds and would be lightly encumbered at Strength 22 or less, and heavily encumbered at Strength 11 or less.

Although this seems plausible, it does seem to imply that the party should have only one explorer's pack in the entire party and an unarmored or lightly armored PC with Str 12 or higher should be carrying it. Nobody else should be carrying a pack (except possibly the lightest types like the priest's pack at 18 pounds or so) if they don't want movement seriously hampered.

It would seem like the variant encumbrance rules, if used strictly, would suck some of the fun out of the game. Half or more of the party would often be at least lightly encumbered, just to bring (above and beyond weapons and armor) mostly food, water, bedrolls, and some rope into a dungeon.

The best solution (shy of magic like Tenser's Floating Disk or a Bag of Holding) would be to get some moderately strong hirelings whose sole purpose is to be Nodwick. :lol:

Sounds perfectly reasonable. Porters and mounts to carry equipment, establishing a "base camp" to leave the heavy camping stuff behind (and slowly moving the base camp closer to the PCs' location as the delve progresses), or otherwise enduring the penalties for light encumbrance, seems to add a level of flavor to the whole concept of the dungeon delve.
 


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