5E Simple Encumbrance system (to make Strength matter)?


Heres a simple system I saw somewhere
A PC can carry half their Str in Stones (round up) so Str 18 = 9 stones

• Light, Medium and Heavy armor weighs 1, 2 and 3 stones respectively.
• Most weapons weigh 1 stone unless they have the Heavy property (2-handed weapons, large bows), then they weigh 2 stones.
• Medium-sized, important items weigh 1 stone. (50ft of rope, a loaded backpack, a spellbook)
• Heavy or bulky items weigh 2 stones (carrying a chest, a rolled up tapestry slung over the shoulder).
• Small items and weapons (daggers, knives, slings) are not tracked and PCs can assume they have them within reason (and GM’s discretion).

Warrior (16 Str) with heavy plate (3), shield (1) a long sword (1) and a backpack is at 6 out of 8 stones.
A Wizard (8 Str) with a quarterstaff, spellbook and loaded backpack is at 3 out 4 stones.

A Cleric (14 Str) with scale mail(2), shield, mace, heavy crossbow(2), a loaded backpack and carrying a bag of gold is at 8 out of 7 stones and encumbered.

When Encumbered make a DC 10 Con check, fail gains a level of exhaustion
Here's another unrealistic system … Sorry for the snark.
Most so called heavy weapons do weigh far less than you might believe and many so called light weapons are heavier than you think.
e.g. a great sword is 5 to 7 pounds
a long sword (bastard sword/hand and half) is about 3 pounds and lo and behold
a rapier also is about that weight and has equal bladelength.
The different edge geometries of those two lead to similar volumes of metal, plus the rapiers basket weighs more than a typical crossbar of a longsword.
A battle axe is far lighter than an axe made to chop wood even if they have roughly the same shape, because a battle axe has a far thinner blade.

A chainshirt is about 40 pounds a plate armor about 50. so your 3/2/1 relation is nowhere near anything realistic.


I'm okay with that. While I can see value in certain adventures and campaigns making use of variant encumbrance, I'd be less enthused about fiddling with how to take stuff out of packs. On occasion a question is raised about whether someone can draw and stow or the like and I'm like man it just doesn't matter that much in context, move along.
I disagree. Having it too easy to grab anything from any pack. encourages an ever growing inventory that is not being tracked & removes the ability of the gm to give out things like the old handy haversack, glove of storing, wand sheathe, & so on that allow instant access to something bur not everything. Along with the encumbrance rules I use is one that allows players to designate 3 items they can draw as part of that free object interaction & all other objects in their packs are an action to draw...do you have a potion flask (what kind?), antivenom, caltrops, holywater, a wand of $whatever or your shiny +5 holy avenger, a waterskin to wash off the acid spit you are expecting, or whathave you in those slots & is this long/short rest one you should think about makng changes to those three items.