D&D (2024) Size, Carrying Capacity, Strength, Athletics, Mobility


He Mage
Various 5e rules establish a relationship between Size and Carrying Capacity. Example, the Powerful Build feature of certain species that are typically near the threshold between Medium and Large.

This thread looks to find these references, as well as clarify how Size, Carrying Capacity, Strength, and the Athletics skill relate to each other.

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He Mage
Some ballpark thoughts before narrowing down the numbers.

A rule of thumb for humanlike bipedal bodies is, each Size higher is twice the height.

• Gargantuan+: over 64 feet tall
• Gargantuan: 32−64 feet tall
• Huge: 16−32 feet tall
• Large: 8−16 feet tall
• Medium Size: 4−8 feet tall "roughly Human size"
• Small: 2−4 feet tall "waist high"
• Tiny: 1−2 feet tall "knee high"
• Tiny−: less than one foot "roughly hand size"

This tallness is only a rule of thumb. Example, a D&D Dwarf is typically Medium near Small Size, but is powerfully built broadly to be fully Medium Size. Similarly, the Goliath is typically Medium near the Large Size, but its Powerful Build trait represents it broad musculature to count as fully Large for the purpose of carrying capacity. Even so, the rule of thumb is useful, and can help the minds eye when comparing relative Sizes of creatures.


He Mage
In reallife, a riding horse can carry easily a rider that is 20% of its own body mass. Example, a 1000 pound horse can carry a rider who is 200 pounds well.

From this with somewhat heavier approximations, it is probably feasible to guesstimate, a creature can carry a load that is one size lower without worrying about encumbrance.

• Large creature (Riding Horse)
• Medium load (Human)

Meanwhile, here, the easy load is typically upto 25% of the body mass, and one Size smaller.

Because the tallness increases linearly, but the body mass increases cubically, I need to doublecheck the body mass of fantastically tall humanlike bipeds. Probably, this can (over)simplify into ranges of body mass for each Size category that are simple enough to multiply when increasing Sizes larger or smaller.


He Mage
Strength = agility and mobility

This thread explores the relationship between Carrying Capacity, Size, Strength bonus, agility, and mobility, to understand mre clearly how the mechanics of Strength works and should work in 2024 onward.


An aside, but on the subject: I have been playing with Small creatures having half carrying capacity, but only because I thought that was the rule. When I discovered that I was wrong, I shrugged and kept it. Because I like it. I don't think that it particularly penalizes halflings, gnomes, or kobolds, etc, (partly because I make their armor weigh half too).


He Mage
What is true for horses appears true for humans. To avoid fatigue, humans should only carry loads upto about 20% of their body mass. And not greater that 25%.

According to military medical studies, when carrying loads while engaging in combat, this is strictly the case.

However, during simple marches and hikes, it appears ok to carry loads of upto about 33%, while avoiding fatigue.

Since D&D is a combat game, this upper limit of about 25% of the body mass to avoid fatigue is useful and convenient. To carry higher loads can be Strength Weightlifting checks.


A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
In D&D I've found players really don't want to deal with encumbrance bookkeeping. Yet, it can be important to determine how they interact with traps and hazards and I want some limit to the silliness of D&D characters carry a cart's worth of gear on their backs. In every D&D campaign I've run since 5e came out, the characters got access to bags of holding rather quick in their careers.

Now that my next campaign will be Warhammer fantasy where "fatigue" is a much more important mechanical condition, it will be interesting how that plays out. The WFRP4e system for foundry calculates gear encumbrance on the character sheets quite well. So I don't expect many issues with tracking encumbrance and fatigue. Will have to see how well my players adapt to much stricter limitations to what they'll be able to haul around with them.

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