Encumbrance and Base Movement Rate

Having the right tool for the right task can mean the difference between life and death beneath the ground in an abandoned tomb or dungeon complex. Players may be tempted to load their characters up with too much gear, burdening movement and restricting their fighting capability. Naturally, there is a limit to what an adventurer can reasonably carry, and a character weighted down with every conceivable piece of equipment will soon find that it is best to be selective in choosing how much to carry. If for no other reason, those same sacks and backpacks need to be empty enough to carry out the vast troves of coins and other treasure the party expects to find! Moreover, if the party must flee from pursuers, it may not be important to be the fastest, but it is of crucial importance not to be the slowest!

The most weight a character can carry is 150 lbs, plus whatever additional weight is allowed for the character's strength. This additional weight allowance permitted by the character's strength is simply subtracted from the weight on the table below to determine a character's level of encumbrance. For instance, a character carrying 85 lbs of gear would normally be encumbered; the same character with a 50 lb weight bonus can carry 85 lbs without being encumbered, and between 86-120 lbs in the 90-ft/round movement category. The GM must apply common sense to determinations of encumbrance, taking into account the fact that an extraordinarily bulky item, even if it is quite light, will be so unwieldy as to encumber a character. The bulk of listed armour and items is already taken into account for purposes of convenience.

However, keep in mind that a character wearing armour has a maximum movement rate based on that armour, independent of all weight calculations (due to bulkiness). Thus, armour sets a maximum movement rate and also affects the total weight a character carries.

Weight CarriedMax. MovementSurprise
up to 35lbs120-ft/round+1 (for armour lighter than chain mail only)
36-70 lbs90-ft/roundNormal bonuses apply
71-105 lbs60-ft/roundNo normal bonuses apply (but penalties do)
106-150 lbs30-ft/roundNo normal bonuses apply (but penalties do); -1 extra penalty

No movement is possible if attempting to carry more than 150 lbs (as adjusted).

Note that the table above assumes that the character in question has a base 120-ft move. If the character is of small race (such as a dwarf, gnome or halfling), a base move of 90-ft may apply (deduct 30-ft from all movement rates, with a minimum of 30-ft; but do NOT change the effect of encumbrance on surprise/ initiative).

Naturally, characters must have a container if they wish to carry liquids, large numbers of coins, etc. Capacities of sample containers are as follows:

Small Pouch or Purse1/4 cubic-ft or 2.5 lbs
Large Pouch1/2 cubic-ft or 5 lbs
Small Sack1 cubic-ft or 10 lbs
Backpack3 cubic-ft or 30 lbs
Large Sack4 cubic-ft or 40 lbs
Waterskin3 pints