Some Thoughts on Encumbrance

Some Thoughts on Encumbrance

Oswald the Overladen by Reaper
Oswald the Overladen, Reaper Bones

Continuing my shameless rip-offs, I had some thoughts on Encumbrance.

Warren and Delta have laid some groundwork for this concept, but I’m trying to get it to fit, aesthetically, into the Low Fantasy Gaming Campaign. The Basic LFG rules don’t really have granular rules for encumbrance. I want to be able to track what PCs are carrying, keep them from carrying too much, and at the same time not count every coin and arrow. And maybe, just maybe, make it worthwhile to hire some porters and men-at-arms…

Sources: Delta’s Stone Encumbrance System

I Cast Light – The Character Sheet Framework

I have monkeyed around with both, then massaged what came out to fit into the Rules-style of LFG.

Please let me know what you think in the comments.


A PC may carry a number of items depending on their Strength. Each point of Strength equals one “Slot” of carrying capacity. A backpack may be worn, taking two slots, but is able to be loaded with five slots worth of capacity. A “Slot” is about five – ten pounds.

Example: A PC with a STR of 12 may carry up to 11 item/slots on their person, or nine item/slots and a backpack with up to five item/slots packed inside. This PC would be able to act normally (though swimming may be tricky with a loaded backpack!). Adding one more item/slot, for a total of 12, would make the PC Encumbered. If the PC has a CON of 13 or more, they can carry a few more item/slots equal to their CON bonus. This PC will still be encumbered.

A PC carrying a full load is Encumbered:

  • -5’ movement penalty, (base Move is 30′)
  • Run at ½ speed, 
  • no DEX bonus in combat (for attacks or AC)

A PC may exceed their Strength score by a number of slots equal to their CON bonus. This PC is overloaded, and suffers the following penalties:

  • -10’ movement penalty,
  • Run at ⅓ speed,
  • -1 To Hit penalty
  • -1 AC penalty
  • All DC and Ability checks are Hard (-3 penalty)
  • Gain one level of Fatigue per hour moving with this load.

A PC without a CON bonus carrying more load than their STR allows may only move at ½ speed for up to one hour, before gaining two levels of Fatigue and being forced to rest for at least six turns/one hour. Any further movement will require passing a Hard WIL check to continue, they will also incur a further level of Fatigue every hour. After this kind of exertion, a full, Long Rest will restore the PC to 1 Level of fatigue, until their next Long Rest.

This is what encumbrance looks like
Don’t be like this guy

“Slots” are described as follows:

  • “Free”: Regular clothing, rings, one Amulet/necklace, hat
  • One-fourth Slot: Potion/Oil flask, Knife/dagger, Jewelry, Torch, Cloak/Coat, Wand
  • One-Half Slot: One Spell, one set of Clothing (stowed), Food for one day, Rod or Bowl (magical focus)
  • One Slot: 5# coins, One Level of Fatigue, Staggered, Obligations, Curses, Tools/Kit, Spell Books, Water (1 day) 50’ Rope, Lantern, Shield, Helmet, Heavy Clothing for cold weather, Staff, Bow and Quiver
  • Variable: Small or Medium Hand Weapons (1-2), Armor (Light 1, Medium 2, Heavy 3), Magic Items (1-3), Crossbow and quiver (1-2)
  • For any items not specifically listed, use your best judgement (about five to ten pounds per slot) or consult the GM

This is what it looks like on the draft character sheet:

Custom Low Fantasy Gaming Character Sheet - Draft
Custom Low Fantasy Gaming Character Sheet – Draft

I am looking for a way to encourage a specific style of play, and I believe this will take us one step closer.

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