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September 17, 2018 0 comments

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A Proposed Encumbrance System

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In my D&D games, my group almost entirely handwaves Encumbrance, but the more simulationist aspect of VsD encourages me to keep PC carrying weights in mind. I appreciate how VsD specifies that Encumbrance penalties should be the result of common sense between the GM and the players. Still, I appreciate a little more “system” to my rulings. Hence I’ve come up with the following:

Every character freely carries (within reason) two weapons (missile weapons and ammunition collectively count as 1), clothing, armor, and incidental ornamention and trinkets.

After this, characters have 5 “slots” “free of charge.” Items that take up a slot (or more) are listed below. Any items not on the list take up a slot if more than ten of them are carried at a time (per increment of ten—so 21 healing cordials would take up 2 slots). Ammunition works the same way based on the type of ammunition (20+ for bows, 10+ for bolts, 50+ for bullets).

bedroll (1), grapple (1), healer’s kit (1), hunting trap (1), pot (1), lantern (1), mining tools (1), musical instrument (varies), rope (1), tent (2), torch (1), additional weapons 1 (or 2 heavy)

Encumbrance Penalty: For every increment of 5+ slots, characters suffer a cumulative -10 to activity until “Over Encumbered,” which is the maximum allowance.

Interesting!

Are you going to playtest this in your campaign?

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
Quote from Topramesk on December 31, 2018, 12:42 pm

Interesting!

Are you going to playtest this in your campaign?

I certainly will! If all goes well, tonight we make characters!

Very cool Gabe.
Reminds me a little of the Encumbrance system in Mutant: Year Zero (and I suppose also Forbidden Lands, 'cuz are based on the same ruleset).
Simple, yet elegant. We may want to provide this a a variant rule for more crunchy encumbrance on the Full Rules!

For no one in this world you can trust, my son. Not man, not woman, not beast. But STEEL... this, you can trust!

I think that Brawn should factor into encumbrance.  Since a large beefy fighter will be able to carry more than a skinny wizard.  Like have a base of 5 slots as the original poster stated and one slot for each 5 of the total brawn score before shifting the encumbrance level.

 

Aye Britt.

We deliberately kept the Encumbrance system "light" (pun intended), because we didn't want to overburden (again) the game with complex rules nobody in the end cares for. VsD is a game of epic fantasy, and ain't nothing epic about dragging around a cumbersome weight.

However if you look into the text, you'd see that actually, Brawn does in fact play a role in the encumbrance. In one sentence it is said that the normal penalties for encumbrance might be modified (for the better or worst) by the character's size and strength.

We didn't want to have a precise scale for this and let it to the player's judgement and common sense but, for example, in my last IRL game we decided that the 6'5” tall Warrior with the 35 BRN shouldn't be encumbered by carrying along his huge zweihander! This is because Encumbrance is not only about weight, but also about being limited in one's movements by cumbersome items shackling and dangling out. So in that particular case it was a combination of size (the zweihander was big, but not so big a 2 meters high character couldn't carry it on his back without worrying) and implied physical strength.

Another character with a 35 BRN but less tall (say, a Dwarf) could have been encumbered more by carrying around a 5' weapon.

We are however playtesting the rules for Encumbrance a lot and think that they may be a little too punishing - being that the game as said focuses on different aspects and "realism" is not a major concern. We may want to revise them a little and be clearer about how and when to apply penalties. Stay tuned for more!

For no one in this world you can trust, my son. Not man, not woman, not beast. But STEEL... this, you can trust!
Quote from SOLIDToM on May 4, 2019, 3:58 pm

Aye Britt.

We deliberately kept the Encumbrance system "light" (pun intended), because we didn't want to overburden (again) the game with complex rules nobody in the end cares for. VsD is a game of epic fantasy, and ain't nothing epic about dragging around a cumbersome weight.

However if you look into the text, you'd see that actually, Brawn does in fact play a role in the encumbrance. In one sentence it is said that the normal penalties for encumbrance might be modified (for the better or worst) by the character's size and strength.

We didn't want to have a precise scale for this and let it to the player's judgement and common sense but, for example, in my last IRL game we decided that the 6'5” tall Warrior with the 35 BRN shouldn't be encumbered by carrying along his huge zweihander! This is because Encumbrance is not only about weight, but also about being limited in one's movements by cumbersome items shackling and dangling out. So in that particular case it was a combination of size (the zweihander was big, but not so big a 2 meters high character couldn't carry it on his back without worrying) and implied physical strength.

Another character with a 35 BRN but less tall (say, a Dwarf) could have been encumbered more by carrying around a 5' weapon.

We are however playtesting the rules for Encumbrance a lot and think that they may be a little too punishing - being that the game as said focuses on different aspects and "realism" is not a major concern. We may want to revise them a little and be clearer about how and when to apply penalties. Stay tuned for more!

It might actually be simpler to assume the player-characters drop their backpacks and extra equipment when they draw their swords and start a combat. That way you can hand-wave encumbrance penalties to combat rolls by assuming everyone sheds gear until they just have what is comfortable to carry during a fight. If the characters have to suddenly flee, they have the option of picking up their gear (which will make them encumbered again and may make them too slow to escape pursuit) or they can simply leave it all behind and flee at full speed.

Hey Thurm.
Yes of course you can safely assume that. It is only a matter of common sense and adjudication.
Also: this could be a nasty side effect of being ambushed with your backpack on!

For no one in this world you can trust, my son. Not man, not woman, not beast. But STEEL... this, you can trust!

I think that epic fantasy lends itself well to a limited inventory/encumbrance. You don't see Frodo looting slain enemies or Tanis packing for every occasion. There are mechanics that gel well with encumbrance, mostly ones that deal with looting or those that have high variety in weapons. The mechanic of heroic weapons that grow with time that VsD seems to have on the other hand should work well with a very limited inventory simulation. OTOH there's a space for VsD derivatives and other types of adventures based on it and bookkeeping would definitely work with some of them.

Abstract encumbrance systems can work really well provided the players and GM can come to an understanding. Lugging around 200 lbs of feathers is very different than lugging around 200 lbs of bronze coins. An abstract system with slots eliminates some of the problems, VtD sorta does this with soft thresholds between the ENC levels. Stars Without Number 1e had a good one: you had two types of gear slots Readied and Stowed with items occupying 1 or more slots. Your had a number of Readied slots equal to half your Strength attribute (rounded down) and a number of Stowed slots equal to the Str score. SWN used a D&D/d20 system so PCs with average Str scores had 5 Readied and 10-11 Stowed slots. Large items occupied 2-3 slots, medium 1-2, small 1 or even 1 slot per 3 (like grenades) tiny items 10 per 1 slot. Stowed items took longer to retrieve.

Porting this into VtD should be easy. Figure PCs have 10 slots modified by size and BRN (+1 slot per +5 BRN or -1 slot per -5 BRN). Small characters should lose 5 slots, tiny characters lose all but 1 slot). This double hoses halflings but oh well. So assuming your typical heroic adventurer PC with BRN +10, assuming human, elf, or dwarf, would have 12 slots equating to 6 Readied slots and 12 Stowed slots. Assume any readied slot can be accessed as a half action and stowed a full round action.

Unlike SWN, VtD would count armor separate (it already has some penalties - which, incidentally should be revisited 'cuz Rigid Leather predominates for a variety of reasons).

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