Content of the article: "If D&D wants carry weight and encumbrance to matter, it needs a better system to track it, and better character sheets to to manage it."
I understand the value of encumbrance, it brings meaning to strength and introduces "How do you carry this?" to dungeon crawling or item acquisition, making it a much more interesting scenario.
But having to track every single pound of gear when you can carry hundreds is not elegant nor enjoyable. It's a pain in the ass. The system reduced the numbers in regards to ability scores already, why does it still insist the only way to track weight is by 15x Strength score?
Cut the numbers down, make location and bulk the more important part. Maybe instead of pounds, just have an abstract "Weight" attached to items.
Instead of being able to carry 15x Strength score you can carry 5x Strength mod (Minimum 5). Assign items to have Weights of 0, 1, 2, and 3 and say ten 0 weight items weigh 1.
Not perfect, but surely it'll be easier to track at most 5 to 25 than 45 to 300. You can introduce the "Bulky" trait to objects, requiring them to be held in both hands, have a weight of 4 or 5. Maybe make some other thing that trait that necessitates multiple people or some means of hauling it like Tenser's Disk.
Lastly, there needs to be better character sheets with more dedicated inventory tracking. Here is an image of a low level character's inventory, this person being a 3rd level bard. The official sheet on WoTC's website doesn't have a ton of room either. And it just gets worse at high levels
Torchbearer is a good example of what to do with a character sheet's inventory. Small, but it makes inventory management easy to track, though that's partially because it's a game that features it as one of the core mechanics. But it's inventory system is very similar to what I described above. A weapon can be held or worn on your belt, you can haul treasure away or keep food and supplies on you, ideally food being replaced with treasure as you're leaving. It gets a bit too abstract for me at times though. You can't wear a ring underneath a glove for example, as they both take up the "worn" slot of your right/left hand.
To sum it up: Yes encumbrance is important, and it can be fun. But it's poor implementation in mechanics and no support with character sheets is the biggest thing preventing it from being good in 5e. Go ahead and ignore it if you want, you'll probably find the game easier to manage that way.
- The Highest Carry Weight in the Game?
- Question about Carrying Capacity and carrying things in Bulk.
- Why Skipping “The Boring Stuff” makes a Boring Game
© Post "If D&D wants carry weight and encumbrance to matter, it needs a better system to track it, and better character sheets to to manage it." for game Dungeons & Dragons Online.
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