Content of the article: "Slot Based Encumbrance – Faster, Easier, Better"
Slot Based Encumbrance
Slot Based Encumbrance is a variant rule for D&D 5e. The rule is intended to greatly reduce the tedium of calculating equipment by simplifying encumbrance. The rule is intended to be simple enough that a person can quickly review a creatures stat block or a PC's character sheet and work out how much they can carry and how much they are carrying. The rule is also intended to make encumbrance fun by retaining the resource management aspect of encumbrance without weighing it down in needless details. Hopefully, PCs will care more about what they are carrying and give more thought to what their character is lugging across the country side.
Your Strength score determines the amount of weight you can bear. The following terms define what you can lift or carry.
Carrying Capacity. Your carrying capacity is equal to your Strength score. This is the number of equipment slots worth of equipment that a creature can carry without being slowed down or hindered in any meaningful way.
Lightly Encumbered. A creature is lightly encumbered if it carries more than its Carrying Capacity but not in excess of 150% of its carrying capacity.
Heavily Encumbered. A creature is heavily encumbered if it carries more than 150% of its carrying capacity but not in excess of 250% of its carrying capacity.
Over Taxed. A creature is overtaxes if it attempts to carry more than 250% of its carrying capacity. To move, if at all, it must Push, Drag, or Lift its load, (see below).
Push, Drag, or Lift. A creature can push, drag, or lift a weight in pounds up to 350% of its carrying capacity. While pushing or dragging weight in excess of 250% of its carrying capacity, its speed drops to 5 feet. Creatures cannot carry more than 350% of its carrying capacity.
Size and Strength. Larger creatures can bear more weight, whereas Tiny creatures can carry less. For each size category above Medium, double the creature's carrying capacity and the amount it can push, drag, or lift. For a Tiny creature, halve these weights.
Creature Weight. When calculating the weight of a creature (in equipment slots) take the average of the creatures strength and constitution score (round down). Larger creatures weigh more, whereas smaller creatures weigh less. For each size category above Medium, double the creature's weight. For each size category below Medium, halve the creature's weight.
Weights of Gear
A full list of the weights of gear (in equipment slots) is provided in the linked google sheet. Weight is a reflection of both the mass of an object and how cumbersome it is. For example, a ten foot ladder weighs three slots largely because of its dimensions.
Armor. Light armor weighs one slot, medium two, and heavy three. Shields weigh 2 slots.
Weapons. Weapons typically weigh one slot. Heavy and two handed weapons weigh two slots. Light thrown, weapons weigh 1/2 of a slot. Daggers and darts weigh 1/5 of a slot.
Ammunition. A full set of twenty arrows, crossbow bolts, sling bullets, or blowgun needles weigh 1 slot. Partial sets of ammunition are rounded up to the nearest whole number.
Gear. Most useful gear weighs one slot. Relatively light containers (such backpacks and sacks) normally don't weigh anything. Relatively heavy containers (such as jugs and chests) do have weight. Relatively light items weigh 1/10 of a slot. This includes potions, scrolls, flasks, locks, and dry rations. Wet rations (which include daily water needs) weigh a full slot each.
Weight of Coinage. Less than 100 coins weigh nothing. For larger number of coins round up to the nearest 500 and divide by 500. For example, 876 coins (of any value) weigh two slots.
Google Spreadsheet Link
The attached spread sheet automates much of the above rules. You can also customize the weights of anything using the second page of the sheet. The sheet can be duplicated and shared with your players so each PC has their own. To edit the sheet, you will need to copy it into your own google drive folder.
- My take on equipment load
- 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.
- Question about Carrying Capacity and carrying things in Bulk.
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