Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

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Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by Colin » Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:39 am

So, one thing I always hated was weight-based encumbrance systems. They required far too much book-keeping given the large numbers involved and utterly failed to take into account something even more important than weight in determining impediment: bulk. Plus, they created massive misconceptions about what things actually weigh among a lot of gamers (such as the fact that a D&D longsword, actually just a Sword or Arming Sword - a Longsword was a hand-and-a-half or two-handed sword - weighs 5 lb. when in reality it weighed 2-3 lb.).

So, how about something along these lines? Bear in mind, I'm making this up as I go along, and the numbers are just to illustrate the concept.

1) Characters have an Encumbrance limit of 25.
2) Items have values based more on bulk than weight, e.g.
* Small items (such as a purse of 100 coins or a dagger) have a Encumbrance value of 1.
* Moderate items (such as most hand weapons) have an Encumbrance value of 4.
* Large, awkward items (such as a longbow or greatsword) have an Encumbrance value of 8.
* Others items may have different values.
* Worn armor/clothing does not factor in to these values and follows its own rules/penalties.
* Some items, such as backpacks, are more efficient means of carrying smaller items, and may hold a greater Encumbrance value while only ever using their own, e.g. a backpack might have an EV of 6, but be able to hold 12 EV of smaller items and never count as more than its own value of 6.
3) This means, Joe Adventurer could carry a greatsword (8) and backpack (6) on his back, longsword at his hip (4), pouch of 100 coins, potion bottle, and dagger on his belt (1 each), and dagger in his right boot (1), and have a little wiggle room for a few more items before being seriously encumbered.
4) At up to double the base Encumbrance, speed is halved and action dice are downgraded 1d.
5) At up to triple the base Encumbrance, movement becomes a crawl, and action dice are downgraded 3d.
6) Dwarves, due to being stout, broad individuals have a base Encumbrance limit of 30.
7) Halflings, being little buggers only have a base Encumbrance limit of 15 and cannot easily carry items with Encumbrance values of 8 or more.
8 ) Strength modifiers are doubled and applied to these limits (so +2 Strength increases the base to 29 Encumbrance, for example).

Again, this was all typed using numbers pulled out of the air and hasn't been playtested or anything, so feedback and other folk's encumbrance houserules are welcome.

Colin

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by bitflipr » Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:46 am

How about something even more basic. Encumbrance = strength (or some variant of strength like x2). Some items have value of 1, bulky items are 2, minor items are 0.

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by funkaoshi » Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:48 am

Lamentations of the Flame Princess has pretty great/simply encumbrance rules. The way their character sheets are set up it's also pretty easy to track. You might want to grab the rules PDF and take a look.

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by Ynas Midgard » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:21 pm

Encumbrance system of LotFP seconded.

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by Ravenheart87 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:36 pm

Ynas Midgard wrote:Encumbrance system of LotFP seconded.
Thirded.

Welcome Ynas, by the way. What brings you here?
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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by caveman » Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:56 pm

A quick lotp description? Por favor?

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by TheNobleDrake » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:17 am

caveman wrote:A quick lotp description? Por favor?
It is a system based on encumbrance points, which are generated in varying amounts by wearing medium (chain) or heavy (plate) armor, carrying more than 5 different sorts of items (6-10 is 1, 11-I forget is 2... and I think 21+ is 4 points), or carrying items that are particularly hard to carry.

The total points determines how encumbered the character is with (if I recall correctly) four different categories ranging from nothing at 0-1 points to being unable to move at 5+.

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by Ynas Midgard » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:11 am

Ravenheart87 wrote:Welcome Ynas, by the way. What brings you here?
Obviously the sheer awesomeness of DCC RPG. Actually, if it wasn't for you, I would probably have completely missed this game.

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by Ravenheart87 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:53 pm

Ynas Midgard wrote:
Ravenheart87 wrote:Welcome Ynas, by the way. What brings you here?
Obviously the sheer awesomeness of DCC RPG. Actually, if it wasn't for you, I would probably have completely missed this game.
You're welcome. :)
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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by bholmes4 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:51 pm

ACKS has a decent encumbrance system that is somewhere between LOFTP and the D&D system.

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by beermotor » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:18 am

Could somebody post up a detailed run-down of LotFP's encumbrance system? I'm looking at some old notes on rules for armor and encumbrance and thinking deep thoughts.

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by Colin » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:54 am

beermotor wrote:Could somebody post up a detailed run-down of LotFP's encumbrance system? I'm looking at some old notes on rules for armor and encumbrance and thinking deep thoughts.
You can legally download LotFP for free, by the way: HERE. All the rules, but no art.

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by beermotor » Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:43 pm

Thanks!

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by bitflipr » Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:49 pm

DCC RPG already seems to take in account armor's effect on movement with speed reduction. If one were to employ ACKS or LotFP's encumbrance system, some adjustment would have to be made. Personally, I feel that something even more simpler should be employed - DCC already mentions that at a weight threshold that movement should be halved. Whatever is used should probably work with this suggestion.

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by maldoror » Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:57 pm

I'm not into any encumbrance rules. I just eyeball it and ask players to explain to me how they're carrying stuff. if they can't then they've got to drop something

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by bitflipr » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:26 am

I came across this blog post:

http://fastermonkeycage.wordpress.com/2 ... rtokens-3/

While I personally don't care for token tracking in my RPG (seems a little board-game'ish to me), if something like this could get integrated into a character sheet that would be sweet. I imagine something that would involve writing down inventory items into slots in your bags/packs would be somewhat easy to manage.

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by beermotor » Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:43 am

Colin wrote:
beermotor wrote:Could somebody post up a detailed run-down of LotFP's encumbrance system? I'm looking at some old notes on rules for armor and encumbrance and thinking deep thoughts.
You can legally download LotFP for free, by the way: HERE. All the rules, but no art.
Holy crap. That heading font is wretched.

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by beermotor » Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:49 am

maldoror wrote:I'm not into any encumbrance rules. I just eyeball it and ask players to explain to me how they're carrying stuff. if they can't then they've got to drop something
This is actually a good idea, I think. I just got my DCC book today and that's sort of what's written there. I guess what you have to do is keep a wary eye on what your players are writing down, and ask "where are you putting that / how are you carrying that?" every time they go to pick something up, to keep them thinking about it. And then enforce restrictions on movement. Maybe with a nice chase/pursuit from something really nasty thrown in to teach them a lesson.

I think the urge to compartmentalize things comes from computer games (Dungeon Master, the first one, in particular, which everything else copied). I ought to quit thinking in those terms.

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by Vanguard » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:09 am

Encumbrance rules are fun for nobody. It doesn't really matter how simple the mechanic is.
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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by TheNobleDrake » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:24 am

Vanguard wrote:Encumbrance rules are fun for nobody. It doesn't really matter how simple the mechanic is.
I agree with Vanguard.

Of course, complete lack of any encumbrance guideline is at times even less fun... I don't want to have to remember to pester the players about how they are carrying things, or create situations where we realize because I finally said "hey... that's way more stuff than would fit in a backpack!" that the party couldn't possibly have even gotten to where they are right now because their was no room for supplies in their backpacks full of weapons and treasure.

Ideally an encumbrance "system" would be something that the player could fully track without any input from the Judge and be contained fully within the bounds of their character sheet without detracting from the space needed to keep track of their character information... which is something I am looking to figure out for my group.

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by Vanguard » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:30 am

That would be ideal, but it still comes down to book keeping I'd rather not do.

I'd rather tip my players off that they need to have a looting strategy (bring wheelbarrows, clear the dungeon and pay local peasants to help ferry it out, etc) than just decide that this sword breaks their limit.
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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by TheNobleDrake » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:38 am

Vanguard wrote:That would be ideal, but it still comes down to book keeping I'd rather not do.

I'd rather tip my players off that they need to have a looting strategy (bring wheelbarrows, clear the dungeon and pay local peasants to help ferry it out, etc) than just decide that this sword breaks their limit.
I am thinking of using a system that doesn't require more book-keeping that keeping track of what you have already does - simply an equipment list area that has lines drawn in, and the rule is you can carry whatever fits on the sheet at 1 line per item type.

Then, I would make container sheets for larger storage/carrying devices like carts & wagons.

It tosses believability out the window (one character could carry plate mail, shield, a crossbow, 40 bolts, and a sword and have greater encumbrance because of it than someone carrying 403 lead bricks), but it at least puts a clear limit in play that the player can keep track of without me needing to remind them.

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by bholmes4 » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:43 am

TheNobleDrake wrote: I am thinking of using a system that doesn't require more book-keeping that keeping track of what you have already does - simply an equipment list area that has lines drawn in, and the rule is you can carry whatever fits on the sheet at 1 line per item type.

Then, I would make container sheets for larger storage/carrying devices like carts & wagons.

It tosses believability out the window (one character could carry plate mail, shield, a crossbow, 40 bolts, and a sword and have greater encumbrance because of it than someone carrying 403 lead bricks), but it at least puts a clear limit in play that the player can keep track of without me needing to remind them.
LOFTP is kind of like this actually. You need to see the character sheets (which are part of the pdf) but it also separates armour to a checky box as it can count as multiple points of encumbrance. Also if you have a large quantity of something, say coins, you record them in "bundles". Thus you might record 100 coins / line, 10 arrows / line or something like that. Every 5 lines of equipment or so counts as another point of encumbrance. I believe 3 points (equal to 15 lines without armour on) of encumbrance count as lightly encumbered.

For the lead brick situation, you would probably have the character record each brick individually or something.

I am going off memory so some of the specifics might be off, but that's roughly how it works.

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by bholmes4 » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:49 am

@TheNobleDrake:

Ok sorry, just re-read the thread and realized you are familiar with LOFTP and mean to simplify it even further. I have to admit some of my casual gaming group members had difficulty even with the LOFTP system so it's not a bad idea.

I might be tempted to rule that they must use some common sense and that you can call for an encumbrance audit at any time (picking the worst possible time, like when the dragon is chasing them through the tunnel). For something like the bricks, if they told me they were about to pick them up I would probably inform them on the spot that each brick counts as one line.

I may have to use this system...

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Re: Encumbrance Houserules Meanderings

Post by beermotor » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:49 am

Think I'm going to go the easy route, and firstly be very stingy with item rewards, so it'll rarely come up, and secondly, do spot "what are you carrying and how are you carrying it" inquiries of random players. If they can't explain something, then some random piece(s) of gear will disappear. "You seem to have misplaced that. Wonder where you left it?"

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