Movement & Encumbrance

Carrying Capacity

Encumbrance rules determine how much a character's armor and equipment slow him or her down. Encumbrance comes in two parts: encumbrance by armor and encumbrance by total weight.

Encumbrance by Armor: Your armor (as shown on Armor) defines your maximum Dexterity bonus to AC, your armor check penalty, our speed, and how fast you move when you run. Unless your character is weak or carrying a lot of gear, that's all you need to know. The extra gear your character carries, such as weapons and rope, won't slow your character down any more than his or her armor already does.

If your character is weak or carrying a lot of gear, however, then you'll need to calculate encumbrance by weight. Doing so is most important when your character is trying to carry some heavy object, such as a treasure chest.

Weight: If you want to determine whether your character's gear is heavy enough to slow him or her down more than the armor already does), total the weight of all his or her armor, weapons, and gear. Compare this total to the character's Strength on Carrying Capacity. Depending on how the weight compares to your carrying capacity, you will be carrying a light, medium, or heavy load. Like armor, your load gives you a maximum Dexterity bonus to AC, a check penalty (which works like an armor check penalty), speed, and run factor, as shown on Carrying Loads. Carrying a light load does not encumber a character.

If you are wearing armor, use the worse figure (from armor or from weight) for each category: Do not stack the penalties.

For example, Tordek the dwarf is wearing scale mail. As shown by Armor, it cuts his maximum Dexterity down to +3, gives him a -4 armor check penalty and cuts his speed to 15 feet. The total weight of his gear, including armor, is 71 1/2 lbs. With a Strength of 15, his maximum carrying capacity (maximum load) is 200 pounds. A medium load for him is 67 pounds or more, and a heavy load is 134 pounds or more, so he is carrying a medium load. Looking at the medium load line on Carrying Loads, Monte (Tordek's player) sees that these figures are all as good or better than the penalties that Tordek is already incurring for wearing scale mail, so he incurs no extra encumbrance penalties.

Mialee has a Strength of 10, and she's carrying 28 pounds of gear. Her light load capacity is 33, so she's carrying a light load (no penalties). She finds 500 gold pieces (weighing 10 pounds) and adds it to her load, so now she's carrying a medium load. Doing so reduces her speed from 30 feet to 20 feet, gives her a -3 check penalty, and sets her maximum Dexterity bonus to AC at +3 (which is okay with her, since that's her Dexterity bonus anyway).

Then Mialee is knocked unconscious in a fight, and Tordek wants to carry her out of the dungeon. She weighs 104 pounds, and her gear weighs 28 pounds (or 38 pounds with the gold), so Tordek can't quite manage to carry her and her gear. (It would put him over his 200 pounds maximum load.) Jozan takes her gear (and the gold), Tordek hoists Mialee onto his shoulders, and now he's carrying 175 1/2 pounds. He can manage it, but it's a heavy load. His maximum Dexterity bonus to AC drops to +1, his check penalty increases from -4 (the armor check penalty for scale mail) to -6 (the check penalty for a heavy load), and now he runs at x3 speed instead of x4.

Lifting and Dragging: A character can lift up to the maximum load over his or her head.

A character can lift up to double the maximum load off the ground, but he or she can only stagger around with it. While overloaded in this way, the character loses any Dexterity bonus to AC and can only move 5 feet per round (as a full-round action).

A character can generally push or drag along the ground up to five times the maximum load. Favorable conditions (smooth ground, dragging a slick object) can double these numbers, and bad circumstances (broken ground, pushing an object that snags) can reduce them to one-half or less.

Bigger and Smaller Creatures: The figures on Carrying Capacity are for Medium-size creatures. Larger creatures can carry more weight depending on size category: Large (x2), Huge (x4), Gargantuan (x8), and Colossal (x16). Smaller creatures can carry less weight depending on size category: Small (3/4), Tiny (1/2), Diminutive (1/4), and Fine (1/8). Thus, a human with a Strength score magically boosted to equal that of a giant would still have a harder time lifting, say, a horse or a boulder than a giant would.

For example, Mialee, an elf with 10 Strength, can carry up to 100 pounds. Lidda, a halfling with 10 Strength, can only carry 75 pounds.

Tremendous Strength: For Strength scores not listed, determine the carrying capacity this way. Find the Strength score between 20 and 29 that has the same ones digit as the creature's Strength score. Multiply the figures by four if the creature's Strength is in the 30s, 16 if it's in the 40s, 64 if it's in the 50s, and so on.

For example, a cloud giant with a 35 Strength can carry four times what a creature with a 25 Strength can carry, or 3,200 pounds, multiplied by eight because the cloud giant is Gargantuan, for a grand total of 25,600 pounds.

Carrying Capacity
1 Strup to 1 lb.4-6 lb.7-10 lb.
2 Strup to 6 lb.7-13 lb.14-20 lb.
3 Strup to 10 lb.11-20 lb.21-30 lb.
4 Strup to 13 lb.14-26 lb.27-40 lb.
5 Strup to 16 lb.17-33 lb.34-50 lb.
6 Strup to 20 lb.21-40 lb.41-60 lb.
7 Strup to 23 lb.24-46 lb.47-70 lb.
8 Strup to 26 lb.27-53 lb.54-80 lb.
9 Strup to 30 lb.31-60 lb.61-90 lb.
10 Strup to 33 lb.34-66 lb.67-100 lb.
11 Strup to 38 lb.39-76 lb.77-115 lb.
12 Strup to 43 lb.44-86 lb.87-130 lb.
13 Strup to 50 lb.51-100 lb.101-150 lb.
14 Strup to 58 lb.59-116 lb.117-175 lb.
15 Strup to 66 lb.67-133 lb.134-200 lb.
16 Strup to 76 lb.77-153 lb.154-230 lb.
17 Strup to 86 lb.87-173 lb.174-260 lb.
18 Strup to 100 lb.101-200 lb.201-300 lb.
19 Strup to 116 lb.117-233 lb.234-350 lb.
20 Strup to 133 lb.134-266 lb.267-400 lb.
21 Strup to 153 lb.154-306 lb.307-460 lb.
22 Strup to 173 lb.174-346 lb.347-520 lb.
23 Strup to 200 lb.201-400 lb.401-600 lb.
24 Strup to 233 lb.234-466 lb.467-700 lb.
25 Strup to 266 lb.267-533 lb.534-800 lb.
26 Strup to 306 lb.307-613 lb.614-920 lb.
27 Strup to 346 lb.347-693 lb.694-1,040 lb.
28 Strup to 400 lb.401-800 lb.801-1,200 lb.
29 Strup to 466 lb.467-933 lb.934-1,400 lb.
+10 Strx4x4x4
Carrying Loads
LoadMax DexCheck Penalty(30 ft.)(20 ft.)Run
Medium+3-320 ft.15 ft.x4
Heavy+1-620 ft.15 ft.x3

Stores, Gear & Treasure