Carrying weight and encumbrance can be bothersome things to keep track of, but ignoring them completely often results in loot hoarding. For this reason I present an alternative way of managing carry weight, using Encumbrance Points (EP). This mechanic also seeks to encourage players to invest in beasts of burden.
Note that these rules are works in progress and have, as of this moment, not been playtested.
Also note that the EP of items have been considered in regards to both weight and space, which means that an item that doesn’t weigh a lot but takes up a lot of space is in the same category as an item that doesn’t take up a lot of space but weighs a lot.
Determining Carrying Capacity
Carrying Capacity (CC) represents the total amount of EP a creature can carry, in terms of both weight and space. If a creature is carrying items of an Encumbrance Point value that exceeds its CC, that creature is considered encumbered. If the EP carried is more than twice that of a creature’s CC, it is heavily encumbered.
As a basic rule, a Medium creature has an Carrying Capacity (CC) equal to its Strength score. For each size below Medium, the CC is halved (minimum 1), while for each size above Medium, the CC is doubled. Note that worn clothes or armours only add half their EP to the total amount carried.
As an example, Bingo Brandybuck-Took, a Small creature, has a Strength score of 10. This means that his CC is 5, and he would be encumbered if he carried a total of 6EP or more.
A creature can increase its carrying capacity by the use of backpacks or saddlebags. A regular backpack increases the CC of a creature by 4, while a set of saddlebags increase the CC by 8. Only one backpack or set of saddlebags can be worn at the same time, although fancier bags with more space may be available for a greater price. Only a horse or similar can wear saddlebags.
Note that backpacks and saddlebags themselves don’t add to the carried EP total.
The Weight of Objects
“But”, you say, “a longsword doesn’t weigh the same, nor take up the same amount of space, as an arrow.” I agree, which is why there are five different categories an object can fall into, and that category determines an item’s EP:
Mathoms - Mathoms are trinkets; small items of unremarkable size and weight; things that would fit in a pocket. In small numbers, Mathoms have no effect on EP. Example items: handkerchiefs, spoons, magic rings.
Stackable - Stackable objects are items that stack. How many items that can be stacked depends on the item in question. Weapons with the thrown property are considered stackable. In any case, one stack is counted as 2EP, even if it is not a full stack. Example items: arrows, food rations, daggers.
Lightweight - Lightweight objects are items that either weigh too much or take up too much space to be stackable. Most weapons are considered to be lightweight. A lightweight item weighs 2EP. Example items: war horns, broadswords, baskets.
Unwieldy - Unwieldy objects are items that take up a considerable amount of space or weigh a lot. Weapons with the two-handed, heavy, or reach properties are considered unwieldy. An unwieldy item weighs 4EP. Example items: iron pots, great-bows, leather jerkins.
Cumbersome - Cumbersome objects are items that take up too much space or weigh too much to be carried normally. These objects usually - but not always - occupy both hands of the creature carrying it, leaving it unable to take other actions while the object remains in its hands. A cumbersome object usually weighs about 8EP, but sometimes more. Example items: suits of ring-mail, ladders, large chests.
Sharing the Load
If an item is large enough to be carried by two or more creatures, the item’s EP can be divided equally, rounded down, between the creatures that carry the object in question.
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