AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming

Welcome back to the weekly D&D and Tabletop Gaming thread!  Here’s a place where we can talk about Dungeons & Dragons or any other tabletop games that you nerds might be into.  Tell us about the games you’re playing, speculate about future expansions, recruit your fellow Avocados into new groups, whatever you want.

The rules of D&D 5e are pretty lenient when it comes to a character’s carrying capacity. In general a character can carry as much as 15 times their Strength score without issue. A character with a perfectly average STR of 10 can then carry 150 pounds of gear (including armor, weapons, coins, etc), while a character who has maxed out their STR at 20 can carry 300 pounds. The rules also say you can lift, drag, or push up to twice your carrying capacity, which means that average STR character should be able to deadlift a 300-pound boulder without requiring an ability check. Larger creatures also have higher carrying capacity, with the amount of weight doubling for each higher size category over Medium, and many playable races, including Orcs, Bugbears, and Goliaths, have a feature that allows you to count as a Large creature when determining your carrying capacity. So an Orc Wizard who dumped their STR to an 8 should still be able to easily carry up to 240 pounds, and lift or drag up to 480 pounds.

In practice, at least in my experience, these rules are largely ignored, mostly because the limits are so large that they are rarely even relevant. The DM will call for an ability check to lift any heavy object without really taking into account the actual weight of the object or the PC’s Strength-based carrying capacity, and it generally feels fine. After all, you almost certainly didn’t choose to play a Wizard to act as the party’s pack mule, even if you chose a race with the “Powerful Build” trait. Most of the time, players just want to get on with the story and/or kill more monsters, rather than dragging the game to a halt to tally up the weight of all the items in their backpack. But this also can lead to scenarios in which your character is carrying a full arsenal’s worth of weaponry on their person at all times, or carrying around thousands of gold coins from the hoard of the dragon they’ve just slain.

For those groups who do enjoy a deeper level of verisimilitude, the Player’s Handbook does offer a variant rule for Encumbrance. Using this rule, carrying a total weight that is more than 5 times your STR score will reduce your movement speed by 10 feet. In addition, if you carry more than 10 times your STR, your speed is reduced by 20 feet and you have disadvantage on ability checks, saving throws, or attack rolls that are based on STR, DEX, or CON. This forces you to pay more attention to the weight listed next to every bit of equipment your carry, including gold, since it can all add up pretty quickly.

How does tracking encumbrance (or not) work in your games?

Players and Characters

Wafflicious is back in the DM’s seat to continue our 5e Cthulhu Mythos adventure. Our players include:

  • JosephusBrown as Anton Illinois (Human Inquisitive Rogue/Fighter), a disgraced archaeology professor who has turned to seeking arcane rituals
  • CleverGuy as Bastian Updelver (Deep Gnome Alchemist Artificer), an eccentric local potionmaker
  • TheHayesCode as Hazel Green (Dhampir Spirits Bard), a flapper, séance MC, and aspiring spiritualist
  • Spiny Creature as Ku (Kenku Twilight Cleric), a local priestess of Bastet, goddess of protection
  • The Wasp as Leah Zann (Tiefling Great Old One Warlock), a professor from Miskatonic University who accepted a deal with Yog Sothoth to get an advantage over her male colleagues
  • The Ugly One with the Jewels as Minty Rocksmasher (Dwarf Berserker Barbarian), survivor of an eldritch accident which decimated her tribe

No game this week again!