Comments on 2019-04-26 Encumbrance

Sure, theatre of the mind negates movement rates (and usually anyone with a 6” move can cross a dungeon room anyway) but they’ll make a difference if your game involves chases, either way.

RogerGS 2019-04-26 23:37 UTC


I use slot based encumbrance, where you get a number of slots equal to your Constitution. Almost everything takes a slot, except for big armor and weapons, which can take up more. It’s so dead simple my 5th grade players use it without my saying a thing. The great thing about encumbrance rules is that it makes what you carry meaningful, and adds interesting choices when you want to pick things up you don’t have room for.

Ben Milton 2019-04-27 00:29 UTC


Roger, I’m not sure. Is this how you run chases? I never did. It would mean that people in plate armour can practically only flee from slimes and the like, wouldn’t it? Or do you use the rules from LL/BX?

Labyrinth Lord has a Wilderness Retreat Table on page 52 gives the probabilities for escaping.

Fleeing Group Size Base Chasing Groups Size up to 25% 26%-75% 76%+
Up to 4 50% 0 +20% +40%
5–12 35% 0 +15% +25%
13–24 25% 0 +10% +25%
25+ 10% 0 +15% +25%

Thus, the fewer you are (or splitting up) increases your chances of escaping. Similarly for monsters: splitting up increases their chances of catching up.

It also says: “If the part giving chase has double the movement of the fleeing side, they might receive a bonus of 20–25% to catch the fleeing party.”

Basic D&D has rules for evasion on page B24 which take movement rate into account. Basically if the party is faster, they can always evade. If they are slower, an (unmodified) reaction roll is rolled for monsters to determine whether they pursue.

Expert D&D, on the other hand, has a similar table as Labyrinth Lord, which allows you to cross-reference party size (columns) and number of creatures encountered (rows):

1–4 5–12 ­13–24 25+ Chance
1–10 10%
1–6 11–30 25%
1–3 7–16 31+ 35%
1 4–8 17+ 50%
2–3 9+ 70%
4+ 90%

It also says “The DM may adjust evasion chances for relative speed, terrain, and other factors as desired … If one group can move at least twice as fast as the other, the faster group may increase (or decrease) the chances of evasion by 25% in its favor.”

Movement rate differences don’t seem to be very important but relative group size is important has always been my takeaway.

When I wrote my own chase rule I was very enthusiastic about it. But I think in all these years I have used it maybe once or twice. It wasn’t worth it.

So in the end, I decided for myself that a car chase might be interesting in a movie, or Aragorn, Legloas and Gimli chasing orcs was at least somewhat interesting in the books and the movies (although I did wonder about the movement rates of dwarves), it doesn’t excite me at the table. It never happens.

And that’s why I concluded that movement rates also doesn’t matter.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-04-27 12:48 UTC


Ben, I want to like it. Perhaps it would work well at the table with a character sheet that comes with the right amount of slots right there for people to see and fill in.

I think the reason I fear proposing it is that I have hated carrying limits in Oblivion and Skyrim... 😀

But perhaps I simply have to try it one day. And I’ll have to see whether it results in a more interesting game than the “rule of cool”.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-04-27 12:51 UTC


An intriguing idea for encumbrance using slots: the empty slots are your initiative. I do group initiative so perhaps this is not for me, but it’s intriguing. Combat: initiative in your inventory, by Davide Pignedoli].

– Alex Schroeder 2019-04-28 05:25 UTC


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