Optional Rule: Simplified Encumbrance

Among the rules that are rarely-if-ever enforced at the table in D&D (all editions, not just 5e) is the rules for carrying capacity and encumbrance. While the rules are fairly straightforward the idea that players will count and calculate their total weight carried each time they pick up or set down an item seems farfetched when tracking hundreds of pounds worth of weight.

Some people would say that determining carrying capacity and encumbrance is the kind of minutiae that doesn’t really deserve a second thought and I understand that sentiment but my personally feeling is that it provides a few fun story options by being included. For one, characters have to trade off preparing for an adventure in advance by stocking up on tools against how much they hope to carry home with them at the end of the adventure. For another, it gives spells like tenser’s floating disk a reason to exist and encourages the use of pack animals and hired hands (and as a DM there is nothing I like more than another resource of the PC’s I can threaten to push the story along).

So with all that in mind I spent a few hours recently turning out these simplified encumbrance rules. They are significantly easier to track than the rules presented in the Player’s Handbook but still allow for all the same story opportunities.

Optional Rule: Simplified Encumbrance

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