"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What does a crossbow weigh?

I know this is going to surprise you but I think the encumbrance rules in B/X are about the best for any version of D&D.

Really B/X gives two methods for calculating the encumbrance for a character:
Method 1 - Add up all of the "coins" for all of the equipment carried. Similar to other versions of D&D. The nice thing about B/X is that they give the slush number of 80 coins for all of the miscellaneous equipment and provisions.

However, I always use method 2 as seen on the right side of the "OR" in the first column of the table - Strictly determined by what armour is worn and if they are carrying treasure. No numbers, no math - ridiculously simple. Your dwarf enters the dungeon wearing platemail - his movement rate is 60-ft. Hopefully, when he leaves the dungeon his movement rate is 30-ft because he is now wearing platemail and carrying treasure.


  1. Heh, heh...and here I thought this post was an honest question.

    I've been known to use both myself. Lately (my last three turns as a B/X DM, I've been using the "simpler" system to just eyeball weight. However, I generally don't worry about encumbrance movement too much except for pursuit circumstances.

  2. Here’s my expansion on method 2, used only on occasions when I want to encourage PCs to drop things whilst fleeing.

    1. I take the list of everything the PC is carrying from the player.
    2. I ask the player how the PC is carrying any items that aren’t obvious.
    3. I meet each response with a doubtful expression.
    4. I envision the PC with all that gear and choose which of the encumbrance categories seems to fit.

    OK, step 4 isn’t really important. ^_^

  3. I also use the 'OR' side... when I don't ignore the whole issue.

    I mean, what party doesn't have an armoured Dwarf in it anyway?

    Besides, there's enough PC bodies rotting in the ravine-like area that counting encumbrance just seems petty ;)

  4. I honestly some times feel like a hypocrite for using the "OR". A large part of OD&D, B/X, etc is the resource management. But I have decided that the benefits of worrying about how many candles a character is carrying is out-weighed by the bookkeeping hassle.