Carrying Capacity

Carrying capacity determines how much a character’s equipment slows him down. Encumbrance comes in two parts: encumbrance by armor and encumbrance by total weight.

Encumbrance by Armor: A character’s armor determines his maximum Dexterity bonus to AC, armor check penalty, speed, and running speed. Unless your character is weak or carrying a lot of gear, that’s all you need to know; the extra gear your character carries won’t slow him down any more than the armor already does.

If your character is weak or carrying a lot of gear, however, then you’ll need to calculate encumbrance by weight. Doing so is most important when your character is trying to carry some heavy object.

Encumbrance by Weight: If you want to determine whether your character’s gear is heavy enough to slow him down more than his armor already does, total the weight of all the character’s items, including armor, weapons, and gear. Compare this total to the character’s Strength on Table: Carrying Capacity. Depending on the character’s carrying capacity, he or she may be carrying a light, medium, or heavy load. Like armor, a character’s load affects his maximum Dexterity bonus to AC, carries a check penalty (which works like an armor check penalty), reduces the character’s speed, and affects how fast the character can run, as shown on Table: Encumbrance Effects. A medium or heavy load counts as medium or heavy armor for the purpose of abilities or skills that are restricted by armor. Carrying a light load does not encumber a character.

If your character is wearing armor, use the worse figure (from armor or from load) for each category. Do not stack the penalties.

Lifting and Dragging: A character can lift as much as his maximum load over his head. A character’s maximum load is the highest amount of weight listed for a character’s Strength in the heavy load column of Table: Carrying Capacity.

A character can lift as much as double his maximum load off the ground, but he or she can only stagger around with it. While overloaded in this way, the character loses any Dexterity bonus to AC and can move only 5 feet per round (as a full-round action).

A character can generally push or drag along the ground as much as five times his maximum load. Favorable conditions can double these numbers, and bad circumstances can reduce them by half or more.

Bigger and Smaller Creatures: The figures on Table: Carrying Capacity are for Medium bipedal creatures. A larger bipedal creature can carry more weight depending on its size category, as follows: Large ×2, Huge ×4, Gargantuan ×8, Colossal ×16. A smaller creature can carry less weight depending on its size category, as follows: Small ×3/4, Tiny ×1/2, Diminutive ×1/4, Fine ×1/8.

Quadrupeds can carry heavier loads than bipeds can. Multiply the values corresponding to the creature’s Strength score from Table: Carrying Capacity by the appropriate modifier, as follows: Fine ×1/4, Diminutive ×1/2, Tiny ×3/4, Small ×1, Medium ×1-1/2, Large ×3, Huge ×6, Gargantuan ×12, Colossal ×24.

Tremendous Strength: For Strength scores not shown on Table: Carrying Capacity, find the Strength score between 20 and 29 that has the same number in the “ones” digit as the creature’s Strength score does and multiply the numbers in that row by 4 for every 10 points the creature’s Strength is above the score for that row.

Table: Carrying Capacity
Strength Score Light Load Medium Load Heavy Load
1 3 lbs. or less 4–6 lbs. 7–10 lbs.
2 6 lbs. or less 7–13 lbs. 14–20 lbs.
3 10 lbs. or less 11–20 lbs. 21–30 lbs.
4 13 lbs. or less 14–26 lbs. 27–40 lbs.
5 16 lbs. or less 17–33 lbs. 34–50 lbs.
6 20 lbs. or less 21–40 lbs. 41–60 lbs.
7 23 lbs. or less 24–46 lbs. 47–70 lbs.
8 26 lbs. or less 27–53 lbs. 54–80 lbs.
9 30 lbs. or less 31–60 lbs. 61–90 lbs.
10 33 lbs. or less 34–66 lbs. 67–100 lbs.
11 38 lbs. or less 39–76 lbs. 77–115 lbs.
12 43 lbs. or less 44–86 lbs. 87–130 lbs.
13 50 lbs. or less 51–100 lbs. 101–150 lbs.
14 58 lbs. or less 59–116 lbs. 117–175 lbs.
15 66 lbs. or less 67–133 lbs. 134–200 lbs.
16 76 lbs. or less 77–153 lbs. 154–230 lbs.
17 86 lbs. or less 87–173 lbs. 174–260 lbs.
18 100 lbs. or less 101–200 lbs. 201–300 lbs.
19 116 lbs. or less 117–233 lbs. 234–350 lbs.
20 133 lbs. or less 134–266 lbs. 267–400 lbs.
21 153 lbs. or less 154–306 lbs. 307–460 lbs.
22 173 lbs. or less 174–346 lbs. 347–520 lbs.
23 200 lbs. or less 201–400 lbs. 401–600 lbs.
24 233 lbs. or less 234–466 lbs. 467–700 lbs.
25 266 lbs. or less 267–533 lbs. 534–800 lbs.
26 306 lbs. or less 307–613 lbs. 614–920 lbs.
27 346 lbs. or less 347–693 lbs. 694–1,040 lbs.
28 400 lbs. or less 401–800 lbs. 801–1,200 lbs.
29 466 lbs. or less 467–933 lbs. 934–1,400 lbs.
+10 ×4 ×4 ×4
Table: Encumbrance Effects
Load Max Dex Check Penalty Speed Run
(30 ft.) (20 ft.)
Medium +3 –3 20 ft. 15 ft. ×4
Heavy +1 –6 20 ft. 15 ft. ×3

The table below provides reduced speed figures for all base speeds from 5 feet to 120 feet (in 5-foot increments).

Table: Armor and Encumbrance for Other Base Speeds
Base Speed Reduced Speed
5 ft. 5 ft.
10 ft.–15 ft. 10 ft.
20 ft. 15 ft.
25 ft.–30 ft. 20 ft.
35 ft. 25 ft.
40 ft.–45 ft. 30 ft.
50 ft. 35 ft.
55 ft.–60 ft. 40 ft.
65 ft. 45 ft.
70 ft.–75 ft. 50 ft.
80 ft. 55 ft.
85 ft.–90 ft. 60 ft.
95 ft. 65 ft.
100 ft.–105 ft. 70 ft.
110 ft. 75 ft.
115 ft.–120 ft. 80 ft.

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