Carrying Capacity

Items have encumbrance units (EU). An encumbrance unit is the item's weight times its size modifier times its density modifier. Items that are especially bulky or dense can have their size or density modifiers adjusted accordingly.


Size Modifier
Fine x1/4
Diminutive x1/2
Tiny x1
Small x1.5
Medium x2
Large x3
Huge x4
Gargantuan x5
Colossal x6

Density Modifier
Very light (feathers) x1/4
Light (paper, cloth) x1/2
Average (flesh, hide/leather, loose dirt, wood) x1
Dense (glass, stone, wet sand) x1.5
Very dense (metal) x2

So, for example, a longsword (sized for a Medium wielder) is 4 pounds. It's a Small item, so it has a x1.5 size modifier; it's made of metal, so it has a x2 density modifier, for a grand total of 12 EU. This might sound like a lot, but it's not - the average person (Str 10) has an encumbrace limit of 500 EU; he could carry 41 longswords, assuming he had the space to do so. Furthermore, a belt is treated as a container (see below), which means that a sheathed sword hanging from it has less encumbrance than normal.

Containers: A container enables someone to carry much more than he could normally by reducing the amount of encumbrance he has. Containers have a specific EU allowance, based on size and strength. For instance, a cloth sack has a capacity of about 6 cubic feet, but since it's only cloth, there's a limit to how much weight it can hold. A portable hole, on the other hand, has unlimited weight capacity but limited volume.

Containers, like creatures, have size and Strength scores. A container cannot hold an item that is larger than it is (though there are exceptions; see below), and its Strength score determines its EU capacity. A container reduces the encumbrance factor for any items it contains by 1/4. For example, a large backpack containing 5 pieces of firewood (2 EU each) would have an EU factor of 7.5, plus its own EU of 1.5 gives a total of 10.

All containers listed below are sized for a Medium creature. Increase or decrease the size by one step for each size category smaller or larger of its owner (for example, a small backpack belonging to a Large giant would be Medium).

Since most containers (packs, pouches, sacks, etc.) are specifically designed to be portable and reduce encumbrance, they are themselves not very encumbering - they are treated as an item one density factor lighter than normal.

Table 1: Containers

Container EU Size Strength Capacity Max Weight
Backpack, small 1.5 Small 10 500 EU 100 lb.
Backpack, large 2 Small 12 600 EU 130 lb.
Barrel, small (10 gal.) 22.5 Small 12 600 EU 130 lb.
Barrel, large (25 gal.) 60 Medium 16 900 EU 230 lb.
Belt/baldric/bandolier 1 Tiny 2 100 EU 20 lb.
Belt pouch 1/4 Diminutive 1/3 1.5 EU 3 lb.
Bucket (1 gal.) 2 Tiny 3 150 EU 30 lb.
Case, map/scroll 1/8 Diminutive 1/4 1.25 EU 2.5 lb.
Cask 7.5 Tiny 8 400 EU 80 lb.
Chest, small 22.5 Small 15 750 EU 200 lb.
Chest, large 75 Medium 20 1,000 EU 400 lb.
Lockbox 2 Tiny 2 100 EU 20 lb.
Sack, small 1/8 Small 3 150 EU 30 lb.
Sack, large 1/8 Small 5 250 EU 50 lb.

EU: The container's encumbrance when empty.

Size: The container's size. A container generally cannot hold an item that is larger than it is. Belts, bandoliers, etc. can hold items up to two sizes larger - a Medium character could hang his greatsword (size Medium) from a baldric on his back. A backpack can contain items up to one size larger - either poking out of the pocket, or strapped to the side.

Strength: The container's strength score. This determines how much it can hold - a container's capacity is 50 times its Strength score. (50 times 1/2 is 25 EU.)

Capacity: How much (in EU) the container can hold.

Max Weight: The container's weight allowance. A container can never hold more weight than this number, regardless of its capacity.


Types of Containers

Backpack, small: This is roughly the size of a small military rucksack - a large central pocket (~7 cubic feet) and three smaller pockets (~1/4 cubic foot each). It is usually made of canvas or leather.

Backpack, large: This is the size of a large military rucksack or hiker's backpack (the type typically attached to a frame). It has a large central pocket (~10 cubic feet) and three smaller pockets (~1 cubic foot each).

Barrel: Barrels are identical in construction - wooden staves made of oak, ash, or maple bound with metal hoops. They are typically used to carry foodstuffs and liquids - water, wine, ale, etc. A small barrel is about 2 feet in diameter and stands 3 feet tall; it weighs 10 pounds empty. A large barrel is about 3 feet in diameter and stands 4-5 feet tall; it weighs 15-20 pounds empty.

Belt Pouch: A small pouch designed to be attached to the belt. They can hold a wide variety of small items, from coins and gems to spell components to random items picked up on the road. A typical belt pouch is 3 inches square and 6 inches long.

Casket: A casket is simply a very small chest used for carrying lesser amounts of coins, jewelry, gems, or other valuables. Its small size enables greater portability and ease of concealment, but its construction is the same as any normal chest - heavy wood, iron-bound, and equipped with a stout lock. A typical casket weighs about 5 pounds empty.

Case, Map/Scroll: A simple tube of leather, wood, metal, or ivory (or rarely more exotic materials) 3 inches in diameter and 1 foot long. These are generally used for holding maps, scrolls, or other parchments, but can be used to carry small items like coins and gems. A case weighs about 1/2 pound empty.

Chest: Small and large chests are identical except for their size - heavy wood bound in iron with a stout lock. A typical small chest is about 2 feet by 2 feet by 3 feet and weighs 15 pounds empty; a large chest is about 3 feet by 3 feet by 4 feet and weighs 25 pounds empty.

Lockbox: A small metal box (about 1 foot by 1 foot by 4 inches) with a (usually) very good lock. Lockboxes are generally used for carrying single items or a set of small items. A lockbox weighs about 3 pounds empty.

Sack: Sacks are the most common item used to carry things, besides the backpack. They are typically made of heavy cloth or sometimes canvas. A small sack is about 2 feet in all dimensions, and a large sack is about 3 feet.


Belts, Bandoliers, and Baldrics

Belts and similar items are treated as containers. Their encumbrance limit is much smaller than, say, a backpack or belt pouch, but they do enable someone to carry much more than they could normally - sheathed weapons, pouches for money or spell components, loops for vials or scroll tubes, etc. How this works is simple: A container reduces the enumbrance of any items inside it by 1/4. Thus, a belt could hold several belt pouches (each full of numerous small items), a couple weapons, a scroll tube (hanging from a cord), and a few other items besides.


Magic Containers

Various magic items (bag of holding, portable hole, etc.) enable a character to carry far more than he could normally. While these items have weight limits, there are still no guidelines on how much you can actually put into them before they burst. With this system, though, it's easy.

Table 2: Magic Containers

Container EU Size Strength Capacity Max Weight
Bag of holding, type I 25 Small 17 850 EU 260 lb.
Bag of holding, type II 30 Small 22 1,100 EU 520 lb.
Bag of holding, type III 35 Medium 27 1,350 EU 1,040 lb.
Bag of holding, type IV 40 Large 30 1,500 EU 1,640 lb.
Handy haversack (main pocket) 1.5* Small 8 400 EU 80 lb.
Handy haversack (side pocket) Tiny 2 100 EU 20 lb.
Portable hole 0 Huge 100 5,000 EU N/A

*This is for the entire haversack.

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