What is variant encumbrance 5e & how do you calculate in dnd?

What is variant encumbrance 5e & how do you calculate in dnd?

Encumbrance Variant 5e d&d

The variant encumbrance rules found in the PHB are a great way to make STR more valuable. This rule is used for any campaign that has such elements as dungeon digging or hex crawling. It doesn’t take too many adjusting weights to make it work, despite being a common concern. Let us look at the Variant Encumbrance rule. It states, “If you carry weight above ten times your Strength score, up to your maximum carrying capacity, you are instead heavily encumbered, which means your speed drops by 20 feet and you have disadvantage on ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws that use

Many DMs tend not to include enough reasons to jump within their games than mine. High STR is an excellent motivator for pressure plates, difficult terrain, pits, chasms and other hazards. A simple 10-foot pressure plate placed in a hallway can set off a gas trap and cause parties to become separated. Although stuck or barred doors can be advantageous, knowing when to call for an ability check is essential. It is easier to install a jumper or stuck door than an encumbrance.

5e Variant: Encumbrance

The rules for lifting and transporting are deliberately simple. If you want to know more about how equipment weight affects a character’s ability to lift and carry, here is an alternative. This variant ignores the Strength column in the Armor table. You are considered overweight if your weight exceeds five times your Strength score.

  • Encumbered: This means that your speed drops 10 feet. You are considered overweight if you have a weight greater than ten times your Strength score or maximum carrying capacity.
  • Heavily encumbered: This means that your speed drops 20 feet, and you are disadvantaged on ability checks, attack rolls and saving throws that utilize Strength, Dexterity or Constitution.

Carrying Capacity of a PC

The carrying capacity of a PC is half that of a stone. A stone is a general unit of measurement that measures the object’s weight, bulk, and area. Only the most critical items can be tracked. Ultimately, GM discretion will determine what is ‘essential and how much something weighs. But here are the basics.

  1. Light, medium, and heavy armors weigh 1, 2, and 3 stones each.
  2. Most weapons are one stone. Unless they have Heavy properties (large bows, two-handed weapons), they will weigh two stones.
  3. Important, medium-sized items weigh one stone 50ft rope, a backpack loaded with books, and a spellbook.
  4. Bulky or heavy items that weigh two stones (carrying a chest and a tapestry wrapped in a rollover the shoulder).
  5. Small items and weapons, such as knives, daggers, and slings, are not tracked. However, PCs can assume that they have them within reason (and the GM’s discretion).

Over-limit PCs are automatically encumbered and can only move at half speed. While they can set down gear temporarily, they will be unable to do so in an emergency (e.g. a surprise attack round or carrying the bag up a rope ladder). They also suffer from disadvantages on all die rolls. They must either make an easy (DC 10 Constitution saving throw) or reach exhaustion for every hour they are encumbered.

Remember that your DM uses the variant encumbrance rules, so your RAW character would not be encumbered. The standard solution is to find someone or something to transport your stuff. You can hire a porter (a valet or a weapon caddy). Or an animal (mules or donkeys are prevalent and can add a lot of fun to the party), or both (teamster and wagon/cart). Two backgrounds include retainers for Noble (Knight) and cart and mule to Guild Artisan background (Merchant).

Roll20 defaults to the variant encumbrance rules. However, it doesn’t tell you how much encumbered (there are different levels with different penalties), nor does it apply any corrections. It is a missing feature that I find unacceptable.

How do you calculate encumbrance 5e?

Use a calculator program to multiply 17 by 15. That should give you your actual encumbrance according to the standard rules. This information is found in the PHB. You can play variant rule (good for Oregon trail) by getting your party to purchase a mule, a pack animal. Or another mount until they are all able to afford individual mounts and a wagon. Variant Encumbrance Calculation: STR score x 5, and you are mildly encumbered. Hold (STR x10 to x15), and you are heavily encumbered. The upside is it removes strength requirements for heavy armor.


An independent piece of advice regarding the variant rules is to organize your inventory by the container (mark those as equipped.) And then place any unequipped items in as many containers as you can. You can carry whatever you find in random sacks. The backpack can carry everything you don’t need in battle, while the pouches are used for essential items. The backpack should have a saddle bag that can be used as an extension and carry gear that isn’t too heavy if it gets lost. You should prioritize items that are worn frequently and equipment with sheathes.

That will allow you to make informed decisions about what you should carry and give you a clear priority list so that you don’t have to worry about dropping something. It’s easier to find a bag or hole that can be carried around. With spells like Demiplane and leomund’s secret box, wizards become the ultimate pack mules. You will need a bank or stronghold if you do not want items to be kept in magical spaces dependent on a squishy caster. Gold is weight. That is all about encumbrance 5e.