Encumbrance (for a strong character)

I have a question concerning encumbrance. The table “Character Movement and Encumbrance” at page says a character carrying up to 5 stones has an exploration movement of 120’ and up to 7 stones a movement of 90’ and so on. The limit is 20 stone plus the Strength modifier, so a 18 Strength character could carry a maximum of 23 stones.

Problem is, I don’t feel a 18 Strength character (+3 bonus) and a 3 Strength character (-3 penalty), carrying 6 stones should have both a 90’ exploration movement. The stronger character, in my opinion, should be able to move at full speed carrying his/her equipment, and the other one should be (almost) crawling at snail speed.

A possible house rule I want to test is considering each +1 bonus means 1 stone the character can “ignore” when calculating encumbrance. So, the movement of a 16 Strength character (+2 bonus) carrying 7 stones is calculated as if the character was carrying 7 - 2 = 5 stones. I could even give some additional small bonus to dwarf characters.

What do you think?

ACKS does not limit movement in armor except from encumbrance, so if you allow characters to ignore stones of encumbrance from strength, they can race around in plate and chain.

So you have 3 options:

  1. Allow low strength characters to be able to carry a bit more than might otherwise seem reasonable (Rules As Written)
  2. Allow high strength characters to carry more, acknowledging this will let them run swiftly in armor
  3. Allow high strength characters to carry more, and then create an additional house rule to re-encumber them from their armor.

I didn’t like the fast-moving fighters of option 2 or the complexity of option 3, so the rules as written went with option 1.

In other words, the reason we did not use your suggested mechanic in the official rulebook is that it will allow for very fast-moving fighters in heavy armor.

Ok, I see your point, but I believe the bonus I propose is not so overpowered. In the example at page 48, Marcus the Fighter is carrying 2 stones of small equipment, 2 stones of big equipment (two-handed sword and crossbow) and plate armor (6 stones). Total: 10 stones, so he has an exploration movement of 60’.

With the rule I propose, if Marcus has 13 Strength (+1 bonus), his “adjusted” encumbrance is decreased to 9 stones, but his exploration movement is still 60’. Even if his Strength is 14-17, his exploration movement is not increased. Only if Marcus has 18 Strength (and +3 bonus) his exploration movement improves to 90’, if we consider his “adjusted” encumbrance is decreased from 10 to 7. I don’t feel those are unreasonable results.

I understand you didn’t want super fast warriors equipped with plate armor in your games, but my problem is not really with fast plate armored fighters but with the fact that just 6 stones decrease the exploration movement of all characters regardless of their Strength.

I just want Strength to have some positive (or negative) influence at lower to medium encumbrance levels.

Have you considered increasing the stone threshholds for movement if you have a high strength and decreasing them if you have a lower strength?

Guy with 6 Strength:4/6/9
Guy with 10 Strength: 5/7/10
Guy with 14 Strength:6/8/11

Indeed, that’s a better way of saying what I was already saying ;). Thanks!

Its just a matter of Strength modifier and “stone thresholds”:

ST 3 (mod -3): 2/4/7
ST 4–5 (mod -2): 3/5/8
ST 6–8 (mod -1): 4/6/9
ST 9–12 (mod 0): 5/7/10 (the normal “stone thresholds”)
ST 13–15 (mod +1): 6/8/11
ST 16–17 (mod -2): 7/9/12
ST 18 (mod +3): 8/10/13

If you include “maximum thresholds” as 20 stones plus Strength modifier (the actual rule), the table is:

ST 3 (mod -3): 2/4/7/17
ST 4–5 (mod -2): 3/5/8/18
ST 6–8 (mod -1): 4/6/9/19
ST 9–12 (mod 0): 5/7/10/20
ST 13–15 (mod +1): 6/8/11/21
ST 16–17 (mod -2): 7/9/12/22
ST 18 (mod +3): 8/10/13/23

Not really so great a difference at high levels of encumbrance (IMHO) but with some variety at low levels. What I like is Marcus (from the example at the rulebook) keeps his original exploration movement whether his Strength is 09-17 (as he’s wearing plate armor I suppose he’s a Fighter, so minimum Strength is 9), and only if he had a 18 Strength his exploration movement improves.

With this small rule, a plate armored fighter is not really so fast, but a medium armored fighter with medium to high Strength (his prime requisite, after all), can have good protection… and keep the pace of his/her fellow adventurers while exploring a dungeon.

For maximum threshold, perhaps doubling the Strength mod for a more “realistic” approach:

Str = max stone:
3 = 14
4-5 =16
6-8 = 18
9-12 = 20
13-15 = 22
16-17 = 24
18 = 26

It does start to complicate things a little bit, but not by too much.

If you want to tweak it further (and add one more small layer of complexity), you could say a PC’s max encumbrance is modified by twice their Strength mod. So:

Str = Max stone:

3 = 14
4-5 = 16
6-8 = 18
9-12 = 20
13-15 = 22
16-17 = 24
18 = 26