Encumbrance Rules and Bookkeeping

I recently read a blog post about how D&D at it’s core was a bookkeeping game. I really never gave much thought to encumbrance or arrows or torches, but the idea stuck with me. I don’t think I ever considered what would happen if a human ran out of torches in a dark dungeon, what a divine idea.

Encumbrance

SimpleDnD already lists the weights of equipment, armor and weapons, so adding a weight limit is easy.

Max weight carried is Strength +4 (so a -3 would become +1) x 25 lbs.

Example: A cavalier with a strength of +3 would be able to carry 175 lbs.

Example: A wizard with a strength of -3 would be able to carry 25 lbs.

Encumbrance on Moving

Movement is reduced to 1/2 when carrying more than half of the character’s max weight.

Movement and Timekeeping

The speed listed on each race type is the distance a character can move unencumbered per turn (10 minutes). So if the characters moves 3 squares in a dungeon with 10′ x 10′ grid squares, then for every 3 squares, tick off a turn.

Searching a room also takes time, 1 turn per 30′ x 30′ space.

Hands and Holding

Characters have two hands. Period. They may not carry a torch and a sword and a shield. This goes for large sacks, rope, treasures, etc. Torches carried into combat have a DC 10 vs DEX chance of going out in the event of a successful attack on the carrier.

Treasure Weight

A single coin of any type weighs one ounce. So there are 16 coins in 1 pound.

140 carats of gems = 1 pound. A typical gem of 100gp should weigh about 1/10 lb

Torches

Torches are another wrinkle in the bookkeeping, they only burn for 1 hour (6 turns). That is an insanely short time period. I can see a torch burning out just as combat begins. If a torch burns out, apply the Special Attack Condition Blindness to all characters who are not longer in torchlight.

Furthermore, torches (and light spells) only illuminate 60 feet around them, anyone outside of that range would also suffer from blindness. Especially true if someone splits the party.

And what if, just what if, it is windy?!? It’s not uncommon for gusts of wind to flow down large corridors in caves, is it?

What bookkeeping items add flavor to your games? How would you change these? Post a comment below!

Critical Miss Chart

Sometimes you want to add a little flavor to your SimpleDnD game when your characters roll a critical fail (1 on d20) in combat. Use this handy-dandy chart to quickly add it! Note the Critical Miss Chart is optional.

Simple d4 Chart

1d4      Effect
1          Hit self (roll normal damage)
2          Hit friend (roll normal damage)
3          Break weapon
4          Drop weapon (no attack next round)

Extended d20 Chart

d20 roll Effect
1 Trip; DEX check (DC15), or -2 to combat rolls for 1d4 rounds
2 Stumble; DEX check (DC20), or -1 to combat rolls for 1d4 rounds
3 Fall: DEX check (DC25), or no attack next round and attacker gains Advantage
4 Knocked prone in current space taking 1d6 damage, no attack next round and attacker gains Advantage
5 DEX check (DC15), or no attack next round and attacker gains Advantage
6 DEX check (DC20), or no attack next round and attacker gains Advantage
7 Drop weapon, no attack next round
8 Weapon breaks
9 Hit Self: roll for half damage
10 Hit Self: roll for normal damage
11 Hit Self: critical (double damage)
12 Hit Ally: roll for half damage
13 Hit Ally: roll for normal damage
14 Hit Ally: critical (double damage)
15 Hit Ally: roll for half damage
16 Twist ankle; Half movement
17 Off balance next round and attacker gains Advantage
18 Weapon thrown in random direction 1d6 rounds to recover
19 Self: Knocked uncouncious
20 Self: Death Blow

Critical Hit Chart

Sometimes you want to add a little flavor to your SimpleDnD game when your characters roll a critical hit in combat. Use this handy-dandy chart to quickly add it! Note the Critical Hit Chart is optional.

d20 Roll Location Hit Consiquence
1 Hand Hand damaged, -2 combat rolls
2 Hand Lost 1d4 fingers, weapon dropped
3 Arm Wrist damaged, weapon or shield dropped
4 Arm Elbow wound, -2 combat rolls
5 Arm Arms off, -5 combat rolls
6 Leg Open wound, -5 to defense
7 Leg Knee wound, half movement
8 Leg Important artery hit, death in 2d4 rounds
9 Abdomin Guts hanging out, CON or incapacitated
10 Abdomin Guts smashed, CON or incapacitated
11 Abdomin Guts punctured, death in 2d4 rounds
12 Abdomin Guts punctured, death blow
13 Chest Lung damage, -3 to all rolls
14 Chest Chest wound, death blow
15 Chest Important artery hit, death in 2d4 rounds
16 Chest Broken rib, -2 combat rolls
17 Hard Strike Double Damage
18 Power Strike Triple Damage
19 Brilliant Strike Quad Damage
20 Death Blow Decapitation, Death Blow