Encumbrance

An optional rules supplement

By Michael Schiavetta (Originally published in Challenge 62)

Part of the thrill of gaming lies in the “goodies’ your PC gets to use. Weapons. Gadgets. But the desire to in incorporate every new object you come across into your campaign must be tempered a bit by reality. And reality insists that a character can only carry so much.

The amount of equipment a character can carry is determined by raw strength, and anyone carrying beyond his limit will be encumbered and subsequently penalized.

To calculate encumbrance, look up the Strength score of a character on the Basic Encumbrance as Determined by Strength Table. The corresponding value is the number of kilograms the character can carry without being encumbered. Next, check the Encumbrance Limits and Penalties Table to determine the penalties for exceeding a listed encumbrance and any multipliers applied to the basic encumbrance score.

EFFECTS ON MOVEMENT

Penalties affect a variety of character stals. Any characters maximum movement for one speedaction is 10 meters (StarWars Rules Companion, page 1 0). When encumbered, however, this maximum drops accordingly, as listed on Encumbrance Limits and Penalties Table.

For example, character with a Strength of 2D would have a basic encumbrance of 18. If that character exceeded’his basic encumbrance to, say, 20, he would only be able to move eight meters per successful speed action, and he would have increased difficulties when rolling DEX, any DEX-related skill, Brawling, Climbing/Jumping and Swimming (+3, in this instance).

Acharacter may move up to half his speed action movement without any die code penalty (Star Wars Rules Companion, page 1 0). This should be taken into account when using the encumbrance system. For instance, a lightly encumbered character could move four meters without being penalized for multiple skill use (since eight meters would be his new maximum per speed action).

The maximum range represents the most a character can lift or drag for a few meters before he must take a rest. To lift an object which falls into the maximum range, a character must make a lifting roll for every meter he wishes to move. The first meter is Very Easy, but for each extra meter, the difficulty is increased by one level (three meters would be Moderate, for example).A failed roll means the character has dropped the object or must rest due to overexertion. Any character lifting an object in the maximum range cannot take any other actions while carrying it (except, of course, movement).

In addition, when a character is dragging an extremely massive object, the referee may alter the maximum movement per successf ul speed action, depending on the surface upon which the object is being dragged. Pulling something along concrete is harder than pulling that same object across ice.

ft is possible for someone to carry up to six times his basic encumbrance. However, this entails making a Very Difficult Lifting roll and prohibits the character from taking any other action at all, (including movement). After the object is released, he must make a stamina roll. A result in the Very Easy difficulty means the character must restfor6D minutes; an Easy roll means he must rest for 5D minutes, and so on. A character making a Very Diff icuft roll only has to rest for 2D minutes (minimum rest period). Any actions performed before the rest period has expired are subjected to a-1 D penalty (due to fatigue).

Basic Encumbrance as Determined by Strength

Strength Encumb.(kg) Strength Encumb.(kg)
1D 8 4D 30
+1 11 +1 32
+2 15 +2 34
2D 18 5D 38
+1 19 +1 42
+2 20 +2 45
3D 22 6D 50
+1 23 +1 55
+2 25 +2 60

Encumbrance Limits and Penalties

Amount of Gear (kg) Level of Encumbrance Distance/Speed Action
Between 0 and xl None 10
Between xl and xl.5 Light 8 (+3)
Between xl.5 and x2 Moderate 6 (+5)
Between x2 and x2.5 Heavy 5 (+7)
Between x2.5 and x3 Very Heavy 4 (+10)
Between x3 and x3.5 Extremely Heavy 2(+15)
Between x3.5 and x5 Maximum See rule

The numbers in parentheses represent the difficulty number applied to certain attributes and skills. These penalties apply to DEX, DEX-related skills, Brawling, Climbing/Jumping and Swimming. For reaction skills, deduct the appropriate amount from the die roll.

EQUIPMENT WEIGHT

A referee may rule that a light object causes encumbrance simply because it is awkward to hold. Most people could carry a lightweight, 1 0-foot-long piece of wood, but the agility and balance required to support it would cause encumbrance, nonetheless. Encumbrance may vary with the local gravitational field due to its effect on the Weight of the equipment. In general, how ever, don’t worry too much about gravitational fields unless there is a very noticeable difference from the accepted standard.

When a character wears armor, the bulkiness of the suit tends to hinder the wearer’s Dexterity (Star Wars Rules Companion, page 30). The actual weight of the armor may further hinder a person’s prowess as designated by the encumbrance rule. Improved armor usually has a weight of three kilograms per pip(remember, three pips equal one whole die).

Because of their 2D Strength, stormtroopers have a basic encumbrance of 18, so they are usually not encumbered at all with their usual weapons and equipment.

Spacetroopers (or OG stormtroopers) wear massive armor which would put them well into the maximum range, ff not for the fact that they operate in OG conditions. Whenever a character is in a situation where the force of gravity is suppressed, his encumbrance automatically drops to 0 due to the weightlessness experienced. The bulkiness of armor, however, still reduces Dexterity as per normal rules. On the rare occasions when they enter a gravity field, OG stormtroopers still suffer no penalty, due to the advanced powerized armor which compensates for their loss of Agility. Incidentally, spacetrooperarmorwe@hsaboLd9Okilograms and is almost impossible to pick up, due to its massive size.

The standard weight of many basic items are listed on the Equipment Weight Table, below. These figures represent the average masses of various pieces of equipment on standard- gravity worlds, though different companies might manufacture heavier or lighter variants.

Equipment Weight

Explosive Mass (kg)
Grenade 1
Grenade Launcher 3
Thermal Detonator 1
Vehicle Mine 4
Medical Equipment Mass (kg)
Bacta Tank 35
MedPac 1
Melee Weapons Mass (kg)
Force Pike 4
Gaderffii 3
Hatchet/Vibroaxe 2
Knife/Bayonet 1/10
Lightsaber 1
Staff/club/spear 1
Vibroblade/vibrobayonet 1
Miscellaneous Mass (kg)
Ammo Bandolier 1/10
Breath Mask 1
Chronometer 1/10
Comlink 1/10
Glow Rod 1/10
Macrobinoculars 1
Pocket computer 1
Rations(one week) 1/10
Recording Rod 1/10
Syntherope (15 meters) 1/10
Clothing: Usually weighs from 1-3 kg. Some items, such as spacesuits, may weigh around 10kg, sometimes more.
Tools: Usually weigh around one kilogram. Tool kits might go as high as seven kilograms.
Personal Armor Mass (kg)
Bounty hunter armor (typical) 8
Protective Helmet 3
Stormtrooper armor 9
Ranged Weapons Mass (kg)
Blaster Carbine 3
Blaster pistol 3
Blaster rifle 4
Heavy blaster pistol 4
Heavy repeating blaster 45
Hold-out blaster ‘ 1
Light repeating blaster 18
Medium repeating blaster 34
Riot gun 40
Sporting blaster 2
Stun pistol 2
Wookie bowcaster 4

Only light repeating blasters can be held like an ordinary blasterand fired by one person (use blaster skill).

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