Oops I’m Encumbered

Last updated: 190811..2001026.2

“as the main purpose of adventuring is to bring back treasure, provision for carrying out a considerable amount of material must also be made.”

I’ve talked about encumbrance before, as its very complexity begs simplicity. But it’s time for a deeper dive. Encumbrance is, generally, the weight and bulkiness of a particular adventurer’s possessions (armor, weapons, equipment, etc.). Yet for all the importance, multiple contradictions, gaps, and invalid examples exist in the AD&D encumbrance system. How much can a pack carry? What effects does armor have on encumbrance? Even the very terms and ranges of encumbrance are inconsistent.

The following are defined as exceptions to encumbrance: one set of clothing, thieves picks & tools (or any small object as the only thing carried), normal spell material components, and a helmet (for a character not wearing armor).

Weight

Encumbrance is defined as a combination of the weight AND the bulkiness. Let’s look at the backpack: capable of holding 40 pounds (400 gp), and 400 encumbrance (full or empty). On the surface, that sounds great. Simple. But encumbrance is weight and bulkiness. And nothing is has more weight, and less bulk, than gold.

The standard for encumbrance is 10 gp = 1 pound = 10 encumbrance.  “Weight” is often used as if it is interchangeable with “encumbrance”, yet encumbrance is specifically defined as  the combined weight and relative bulkiness. Items more bulky than gold (isn’t everything?) are defined as two to five times more encumbering, depending on their bulk. In other words, each item needs to have two values: weight in gp, and encumbrance in gp.

As a rule of thumb, any non-bulky item can be assigned an encumbrance value equal to, or only slightly greater than, its weight in gold pieces; a bulky object should be given an encumbrance value of at least two or three times its weight; and a very bulky object should have an encumbrance value of at least five times its weight.

From the Players Handbook (p. 101):

Encumbrance Definition Movement
normal gear  about 35# and no great bulk 12″ – subject can run quickly
heavy gear armor and/or equipment of about 70# or fairly bulky 9″ – subject can make a lumbering run
very heavy gear armor and/or equipment of 105# and bulky (such as plate armor) 6″- subject can trot for short distances
encumbered armor and/or equipment over 105#  weight and/or (very) bulky 3″ to 4″- no trotting possible

The PHB doesn’t explicitly define the full weight ranges for encumbrance. With 150# (1500 encumbrance) defined as the maximum a character can carry, and given that “Encumbered” is “over 105#”, the ranges are: 1051-1500 (encumbered), 701-1050 (very heavy), 351-700 (heavy), and 350 or less (normal).

The labels are fuzzy—isn’t someone who is not encumbered, unencumbered?  DSG uses the same labels for encumbrance, but adds “Unencumbered /  No Gear”, and often (but not always) uses the label of “fully encumbered” for the upper range. WSG redefines the labels and defines the ranges: 90-350 (Light), 351-700 (Moderate), 701-1050 (Heavy), and 1051-1500 (Severe), and defines “not encumbered” as less than the lower figure given for light encumbrance.  OA simplifies that as a human carrying up to the listed weight can move 12″ per round, with each additional 350 coins (35 lbs.) slowing the character by 25% (3″ per round for a human).

Just to make sure things remain complicated, when defining the thief-acrobat, UA adds the term “body-associated weight/encumbrance” to refer specifically to the clothing, accessories, armor, and weapons of the character, but specifically not to include a backpack. Should a backpack be included, the character adds “Additional (carried) weight/encumbrance”.

That gives us a revised table of:

Encumbrance Armor & Equipment Bulk Movement
not/unencumbered (no gear) 0-89 none 12″ – run quickly
normal (light gear) 90-350 no significant bulk 12″ – run quickly
moderate (gear) 351-700 fairly bulky 9″ – a lumbering run
heavy (heavy gear) 701-1050 bulky 6″- trot for short distances
severe (fully encumbered) 1051-1500 very bulky 3″ to 4″- no trotting possible

Strength specifically states that only those with exceptional strength increase the weight a character can carry without penalty for encumbrance, but later defines the weight allowance of non-exceptional strength as not incurring a movement penalty.

Continuing the AD&D usage of examples that actually aren’t examples, the Strength example in the PHB uses 500 (50#) as the baseline for Strength 8-11 characters without encumbrance. That’s overruled by every other source.

Bulk, and Armor

One of the worst culprits for encumbrance confusion is armor:

  • PHB, p. 36: “Magic armor negates weight, so that movement does not consider any encumbrance from magic armor.”
  • DMG, p. 27: “The encumbrance factor for armor does not consider weight alone; it also takes into account the distribution of the weight of the armor and the relative mobility of the individual wearing the protective material.”
  • DMG, p. 28: “When magic armor is worn, assume that its properties allow movement at the next higher base rate and that weight is cut by 50%. Magic shields are no less weighty than their non-magical counterparts, but they are non-bulky with respect to encumbrance.”
  • DMG, p. 164: “For game purposes all magical armor should be considered as being virtually weightless—equal to normal clothing, let us assume. This gives characters so clad a base movement speed equal to an unarmored man. Magic shields, however, weigh the same as a normal shield of the same size.”
  • DMG, p. 27: Scale mail is fairly bulky (normally move 9″), yet a base movement of 6″.
  • DMG, p. 27: Banded mail is bulky, yet permits a base movement of 9″.

What a mess of contradictions. In the PHB magic armor weight hinders movement (not bulk), despite that bulk of armor affects movement in the PHB Encumbrance section. The DMG on p. 164 equates magic armor weight to movement. The DMG explicitly defines magic armor as weightless for purposes of movement, and also as a weight of 50%!

Scale mail is only fairly bulky, yet has a base movement of 6″? This contradiction can be only be resolved by considering weight being an additional factor. 40# moves scale mail up to the next weight class of encumbrance (of > 35#), normally reducing movement. The movement for “fairly” bulky would also normally be 9″. In this case the movement rate for scale mail is decreased twice—once for the bulk, and once for the weight. One could assume magic scale mail (only 20# at half weight) would then be a movement of 12″.

UA adds field and full plate, both also fairly bulky, and also with a base move of 6″. Another case where the bulk of the armor doesn’t explain the movement until you consider that the weight is > 35#.

Then there’s banded mail. Banded mail is bulky (normally a move of 6″), yet has a move of 9″. Why?

There is no way to resolve these contradictions—each DM will have to choose their own path. Encumbrance is defined as the weight and bulkiness of an adventurer’s armor, but most adventurers will, early on, have magical armor. Much depends on whether the DM wants to completely remove the impact of armor on movement and Surprise.

I prefer the definition on DMG, p.28: assume that magic armor allows movement at the next higher base rate and that weight is cut by 50%. That’s more consistent with the defined impact on swimming, where any character wearing magic armor will be encumbered and the only stroke possible will be the dog paddle. Also characters encumbered with more than about 20 pounds of gear will be forced to walk on the floor of the ocean, lake, river, or whatever. It also means encumbrance remains a factor once a party has magic armor.

Movement

Movement emphasizes that there are two facets to encumbrance: weight, and bulk. If either (or both) exceed their limit, movement is reduced.

Strength can modify that effect, although exactly how is conflicted. The description for strength says that for characters with exceptional strength (18/xx), the strength bonus increases the weight the character is able to carry without penalty for encumbrance (implying that for those without an exceptional strength bonus, the bonus will not increase the weight a character can carry without impacting their movement). Yet in the actual definition of weight allowance, clearly the weight allowance affects movement for all Strength scores:

If a character could normally carry 500 gold pieces without encumbrance, but the character had strength of 17 instead of the normal 8-11 range, 1,000 gold pieces could be carried without incurring movement penalty.

Even that example is screwed up—a character can’t carry 500 gp without affecting their encumbrance. In the normal 8-11 range a character can only carry up to 350 gp before affecting their encumbrance, so a Strength of 17 would only increase their limit to 850 gp before incurring a movement penalty.

Other Effects

Translating for the vagaries of vocabulary, besides movement rate, the degree of encumbrance has the following other effects:

  • Fully encumbered creatures gain no DEXTERITY bonus (or are -1 worse, if they have no bonus to lose).
  • Fully encumbered creatures are +2 AC.
  • Fully encumbered creates cannot search for secret doors, try to pick a lock, or other such activities.
  • Fully encumbered creatures are not allowed to charge.
  • Fully encumbered creatures underwater are performing strenuous exercise. The number of rounds they can hold their breath are cut in half.
  • Fully encumbered creatures cannot climb anything other than a gentle slope that is either non-slippery or slightly slippery, and does so at one-half of his normal climbing rate (WSG).
  • Fully encumbered characters are two segments slower when Surprised.
  • Heavily or moderately encumbered creatures cannot climb anything other than a gentle or moderate slope that is either non-slippery or slightly slippery, and do so at one-half of his normal climbing rate (WSG).
  • Heavily encumbered characters are one segment slower when Surprised.
  • Moderately encumbered gain no Dex Reaction bonus to Surprise.
  • A lightly encumbered character can climb any slope (but not a cliff face) at their full normal climbing rate.
  • Only not encumbered characters can climb a cliff face (a thief or character with mountaineering).

If a character has a chance to take a large breath of air, and does not perform strenuous exercise while holding his breath, he can hold his breath for a number of rounds equal to his Constitution Score, rounded up.  Nonstrenuous exercise includes such activities as normal movement, searching for secret doors, trying to pick a lock, or other such activities. A character cannot be fully encumbered while performing any of these functions. Continuous climbing, swimming against a strong current, and moving while severely encumbered are examples of strenuous activity.

To avoid the risk of fatigue, a character must rest for two consecutive turns after four turns of strenuous activity. If the character chooses not to rest, he must make a Constitution Check after exerting himself for six consecutive turns. Failure on this check indicates that he is fatigued; success indicates that he can remain active for at least five more turns. At the end of those five turns, the character must make another successful Constitution Check to keep going. Every time a check is successful, the time until the next required check is reduced by one turn (to a minimum of one turn). A character with an extremely high constitution may be able to keep performing a strenuous activity for several hours, but the odds will eventually catch up with him.

Clothing

Very cold clothing has en encumbrance value equivalent to that of plate mail (bulky, 450 gp), and an outfit of such clothing will cost about 15 gp.

Cold clothing has an encumbrance value equivalent to that of ring mail (fairly bulky, 250 gp), and an outfit of such clothing will cost about 7 SP.

Moderate clothing may have no encumbrance value at all (if the Dungeon Master considers it to be the same as a character’s normal attire), or may be considered equivalent to leather armor (non-bulky, 150 gp) if the clothing is relatively heavy.

Free Action: The wearer of this ring can move and otherwise operate as if he was not encumbered, unless he is actually severely encumbered, in which case he can operate as if moderately encumbered. Wearing this ring does not enable a character to carry more encumbrance than he can normally; if such an attempt is made, the power of the ring is negated until the wearer rids himself of the excess baggage. The ring does not change the character’s actual encumbrance value, so that if he is astride a mount, his presence has its normal effect on the animal’s ability to carry encumbrance.

Bulk

As an illustration of this point, consider a prominent example from the game rules: A pack of standard rations, designed to feed one human for one week, has an encumbrance value of 200 gp. Assume that the actual weight of the package is 14 pounds (140 gp), and the other 60 gp of its encumbrance value accounts for its bulkiness.

Thus, the minimum daily requirement of standard rations is two pounds. Compare this with a pack of iron rations, having an encumbrance value of 75 gp. Of this amount, perhaps as little as 5 gp accounts for the bulk of the package (since the food is more concentrated and occupies much less space). The other 70 gp, or 7 pounds, is the actual weight of the package, and therefore the minimum daily requirement of iron rations is one pound.

Water has an encumbrance value of 50 gp per gallon, plus an extra 50 gp for every three gallons being transported in a single container.

Solutions

So what do we take away from that survey?

Gold has 10-20 times the density of everything else (water, stone). Yet that’s assuming a solid bar of gold. Stacked coins have a lower density, and loose coins a lower density still.  For simplicity, consider that loose coins are the baseline. Gold bars are 20:1, gold coins are 10:1

  • things that will float (solid = 150 encumbrance/ pound (solid) )= two-thirds x
  • water (solid) = 8 gallons in 1 cubic foot = 100 encumbrance/ pound (solid)= 1x
  • stone (solid)= 3x = = 67 encumbrance / pound

Loose coins of slightly different diameters don’t vary much by encumbrance. Assume everything is leaving space by 2x for being loose?

Per pound:

  • 2/3x = 150 encumbrance solid, 300 encumbrance (loose @ 2x), 225 encumbrance (loose@1.5x)
  • 1x (water) = 100 encumbrance solid, 200 encumbrance (loose @2x), 150 encumbrance (loose @ 1.5x)
  • 3x = 67 encumbrance (solid), 135 encumbrance (loose @2x), 100 encumbrance (loose @ 1.5x)
  • 5x = 20 encumbrance (solid), 40 encumbrance (loose @2x)
  • 10x = 10 encumbrance
  • 10x = 10 (loose) gp = 1 pound = 10 encumbrance = 10x
  • 20x = 20 (bars) gp = 2 pounds          = 5 encumbrance = 20x
  • 15 (stacked) gp = 1.5 pounds      = 7.5 encumbrance
  • Every item needs both a weight, and an encumbrance value. Every container (backpack, pouch) needs both an encumbrance capacity, and a weight capacity.
  • 350 encumbrance is not encumbering.

It’s clear there are slight exceptions based on the specifics of the encumbrance value of an item. The weight of a standard book of median size is 150 gold pieces (adjusted upward or downward for varying sizes). The encumbrance value of such a book is equal to three times its weight (450 gp or thereabouts), although it is correct to assume that a volume will fit within an otherwise empty backpack or large sack. Traveling Spell book: The weight of such a book is approximately 30 gold pieces, and encumbrance roughly 60 gp.

The backpack has a listed capacity of 400 gp, which is typically considered both weight and encumbrance. Yet, there’s a lot more room in a pack for items that are less dense than gold!

Bibliography

TSR 2010, Players Handbook, 1978.
TSR 2011, Dungeon Masters Guide [1e], 1979.
Dragon #50, The Ups and Downs of Flying High, 1981.
TSR 2018, Oriental Adventures, 1985.
TSR 2019, Dungeoneer’s Survival Guide, 1986.
TSR 2020, Wilderness Survival Guide, 1986.

Author: Rick

A DM for *mumble* years, I've been playing AD&D since junior high. I've currently got two separate campaigns running, both in Mystara. I've been told when they handed out hobbies, I stood in the short lines. I actively cycle tour, kayak, play board games, read, develop home automation software, volunteer with the American Red Cross, and work on a never-ending stream of home repairs. In my wake I've left paintball, medieval full-contact combat (SCA), computer gaming, Heroclix, tablet weaving, and kite construction.

7 thoughts on “Oops I’m Encumbered”

  1. Where does it list the capacity of a backpack as 400 gp? I’ve always seen 300 gp (I’m thinking the AD&D character sheet and permanent character sheet booklets).

    1. I didn’t use either of those resources (as I don’t have them), so interesting.

      The Dimwall example in the DMG (Appendix O) is exactly 400. Now it includes rope “lashed in a bundle” but lashing stuff to the pack as far as I’m concerned is a standard pack thing. If you don’t count the rope, you’re still over 300.

      “The encumbrance value of a spellbook equal to three times its weight (450 gp or thereabouts), although it is
      correct to assume that a volume will fit within an otherwise empty backpack or large sack.” It makes sense to me that it’s just barely squeezing into a pack or large sack.

      A core “philosophy” question is whether a PC can wear a full pack, and have any chance of being “normally” encumbered? If a pack is 30#, the answer to that could be yes; if it’s 40# the answer is always no. To you, will a full pack inhibit a PCs movement? The 40# pack is somewhat of a trope as well.

    2. Rick, I love the Dimwall and Drudge example!
      Now take a careful reading of it again, Dimwall has IN his pack: 3 small sacks and a large sack.
      “In his pack goes a hand axe (for chopping, not fighting), 3 flasks of oil, a candle, 3 small sacks, 1 large sack, and 7 torches. lashed in a bundle to the pack is 50′ of rope.”

      Dimwall uses the large sack to carry 400 gp, and 300gp split among his 3 small sacks:
      “During their adventures, Dimwall and Drudge find 800 gold pieces in a troll’s treasure horde. Dimwall can carry 400 gold pieces in his large sack and another 300 gold pieces in his small sacks.”

      What’s interesting, is that one little sentence is the only place in the DMG or PHB that gives you sack container limits. These figures are represented in the Player Character Record Sheets booklet and Permanent Character Record booklet (the only AD&D source for containers. Why did the DMG and PHB not have these? I dunno). I can’t upload a photo of the page here, but here is the text (IMHO, the container volumes don’t make sense, but that is another matter entirely):
      small pouch or purse (volume 1/4 cu ft) 25 gp
      large pouch (volume 1/2 cu ft) 50 gp
      small sack or tied shirt (volume 1 cu ft) 100 gp
      backpack (3 cu ft) 300 gp
      large sack (4 cu ft) 400 gp

      As for the spell book example (p79 UA) – I think Gary Gygax wants you to be able to fudge a little on standard spell book size (I would go down to 400 gp from 450 gp encumbrance) so that it can fit in a large sack, and not fit in an empty backpack. “A standard spell book is approximately 16 inches in height, 12 inches wide, and 6 inches thick. (The DM has leeway to reduce or enlarge this general size, although nothing smaller than 12×12~6inches or larger than 18×12~9in ches is recommended.) The weight of a standard book of median size is 150 gold pieces (adjusted upward or downward for varying sizes). The encumbrance value of such a book is equal to three times its weight (450 gp or thereabouts), although it is correct to assume that a volume will fit within an otherwise empty backpack or large sack.”
      I don’t take the last sentence literally. This does not mean a backpack and large sack carry equal weight or volume. (see Dimwall example).
      Note, for the travelling spell books, the math is a little cleaner – five books (encumbrance 60 gp each) can fit in a backpack (300 gp), but then he says twice that number can fit in a large sack (which would be 600 gp, 200 gp over limit of a large sack). “A travelling spell book is approximately 12 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 1 inch thick; 9x9x1 is likewise a good working size. The weight of such a book is approximately 30 gold pieces, and encumbrance roughly 60 gp. Five such books will fit within a backpack, twice that number in a large sack.”
      One final note, I did a little digging, and found an interesting tidbit. I don’t use the OD&D, Holmes, or BECMI rules, but OD&D and especially Holmes have some AD&D clues. I just discovered in the Holmes Blue Box Basic rules, Encumbrance p9 “A back pack or sack will hold weight which equals approximately 300 gold pieces. For game purposes all forms of coins weigh the same. A character carrying 300 gold pieces would not be considered to be heavily loaded — assuming that the other equipment he or she carried was not excessive — for 300 gold pieces are assumed to weigh about 30 pounds. A character with 600 gold pieces is likely to be considered as being heavily loaded, as the weight of the other equipment normally carried will make the character’s load in the neighborhood of 75 pounds minimum (a fighting man will be far more loaded down, but it is assumed that such individuals are trained to be stronger and so able to carry more weight).

    3. I had done the math: “In his pack goes a hand axe (for chopping, not fighting), 3 flasks of oil, a candle, 3 small sacks, 1 large sack, and 7 torches. lashed in a bundle to the pack is 50′ of rope” also known as _exactly_ 400 gp of encumbrance.

      “I think Gary Gygax wants you to be able to fudge a little on standard spell book size (I would go down to 400 gp from 450 gp encumbrance) so that it can fit in a large sack, and not fit in an empty backpack. ” You can, of course, fudge a little, which was my point. Given the backpack explicitly CAN hold a spellbook, not holding a spellbook is clearly not RAW! Fudging “a little” puts the backpack, again, at 400 cn. Adjusting 450 to 300 feels more than a little!

      I find that more authoritative than Johnson’s work on the character sheet. Given you disagree with both those points (both RAW) and prefer that a backpack holds 300 cn, and are looking afield, if you dig deeper you’ll find that Moldvay? 400 cn in a backpack.

      The Holmes weight of 75 pounds is explicitly far over the 1e normal of 35#, so far from the best example. But, if you look at it, that works out to 35# of normal gear, and a 40 lb pack 🙂

      Should a full pack affect a PCs movement? Does it affect a person experienced with a pack, over not having one? Absolutely.

    4. Lest we forget the whole point of your post, the RAW mechanics you are demonstrating:
      1. A standard spell book should fit in a backpack (UA p 79). Agreed!
      2. An average human with a full pack should be encumbered. Agreed!

      When I played AD&D, the only published values I saw for containers were in the AD&D Permanent Character Record and Character Sheets booklets (both of which neglected saddle bags! Aargh!). It looks like there was an attempt to have a logical progression of container sizes where size and capacity increase from purse/small pouch> small sack> large pouch> backpack> large sack.
      (Of note, in my campaign, I reduce purse capacity to 20 gp, since their encumbrance is smaller than a small pouch, see equipment list in the DMG Appendix O. I’m inclined to go down to 10 gp even. I would like to read through some AD&D modules for written examples of purses and found treasure. I wonder what they typically contain).

      From the AD&D Permanent Character Record:
      (Container: volume; GP Equivalent)
      Sm. Pouch or Purse: 1/4 cu. ft.; 25 gp
      Lg. Pouch: 1/2 cu. ft.; 50 gp
      Sm. Sack or tied shirt: 1 cu. ft.; 100 gp
      Backpack: 3 cu. ft.; 300 gp
      Lg. Sack: 4 cu. ft.; 400 gp

      Getting back to your first response, I misunderstood. I thought you were implying from the Dimwall example that he was carrying the 400 gp of loot in his backpack, as opposed to the 3 small sacks and 1 large sack he brought with him (which carry 400 gp in total). My bad! Ok. So, looking at his gear, in adding up his backpack contents, I get 325 gp. The remaining 75 gp (the 50′ rope) is attached on the outside of the pack, so it’s not IN the container, per se. As for the Holmes Basic D&D example, I was hoping to see what was immediately before AD&D to see if that was what was being implied in the DMG.

      Either way, at 325 gp, my 300 gp backpack is still over-filled. Hmm….

      Now onto the UA spell books, p 79:
      – “The weight of a standard book of median size is 150 gold pieces (adjusted upward or downward for varying sizes). The encumbrance value of such a book
      is equal to three times its weight (450 gp or thereabouts), although it is correct to assume that a volume will fit within an otherwise empty backpack or large sack.”
      – “A travelling spell book is approximately 12 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 1 inch thick; 9x9x1 is likewise a good working size. The weight of such a book is approximately 30 gold pieces, and encumbrance roughly 60 gp. Five such books will fit within a backpack, twice that number in a large sack.”

      It says a standard spell book can fit in an otherwise empty backpack or large sack. They weigh 150 gp but encumbrance is 3x = 450 gp but can be less. (which it’s going to have to be to get down to at least 400 gp!). As for travelling spell books, they weigh “approximately 30 gp, and encumbrance roughly 60 gp. Five such books will fit within a backpack, twice that number in a large sack.”
      Gary Gygax, you’re killing me. 60 gp x 5 = 300 gp. Bingo! My 300 gp backpack! But, twice that number? 300 gp x 2 = 600 gp. Exactly how are you fitting 10 travelling spell books in a large sack, again?

      Here’s my solution that perhaps satisfies RAW UA p 79, and the only published sizes of containers I could find for AD&D. RAW says a standard spell book fits in a backpack. Given that the RAW descriptions also contain enough Gygaxian verbiage for user discretion – “ …adjusted upward or downward for varying sizes…”, “…or thereabouts…”, “…approximately…”, “…roughly…”, I say:
      1. reduce standard spell books to 100 gp in weight x 3 in volume = 300 gp. Voila! Fits a 300 gp backpack!
      2. keep travelling spell books the same weight and volume (30 gp / 60 gp , five books fit in a backpack), OR to keep the 1:5 ratio between standard and travelling spell books, reduce travelling spell books to 20 gp in weight x 2 in volume = 40 gp, thus, you can fit 10 books in a large sack (400 gp)! RAW!

      Now, moving on to our pack-laden fellow…
      Backpacks, spell books….whatever their sizes, if you’re bag is full, you’re encumbered! AGREED!
      RAW says an average (unarmored) human can carry 35 lbs. before move rate is knocked down from 12″ to 9″ (PHB pp 101-102).
      If a backpack is full at 30 lbs., you’re under 35 lbs., yes, still not encumbered, but, here’s the thing – that backpack itself is 2 lbs.! You’ve only got 3 more lbs. to go before you go over into encumbered territory! Besides the backpack, even when unarmored, and for sake of argument, unarmed, surely you’ve got boots, a belt, a pouch or a purse, some money, some rations, maybe a potion or a holy water flask, and oh, and you’re holding something in your hands (torch? lantern? the ubiquitous 10′ pole?). Add all of that up, you are going to go over the 35 lbs. threshold, ergo, encumbered movement, 12″ to 9”.

      So, trying to keep it RAW:
      1. A standard spell book should fit in a backpack.
      2. An average human with a full pack should be encumbered (unless he’s doing some empty-handed, barefoot, and nude alpine hiking with just a full backpack).
      3. The implied progression of container sizes and capacities is preserved, so that a large sack is always larger than a backpack, a backpack trumps a small sack, etc. (I know, found only in an AD&D supplement, not a hardback book, but still).
      4. Instead of fiddling with the overall volume of a standard spell book, first drop the weight from 150 gp to 10 gp, thus the x 3 in volume = 300 gp. Voila! Fits a backpack!
      5. Five travelling spell books (60 gp encumbrance x 5) fit in a backpack (or reduce to 40 gp encumbrance x 10) so that 10 fit in a large sack.
      6. Which leaves us with Dimwall’s backpack. It’s holding 325 gp inside, 75 gp attached. 325 gp still defeats my 300 gp, oh well. Considering the inexactitude of Gygaxian spell book dimensions and weights as an example, I’m good at 300 gp. All the kids in school will get an A+ trying to solve the Dimwall word problem. Hell, let’s make a backpack hold 350 gp, that’s 35 lbs. on the nose! If it’s full, and your backpack’s encumbrance is 20 gp, you’re at 37 lbs.! Encumbered! BAM!

      This has been a fun exercise. I had not read the spell book sizes closely before. For my own purposes, I think I solved the Gordian Knot of fitting 5 travelling spell books in a backpack at 300 gp and 10 travelling spell books in a large sack at 400 gp. I may even up my backpacks to 325 gp (Dimwall’s) or 350 gp (maybe Dimwall had a little bit more room). Why not 400 gp? I guess only to preserve a distinction between backpacks and large sacks for what I see as the container size progression of AD&D gear.

      Anyway, great blog! Cheers!

  2. I answered my own purse question. Dimwall has a purse!
    “At his left side, hanging from his belt, are a leather scroll case and his purse, filled with 20 gold pieces.”
    This corrects the Character sheet table and simultaneously preserves a small pouch being 1/2 a large pouch:
    purse 20 gp
    small pouch 25 gp
    large pouch 50 gp

    RAW!

    1. (one final edit, sorry) – I meant to say “I thought you were implying from the Dimwall example that he was carrying the 400 gp of loot in his backpack, as opposed to the 3 small sacks and 1 large sack he brought with him (which carry 700 gp in total)”, meaning the 400 gp were in the backpack as opposed to the large sack.

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