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Old 06-08-2015, 07:48 AM   #11
mook
 
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Default Re: How much attention do you pay to encumberance?

Completely depends on the game for us. For the last modern spec-ops game, encumbrance was figured down to every round and magazine carried. For "Bunnies & Burrows," not so much, or the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon.

As mentioned above, part of the value of buying high gobs of ST is that you can use armor and weapons that lesser fighters just can't, at least not without slowing them to a crawl. For low-tech dungeon crawls, having the Thief (ST 12, DX 16) or the Mage (ST 10, DX 14) able to fight in the same full plate as the Knight (ST 16, DX 14) would just be too strange, so we'd end up using encumbrance.

The loadout system in GCA is pretty good, and if we're using encumbrance I'll set up one loadout as "Backpack" (so it's simple to see the difference to encumbrance when it's being carried and when it isn't.)

Pretty much boils down to everything else GURPS-y... if it's fun, use it, if it bores you, jettison and leave it behind.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:33 AM   #12
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Default Re: How much attention do you pay to encumberance?

I've had an idea floating around my head for a while that I've never tried to realize. Suppose you track your equipment on index cards. On each card, you cut out a piece of one edge such that the remaining original edge forms a tab that equals X units of encumbrance.

For each container or carrier—including a character—you have a card with a slot near its own edge exactly Y encumbrance units long, where Y equals the maximum amount it, he, or she can carry. For characters, at various points along this slot, you make notes of encumbrance effects for that amount of encumbrance. When the container or character holds something, you slide the item's tab into the slot so that the tab sticks out past the container's edge, as if it were the encumbrance of the container itself.

When you hold multiple items, you slide the cards next to each other so that their tabs abut on each other. The total length of tabs equals encumbrance.

This system wouldn't take too long to implement for non-containers and non-characters. If you pick up a new item, just take a new card, write the item's name on it, find the item's encumbrance value, snip-snip, and you've got the new item. Anything that's a container would take more work, requiring you to cut a slot equal to its encumbrance capacity, but even this isn't too much work. A character's card, of course, would take the most work, but you'd only have to do it once so long as his strength doesn't change.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:38 AM   #13
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Default Re: How much attention do you pay to encumberance?

Ignoring encumbrance greatly devalues ST . . . by about 30%, in fact (see also Lifting ST). I consider that a bad thing. While encumbrance can get complex, the trick isn't to ignore it so much as follow best practices: (1) have a spreadsheet add it up before the game begins, and (2) enforce "no reductions during high-intensity scenes," which means that if you drop enough kit to reduce your encumbrance level, your Move and Dodge improve only when the GM has time to worry about it. (When asked what this is supposed to represent in reality, my answer is "Sore muscles" on a good day, "My campaign isn't a reality simulation!" on a bad one.) It can also help to add up a few gear configurations in advance; e.g., "with pack" and "without pack."
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:56 AM   #14
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Default Re: How much attention do you pay to encumberance?

I use spreadsheets to make characters to begin with since the summing functions etc are very handy, and also to easily calculate basic lift and such

And to keel track of money spent buying gear

So its easy to track item weight

I do dislike the idea of not being able to easily shed gear to get encumbrance lowered . . . a lot of items like Quick Release backpacks and fire and forget weapons like crossbows are designed to be dropped to reduce encumbrance in a fight
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:47 AM   #15
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Default Re: How much attention do you pay to encumberance?

Another worthwhile pre-game calculation IMO is this: looking at the group as a whole, figure how much more weight the entire party could they carry without slowing down. In other words, if with their regular gear, the slowest character moves at Move 4, calculate how much additional weight could be carried by all other characters without dropping anyone's movement below 4. If they find loot or whatnot that they want to transport, and its less in weight than whatever this number is, then just assume that the weight can be distributed among the faster, less encumbered party members and move on.
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:59 AM   #16
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Default Re: How much attention do you pay to encumberance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by weby View Post
We use GCS as the place to have character sheets, instead of only for character building, so our games have the encumbrance tracking on by default.
Im this guy. GCS makes it too easy to NOT do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Ignoring encumbrance greatly devalues ST . . . by about 30%, in fact (see also Lifting ST). I consider that a bad thing. While encumbrance can get complex, the trick isn't to ignore it so much as follow best practices: (1) have a spreadsheet add it up before the game begins, and (2) enforce "no reductions during high-intensity scenes," which means that if you drop enough kit to reduce your encumbrance level, your Move and Dodge improve only when the GM has time to worry about it. (When asked what this is supposed to represent in reality, my answer is "Sore muscles" on a good day, "My campaign isn't a reality simulation!" on a bad one.) It can also help to add up a few gear configurations in advance; e.g., "with pack" and "without pack."
The point about ST was an important one for us. Had a few players build low point DF Combat Wombats and making sure they got full value for those ST points was important to me (and them!). Its important for me to make sure the players see the value add from the points they spend.

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Old 06-08-2015, 01:07 PM   #17
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Default Re: How much attention do you pay to encumberance?

I use it. I don't like the idea of people running around carrying loads of stuff. If I personally have to spend an hour or two tweaking my backpack for a hike IRL, the PCs can add up some equipment on GCS or a spreadsheet. :-)

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
...It can also help to add up a few gear configurations in advance; e.g., "with pack" and "without pack."
I do this for my characters and encourage players to. You can quickly drop a backpack and get more mobile. Or pack things on the horse. Of course, if you lose the horse or some goblins make off with your BP... :-)
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:12 PM   #18
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Default Re: How much attention do you pay to encumberance?

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Originally Posted by gruundehn View Post
In DF or MH perhaps the encumbrance rules should be ignored so the players can get to the fun of slaying the enemy. A modern detective story should have the encumbrance rules pretty strictly followed as a character walking around with full Kevlar armor, five or six weapons of various types and sizes, and three or four backpacks full of survival gear would cause a lot of comment by passers-by and interest by the police.
I'd suggest nearly the opposite. Encumbrance is crucial in DF (how much loot can you carry out, and do you have to drop some to be able to carry your unconscious buddy?), and can be one of the primary things keeping the thief from strapping on a full suit of plate. On the other hand, in a modern detective story encumbrance is going to matter only rarely (and typically in the form of "Can you get away while carrying an unconscious body?"). Preventing the character from walking around in full armor with an arsenal on his back is typically going to be more social than anything else. MH doesn't have an emphasis on loot as I understand it, but you are probably more socially capable of getting away with the Kevlar bodysuit + backpack armory loadout (in large part because you'll often be confronting your prey well away from witnesses, and if there are witnesses they'll be less than inclined to report you), so Encumbrance is of much more importance than in a typical modern detective story.

Me personally, I typically want Encumbrance to be fully tracked. Players should typically have at least two loadouts worked out, and sometimes more - DF characters I build often have a Travel Loadout (everything they own), a Combat Loadout (which is basically the Travel Loadout after dropping the pack(s)), and a Town Loadout (as most towns frown upon walking around fully armed and armored). Kenneth's None-Medium-Heavy simplification is something I might consider trying out, however.
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:58 PM   #19
Kromm
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Default Re: How much attention do you pay to encumberance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post

I'd suggest nearly the opposite.
Same here. GURPS Dungeon Fantasy is a resource-management game: you must carefully track HP and FP, arrows and potions, every dollar and every ounce, all while paying close attention to marching order, light sources, disposition of NPCs among the party ranks, and the balance of warriors to casters to rogues. That's why so much of the genre turns on the mad quest for ever-higher value-to-weight ratios. It's also why big, strong warriors are important even when brainy casters and agile rogues technically outclass them in many ways.

Whereas in a modern thriller, what matters is concealability, not weight. If the PCs have sufficiently high Holdout skills, and nicely tailored garments and holsters to match, then they can carry a lot of hardware around even if they aren't that beefy. If they try to carry full-sized rifles and bazookas around, then they're going to run into trouble regardless of encumbrance. A single, mostly plastic 7-lb. rifle is a bigger issue than 30 lbs. in the form of cuffs, folding knives, handguns, pepper spray, spring batons, Tasers, etc. stuffed into one of those fancy armor vests intended for everyday wear under a business suit.

Thus, I tend to track encumbrance in gory detail in even the most tongue-in-cheek of hack 'n' slash gaming but lend no thought to issues of bulk or concealability there . . . whereas I zealously track concealability and force Holdout rolls in modern-day campaigns while rounding encumbrance to "close enough." My last campaign was about modern secret agents, and they managed to hide enough small items on them in carefully designed undercover load-bearing gear that they sometimes hit Light or even Medium encumbrance and were slowed down. All the PCs cared about was not being caught with illegal stuff on them; if they were in a hurry, they drove. The campaign before that was about fantasy heroes who could run around in armor, brandishing weapons all they wanted, yet they often carried less than they liked because of the need to hike everywhere and maneuver in many-times-a-session melee combat.
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Old 06-08-2015, 03:05 PM   #20
hal
 
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Default Re: How much attention do you pay to encumberance?

I track it all the time for my campaigns. Why?

Because fatigue loss is based in part, on your encumbrance and on the environmental conditions.

As many of the campaigns I run include fatigue based special abilities at the very least, or on strength based things, it is worth your while to track it.

When players are wearing sufficient armor on a hot day, travelling via foot, or even riding - it makes a difference.
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