I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.

- William Blake

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Encumbrance, Movement and the rule of four

As you might know, I've been trying to create a clone/hack of D&D that you can manipulate on the page-by-page level, i.e., add, remove and replace each page without destroying the game, and thus create your own, customized, frankenstein version of a game with the best advice from multiple bloggers.

I've been thinking of adding structure and deadlines to the project, to encourage other bloggers to participate; for now, I'll just say "similar to Moldvay" and "not before the one page dungeon deadline" for this two questions, but I'll add more details soon.

Today, I want to tackle another page of Moldvay: encumbrance and movement. That is, page B20 in the original, if you're keeping track.

Nobody seems to care much for "coin" weights, so a number of alternate systems have emerged. Delta's stone encumbrance is a favorite and an inspiration for this one.

I favor rules that are easy for me to remember. For example, I used another "rule of three" as a mnemonic device in last week's page.

For encumbrance, a "rule of four" might work quite well to help you remember that a regular character can carry 40 pounds without adverse effects, and up to four times time much, but with one fourth of their speed (if you carry more than STRx3). Combat movement is 40' per round.

I wanted STR to be relevant to encumbrance, so let us say that you can carry a number of 4-pound items equal to you STR. Four pounds is a good weight for a sword, mace, etc, with a scabbard. Two-handed weapons, or shields, counts as two items. Armor is a bit trickier; to keep it easy and quite close to Moldvay, I would make it count as 5/10/15 for leather/chain/plate, or 5 items per +2 AC (or just keep things "rule of four" and use 4/8/12 instead).

Without further ado, here is my one-page replacement for B20.


Take this as an example of what you could do with this one page hacks; maybe you could use a rule of three pounds to make things a little bit more realistic, or just change the weights around.

Do you want to make your own page on the subject?

Here are some links for research:


And the art in this post is public domain in the US (I think; find the sources if you're worried), so you can use it as you like.

Good luck!


  1. I am a fan of Delta's stone system as well; I may well use it in all my future games (though I'd like to test it a bit).

    Great artwork by the way.

    1. Thanks! I love digging for public domain art; there is a lot more coming up!