Weighty Matters

“Respect the burden.”

– Napoleon Bonaparte

Heavy Lifting in TFT

The amount of equipment an adventurer is able to carry around is important, but not very exciting in game terms. In the Fantasy Trip, players are expected to count the weight of every object that their character’s carry. Further, there are details for how much weight can be carried in specific locations (hands, belts, backpacks, etc.). That seems like a lot of bookkeeping to us.

Considering that level of detail, its odd that there are no real effects for carrying weight (outside of swimming) until you reach 4X a figure’s Strength. Also, the weight of a figure’s armor is factored in, even though armor already has its own DX and movement penalties.

Tellingly, the section ends with a note that the “GM is encouraged to completely ignore weight carried”. While that is probably good advice for most games, what if you want a simple way to track the weight and bulk of a figure’s equipment?

We wanted to create a system that takes bulk and fragility into account as well as the weight of a particular item, but maintains the streamlined simplicity that are the cornerstones of TFT.


Encumbrance Alternative

Encumbrance (Enc) is abstracted as the physical difficulty of carrying equipment. In general, a figure can carry a number of items whose Encumbrance value is equal or less than their ST score. Larger items have an Encumbrance value based on the weight, bulk, or difficulty to transport. A tent or a birdcage may not weigh as much as a battle axe, but they are both difficult to carry. Typically, a large or heavy item has an Encumbrance value of 1, which is roughly equal to 1o pounds or one-square foot.
Smaller items, like a spyglass or a healing potion, are considered ‘insignificant’ in terms of encumbrance, and up to 10 may be carried as one significant item (Enc 1).

A figure whose Encumbrance total exceeds their ST takes a -1 DX penalty in combat. If encumbrance exceeds twice a figure’s ST, the penalty is -2 DX in combat and MA is decreased by 1. If their encumbrance is more than 3 times their ST, the penalty is -3DX and -2MA, and they will lose a point of ST due to fatigue for every 10 feet of movement.

Since armor is designed to be worn and accommodate movement, its Encumbrance value is less than its weight or bulk would indicate. A quick breakdown of armor encumbrance is below:

Item Encumbrance
Cloth Armor
Leather Armor
Plate Armor
Fine Plate
Small Shield
Large Shield
Tower Shield

Also, some carried items might not fit tidily onto any concise equipment list. In these cases, the GM will have to determine the Encumbrance of that crystal chandelier that the heroes are determined to take withe them out of the labyrinth. Here are a few examples

Item Encumbrance
Carry a person
Drag a person
Coins (100)
Share Load

Equipment List

Another aspect of the new Fantasy Trip that left us wanting was the equipment section. A mere couple dozen items to kit out your adventurers. Did not seem sufficient, so we compiled a list of additional equipment, and listed Encumbrance values and prices for them all here.

In campaign games, you may want to have master craftsmen (or magical assistance) to create items with less Encumbrance due to lighter weight or more durable construction.

Encumbrance Example

Borro Bullroarer is a heavy warrior. He has ST15, so he can easily bear 15 Enc of equipment. His plate armor is 4, and his large shield is 2 more. He carries a battle axe (Enc 3) and a heavy crossbow (Enc 2). Of course he has his labyrinth kit (Enc 2), his clothing, and a few insignificant items, but less than 10. His Encumbrance total is 14 — a heavy load — but less than a troubling burden for a hero like Borro. However, is he came upon a cache of $200 in coins while adventuring, his total Encumbrance would rise to 16 , and he would start taking penalties.


Would this system help streamline your character and games? Or do you prefer the rules-as written? Or, perhaps, do you ignore the whole process until the situation is completely abused? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. This is brilliant! Thanks for sharing! I like that it follows the TFT rubric of keeping things simple, but still enabling you to handle a potentially extremely complex issue with just a few moments of thought and without a ton of record keeping. Well done!

    • Those numbers were duplicates of the Encubrance value from the next column, and a typo on our part. Sorry about any confusion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *