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Pulp Encumbrance

Page history last edited by Michael 2 years, 11 months ago

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     Encumbrance is a measure of how much a character can carry or bear. Unencumbered characters can move and react faster, and take longer to become fatigued. While characters can pick up and move weights greater than 6.6xSTR, they won't be able to make any long marches.


  • Characters that are carrying enough encumbrance to be Loaded (more than 3.3 x STR in pounds) receive a penalty for all DEX-based skills of -25% and 1/2 of Defense skill.

  • Characters that are carrying enough encumbrance to be Burdened (more than 6.6 x STR in pounds) receive a penalty for all DEX-based skills of -50% and cannot use Defense skill. Movement in combat is halved.

  • Characters carrying more than 13.2 x STR in pounds are Overloaded, and have any DEX-based skills limited to 5%, may not Dodge, attack or parry, and cannot use Defense skill. Movement in combat is "pretty slow", depending on how much they're actually carrying.


     Thus our limits (in pounds) are:


STR normal max loaded max
burdened max
4 13.2 26.4 52.8
5 16.5 33.0 66.0
6 19.8 39.6 79.2
7 23.1 46.2 92.4
8 26.4 52.8 105.6
9 29.7 59.4 118.8
10 33.0 66.0 132.0
11 36.3 72.6 145.2
12 39.6 79.2 158.4
13 42.9 85.8 171.6
14 46.2 92.4 184.8
15 49.5 99.0 198.0
16 52.8 105.6 211.2
17 56.1 112.2 224.4
18 59.4 118.8 237.6
19 62.7 125.4 250.8
20 66.0 132.0 264.0
21 69.3 138.6 277.2
22 72.6 145.2 290.4



     March distances per day:


  • Normal

    • on roads or footpaths:  CON x 3 in miles (CON x 5 in kilometers)

    • cross-country:  CON X 1.2 in miles (CON x 2 in kilometers)

  • Loaded 

    • on roads or footpaths:  CON x 2.5 in miles (CON x 4 in kilometers)

    • cross-country:  CON x 1 in miles (CON x 1.6 in kilometers)

  • Burdened

    • on roads or footpaths:  CON x 2 in miles (CON x 3 in kilometers)

    • cross-country:  CON x 0.8 in miles (CON x 1.2 in kilometers)


     These are of course averaged over many men; training, footwear, terrain, hydration and rations, nature of load and how carried, etc. will affect all of this. And the level of exhaustion during the night, how many days the rate can be kept up, etc. are beyond any simple table of rules.



Source notes


     March rates:


  • Roman:  2.5 mph for 7 hours

  • Napoleonic infantry:  3 mph, for 3-4 hours; forced marches meant 6 to 12 hours on the road

  • American Civil War:  15 to 20 miles per day regular march, at 2.5 miles per hour; 20 to 25 miles on forced march; up to 30 miles on forced march with good roads and conditions.

  • French Foreign Legion, Spanish Legion, Bersaglieri, Gurkha infantry, Rifle Regiments in the British Army, other elite infantry:  3.5 miles per hour normally, fast march 4.5 mph.

    • though the Foreign Legion also has a "slow march" of 2.5 miles per hour.


     From the "Field Service Pocket Guide" of 1914:


     Currently (21st Century), soldiers in the field -- expecting to be fired on, and to fire back -- in Iraq are carrying an average of 100 pounds of gear; 120 pounds in Afghanistan.


"In the early 1900s it was determined that a man should carry more than one-third of his own body weight and this led most armies during the twentieth century to determine that the ideal load for a soldier should be about 45 pounds (20.5 kilograms). More recent industrial research has determined that a workman can carry a maximum weight of up to 88 pounds (40 kilograms), however the duration for carriage of this load is not specified."


     British Infantry, early 1800s (Napoleonic Wars): 50 pounds (22.7kg) to 75 pounds (34kg); up to 80 pounds (36.4kg) if extra rations were carried.

     British and Australian Infantry 1914-1918 (World War I) Marching Order:


1914 - 59 pounds (26.8 kg).

1916 - 66 pounds (30 kg)(addition of helmet, grenades, etc.)

1918 - 74 pounds (33.65kg) (summer) and 80 pounds (36.35kg) (winter) (add 14 pounds (6.35kg) during wet and muddy conditions)


     Falkland Islands (1982), British Infantry and Royal Marines:


Fighting Order loads of 70 pounds (31.8 kg) to 80 pounds (36.35 kg)

Marching Order loads of around 100 pounds (45.45 kg) to 120 pounds (54.55 kg)


     Grenada (1983), United States Rangers: sustained operations for 72 hours.


Marching Order loads of around 120 pounds (54.55 kg).


     Infantry Rifleman (July 1984) DINF Discussion Paper:


Average load in marching order - 101 pounds (46 kg)


     Australian Army, The Rifle Platoon Pamphlet (1986):


Average load for the member of an infantry section carrying three days rations, four water bottles, water bladder, helmet and a share of section equipment and ammunition was 103 pounds (47 kg)


     Infantry Rifleman, Depot Company RAR (November 1995)


Marching order, personal equipment only - 86 pounds (39 kg)

Marching order, including a share of section equipment - 101 pounds (49 kg)


     United States Army Infantry School. "The Infantry Soldiers Load" and "Interim Infantry Load Problem Definition." Briefing Charts. Fort Benning, Georgia, February, 1985


"Firstly, studies indicated that the fiftieth percentile soldier weighed 160 pounds. Secondly, field tests demonstrated that the ideal soldier's load was thirty percent of his body weight, or forty-eight pounds, and that the maximum load a soldier could carry should not exceed forty-five percent of his body weight, or seventy-two pounds."


"According to modern US Army doctrine, the average rate of march for trained infantry under favorable weather conditions is 2-1/2 mph over roads and 1 mph cross country. A normal foot march covers 20 miles per day."

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