Encumbrance and Storage Capacity

(This policy is no longer in effect, nor will it be coming back into use in our group at any forseeable point in the future)

Encumbrance in our group is governed by the slot system (see below) as well as item weight, so if an item such as a 10’ pole weighs 12 pounds then it weighs 12 pounds and as long as you have the appropriate slot and weight capacity to carry it. It is assumed that you can carry it in such a way as it does not interfere with movement or combat. The penalties associated with medium and heavy loads still apply.

Citing the lack of any definitive rules on the storage capacity of items and any information as to what characters can reasonably carry and access on their body. I have developed rules to govern carrying capacity for the Pathfinder Role-Playing Game. This subject does need definition and parameters. It is not realistic or fair to assume that a character or monster can carry a caddy bag of items that; regardless of size can be accessed with no differentiation between move and standard action other than whether or not it is in a backpack.

The Pathfinder Core Rulebook as well as the D&D 3.5 Players Handbook clearly states retrieving a stored item being a move action that provokes an Attack of Opportunity. It gives no specifics on how the retrieved item is stored. If it is that simple, I must ask, how much equipment can a character reasonably access? If we were to just use carrying capacity; a character could “reasonably” access a Great Axe, a long sword, his great repeating crossbow, 27 daggers, his wine skin, the 43 unlabeled potions in his pocket and his portable battering ram. I then must ask, what is the point of the bandoleers in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting? Bandoleers allow a number of small items like potions or daggers to be stored on a belt across the chest. Since they’re categorized as special items, they must have a rules function that is not clearly apparent in the text – so, what’s the difference between a bandoleer and a backpack when retrieving items in combat? The consensus that I have reached is that getting the backpack off your back so you can get your stuff also counts as retrieving an item, another move action. Therefore, getting an item out of your backpack should count as a full-round action (plus another move action the next round if you want to put the backpack on again instead of just dropping it (a free action).

Then there’s the issue of pockets and storing stuff on your belt. This, as far as I can tell, is not handled anywhere. Incidentally, I also pay attention to the weights and volumes of potions, which nobody seems to ever do. I have also documented the storage capacity of most every item that I could. (See Core Rule Handout 3: Storage Capacity of Items).

These rules are designed to address the subject in a realistic and common sense way. The goal of which is to add realism to the subject and make encumbrance a meaningful part of the rules instead of something that everybody ignores. I have tried to use pre-existing game material as well as real world science where I could.


• Retrieving a stored item is a move action that provokes an attack of opportunity.

• A backpack on your back counts as a stored item itself, and therefore retrieving an item from your backpack is a full-round action.

• Dropping your backpack to shed yourself of its encumbrance is a move action (as is picking it up when you’re fleeing in terror).

To more accurately reflect encumbrance I am going to enact a body slot system similar to that which governs the amount of magical items that may be worn.

Torso: (4 storage slots):

• The torso slots may be used to store any combination of 4 items.

• Up to 2 of these slots may be used for Large Items.

• Heavy Armor counts as a Medium Slot

Belt/Waist: (6 storage slots):

• The belt/waist may be used to store a combination of 6 items of medium size or smaller.

• Up to 2 slots may be used for Medium Items

• Up to 4 slots may be used for Small Items

Boots: (1 storage slot each):

• Each boot may store a single Small Item.

Examples of Item Size:

Large Items: Pole Arms, 10’ pole, Longbow, Crossbow (Any except hand), and Two-Handed Weapons.

Medium Items: Backpack, Quiver, One-Handed Weapons, 50’ Rope, Bag of Holding, Handy Haversack, Bandoleer, Potion Belt, Scroll Organizer, Water skin, Torch, Manacles, Belt Pouch, or most anything over the size of a dagger.

Small Items: Flask, Dagger, Potion, Scroll, Wand, Coins, Gems, Most anything under 1 pound

Weight of Gems and Jewelry:

In order to quantify the weight of gems and jewelry I am assigning the standard of: A Gem or piece of Jewelry will weigh 0.1 for every 1,000gp of value. (Round up)

Other Notes on Encumbrance:

• Even though armor categories fall within certain weight ranges, the armor’s classification does not change based on weight.

• Any item that does not have a valid Pathfinder edition weight will have one assigned to it. (I.e. rings, gems, potions, pendants, etc). As a general rule, if an item has insignificant singular weight 10 of them will weigh 1 pound.

For more Information please consult:

Core Rules Handout 3 – Storage Capacity of Items
Storage Item Descriptions
Item Storage Sheet

Encumbrance and Storage Capacity

A Manifestation of Chaos Leonidas300