carry / drag party member


Rules Questions


Two nights ago we had a situation where the party was executing a retreat from a difficult fight. One party member, an Oracle, in addition to being heavily damaged (but conscious) was also blinded, and having a difficult time getting away.

The dwarven inquisitor declared he wanted to pick her up and/or drag her along. He's really strong, she was in light armor, carrying capacity was not an issue. At the time I made a pretty s*&%ty ruling I feel and said he could double-move, but not run, and that she forfeited her own movement on her turn. As I said, I'm not happy with what I said, but it was on the fly and it worked allright.

But honestly, this happens like all the time. A party member fairly often wants to pick up or drag another party member. Sometimes the party member is conscious, sometimes they are unconscious, sometimes they are dead (object). What is the correct way to handle this?

I thought perhaps the drag maneuver, for the character not resisting I could set the DC at 10 or even 0... although your allies are not your foes so it technically wouldn't work by RAW.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I think as far as RAW goes it's irrelevant that it's a party member and it becomes a straight encumbrance/movement question or a matter of mounted combat (depending on if the person being carried is conscious or not).

So if the fighter wants to pickup his unconscious halfling companion he can throw him over his shoulder and move as his encumbrance dictates.

If the halfling is still conscious and wants to start flinging daggers from his friends shoulders then Ride checks and such are probably in order.

If the attempt to move the other person is resisted then it would fall under drag/push/grapple as appropriate.


What was wrong with your ruling?

Techincally, the RAW would be for you to calculate the EXACT weight of the oracle + gear, add it to the existing encumbrance of the dwarf and determine his new encumbrance. Then apply movement penalties, run restrictions, etc., all according to the existing encumbrance rules.

That's long and slow. Sometimes a quick judgment saves a whole lot of time and math.

The carried character should be able to take standard actions as normal, assuming they don't need their feet for it, so spellcasting (with concentration checks), item use, etc., should all be possible on the carried character's turn. Also move actions, but not movement, so getting an item from a pouch, for example, would also be acceptable.

Don't use the Drag maneuver. That can fail. Carrying a willing ally cannot fail unless he is too heavy to lift. If the party member (or enemy, or NPC) is dead or unconscious, then treat him like an object. And if the party member, enemy, or NPC is alive and conscious and wants to resist being carried, then use grapple rules or drag rules as needed.


Well, PF lets you run in platemail....
Personally, I would use the Hampered movement rules, where each square counts as two for dragging.


Bali wrote:
If the halfling is still conscious and wants to start flinging daggers from his friends shoulders then Ride checks and such are probably in order.

It's only a Ride check if the carried ally is using his own ability to hang onto the guy carrying him. If the carrier is hanging onto the carried guy, then no ride checks are needed.


If a character is strong enough to pick up another without going over their light load encumbrance, then I'd just assume they can do everything they can normally do. By mid levels, with the full BAB types, this is probably a decent assumption.

Despite that, encumbrance rules are really all you need to look at. I wouldn't count a person as any different than any other kind of encumbrance.

Edit: I mean carrying capacity

Dark Archive

The only time I would use the combat maneuvers on friendlies is to move them outside of their turn. AKA, using the Ki throw to quickly move a caster out from being flanked. (since forced movement does not provoke AoOs). But at that point you follow the rules of the CM used (1/2 speed for grapple, etc). A good way to start the run, and then have the character match up initiatives and use the rules above from DM Blake.

(*This is how I would run it, not sure on RAW)

You can forgo the defense to an attack (much like allowing someone to touch you with a healing spell, instead of dodging like an undead would), so not all CM's need a fail chance vs friendlies.


i dunno, i don't like what i said just because it has no basis in RaW? I was hoping for actual rules as I said, this comes up relatively frequently.

I guess the actual rules are carrying capacity. What I *dont* want to do is somehow open the doors for Bob the Fighter to win initiative and declare he carrys Jane the Barbarian forward 30ft so that Jane the Barbarian can get a full attack on her turn. With carrying cap, I don't see a reason why that's technically not possible.


awp832 wrote:

i dunno, i don't like what i said just because it has no basis in RaW? I was hoping for actual rules as I said, this comes up relatively frequently.

I guess the actual rules are carrying capacity. What I *dont* want to do is somehow open the doors for Bob the Fighter to win initiative and declare he carrys Jane the Barbarian forward 30ft so that Jane the Barbarian can get a full attack on her turn. With carrying cap, I don't see a reason why that's technically not possible.

Rule that it take a move action to get down/pick up a person. Seems fair. I imagine it as a fireman's carry, but it still takes a couple seconds to pickup and put down the person.


awp832 wrote:

i dunno, i don't like what i said just because it has no basis in RaW? I was hoping for actual rules as I said, this comes up relatively frequently.

I guess the actual rules are carrying capacity. What I *dont* want to do is somehow open the doors for Bob the Fighter to win initiative and declare he carrys Jane the Barbarian forward 30ft so that Jane the Barbarian can get a full attack on her turn. With carrying cap, I don't see a reason why that's technically not possible.

Nothing wrong with that. A move action to pick him up (probably needs two free hands), a move action to move, free action to drop him. Other guy full attacks. Seems legit.

Reminds me of when Chicago Bears player Willarm "Fridge" Perry picked up and carried Walter Payton (a teammate who actually had the football) into the end zone for a touch down back in 1985. Yeah, so the referee called that a foul (Illegal Use of Hands) but it was still amazing and hilarious at the time.

I imagine the Pathfinder referee doesn't even have to blow the whistle on one PC carrying another one. Seems legal enough, if he's strong enough.


The nice part about a dwarf doing it is that their movement isn't affected by encumbrance. So, as long as they can lift it, it shouldn't be a problem.

On page 169 it discusses Lifting and Dragging. A character can drag 5x his maximum load, lift double the maximum off the ground and lift his maximum over his head. So, depending on the maximum (say, score of 18 is 300 lbs.) should easily allow the dwarf to throw the companion over the head. But, even a small weakling (strength of 7 is 70 lbs.) should be able to drag (70x5=350 lbs.) just about anyone.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I suppose it would be :

Free action to drop their weapon
Move to pickup their companion
Std to move forward
Free action to drop them

Since they're dropping rather then putting them down you might rule that the dropped character is now prone (perhaps an Acrobatics check to avoid that?)

To me this is also where the mounted rules might come into play. Specifically where it states that if your mount moves more than 5' then you can't full melee attack because you have to wait for it to get to the target. Granted you're on the same initiative in that case but I think the intent is that if something is moving you around significantly then you don't have the time to full attack anymore.


awp832 wrote:
I guess the actual rules are carrying capacity. What I *dont* want to do is somehow open the doors for Bob the Fighter to win initiative and declare he carrys Jane the Barbarian forward 30ft so that Jane the Barbarian can get a full attack on her turn. With carrying cap, I don't see a reason why that's technically not possible.

I don't see any reasons why that technically inpossible, but I know one that makes is technically ilogical. Under ride you can find that "If your mount moves more than 5 feet, you can only make a single melee attack. Essentially, you have to wait until the mount gets to your enemy before attacking, so you can't make a full attack."(click for full text)

Since she has to wait for Bob to get her there it's not logical that Jane gets her full attack.
I have no idea if there are any rules for carrying big things. There might be something RAW there.


blake: my problem isn't necessarily that its broken, though depending on the characters in question, it could certainly be good- maybe you set up the TWF for a full attack and all you do is sacrifice a standard action (probably a single attack) to do so. But I digress...

The problem I have with it is it makes a mockery of what the tactical combat rules are supposed to represent. Bob picking Jane up and carrying her shouldn't allow Jane to move any faster, because Jane was already rushing in at top speed and other than a slightly slower reaction time, more than likely has a much faster land speed than Bob (fast movement).

In this specific case though, the Oracle actually *was* moving much slower because she was blinded, so I thought it was a lot more feasible to allow this sort of thing. I guess now that I'm reading the alternatives, I'm a lot happier with my ruling. /unexpected.


This answer isn't supported by a rule but what my group has done since the beginning of time is that you can carry or drag a party member and move half speed. I believe the rationale came from grapple allowing you to move your opponent at half speed. At any rate it's a simple way to handle it.


A group of N adjacent characters with increasing carrying capacity (or a very low-weight environment) could use readied actions to launch themselves like a lashing, telescoping tentacle, with the topmost character moving effectively N + 1 move actions worth of movement in one round. Reminds me of the Great Cleave Railgun maneuver.


Carrying a cooperative or unconscious person, I would allow movement based upon carrying capacity. A move action to pick up a cooperative person, a full round to pick up an unconscious person.

Dragging depends upon a lot upon exactly what you mean. Pulling a conscious person that is on their feet, I would allow a full move at the slowest persons movement rate. Actually dragging a body, would depend more upon circumstances, but likely the fastest would be half speed, unless you didn't care about more physical damage to the body.

None of this is from the rulebooks, but from experience and common sense. Personally I've had a guy in a fireman's carry that was about 6" taller than me and 40 or 50 lbs heavier, I could carry him very fast but I could move with him up there.


If a halfing is being carried by an orc barbarian, does the barbarian count as a mount? And if so, does he go on the halfling's initiative?


That should be "I couldn't carry very fast..."


In most of our games we rule that to move a body its basically starting a grapple with the person and then rules as usual. The grappler can move at 1/2 speed.

Unconscious bodies are helpless and conscious bodies can forgo their CMD but a roll of 1 still misses.

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