A Request for Bulk Clarity


Playing the Game

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

As a long time 3.5/PF player I have always been a big fan of encumbrance and the system it represents but like many have always found the system of tabulating it out to be a royal pain. So I am super happy to see the bulk system transferred over to 2e, it makes encumbrance quicker to calculate and easier to adjudicate as time goes on.

That said, is there a way we can get a bulk to pounds conversion put in the core rulebook right alongside the explanation of the system? As it stands, there's not really any reference point to tell the reader how much 1 bulk really weighs and it makes it difficult to contextualize unless the reader has either a familiarity with the weight of say, your average greatsword or has been playing these games for years. Even rough estimates like, "1 Bulk is equivalent to 5-10 pounds)" would go a long way to helping get every reader on the same page and help add literal and figurative "weight" to the actions in play, and avoid too much dissent as time goes on and more weird and uncommon items start floating around the game.

And as a GM, it'll also help me figure out how much bulk say, 2,000 lbs. of Ankheg takes up when our fighter tries to haul it back to camp to butcher into crafting parts XD.


Will this do?

playtest rulebook page 175 wrote:

Estimating an Item’s Bulk

As a general rule, an item that weighs 5 to 10 pounds is 1 Bulk, an item weighing less than a few ounces is negligible, and anything in between is light. Particularly awkward or unwieldy items might have different Bulk values. A 10-foot pole isn’t heavy, but its length makes it difficult for you to move while you have one on your person. Items made for larger or smaller creatures have greater or lesser Bulk, as described on page 191.

Grand Lodge

doc the grey wrote:

As a long time 3.5/PF player I have always been a big fan of encumbrance and the system it represents but like many have always found the system of tabulating it out to be a royal pain. So I am super happy to see the bulk system transferred over to 2e, it makes encumbrance quicker to calculate and easier to adjudicate as time goes on.

That said, is there a way we can get a bulk to pounds conversion put in the core rulebook right alongside the explanation of the system? As it stands, there's not really any reference point to tell the reader how much 1 bulk really weighs and it makes it difficult to contextualize unless the reader has either a familiarity with the weight of say, your average greatsword or has been playing these games for years. Even rough estimates like, "1 Bulk is equivalent to 5-10 pounds)" would go a long way to helping get every reader on the same page and help add literal and figurative "weight" to the actions in play, and avoid too much dissent as time goes on and more weird and uncommon items start floating around the game.

And as a GM, it'll also help me figure out how much bulk say, 2,000 lbs. of Ankheg takes up when our fighter tries to haul it back to camp to butcher into crafting parts XD.

There are...

Rulebook Page 175 wrote:

Bulk Values

Items may have a number to indicate their Bulk value,
or may be light (indicated by an L) or negligible for
the purpose of determining Bulk (indicated by a —).
For instance, full plate armor is 4 Bulk, a longsword is
1 Bulk, a dagger or scroll is light, and a piece of chalk is
negligible. Ten light items count as 1 Bulk, and you don’t
count fractions (so 9 light items count as 0, and 11 items
count as 1). Items of negligible Bulk don’t count toward
Bulk unless you try to carry vast numbers of them, as
determined by the GM.

Estimating an Item’s Bulk
As a general rule, an item that weighs 5 to 10 pounds
is 1 Bulk, an item weighing less than a few ounces is
negligible, and anything in between is light. Particularly
awkward or unwieldy items might have different Bulk
values. A 10-foot pole isn’t heavy, but its length makes
it difficult for you to move while you have one on your
person. Items made for larger or smaller creatures have
greater or lesser Bulk, as described on page 191.

I agree though, the system could use a little more expansion, right now it only seems to focus on what you can carry, not what things might weight in regards to pushing, dragging, or lifting.

Infact, I noticed something while searching "lift" in the rulebook PDF...

The belt of giant strength states.

Rulebook page 382 wrote:
You gain a +4 item bonus to Athletics checks and a +2 circumstance bonus to Athletics checks to lift a heavy object, Break a Grapple, or Break an Object.

but the athletics skill lists no action for lift a heavy object! the closest rule would be break open to lift a heavy gate.

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