How should bulk be used in the system?


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RazarTuk wrote:


Simultaneously, that's enough for 23 longbows in 1e or 4 longbows in 2e.

I mean, everyone knows a longbow and a full keg of ale are equally difficult to carry, right? Good news though, we can add on 9 shortswords and it doesn't change the difficulty at all!

Liberty's Edge

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

In Pathfinder 1E, a 10-foot ladder weighs 20 pounds.

A character with 14 Strength in PF1E could carry 6 10-foot ladders as a medium load.

Yet somehow, intuitively I as a GM could just assume that was silly.

So in PF2E if a player picks up 25 short-swords and I as a GM say: How?

The player had best come up with some very creative shenanigans indeed to accommodate that. Because I as a GM will just say: "No, and take a few points of damage as you cut yourself trying to carry a bunch of swords you ninny."

Again, the actual issue isn't people carrying 80 short swords. GMs will indeed rule against that, it's the fact that the scale itself does not make sense and that it cannot be used to judge anything not explicitly listed.

I mean, by the current scale, a longbow is 20 times as heavy as a bedroll and similar absurdities are the norm rather than the exception. With a scale like that how in the world are we to judge the Bulk of anything not already on the equipment list (which is most objects in the world)?

It also makes actual player gear lists make a lot less sense, and that's definitely a bad effect of the system rather than a good one.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:


I mean, by the current scale, a longbow is 20 times as heavy as a bedroll.

Bulk is not the same thing as weight.

I have no problem with the Bulk values of various items being revised, I don't completely agree with the values in the table myself.

However, people got to get it out of their heads that if something is a Greater Bulk it's "heavier" than an item of lower bulk. It's just more difficult to carry practically. A bedroll can be rolled tightly and shoved in the bottom of a pack. Carrying a bow in adventuring conditions either means that it's held, strapped across the back unstrung, or shouldered like Legolas in a LotR movie.

People gotta understand that "heaviness" is only one component of what Bulk is, and that it's an abstract system to make inventory management more integral to character management and provides value for the Strength score, which Encumbrance didn't do because it was so granular that it got repeatedly ignored.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

...

Bulk is not the same thing as weight.

I have no problem with the Bulk values of various items being revised, I don't completely agree with the values in the table myself.

However, people got to get it out of their heads that if something is a Greater Bulk it's "heavier" than an item of lower bulk. It's just more difficult to carry practically.
...

Bulk is explicitly 5-10 pounds per unit. If we assume that longbows are some of the hardest things to carry ever and that bed rolls are some of the easiest, longbows are 10 times heavier. If we assume the reverse, longbows are 40 times heavier. All of these are nonsense, so we are just quibbling about irrelevant details at this point.

The problem isn't just that a few particular bulk values are off. It is that the entire system is completely incoherent as written. It is as if every single bulk value was assigned by a different person with different ideas about what makes something bulky and how much a person can carry, and not a single one of them compared notes. Throw in the fact that the listed bulk values outright contradict the guidelines to a jarring extent, and we are left with a system that you cannot apply logic to to derive the bulk values of new items, because the system is totally nonsensical.


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So while one reason I do not want weight to replace bulk is that I believe a system which limits "what you can carry" should consider both weight and "difficulty to carry." Like even if an individual framed oil painting is not very heavy, and you are strong, you should not be able to carry an entire art gallery with you. A ladder *should* be more difficult to carry because of its size than its weight.


I understand that the system is inconsistent, but I find it hard to believe this can't be fixed by correcting a number, maybe a large number, of Bulk values in the book.

On the other hand, the old pound system is also inconsistent and unrealistic in multiple ways. More importantly, it is very unpleasant to use, to the point that I don't want to: Whether I'm a player or GM, I have many more interesting things to do in-game.

Given the choice, I'll stick to Bulk. If faced with player revolt over realism/consistency (not super likely), then I'll revert to the old solution ie. ignore encumbrance from weight as long as players don't do something truly egregious, and if they do, apply GM fiat.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
*Just waits patiently for Greystone* (although actually I'm against Bulk as is myself.)

Well I'm not Greystone but I tend to be one of the remaining complainers.

And for me..., bulk is weird. Not bad. Not good. Just..., an odd change.

I prefer weight as if we maybe start digging, weight tends to be flat and referred to across everything as such. Bulk tends to be more handwavy and a "Just accept it and move on" type of deal. Which is great for just rolling through the game but if you are that focused on just speeding through the game, why track bulk anyway?

I don't think it solves the issue of people going to track it. It's another thing to count up and recheck every so often, even with the changes; I can't see it being used wide spread outside of PFS.

But I also don't MIND bulk because it does allow some details to shine through. A ladder might not be HEAVY but it is Bulky. I've had to move things in classrooms that didn't weigh much but they were just cumbersome to get a grip on. I think that's what Bulk is also going for; difficulty of carrying it.

If you like Bulk, use it. If you don't, switch back or don't use. I might prefer weight and don't mind having to pick up Muleback cords, but this is a change I'm not actually going to really be against.

Numbers might need some tweaking cause the idea of carrying a downed ally's body might come up. Or throwing enemies.


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It would have been easier to keep weight and give objects a size. Then just pop a chart in that gave you the size of objects that could be stowed, carried, carried 2 handed or shouldered, and dragged or pushed. It would also give you some guidelines for getting things through doorways or into the mouth of your bag of holding.

A simple rule of anything your size must be held two handed or shouldered, decrease carry requirements by 1 per size smaller than you. Appropriate storage decreases carry requirement by 1.


I can't use weight. I've tried. It drives me utterly insane to try and manage random weights of everything, what my current amount is (with decimals because of course there's a ton of decimals), and how much it changes each time something gets added. Not to mention having to add any new magic item to the slowly tilting spreadsheet of carried numbers. Even for brief times we do use it, we're forced to constantly pretend all our coinage has been somehow converted to gems to remove their weight. And I like numbers and spreadsheets - encumbrance and weight is just a step too far.

Bulk is good. It's a close enough approximation that my players won't drive themselves crazy questioning it, and it's simple enough that I can eyeball it and tell very quickly whether someone's encumbered or not, especially if it's sorted into light/not-light.

Can the numbers be massaged to smooth it out a touch? Sure. But there's absolutely no way my group will touch that section of the system if it goes back to weight. It will be ripped out Day 1.

Liberty's Edge

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Bulk is not the same thing as weight.

Feel free to substitute 'By the current system a Longbow is 20 times as hard to carry as a bedroll.'

Having carried both a bow and a bedroll, I assure you that's an even more absurd statement. A bedroll doesn't weigh all that much, but it's awkward as hell. Even strapped to you (or buried in a pack) it's probably at least as awkward as an unstrung bow (a strung bow is actually even easier if carried in hand...not that anyone does that with a longbow for any length of time, since it messes up the bow).

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
I have no problem with the Bulk values of various items being revised, I don't completely agree with the values in the table myself.

That's really all I'm suggesting. Bulk is conceptually fine if they revise everything and present some consistent standard for things not listed. And I mean both something less vague than '5 to 10 pounds' with no guidance which things should be 5 and which should be 10, and something consistent with the items on the chart.

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
However, people got to get it out of their heads that if something is a Greater Bulk it's "heavier" than an item of lower bulk. It's just more difficult to carry practically. A bedroll can be rolled tightly and shoved in the bottom of a pack. Carrying a bow in adventuring conditions either means that it's held, strapped across the back unstrung, or shouldered like Legolas in a LotR movie.

Weight isn't the only concern, but a bow being 20 times as difficult to carry as a bedroll? No. That's utterly absurd.

And, of course, this all ignores that a bo staff (ie: a stick of wood as long, and heavier, than a longbow) is only Bulk 1. Longbow Bulk is absurdly high for absolutely no logical reason whatsoever.

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
People gotta understand that "heaviness" is only one component of what Bulk is, and that it's an abstract system to make inventory management more integral to character management and provides value for the Strength score, which Encumbrance didn't do because it was so granular that it got repeatedly ignored.

Sure. And if Bulk even remotely correlated with the difficulty of carrying things, that would be fine. But it doesn't. At all. Even a little.


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Ninja in the Rye wrote:
The DM of wrote:

I agree. Bulk isn't usable to me. I don't get its relativity between disparate items like dmw's list. The list is taken to the extreme to show the absurdity of bulk.

I use a google spreadsheet for character sheets. It works great and let's everyone share their characters with me the GM. Encumbrance was never an issue for us. I'm sure that's partly because we didn't pay too much attention to it so it didn't get in the way of fun. However, we didn't want it to get out of hand, so players recorded weight in the column next to gear, armor, weapons, and coins which were dynamically calculated by the sheet. This added everything up for us and told us if we were getting ridiculous or not.

I don't know how to rewrite the logic to work with L's and numbers in the same fields, and I'm not interested in trying. Bulk doesn't make enough sense to justify it. What do we do in play now? We still try to keep from carrying ridiculous amounts but without the advantage of a numerical weight. We eyeball loads now but aren't adding L's and #'s.

So the old system you largely ignored and had to use a computer to keep track of to make sure you weren't going crazy with it? Isn't that an indication of a bad system?

And now, the designers aren't able to present a pre-generated version of Fumbus who respect the rules. Isn't that an indication of how bad the new system is?


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gwynfrid wrote:
The reduced granularity of Bulk is a vast improvement over the system of pounds, half-pounds, 1 pound for 10 bolts, 3 pounds for 20 arrows, etc that we had in PF1.

Now we have bulk, tenth bulk, 1 bulk for 100 arrows, etc. Awesome.

Edit: and I forgot, now we have 1-bulk-items that can't be stored into a container able to store 4 bulk. Awesome.


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I said it before and said it again - a System that makes it nearly impossible for me to gauge if characters can move a boulder/statue/cart because the bulk value is impossible to estimate is useless.
Keep Bulk or whatever you want if for carrying capacity - it makes no sense but there seems to be a Population that feels it's easier to use for that. I don't, but I largely ignored weight as well, so I have no stake in that fight.

But at least make Lifting/dragging/pulling into clear Guidelines using weight and/or size.

Can any of the People that say stuff is easy to eyeball what a door should be in bulk? A portcullies? A cart? An Ogre carcass?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Encumbrance: wasn't used much due to the effort vs benefit.

Bulk: won't be used much due to being vague and confusing.

*shrugs*


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
So while one reason I do not want weight to replace bulk is that I believe a system which limits "what you can carry" should consider both weight and "difficulty to carry." Like even if an individual framed oil painting is not very heavy, and you are strong, you should not be able to carry an entire art gallery with you. A ladder *should* be more difficult to carry because of its size than its weight.

I agree that a system that only uses weight is less accurate. But again, a more complex system only really works in a video game where you can make an exhaustive table of values. If 2 Bulk is everything from a longbow to a jug of water that I can barely lift off the ground and have to stumble around with, I have no clue what 2 Bulk is supposed to look or feel like. Especially when some things that are 1 Bulk, like the tent, feel more awkward to carry than some things that are 2 Bulk, like a longbow.

How much bulk is the orc carcass I'm dragging back to town? How much bulk is all the art the players are looting from a dungeon?

Pounds may not be perfect, but they at least have a clear meaning.


Rysky wrote:

Encumbrance: wasn't used much due to the effort vs benefit.

Bulk: won't be used much due to being vague and confusing.

*shrugs*

Both bulk and weight provide little benefit for the effort.

The heart of the matter is that encumbrance is a complex combination of volume, weight, form, containers, hand-holds, and balance. The administrivia of tracking applying all those measurements isn't worth the effort to create such a system.

1 Longbow fits in your hand.

25 Longbows fit into two arms, carried like firewood, and are heavy. Plus, you'll probably have to turn sideways to get through a door.

25 Longbows fit into a long bag, but still takes two arms and collectively are heavy. You'll get tired of bear-hugging a bag and you might not fit through a hole unless you set the bag down.

25 Longbows in a duffel bag with a strap can be carried over your shoulder and are heavy, but perhaps one hand is free. Again, you might not fit through a tight gap.

25 Longbows in a tall backpack can be carried on your back, is heavy, and both hands are free. Again, tight gap.

Containers essentially shift some volume discussions into weight discussions.

The bulk rules are simultaneously a heroic, quixotic, and silly attempt to turn all of that into two integers (Bulk and L) instead of one floating point value that was used by weight.

As you say... /shrug. Ignore bulk. Let the DM eyeball it.


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gwynfrid wrote:

I understand that the system is inconsistent, but I find it hard to believe this can't be fixed by correcting a number, maybe a large number, of Bulk values in the book.

On the other hand, the old pound system is also inconsistent and unrealistic in multiple ways. More importantly, it is very unpleasant to use, to the point that I don't want to: Whether I'm a player or GM, I have many more interesting things to do in-game.

Given the choice, I'll stick to Bulk. If faced with player revolt over realism/consistency (not super likely), then I'll revert to the old solution ie. ignore encumbrance from weight as long as players don't do something truly egregious, and if they do, apply GM fiat.

The precision problem can't be fixed by tweaking some numbers, because the precision is inherently absent by design. That a longbow is twenty times harder to carry than any L item is inherently baked into the design and can't be fixed. Tweaking numbers gets it to 10x instead, that's as close as you can get.

The design is fundamentally flawed if you want to have anything even remotely resembling sane measurement. It simply can't be done as designed, and you will always have this "one of these is equivalent to 10 of these, which makes no sense at all" problems. Let alone when you put it on a horse and suddenly pup tents and shortswords don't count whatsoever, longswords become light, while longbows are still 2 bulk because reasons. On a horse, twenty longswords is the equivalent of one longbow or probably like 100 shortswords (but as the system doesn't give you anything to work with on shortswords at all, the DM has to just make up a limit here).

If the goal is just to make it easier to handwave encumbrance, I'd suggest we should simply handwave encumbrance instead. But this system is awful for measuring anything.


ErichAD wrote:

The result of bulk so far has been my players not bothering to loot or search for loot since they can't carry anything. They have about 6 spare bulk between them and I've just populated it with whatever has the best weight to bulk ratio so I know what they would have gathered.

Yay I guess.

Like I said before (here or in a similar thread), that makes sense if we assume that the structure of an adventure is supposed to include the party Wizard (or an NPC Wizard hired on the party's behalf) casting divination spells before the party sets off to determine not the hazards or monsters they'll be facing but whether the loot is un-bulky enough to be carried out.

So, do any of the characters in the fiction (novels or comics) conduct themselves in this way?

"Just hire hirelings/pack mules/get a Bag of Holding."

Do any of the characters in the fiction conduct themselves in this way? (Yes, Varian Jeggare has a magic stagecoach. But one such example or even a few doesn't make the practice expected.)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Chance Wyvernspur wrote:
Rysky wrote:

Encumbrance: wasn't used much due to the effort vs benefit.

Bulk: won't be used much due to being vague and confusing.

*shrugs*

Both bulk and weight provide little benefit for the effort.

The heart of the matter is that encumbrance is a complex combination of volume, weight, form, containers, hand-holds, and balance. The administrivia of tracking applying all those measurements isn't worth the effort to create such a system.

1 Longbow fits in your hand.

25 Longbows fit into two arms, carried like firewood, and are heavy. Plus, you'll probably have to turn sideways to get through a door.

25 Longbows fit into a long bag, but still takes two arms and collectively are heavy. You'll get tired of bear-hugging a bag and you might not fit through a hole unless you set the bag down.

25 Longbows in a duffel bag with a strap can be carried over your shoulder and are heavy, but perhaps one hand is free. Again, you might not fit through a tight gap.

25 Longbows in a tall backpack can be carried on your back, is heavy, and both hands are free. Again, tight gap.

Containers essentially shift some volume discussions into weight discussions.

The bulk rules are simultaneously a heroic, quixotic, and silly attempt to turn all of that into two integers (Bulk and L) instead of one floating point value that was used by weight.

As you say... /shrug. Ignore bulk. Let the DM eyeball it.

By that outcome then just use encumbrance since those numbers actually map in a way that make sense and will be used by people who want to use them.

I don't think with the bulk system people who ignore it will come across an item and go "I wonder how much bulk that is?" How much does it weigh? Definitely. But not how much bulk if you're ignoring the bulk system implemented.


The way I'm handling the esoteric "anywhere form 5 to 10 pounds" is as follows:

10 pounds if the object is reasonably easy to carry or move and not of unwieldy size for the person. For example, a human body draped over the shoulders, a Boulder being rolled, sheathed weapon on the belt or back, the armor you are wearing, etc. These item can be the maximum weight while retaining low bulk.

Then as the items start getting weirder, the weight starts to go down while bulk stays the same. Here we have things like the ladder, large bows that don't fit in any container, high-density metals, etc. These may not be as heavy, but they suck to carry, so 5 pounds to the bulk.

Have not yet needed a level of granularity betwen the minimum and maximum. Just "easy to carry for it's weight" and "hard to carry for it's weight" categories is good starting point.


I would honestly prefer the range on bulk were extended beyond 5-10 lbs, 5-20 seems better for me for "range of difficulty to carry". Like a 16' aluminium extension ladder and 1 pint of uranium both weigh 20 lbs. Someone who can comfortably carry 100+ lbs should be able to carry 5 pint-sized cubes of uranium sure, but not 5 ladders.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I would honestly prefer the range on bulk were extended beyond 5-10 lbs, 5-20 seems better for me for "range of difficulty to carry". Like a 16' aluminium extension ladder and 1 pint of uranium both weigh 20 lbs. Someone who can comfortably carry 100+ lbs should be able to carry 5 pint-sized cubes of uranium sure, but not 5 ladders.

But what even is "difficult"? 2 Bulk, for example, includes everything from most two-handed weapons to 5-gallon kegs of ale, and 1 Bulk includes everything from a flute to a tent. By the stated rule of 5-10 lbs for 1 Bulk, and each additional Bulk is another 10 lbs, that keg of ale should be more like 7 or 8 Bulk.


Tridus wrote:
If the goal is just to make it easier to handwave encumbrance, I'd suggest we should simply handwave encumbrance instead. But this system is awful for measuring anything.

That's probably because it isn't intended to measure anything. It's only intended to broadly represent how difficult something is to carry around. Note that "difficulty to carry around" isn't something anyone attempts to measure in the real world, although everyone usually has an idea how hard or easy it is for themselves to carry any given thing. Encumbrance has no valid metric: weight isn't one, volume isn't one, packaging matters just as much as weight, etc. It's a fuzzy thing, by nature.

To quote from the Playtest book: "The Bulk value of an item reflects how difficult an item is to handle, representing both weight and the size of the item. In most cases, you don’t need to worry about Bulk unless you’re carrying numerous substantial items or you have a low Strength score."

... So it's explicitly intended to handwave the matter, at least up to a point. It's there for situations when the load is high enough that handwaving it entirely begins to break credibility. The implementation might leave something to be desired in the present incarnation, but the principle, to me, is sound. Of course it will never satisfy anyone who wants to measure encumbrance, but then, there is no satisfactory way to measure encumbrance anyway.


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gwynfrid wrote:
That's probably because it isn't intended to measure anything. It's only intended to broadly represent how difficult something is to carry around. Note that "difficulty to carry around" isn't something anyone attempts to measure in the real world, although everyone usually has an idea how hard or easy it is for themselves to carry any given thing. Encumbrance has no valid metric: weight isn't one, volume isn't one, packaging matters just as much as weight, etc. It's a fuzzy thing, by nature.

Except that it's a measurement system, it is by definition trying to measure something. It's just trying to measure a fuzzy concept instead of a concrete thing. Your quote farther down makes that clear.

Which would be fine, if it had enough precision to actually do that.

A system that says "twenty shortswords is the same as one longbow, and there is only one increment in between them" doesn't do that, and can't possibly do it. It can't fundamentally work in any reasonable way.

Quote:
To quote from the Playtest book: "The Bulk value of an item reflects how difficult an item is to handle, representing both weight and the size of the item. In most cases, you don’t need to worry about Bulk unless you’re carrying numerous substantial items or you have a low Strength score."

Isn't a spellbook the same bulk as a full keg of ale in this system? I had no idea spellbooks were that bulky and hard to carry, because they're certainly not heavy. I always pictured them as a book, of which I can stick several into a backpack (something I most definitely can't do with a keg of ale).

As to not worrying about it, the experience of using it makes pretty clear that you need to worry about it if you have anything even remotely resembling a standard adventurer loadout of gear and you're not a STR based class. Take a look at the stuff the iconic characters are carrying and make that work in bulk. It gets messy, fast.

Quote:
... So it's explicitly intended to handwave the matter, at least up to a point. It's there for situations when the load is high enough that handwaving it entirely begins to break credibility. The implementation might leave something to be desired in the present incarnation, but the principle, to me, is sound. Of course it will never satisfy anyone who wants to measure encumbrance, but then, there is no satisfactory way to measure encumbrance anyway.

If it actually did its own stated goals, then maybe. But it doesn't do that. It strains credibility on its own (like with a horse carrying 20 longswords or 1 longbow as the same bulk). It doesn't give me the tools to figure out when someone is encumbered or struggling to move something that isn't in the book, and the example they give of how I should estimate bulk is not in the same solar system as the values for things that are in the book.

I mean, if people didn't like measuring their stuff in the first place in specific and just wanted to handwave "you can carry it or you can't carry it", then the loss of precision doesn't matter since you weren't using the precision in the first place. So that's fine.

For anyone who actually does want to do that, this system completely breaks that and replaces it with something unworkable. Now when the PCs find something that isn't in the book, I can't even begin to fathom a consistent answer as to how much bulk that thing should be.

That is not an improvement.


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gwynfrid wrote:

To quote from the Playtest book: "The Bulk value of an item reflects how difficult an item is to handle, representing both weight and the size of the item. In most cases, you don’t need to worry about Bulk unless you’re carrying numerous substantial items or you have a low Strength score."

... So it's explicitly intended to handwave the matter, at least up to a point. It's there for situations when the load is high enough that handwaving it entirely begins to break credibility. The implementation might leave something to be desired in the present incarnation, but the principle, to me, is sound. Of course it will never satisfy anyone who wants to measure encumbrance, but then, there is no satisfactory way to measure encumbrance anyway.

Maybe. But EVERYBODY can get to max or near max capacity very easily.

What is a "low STR score"?

Elf Wizard, 10 STR: Leather armor, longbow, rapier, spellbook. That's it. He has an average STR. 10. Not below average. Put on a leather jacket, grab a bow and rapier and a big book, and can't carry anything else except light items (dagger, arrows, a few coins, etc.).

Human Fighter, 18 STR: Splint Mail, heavy shield, longsword, shortbow, and a bit of basic adventuring gear (backpack, climbing kit, rope, grapple, repair kit for his shield, waterskin - total 3) and that's it. He can't carry anything else.

These two example characters cannot even carry a backup weapon heavier than a dagger. They won't be able to carry any treasure back from their adventure. They're maxxed.

OK, so maybe the rulebook says to just hadwaive this because they don't have "low STR scores".

But if that's true, then just drop the bulk system and leave it entirely up to the GM to arbitrate on who is encumbered and who is not.

And if it's not true, then 5+STRmod is way too low for ANYBODY to actually be an adventurer unless they want to:
a) be dreadfully unprepared
b) leave the treasure in the dungeon because they can't carry it
c) have hirelings or packmules on hand to carry their loot home

None of those fit with our (at least my) imagination of adventurers being well-equipped, prepared professionals who run off to dungeons, have the right tool for the job, and bring home sacks of plundered loot.


gwynfrid wrote:

I understand that the system is inconsistent, but I find it hard to believe this can't be fixed by correcting a number, maybe a large number, of Bulk values in the book.

On the other hand, the old pound system is also inconsistent and unrealistic in multiple ways. More importantly, it is very unpleasant to use, to the point that I don't want to: Whether I'm a player or GM, I have many more interesting things to do in-game.

Given the choice, I'll stick to Bulk. If faced with player revolt over realism/consistency (not super likely), then I'll revert to the old solution ie. ignore encumbrance from weight as long as players don't do something truly egregious, and if they do, apply GM fiat.

I have to agree with this -- whatever replaces it, the PF1 and 3.x pounds system is extremely cumbersome to use without a computer program, very punitive to anyone who isn't a star athlete with STR 15 or higher or who doesn't have magic bags, and is unpleasant to use.


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ENHenry wrote:
the PF1 and 3.x pounds system is extremely cumbersome

I see what you did there...


DM_Blake wrote:
gwynfrid wrote:

To quote from the Playtest book: "The Bulk value of an item reflects how difficult an item is to handle, representing both weight and the size of the item. In most cases, you don’t need to worry about Bulk unless you’re carrying numerous substantial items or you have a low Strength score."

... So it's explicitly intended to handwave the matter, at least up to a point. It's there for situations when the load is high enough that handwaving it entirely begins to break credibility. The implementation might leave something to be desired in the present incarnation, but the principle, to me, is sound. Of course it will never satisfy anyone who wants to measure encumbrance, but then, there is no satisfactory way to measure encumbrance anyway.

Maybe. But EVERYBODY can get to max or near max capacity very easily.

What is a "low STR score"?

Elf Wizard, 10 STR: Leather armor, longbow, rapier, spellbook. That's it. He has an average STR. 10. Not below average. Put on a leather jacket, grab a bow and rapier and a big book, and can't carry anything else except light items (dagger, arrows, a few coins, etc.).

Human Fighter, 18 STR: Splint Mail, heavy shield, longsword, shortbow, and a bit of basic adventuring gear (backpack, climbing kit, rope, grapple, repair kit for his shield, waterskin - total 3) and that's it. He can't carry anything else.

These two example characters cannot even carry a backup weapon heavier than a dagger. They won't be able to carry any treasure back from their adventure. They're maxxed.

OK, so maybe the rulebook says to just hadwaive this because they don't have "low STR scores".

But if that's true, then just drop the bulk system and leave it entirely up to the GM to arbitrate on who is encumbered and who is not.

And if it's not true, then 5+STRmod is way too low for ANYBODY to actually be an adventurer unless they want to:
a) be dreadfully unprepared
b) leave the treasure in the dungeon because they can't carry it
c) have hirelings...

I was only able to fav this once, and that's a travesty.


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Followup to my last post.

I said "They're maxxed" and "cannot carry any more" but I should have included "without being encumbered".

I suppose if they're OK staggering around with a reduced speed (-10) and increased armor check penalty (minimum of 2, other wise +2), then they can each carry 5 more bulk.

LOL, maybe they can split up their ranger's Snare Kit and each carry half of it for him...


Tectorman wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
...
I was only able to fav this once, and that's a travesty.

Here, take mine.


DM_Blake wrote:

Followup to my last post.

I said "They're maxxed" and "cannot carry any more" but I should have included "without being encumbered".

I suppose if they're OK staggering around with a reduced speed (-10) and increased armor check penalty (minimum of 2, other wise +2), then they can each carry 5 more bulk.

LOL, maybe they can split up their ranger's Snare Kit and each carry half of it for him...

True, that is something they could do. I just ask that this be demonstrated in the fiction we're meant to want to exemplify first.


DM_Blake wrote:

And if it's not true, then 5+STRmod is way too low for ANYBODY to actually be an adventurer unless they want to:

a) be dreadfully unprepared
b) leave the treasure in the dungeon because they can't carry it
c) have hirelings or packmules on hand to carry their loot home

None of those fit with our (at least my) imagination of adventurers being well-equipped, prepared professionals who run off to dungeons, have the right tool for the job, and bring home sacks of plundered loot.

Have all my likes. But in terms of this part specifically, there is another option:

d) Treat bags of holding as the mandatory items they are in this system.


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I could do without encumbrance rules of any kind. In PF1 usually handwave it at my table, since it is very rare for weight carried to impose greater limits than you already have from armor worn.

I had a cleric with Str 7 wearing full plate (This was in 3E). Full plate has such high penalties, that encumbrance didn't affect her.

I don't like the bulk system simply because it is so complex. Trying to calculate the encumbrance of the camels in In Pale Mountain's Shadow was a major headache. And, after calculating this, we found we might as well not have, since the camels practically had unlimited carrying capacity. Simply compounding weight is so much easier.

That said I can live with Bulk as it applies to PCs. The thing I want to change is the heavy encumbrance limit: I want it to be twice your normal limit, not just 5 points higher. One reason is to allow strong characters to carry fallen comrades. Another is to give Strength more agency here, where Strength really ought to matter.


Bulk is pretty entertaining for a titan barbarian. You get to have camel bulk for 3/4ths of your turns.

If you want to download a sheet that has all the mundane loot sorted by gold per bulk split between heavy and medium carriers.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UgMiba5Aw4mI5cZYUvka6A-_7nABYTuodDK 32Iqbnmc/edit?usp=sharing

That should let you download it. I don't use google sheets much, so if it doesn't work let me know and I'll try to fix it.


ErichAD wrote:

If you want to download a sheet that has all the mundane loot sorted by gold per bulk split between Large and Medium carriers.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UgMiba5Aw4mI5cZYUvka6A-_7nABYTuodDK 32Iqbnmc/edit?usp=sharing

My emphasis. I also changed heavy [carrier] to Large, as I think that was what was meant.

The point I want to make is that having to optimize cost/bulk differently between Large And Medium bearers shows how weird the current system is.


I couldn't agree more. Needing to draw up a spreadsheet just to see at a glance weight to gold ratios is silly enough without the added step of size changes. The size changes are needed for bulk to work, but so are several other things like stowing and packing rules.


Based on the examples the system does have, it seems bulk is actually some sort of an expanding scale. It's not really 5 to 10 pounds to each bulk, it is 5 to 10 pounds to exactly one bulk, and probably something like 11 to 50 pounds for 2 bulk, etc. until you get to the values of small creature being 4 bulk and a medium creature 8 bulk.

I thought the devs said in one of the threads leading up to the release of the playtest that there would be a table or illustration to help determine the bulk of creatures (and thus, items based on size) because carrying people was a big complaint for Starfinder. Anybody else remember reading that?

Grand Lodge

Bulk makes a lot more sense in a sci-fi setting like Starfinder, when you want to limit what people can carry and manoeuvre with in zero-G environments.

It feels like a strange backport in Pathfinder.


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After playing enough Starfinder, I greatly dislike the bulk system. All it does is take weight, create a fictional unit of measure for it, and then obfuscate it even further.

I've never had a problem with the weight/carrying capacity system, but I also don't see 10+2+4+7+0+0=? as being more difficult than 1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+0.1+0.1+0.1+0.1+0.1+0.1+0.1+0.1+0.1=?

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