Small champion on medium mount doesn't really work?


Rules Discussion

Silver Crusade

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So champions can select a mount as their divine bond. And for a small sized PC champion, a medium sized pony should theoretically work. Or a goblin riding a medium sized wolf after level 6 (the wolf is apparently too small to carry the gobbo from levels 3-5).

The problem is that these medium sized creatures don't get an increase to their carrying capacity for having extra legs, the way they did in 1st edition. Thus, they can carry a small sized creature... but not a small sized creature in the heavy armor, shield, and weaponry that a champion is likely to be wearing. The champion is just too heavy for their mount to avoid being encumbered. And what kind of mount would they be with the clumsy condition and slower speed?

Am I reading this correctly, or is there some way around this that I'm missing?

Actually, now that I'm doing the math, even a large sized horse will be straining to carry a medium sized champion in full gear, though at least they can actually pull it off without being encumbered... barely. The encumbrance rules for non-humanoids just seem off to me.


"You might need to know the Bulk of a creature, especially if you need to carry someone off the battlefield. The table that follows lists the typical Bulk of a creature based on its size, but the GM might adjust this number."

This suggests to me that the abstraction is that the whole creature and their gear is included in that table amount. In a similar sense to how wearing armour causes armour to be one bulk lower than it actually is or a backpack is negligible rather than Light when worn.
I doubt that they decided to talk about dragging naked bodies from the battlefield.

That aside though. A riding horse has what. 18 bulk, treats all 1 bulk items as Light and all light as negligible. A warhorse is sitting at 20 bulk same rules.

Full plate, a steel shield, adventurers kit with full water skin, Lance, heavy crossbow, arming sword and more...
Is only 14B 1L out of 18 or 20. And that is assuming you count all your equipment.

Small creatures do have issues if you assume they are limited in the same way.

This said, I would even wager since nothing to do with mounting a mount mentions bulk, that as long as something qualifies as a mount, you can mount it and bulk is irrelevant to the discussion.

Silver Crusade

For the horse and medium PC, I was figuring 12-13 bulk in equipment, plus the extra bulk of the person himself, which gets the horse close to encumbered, but not quite. So it works.

I hadn't considered that the person bulk might include their gear. I was adding it to the gear, which is why I had trouble with a 16 strength medium wolf carrying an 18 strength goblin champion + gear that comes close to encumbering the goblin.

But if that bulk is supposed to include carrying their worn gear along with their body, then it would work, though it wouldn't make much sense. How is a goblin carrying 8 bulk worth of stuff only counted as 3 bulk for the purposes of someone else carrying him?


"but the GM might adjust this number."

Covers it imo. Remember, bulk exists because too many people were handwaving encumberance and finding it a pain. So this is a way for it to still have an impact but be less stressful to track.
For a person carrying another character you are dragging them in most cases. Meaning you require both hands and move slower.

Keep in mind bulk is not weight, and if the creature is concious and holding its self up on the back of a creature in riding equipment, there is no way the creature is feeling the same level of difficulty in carrying it as if it were a limp corpse laden in gear.

So you wearing bulky stuff makes it harder for you to move about, but not necessarily the same level of difficulty for others to move you about.

Bulk is an extreme abstraction.

How do you get 12-13 bulk in equiment? That is a huge amount of large weapons. Remember that 1 bulk items are all treated as light for a horse. The 14B 1L I mentioned above included 6B for the person.

I would still wager paizo intends mount restrictions to be size, training/willingness and to not be bulk based though.


Fromper wrote:

For the horse and medium PC, I was figuring 12-13 bulk in equipment, plus the extra bulk of the person himself, which gets the horse close to encumbered, but not quite. So it works.

I hadn't considered that the person bulk might include their gear. I was adding it to the gear, which is why I had trouble with a 16 strength medium wolf carrying an 18 strength goblin champion + gear that comes close to encumbering the goblin.

But if that bulk is supposed to include carrying their worn gear along with their body, then it would work, though it wouldn't make much sense. How is a goblin carrying 8 bulk worth of stuff only counted as 3 bulk for the purposes of someone else carrying him?

I see Bulk as inventory slots basically.

How much stuff can you fix to your body and still move around.

A 5m aluminum ladder is not that heavy, but it is pain in the ass to run around or jump with it.
I you put that weight in lead ingot and put it in a nicely made backpack you would almost not feel it while carrying it around.

So with Goblins 8 bulk worth of Bulk., (LoL)you need not to worry as it is probably secured to his body, you need to only worry about securing the goblin to you body.


Igor Horvat wrote:


So with Goblins 8 bulk worth of Bulk., (LoL)you need not to worry as it is probably secured to his body, you need to only worry about securing the goblin to you body.

And that truly something to be concerned about. If for no other reason than you can never be quite sure that the goblin has sealed its vat of pickled foetus, cabbage and banana skin.


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Wait, so after killing all the goblins, I shouldn't loot the bodies?
I should put what loot I find onto their bodies and carry those because they're lighter?
Every goblin is a potential bag of holding.
"Okay, Mr. Merchant, I'm here to-"
"What the heck!"
"Oh, yeah, let me step outside and pile these corpses somewhere."
"You realize goblins are socially acceptable now, right? Guards!"
"Um...I found them in the wild?"

Pixie murders increase dramatically as Pathfinder Society distributes dead Pixies to its members who often dress them up like miniature adventurers or kings adorned in treasure.

Bulk's so clunky. As somebody who actually did track encumbrance, I'm quite inclined to ignore Bulk. Too wonky.


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Castilliano wrote:

Wait, so after killing all the goblins, I shouldn't loot the bodies?

I should put what loot I find onto their bodies and carry those because they're lighter?
Every goblin is a potential bag of holding.
"Okay, Mr. Merchant, I'm here to-"
"What the heck!"
"Oh, yeah, let me step outside and pile these corpses somewhere."
"You realize goblins are socially acceptable now, right? Guards!"
"Um...I found them in the wild?"

Pixie murders increase dramatically as Pathfinder Society distributes dead Pixies to its members who often dress them up like miniature adventurers or kings adorned in treasure.

Bulk's so clunky. As somebody who actually did track encumbrance, I'm quite inclined to ignore Bulk. Too wonky.

Well that is why the line about GMs adjusting the bulk of a creature exists. And putting items on a creature can only happen if they have the space / it can fit.

Reality is, it is a non issue unless you run into people being willfully difficult. And they will cause issues regardless of the system.

But I do understand how people who did track weight would find it to be an inferior system.

Personally it has made my life easier, my players actually track weight and keep on top of it where as with standard imperial units I have to check fairly frequently because nobody seems to be able to track anything when it comes to container limits, despite using a digital table top and it being even easier than with pen and paper.


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I have trouble accepting the idea a character's gear is less Bulk (or not counted) when carried by another.
Bulk ratings are in part based on ease of carrying, which is to say when properly worn.
When those are carried as item, as they are indirectly when carrying a person who is wearing armor, that ergonomic benefit doesn't apply.

If this could be boiled down to precise points of rules question, it could be good question for Paizo Twitch Stream FAQ thread.


Quandary wrote:

I have trouble accepting the idea a character's gear is less Bulk (or not counted) when carried by another.

Bulk ratings are in part based on ease of carrying, which is to say when properly worn.
When those are carried as item, as they are indirectly when carrying a person who is wearing armor, that ergonomic benefit doesn't apply.

Mechanically I see that as being taken into account with how most of the time you will either be pushed into encumbered territory and or be forced to drag a creature (and dragging drops you down to 5ft per 6s).

I know that as a GM any creature laden with gear would get bulk increases if someone would want to drag them, but I know others are not fans of GM variance/rulings.

Quandary wrote:

If this could be boiled down to precise points of rules question, it could be good question for Paizo Twitch Stream FAQ thread.

Possibly the following

- For the purpose of moving/carrying/dragging a character. Is a character's bulk the sum of the character's equipment and the amount listed on the "bulk of creatures table" (pg.272), or does the figure given represent the character's entire weight to others?

- Do mounts factor in character bulk when determining if a character can ride it and are encumbered or not? If so, does this use the bulk of the character (pg.272) or is it the sum of the bulk of the character and their equipment?

Exo-Guardians

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The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Reality is, it is a non issue unless you run into people being willfully difficult. And they will cause issues regardless of the system.

LOL, this is the appropriate response to at least 3/4 of the threads on this forum...


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thing were much more simpler with simple weight and carrying capacity.

And a DM with a bit of common sense to tell you that you cannot walk around like Crazy Ivan

https://images.app.goo.gl/D8Bi97FBfBsyp43E7

Silver Crusade

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So it sounds like there's nothing in the rules that clearly contradicts my original guess when I started this thread. So a small sized PC on a medium mount just isn't a playable build in Pathfinder Society.

Hopefully, someone at Paizo will change that answer some time soon.


Igor Horvat wrote:
thing were much more simpler with simple weight and carrying capacity.

Elements are, most other elements aren't imo. For instance if a creature's weight is simply size+GM adjustment. Then that is objectively easier to figure out on the fly (when it would be needed) than if you were calculating each race's specific size/weight and adjusting for their equipment in a straight weight system.

And if the GM was just arbitrarily giving weights to things then there is no difference in the scenario realistically, just mental metrics used to set the weight/bulk figure.

I would say that size shifts are just as easy to calculate for with both.

It becomes more complex if people try to insert verisimilitude into it that the system wasn't designed for though. Square peg circular hole conundrum.
The challenge for a designer is trying to decide what elements the average user would like to have simulated and what elements would be better approximate

Igor Horvat wrote:
And a DM with a bit of common sense to tell you that you cannot walk around like Crazy Ivan

That is going back to handwavium though, which seems to be one of the bigger complaints people have about bulk, except with even more GM fiat.

Be aware that I am not intending to post this as a "value what I value" statement, I just like discussing elements like this.


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The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Igor Horvat wrote:
thing were much more simpler with simple weight and carrying capacity.

Elements are, most other elements aren't imo. For instance if a creature's weight is simply size+GM adjustment. Then that is objectively easier to figure out on the fly (when it would be needed) than if you were calculating each race's specific size/weight and adjusting for their equipment in a straight weight system.

And if the GM was just arbitrarily giving weights to things then there is no difference in the scenario realistically, just mental metrics used to set the weight/bulk figure.

I would say that size shifts are just as easy to calculate for with both.

It becomes more complex if people try to insert verisimilitude into it that the system wasn't designed for though. Square peg circular hole conundrum.
The challenge for a designer is trying to decide what elements the average user would like to have simulated and what elements would be better approximate

Igor Horvat wrote:
And a DM with a bit of common sense to tell you that you cannot walk around like Crazy Ivan

That is going back to handwavium though, which seems to be one of the bigger complaints people have about bulk, except with even more GM fiat.

Be aware that I am not intending to post this as a "value what I value" statement, I just like discussing elements like this.

Well as weight goes, we write up all gear on character sheet and out own weight.

Also if medium creature is lets say 5 Bulk, is every one 5 Bulk?

Last time in 5E i played 20 str half orc fighter. And as str comes from BIG muscles he had 280lb. Is that same Bulk as 100bl 8 str She-Elf Sorceress?


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Saros Palanthios wrote:
The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Reality is, it is a non issue unless you run into people being willfully difficult. And they will cause issues regardless of the system.
LOL, this is the appropriate response to at least 3/4 of the threads on this forum...

I don't really agree that anyone trying to figure out how a particular rule that is written, is supposed to operate, should be listed as being Willfully Difficult.

I prefer to understand how something is supposed to work before I choose to handwave it if by my tables estimation the rule doesn't work for us. If I figure out it is a mess, I may well table it and rule something for the moment in the game so we can continue. But I won't hold it against a user if they want to know how something is supposed to work. (or hold it against them if they want to better understand how it is being home-brewed to work in a local game)

I know they tried to simplify things by basically treating all small and medium creatures basically all treat items and things as they are all the same size. But it creates some distinct issues for things like this.

Silver Crusade

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Loreguard wrote:
Saros Palanthios wrote:
The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Reality is, it is a non issue unless you run into people being willfully difficult. And they will cause issues regardless of the system.
LOL, this is the appropriate response to at least 3/4 of the threads on this forum...

I don't really agree that anyone trying to figure out how a particular rule that is written, is supposed to operate, should be listed as being Willfully Difficult.

I prefer to understand how something is supposed to work before I choose to handwave it if by my tables estimation the rule doesn't work for us. If I figure out it is a mess, I may well table it and rule something for the moment in the game so we can continue. But I won't hold it against a user if they want to know how something is supposed to work. (or hold it against them if they want to better understand how it is being home-brewed to work in a local game)

I know they tried to simplify things by basically treating all small and medium creatures basically all treat items and things as they are all the same size. But it creates some distinct issues for things like this.

Exactly. Plus, some of us play PFS, which is RAW only. If the rules say something doesn't work, we can't just hand wave it away in PFS. And as far as I can tell, the rules say that small creatures riding medium mounts don't work in 2e.

Exo-Guardians

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Fromper wrote:
Exactly. Plus, some of us play PFS, which is RAW only. If the rules say something doesn't work, we can't just hand wave it away in PFS. And as far as I can tell, the rules say that small creatures riding medium mounts don't work in 2e.

The Gleeful Grognard already answered your original question about small creatures riding medium mounts-- as he said, the "Bulk of Creatures" table on pg 272 of the CRB gives the typical bulk for various size creatures, and the table is clearly referring to fully armed and armored creatures, since it's introduced with a line about being especially useful "if you need to carry someone off the battlefield".

A Young Wolf has a STR of +2, so it can carry 7 bulk. Per the Bulk of Creatures table, a typical Small creature has a bulk of 3. So a typical Small character can easily ride a Medium mount, with plenty of room left over for barding or saddlebags.

Bulk is not an additive quantity like weight. It's an abstraction-- just like HP or Spell Slots are abstractions. That's why Armor has different Bulk depending on whether you're wearing it or carrying it around. The Bulk of a creature is not the same as the sum of the Bulk of everything it's wearing or carrying. That's simply not how Bulk works.

There's no handwaving required-- the RAW tells you to use Bulk this way, not the way you seem to want to.

Exo-Guardians

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Igor Horvat wrote:

Also if medium creature is lets say 5 Bulk, is every one 5 Bulk?

Last time in 5E i played 20 str half orc fighter. And as str comes from BIG muscles he had 280lb. Is that same Bulk as 100bl 8 str She-Elf Sorceress?

No. The CRB is explicit: "The table that follows lists the typical Bulk of a creature based on its size, but the GM might adjust this number." That's RAW.


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Saros Palanthios wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Exactly. Plus, some of us play PFS, which is RAW only. If the rules say something doesn't work, we can't just hand wave it away in PFS. And as far as I can tell, the rules say that small creatures riding medium mounts don't work in 2e.

The Gleeful Grognard already answered your original question about small creatures riding medium mounts-- as he said, the "Bulk of Creatures" table on pg 272 of the CRB gives the typical bulk for various size creatures, and the table is clearly referring to fully armed and armored creatures, since it's introduced with a line about being especially useful "if you need to carry someone off the battlefield".

A Young Wolf has a STR of +2, so it can carry 7 bulk. Per the Bulk of Creatures table, a typical Small creature has a bulk of 3. So a typical Small character can easily ride a Medium mount, with plenty of room left over for barding or saddlebags.

Bulk is not an additive quantity like weight. It's an abstraction-- just like HP or Spell Slots are abstractions. That's why Armor has different Bulk depending on whether you're wearing it or carrying it around. The Bulk of a creature is not the same as the sum of the Bulk of everything it's wearing or carrying. That's simply not how Bulk works.

There's no handwaving required-- the RAW tells you to use Bulk this way, not the way you seem to want to.

That would seem counter-intuitive. A fully armed and armored small creature has a total bulk of just 3? Even if that gnome is wearing plate (bulk 4) has a longsword (bulk 1), artisan's tools (bulk 2) and an adventurers pack (bulk 1 or 2)? So why is it harder for that gnome to carry all his stuff than it is for a halfling to come along and pick up the gnome, equipment and all? That just doesn't follow for me.


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Mellack wrote:
Saros Palanthios wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Exactly. Plus, some of us play PFS, which is RAW only. If the rules say something doesn't work, we can't just hand wave it away in PFS. And as far as I can tell, the rules say that small creatures riding medium mounts don't work in 2e.

The Gleeful Grognard already answered your original question about small creatures riding medium mounts-- as he said, the "Bulk of Creatures" table on pg 272 of the CRB gives the typical bulk for various size creatures, and the table is clearly referring to fully armed and armored creatures, since it's introduced with a line about being especially useful "if you need to carry someone off the battlefield".

A Young Wolf has a STR of +2, so it can carry 7 bulk. Per the Bulk of Creatures table, a typical Small creature has a bulk of 3. So a typical Small character can easily ride a Medium mount, with plenty of room left over for barding or saddlebags.

Bulk is not an additive quantity like weight. It's an abstraction-- just like HP or Spell Slots are abstractions. That's why Armor has different Bulk depending on whether you're wearing it or carrying it around. The Bulk of a creature is not the same as the sum of the Bulk of everything it's wearing or carrying. That's simply not how Bulk works.

There's no handwaving required-- the RAW tells you to use Bulk this way, not the way you seem to want to.

That would seem counter-intuitive. A fully armed and armored small creature has a total bulk of just 3? Even if that gnome is wearing plate (bulk 4) has a longsword (bulk 1), artisan's tools (bulk 2) and an adventurers pack (bulk 1 or 2)? So why is it harder for that gnome to carry all his stuff than it is for a halfling to come along and pick up the gnome, equipment and all? That just doesn't follow for me.

Because it keeps the game moving and allows you to hoist someone when you need too, mostly.

The in-narrative justification is that bulk is meant to represent how unwieldy carrying things are. When you carry an object it is going to take up room in your bag, or your grip, or what have you. When someone carries you, all that stuff just kind of stays attached.

Exo-Guardians

Mellack wrote:
That would seem counter-intuitive. A fully armed and armored small creature has a total bulk of just 3? Even if that gnome is wearing plate (bulk 4) has a longsword (bulk 1), artisan's tools (bulk 2) and an adventurers pack (bulk 1 or 2)? So why is it harder for that gnome to carry all his stuff than it is for a halfling to come along and pick up the gnome, equipment and all? That just doesn't follow for me.

It's a lot harder to carry a bunch of loose sticks than the same sticks tied together in a bundle. Think of a kitted-out character as big bundle of gear.


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Saros Palanthios wrote:
Mellack wrote:
That would seem counter-intuitive. A fully armed and armored small creature has a total bulk of just 3? Even if that gnome is wearing plate (bulk 4) has a longsword (bulk 1), artisan's tools (bulk 2) and an adventurers pack (bulk 1 or 2)? So why is it harder for that gnome to carry all his stuff than it is for a halfling to come along and pick up the gnome, equipment and all? That just doesn't follow for me.
It's a lot harder to carry a bunch of loose sticks than the same sticks tied together in a bundle. Think of a kitted-out character as big bundle of gear.

That's a much better explanation than my own.


Saros Palanthios wrote:
Mellack wrote:
That would seem counter-intuitive. A fully armed and armored small creature has a total bulk of just 3? Even if that gnome is wearing plate (bulk 4) has a longsword (bulk 1), artisan's tools (bulk 2) and an adventurers pack (bulk 1 or 2)? So why is it harder for that gnome to carry all his stuff than it is for a halfling to come along and pick up the gnome, equipment and all? That just doesn't follow for me.
It's a lot harder to carry a bunch of loose sticks than the same sticks tied together in a bundle. Think of a kitted-out character as big bundle of gear.

Except on the gnome all those things are actually strapped on. It should be actually easier for them. The backpack is designed for carrying things in a certain way, not for another person. The armor is much easier to carry when it is distributed on the body. When would a bag of armor be easier to carry than having it spread across your body in a form-fit manner? I have never met any hikers who trek carrying their bag instead of wearing the backpack. It is much more efficient to wear things in the designed manner.

Silver Crusade

Saros Palanthios wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Exactly. Plus, some of us play PFS, which is RAW only. If the rules say something doesn't work, we can't just hand wave it away in PFS. And as far as I can tell, the rules say that small creatures riding medium mounts don't work in 2e.

The Gleeful Grognard already answered your original question about small creatures riding medium mounts-- as he said, the "Bulk of Creatures" table on pg 272 of the CRB gives the typical bulk for various size creatures, and the table is clearly referring to fully armed and armored creatures, since it's introduced with a line about being especially useful "if you need to carry someone off the battlefield".

Except it's not clear that it includes the bulk of their gear. That's just the bulk of their body. Maybe. That's the ruling we need from Paizo.

And until we get that ruling, anyone playing a small character on a medium mount in PFS is going to get screwed at some of their tables by GMs who don't agree with your interpretation of the rules. That's why I won't risk it. I'll save that build idea for when I'm 100% sure it'll work at every table.

Exo-Guardians

Fromper wrote:
Saros Palanthios wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Exactly. Plus, some of us play PFS, which is RAW only. If the rules say something doesn't work, we can't just hand wave it away in PFS. And as far as I can tell, the rules say that small creatures riding medium mounts don't work in 2e.

The Gleeful Grognard already answered your original question about small creatures riding medium mounts-- as he said, the "Bulk of Creatures" table on pg 272 of the CRB gives the typical bulk for various size creatures, and the table is clearly referring to fully armed and armored creatures, since it's introduced with a line about being especially useful "if you need to carry someone off the battlefield".

Except it's not clear that it includes the bulk of their gear. That's just the bulk of their body. Maybe. That's the ruling we need from Paizo.

And until we get that ruling, anyone playing a small character on a medium mount in PFS is going to get screwed at some of their tables by GMs who don't agree with your interpretation of the rules. That's why I won't risk it. I'll save that build idea for when I'm 100% sure it'll work at every table.

What part of "carry someone off the battlefield" is not clear? Who is naked on the battlefield...?

Ask yourself, what's more likely: that Paizo's whole team of professional designers, writers, and editors are a bunch of incompetent fools who created a system that makes no sense... or that you made a mistake in your reading?


Saros Palanthios wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Saros Palanthios wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Exactly. Plus, some of us play PFS, which is RAW only. If the rules say something doesn't work, we can't just hand wave it away in PFS. And as far as I can tell, the rules say that small creatures riding medium mounts don't work in 2e.

The Gleeful Grognard already answered your original question about small creatures riding medium mounts-- as he said, the "Bulk of Creatures" table on pg 272 of the CRB gives the typical bulk for various size creatures, and the table is clearly referring to fully armed and armored creatures, since it's introduced with a line about being especially useful "if you need to carry someone off the battlefield".

Except it's not clear that it includes the bulk of their gear. That's just the bulk of their body. Maybe. That's the ruling we need from Paizo.

And until we get that ruling, anyone playing a small character on a medium mount in PFS is going to get screwed at some of their tables by GMs who don't agree with your interpretation of the rules. That's why I won't risk it. I'll save that build idea for when I'm 100% sure it'll work at every table.

What part of "carry someone off the battlefield" is not clear? Who is naked on the battlefield...?

Ask yourself, what's more likely: that Paizo's whole team of professional designers, writers, and editors are a bunch of incompetent fools who created a system that makes no sense... or that you made a mistake in your reading?

There is a big difference between a monk who might have nothing but clothes and a champion who is in full plate and has several weapons. One could just as easily ask did that professional team of designers really mean that both of those characters are equally easy to carry or did you make a mistake in assuming that also included all of the stuff they were wearing? You should also remember that the bulk of a character's equipment is a known quantity, so there is no reason to assume you would not add that to the bulk of the creature. It is definitely not a clear answer either way.

Also consider this scenario. Adam the halfling loads up on all the loot in the dungeon. He is encumbered and moves slowly. His halfling wizard buddy Bob has nothing but a robe and a staff. Does it make sense that Bob can pick up Adam with all his stuff and move at full speed fine?

Exo-Guardians

Mellack wrote:

There is a big difference between a monk who might have nothing but clothes and a champion who is in full plate and has several weapons. One could just as easily ask did that professional team of designers really mean that both of those characters are equally easy to carry or did you make a mistake in assuming that also included all of the stuff they were wearing? You should also remember that the bulk of a character's equipment is a known quantity, so there is no reason to assume you would not add that to the bulk of the creature. It is definitely not a clear answer either way.

Also consider this scenario. Adam the halfling loads up on all the loot in the dungeon. He is encumbered and moves slowly. His halfling wizard buddy Bob has nothing but a robe and a staff. Does it make sense that Bob can pick up Adam with all his stuff and move at full speed fine?

The table on pg 272 lists the "typical" bulk of a creature, then qualifies it with "but the GM might adjust this number". Both of your examples are obvious cases where the GM should apply an adjustment for atypical circumstances.

You're grasping for a hard-and-fast, one-size-fits-all rule, but that's not how this game works. The whole PF2 system is built around the twin ideas that
1)it's pointless to try to predict and make rules for every possible corner case or combination of circumstances, but
2)most GMs and players are reasonable and can be trusted to apply the rules in a way that makes sense in the context of their narrative.


The Gleeful Grognard wrote:

"but the GM might adjust this number."

Covers it imo. Remember, bulk exists because too many people were handwaving encumberance and finding it a pain. So this is a way for it to still have an impact but be less stressful to track.
For a person carrying another character you are dragging them in most cases. Meaning you require both hands and move slower.

Keep in mind bulk is not weight, and if the creature is concious and holding its self up on the back of a creature in riding equipment, there is no way the creature is feeling the same level of difficulty in carrying it as if it were a limp corpse laden in gear.

So you wearing bulky stuff makes it harder for you to move about, but not necessarily the same level of difficulty for others to move you about.

Bulk is an extreme abstraction.

How do you get 12-13 bulk in equiment? That is a huge amount of large weapons. Remember that 1 bulk items are all treated as light for a horse. The 14B 1L I mentioned above included 6B for the person.

I would still wager paizo intends mount restrictions to be size, training/willingness and to not be bulk based though.

An average limp, unconscious medium person only weighs 30-60 pounds. It's very important to keep this in mind at character creation so you don't make your character heavier than they should be.

Most likely closer to 30. Unconscious people are hard carry, so it would have to be the lower end of the weight range per bulk.

The strongest man in Golarion can never carry more than 190 pounds (19 bulk), and then only if it's optimally shaped for carrying. It's likely that most large furniture is built in place and never moved, since a more average human probably would struggle to budge it.

If Bulk is a part of the game, then it's a part of the physics of the game, and we must consider its ramifications.

Much like how the lack of any mechanical effect due to age suggests that the elderly of Golarion are neither feeble nor wise, but instead just as strong and brash as they were in their youth.

Silver Crusade

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Saros Palanthios wrote:
What part of "carry someone off the battlefield" is not clear? Who is naked on the battlefield...?

Here's the exact quote from the book:

Core Rulebook, page 272 wrote:
You might need to know the Bulk of a creature, especially if you need to carry someone off the battlefield. The table that follows lists the typical Bulk of a creature based on its size, but the GM might adjust this number.

It doesn't say that's the bulk of a creature and its gear. Just the bulk of the creature. The chart that follows has small creatures listed as 3 bulk. How can someone wearing 4 bulk full plate, a 1 bulk heavy shield, sheathed weapons that might add another 1 or 2 bulk, and a 2 bulk adventurer's kit in their backpack be only 3 bulk?

As for who's naked on the battlefield, how about an ogre in a loincloth (once it drops its club), or a dragon, or any wild animal, or any of various other monsters that don't typically wear armor or carry much gear?

Saros Palanthios wrote:
Ask yourself, what's more likely: that Paizo's whole team of professional designers, writers, and editors are a bunch of incompetent fools who created a system that makes no sense... or that you made a mistake in your reading?

You haven't been playing Pathfinder long, have you? I'm not saying that Paizo's staff are incompetent. But mistakes happen. Sometimes major ones. Nobody's perfect.

When Starfinder first came out, the entire spaceship combat system just plain didn't work at high levels, because they got the math wrong, so an errata was necessary. When coming out with a 640 page rulebook for a whole new version of Pathfinder, something like doing the math on a small creature riding a medium mount to make sure the encumbrance works is a relatively trivial detail that I could certainly see them overlooking.

Saros Palanthios wrote:

The table on pg 272 lists the "typical" bulk of a creature, then qualifies it with "but the GM might adjust this number". Both of your examples are obvious cases where the GM should apply an adjustment for atypical circumstances.

You're grasping for a hard-and-fast, one-size-fits-all rule, but that's not how this game works. The whole PF2 system is built around the twin ideas that
1)it's pointless to try to predict and make rules for every possible corner case or combination of circumstances, but
2)most GMs and players are reasonable and can be trusted to apply the rules in a way that makes sense in the context of their narrative.

Except that "GM discretion" has always been a code word in Pathfinder for "this doesn't apply to Pathfinder Society". In PFS, the table GM is just a judge for that particular session. Whenever a Pathfinder book says "Your GM might allow this", the GM for the entire campaign is the one who has to make those calls, and for PFS, that campaign GM is the Paizo employee who manages the entire organized play campaign.


sherlock1701 wrote:
The Gleeful Grognard wrote:

"but the GM might adjust this number."

Covers it imo. Remember, bulk exists because too many people were handwaving encumberance and finding it a pain. So this is a way for it to still have an impact but be less stressful to track.
For a person carrying another character you are dragging them in most cases. Meaning you require both hands and move slower.

Keep in mind bulk is not weight, and if the creature is concious and holding its self up on the back of a creature in riding equipment, there is no way the creature is feeling the same level of difficulty in carrying it as if it were a limp corpse laden in gear.

So you wearing bulky stuff makes it harder for you to move about, but not necessarily the same level of difficulty for others to move you about.

Bulk is an extreme abstraction.

How do you get 12-13 bulk in equiment? That is a huge amount of large weapons. Remember that 1 bulk items are all treated as light for a horse. The 14B 1L I mentioned above included 6B for the person.

I would still wager paizo intends mount restrictions to be size, training/willingness and to not be bulk based though.

An average limp, unconscious medium person only weighs 30-60 pounds. It's very important to keep this in mind at character creation so you don't make your character heavier than they should be.

Most likely closer to 30. Unconscious people are hard carry, so it would have to be the lower end of the weight range per bulk.

The strongest man in Golarion can never carry more than 190 pounds (19 bulk), and then only if it's optimally shaped for carrying. It's likely that most large furniture is built in place and never moved, since a more average human probably would struggle to budge it.

If Bulk is a part of the game, then it's a part of the physics of the game, and we must consider its ramifications.

Much like how the lack of any mechanical effect due to age suggests that the elderly of Golarion are neither feeble nor wise, but instead...

To that last point, I don't think that's true at all. I think Paizo just got rid of the mechanical penalties because it was an unpopular holdover from earlier editions. A lot of people I know who play have always ignored those rules.

And I think the elderly still are.. well, less strong and robust as they were, when they were younger. It's just that they don't penalize the player characters for choosing to be hold, but the CRB even says "There aren’t any mechanical adjustments to your character for being particularly old, but you might want to take it into account when considering your starting ability scores and future advancement."

NPCs are probably still going to be less equipped for adventuring and things if they're elderly, just not player characters because they didn't want to have those penalties anymore.

Sometimes things in the game are made the way they are to make it less complicated for us as players, but in-world it's not actually how it works. Bulk is one such thing - a weapon might be 1 or 2 bulk, but when you're talking to a shopkeep or whatever, you would say "this is a 5 lbs. weapon". The actual numerical weight might be important to the story, but it's not systemically.

It's simply that the actual weight of things is not important in the sense of how we track our encumbrance, so they abstract it with bulk. I'd also think it's less bulk on certain mounts because they have more ways to distribute the weight than humanoids do, so it's less cumbersome for them, hence the lesser bulk.

I see it a little like the scale of what you're talking about matters - like how in Starfinder, a starship weapon might deal 1d8 damage, but if you were to shoot it at a human standing on a planet, it would completely destroy them with one shot. Similarly, what is 5 bulk to a human is not going to be 5 bulk to a dragon.

Exo-Guardians

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sherlock1701 wrote:

An average limp, unconscious medium person only weighs 30-60 pounds. It's very important to keep this in mind at character creation so you don't make your character heavier than they should be.

Most likely closer to 30. Unconscious people are hard carry, so it would have to be the lower end of the weight range per bulk.

The strongest man in Golarion can never carry more than 190 pounds (19 bulk), and then only if it's optimally shaped for carrying. It's likely that most large furniture is built in place and never moved, since a more average human probably would struggle to budge it.

You're still trying to make Bulk==weight. That's not how Bulk works, as has been pointed out many many times ITT. It's an abstraction. There's not a 1:1 correspondence between Bulk and weight. If you don't like that system that's cool, homebrew an alternative Weight system for your own games. The rest of us (including PFS players) will use the Bulk rules as written and be just fine.

sherlock1701 wrote:

If Bulk is a part of the game, then it's a part of the physics of the game, and we must consider its ramifications.

Much like how the lack of any mechanical effect due to age suggests that the elderly of Golarion are neither feeble nor wise, but instead just as strong and brash as they were in their youth.

As the devs have made very clear, Pathfinder is not intended to be a physics simulator. The rules are written to allow players to tell exciting stories about heroic adventurers. Maybe that's not your jam, but there's only frustration to be had by trying to force your vision of a comprehensive Newtonian physics engine onto a system that was designed for something completely different.

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