The following "Alternate Encumbrance Rules" are slightly revised from the encumbrance rules and related encumbrance values included in the electronic and print editions of Seven Voyages of Zylarthen, available from 12-23-13 to 5-25-14. They are listed as “alternate”, among other things because some might prefer the original versions. However they will be included as the “official” rules going forward.
The main changes and points are:
1. Reducing the permitted number of units carried from 40 to 25. This makes things more “symmetrical” in that each encumbrance step is now 5 (as opposed to 5, 5, 10, 10 and 10.)
2. The attack/defense penalties on Super-Heavy encumbrance (Base Move: 3) have been eliminated. Thus the maximum encumbrance that one can have without suffering a penalty on combat is really only being reduced by 5 (from 30 to 25). In addition, there is an option to carry up to 10 more units without being able to attack or defend (perhaps holding a sack over one’s shoulder with both hands).
3. The intention behind changing the shape of the encumbrance steps was NOT to further limit what people can “really” carry. Rather, in part the assumption is that each encumbrance unit now represents on average a bit more weight. Many items still have an encumbrance of 1, and thus the result will be to make them slightly “heavier”. However, some of the already heavy items have in turn had their encumbrance units reduced. “Big” weapons generally had their encumbrance reduced from 5 to 3 or from 4 to 2. This also applies to the shield. It follows that there are now only 3 weapon encumbrance categories instead of 4, thus making things a bit simpler. In addition, the encumbrance of Plate Armor goes from 10 to 8, Mail from 8 to 6 and that annoyingly heavy sledge hammer from 6 to 3, among other things. Groups of items “adding up” to 1 encumbrance unit now generally contain more items (and thus their prices have been modified in a few cases). It should be noted that the only item that gains encumbrance on the new list is the crossbow.
4. Rules limiting the number of “big” items or weapons one may carry have been changed in conformity with the new assignments. I think the results are a bit simpler, clearer and more intuitive. These rules now only apply to weapons, not to the more general category of items. You can now carry 12 shovels if you damn well want.
5. Partly in line with the above changes, but also for other reasons, I have revised the rules for Food and Water requirements in the wilderness.
6. Each set of text will include a reference as to what it “replaces.” Honestly, I put a great deal of thought into the original scheme and so I think it’s pretty good. (I wouldn’t have published Zylarthen otherwise.) It’s just that I think this “alternate” scheme is a bit better.
The full set of rules is available in a 7 page "pamphlet" available for download here. However the most important parts are also offered below:
As always, I welcome any and all feedback and criticism.