Chapter 18: Encumbrance

Encumbrance is simply the burden of equipment that the persona has elected to carry. Everything that the persona wears or carries is included in encumbrance. This includes: clothing, armour (unless worn), ammunition, weapons, food, and any other utensil with a wate. What this chapter does not cover are the subjective quirks of any encumbrance system For example, carrying enough objects with a negligible wate could result in significant encumbrance.  The age old questions of which is more difficult to carry, 2 kgs of oxygen, or 2 kgs of lead? Such conundrums are omitted in this chapter.

There is an element of qualitative measure for encumbrance in EXP. If the encumbrance system isn’t empirical, then why have it at all? The main reason for the encumbrance system is to a nod to attempted realism. Role-playing games often ignore basic physiological facts, and encumbrance attempts to deal with one of these. However role playing games shouldn’t be bogged down with excessively detailed physics and biology. What the encumbrance system hopefully does is represent is a happy medium between realism, and fun gaming. A persona shuffling through the underbrush with 3 tonnes of equipment would not only be unrealistic, but impossible for the referee to manage. Equally, players shouldn’t be burdened with an exacting milligram calculation of their equipment list. If encumbrance is being used frequently enough, the encumbrance system should become a cursory action, and not a burdensome chore.

Rules in EXP are to be applied judiciously by the referee, and encumbrance rules are no different from any other rules in this game. If they are becoming a burden then don’t use them. Only use what aspects of encumbrance you feel are necessary.

Free versus over encumbered.
Free versus over encumbered.

Levels of Encumbrance

Encumbrance is based on the wate allowance of the persona, and wate allowance (WA) is determined by the persona’s PSTR. How a load effects a persona may be described by five possible conditions of encumbrance: free, unencumbered, encumbered, over-encumbered, and lift. Each one represents progressively more wate compared to the persona’s PSTR.


This is a self explanatory heading. This is when the persona is free of all encumbering factors. The persona cannot be carrying anything,and even restrictive civilian clothing may jeopardize a persona’s free standing. Even carrying a weapon may move a persona from the free encumbrance category


This category of encumbrance indicates that the persona has some equipment, maybe a suit of armour, but not enough equipment to restrict movement and abilities. A persona is unencumbered if she is carrying less than 1/4 her wate allowance (WA). A persona with an 11 PSTR would have a WA of 16 kgs. She could carry up to 4 kgs, and still be unencumbered.


Encumbered is the common state for most personas to be in. Encumbered personas are carrying anywhere from 1/4 to 1 and a 1/2 times their wate allowance (WA). So the persona with a wate allowance of 16 kgs could carry up to 24 kgs, and only be encumbered. This is the normal range of wate bearing for the persona, any greater wate will have a detrimental effect on the function of the persona.


An over-encumbered persona is carrying more than 1 and 1/2 times her wate allowance (WA). To be exact, she would be carrying between 1 and 1/2 to 2 and 1/2 times her WA. The persona with the 11 PSTR would be over encumbered carrying between 24 and 40 kgs of equipment.

Lift Only

When a persona encounters a load greater than 2 and 1/2 times her wate allowance she cannot move with this wate. A persona can only lift something that is more than 2 and 1/2 times her WA. Before the object, or collection of objects, can be budged, she must make a successful PSTR attribute roll. The difficulty of the attribute roll is determined by the referee (the heavier the load, the more difficult the attribute roll). When a persona is lifting, she can engage in no other actions.

Determining Wate Allowance

The wate allowance of the persona is determined directly by her PSTR. Each PSTR value has a base wate allowance  which is used to calculate all the different encumbrance categories. Wate allowance is listed with PSTR in Chapter 3: Attributes. On Table 18.1: PSTR Encumbrance all of the calculations for different encumbrance levels are included.  The wate allowance is in kilograms.

Table 18.1 Wate Allowance (WA in kgs) and Encumbrance

The stronger the persona the more they can carry without being encumbered.
PSTRWA (kgs)Unencumb.Encumb.Overencumb.Lift
PSTRWA (kgs)Unecumb.EncumberedOverencumberedLift

Robots: Anthropomorphs, aliens, and the weaker robots can use the PSTR Encumbrance table directly; however, most robots will not be able to do so. Robotic wate allowance is determined by the bot’s PSTR, like all other races, except that the resulting WA is multiplied by the tot’s PSTR Level. A bot with a PSTR of 17, and a PSTR Level of 3 would have a wate allowance of 75 kgs. Table 18.1 is overcome by simply multiplying the 3 wate range partitions by the Psm Level. For the bot we just described Free (1/4 WA) would be less than 18.9 kgs (3 x 6.3), Encumbered (1 and 1/2 WA) would be less than 112.5 kgs (3 x 37.5), and Life Only (2 and 1/2 WA) would be anything greater than 187.5 kgs (3 x 62.5).

Aliens: If the thought of gigantic aliens only being able to lift a few hundred kilograms galls you, feel free to adjust the wate allowance according to Table 18.2: Alien Size Wate Allowance Adjustment

Table 18.2 Alien Size and Encumbrance

The bigger the alien persona is the more it can carry. Anthropomorphs are always medium sized.
Alien SizeWA Adjustement
Tinydivide by 5
Smalldivide by 2
Mediumno change
Giganticmultiply by 5
Alien SizeAdjustment
My stuff if so important. I must carry it everywhere.
My stuff if so important. I must carry it everywhere.

Encumbrance Effects

The encumbrance categories are neat and interesting, but how they affect the performance of a persona is what really matters. The remaining paragraphs describe how being encumbered, and over-encumbered  the persona’s overall efficiency. All of the tables are optional, but reading through them should give the impression that the more you carry the worse off you are.

Performance Rolls: Carrying too much equipment has a detrimental effect on the persona’s ability to perform class skills. Table 18.3 Encumbrance and Performance Rolls is included here. This table shows what penalty should be added to the degree of difficulty of the maneuver. A 6DD maneuver attempted while encumbered would become a 9DD maneuver. If the persona chooses to dump her equipment, and then attempt the maneuver she will not suffer the performance roll penalty. A persona cannot dump equipment during combat or where the encumbrance effects are due to increased gravity.

Table 18.3 Encumbrance and Performance Rolls

Being encumbered makes it harder to do maneuvers.
EncumbranceDD Adjustment
Over Encumbered4
Lift OnlyLift Only
EncumbranceDD Adjustment

Movement: Encumbrance has its greatest effect on movement. The greater the load on the persona, the more difficult it is to move. Table 18.4: Encumbrance and Movement demonstrates encumbrance effects on movement. Remember that only anthros can bolt or sprint. For more info about movement refer to Chapter 12 Time and Movement.

Table 18.4 Encumbrance and Movement

Carrying stuff slows most personas down.
EncumbranceMovement Adjustment
FreeMay Bolt at double Movement rate.
UnencumberedMay Sprint at plus 1 half movement rate.
EncumberedNormal speed only
Over EncumberedHalf speed only
Lift OnlyLift Only, no movement
EncumbranceMovement Adjustment

Initiative: No matter how good a persona’s DEX, if she’s loaded down with equipment, her response time will be hampered. The initiative adjustments shown on Table 18.5: Encumbrance and Initiative, adjust the persona’s response time by her level of encumbrance. An overencumbered persona that rolled 18 on her initiative roll would have it reduced to 15. For a detailed explanation of initiative see Chapter 33: Initiative.

Table 18.5 Encumbrance and Initiative

Being encumbered slows a persona down.
EncumbranceInitiative Roll Adjustment
Free+1 to roll
UnencumberedNo effect
Encumbered-2 to roll
Over Encumbered-4 to roll
Lift OnlyLift Only, -6 to roll
EncumbranceMovement Adjustment

Ambush: An over-encumbered persona’s response to ambush is slower, due to the equipment that is hampering her reactions. Over-encumbered personas act 1 unit slower than all other ambushed personas. This means that, unless the persona detected the ambush, she will be subject to an additional unit of attack before the regular ambush cycle begins. Personas encumbered to the point of lift cannot react to an ambush at all. The procedures of ambush are explained in Chapter 34: Ambush.

Driving: Personas cannot drive a vehicle unless they are ‘free’ or unencumbered. If the persona insists on driving while encumbered or over-encumbered she will suffer the same penalties on the to her driving performance roll as she would on her performance rolls. See Table 18.3: Encumbrance and Performance Rolls.

Attribute Rolls: Rarely will attribute rolls be affected by encumbrance. If the referee has judged that equipment loads jeopardize attribute rolls the difficulty of the roll should be made higher. Attribute rolls for DEX, PSTR, can occasionally be affected by encumbrance levels. For example, getting up, balancing, jumping, etc. Whereas the other attributes AWE, CHA, INT and MSTR are primarily non-physical attribute rolls, and are not affected by encumbrance. See Chapter 16: Special Rolls for more information about attribute rolls.