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Encumbrance -- seems unavoidable and needs better definition

posted Mar 07, 2016 18:39:30 by JakeBernstein
I've started digging around and doing some playtesting and I've found an issue with Encumbrance. First, it seems obvious that in order to wear any kind of heavy armor, you WILL be encumbered. So the question becomes, what exactly does Encumbrance do?

"Any physical test" seems very broad. Encumbrance should slow you down, make it harder to dodge or do fancy acrobatic stuff or do athletic things. But does it make it harder to shoot? (Certainly, there are arguments both ways.)

I'm curious what people have seen in actual play here and how do you interpret the "any physical test" language?
-Apoc527
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11 replies
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SteveHanson said Mar 08, 2016 16:29:09
Mutant Chronicles 3 Encumberance was designed to be harsh. As written it increases difficulty to shoot but ultimately thats a GM call.

You have heavy armour on your arms they're not as lithe and limber to draw back the bow (you'll be trained presumably but even so you're not as capable as an unarmoured trained person).
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a friend shall prove,
To him and the friend of his friend;
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JakeBernstein said Mar 08, 2016 22:37:02
So, all physical tests would basically be any skill test that uses Strength, Physique, Agility, or Coordination, right? This means a typical Corporate Soldier with Str 10 and Physique 10 can carry 20 Enc worth of equipment before taking a +1 Difficulty on all major tests and up to 39 Enc before taking +2 Difficulty.

What does 20 Enc look like?

If we take Capitol, we get Tortoise Mk 1 for 6 Enc, an M50 for 5 Enc, a Bolter or Ironfist for another 3 Enc, a Basic Medkit (1), and Tactical Webbing Waldos (3 free Enc) for a total of 11 net Enc before Ammo. The trooper can carry 9 Enc worth of ammo before being Encumbered.

That's not so bad, but the Tortoise is fairly light. It gets really bad if you are an Imperial. :-)
-Apoc527
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SteveHanson said Mar 08, 2016 23:41:18
You got the right of it. Of course thats at the descretion of the GM. I discussed this with the people responsible for this project and some of them actually ignore encumbrance all together. Rather going with something that made sense. I personally like the grit that encumbrance adds. You have impenetrable armor, but you can't move.
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To his friend a man
a friend shall prove,
To him and the friend of his friend;
But never a man
shall friendship make
With one of his foeman's friends.
--Havamal
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Nathan.Dowdell said Mar 09, 2016 12:22:47
Personally speaking, I'm of the opinion that Encumbrance only really matters in some styles of campaign. As a concept, it makes perfect sense that it's part of something like OD&D, where the gold you gain from the adventure is the XP you earn, so encumbrance serves as both hard and soft limits on your character advancement (the more you carry, the faster you level... but the slower you are and the more at risk you are of random encounters on the way home) - that kind of dungeoneering logistics is a vital part of the structure of the game. In many other contexts, I tend to regard it as a somewhat vestigial element of many RPGs, included because D&D did it.

We've skipped encumbrance entirely for Infinity - a lot of physical gear there is lightweight metamaterials, and a large amount of 'equipment' is software, so it didn't seem all that important - and Conan will be using a system of encumbrance that handles the cost of being overburdened differently (characters will accrue fatigue faster, lowering their maximum Vigor as they become tired).
Game Development - 2D20 System
System Design - Star Trek Adventures

Rules questions and playtest feedback to nathan@modiphius.com
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Alakhai said Mar 09, 2016 14:13:25
I use it when it can be important, for example, when the players are preparing to go in a expedition somewhere and they all take notes of what takes each one, they distribute the equipment etc.

I only raise the difficulty for Acrobatics and Athletics.
============================
Vini, vidi, vici et fuit facilis. Alakhai
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JakeBernstein said Mar 09, 2016 15:52:47
Personally, I think it matters in most games as a balancing mechanism for armor, weapons and ammo. Sure, you also have the "social aspects" of your equipment to worry about, but ultimately it will come down to what you can carry.

Also, the ONLY thing preventing characters from using full auto, all the time is the Enc of Reloads. Of course, here I am coming up with a set of house rules to significantly increase the number of times the average PC can use full auto, so maybe it IS kind of pointless.

Still, this thread has been useful.
-Apoc527
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Citizen-171 said Mar 11, 2016 14:14:54
Encumbrance in MC3 doesn't really seem all that unreasonable. It's not as if a character suddenly "switches off" when he breaks the encumbrance limit; some actions become more difficult to perform, but there are always the Dark Symmetry bonus dice to consider.
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Citizen-171 said Mar 12, 2016 10:30:04
Just some thoughts on the subject: In my gaming experience players really hate encumbrance and will take any steps they can to remain in the "optimal encumbrance window", preferably as close as possible to the next category, the one where the first penalties start kicking in. It's a natural instinct: Most encumbrance rules imposes penalties to defence and offense that might one day make the difference between life and death for that character. In RPGs there are only the Quick and the Dead.

MC3 has, I must say, the simplest and most easily managed encumbrance rules I've seen: Tracking encumbrance is easy, and working out the penalties is straight-forward. The only "flaw" I can see is that the system assumes the optimal encumbrance to be an unequipped character in a track suit, while everything else in the game revolves around getting bigger guns and bigger shoulder pads. "Optimal" in this case is not the same as "normal". If I could travel back in time to give Jay Little some input: How about making the first range of a couple of encumbrance points the optimal window, in which the character actually gains some bonuses, then shift the encumbrance ranges accordingly with the first window being normal encumbrance without bonuses or penalties.

For example:
Encumbrance up to 5: The character gains an additional Response Action.
Encumbrance up to 5+ Str + Phy: Normal
Encumbrance up to 5 +(Str + Phy) x n: Physical skill test difficulties increase by +(n - 1).

-C171
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Ryan Smith said Mar 18, 2016 07:00:06
It seems to me that the iconic careers that start with powered/heavy armor are only remotely balanced with the ones who don't because of the Encumbrance rules.
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HappyDaze said Mar 18, 2016 08:01:47
Except that powered armour negates its encumbrance so long as it's powered. This means powered armour makes things more unbalanced if encumbrance is the balancing factor.
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Ryan Smith said Mar 18, 2016 08:24:03
That is true! The two factions I was looking at - Brotherhood and Cybertronic- actually don't use powered armor, just extremely heavy normal armor from what I can tell, so the 10 Encumbrance is applying.

I'm used to more low powered games, I'm still trying to wrap around a game where starting characters have the best gear.
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