Being able to lug loot out of a dungeon is a step of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, often looked over. It’s usually assumed that you can always bring whatever you need out of your most recent raid without much worry or stress. In fact, most players don’t ever really need to calculate carrying capacity! But, say your DM gets rather particular with if you can lift someone or not. “You can’t escape the dungeon,” they say, “with that Orc over your shoulder.” Well, now we have an easy way to find out if that’s true! Learn more with our carrying capacity 5E guide!
How Do You Calculate Carrying Capacity in 5E?
Hope you have a calculator nearby! Or decent multiplicative understanding. Calculating your carrying capacity is based entirely on your strength score (not modifier!).
This means a creature that has a Strength of 10 can carry 150 pounds; Strength 8 can still carry 120 pounds. That’s pretty impressive! All that weight, and you don’t even take any penalties? That’s a huge difference from older editions! Characters can push, drag, or lift double that weight, but your speed reduces to 5. If you’re Large, then you also double that weight. That’s right; a Large creature can push or drag something that’s 60 times their Strength Score!
It is important to note that you carrying capacity changes as the campaign goes on. When your strength goes up, so does your capacity. If your strength goes down, you can’t carry as much.
The size of a character also impacts carrying capacity. Essentially, the rules outlined above are the default carrying capacity for small- medium-sized creatures. This makes sense given that most players will be playing small- or medium-sized characters. However, larger characters gain greater carrying capacity while smaller characters have lower capacity. Each size level above medium doubles their carrying capacity. For example, a medium creature with 10 strength has a carrying capacity of 150, but a large creature with the same ability score can carry 300. See our handy table below for reference.
Variant Rule: Encumbrance
If your DM is rather particular about weight, they might specify that you’re using Encumbrance rules. This… is a lot worse for you. If you’re in encumbrance-ville, your actual carrying capacity is 5 x Strength. If you carry more than that, you speed is reduced by 10 feet. Finally, if you carry more than 10 x your Strength Score, you’re heavily encumbered. That means your movement speed is at a -20, and you take disadvantage on everything (physical – mental saving throws are just fine!).
Can I Carry Even More?
You can! If you’re a Race with the Powerful Build ability (such as a Goliath), you become Large. That means your Carrying Capacity doubles. Any spell or ability that increases your size will also double your carrying capacity.
The Barbarian’s Bear Totem doubles your carrying capacity, if you’re looking for some more. The Brawny feat increases your Strength, doubles your proficiency bonus with Athletics, and doubles your carrying capacity.
See Also: What Are Hit Dice 5E
Wrapping Up Our Carrying Capacity 5E Guide
And that wraps up our How Much Can You Carry 5E Guide. That being said, this usually doesn’t matter. 15 x Strength Score is a ridiculous amount of weight; Your entire party is just so incredibly buff. If your DM uses encumbrance rules, you get a little more value out of Strength. Otherwise, the situations where Carrying Capacity matters will be so, so few and far between.