Tuesday, February 16, 2016

More Physical DnD 5E: movement, strength, and exhaustion.

These rules make it harder to travel and perform feats of strength compared to the Rules As Written. This puts characters in near constant exhaustion if they are travelling at half marathon or greater distances per day. Characters, both NPCs and PCs, need to be very careful and manage their energy, resources and effort.

To keep it simple. There are some benchmarks, and characters who try to exceed this without "technique" from skill are pushing their limits.  

Strength. (p79)

For Strength Feats that are Impulse or Instantaneous use Strength, anything longer use Constitution. 

Carrying Capacity. Carrying is bear something with either your arms, back, shoulders, or both. A backpack or load bearing gear that places a load on the character's body is considered carrying.

Deadlift or Squat. This is how many pounds a character can dead lift (lifting something off the ground from a squatting position with both hands a couple of feet until his standing position) or squat on a successful Strength with Athletics Save DC10 per day.

Reduce the DC by 1 for every 20% reduction of weight. Increase the DC by 2 for every attempt per day. Exceeding the weight by 10% adds a +2 DC. Moving such a weight for a minute follows the firemans and farmer's carrying rules. Extending the feat for a round adds +10DC.

Firemans or Farmer's Carry. A Firemans carry is carrying a load over one's shoulders, while a Farmer's carry is carrying a load with both your arms hanging down. A character can do so with a Load x8 his Strength for 1 minute. The character is considered heavily encumbered when performing this task. Roll Constitution save vs DC10 with Athletics. Failure is suffering Exhaustion.

Reduce the DC by 1 for every 20% reduction of weight. Increase the DC by 2 for every attempt additional minute performed in a day. Exceeding the weight by 10% adds a +2 DC.

Push or Drag. (no lift) x30 of strength in pounds. Ignore fricton or if it is a significant factor increase the “mass” of the load being push or dragged by the factor of friction. At x30 lbs in Strength roll Constitution Athletics every minute at 10. Reduce the DC by 1 for every 20% reduction of weight. Increase the DC by 2 for every attempt additional minute performed in a day. Exceeding the weight by 10% adds a +2 DC.

Strength TLDR 
A high DC if trying to do strength feats more Intense or Longer. Feats of strength is incredible useful and very common need for it when costs to travel and move equipment is in the PCs consideration.  

Variant: Encumbered. If you carrying something x2 your strength score in lbs you are encumbered and suffer -10ft to your base (instead of 5x). Roll Con and Athletics DC10 every couple of hours and +1 for every couple of hours.

If you carry something x4 your strength score you are considered heavily encumbered. In this condition the character's speed drops by 20 and suffers a disadvantage in ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws that use Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution.

This is the highest effort level of the character that can be measured of hours. Roll a Constitution Save DC10 every hour in this condition, adding +2 to the DC per additional hour.
Increasing Heavy Encumbered Carrying Capacity by 10% adds +2 to the DC. Failure is suffering Exhaustion.

Dwarven Resilience p.3 and Relentless Endurance p.7

Grant Orcs and Dwarves the advantage in Strength and Con checks featured here. 

Mounts and Other Animals p69

Use the capacity to get their strength by dividing it by 16. Consider them Heavily Encumbered while bearing that load. Since they are much larger than humans they have the x2 capacity.

These animals also suffer that conditions. The GM can use these stats to have more expensive stronger specimens as well as cheaper weaker specimens. The deviation tends to be plus or minus 20% from the average in strength. While the price for every 10% increase or decrease may go up by x2 to x5 for 20% better or 1/2 to 1/5 for -10% or -20% worse stats.  

Travel Pace p84

Use pacing as a measure of effort, which can be applied to other physical tasks. The table assumes a 30ft movement score. Use the Move Modifier for different scores (like Dwarves or Barbarians with Fast movement).

Forced March. The hourly roll below replaces the forced march.

Travel Pace Table
Distance Travelled per… Constitution**

DC Modifier

Fast (Run)
400ft (116m)
4miles (6km)
16miles (24km)
+5 by minute
+10 by hour

Normal (March)
300ft (96m)
3miles (5km)
12miles (20km)
+0 by minute
+5 by hour

Slow (Walk)
200ft (45m)
2miles (3km)
8miles (12km)

Pace can be used as a level of effort.
* includes 10 min breaks. So if you want to get the mph or kph x 1.16.
** add Athletics to this Save.
*** roll Constitution and Athletics vs DC 20 per 4 hours of travel to simplify. Every margin of 5 failure is a level of exhaustion.  Given that Making Camp is time consuming and may take up 4 hours by itself. Scrounging and Foraging would take up about 4 hours as well.

Allow Constitution and Survival instead of Athletics. It would be reasonable to allow Survival and Constitution for long travel. Of course you can't use Survival for feats of strength and dexterity.

On long Temperate Climate Days, where daylight is 16 hours long, its common to travel 16 hours long with 4 hour breaks in between. But this is not sustainable for many consecutive days. In far off places, they can do with low security camps since speed is their "security".


Good shoes had a 500mile or 800km. The SRD has not much in boots, so I can recommend 8gp.  Hobnailed boots is 4gp more. Increasing the quality by double triples to quadruples range. A pair of poor shoes (1/2 the quallity or value) has 1/3 to 1/4 the range.

Getting Lost

Roll Survival Wisdom DC 15. Reduce the DC by 5 in for familiar terrain and location.  +5 to DC more than 3miles or 5km from the nearest village or land mark. +10 to DC for more than 6 miles or 10km from nearest village or landmark. Add 5 to DC if unnatural and familiar terrain type.  Add 5 to DC in navigating at Night, with poor star visibility or dense canopy. 

Difficult Terrain (p85)

Emphasis on this. typically roads wind and hug the terrain, the distance becomes longer. Grades of incline also add to the difficulty. x1.2 to x3 the distance based on the grades of the roads. Save the basic movement for flat level roads.

Making Camp

Making Camp is a Survival Wisdom Roll of DC20. Every margin of failure of 2 adds 30mins. This roll is modified by the quality of the terrain. The roll is for a Secure and Sheltering Camp. A Poor camp is less secure and easier to find (DC10). A terrible camp would be dangerous.

More secure camp farther out. Its easier to make a camp thats farther from a main travel areas. Every 15 minutes march away (about 1 mile or 1.6km) would give a +5 to the roll. 

Scourging and Foraging (Self Sufficiency p. 73)

Self Sufficiency only allows for Poor instead of Comfortable. This is a Survival Wisdom DC 15, every margin of 5 fails lowers the lifestyle by 1 level worse (Wretched and Squalid). A margin of success of 5 would increase the Lifestyle by up to 2 levels (Comfortable to Modest). 

It takes about 2 hour Scrounge, Forage, find potable water, and Find Game for food. Roll Survival Wisdom DC10. Add 5 for every additional person this is going to feed. Every Margin of failure by 2 adds 1 hour.
This can be used for foraging for materials found in the wild. 

Simplification of so many Exhaustion Rolls

Many Constitution Rolls, just ask them to Roll vs DC 15, 20, and 25 when ever they are doing something very difficult for an hour. The ideal is they keep a light load. If the Players are overpacking then the penalty is these rolls. 

Exhaustion and Injury

Failing an Constitution and Athletics roll that leads against Exhaustion leads to an Injury. A failed roll by more than 5 deals 1d3 points of damage, and an additional 1d3 points of damage. The GM can rule if this can be lethal. The limbs injured is considered disadvantaged when being used for any physical task or roll.

Food and Water p.86

Grant a +1 to +2 DC bonus when the character has additional rations. Every 50% additional ratios and water helps up to a max of +5 per day. Having more food and water to do all the work helps a lot.

Resting p.87

Short Rest reduces the level of exhaustion by 1 and up to 2 levels of exhaustion plus constitution modifier can be reduced per day by short rests. Long Rests can reduce up to 1 additional level of exhaustion.
This means at 5 levels of exhaustion, it would take more than 2 days for a person to recover fully.

Exhaustion p.192

Remove the Immunity to Exhaustion of all creatures that have it. Creatures that would normally push their limits, like Undead or Machines, instead of suffering Exhaustion will suffer Wear and Tear aka Damage. They take about 1d3 damage for every 5 points of strength they have. A Zombie of 15 strength will deal 3d3 damage when they would otherwise exhaust themselves.

What will this Do to your adventures?

  1. Travel Pacing conscious Players and strategies. They will depend on roads, load bearing animals, time, and supplies. The world is their antagonist.
  2. Wearing Armor and full Kit is a careful consideration.
  3. Optimal Light Load Kit.
  4. Water and Food Conscious. RPing the value and appetite for supplies, catharsis, rest, and recovery. 

  • The SRD 5E
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half_marathon and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marathon to learn the benchmarks of a marathon and what stat's such distances should entail. 
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strongman_(strength_athlete) for feats of strength. 
  • Marching, Survival and Camping rules are derived from the Small Wars Manual
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlcd0B0cVqU Lindybeige authentiboots
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3qTniJsoEg Lindybeige authentiboots
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