Encumbrance & Movement

Exploring the Mutant Future

How a character’s movement is affected by the stuff he carries is a constant problem for roleplaying games. These encumbrance and movement house rules are adapted from the Basic Fantasy RPG.

To determine whether your character’s gear is heavy enough to influence his performance, total the weight of all the character’s items – including armour, weapons, and other equipment. Compare this total to the character’s Strength on the Carrying Capacity table, below:

Carrying Capacity Table

Strength Score * Light Load Heavy Load
3 25 lbs or less 26-60 lbs
4-5 35 lbs or less 36-90 lbs
6-8 50 lbs or less 51-120 lbs
9-12 60 lbs or less 61-150 lbs
13-15 65 lbs or less 66-165 lbs
16-17 70 lbs or less 71-180 lbs
18 80 lbs or less 81-195 lbs

* For exceptionally high or low Strength, each +1 of Strength bonus adds 10% to the capacity of the character, while each -1 deducts 20% (round to the nearest 5 pounds).

In addition, creatures who are smaller than human-sized reduce load maximums by one-third, while large-sized creatures increase the values by one-third (round to the nearest 5 pounds).

Normal player characters are able to carry up to 60 pounds and still be considered lightly loaded, or up to 150 pounds and be considered heavily loaded. The loads given are for human-sized creatures. Reduce by one-third for creatures smaller than human-sized, and increase by one-third for creatures larger than human sized (round to the nearest 5 pounds).


The movement rate of a character or creature is expressed as the number of feet it can move per combat round. A normal player character can move 40′ per round. When exploring, time is expressed in turns; normal movement per turn is 3 times the movement rate per round. This value is also the maximum running speed of a character per round.

This may seem slow, but this rate of movement includes such things as drawing maps, watching out for traps and monsters (though they may still surprise the party), etc. In a combat situation, on the other hand (or while fleeing), everyone is moving around swiftly, and such things as drawing maps are not important.

A character’s movement rate is adjusted by armour and encumbrance (the load carried), as given on the table below. Armour types are divided into three categories, as given on the Revised Armour Rules page.

Movement Rates

Armour Type Light Load Heavy Load
Light or No Armour 40′ 30′
Medium Armour 35′ 25′
Heavy Armour 30′ 20′

Exploration movement per turn is 3× base movement rate.
Maximum running speed per round is 3× base movement rate.

(You’ll note that the movement rates for armoured characters are slightly higher than in the standard Mutant Future rules.)

A character carrying a tower shield is considered to be wearing ‘heavy armour’ in terms of encumbrance & movement.

In addition to a reduced movement rate, a character who is heavily encumbered has a maximum Dexterity bonus to AC of -2 (as per the Revised Armour Rules).

One comment

  1. A lot of players have a hard time believing the movement rate per turn in old-school games. Travelling between 60′ to 120′ in ten minutes certainly doesn’t seem realistic, at least at first glance.

    The way that I interpret turn movement is that it includes a thorough exploration of every area within the indicated range and allows automatic checks for traps, secret doors, ambushing foes, etc. For example, if a party with a turn movement of 90′ is scouting a ruined building, in ten minutes they can do a complete search of all areas within this range – which may include four or five separate rooms.

    It is possible for a group to explore at their regular movement rate per round, but they do not receive any chance to find hidden or concealed items and are automatically surprised by any foes that may be lying in wait.

    One house rule that I employ: I don’t consider standard exploration to be ‘strenuous work’, so characters don’t need to rest after 5 turns of movement.

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