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Author Topic: The Encumbrance Value of Children  (Read 365 times)

Cave Bear

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The Encumbrance Value of Children
« on: September 22, 2020, 06:37:36 am »
So, if a player character carried a kid on their shoulders, how would you rule it? Maybe kids don't weigh as much as plate armor, but plate armor doesn't move around on its own or make nearly as much noise.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 06:39:36 am by Cave Bear »

Ghostmaker

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Re: The Encumbrance Value of Children
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2020, 08:26:52 am »
Depends on the system, obviously, but I would treat any normal-sized PC carrying a child in such a manner as at the very least encumbered.


If the kid is small enough and you can fashion a papoose or baby harness, I'd treat it as normal weight, or even reduce it a little.


PCs, obviously, have access to some useful tricks to getting around these issues. Reduce person for short periods can lighten the load (and of course lead to 'Honey I Shrunk The Kids' jokes). Summon monster might be useful to negotiate rough terrain for brief periods, and mount or phantom steed can make for easy carrying on the open road. Called and bound outsiders may or may not object to carrying children (and vice versa); while a hound archon or earth elemental might not complain, a bone devil might not be a great option.


Putting kids in an extradimensional space such as a portable hole is a questionable idea, unless you've got someone in there with them as a caretaker (in addition to the issues of air, food, water, light, etc).

Razor 007

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Re: The Encumbrance Value of Children
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2020, 10:27:08 am »
Tenser's Floating Disk, sure would come in handy.
I need you to roll a perception check.....

KingCheops

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Re: The Encumbrance Value of Children
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2020, 10:43:05 am »
What is the weight of a black hole with more limbs than an octopus and that can't sit still for longer than a nano-second?


If the child is scared shitless they're actually pretty good.  If they don't want to be carried they're almost impossible.  If they want to be carried they're tough but somewhat manageable (but if you aren't a spry 20 year old it kills your back and neck).

Ghostmaker

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Re: The Encumbrance Value of Children
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2020, 10:56:42 am »
Tenser's Floating Disk, sure would come in handy.
LOL, I'm an idiot. Completely forgot the ol' floating disc.

Steven Mitchell

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Re: The Encumbrance Value of Children
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2020, 12:11:49 pm »
Is the character going to fight while carrying the infant?  Is the character going to care whether or not the infant gets hit?  Those both change the possible answers. :)

Zalman

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Re: The Encumbrance Value of Children
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2020, 01:27:43 pm »
For living (or freshly dead) bodies, I use an encumbrance value of 1 stone weight = 100gp, which just happens to seem to work out pretty realistically.

Combat would definitely be an issue of course, albeit perhaps a separate one.
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Chris24601

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Re: The Encumbrance Value of Children
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2020, 03:35:06 pm »
We never determined a weight, but we did determine that carried children count as partial cover against attacks.  ;D


Seriously though, it wasn't actually an evil plot... rather the DM wanted a chance that the kids we were carrying out of a dungeon might get hit by a stray attack as we hustled them out. They ruled that the children would be treated like partial cover and if an attack would have hit the PC if not for said cover then the child was struck instead.


This in turn led to some of the PCs acting as cover themselves (vs. ranged attacks anyway) for the PCs carrying the kids so they'd take the hits instead of the kids if the attack missed by the margin amount.


It made for a really tense and exciting running battle actually.


But, the thing everyone remembers and keeps remarking on every time a kid shows up in a campaign even years later is...


GM: "You see a group of children playing in the courtyard."
Player: "Partial cover noted."

Spike

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Re: The Encumbrance Value of Children
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2020, 01:56:29 pm »
Why is this even a question?


Lemme break it down: Why are children a heavy enough feature of your gaming group's play that you can ask this on a forum and expect a timely reply that will be useful to you (eg: it didn't just happen and the GM is pensively waiting an official answer(TM) so the group can continue on). 


Why are you asking this without any consideration for system? Or Age and/or state of consciousness of said child(ren)?


What is the average airspeed of a swallow on any random planet?  I dunno, mang. I guess that depends on the gravity of the planet, the atmospheric composition of said planet and wether or not we are talking african or european swallows? Are they laden or unladen swallows?  Are we talking freshly hatched chicks? Decrepit elderly swallows?




Fine: You want an answer?


Treat them as Size Class 1, and use the provided encumberance rules that govern carrying any size class 1 character.




What? You want the system too? Too bad, you didn't specify one in your question, you don't get one in your answer. *



















*It's Battlelords of the 23rd Century...
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Mishihari

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Re: The Encumbrance Value of Children
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2020, 03:01:35 pm »
Not an answer, but I'm reminded of a story hour on another site where the bad guys tied small children to their chests to make sure the PCs wouldn't AoE them.

Spike

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Re: The Encumbrance Value of Children
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2020, 04:19:57 pm »
I played a 20th level one shot last halloween where we were rescuing two small children from the local village held hostage by a sort of home-brew lich. 


Every round that fucker blasted an AoE attack of Necrotic Damage, sufficent to kill the little bastards. And they were chained to the wall. I don't know if it was teh GM or the module writer (I suspect a mix of both) but there was literally nothing a party of five 20th level characters could do to keep those little shits alive the whole fight.  The encounter seemed to have a hard counter to everything we brought to the table, like it was written with abusing the rules in mind. 


Just in case, I have since refused to play with that GM again. Even if it was the module he was using, his choice of modules indicates his severe lack of judgement.




THe entire experience of the night, up to that point, was that of playing against someone who had made an exaustive study of what experienced players did and then designing a series of challenges that deliberately subverted what players did, or made up new rules (creatures/spells/etc) that did not obey the rules of D&D to make normal solutions unviable.  It was one long night of 'no, you can't do that' and 'these things attacking you can't be damaged or dispelled' and 'the fire can't be extinguished or dispelled, its a curse so it needs to be 'remove curse' and so forth.


So, yeah, we didn't rescue any hostage children. Thanks for reminding me of one of the most frustrating gaming experiences I've had in twenty years.
For you the day you found a minor error in a Post by Spike and forced him to admit it, it was the greatest day of your internet life.  For me it was... Tuesday.

For the curious: Apparently, in person, I sound exactly like the Youtube Character The Nostalgia Critic.   I have no words.

Mah Book

Ghostmaker

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Re: The Encumbrance Value of Children
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2020, 05:16:30 pm »
I played a 20th level one shot last halloween where we were rescuing two small children from the local village held hostage by a sort of home-brew lich. 


Every round that fucker blasted an AoE attack of Necrotic Damage, sufficent to kill the little bastards. And they were chained to the wall. I don't know if it was teh GM or the module writer (I suspect a mix of both) but there was literally nothing a party of five 20th level characters could do to keep those little shits alive the whole fight.  The encounter seemed to have a hard counter to everything we brought to the table, like it was written with abusing the rules in mind. 


Just in case, I have since refused to play with that GM again. Even if it was the module he was using, his choice of modules indicates his severe lack of judgement.




THe entire experience of the night, up to that point, was that of playing against someone who had made an exaustive study of what experienced players did and then designing a series of challenges that deliberately subverted what players did, or made up new rules (creatures/spells/etc) that did not obey the rules of D&D to make normal solutions unviable.  It was one long night of 'no, you can't do that' and 'these things attacking you can't be damaged or dispelled' and 'the fire can't be extinguished or dispelled, its a curse so it needs to be 'remove curse' and so forth.


So, yeah, we didn't rescue any hostage children. Thanks for reminding me of one of the most frustrating gaming experiences I've had in twenty years.
Wow. That's the sort of experience that could make someone swear off RPGs in general. While I'm a firm believer in Rule 0, if you've cooked up a custom baddie it should always have a counter, or some other weakness that the players can figure out how to exploit. Even if it's mildly obscure, that's what divinations are for! And if the PCs outfox you, smile, chuckle, and call it a learning experience.


(Reminded of the BBEG in the Pathfinder adventure path Second Darkness. If you confront her with some element of her past -- her old clerical robes -- she actually freezes up for a round, then goes completely bonkers spraying spells in all directions (hitting allies and suffering a serious spell failure chance). The fact this wound up in a sidebar makes me suspect a Paizo playtester pulled it on the GM and they had to improvise.)


You have my sympathies, sir.

Spike

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Re: The Encumbrance Value of Children
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2020, 11:39:04 pm »
Oh, there was a sort of 'instant failure point' on the subject of hostage children. You see, we player characters, explicitly strangers to the town, needed to learn WHY the Lich took children hostage from the townsfolk so we could have a non-combat solution. It unfortunately relied on the party forcing reluctant townsfolk to admit to some sort of transgression in the distant past so we could negotiate reparations or something. As players we could tell that was what was going on, but in character our characters were just fumbling around asking the wrong questions of the wrong NPCs (on a timer, no less.. both in game (we had to rescue teh children within a few hours) and out of game (one shot session), and we had to pass the right social skill test with the right NPC. Which we failed.


Not having all day to investigate why lichs kidnap random children, and not wanting to use out of character knowledge like good players, we basically failed the hostage rescue with a single blown social skill roll... made literally within minutes of the kidnapping. Good times.   Trying to use divination almost killed our wizard, which I'm not sure is actually a thing that is supposed to happen in D&D, since I prefer fighters myself, but sure.  Dispelled force walls only stayed down for a single round before popping back up, tunneling through stone meant creating magic golem hands that could only be eliminated by repairing the wall. I've mentioned the magic fire that was immune to dispelling magic, did I mention the rickety 'no way to avoid a dex saving throw' bridge that was exactly too long for almost all magical solutions (in 5e, which I'll note severely guts the range on magic) except a multi-round fly spell (I will confess having the wizard (20th level) be a very VERY new player did not help here. She didn't even have a ghost of an idea what spells she should have until the game was two hours old...)


It literally took six hours of game time to get through the front door, simply because every option other than walking into the very obvious trap was explicitly barred by inexplicable magic that was immune to even anti-magic. Ooooohhh.. the poison gas that didn't allow saving throws and didn't care if you didn't need to breath? That was fun. 


I literally spent the whole night wondering how in the hell 'THAT' (challenge of the moment) was remotely legal in D&D. I'll allow that I don't know everything, especially about the high end (20th level, as I said), but I spent so long frowning in frustration and/or confusion that I actually got a headache from it.


Gah! Stop bringing up memories of that horrible night! I had it all successfully repressed! Ima be in therapy for weeks!!!!
For you the day you found a minor error in a Post by Spike and forced him to admit it, it was the greatest day of your internet life.  For me it was... Tuesday.

For the curious: Apparently, in person, I sound exactly like the Youtube Character The Nostalgia Critic.   I have no words.

Mah Book