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Trying to understand the encumbrance rules, they seem to be under-specified and there is some inconsistent uses of terms. Here is the relevant text that I can find:
KAP e5.2 p. 97 reads:



For actions involving agility or movement, such as climbing or dodging, DEX is reduced by encumbrance, as shown on the chart below.
Encumbrance / DEX Modifier
Light load / –5
Heavy load / –10
In addition, armor penalizes DEX rolls, as shown in Table 6.1: Armor.


p. 119 reads [emphasis added]:


Encumbrance: A character or creature may be “encumbered.” Knights and horses are usually treated as being encumbered during the game as their normal state of affairs, so no special rules apply. However, characters and horses used to bearing heavy loads that then find themselves unencumbered gain an increase of +2 to their base Movement Rate....
The state of being “encumbered” is defined as bearing a heavy load. Clothing, or even some kinds of armor and a sword and shield, for instance, aren’t enough to constitute a heavy load for a character, but metal armor, weapons, and combat gear all together most certainly qualify as a heavy load.

p. 139, reads in part (redacted to focus only encumbrance)



Table 6.1: Armor

Type       /DEX/ Heavy Load?
Padded        0    N
Leather      –5    N
Hrd leathr  –5     Y
Chainmail  –10    Y
A “Y” indicates that a character is encumbered when wearing this armor, while “N” indicates that a character wearing this armor along with a minimal load of equipment (perhaps personal gear and a sword and shield) is unencumbered. Of course, a heavier load of gear worn with this armor would push the character into the “encumbered” zone.



p 97 seems to read that no matter what you have at least -5 on DEX rolls (excluding cases that have their own rule, e.g. sneaking): is that the intention? Or are we to assume there is an "inconsequential load" that would get no negative DEX modifier? What defines a "light load"?

p119 seems to contradict p. 97 by equating encumbrance only with "heavy load" whereas the former had both light and heavy encumbrance. Given the context of p119, I assume only "heavy loads" affect movement rates and this language has no bearing on DEX rolls.

p139 parses things a third way by having encumbrance equated with "heavy load" but the DEX modifier varies by armor type independent of load. It seems like the most straight forward reading and by inference from other text (e.g. p 108 "swimming") is that the armor table DEX mod is additive to the p. 97 table, giving net DEX mods for typical DEX rolls (again excluding sneaking) of Padded -5, Leather -10, Hard Leather -15, and Chainmail -20.

Is this how you all read this?

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KAP doesn't do the accounting of every piece of equipment you carry, but simplifies it mainly to the armor you have on. But yeah, I admit that the rules could be clearer here. One reason is that there used to be more rules for being unarmored than just the +2 Movement rate, so there are some legacy text issues.

Anyway, if you are wearing a Chainmail, the DEX penalty is -10 and that is it. This is confirmed by the host of published adventures that quote this rule, and I am pretty sure I can find a Greg quote if I try, too. You have to be doing something else in addition to qualify for more. I would consider -20 if you are hauling another armored knight over your shoulder as well (extra heavy load or something like that), but not for just wearing a chainmail. Also, note that the DEX penalty for armor does not influence your DEX roll to stay on your feet in the case of a knockdown roll.


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Thanks Morien! I greatly appreciate the light touch of KAP rules and relying on judgement. Your post connects the dots for me that there are just two encumbrance systems not three; the Table 6.1 Armor "Heavy Load" column refers to the p119 movement rules and the text below the table affirms that. The DEX modifier column in 6.1 represents the "armor encumbrance" rule.

Then we have the "normal encumbrance" rule on p 97. Your post says that there should be an "inconsequential load" with no DEX modifier, and I'll trust you on that because I haven't read any KAP adventures yet. I have done my best searching the Nocturnal archives and can't find a post that clarifies this.

Left open is what constitutes a "light" load. I take it a sword and shield remains "inconsequential", I just wish p 97 was explicit about that. It would have saved me quite a bit of searching. Beyond that it is a judgement if a -5 or -10 DEX mod is appropriate.


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4 hours ago, vegas said:

Left open is what constitutes a "light" load. I take it a sword and shield remains "inconsequential", I just wish p 97 was explicit about that. It would have saved me quite a bit of searching. Beyond that it is a judgement if a -5 or -10 DEX mod is appropriate.

My rough rule of thumb:

Unarmored but with a weapon and shield**: no encumbrance, no penalties to DEX, +2 Move

Non-metallic* armor with weapon and shield**: light load, -5 DEX (and +1 Move, house-ruled)

Metallic* armor with weapon and shield**: heavy load, -10 DEX, normal for knights

* These are obviously a bit game-fied statements, as a non-metallic armor can be comparable in weight to a metallic one. Especially if a thick gambeson gets waterlogged. But it is close enough for game purposes. Although I would posit an idea that a 8-point chainmail byrnie (tunic) should be in the -5 DEX category, as should a brigandine doublet when it becomes available. Basically, give those nimble longbowmen an armor that they can still zip around with.

** Depends a bit on the shield, too. A heavy, large shield like the scutum might push you into -5 DEX territory even without armor, and push you into -10 DEX even with a lighter armor. But for the most part, I don't have to worry about it since the PKs usually run around in full armor for -10 anyway.

Edited by Morien
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