OSH Beasts of Burden (the Fictive way)

The following is the “under the hood” method to build and referee  something that will be presented as a “done deal.” I will present a list of animals with their stats worked out, and a list of vehicles already done.

What I am showing you here is how I will build those things with consistency–I understand that this level of complexity is a bridge too far for those who want the fast furious fun of Old School Hack with awesome points and handwavium to smooth over questions like “How much can my mule carry?” Those game groups will not want to “build” a pack animal or mount, but may really appreciate a quick reference that gives them one they don’t have to make up and balance themselves, on the spot.

This is for my Old School Hack book for the DMs. Enjoy the sneak peek!

Animals are plus or minus up to 1/2 their carrying capacity based on how their individual strength compares to the baseline for the  type.

Small. 1 wound. Carry a base 2 heavy loads. Minimum 1, maximum 3. (Riding dogs)

Medium. 2 wounds. Carry a base 4 heavy loads. Minimum 2, maximum 6.  (Donkeys)

Large. 2-4 wounds. Carry a base 6 heavy loads. Minimum 3, maximum 9. (Horses)

Huge. 4-10 wounds. Carry a base 9 heavy loads. Minimum 5, maximum 14. (Small elephants)

Note that flying, swimming, and climbing beasts of burden often have their load capacity halved because of their unusual locomotion.

Riders are loads. (This also applies for characters trying to carry bodies.)

  • Note that load is halved for dragging instead of carrying.
  • Heavy loads for humanoid encumbrance apply to animal loads.
    • If a character has a heavy weapon and heavy armor, then that adds 2 loads to the weight of the person.
  • 2 loads per small person. (Brawn up to 10.) Or, goblin, hobbin, child.
  • 3 loads per normal sized person.
  • 4 loads per large person. (Brawn of 17+.) Or, orc, ape.

A dewback would be "huge."

Saddle and tack normally are not extra weight in loads, unless they are special.

  • +1 load for a flying rig.
  • +2 loads for a howdah.

Wheeled vehicles add x3 to the carrying capacity with 2 wheels, and x6 for 4 wheels. The vehicles take 1-3 loads per multiplier. Up to 4 animals can contribute to pulling the load; more animals just means rotating which ones are pulling prolongs the time they can pull. For sleighs, use the wheel equivalent.

  • Rickshaw (2 wheels) x3. Counts as 3 loads.
  • Cart (2 wheels) x3. Counts as 6 loads, but sturdier.
  • Wagon (4 wheels) x6. Counts as 6 loads.
  • Coach (4 wheels) x6. Counts as 12 loads.

To damage the vehicle with road obstacles, roll above its “loads” number on a d12, modified by circumstance (and rewarding heavier vehicles.) The vehicle has 1 wound per load.

  • A cart counts as 6 loads. So, to injure it with a road hazard, roll 6 or higher on a d12. Also, it counts as having 6 wounds.

Horse: base 6. Cart: x3, 6 loads. Man: 3 loads. Can add 9 more.

Ideally, it should work out consistently; a person could pull a rickshaw, since it counts as 3 loads but allows for carrying [capacity x3]. So if you have a Brawn with +1, you could pull the rickshaw. At +2, you could pull the rickshaw and 4 more loads–a person and luggage. At +3, you could pull the rickshaw and 6 loads; maybe a couple people, or one person and some steamer trunks.

2 horses; 12, x6 is 72. 12 loads, 60 left; 5 people is 15 loads. Lots of room for baggage. Also, 12 wounds, and must roll 12 to injure it with road conditions

Of course, you don’t have to use this. You can just decide how much weight things can carry. This is to provide a bit of structure when it is helpful.

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