Using the load mechanic

Hello, again, everyone!

I did a search through the forums and the PDF, and my grasp of the load concept is limited. The rules are very vague and seem to only factor in load for dramatic purposes, as more of a, “Just look at yourself! You’re loaded for bear!” (Or, “It’s me Bren gun!” for my fellow Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels fans.)

What I would like is a tangible detriment that I can pass to my players when they load up gluttonously.

How do you use it?

I met a Scum & Villainy GM who engineered the rules to accommodate a high-seas adventure, and simply tacked stressed based on load.

I think I might use it as a sort of “random encounter” roll during loadout at the top of the score, but draw on the result somewhere in the middle or in the aftermath to keep from slowing down the initial engagement. Fortune +/- light or heavy load, and failure determining the tier of who they bump into relative to the group…

What else? Can anyone either expand on the rules or brainstorm with me on some ideas?

— James

Edit/PS - I think I’ll also ask the party to all load up the same, to smooth things out. I figure gangs would encourage their fellow members to pack appropriately. (See Bren gun example, or, “Ummm… you’re not bringing your potions? Where’s your spirit mask?”)

There would be a lot of answers about load in the Google + archive :

In heavy load, some of the most immediate mechanical consequences could be desperate position for scouting or hunting, limited effect for prowling, manoeuvers and all kinds of running and jumping around, limited effect for social interactions (or straight problems), etc…

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Think “profile” instead of “carrying capacity” and it may make better sense. The more you are obviously carrying, and the more obviously troublesome your choice of encumbrance, the more notice you’re going to attract. NPCs will act accordingly and call for backup, prepare a hasty ambush, alert authorities, keep a sharp eye on those goons loaded for demon over there, and so on.

As an example: how would your scoundrels respond to news from the neighborhood of a pack of (say) Fog Hounds wandering their way, all decked out in heavy armor and packing two-handed mauls? That’s what they risk walking into if they all have Heavy Load and the Engagement Roll goes against them.

Mandating the entire party load up the same seems a little heavy handed, depending on their plan, objective, and intent. It would make it difficult for a lookout to remain discrete while still allowing your muscle to bring their A-game. (I wouldn’t try this, but then I’ve had enough trouble getting my players used to the idea that they choose their Load level but DON’T decide what they’re carrying until they need it in the fiction. :grin: )

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Thanks for the input! And a great link, @A_B !

And yes, of course it makes sense to just visualize dramatically. What I see myself having a problem with is remembering who marked what, or having to remember to ask, “What’s your load?” to get that picture in my head when I actually need them to make a roll.

It’s just a lot to keep up with. That’s why I like the, “Tick an XP if you remember your harm without my having to ask,” house rule. I personally don’t like having to scan the table and ogle at everyone’s sheets if I can help it.

By all means, test it at table and let us know how it turns out. Maybe add a houserule granting an XP for remembering and playing to the downside of Load status as well? Or keep it in mind for Devil’s Bargains. Or let the players suggest consequences pertaining to their load for failed rolls.

I personally don’t like having to scan the table and ogle at everyone’s sheets if I can help it.

Oh, most definitely agreed! Thus, the more we can leave to the players, the better so long as we can keep them honest. :wink:

(Me, I just add an itty bitty letter by the character name on my cribsheet for tracking purposes. Then the problem is remembering to check when it comes into play…)

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Just ran across this - I’m adapting a lot of BITD at the moment - this is what I’ve done on the back of the character sheet. It does mean that I am now making lists of items and their load value (0.5, 1, 2 & 3). The base load is in negotiation with the GM, but can’t include weaponry above a pistol / Knife and cannot include armour. I took the point of load not only being weight, but the whole idea of encumbrance, so limiting to physical action and/or difficulty in concealing.