Lift 5e


[5E+] The encumbrance rules are a work of genius

It seems a bit pointless to me. You have an encumbrance system, which suggests players should track it, but it is so high it will almost never have a game effect. It is also high enough it doesn't add any particular realism to the game either.

If you want to ignore encumbrance or just eyeball it, just do that. This looks too fiddly for people that don't care about encumbrance, but not consequential enough for a group that wants to actually have encumbrance matter.

It's not a big deal though, as encumbrance is the easiest thing in the world to house rule.

b9anders said:

I've never seen an encumbrance system I would call 'genius'. 5e makes a good effort at it by basically saying "it doesn't matter until you start getting ridiculous and the DM asks for your total to reign it in."

The closest I've seen to an intuitive system are the 1 point of STR = 1 stone (ie15 lb) systems. And actually, almost the same as 5e. Still, because most items weigh less than a stone, it can not help but descend into the same fidliness as other systems.

Click to expand...

ACKS uses a stone system. It avoids the same level of fiddliness by having six standard items weigh one stone. To make it even easier, bundled items (arrows, torches, spikes) only count as a single item, so you aren't recalculating every time you fire an arrow. You just need to count the number of items you are carrying and divide by six.

It's not painless, but you don't need to worry about the exact weight of each item in your inventory.



Is your "Push, Drag or Lift" weight capacity affected by your carrying gear weight?

I'm currently DMing with the Encumbrance variant, and both my players and I love to add some depth or realistic sense to almost every aspect in the game (that we are able perceive). But, as a matter of fact, we don't like to homebrew rules indiscriminately, so we try to play the rules as RAW as possible in the vast majority of cases.

So, here's our case: Our Human fighter (17 STR) wants to carry the unconscious body of our Half-Orc Warlock (242 lb). Starting from this, his max carrying capacity is 255 lb. (15 times his STR), therefore, he shouldn't have a problem carrying the body, so, he should have a penalty of -20 speed and disadvantage on ability checks, attack rolls, and saves that use STR, DEX or CON, but at least he should be able to carry the half-orc body.

We are fine at this point, but, does it count the weight of the carrying gear of both creatures in the total lifting weight?

For example, the Fighter is actually carrying 56 lb. of gear, and the half-orc warlock is carrying 10 lb. as well. Even adding the additional weight of the warlock gear, the fighter should be able to carry him (252 lb.) without getting the exceeding carrying capacity penalty, as the PHB on p.176 says; but if I need to add the fighter carrying gear weight as well, he should get the 5 speed drop penalty.

Push, Drag, or Lift.

You can push, drag or lift a weight in pounds up to twice your carrying capacity (or 30 times your Strength score). While pushing or dragging weight in excess of your carrying capacity, your speed drops to 5 feet.

So, how should I resolve this situation? And what is the real penalty that our fighter should suffer?

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D&D 5th Edition

Six Abilitiesprovide a quick description of every creature’s physical and mental characteristics:

Is a character muscle-bound and insightful? Brilliant and charming? Nimble and hardy? Ability Scoresdefine these qualities—a creature’s assets as well as weaknesses.

The three main rolls of the game—the ability check, the saving throw, and the Attackroll—rely on The SixAbility Scores. The book’s Introductiondescribes the basic rule behind these rolls: roll a d20, add an ability modifier derived from one of The SixAbility Scores, and compare the total to a target number.

Ability Scores and Modifiers

Each of a creature’s Abilitieshas a score, a number that defines the magnitude of that ability. An ability score is not just a measure of innate capabilities, but also encompasses a creature’s Trainingand competence in activities related to that ability.

A score of 10 or 11 is the normal human average, but Adventurersand many Monstersare a cut above average in most Abilities. A score of 18 is the highest that a person usually reaches. Adventurerscan have scores as high as 20, and Monstersand divine beings can have scores as high as 30.

Each ability also has a modifier, derived from the score and ranging from −5 (for an ability score of 1) to +10 (for a score of 30). The Ability Scoresand Modifiers table notes the ability modifiers for the range of possible Ability Scores, from 1 to 30.


To determine an ability modifier without consulting the table, subtract 10 from the ability score and then divide the total by 2 (round down).

Because ability modifiers affect almost every Attackroll, ability check, and saving throw, ability modifiers come up in play more often than their associated scores.

Advantage and Disadvantage

Sometimes a Specialability or spell tells you that you have advantage or disadvantage on an ability check, a saving throw, or an Attackroll. When that happens, you roll a second d20 when you make the roll. Use the higher of the two rolls if you have advantage, and use the lower roll if you have disadvantage. For example, if you have disadvantage and roll a 17 and a 5, you use the 5. If you instead have advantage and roll those numbers, you use the 17.

If multiple situations affect a roll and each one grants advantage or imposes disadvantage on it, you don’t roll more than one additional d20. If two favorable situations grant advantage, for example, you still roll only one additional d20.

If circumstances cause a roll to have both Advantage and Disadvantage, you are considered to have neither of them, and you roll one d20. This is true even if multiple circumstances impose disadvantage and only one grants advantage or vice versa. In such a situation, you have neither advantage nor disadvantage.

When you have advantage or disadvantage and something in the game, such as the halfling’s Luckytrait, lets you reroll The D20, you can reroll only one of the dice. You choose which one. For example, if a Halflinghas advantage or disadvantage on an ability check and rolls a 1 and a 13, the Halflingcould use the Luckytrait to reroll the 1.

You usually gain advantage or disadvantage through the use of SpecialAbilities, Actions, or Spells. Inspirationcan also give a character advantage. The
GM can also decide that circumstances Influencea roll in one direction or the other and grant advantage or impose disadvantage as a result.

Proficiency Bonus

Charactershave a Proficiency Bonusdetermined by level. Monstersalso have this bonus, which is incorporated in their stat blocks. The bonus is used in the rules on Ability Checks, Saving Throws, and Attackrolls.

Your Proficiency Bonuscan’t be added to a single die roll or other number more than once. For example, if two different rules say you can add your Proficiency Bonusto a Wisdomsaving throw, you nevertheless add the bonus only once when you make the save.

Occasionally, your Proficiency Bonusmight be multiplied or divided (doubled or halved, for example) before you apply it. For example, the rogue’s Expertisefeature doubles the Proficiency Bonusfor certain Ability Checks. If a circumstance suggests that your Proficiency Bonusapplies more than once to the same roll, you still add it only once and multiply or divide it only once.

By the same token, if a feature or Effectallows you to multiply your Proficiency Bonuswhen making an ability check that wouldn’t normally benefit from your Proficiency Bonus, you still don’t add the bonus to the check. For that check your Proficiency Bonusis 0, given the fact that multiplying 0 by any number is still 0. For instance, if you lack proficiency in the Historyskill, you gain no benefit from a feature that lets you double your Proficiency Bonuswhen you make Intelligence(History) checks.

In general, you don’t multiply your Proficiency Bonusfor Attackrolls or Saving Throws. If a feature or Effectallows you to do so, these same rules apply.

Ability Checks

An ability check tests a character’s or monster’s innate Talentand Trainingin an effort to overcome a Challenge. The GM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action (other than an attack) that has a chance of failure. When the outcome is uncertain, the dice determine the results.

For every ability check, the GM decides which of The SixAbilitiesis relevant to the task at hand and the difficulty of the task, represented by a Difficulty Class. The more difficult a task, the higher its DC. The Typical Difficulty Classestable shows the most CommonDCs.

Task DifficultyDC
Very easy5
Very hard25
Nearly impossible30
To make an ability check, roll a d20 and add the relevant ability modifier. As with other d20 rolls, apply bonuses and penalties, and compare the total to the DC. If the total equals or exceeds the DC, the ability check is a success—the creature overcomes the Challengeat hand. Otherwise, it’s a failure, which means the character or monster makes no progress toward the objective or makes progress combined with a setback determined by the GM.


Sometimes one character’s or monster’s efforts are directly opposed to another’s. This can occur when both of them are trying to do the same thing and only one can succeed, such as attempting to snatch up a magic ring that has Fallenon the floor. This situation also applies when one of them is trying to prevent the other one from accomplishing a goal— for example, when a monster tries to force open a door that an adventurer is holding closed. In situations like these, the outcome is determined by a Specialform of ability check, called a contest.

Both participants in a contest make Ability Checksappropriate to their efforts. They apply all appropriate bonuses and penalties, but instead of comparing the total to a DC, they compare the totals of their two checks. The participant with the higher check total wins the contest. That character or monster either succeeds at the action or prevents the other one from succeeding.

If the contest results in a tie, the situation remains the same as it was before the contest. Thus, one contestant might win the contest by default. If two Characterstie in a contest to snatch a ring off the floor, neither character grabs it. In a contest between a monster trying to open a door and an adventurer trying to keep the door closed, a tie means that the door remains shut.


Each ability covers a broad range of capabilities, including Skillsthat a character or a monster can be proficient in. A skill represents a specific aspect of an ability score, and an individual’s proficiency in a skill demonstrates a focus on that aspect. (A character’s starting skill Proficienciesare determined at character Creation, and a monster’s skill Proficienciesappear in the monster’s stat block.)

For example, a Dexteritycheck might reflect a character’s attempt to pull off an acrobatic stunt, to palm an object, or to stay hidden. Each of these aspects of Dexterityhas an associated skill: Acrobatics, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth, respectively. So a character who has proficiency in the Stealthskill is particularly good at Dexteritychecks related to sneaking and Hiding.

The Skillsrelated to each ability score are shown in the following list. (No Skillsare related to Constitution.) See an ability’s description in the later sections of this section for examples of how to use a skill associated with an ability.

Sometimes, the GM might ask for an ability check using a specific skill—for example, “Make a Wisdom(Perception) check.” At other times, a player might ask the GM if proficiency in a particular skill applies to a check. In either case, proficiency in a skill means an individual can add his or her Proficiency Bonusto Ability Checksthat involve that skill. Without proficiency in the skill, the individual makes a normal ability check.

For example, if a character attempts to climb up a dangerous cliff, the GM might ask for a Strength(Athletics) check. If the character is proficient in Athletics, the character’s Proficiency Bonusis added to the Strengthcheck. If the character lacks that proficiency, he or she just makes a Strengthcheck.

Variant: Skills with Different Abilities

Normally, your proficiency in a skill applies only to a specific kind of ability check. Proficiency in Athletics, for example, usually applies to Strengthchecks. In some situations, though, your proficiency might reasonably apply to a different kind of check. In such cases, the GM might ask for a check using an unusual combination of ability and skill, or you might ask your GM if you can apply a proficiency to a different check. For example, if you have to swim from an offshore island to the mainland, your GM might call for a Constitutioncheck to see if you have the stamina to make it that far. In this case, your GM might allow you to apply your proficiency in Athleticsand ask for a Constitution(Athletics) check. So if you’re proficient in Athletics, you apply your Proficiency Bonusto the Constitutioncheck just as you would normally do for a Strength(Athletics) check. Similarly, when your Half-OrcBarbarianuses a display of raw Strengthto intimidate an enemy, your GM might ask for a Strength(Intimidation) check, even though Intimidationis normally associated with Charisma.

Passive Checks

A passive check is a Specialkind of ability check that doesn’t involve any die rolls. Such a check can represent the average result for a task done repeatedly, such as searching for Secretdoors over and over again, or can be used when the GM wants to secretly determine whether the Characterssucceed at something without rolling dice, such as noticing a hidden monster.

Here’s how to determine a character’s total for a passive check:
10 + all modifiers that normally apply to the check

If the character has advantage on the check, add 5. For disadvantage, subtract 5. The game refers to a passive check total as a score.

For example, if a 1st-level character has a Wisdomof 15 and proficiency in Perception, he or she has a passive Wisdom(Perception) score of 14.

The rules on Hidingin the “Dexterity” section below rely on Passive Checks, as do the Explorationrules.

Working Together

Sometimes two or more Charactersteam up to attempt a task. The character who’s leading the effort—or the one with the highest ability modifier—can make an ability check with advantage, reflecting the help provided by the other Characters. In Combat, this requires the Helpaction.

A character can only provide help if the task is one that he or she could attempt alone. For example, trying to open a lock requires proficiency with thieves’ tools, so a character who lacks that proficiency can’t help another character in that task. Moreover, a character can help only when two or more individuals Working Togetherwould actually be productive. Some tasks, such as threading a needle, are no easier with help.

Group Checks

When a number of individuals are trying to accomplish something as a group, the GM might ask for a group ability check. In such a situation, the Characterswho are Skilledat a particular task help cover those who aren’t.

To make a group ability check, everyone in the group makes the ability check. If at least half the group succeeds, the whole group succeeds.
Otherwise, the group fails.

Group Checksdon’t come up very often, and they’re most useful when all the Characterssucceed or fail as a group. For example, when Adventurersare navigating a swamp, the GM might call for a group Wisdom(Survival) check to see if the Characterscan avoid the Quicksand, sinkholes, and other natural Hazardsof the Environment. If at least half the group succeeds, the successful Charactersare able to guide their companions out of danger. Otherwise, the group stumbles into one of these Hazards.

Using Each Ability

Every task that a character or monster might attempt in the game is covered by one of The SixAbilities. This section explains in more detail what those Abilitiesmean and the ways they are used in the game.


Strengthmeasures bodily power, athletic Training, and the extent to which you can exert raw physical force.

Strength Checks

A Strengthcheck can model any attempt to lift, push, pull, or break something, to force your body through a space, or to otherwise apply brute force to a situation. The Athleticsskill reflects aptitude in certain kinds of Strengthchecks.

Athletics. Your Strength(Athletics) check covers difficult situations you encounter while climbing, Jumping, or Swimming. Examples include the following activities:
  • You attempt to climb a sheer or slippery cliff, avoid Hazards while scaling a wall, or cling to a surface while something is trying to knock you off.
  • You try to jump an unusually long distance or pull off a stunt midjump.
  • You struggle to swim or stay afloat in treacherous Currents, storm-tossed waves, or areas of thick seaweed. Or another creature tries to push or pull you Underwater or otherwise interfere with your Swimming.
Other Strength Checks. The GM might also call for a Strengthcheck when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:
  • Force open a stuck, locked, or barred door
  • Break free of bonds
  • Push through a tunnel that is too small
  • Hang on to a wagon while being dragged behind it
  • Tip over a statue
  • Keep a boulder from rolling

Attack Rolls and Damage

You add your Strengthmodifier to your Attackroll and your damage roll when attacking with a melee weapon such as a mace, a Battleaxe, or a Javelin. You use melee Weaponsto make Melee Attacksin hand- to-hand Combat, and some of them can be Thrownto make a ranged Attack.

Lifting and Carrying

Your Strengthscore determines the amount of weight you can bear. The following terms define what you can lift or carry.

Carrying Capacity. Your carrying Capacityis your Strengthscore multiplied by 15. This is the weight (in pounds) that you can carry, which is high enough that most Charactersdon’t usually have to worry about it.

Push, Drag, or Lift. You can push, drag, or lift a weight in pounds up to twice your carrying Capacity(or 30 times your Strengthscore). While pushing or dragging weight in excess of your carrying Capacity, your speed drops to 5 feet.

Size and Strength. Larger creatures can bear more weight, whereas Tiny creatures can carry less. For each size category above Medium, double the creature’s carrying Capacityand the amount it can push, drag, or lift. For a Tiny creature, halve these weights.

Variant: Encumbrance

The rules for Lifting and Carryingare intentionally simple. Here is a variant if you are looking for more detailed rules for determining how a character is hindered by the weight of Equipment. When you use this variant, ignore the Strengthcolumn of the Armortable.

If you carry weight in excess of 5 times your Strengthscore, you are encumbered, which means your speed drops by 10 feet.

If you carry weight in excess of 10 times your Strengthscore, up to your maximum carrying Capacity, you are instead heavily encumbered, which means your speed drops by 20 feet and you have disadvantage on Ability Checks, Attackrolls, and Saving Throwsthat use Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution.


Dexteritymeasures agility, reflexes, and balance.

Dexterity Checks

A Dexteritycheck can model any attempt to move nimbly, quickly, or quietly, or to keep from Fallingon tricky footing. The Acrobatics, Sleight of Hand, and StealthSkillsreflect aptitude in certain kinds of Dexteritychecks.

Acrobatics. Your Dexterity(Acrobatics) check covers your attempt to stay on your feet in a tricky situation, such as when you’re trying to run across a sheet of ice, balance on a tightrope, or stay upright on a rocking ship’s deck. The GM might also call for a Dexterity(Acrobatics) check to see if you can perform acrobatic stunts, including dives, rolls, somersaults, and flips.

Sleight of Hand. Whenever you attempt an act of legerdemain or manual trickery, such as planting something on someone else or concealing an object on your person, make a Dexterity(Sleight of Hand) check. The GM might also call for a Dexterity(Sleight of Hand) check to determine whether you can lift a coin purse off another person or slip something out of another person’s pocket.

Stealth. Make a Dexterity(Stealth) check when you attempt to conceal yourself from enemies, slink past guards, slip away without Being Noticed, or sneak up on someone without being seen or heard.

Other Dexterity Checks. The GM might call for a Dexteritycheck when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:
  • Control a heavily laden cart on a steep descent
  • Steer a chariot around a tight turn
  • Pick a lock
  • Disable a trap
  • Securely tie up a prisoner
  • Wriggle free of bonds
  • Play a stringed Instrument
  • Craft a small or detailed object

Attack Rolls and Damage

You add your Dexteritymodifier to your Attackroll and your damage roll when attacking with a ranged weapon, such as a sling or a Longbow. You can also add your Dexteritymodifier to your Attackroll and your damage roll when attacking with a melee weapon that has the Finesseproperty, such as a Daggeror a Rapier.

Armor Class

Depending on the armor you wear, you might add some or all of your Dexteritymodifier to your ArmorClass.


At the Beginningof every Combat, you roll Initiativeby making a Dexteritycheck. Initiativedetermines the order of creatures’ turns in Combat.


The GM decides when circumstances are appropriate for Hiding. When you try to hide, make a Dexterity(Stealth) check. Until you are discovered or you stop Hiding, that check’s total is contested by the Wisdom(Perception) check of any creature that actively searches for signs of your presence.

You can’t hide from a creature that can see you clearly, and you give away your position if you make noise, such as shouting a warning or knocking over a vase.
An Invisiblecreature can always try to hide. Signs of its Passagemight still be noticed, and it does have to stay quiet.

In Combat, most creatures stay alert for signs of danger all around, so if you come out of Hidingand approach a creature, it usually sees you. However, under certain circumstances, the GM might allow you to stay hidden as you approach a creature that is distracted, allowing you to gain advantage on an Attackroll before you are seen.

Passive Perception. When you hide, there’s a chance someone will notice you even if they aren’t searching. To determine whether such a creature notices you, the GM compares your Dexterity(Stealth) check with that creature’s passive Wisdom(Perception) score, which equals 10 + the creature’s Wisdommodifier, as well as any other bonuses or penalties. If the creature has advantage, add 5. For disadvantage, subtract 5. For example, if a 1st-­level character (with a Proficiency Bonusof +2) has a Wisdomof 15 (a +2 modifier) and proficiency in Perception, he or she has a passive Wisdom(Perception) of 14.

What Can You See?One of the main factors in determining whether you can find a hidden creature or object is how well you can see in an area, which might be lightlyor heavily obscured, as explained in “The Environment.”


Constitutionmeasures health, stamina, and vital force.

Constitution Checks

Constitutionchecks are uncommon, and no Skillsapply to Constitutionchecks, because The Endurancethis ability represents is largely passive rather than involving a specific effort on the part of a character or monster. A Constitutioncheck can model your attempt to push beyond normal limits, however.

The GM might call for a Constitutioncheck when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:
  • Hold your breath
  • March or labor for hours without rest
  • Go without sleep
  • Survive without food or water
  • Quaff an entire stein of ale in one go

Hit Points

Your Constitutionmodifier contributes to your Hit Points. Typically, you add your Constitutionmodifier to each Hit Die you roll for your Hit Points.

If your Constitutionmodifier changes, your hit point maximum changes as well, as though you had the new modifier from 1st Level. For example, if you raise your Constitutionscore when you reach 4th Leveland your Constitutionmodifier increases from +1 to +2, you adjust your hit point maximum as though the modifier had always been +2. So you add 3 Hit Pointsfor your first three levels, and then roll your Hit Pointsfor 4th Levelusing your new modifier. Or if you’re 7th level and some Effectlowers your Constitutionscore so as to reduce your Constitutionmodifier by 1, your hit point maximum is reduced by 7.


Intelligencemeasures mental acuity, accuracy of recall, and the ability to reason.

Intelligence Checks

An Intelligencecheck comes into play when you need to draw on logic, education, memory, or deductive reasoning. The Arcana, History, Investigation, Nature, and ReligionSkillsreflect aptitude in certain kinds of Intelligencechecks.

Arcana. Your Intelligence(Arcana) check measures your ability to recall lore about Spells, magic items, eldritch Symbols, magical traditions, The Planesof existence, and the inhabitants of those planes.

History. Your Intelligence(History) check measures your ability to recall lore about historical events, legendary people, ancient kingdoms, past disputes, recent wars, and lost civilizations.

Investigation. When you look around for clues and make deductions based on those clues, you make an Intelligence(Investigation) check. You might deduce the Locationof a hidden object, discern from the Appearanceof a wound what kind of weapon dealt it, or determine the weakest point in a tunnel that could cause it to collapse. Poring through ancient Scrollsin Searchof a hidden fragment of knowledge might also call for an Intelligence(Investigation) check.

Nature. Your Intelligence(Nature) check measures your ability to recall lore about terrain, Plantsand animals, the weather, and natural cycles.

Religion. Your Intelligence(Religion) check measures your ability to recall lore about deities, rites and prayers, religious hierarchies, holy Symbols, and the practices of Secretcults.

Other Intelligence Checks. The GM might call for an Intelligencecheck when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:
  • Communicate with a creature without using words
  • Estimate the value of a precious item
  • Pull together a disguise to pass as a city guard
  • Forge a document
  • Recall lore about a craft or trade
  • Win a game of skill

Spellcasting Ability

Wizards use Intelligenceas their Spellcastingability, which helps determine the saving throw DCs of Spellsthey cast.


Wisdomreflects how attuned you are to the world around you and represents perceptiveness and intuition.

Wisdom Checks

A Wisdomcheck might reflect an effort to read body language, understand someone’s feelings, notice things about the Environment, or care for an injured person. The Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Perception, and SurvivalSkillsreflect aptitude in certain kinds of Wisdomchecks.

Animal Handling. When there is any question whether you can calm down a domesticated animal, keep a mount from getting spooked, or intuit an animal’s intentions, the GM might call for a Wisdom(Animal Handling) check. You also make a Wisdom(Animal Handling) check to control your mount when you attempt a risky maneuver.

Insight. Your Wisdom(Insight) check decides whether you can determine the true intentions of a creature, such as when searching out a lie or predicting someone’s next move. Doing so involves gleaning clues from body language, Speechhabits, and changes in mannerisms.

Medicine. A Wisdom(Medicine) check lets you try to stabilize a dying companion or diagnose an illness.

Perception. Your Wisdom(Perception) check lets you spot, hear, or otherwise detect the presence of something. It measures your general awareness of your surroundings and the keenness of your Senses. For example, you might try to hear a conversation through a closed door, eavesdrop under an open window, or hear Monstersmoving stealthily in the Forest. Or you might try to spot things that are obscured or easy to miss, whether they are orcs lying in Ambushon a road, thugs Hidingin the shadows of an alley, or candlelight under a closed Secretdoor.

Survival. The GM might ask you to make a Wisdom(Survival) check to follow tracks, hunt wild game, guide your group through frozen wastelands, Identifysigns that owlbears live nearby, predict the weather, or avoid Quicksandand other natural Hazards.

Other Wisdom Checks. The GM might call for a Wisdomcheck when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:
  • Get a gut feeling about what course of action to follow
  • Discern whether a seemingly dead or living creature is Undead

Spellcasting Ability

Clerics, druids, and rangers use Wisdomas their Spellcastingability, which helps determine the saving throw DCs of Spellsthey cast.


Charismameasures your ability to interact effectively with others. It includes such factors as confidence and eloquence, and it can represent a charming or commanding Personality.

Charisma Checks

A Charismacheck might arise when you try to Influenceor entertain others, when you try to make an impression or tell a convincing lie, or when you are navigating a tricky social situation. The Deception, Intimidation, Performance, and PersuasionSkillsreflect aptitude in certain kinds of Charismachecks.

Deception. Your Charisma(Deception) check determines whether you can convincingly hide the truth, either verbally or through your Actions. This Deceptioncan encompass everything from misleading others through ambiguity to telling outright lies. Typical situations include trying to fast- talk a guard, con a merchant, earn money through Gambling, pass yourself off in a disguise, dull someone’s suspicions with false assurances, or maintain a straight face while telling a blatant lie.

Intimidation. When you attempt to Influencesomeone through overt threats, HostileActions, and physical violence, the GM might ask you to make a Charisma(Intimidation) check. Examples include trying to pry information out of a prisoner, convincing street thugs to back down from a confrontation, or using the edge of a broken bottle to convince a sneering vizier to reconsider a decision.

Performance. Your Charisma(Performance) check determines how well you can delight an audience with music, dance, Acting, Storytelling, or some other form of entertainment.

Persuasion. When you attempt to Influencesomeone or a group of people with tact, social graces, or good Nature, the GM might ask you to make a Charisma(Persuasion) check. Typically, you use Persuasionwhen Actingin good faith, to foster friendships, make cordial requests, or exhibit proper etiquette. Examples of persuading others include convincing a chamberlain to let your party see the king, negotiating peace between warring tribes, or inspiring a crowd of townsfolk.

Other Charisma Checks. The GM might call for a Charismacheck when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:
  • Find the best person to talk to for news, rumors, and gossip
  • Blend into a crowd to get the sense of key topics of conversation

Spellcasting Ability

Bards, paladins, sorcerers, and warlocks use Charismaas their Spellcastingability, which helps determine the saving throw DCs of Spellsthey cast.

Saving Throws

A saving throw—also called a save—represents an attempt to resist a spell, a trap, a poison, a disease, or a similar threat. You don’t normally decide to make a saving throw; you are forced to make one because your character or monster is at risk of harm.

To make a saving throw, roll a d20 and add the appropriate ability modifier. For example, you use your Dexteritymodifier for a Dexteritysaving throw.

A saving throw can be modified by a situational bonus or penalty and can be affected by Advantage and Disadvantage, as determined by the GM.

Each class gives proficiency in at least two Saving Throws. The Wizard, for example, is proficient in Intelligencesaves. As with skill Proficiencies, proficiency in a saving throw lets a character add his or her Proficiency Bonusto Saving Throwsmade using a particular ability score. Some Monstershave saving throw Proficienciesas well.

The Difficulty Classfor a saving throw is determined by the Effectthat causes it. For example, the DC for a saving throw allowed by a spell is determined by the caster’s Spellcastingability and Proficiency Bonus.

The result of a successful or failed saving throw is also detailed in the Effectthat allows the save. Usually, a successful save means that a creature suffers no harm, or reduced harm, from an Effect.
Best Adventuring Gear Items for Dungeons \u0026 Dragons 5E

DM DavePosted in Articles

Recently, I was putting together a few higher level monsters and I had to select Strength for one of my beasties. When you’re up in the CR 20+ range, Strength 20+ isn’t too uncommon. Dragons have it, the tarrasque has it, even Horned Devils have it. But what does each point of Strength mean?

In this article I cover:

  • What does each point in Strength mean?
  • Where do all the Monster Manual monsters stand in terms of Strength?
  • Observations on 5e monster Strength.
  • New rules for opposed Strength checks.

What does each point in Strength mean?

According to the Player’s Handbook, Strength measures bodily power, athletic training, and the extent to which one can exert raw physical force (PHB, p175).

Page 173 tells us that a score of 10 or 11 is the normal human average for any given ability. Of course, monsters and adventurers are a cut above average. Next, a score of 18 is the highest that a person usually reaches and adventurers can get as high as 20. Meanwhile, monsters and divine beings can get all the way up to 30.

Strength: Ability Checks and Skills

In Dungeons & Dragons 5e, Strength has only one skill tied to it: Athletics. But it’s also used to:

  • Force open a stuck, locked, or barred door
  • Break free of bonds
  • Push through a tunnel that is too small
  • Hang on to a wagon while being dragged behind it
  • Tip over a statue
  • Keep a boulder from rolling

Basically, it’s Conan the Barbarian type stuff.

Strength: Attacks and Damage

Of course, Strength is also key to melee weapon fighters as creatures add their Strength modifier to attack and damage rolls. It’s also used when you throw certain weapons in a ranged attack.

Strength: Lifting and Carrying

Another important thing that Strength is used for is lifting and carrying. The carrying capacity of a creature is its Strength score multiplied by 15.

Then, a creature can push, drag, or lift up to twice its carrying capacity.

Finally, bigger creatures get to double their carrying capacity for every size category above Medium. Meanwhile, Tiny creatures half the weight.

Strength: Jumping

Another important use for Strength is calculating jumping distances.

For the long jump, a creature covers a number of feet up to its Strength score as long as it moves at least 10 feet on foot immediately before that jump. A standing long jump is done at half that value.

And for high jumps, a creature leaps into the air a number of feet equal to 3 + its Strength modifier as long as they move 10 feet on foot immediately before the jump. And then half again if its done standing.

Strength: Saving Throws

Strength is occasionally used for saving throws, too. While it’s not one of the “big three” (Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom), it can prevent you from getting knocked back by a Thunder Wave or thrown across the room by a beholder’s Telekinetic Ray.


D&D 5e Monsters by Strength

Okay, so now we know what we can accomplish with certain Strength scores. Time to see how that all shakes out.

We’ll start off with Tiny creatures with a Strength score of 1 and move our way all the way up to Gargantuan creatures with a Strength score of 30.




Tiny Monsters

Tiny Strength 1 (-5)
Carrying Capacity: 7.50 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 15 pounds
Monsters: demilich, flameskull, frog, sea horse, will-o’-wisp

Tiny Strength 2 (-4)
Carrying Capacity: 15 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 30 pounds
Monsters: bat, crab, lizard, pixie, poisonous snake, quipper, rat, raven, scorpion, spider

Tiny Strength 3 (-4)
Carrying Capacity: 22.50 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 45 pounds
Monsters: cat, faerie dragon, owl, weasel, sprite

Tiny Strength 4 (-3)
Carrying Capacity: 30 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 60 pounds
Monsters: badger, flying snake, homonculus, stirge

Tiny Strength 5 (-3)
Carrying Capacity: 37.50 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 75 pounds
Monsters: hawk, quasit

Tiny Strength 6 (-2)
Carrying Capacity: 45 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 90 pounds
Monsters: imp, intellect devourer, pseudodragon

Tiny Strength 7 (-2)
Carrying Capacity: 52.50 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 105 pounds
Monsters: slaad tadpole

Tiny Strength 13 (+1)
Carrying Capacity: 97.50 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 195 pounds
Monsters: crawling claw



Small and Medium Monsters

Small and Medium Strength 1 (-5)
Carrying Capacity: 15 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 30 pounds
Monsters: banshee, shadow demon, shrieker, specter

Small and Medium Strength 3 (-4)
Carrying Capacity: 45 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 90 pounds
Monsters: awakened shrub, swarm of insects, violet fungus

Small and Medium Strength 4 (-3)
Carrying Capacity: 60 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 120 pounds
Monsters: octopus

Small and Medium Strength 5 (-3)
Carrying Capacity: 75 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 150 pounds
Monsters: dust mephit, giant centipede, steam mephit, swarm of bats

Small and Medium Strength 6 (-2)
Carrying Capacity: 90 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 180 pounds
Monsters: blood hawk, cockatrice, eagle, flumph, shadow, smoke mephit, swarm of ravens, twig blight, wraith

Small and Medium Strength 7 (-2)
Carrying Capacity: 105 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 210 pounds
Monsters: ghost, giant rat, kobold, ice mephit, magmin, vulture, winged kobold

Small and Medium Strength 8 (-1)
Carrying Capacity: 120 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 240 pounds
Monsters: baboon, giant fire beetle, goblin, jackal, magma mephit, mud mephit, myconid sprout, spectator, succubus/incubus, swarm of poisonous snakes

Small and Medium Strength 9 (-1)
Carrying Capacity: 135 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 270 pounds
Monsters: drow mage, swarm of rats

Small and Medium Strength 10 (+0)
Carrying Capacity: 150 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 300 pounds
Monsters: aarakocra, commoner, drow, drow priestess of Lolth, dryad, giant poisonous snake, giant wasp, gibbering mouther, goblin boss, kenku, lemure, mane, medusa, merfolk, monodrone, myconid adult, piercer, skeleton, spined devil, wererat

Small and Medium Strength 11 (+0)
Carrying Capacity: 165 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 330 pounds
Monsters: deer, doppelganger, duodrone, dretch, giant weasel, hyena, jackalwere, lich, mindflayer, scarecrow, yuan-ti pureblood

Small and Medium Strength 12 (+1)
Carrying Capacity: 180 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 360 pounds
Monsters: blink dog, bullywug, flying sword, giant frog, giant wolf spider, goat, githzerai monk, fire snake, gray ooze, harpy, needle blight, quadrone, tridrone, pteranodon, satyr, thri-kreen, wolf

Small and Medium Strength 13 (+1)
Carrying Capacity: 195 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 390 pounds
Monsters: boar, drow elite warrior, ghoul, giant badger, giant crab, githzerai zerth, hobgoblin, kuo-toa, mastiff, rust monster, sahuagin, sahuagin priestess, swarm of quippers, zombie

Small and Medium Strength 14 (+2)
Carrying Capacity: 210 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 420 pounds
Monsters: animated armor, duergar, ettercap, gnoll, grick, kuo-toa whip, mule, nothic, panther, rakshasa, reef shark, troglodyte, white dragon wyrmling

Small and Medium Strength 15 (+2)
Carrying Capacity: 225 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 450 pounds
Monsters: black bear, black dragon wyrmling, brass dragon wyrmling, bug bear, copper dragon wyrmling, death dog, deep gnome, gargoyle, githyanki warrior, green dragon wyrmling, grell, hobgoblin captain, lizardfolk, lizardfolk shaman, pony, vine blight, werewolf, wight, yochlol

Small and Medium Strength 16 (+3)
Carrying Capacity: 240 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 480 pounds
Monsters: ape, basilisk, barbed devil, bearded devil, couatl, darkmantle, ghast, githyanki knight, gnoll pack lord, grimlock, half-red dragon veteran, hobgoblin warlord, invisible stalker, kuo-toa archpriest, mummy, orc, orc eye of Gruumsh, peryton, sea hag, ultroloth, vampire spawn, yuan-ti malison

Small and Medium Strength 17 (+3)
Carrying Capacity: 255 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 510 pounds
Monsters: arcanoloth, azer, blue dragon wyrmling, bronze dragon wyrmling, bugbear chief, gnoll fang of Yeenoghu, gray slaad, hell hound, lizard king/queen, mimic, mummy lord, quaggoth, quaggoth spore servant, wereboar, weretiger, xorn

Small and Medium Strength 18 (+4)
Carrying Capacity: 270 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 540 pounds
Monsters: cambion, chain devil, deva, erinyes, green hag, helmed horror, merrow, mezzoloth, night hag, orc war chief, orog, revenant, vampire

Small and Medium Strength 19 (+4)
Carrying Capacity: 285 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 570 pounds
Monsters: flesh golem, gold dragon wyrmling, red dragon wyrmling, silver dragon wyrmling, werebear

Small and Medium Strength 20 (+5)
Carrying Capacity: 300 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 600 pounds
Monsters: death knight, death slaad, galeb duhr



Large Monsters

Large Strength 5 (-3)
Carrying Capacity: 150 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 300 pounds
Monsters: gas spore

Large Strength 10 (+0)
Carrying Capacity: 300 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 600 pounds
Monsters: beholder, beholder zombie, death tyrant, fire elemental

Large Strength 11 (+0)
Carrying Capacity: 330 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 660 pounds
Monsters: dao

Large Strength 12 (+1)
Carrying Capacity: 360 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 720 pounds
Monsters: giant sea horse, myconid sovereign

Large Strength 13 (+1)
Carrying Capacity: 390 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 780 pounds
Monsters: carrion crawler, giant owl

Large Strength 14 (+2)
Carrying Capacity: 420 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 840 pounds
Monsters: air elemental, axe beak, cloaker, gelatinous cube, giant spider

Large Strength 15 (+2)
Carrying Capacity: 450 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 900 pounds
Monsters: bone naga, chasme, constrictor, crocodile, giant bat, giant lizard, giant scorpion, giant toad, giant vulture, ochre jelly, pentadrone, phase spider

Large Strength 16 (+3)
Carrying Capacity: 480 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 960 pounds
Monsters: black pudding, blue slaad, camel, drider, elk, giant hyena, green slaad, lamia, otyugh, red slaad, riding horse, worg

Large Strength 17 (+3)
Carrying Capacity: 510 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 1,020 pounds
Monsters: ankheg, dire wolf, giant boar, giant goat, giant octopus, half-ogre, hippogriff, lion, manticore, rug of smothering, tiger, vrock

Large Strength 18 (+4)
Carrying Capacity: 540 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 1,080 pounds
Monsters: balgura, bone devil, centaur, displacer beast, draft horse, grick alpha, griffon, gynosphinx, hook horror, hunter shark, marilith, merrow, minotaur, minotaur skeleton, nightmare, pegasus, plesiosaurus, spirit naga, water elemental, young remorhaz, roper, saber-toothed tiger, salamander, shambling mound, shield guardian, troll, unicorn, warhorse, warhorse skeleton, winter wolf, yeti, young white dragon

Large Strength 19 (+4)
Carrying Capacity: 570 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 1,140 pounds
Monsters: allosaurus, brown bear, bulette, chimera, chuul, giant eagle, guardian naga, hezrou, ogre, ogre zombie, oni, sahuagin baron, wyvern, young black dragon, young brass dragon, young copper dragon, young green dragon, yuan-ti abomination

Large Strength 20 (+5)
Carrying Capacity: 600 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 1,200 pounds
Monsters: clay golem, earth elemental, glabrezu, gorgon, ncyaloth, owl bear, polar bear, umber hulk

Large Strength 21 (+5)
Carrying Capacity: 630 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 1,260 pounds
Monsters: aboleth, djinni, ettin, ice devil, nalfeshnee, rhinoceros, young blue dragon, young bronze dragon

Large Strength 22 (+6)
Carrying Capacity: 660 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 1,320 pounds
Monsters: androsphinx, efreeti, horned devil, marid, stone golem

Large Strength 23 (+6)
Carrying Capacity: 690 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 1,380 pounds
Monsters: young gold dragon, young red dragon, young red shadow dragon, young silver dragon

Large Strength 24 (+7)
Carrying Capacity: 720 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 1,440 pounds
Monsters: iron golem, planetar

Large Strength 26 (+8)
Carrying Capacity: 780 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 1,560 pounds
Monsters: pit fiend, solar



Huge Monsters

Huge Strength 19 (+4)
Carrying Capacity: 1,140 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 2,280 pounds
Monsters: ankylosaurus, awakened tree, giant constrictor snake, giant crocodile, giant elk, killer whale

Huge Strength 21 (+5)
Carrying Capacity: 1,260 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 2,520 pounds
Monsters: hill giant

Huge Strength 22 (+6)
Carrying Capacity: 1,320 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 2,640 pounds
Monsters: adult white dragon, cyclops, elephant, triceratops

Huge Strength 23 (+6)
Carrying Capacity: 1,380 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 2,760 pounds
Monsters: adult black dragon, adult brass dragon, adult copper dragon, adult green dragon, behir, fomorian, frost giant, giant ape, giant shark, stone giant, treant

Huge Strength 24 (+7)
Carrying Capacity: 1,440 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 2,880 pounds
Monsters: abominable yeti, adult black dragon, adult brass dragon, adult copper dragon, adult green dragon, behir, fomorian, frost giant, mammoth, stone giant

Huge Strength 25 (+7)
Carrying Capacity: 1,500 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 3,000 pounds
Monsters: adult blue dracolich, adult blue dragon, adult bronze dragon, fire giant, goristo, tyrannosaurus rex

Huge Strength 26 (+8)
Carrying Capacity: 1,560 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 3,120 pounds
Monsters: balor

Huge Strength 27 (+8)
Carrying Capacity: 1,620 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 3,240 pounds
Monsters: adult gold dragon, adult red dragon, adult silver dragon, cloud giant

Huge Strength 29 (+9)
Carrying Capacity: 1,740 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 3,480 pounds
Monsters: storm giant

Huge Strength 30 (+10)
Carrying Capacity: 1,800 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 3,600 pounds
Monsters: empyrean



Gargantuan Monsters

Gargantuan Strength 25 (+7)
Carrying Capacity: 3,000 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 6,000 pounds
Monsters: dragon turtle

Gargantuan Strength 26 (+8)
Carrying Capacity: 3,120 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 6,240 pounds
Monsters: ancient white dragon

Gargantuan Strength 27 (+8)
Carrying Capacity: 3,240 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 6,480 pounds
Monsters: ancient black dragon, ancient brass dragon, ancient copper dragon, ancient green dragon

Gargantuan Strength 28 (+9)
Carrying Capacity: 3,360 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 6,720 pounds
Monsters: purple worm, roc

Gargantuan Strength 29 (+9)
Carrying Capacity: 3,480 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 6,960 pounds
Monsters: ancient blue dragon

Gargantuan Strength 30 (+10)
Carrying Capacity: 3,600 pounds
Push, Lift, Drag: 7,200 pounds
Monsters: ancient gold dragon, ancient red dragon, ancient silver dragon, kraken, tarrasque


Observations on 5e Monster Strength

That’s a lot of data! And there’s some interesting things to be learned here.

Average Strength scores for each size category vary.

Here’s how the average Strength scores for 5e monsters shake out:

  • Tiny monsters have an average Strength score of 3.35.
  • Small and Medium monsters have an average Strength score of 12.57.
  • Large monsters have an average Strength of 17.69.
  • Huge monsters have an average Strength of 23.53.
  • Gargantuan monsters have an average Strength of 28.14.

Not all Strength scores are created equal in D&D 5e.

A Large fire elemental has a Strength of 10. That means it can carry 300 pounds (we’ll pretend it doesn’t set anything on fire when it does this). However, for a Medium or Small creature, it would take a Strength score of 20 to be as strong as a fire elemental.

The only Strength score that exists in more than two size categories (at least in the Monster Manual) is the 19. Six monsters have a Strength 19 that are Small/Medium, eighteen that are Large, and six huge. That means that a flesh golem is really only half as strong as a brown bear when it comes to carry or push/lift/drag. And a giant constrictor strength has double the relative strength of the brown bear.

Strength Score of 1 is for insubstantial or very weak Tiny animals.

The only monsters that get awarded the super low 1 Strength score are those that are either ghostly such as the banshee and specter, or are Tiny and don’t have an easy way of physically picking things up like floating skulls (demiliches and flaming skulls) or frogs. After Small and Medium, the lowest score is 5 in Large and that’s for gas spores which are essentially just giant beholder-shaped balloons.

Gargantuan Strength scores are broken.

Using the math from the Player’s Handbook, we learn that tarrasque can only carry 3,600 pounds and push/lift/drag 7,200 pounds. To put that in perspective, a modern forklift can carry 4,000 lbs. In fact, a modern forklift unloaded weighs 9.000 lbs. The tarrasque can’t even pick the forklift up!

5e Tarrasques are reported to weigh 130 tons. That means it’s only capable of carrying 1.4% of their total body weight.

Taking this conversation to social media, I learned that there’s something called square-cube law that affects the carrying capacities of large things. I’ll spare you the math, but it’s why blue whales can only live in the oceans and skyscrapers are harder to create when they get bigger and bigger.

But the tarrasque is a fantasy creature! Screw your maths!

Where Strength scores make sense: attacks.

Regarding attacks, Strength scores are somewhat balanced thanks to the fact that larger creatures use larger weapons and larger weapons roll more dice.

For example: a Medium sized greatclub wielded by a Strength 19 PC fighter deals 8 (1d8 + 4) damage. Meanwhile, a greatclub swung by a Large ogre does 13 (2d8 + 4) damage. That’s 1.63 times more damage than the adventurer despite having the same Strength mod. I can dig it.

Where Strength scores get dumb: opposed checks.

The trouble, though, is when there’s a contest of Strength between that same fighter and the ogre. Under the grappling rules, for instance, that same fighter can maintain a grapple with the ogre by using its own Strength (Athletics) check contested by the ogre’s Strength (Athletics) check. We’ll pretend that the fighter has only his Strength modifier for Athletics (+4). That means the ogre–which deals 1.63 times more damage with its great club and can lift twice what the fighter can, mind you–has an even chance of resisting the grapple.

And vice versa, if a Huge hill giant has a grapple with that same Strength 19 fighter (because creatures two size categories bigger than their target can still grapple them and not the other way around), the opposed Strength (Athletics) checks are again on even ground.

I call bullshit.

By the way, the same applies to shoving. Or any other opposed Strength check.

A potential fix to this issue.

I believe it’s tacky to create a problem without a solution. Therefore, here’s the fix:

Creatures one size larger get advantage on opposed Strength checks.

When it comes to Strength checks, creatures that are one size larger are awarded advantage to their opposed Strength checks. This works because an advantage on a roll is effectively a +5 bonus. And a Strength 20 (+5) creature is comparatively only a Strength 10 (+0) creature to one that’s a size larger than it if you go by the carrying, lift/push/drag rules.

So if a Strength 19 fighter tries to grapple an ogre, the ogre gets to roll advantage on the opposed roll. On average, the fighter’s d20 should roll 10-11. Meanwhile, the ogre’s average with 2d20 will be around 15-16. Now that makes more sense.

Creatures two sizes larger than the opposition get advantage on opposed Strength checks AND creatures two sizes smaller than the opposition get disadvantage on opposed Strength checks.

RAW states that a creature two sizes smaller than its target can’t initiate a grapple or a shove. But that’s boring! Plus, if it’s being grappled by a creature two sizes larger than it with roughly the same Strength, it has an even chance of getting away.

Instead, give the creature that’s two sizes larger than its opposition advantage on its Strength roll to maintain and escape grapples. Then, on top of that, give the creature that’s two sizes smaller than its opposition disadvantage on its own Strength roll.

Looking back at the Strength 20 fighter, if it tries to grapple with a hill giant using its Strength modifier, it gets disadvantage, effectively making its average roll a 5. And the hill giant will get advantage, too, giving it an average of 15 on its rolls. In other words, it’s unlikely the fighter will grapple the hill giant, but not impossible. And if we turn the tables, the hill giant has a pretty excellent chance of grabbing the fighter if the fighter uses only its Strength to try to escape.

Creatures three sizes larger than the opposition automatically succeed on contested Strength checks.

Finally, for size differences of three or more, creatures three sizes larger automatically succeed on opposed Strength checks. If an ancient red dragon has grappled ourStrength 20 fighter, the fighter ain’t getting away unless he uses another method to escape (more on that in a moment). Flip the tables and the same if the fighter tries to start a grapple with the Ancient Red Dragon: it just ain’t happening.

What about Dexterity (Acrobatics) vs Strength (Athletics)?

Note: for grapples and shoves, the target can choose to use its Dexterity (Acrobatics) score to avoid being grappled or shoved. When this occurs–when it’s Strength (Athletics) vs Dexterity (Acrobatics)–it’s a pure opposition roll without either side getting advantage or disadvantages due to variance in size.

A Strength 20 fighter caught in the jaws of the tarrasque has no hope in prying himself free with just his muscles alone. However, if he manages to slip out between its teeth using his quickness and skill, then there’s a pretty good chance he’ll get away.


I’ll probably look back in on this a few times more in the future and make necessary adjustments. Hopefully, the information here is helpful for you and your game and you have a better understanding of how Strength works in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition.

Chances are I’ll probably put together an infographic with the monsters, too as well as a chart that better clarifies how the differences in size matters for advantages on opposed Strength checks.

Anyways, if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

And be sure to sign up for updates on the sidebar or in the footer.

See you soon!

Art by Wizards of the Coast and Paizo Publishing.

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Have you ever wondered how much your character can carry and how strength or size affect it? Does your DM ask you to keep track of weight? Here’s a simple breakdown for calculating carrying capacity, according to the Player’s Handbook (pg 176):

For carrying capacity, multiply your STR score by 15 lbs. If you have a STR score of 12, you can carry a maximum of 180bs (15×12). Creature size matters, some have modifiers: Tiny (x0.5), Large (x2), Huge (x4), and Gargantuan (x8).

Those’re the basics of the mechanics, but there’s slightly more to it.

Are there any other factors that can affect carrying capacity?


Size can either increase or decrease your carrying capacity. For creatures that are at least above medium size, double this capacity for each size above medium. For instance, if my character is huge and has a STR of 12, I would do the following computation:

12 STR x 15 x 4 = 720 lbs 

However, if you are a tiny creature, you can’t carry as much. As a result, always halve your carrying capacity. For instance: 

12 STR x 15 x ½ = 90 lbs 

For easier reference, here is a table to show you various sizes and their carrying capacity multipliers: 

Size Multiplier 
Tiny x½ 
Medium None
Large x2 
Huge x4 
Gargantuan x8 

When Your Strength Score Changes

Carrying capacity is not static—it will change when your strength does. Keep this in mind, especially when encountering the oh-so-fun (and optional) encumbrance rule

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How does Encumbrance work?

It depends on how much you are over capacity. The rules are actually quite strict if you decide to follow them, but I personally see them as a suggestion.

They go like so:

Amount CarriedHindrance
STR x 5Lightly Encumbered; -10 ft Speed
STR x 10 to 15 Heavily Encumbered: 
20 ft Speed;
Disadvantage on any ability checks, attack rolls, saving throws related to STR, DEX, or CON.

Note: these penalties still happen while you’re under max capacity.

How it works once you go over your total carrying capacity, it’s unclear. The rules only seem to think that people will be able to carry up to the max capacity, implying that you can’t move at all if you exceed the limit.

When using this variant rule, ignore the strength column on the armor table. Anyone can wear any armor regardless of strength, so long as they’re proficient. However, the weight is liable to set you back.

All of this is even more funif you factor in the weight of coins! (/s) In case you’re wondering, 50 coins (any kind) is 1 lbs. Best bust out them platinums.

How Does Carrying Capacity Affect Push, Drag, or Lift? 

Your carrying capacity will be used when attempting to push, drag, or lift an object. Simply double your carrying capacity to know how much you can do any of these actions. 

For instance, your character has a carrying capacity of 90 lbs; you can push, pull, or lift objects of up to 180 lbs without strenuous effort. 

If you push, pull, or lift something heavier than your carrying capacity, reduce your speed by 5ft. This writing implies that you can drag at normal speed, though it’s up to your DM whether it’s part of your action, movement, or bonus action.

Are There Easier Ways to Track What I’m Carrying? 

If your DM tracks encumbrance, you might wonder how to keep track of everything. It is simple but tedious – all Rules-as-Written (RAW) items have their weights listed in their description, which can be found in the Player’s Handbook (PHB), Dungeon Master’s Guide, and other volumes. 

A simple way to track this is using a digital spreadsheet. Apps like Microsoft Excel, Google sheets, or DnD Beyond can help with inventory management and weight. Much less messy than accounting for every pound on your character sheet. 

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How to Avoid Encumbrance and Carrying Too Much

While this doesn’t directly have to do with calculating your weight, you may be wondering how to carry more while weighing less. Impossible you say? Well, magic saves the day alongside old-timey approaches.


Mounts can be bought from most cities and vary in their cost and ability. Generally, you don’t want to ride them into combat unless you have proficiency in Animal Handling, and they may not be the best to bring into dungeons or caves, as they can trigger traps or draw unwanted attention.

That said, here are your options:

Camel50 gp50 ft480 lbs
Donkey or mule8 gp40 ft420 lbs
Elephant200 gp40 ft1,320 lbs
Horse, draft50 gp40 ft540 lbs
Horse, riding75 gp60 ft480 lbs
Mastiff25 gp40 ft195 lbs
Pony30 gp40 ft225 lbs
Warhorse400 gp60 ft540 lbs

More information on mounts and vehicles can be found here.

Extradimensional Spaces

The fancy and most convenient way to carry extra stuff is by using extradimensional space items. There are likely more options, but the most common ones are:

  • Bag of Holding (DMG pg 153): Always weighs 15 lbs, but can hold up to 500 lbs—up to 64 cubic feet. You could fill it with liquid if you wanted, but bear in mind it’s inside acts like a big compartment, so it’ll soak everything inside.
  • Handy Haversack (DMG pg 174): Always weighs 5 lbs, this backpack has two side pouches (each hold 20 lbs, or 2 cubic feet) and a central pouch (holds 80 lbs or 8 cubic feet), each with their own extradimensional space. In total, can hold 120 lbs, or 12 cubic feet of materials. Not bad.
  • Portable Hole (DMG pg 185): Less convenient for retrieving things, the portable hole’s advantage is that it weighs nothing. The description doesn’t explicitly state the volume it can hold, but the math (6 ft diameter; 10 ft deep) implies that it can hold a volume of 282.74 cubic feet. In terms of carrying capacity, this is by far the best item. Weighs nothing and has no weight limit explicitly stated. Fill it with a tube of gold and diamonds—all is fair game.
  • Genie’s Vessel (Warlock Subclass, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, pg 73): Less common than the above three, but the last extradimensional object I’ll be touching on. This is a class feature you get immediately with the genie patron, you can jump in there once per long rest to deposit or retrieve stuff. It has much greater uses than that, but this is one option. How much can it hold? Again, no explicit weight limit, but it is a 40 ft diameter cylinder, 20 ft tall; the math says that’s a whopping 25132.74 cubic feet, and no weight limit.

As always, you should know that these benefits do come with some costs. If you ever place an item like the above four inside of an extradimensional space, watch out! It’s the D&D equivalent to a nuke—both items are destroyed and any creature within 10 feet is sent to a random location on the astral plane. No save, just gone.

In case you’re unfamiliar, the astral plane is like a void inhabited by departed souls with nowhere to go, so… not somewhere you generally want to be. The ticket is one-way, and time passes faster there—every second in the astral plane is roughly 4 days in the real world.

As a Redditor rephrased this comedy skit:

You violate topology like that, they put you in Astral Plane. Right away. No saving throw, no nothing. Portable hole in bag of holding: Astral Plane. Bag of holding in portable hole: also Astral Plane. Instant summons on genie vessel while inside the vessel, believe it or not, Astral Plane, right away. We have the best warlocks in the multiverse because of Astral Plane.



While there are many spells that can likely help with this, I’m sure I’ll overlook many possible applications. Let’s stick with the most obvious examples:

  • Floating Disk: For 1 hour, conjure a 3 ft diameter platform that hovers 3 ft from the ground and can hold up to 500 lbs—all for the rock bottom price of a 1st-level spell slot! Convenient for stopping yourself from being crushed by a statue, too. Be mindful that some DMs rule that it doesn’t hover over liquids, but only solid ground. Be sure to read the fine print.
  • Find Steed: An intelligent, telepathically bonded pack animal of your choosing that can also fight in combat and understand language? Yes, please. Only for Paladins, it’s pretty great for all the reasons mentioned in the Mounts section. Not so great for tight spaces.
  • Conjure Animals: One of my favorite spells, it can wreak mayhem and serve as a multitool. In this context, you can conjure a number of strong animals to carry things for you, and even fight if the need arises. 3rd-level spell slot, lasts for an hour; and your options are quite broad (from eight 0.25CR beasts to one 2CR beast), that means you can call forth eight riding horsesfor an hour—per the chart above, that’s 480 lbs each, totalling 3840 lbs. Alternatively, conjure two giant eagles, who also carry 480 lbs each (16 STRx15x2 (large)), likely being able to carry a party of four.
  • Telekinesis: 5th-level spell slot and it only lasts 10 minutes, but you can carry up to 1000 lbs. You’d need a vessel to contain all the things you’re wanting to carry, but that could be a fellow Player Character (PC) who is holding it all or a giant vat, if you came across one.
  • Levitate: 2nd-level spell, 10 minute length—but hey, 500 lbs. Again, it can only affect one object or creature, so you need some sort of vessel.

You could also argue Arcane Hand or Enlarge/Reduce might be useful, but the severe limitation on time (1 min) makes them hardly seem worth a 5th-level or 2nd-level spell slot, respectively.


Carrying capacity is easy:

  • Multiply your strength score (STR) by 15 lbs for medium creatures.
  • Creature size matters:
    • Tiny: STR x 15 x 0.5
    • Large: STR x 15 x 2
    • Huge: STR x 15 x 4
    • Gargantuan: STR x 15 x 8
  • Push, Pull, Drag (PHB, pg 176): Double your carrying capacity; that’s your limit. Anything heavier than your base carrying capacity will lower your speed by 5ft.
  • Encumbrance (Variant rule): STR score x 5, and you are mildly encumbered. Hold (STR x10 to x15), and you’re heavily encumbered. See the table in the section How Does Encumbrance Work?—it’s not fun, in my opinion. The upside is it removes strength requirements for heavy armor!
  • You can avoid carrying weight by using a variety of
    • Mounts: Generally used outside of dungeons, you can leave them at the gate and ferry loot to put on their back. Probably want some saddle bags, but there’s a chart above that outlines their relative costs and strengths.
    • ExtradimensionalMagical Items: The Bag of Holding, Handy Haversack, Portable Hole, and warlock’s Genie’s Vessel can all be used to carry extra things, each with different volume and weight limits. I recommend the Portable Hole for sheer volume, and because it always weighs nothing. Be mindful to avoid putting them inside another extradimensional space, and do not stab or tear them.
    • Spells: Floating Disk, Find Steed, Conjure Animals, Telekinesis, and Levitate can be used to varying effectiveness when hauling a giant stash. Arcane Hand and Enlarge/Reduce could also be used, but they’re not worth it for the length of the spell.

As a DM, consider not tracking carrying capacity for an easier time for you and your players! After all, this is a game—not weight accounting. Unless they’re particularly hardcore, players may not enjoy having to continually tabulate their weight.

Best to reserve these rules for when you have a party who takes everything, nailed down or otherwise.


Strongest D\u0026D Character Build EVER!


Strength measures bodily power, athletic training, and the extent to which you can exert raw physical force.

Strength Checks

A Strength check can model any attempt to lift, push, pull, or break something, to force your body through a space, or to otherwise apply brute force to a situation. The Athletics skill reflects aptitude in certain kinds of Strength checks.

Athletics. Your Strength (Athletics) check covers difficult situations you encounter while climbing, jumping, or swimming. Examples include the following activities:

  • You attempt to climb a sheer or slippery cliff, avoid hazards while scaling a wall, or cling to a surface while something is trying to knock you off.
  • You try to jump an unusually long distance or pull off a stunt midjump.
  • You struggle to swim or stay afloat in treacherous currents, storm-tossed waves, or areas of thick seaweed. Or another creature tries to push or pull you underwater or otherwise interfere with your swimming.

Other Strength Checks. The GM might also call for a Strength check when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:

  • Force open a stuck, locked, or barred door
  • Break free of bonds
  • Push through a tunnel that is too small
  • Hang on to a wagon while being dragged behind it
  • Tip over a statue
  • Keep a boulder from rolling

Attack Rolls and Damage

You add your Strength modifier to your attack roll and your damage roll when attacking with a melee weapon such as a mace, a battleaxe, or a javelin. You use melee weapons to make melee attacks in hand-to-hand combat, and some of them can be thrown to make a ranged attack.

Lifting and Carrying

Your Strength score determines the amount of weight you can bear. The following terms define what you can lift or carry.

Carrying Capacity. Your carrying capacity is your Strength score multiplied by 15. This is the weight (in pounds) that you can carry, which is high enough that most characters don't usually have to worry about it.

Push, Drag, or Lift. You can push, drag, or lift a weight in pounds up to twice your carrying capacity (or 30 times your Strength score). While pushing or dragging weight in excess of your carrying capacity, your speed drops to 5 feet.

Size and Strength. Larger creatures can bear more weight, whereas Tiny creatures can carry less. For each size category above Medium, double the creature's carrying capacity and the amount it can push, drag, or lift. For a Tiny creature, halve these weights.

Variant: Encumbrance

The rules for lifting and carrying are intentionally simple. Here is a variant if you are looking for more detailed rules for determining how a character is hindered by the weight of equipment. When you use this variant, ignore the Strength column of the Armor table.

If you carry weight in excess of 5 times your Strength score, you are encumbered, which means your speed drops by 10 feet.

If you carry weight in excess of 10 times your Strength score, up to your maximum carrying capacity, you are instead heavily encumbered, which means your speed drops by 20 feet and you have disadvantage on ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws that use Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution.


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