Encumbrance

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For monster carrying capacity, see just that. There are six levels of encumbrance in NetHack: unencumbered, burdened, stressed, strained, overtaxed and overloaded. The exact inventory weight which determines which of these levels you experience is based on strength and constitution.

If your total inventory weight is more than your carrying capacity, you become burdened or worse, and slow down. You can carry up to three times your capacity before becoming overloaded, at which point most actions except dropping items or praying become impossible.


Carrying capacity

Your current carrying capacity is given by the formula (25 * (Str + Con)) + 50. [1] Next, if you are polymorphed, this capacity is rescaled (except for nymphs): normally by your current monster form's corpse weight / 1450, but not down if it is strong, or by size / 2 if weight is 0.[2] Note that strong monsters automatically get strength 18/**.[3]. If you are currently levitating, on the Plane of Air, riding a strong steed, or polymorphed into a nymph, your carrying capacity is set to 1000. The capacity is then capped at a maximum of 1000. The maximum useful Str+Con is thus 38 (unless polymorphed into a non-strong monster lighter than a human, such as a lich). Finally, your carrying capacity is reduced by 100 for each wounded leg unless you are flying, levitating, or on the Plane of Air.

For the purposes of this calculation, a strength of 18/01–18/31 maps to 19, 18/32–18/81 maps to 20, and 18/82–** maps to 21.[4] Gauntlets of power still count as strength 25, but because of the cap, this extra strength may not be of use. (It will always be of use for elves, whose strength + constitution is otherwise capped at 18 + 16 = 34.)

Encumbrance categories

Category Weight Speed To-hit Exercise Message on increasing level Message on decreasing level Warning message
Unencumbered ≤ capacity normal none N/A Your movements are now unencumbered. N/A
Burdened capacity+1 to 1.5*capacity-1 3/4 normal -1 Your movements are slowed slightly because of your load. Your movements are only slowed slightly because of your load. You have a little trouble lifting <item>.
Stressed 1.5*capacity to 2*capacity-1 1/2 normal -3 Exercise Strength You rebalance your load. Movement is difficult. You rebalance your load. Movement is still difficult. You have a little trouble lifting <item>.
Strained 2*capacity to 2.5*capacity-1 1/4 normal -5 Exercise strength, abuse dexterity You stagger under your load. Movement is very hard. You stagger under your load. Movement is still very hard. You have much trouble lifting <item>.
Overtaxed 2.5*capacity to 3*capacity-1 1/8 normal -7* Abuse dexterity and constitution You can barely move a handspan with this load! (no message) You have extreme difficulty lifting <item>.
Overloaded ≥ 3*capacity normal* -9* You collapse under your load. N/A There is <item> here, but you cannot lift any more.

* but see below.

Encumbrance will reduce your speed to the fraction shown above, after applying any adjustment for speed.

Your encumbrance category will interfere with your chances to-hit in melee.

Some categories of encumbrance may exercise or abuse certain stats every 10 turns.[5]

Burdened

If you are burdened or greater, you:

Stressed

If you are stressed or greater, you also:

Strained

If you are strained or greater, you also:

  • lose 1 HP every 30 turns if you are moving.
  • lose 1 HP every 3 turns if you are attacking.
  • cannot disarm traps.
  • have a cursed loadstone considered your worst cursed item for the minor trouble cursed items (otherwise other things are worse).

Overtaxed

If you are overtaxed or greater, you also:

  • lose 1 HP every 10 turns if you are moving.
  • cannot attack a monster in melee.
  • cannot throw or fire a weapon.
  • cannot cast spells.
  • cannot zap a wand.
  • cannot use the read command.
  • cannot engrave.
  • cannot apply a tool.
  • cannot eat.
  • cannot use the #loot command.
  • cannot teleport at will with teleportitis.
  • cannot attempt to help a monster out of a pit.
  • have the major trouble collapsing if you have also lost 4 or more points of Strength.

Overloaded

If you are Overloaded, you also:

  • cannot move.

Item weights

See also Weight.

Some of the most common weight culprits are:

Item Weight
loadstone 500
body armor 30 to 450
weapon 1 to 180
The Orb of Fate 150
shield 30 to 100
pick-axe 100
spellbook 50
helm 3 to 50
potion 20
food ration 20
lamp 20
1,000 gold pieces 10

Strategy

Think hard what you really need to carry. Pack rats die faster.

Your encumbrance level can be reduced by:

Any encumbrance past unencumbered will slow your character down. It is therefore generally a Bad Idea to wander around carrying too much, and almost always a bad idea to enter combat overencumbered. If you are near your encumbrance limit and about to enter combat with a monster that can lower your strength (e.g. with poison), consider dropping a few extra items temporarily to avoid becoming overencumbered during the fight.

Commentary

When you are suddenly polymorphed into a small creature (e.g. via lycanthropy), it is common to become instantly overloaded, and unable to move.

Being encumbered is generally considered a bad idea, because speed is crucial to survival in NetHack. Having a speed of less than 12 is usually more dangerous than it seems, since the monsters can sometimes get in two hits in one player turn, increasing the chance of surprise deaths. Furthermore, climbing stairs becomes more difficult when burdened (and impossible when stressed or worse) as well as causing players to "fall down the stairs" when they attempt to descend (a fatal move when wielding a cockatrice corpse).

If you have a good reason to move around encumbered, prepare to drop items if you are attacked. You can pick them up after the fight. This goes especially for corpses you are dragging to an altar to sacrifice; they are likely to become too old if you take up more turns fighting while carrying them. If you are relocating a stash, put it into a sack or bag of holding, so you can drop the container if you are attacked. If you need something from the container during the fight, just #loot it; this takes the same time as applying a held one. Don't accidentally drop crysknives or scrolls of scare monster.

You should not try to train strength by being stressed. There are far safer ways, such as pushing boulders around. Being stressed also slows your HP regeneration and blocks Power regeneration.

External links

References

This page may need to be updated for NetHack 3.6.0.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to {{nethack-360}} or {{noversion}} as appropriate.