# What does carrying capacity do in combat?

Does a good carrying capacity have benefits in combat, besides how much you can carry? For example, does it give advantage on picking things up or grappling?

For reference see PHB, page 176. That's where most of the relevant information about carrying capacity is found.

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.

So no, as per RAW, you don't get advantage on picking up things or grappling. In fact, grappling is not affected by your carrying capacity at all, although they are both strength-based and will, therefore, be roughly proportional to each other.

What a high carrying capacity does allow you to do is being able to lift heavier objects at all (including corpses, which are objects), or at least without a reduction to your movement speed.

For example, if you are a half-orc with a strength score of 18, you have a carrying capacity of 270lbs and a maximum weight of 540lbs for pushing/dragging/lifting.

Therefore, if this half-orc would want to drag a dead creature, for example, with a weight of 200 pounds (which is below his carrying capacity) from A to B, he could do it using his normal speed. The wizard with a strength score of 8 (= 120 / 240 lbs) could do it with a 5 feet movement speed only, since it exceeds his carrying capacity, but not twice his carrying capacity.
Hence, while the half-orc could drag a 500-pound-corpse at a speed of 5 feet, the wizard would be completely unable to drag the corpse.

tl;dr A high carrying capacity does not give benefits to grappling, but it does increase the weight limit for pushing, dragging etc. beyond which you are slowed to 5ft of movement. It also increases the maximum weights that you can carry or drag at all.

• "You can push, drag, or lift a weight in pounds up to twice your carrying capacity (...). While pushing or dragging weight in excess of your carrying capacity, your speed drops to 5 feet." So the half-orc has their speed reduced and the wizard cannot drag 500lbs it at all, right? Feb 14, 2018 at 12:27
• @MichałPolitowski yes, you are correct. I read the relevant rules section again, and it appears that I misread the rules. I'll change my answer to be correct. Nov 23, 2018 at 12:58
• Relevant Sage Advice: "The rule on moving a grappled creature (PH, 195) works regardless of a creature's weight. It cares about creature size. [...] The rule doesn't rely on weight largely because we don't specify weight for most monsters." That said, I'd say it's reasonable to houserule this as a DM when it doesn't make sense to allow the grappled creature to be moved. Nov 23, 2018 at 23:06

No, not an advantage in the game sense. It just tells you how much you can carry, or lift, or drag. It is advantageous (without giving you advantage) for picking things up, in that it tells you how much you can pick up, so a higher carrying capacity means you can pick up heavier things.

It's linked to the other stuff, in a way, since carrying capacity is a function of strength, and those other functions generally involve strength rolls, but that's already built into the strength rolls.

Your carrying capacity can also be affected by your size, or by having a powerful build (such as goliaths), and that just modifies how much you can carry/lift/drag, and not much else.

Even though Sage Advice disagrees with me (Thanks for pointing that out, V2Blast), I would as a DM apply carrying capacity rules to moving grappled enemies (at the very least prones ones). All grappling guides I have read, including the well known Grappler's Manual, also set a large carrying capacity as a must-have for an efficient grappler. These are of course in no way official, but shows that there are many who disagree with that Sage Advice ruling. And it makes sense, really. An 8 strength character should not be able to freely move around a 1500 pound bugbear, imho.

If you rule this way, a large carrying capacity is a tremendous advantage for a grappler. It does not give any advantage to the grapple itself, but it lets you move larger enemies around. One of the great things about grappling is that you can reposition enemies, and to do that you need to be able to move them. If your carrying capacity is low, you can't do the cool stuff like moving an enemy to a cliff, drag it through thorns, drag it away from the casters, etc.

• @ Downvoters: The PHB states on page 195 on the topic of "Moving a Grappled Creature": "When you move, you can drag or carry the grappled creature with you, but your speed is halved, unless the creature is two or more sizes smaller than you". This description specifically uses the words "drag" and "carry", implying that you still have to obey the carrying/dragging rules. Of course, that's open to interpretation, but I think it's valid to rule this way. Although I personally would ignore the carrying/dragging rules for the sake of fun and reduced complexity. Nov 23, 2018 at 13:23
• Another possibility would be to rule that you have to stick to the carrying rules when carrying the grappled creature, but not when you're dragging them - considering that, if you're just dragging them, they can still stand on their own and everything, instead of behaving like a bag of potatoes (as a corpse would, or someone being carried). Nov 23, 2018 at 13:24
• Relevant Sage Advice: "The rule on moving a grappled creature (PH, 195) works regardless of a creature's weight. It cares about creature size. [...] The rule doesn't rely on weight largely because we don't specify weight for most monsters." That said, I'd say it's reasonable to houserule this as a DM when it doesn't make sense to allow the grappled creature to be moved. Nov 23, 2018 at 23:06

## Carrying capacity matters when moving very heavy objects, altering the availability of cover or flanking

Thought it tends to be rare, carrying capacity can be relevant to the tactics of a combat situation. Namely, when moving a heavy object can change whether you or your enemy has cover, or whether you or your enemy can be flanked.

Consider the following scenarios:

Cover: Defensively, you upend a huge table to give yourself cover from archers, or offensively, you push a boulder off a cliff that was giving your enemy cover from your allied archer.

Flanking: Defensively, just before you are rushed by a horde, you tip over a huge statue in order to clog up spaces, so that fewer enemies can come within 5 feet of you. Offensively, you push a heavy statue out of the way so that your allies have room to flank an enemy that had "niched" itself between that statue and a wall.

So, your carrying capacity matters when you want to do one of these things and the object is very heavy. Consider than with Strength 8 you could lift only 240 lbs., but at strength 20, 600 lbs., according to the rules on pushing and lifting (PHB p. 176):

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.

It's highly situational, but for example, if you are surpised by a squad of archers where the only way to get cover is to up-end the viking king's 900-lb. banquet table, your STR 15 carrying capacity suddenly becomes the very thing that saves your life (since to upend a table means lifting half its weight, in this case 450 lbs.).