In our current campaign we are being asked to track encumbrance, as I think would be sensible in this situation most of the non-battle essential items will either be in or attached to the backpack.

Even with only the starting kit I will undoubtedly cross into at least first stage encumbered territory (minus speed) making it fairly critical to be able to drop the weight.

What I'm unsure of however is whether dropping a backpack can be done as part of a character's free interaction with objects or whether it would require an action to do so?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is your DM the kind of guy to say "well, you dropped your backpack, so the bandit grabs it and runs off, laughing"? \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Feb 28 '18 at 13:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ FYI, once the backpack is dropped, the contents become viable for area effect damage. Worn items are not. Keeping it on your player is a much safer option - why do you feel a need to drop it before engaging? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Feb 28 '18 at 18:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @goodguy5 that would entirely depend on his mood and aims for the encounter. \$\endgroup\$ – Shaun Mar 1 '18 at 14:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch interesting point about vulnerability to AoE, as stated I expect to be at least into the "encumbered" loading with just my starting equipment and STR 11, this means a 10 foot speed reduction, quite a strong incentive to drop the equipment I would say, especially as I'm supposed to be engaging and tying up enemies to keep them away from my more vulnerable team mates. \$\endgroup\$ – Shaun Mar 1 '18 at 14:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ also, the burglars pack (which I assume you're using, for some reason) is only 46.5 pounds, and your encumbrance threshold is 55 with 11 strength. Your weapons and armor presumably weight more than 8.5 pounds, but just as a point "the pack alone" doesn't put you over. \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Mar 1 '18 at 15:47

Based on my reading of the rules (listed below), I would say taking off your backpack and any other pre-fight object interation prep could be done with a single action.

However, since you may draw a sword as part of an attack, you may be able to ask your DM if you can use some kind of quick-release for your pack (like a shoe string knot), allowing a free action, if you will, as part of another action in combat. This may require a full-round action to reset the quick release before donning the backpack again.

From PHB, pg.192:

Actions in Combat

When you take your action on your turn, you can take one of the actions presented here,

From PHB, pg.193:

Use an Object

You normally interact with an object while doing something else, such as when you draw a sword as part of an attack. When an object requires your action for its use, you take the Use an Object action. This action is also useful when you want to interact with more than one object on your turn.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it's that last part I was worried about, if you're walking around with your sword drawn because you want to be prepared, then dropping the pack over the shoulders is not going to work without a quick release that you can operate, in my case with either a sword or a shield in the hand, if the sword is in the scabbard you need to use the object interaction to draw the sword. I think I will just have to ask the DM, but wanted to make sure I wasn't missing a specific ruling, thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – Shaun Feb 28 '18 at 10:34

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