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To add to my question here about a mule's pulling capacity, I was curious to know how in-depth additional information should be processed.

For instance, does the 5e RAW or RAI take into consideration how many animals are pulling a vehicle to determine its speed (such as 2 mules carrying the same wagon will have a movement speed boost of 5 feet)? Or is the only advantage to having a second mule an increase in pulling weight from 1,700 lbs. to 3,800 lbs.?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a good question. You should include enough information in this question to answer it without needing to look at the other link. Just a brief summary of the problem is a good idea. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Mar 20 at 2:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @linksassin Thank you. I was refraining to add more as details could be off depending on the other answer. However, the only added information I could give would be to refer to real-world examples like a stage coach. \$\endgroup\$ – Victor B Mar 20 at 2:44
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As far as I can see (barring the case of being encumbered), there are no general rules that would particularly affect the speed of a cart-pulling animal, meaning they can pull carts at the same speed as they would travel unencumbered/unhitched. There's also no general rule that would permit multiple beasts to move faster when pulling together than their own individual base/unencumbered/unhitched speed.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. I was simply checking. \$\endgroup\$ – Victor B Mar 20 at 2:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VictorB While I appreciate the accepted flag, I'd recommend waiting a day first- encourages other answers, plus it's difficult to prove a negative/lack of rules and I could very well be wrong :-P \$\endgroup\$ – CTWind Mar 20 at 2:43
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RAW, there are no explicit rules for the speed of carts by themselves, they simply use the speed of whatever animal is pulling them.

For example, if a mule (40ft speed) is pulling a cart, the cart will generally also move at a speed of 40 feet. The relevant rules on vehicles are all found in the PHB on pages 155-157.

However, bear in mind that exceeding the carrying capacity will reduce your speed.

Notably, the rules on the maximum weight pullable by a draft animal differ from the regular carrying capacity rules. See PHB, p. 155 (emphasis mine):

An animal pulling a carriage, cart, chariot, sled, or wagon can move weight up to five times its base carrying capacity, including the weight of the vehicle. If multiple animals pull the same vehicle, they can add their carrying capacity together.

For example, let's say you have one pony pulling a carriage. The pony has 225 lbs carrying capacity, while the carriage itself weighs 600 lbs. Five times 225 is 1125 lbs, or 525 once you subtract the weight of the carriage. Assuming that you load more than 525 lbs on the carriage (whether in the form of passengers or wares), the speed of the pony will drop to 5 feet, as per 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.

Note that the first sentence is overwritten by the more specific rules for carrying capacity of draft animals.


Either way, to summarize:

No, multiple animals don't affect the speed of a vehicle they are pulling, it will always move at the speed of the slowest animal pulling it (this is not explicitly stated, but obvious).
An exception occurs when one animal would have an insufficient carrying capacity. In this case, multiple animals would indeed affect the speed of the vehicle, but only insofar as it isn't slowed to a speed of 5 feet.

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Yes, two animals pull a cart faster than one, if the cart is heavy enough. I find it quite intuitive, actually.

If the cart doesn't weigh a lot, the animal is not influenced by it. If the carrying capacity of the single animal is not enough to pull the cart by himself or he would do it slower, two animals increase the carrying capacity and would therefore move faster. Of course, two mules can't move a house any more than one could, but for reasonable cart weights, this will hold.

This is based upon the rules on "Mounts and Vehicles" in the PHB on page 155. If a single mule tried to pull a carriage of 3000 lbs., it would not manage this, as the weight exceeds (5 * its base carrying capacity), which is the maximum weight it can pull alone.

However, two mules would be able to pull it, as their combined carrying capacity is higher. Now I am actually not sure if the single mule would move at speed of 0 feet or 5 feet per the carrying rules on page 176, but either way, the two mules will be faster than the one mule.

The other answers seem to state that the answer is no, because two animals carrying a cart will not move it faster than one animal without a cart could go. But that seems obvious and therefore I don't think that was the question.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "two mules can't move a house" - of course not. As the new pirates of the caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales tells us, we need 3 horses for that. \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Mar 20 at 14:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tiggerous Yes of course I can. I added the fitting rules to the answer. Do you like it now? \$\endgroup\$ – findusl Mar 20 at 15:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mar 21 at 0:56
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As far as your question is concerned, yes, but up to certain extent, meaning that the cart will never exceed the individual speed of the fastest animal in that group. Think about it this way, say the load is really heavy and there's only one animal pulling it, here the speed of the system will be low (slow) due to the power limits/capacity; and then if we keep on increasing the number of animals pulling the load, it can be seen that the speed slightly increases due to more horsepower at work; but then will come a saturation point and the speed of the system will not increase any further, with the best speed of the system being that of the fastest animal. And the assumption that the speed of the system will keep on increasing with increasing number of animals is incorrect

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome! Please take the tour as an introduction to the site and check the help center for further guidance. Could you add some rules references to this answer? It is not very clear what you are basing this on. Good luck and happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Apr 2 at 15:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a good exegesis of the situation the rules are meant to model. This answer could be improved by also describing what of these details the rules do model, and perhaps also by discussing whether the rules’ current abstraction should or shouldn’t be houseruled to better model the real dynamic (and if so, how). \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 2 at 15:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your reply, though I am curious why you say it depends on the strongest animal. A Mule has a speed of 30 feet, a draft horse has a speed of 40 feet, so how is a mule to walk faster than 30 feet? It would be like having one tire on your car turning half as fast as the rest... That said, the Pony Express used 6 horses because the wagon went faster with a team of 6 than each horse could run with no extra weight, as the number of steps per feet increased, not the horse's speed. That said, could you elaborate on where you got your calculation? \$\endgroup\$ – Victor B Apr 6 at 5:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @VictorB hi, if u read my answer carefully, it said "the 'best' speed of the system being that of the fastest animal", no where did I said that the best speed must/should always be attained, it's just a upper limit of the speed. Hope this is clear now \$\endgroup\$ – Zeeshan Shaikh Apr 6 at 11:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, my bad. I should have taken more care in my reading \$\endgroup\$ – Victor B Apr 6 at 21:35

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