In the D&D 5e Player's Handbook, on pages 155-157, is the Mounts and Vehicles section. The only statistics that they give are Cost and Weight. Does anyone know how much a Cart can carry as compared to a Wagon?
The amount that a vehicle can carry is actually determined by the animal(s) pulling it. From page 51 of the Player's Basic Rules:
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.
So a donkey, the cheapest animal, has a carrying capacity of 420 lb. When pulling a vehicle, it can therefore carry 2100 lb. If that vehicle is a cart, weighing 200 lb, that leaves 1900 lb of cargo capacity. On the other hand, if that vehicle is a wagon, weighing 400 lb, that only leaves 1700 lb of cargo capacity.
1\$\begingroup\$ This doesn't address the issue of scale -- if I take a team of 20 mules, and attach a cart, the resulting lashup is said to be able to carry 20 tons by RAW -- and that's a pretty hefty axle load, especially for something I suspect is a single axle vehicle! \$\endgroup\$ Nov 23, 2015 at 23:27
4\$\begingroup\$ @Shalvenay I think you're overthinking this. As far as the rules are concerned, a cart weighs 200 lb and can carry a theoretically infinite mass as long as you have a sufficient number of animals pulling it. It's up to individual DMs if they feel the need to make rulings that change this. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 23, 2015 at 23:41
1\$\begingroup\$ Yes but if RAW always trumped common sense / physics, rules-lawyers could argue, "there's no rule defining gravity in the PHB so I can walk on walls." \$\endgroup\$– SalterisNov 23, 2015 at 23:53
4\$\begingroup\$ @Salteris RAW doesn't trump common sense. But the question isn't asking for me to invent untested houserules, so I didn't. And just so you know, the PHB does include rules for gravity. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 24, 2015 at 0:02
6\$\begingroup\$ @Salteris It's not how I'd run it in my game, but how I'd run it in my game simply isn't relevant here and does not constitute a useful answer to the question. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 24, 2015 at 0:45
Answer: Double (x2)
What's not said is important.
This may be an oversight by the 5e's dev team, or something 'assumed,' but a cart can (by house-rule/common sense) be drawn by only one animal, whereas a wagon can be drawn by 2.¹
The formula is 5× the carrying capacity of the animal drawing the vehicle. So, for a cart via a donkey, it's:
2100 lbs. − 200 lbs. (for the cart itself) = 1900 lbs., as @Miniman's answer states.
Except a Wagon would allow for two donkeys... meaning:
4200 lbs. − 400 lbs. = 3800 lbs.
Now mind you this isn't RAW, but any good DM worth his salt might see this being the reason why wagons and carts are listed separately.
¹ Some might argue there could be 'better' or more expensive wagons that could draft more than one team of horses. i.e. 4, 6, or even 8. But having all that extra pull weight is hard to utilize when your surface area is maybe 50 sq. ft. and the oak a 400-lb. 'wagon' couldn't withstand more than ~4000 lbs. of direct pressure (let alone iron axles and reinforced spoke wheels) although at that weight you would need 6 mules in reality.
2\$\begingroup\$ Yeah, you'd need to upscale the wagon to handle a larger team -- the twenty-mule teams (really 18 mules + 2 horses) pulled wagon pairs with an empty weight of 7,800 lbs and a load capacity of 10 tons each (and don't forget about the water tanker tacked on the end of the train)! \$\endgroup\$ Nov 23, 2015 at 23:40
Carts and wagons can carry 5x the carrying capacity of whatever is pulling them (added together). They become immovable before they break.
See the paragraphs after the chart you mentioned.
Adding to what others have said, a cart has two wheels (one axel) while a wagon has four wheels (two axels) so it stands to reason that a cart can carry half the load of a wagon, in terms of weight.
Some quick googling roughly supports this idea, and puts wagons at a potential 2500 lbs. while recommending 1600 lbs. max. So a cart would be 800 lbs. or roughly 4 medium creatures with gear.
As others have mentioned, pulling that weight is entirely up to the creature(s) pulling it.