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.

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    \$\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\$ – Shalvenay Nov 23 '15 at 23:27
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    \$\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\$ – Miniman Nov 23 '15 at 23:41
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    \$\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\$ – Salteris Nov 23 '15 at 23:53
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    \$\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\$ – Miniman Nov 24 '15 at 0:02
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    \$\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\$ – Miniman Nov 24 '15 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 (house-rule/common sense) be drawn by only one animal whereas a wagon can be drawn by 2¹.

The formula is 5x carrying capacity of the animal drawing the vehicle. So, for a cart via a donkey, it's 2100lbs - 200lbs for the cart itself totaling 1900lbs like @Miniman's answer. Except a Wagon would allow for two donkeys... meaning 4200lbs - 400lbs, or 3800lbs.

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 50sqft and the oak a 400lbs 'wagon' couldn't withstand more than ~4000lbs of direct pressure (let alone iron axles and reinforced spoke wheels) although at that weight you would need 6 mules in reality.

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    \$\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\$ – Shalvenay Nov 23 '15 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.


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