According to the Carry Capacity rules, an increase in size of one category grants a x2 multiplier to your carrying capacity, and a decrease in size reduces your capacity by half.

When under the effects of Enlarge Person, you increase in size by one category and gain +2 Strength. In addition, you and all of your equipment get 8 times heavier.

If a creature is carrying a load at the edge of their Light carrying capacity, what happens when they're enlarged? Do they suddenly start taking encumbrance penalties?

This question is tagged as Rules as Written: I am well aware that most GMs would be more than happy to overlook complications as a result of encumbrance and Enlarge Person, but I am looking for rules-supported evidence on what the results would be.


2 Answers 2


Enlarge Person:

... equipment worn or carried ... is similarly enlarged by the spell.

The spell causes you to go up one size category. Since there aren't pre-existing rules for a character changing size category, it then goes on to mention how to apply that to a character - doubling height and multiplying weight by eight. Then at the end of the spell is that note I quoted above: similarly enlarged in this case must mean simply that the equipment is increased one size category, not necessarily that its weight increases by a factor of eight. Looking about the Core Rulebook, there are pre-existing rules for increasing a weapon or a suit of armor by a size category, and they explicitly state that doing so doubles the weight of the equipment in question.

A strong implication, though not a solid "rule-as-written", is that creatures' weight capacities increase and decrease along the exact same scale, as you mentioned, doubling or halving as you go up and down categories. Thus a creature with a specific Strength and Dexterity can use and carry the same equipment as another creature with the same Strength and Dexterity, regardless of their respective sizes, so long as their equipment is also correctly sized.

Finally, equipment refers to items that can be equipped. Most non-weapon, non-armor items in the CRB do not have size-scaling rules because they are assumed not to scale to sizes. To pick a random example, the bathtub has a fixed cost, fixed weight, and permits a Medium creature to bathe in it specifically. While a GM could extrapolate a Large bathtub (and it would probably weigh twice as much), by RAW they don't exist - and, since they're not equipment, the enlarge person spell would not create one, even if a character were carrying a bathtub at the time they were enlarged. Typically, only items that can be wielded (not simply held) or are worn or otherwise attached to the body are equipment. Storages like backpacks and belt pouches should probably be considered equipment, since they're worn, but things in them like alchemist's fires, potions of cure light wounds, firewood, and waterskins should not. Multiplying an alchemist fire's weight by eight wouldn't create a Large alchemist's fire - it would actually BE eight alchemist's fires in one big bottle. (Exploiting that loophole, in the case that a GM did multiply gear's weight by eight, would be difficult for a PC to do safely, since enlarge person ceases to affect items fired or thrown or otherwise removed from the enlarged person's, er, person.)

"Specific trumps general" probably doesn't apply to that line of enlarge person for the simple fact that similar doesn't mean identical and the wording was likely chosen to allow the spell to function as a "buff" without having to spell out yet another time in the same book that increasing equipment size is x2 weight, not x8 (rather than a "debuff" that immobilizes a creature under the weight of its own backpack). If the spell actually applied the exact same changes to the equipment that it did to the character, it would have to increase the items' Strength ratings, and decrease their Dexterity and AC ratings. Most of those operations are impossible (or else would result in paralyzed items with 2 Str), although your armor and shield would suffer an additional -1 to AC in addition to your new -1 size modifier, so a Wizard's AC might only decrease by two when enlarge person is cast upon them, but a "sword-and-board" Fighter would lose a total of four AC. Likewise, composite bows are crafted with Strength ratings... as your Strength increases from 18 (+4) to 20 (+5), your bow's Strength rating would decrease from +4 to +2, right?

**TL;DR: Similarly increased refers to the size increase, not the weight increase, and doesn't replace the existing rules for increasing the size of equipment. Non-equipment items don't change sizes. In most cases, you can carry more while enlarged, not less.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The examples for "specific trumps general" are more than a little whacky, with strength and dexerity change for items, the answer would be better without them. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 15, 2016 at 10:18
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Rorschachhamster I'll revisit them. They were intended to highlight the absurdity of trying to apply enlarge to the items exactly as you do the character, but you're right, I think I missed the mark. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 15, 2016 at 10:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would say that a Strength "Rating" as applied to an item like a Composite Longbow is a different thing entirely than a Strength Score, and therefore could not be subject to a modifier that adjusts a Strength Score. The most relevant portion of the Composite Longbow description regarding this shows that the two are different by placing them next to each other: "A composite longbow can be made with a high strength rating to take advantage of an above-average Strength score" Clearly showing them as two different concepts entirely \$\endgroup\$
    – lithas
    Apr 15, 2016 at 15:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ In other regards, I disagree with your definition of Equipment. The d20pfsrd page on Equipment has much more than just 'equipable' items in it: d20pfsrd.com/equipment---final \$\endgroup\$
    – lithas
    Apr 15, 2016 at 16:10


Assume a vanilla Human Fighter of Strength 18, according to the Carry Capacity rules he would have a Light Load of 100lbs. Presume that he is wearing Stone Plate and a Heavy Tower Shield, and wielding a Heavy Mace. This gives him a load of 98 lbs.

Once the Fighter is Enlarged we know that

This spell causes instant growth of a humanoid creature, doubling its height and multiplying its weight by 8. This increase changes the creature's size category to the next larger one. The target gains a +2 size bonus to Strength, a -2 size penalty to Dexterity (to a minimum of 1), and a -1 penalty on attack rolls and AC due to its increased size. (...) All equipment worn or carried by a creature is similarly enlarged by the spell.

(emphasis mine)

This means that We can re-calculate the Fighter's Carrying Capacity with a size of Large (x2) and a new Strength of 20 (133 lbs or less) giving a final result of 266 lbs or less for a light load.

His equipment also gets heavier; It now weighs 784 lbs. Fortunately for our Fighter this is right at the edge of his new Heavy Load limit of 800 lbs! This new encumbrance would apply all of the normal effects, reducing his speed, adding a check penalty, and reducing the maximum Dexterity bonus he can achieve.

Items of note:

Weapons and Armor(See the Weapon Qualities heading for weapons, and the Armor for Unusual Creatures heading for armor) have their own weight scaling rules. However, I believe this to be a case of Specific Trumps General where the spell Enlarge Person's text overrides the general case on increasing the weight of weapons. Regardless, a backpack full of useful non-weapon items could be substituted for the weapons used in this example with the same end result.

Further supporting this is that there are no actual rules for weapons larger than Large (or smaller than Small), while those rules do exist for armor all the way from Tiny(or smaller) up to Colossal. There is nothing in Enlarge Person that implies you cannot reduce your weapon below Small or above Large (in fact, making a Large creature Huge is a popular goal for many players). The absence of other rules means that we should apply the only rules we have available, those outlined in Enlarge Person, and it is a strong argument that for consistency sake, those rules should be applied across the board (again, referencing the idea that Specific beats General, especially when general only covers a portion of the specific use case).

  • \$\begingroup\$ The Armor section has the same rules as the Weapons one, so they would also not weigh as much. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Apr 15, 2016 at 5:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik Thanks for pointing that out, I've edited my answer to more properly reflect that \$\endgroup\$
    – lithas
    Apr 15, 2016 at 16:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – lithas
    Apr 15, 2016 at 17:55

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