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HappyDaze

Does Cumbersome from multiple items stack?

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With Dangerous Covenants giving us another backpack that adds Cumbersome 2, I have to wonder if carrying multiple things with low Cumbersome ratings builds up. If a character is wearing a military backpack (Cumbersome 2) and carriers a spacer's duffel (Cumbersome 2) while firing a heavy blaster rifle (Cumbersome 3), is Brawn 3 enough to totally negate all the penalties?

 

Also, as far as I can tell, Cumbersome should only apply to the weapon being used (it's a penalty specific to the use of the weapon with the rating), but I guess we assume that the backpack/duffel apply it to all actions while carried, right?

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To start with your second point: yes, that's how I interpret it. The Cumbersom penalty from a weapon applies when using it, since it's clumsy to wield it effectively, but once you sling it over your shoulder (or whatever) it isn't so big and clunky that it's still in the way. With a spacer's duffel the Cumbersome value applies at all times, since it's designed to be carried slung over a shoulder or similar, so I'm assuming the designers took that into account when developing its stats.

 

I haven't actually thought about your first point before, but I do now. I suspect that the penalties aren't meant to stack originally, but I can definitely see a strong argument for why they should. Maybe not stack them all on top of each other, but maybe using the highest Cumbersome level as base and then adding +1 for each additional item with the Cumbersome property? That's just my gut reaction, anyway.

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Another example is the Ryyk Blade. It's a one-handed melee weapon with Cumbersome 3. Does Brawn 3 suffice for using two of them at the same time and not being penalized for the Cumbersome rating?

In this case I would definitely add +1 Cumbersome for the off-hand one. The off-hand blade is just as heavy, and the off-hand tends to be "weaker" than the main hand. So, a 4 Brawn to dual-wield them.

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Well, the rules pretty obviously don't have anything to say on the matter, but going by Sam and Jay's answer on the "does defense from armor and cover stack?" (which is of a similar notion), I'd be inclined to think the answer would be "no, they don't stack."  So for the example you gave, only the highest Cumbersome value (3 in that case) would have an affect on the PC.  And a PC wielding two Cumbersome 3 weapons (such as the ryyk blades) would just need a Brawn of 3 in order to do so without penalty.

 

That said, if it really bugs you that a PC could with Brawn 2 could haul around several Cumbersome 2 items without penalty, then I'd say that you start with the item that has the highest Cumbersome rating as the base rating.  Then, for each item that has a Cumbersome value, increase that base by one.

 

So a character that's shooting a heavy blaster rifle that's wearing a military pack would have a Cumbersome value of 4 in this instance.  Or, a Wookiee using paired ryyk blades with a spacer's duffel slung across their back would have a Cumbersome value of 5.

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I sent in this question:

 

Rule Question:
Hello,

Two questions about the Cumbersome Quality.

In the description it states: "For each point of Brawn the character is deficient, he must increase the difficulty of all checks made while using the weapon by one"

1) Does this mean only when the character is firing the weapon or at all times they are carrying the weapon? How is this supposed to work with the Spacer's Duffle or Military Backpack (***.2) neither being a weapon? What is the definition of "using" in this context?

2) Does the cumbersome quality stack and how would you deal with a character who wants to wear both a Backpack (C2) and a Duffle bag (C2), and use a Heavy Blaster Rifle (C3)? What if they had an additional HBR as a back up as well?

Thank you and please add permission to post your answer in the Forums,

Greg

 

Hello Greg,

 
"Using" is deliberately left up to interpretation of the GM and players, but in general should be "when one is actively utilizing the item or weapon for its intended purpose." So cumbersome would matter on a weapon when you're fighting with that weapon, not when it's in a scabbard or slung over your shoulder. Therefore, it would only increase the difficulty of combat checks. Otherwise, the weapon's weight and size is simply represented by encumbrance. Likewise, one would be "using" a backpack or duffle bag when they have it slung over their shoulder or on their back helping them carry things. So with these items, it would apply the increased difficulty to all checks made while the duffel or the backpack is on one's back. 
 
As to Cumbersome "stacking," the penalties can stack, but the cumbersome ratings themselves do not. Let's say in your example that the character had a Brawn of 2. In that case, they would suffer no penalties for carrying the backpack or the duffle, but they would increase the difficulty of checks made to use the heavy blaster rifle once. (If he had another HRB slung over his back, he would be carrying it, and not using it, so the Cumbersome rating would not apply). However, if our character had a Brawn of 1, things get a lot more unpleasant for him. In this case, he would increase the difficulty of all checks once for carrying the backpack and once for the duffle (making an Easy Athletics check suddenly Hard!). In addition, any checks made to use the HRB would see their difficulty increase four times (once for the backpack, once for the duffle, and twice for the heavy blaster rifle). 
 
In a case like this, I might suggest our character in question invest in a utility belt and regular backpack instead, and maybe a weapon harness for the heavy blaster rifle. 
 
Hope this helps!
 
Sam Stewart
Senior RPG Producer
Fantasy Flight Games

 

 

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I don't think Cumbersome ratings stack: you need to worry about the value for the item you are presently using, or if you're both wearing a heavy backpack and shooting a long rifle, you need to worry about the highest value only. The actual difficulty/fatigue resistance of carrying all that stuff is reflected by the sum of Encumbrance values, not Cumbersome. 

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I don't think I"d make the cumbersome stack necessarily, but if you're carrying multiple things with a cumbersome rating, your encumbrance is probably also pretty high.  There would most likely be some penalties for high encumbrance.

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I don't think I"d make the cumbersome stack necessarily, but if you're carrying multiple things with a cumbersome rating, your encumbrance is probably also pretty high.  There would most likely be some penalties for high encumbrance.

Only if it exceeds your Encumbrance Threshold. It's pretty much the equivalent of "max carry weight" in thus system. High Cumbersome is more "this item is bulky and unwieldy" while high Encumbrance is "this item is heavy."

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I don't think Cumbersome ratings stack: you need to worry about the value for the item you are presently using, or if you're both wearing a heavy backpack and shooting a long rifle, you need to worry about the highest value only. The actual difficulty/fatigue resistance of carrying all that stuff is reflected by the sum of Encumbrance values, not Cumbersome. 

Cumbersome Ratings don't stack but Cumbersome Penalties do. However the Cumbersome Rating only applies if you are normally affected by the rating (i.e.. if your Brawn is below the CR) and are actually using the item(s). If you reread Sam's answer you will see what I an saying and it makes sense. You don't add the CRs together then check it against your Brawn, you look at each individual item's CR and determine the penalty, if any, then you add those Penalties together.

 

Only if it exceeds your Encumbrance Threshold. It's pretty much the equivalent of "max carry weight" in thus system. High Cumbersome is more "this item is bulky and unwieldy" while high Encumbrance is "this item is heavy."

Encumbrance is bulk as well but only applies to carrying, Cumbersome is an additional measure that specifically applies to the item regardless of your load. Basically a Heavy Blaster Rifle will always be more difficult to use if you have less than a three Brawn even if you haven't exceeded you Encumbrance. 

Edited by FuriousGreg

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