Have you been sitting around waiting for one of your friends to ask you to help them move? Well, wait no more. Using these advanced hauling rules, you can now get all the fun and excitement of moving day by playing Torchbearer!

These rules certainly aren’t for all situations, but when combined with a timer they can add real tension and drama to a session. Use these rules for looting a chamber with a rising water level, robbing the baron’s manor before the guards arrive, or clearing out the castle before the enemy army marches in!

The HaulHeaveHoEcru

When adventurers carry something in inventory, it’s assumed they’re able to move at a normal pace using one or more hands to contribute to the load. But some extremely heavy or unwieldy items are ungainly to move, and helping with just one hand is useless at best—dangerous at worst.

Heave and Hoist are new inventory terms, similar to Pack, Carried, and Worn. They’re used for bulky objects that can be dangerous to haul.


Heaving is when one or more people carry something with both hands. An item with an inventory value of Heave 2 means 2 people are needed to move it, and they must use both hands.

Depending on the shape of the object, you have two other options when heaving a load:

  • Heave (Drag): Any non-fragile object can be dragged. Dragging reduces the number of heavers needed by 1, but it increases the chance of a mishap. -1 on mishap table rolls.
  • Heave (Roll): Round objects that are not fragile can be rolled. Rolling turns a Heave value into a Carry value, but you must still test Laborer and roll for a mishap in the event of a twist. Rolling incurs -1 on mishap table rolls.


Hoisting is when two or more people move something with the aid of an engineered system. An inventory value of Hoist 2 requires at least 2 people to work the system.

  • Rope, Block and Tackle: Block and tackle are required tools to move anything with a Hoist value. This is included as part of any Laborer’s skill tools. Bought individually, they cost Ob 2 Resources and take up Pack 2 worth of space. A separate rope is required to hoist, even for skilled Laborers with their tools.

Might Advantage

Each level on the order of might above 3 counts as an additional person when heaving or hoisting. If you somehow convince an ogre to aid you, they’ll do the work of three men. 


A team of hired porters comprises 4 individuals. However, since they are carrying their own basic gear and light, they only have one spare hand each, in addition to two pack slots among the group. They can shuffle their belongings to ensure that two of them have both hands free, contributing an extra Heave 2 or Hoist 2 as needed.

Stowing Heave and Hoist Objects

When determining whether Heave or Hoist items can fit into carts and wagons from The Vagrant’s Guide, treat them as taking stow slots equal to twice their rating. 

Hauling Tests

Moving an object with a Hoist or Heave rating is always a risk. Make a test using the standard hauling factors from the laborer skill. As usual, a failure will result in a twist or a conditional success. But what happens to the cargo?


Any time the party encounters something unexpected or earns a twist from a failed roll, any object being heaved or hoisted is subject to a mishap. Roll 1d6 on the mishap table. Fragile objects are more prone to mishaps, and suffer a -1 on mishap table rolls. Sturdy objects are never damaged or destroyed by a mishap, only lost or difficult to reach.

1d6 Mishap
1–2 Cargo destroyed or irretrievably lost
3–4 Cargo damaged or difficult to reach
5–6 Cargo intact


Trace the best available path of the item out of the site. Of course, you can always use a series of Stonemason, Carpenter, or other tests to shore up the safety or increase the size of the passage.

  • Bad Footing: gaps, tripping hazards, and balancing acts add -1 to mishap table rolls.
  • No Purchase: A complete lack of footing—often the case if the party used Dungeoneer or climbing apparatus to gain passage—converts all Heave ratings to Hoist ratings.
  • Water and Moisture: Slick surfaces apply a -1 to mishap table rolls. Some fragile objects vulnerable to moisture (e.g. paintings and tapestries) appy a further -1 to mishap table rolls.
  • Serpentine: Twisty passages cause complications for long objects. Treat long objects as one size larger when determining whether they can pass through.
  • Going Down: Moving items down from a height is generally easier (reduce Laborer Ob by 1), but applies a -1 to mishap table rolls.
  • Going Up: Lifting items up from the depths is generally harder (additional Laborer factor), and applies a -1 to mishap table rolls.
  • Danger/Distraction: A nearby lava flow might be at a safe distance from the workers, but it certainly hurts their ability to focus. Apply a -1 to mishap table rolls.


Here are some keywords that can be used to help with the haul.


  • Set: These items can be split up and packed away, but are only valuable or useful as a complete set. Stackable items can be combined in a single slot, but always take at least one slot.
  • Jumble: A jumble item takes twice as much space if packed in a rush. A skill test might be made to speed-pack if there’s time.


  • Small: Smaller than an adult person, i.e. can fit through a small window or crawlspace.
  • Medium: about the size or an adult person, i.e. can pass through a standard door with ease.
  • Large: Can pass easily through a double door.
  • Huge: Requires a barn door or larger to pass through.


  • Long: long objects interact with twisty passages.
  • Round: You can roll round objects, reducing the manpower required at the risk of damage or mishap.

Commonly Hauled Items

Object Small Medium Large Huge Special
Armor, chain carried 1 Jumble
Armor, leather carried 1 jumble
Armor, plate carried 4 set of 6
Barrel carried 4 heave 2 hoist 2 hoist 3 round
Body carried 2 carried 4 heave 3 hoist 4 jumble
Candelabra carried 1 carried 1 carried 2 long
Chandelier carried 1 carried 2 heave 1 heave 2 round, fragile
Chest carried 2 carried 4 heave 2 hoist 3 sturdy
Cloak carried 1 jumble
Column heave 3 hoist 4 hoist 6 long, sturdy
Furniture carried 2 heave 2 heave 3 heave 4
Glass pane carried 2 carried 4 heave 2 fragile
Painting carried 2 carried 4 heave 2 heave 3 fragile
Piano heave 2 heave 3 heave 4 hoist 4 fragile
Rope (50 ft.) carried 1 jumble
Rug or Tapestry carried 1 carried 2 carried 3 heave 2 long, fragile, jumble
Sarcophagus carried 4 heave 2 heave 3 heave 4 long
Silverware and plate carried 3 set of 3
Statue carried 2 heave 2 heave 3 hoist 3  
Throne heave 3 sturdy
Urns and Pottery carried 2 heave 1 heave 2 heave 3 fragile

Further Reading


Topics: Mordite Mondays, Torchbearer, TB Hacks