Custom Carts (5e Equipment)

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Cost: Variable
Weight: Variable
Speed: Variable
Carrying Capacity: Variable

There are infinite forms. Here's how to make and price most of them!

Inktober 10 21 15 by danieljoelnewman

Customizing a Cart[edit]

This is a way to make and price almost any generic, mundane, animal-drawn land vehicle. To do so, simply follow the steps in the order they are presented here.

Draft Animals[edit]

This system does not make any assumption in regards to appropriate draft animals. Use Tarrasques if you want. We do, however, need to restrict size. A cart's rigging is built to accommodate creatures of a certain size. Creatures which are too large or small will not be able to pull the vehicle. A vehicle's rigging is also designed to accommodate a specific number of draft animals in a particular configuration as well. Not having enough animals for the rigging renders it mostly useless. Simply take the size value of the rigging and multiply it by the number of draft animals it uses to find the gold price of your rigging.

Tiny = 50gp

Small = 20gp

Medium = 10gp

Large = 50gp

Huge = 100gp

You must now consider the rigging's configuration. If you have an odd number of creatures, they can only be arranged in a single row, but if you have an even number, they can be split into two rows. Three rows doesn't work, as the center animal prevents the side animals from coordinating. The maximum width of the cart is equal to the width of the creature ×2 (ie, if you have large creatures, the maximum width of the cart is 20ft.)

To determine how fast your team of draft animals can go, simply add together the speed of all the animals. The top speed of the cart cannot exceed the speed of any one of them. (If you have different types of draft animals, the top speed is the lowest speed among your team) So, for example, if a horse has 60ft of speed, and you have three horses, their combined total is 180ft, but the cart cannot exceed 60ft. This is the base speed and speed limit of your cart. From now on, all adjustments of speed will be penalties deducted from base speed. As such, having more draft animals allows you to tow more weight before it begins to impact performance.


Next, decide your total floor space. Most carts are close to box-shaped, so all of this assumes that is the case. As mentioned, maximum cart width is equal to double the width of one draft animal. Maximum length is three times the animal's width. The minimum floor space is 5ft×5ft. Floor space is an extremely important number in calculating all of the cart's stats. The exact number used is the total floor space in square feet divided by 25. This gives you the area covered as a count of 5ft squares. This number is considered to be your actual floor space from now on.

Your cart's floor space (which we are using as a generalization of overall size) determines its AC. AC is the vehicle's floor space ÷5. So, for instance, the largest possible cart would be 40ft × 60ft, which makes a floor space of 8×12, or 96. ÷5 gets 19, (round down from 19.2) giving that vehicle 19AC. The smallest vehicle has a floor space of 1, which makes an AC of 0 (down from 0.2). This number will be adjusted later on.


Many carts have some sort of overhead covering to protect their contents from the elements. This only assumes a roof exists, not the mechanism by which it is supported, that is left to the imagination. Simply decide what portion of the floor space is covered using the same rules as if you were making the floor of another cart. This number is the cart's Roof Space.


Finally, we need to determine if a cart is enclosed in any way. The rules assume that anything less than a man-height wall is equivalent to nothing, mechanically. So, your cart may have side rails, or a 4ft wall on all sides, or even be a simple flatbed, and this would change nothing about its numbers. However, as soon as you give the cart actual walls, we need to take them into consideration. Simply determine where walls are on your cart, and write down their total length /5. This is the cart's Wall Space.

Walls provide full cover. If a wall section has a window, that section of wall provides only 3/4 cover. You may have doors installed at any location on the walls of the vehicle; their location and construction has no impact on the overall cart's statistics.


The cart may be composed of all manner of materials, but in general, they can be classed into three categories; light, medium, and heavy. The types of materials and construction method used will modify the speed and HP of the vehicle. The body, (Floor Space) enclosure, (Wall Space) and covering, (Roof Space) can each have their own construction category. For instance, a cart may have a heavy body composed of steel, medium enclosure composed of hardwood walls, and a light covering composed of thick canvas and rope. Simply carry out the calculations below for each section, add the results together, and apply them to the cart's final attributes.

A light cart is composed of light woods, fabrics, rope, wicker, paper, and other light materials, with minimal mineral or metallic components. Examples would include a racing chariot, a settler's canvas-covered wagon, or a farmer's goods cart.

5 × Space = HP
Deduct 1ft × Space from speed.
+5 AC
5gp × Space
5lb. × Space

A medium cart is composed of hardwoods, with many metallic components, may have glass elements, and many use heavy fabrics and upholstery. Examples include a nobleman's carriage, or a war chariot.

10 × Space = HP
Deduct 5ft × Space from speed.
+10 AC
10gp × Space
10lb. × Space

A heavy cart is composed of thick wooden beams if wood is used at all, with extensive metalwork, possibly being entirely composed of metal. Some may have actual stonework. If glass is used, it is very thick. Any fabric elements are likely only on the interior. Examples include a prison wagon, or siege machines.

15 × Space = HP
Deduct 10ft × Space from speed.
+15 AC
20gp × Space
15lb. × Space

So, continuing our example from above in this section, you would calculate heavy HP for floor space, medium HP for wall space, and light HP for roof space, then combine those values. Next, you would calculate the speed penalty for heavy floor space, medium wall space, and light roof space, combine them, and deduct the total from your draft team's base speed. Remember that your speed penalty is deducted from base speed, not speed limit. Next, you would modify the cart's AC. Use the AC modifier from the construction type of the vehicle's body. (In the case of our example, that would be +15, as the body is of heavy construction) Next, we calculate the price of construction. Simply calculate the gold value of each section based on its space × its construction modifier, add the results together, then add the value of the cart to the value of its rigging. Finally, we calculate carry capacity. Simply multiply floor space by its construction modifier, then roof space by its construction modifier, then add the two together.


A cart technically has 2 wheels, but you can make the vehicle into a wagon by making it have 4 wheels. Add 10 HP to the vehicle for each wheel it has. Each wagon wheel costs 10gp.

Alternatively, the vehicle may be a sled. Skis have 20hp each and cost only 10gp for the pair, but the vehicle can only travel over snow or ice.

To calculate the carrying capacity of a cart, simply multiply its floor space by a modifier derived from its wheels.

  • 2 Wheels: 2
  • 4 Wheels: 4
  • Skis: 6

Calculation Review[edit]

Speed =

Base Speed (Total speed of draft animals)
- Floor Space construction penalty
- Wall Space construction penalty
- Roof Space construction penalty
(Speed Limit is the slowest animal's speed.)

HP =

Floor Space × Construction modifier
+ Wall Space × Construction modifier
+ Roof Space × Construction modifier
+ wheels/skis

AC = Floor Space + Body Construction AC bonus

(Note that animals are not included. This is the AC to hit the cart itself, each animal retains its own individual AC)

GP =

Rigging (Creature Size × Team Size)
+ Floor Space × Construction modifier
+ Wall Space × Construction modifier
+ Roof Space × Construction modifier
+ Wheels/skis

Carrying Capacity =

Floor space × Construction modifier
+ Roof Space × Construction modifier
× wheel modifier

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