You know, I’m sitting here, and I can’t think of a single game—ever—where I’ve used the encumbrance rules as written. Either we simplify, we hand-wave it, or we use common sense. From the Rules Cyclopedia and Palladium Fantasy of when I started gaming to the Castles & Crusades, Rolemaster, and HARP of today, it just one of those parts of the buffalo we don’t use.
Now, that’s not to say I let characters get away with anything; if you have 5 longswords, 2 full backpacks, a rubber tree plant, a spare chain shirt, and 50 feet of rope strapped to your back, and you are of middling strength, you’re not going to be winning any races (or moving that much at all, potentially). We still do generally practice resource management—just not down to the decimal.
So, this is my question to you: am I in the minority here? Do you pay a lot of attention to encumbrance? Why or why not? If so, what does it bring to your game? I’m curious to hear other thoughts on this.