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Do followers get encumbered?

I just released Serana from my service, but she still has not reached Fort Dawnguard even after going on a world tour (tour of all holds including all hold villages and all my houses).

I did burden her with a lot of junk I could not carry. I mean I hit my cap of 400 capacity untold times during Dragonborn. Each time Serana I need to trade. She protested Better not be things you possibly could not be bothered about.

I am playing with all the unofficial fixes to Skyrim/Hearthfire/Dawnguard/Dragonborn. No other mods.

Is it possible she is encumbered, which would explain her slow progess to Fort Dawnguard?

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"I am sworn to carry your burdens" – Gnoupi Mar 5 '13 at 15:52
I have waited untold days/slept days even though I am a beast etc. I do not know how long to leave a cell though. But waited 7 days, slept 10 days in Winterhold, traveled 12 days. – ヴァイシャリ Mar 5 '13 at 16:02
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Followers have a maximum carrying capacity, but they refuse to carry more rather than become encumbered.

More likely she's taking the normal amount of time to return "home", and the amount of time that takes just seems like a lot to you. For whatever reason, every NPC takes eons to walk back to their homes, and this is just normal.

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I have waited the right amount of time for my horse to get home. (I think). And my mule as well. :-) – ヴァイシャリ Mar 5 '13 at 15:58
Just wanted to say Serana never said I can not carry any more. – ヴァイシャリ Mar 5 '13 at 15:58
Horses teleport, but dismissed followers walk. – SevenSidedDie Mar 5 '13 at 16:30

Once you reach maximum capacity on your follower, any item in your inventory that would overload the follower, is being grayed out so you cannot transfer it into their inventory anymore.

So no, they do not become encumbered, the interface simply refuses adding additional items.

The "Better not be things you possibly could not be bothered about." is a standard message that can come anytime, even is she is not carrying anything.

I would suggest that she rather got stuck somewhere due to a bug than because she was overloaded.

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I never got that message either. – ヴァイシャリ Mar 5 '13 at 17:11

This is most likely caused by the dragon born not being in the same cell as your follower. Your best bet of recovering her would be to follow the path from when you dismissed her and walk to her waiting location. That way the cell in which she is walking will be active and she will continue on her merry way.

If you are on PC and don't mind using the console you can just bring your follower directly to you.

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I am on PC. But I feel this issue could affect other platformers. – ヴァイシャリ Mar 5 '13 at 16:36
There is also a plugin on the workshop which shows your follower on the map. – uncovery Mar 5 '13 at 16:49
@uncovery Any idea what it is called? But it would not help me. I dismissed my follower already. But useful though. – ヴァイシャリ Mar 5 '13 at 17:10
@desaivv… – uncovery Mar 5 '13 at 17:13

No, followers cannot become encumbered.

As mentioned in other answers, your follower has a maximum carrying capacity, and once they reach the limit, they won't accept any more items from you.

However, due to a bug/feature/quirk of the follower command system, you can overload them well beyond their maximum capacity. Even when they are at maximum carrying capacity, they will still pick things up off the floor if you command them to do it.

Using that "technique" your follower can carry an unlimited amount of weight and will not be hindered by it. They can still run at full speed and fast-travel with you.

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