If the terms "Universal" and "Physical" are what's causing the confusion, maybe try this:
Universal Penalty (Injury and Fatigue) applies to ALL tests (whether attributes or skills).
If the test is physical in nature, ADD Encumbrance to get your Physical Penalty.
It's not "either/or" -- Universal always applies. The only variable is whether you consider Encumbrance, and that only applies to Physical tests. (My ability to do math, quote scripture, or tell an engaging story is not adversely impacted if I am wearing 50+ pounds of armor; however, my ability to swim, jump, fight, ride a horse, etc. is certainly affected.)
So whatever you choose to call it, that's how it works. Keep in mind, though, that there is nothing that applies strictly to "mental" tasks, so renaming it "Mental Penalty" is even less accurate.
This has absolutely nailed it for me.
I also have a 'Player's Guide to Harn' word doc. and it states (amongst other things):Universal and Physical Penalties
The Physical Penalty only modifies skills relating to physical activities, such as combat and athletics. The Universal Penalty modifies every skill roll. The actual modifier to the skill is the penalty times five. Thus a Universal Penalty of four equates to a minus 20 penalty.
The Universal Penalty is the combination of Injury and Fatigue. The Physical Penalty is the combination of the Universal Penalty and encumbrance. The Encumbrance Penalty is equal to the weight carried divided by the character's Endurance.
Thank you all very much!