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Author Topic: The Alternatively-Sized Races Megathread  (Read 412 times)
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« on: April 10, 2017, 03:36:45 PM »

LoA

Is it possible to have tiny races without them being broken?

Hoers

If they're playing alongside human-sized races, then I doubt it. If all characters of interest are that small, then you can treat much larger creatures as a different kind of encounter entirely; maybe an "environmental" hazard, or even a watered-down Cthulhu-style "this is not necessarily something you were meant to combat" kind of encounter.

sparkletwist

I mean, sure it is. Just don't give them any mechanical effect for being tiny. tongue

LoA

I'm beginning to hammer down, and flesh out a world, and I'm stubbornly attached to the idea of a race of sentient toys. How "Small" can you be while still be considered "Small" in dnd terms?

Hoers

I think once your toy is about the size of a cat or smaller, it's "Tiny" size

Steerpike

It depends on the edition. In 5th edition, size doesn't come with a lot of pre-packaged bonuses and penalties apart from how much space you take up. Tiny creatures *tend* to be hard to hit, but don't get an AC bonus, for example. In Pathfinder, Tiny is more difficult to balance, but could easily be ignored, house-ruled, etc.

Hoers

Another thing about smaller races, depending on how realistic you want to get, is that they're going to be less susceptible to fall damage and similar effects, as they will have a lower terminal velocity. It'd be good to comb through the combat and movement rules to see what might not make sense for them.

sparkletwist

Thread plz

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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2017, 12:56:59 AM »

So if you're going PF/DND 3.x, don't allow tiny races. I have before, and it's a nightmare. They're super hard to hit and usually have low con so are super squishy, so lots of enemies will hit them on a crit, and a crit can easily one shot them.

In general, size disparity between party members is rough, even in a mechanics lite system, because it strains credibility. So you've got two members, one of whom is six feet tall, the other whom is one foot or less. The world would be an entirely different place to the second person - a shallow brook to one is a deep river to another, and normal people are giant monsters that move in at a bumbling pace. How do the two keep pace with each other on a casual walk? How do you make sure a threat to one doesn't annihilate the other? After all, someone who can consistently hit a tiny target would have no problem always landing a headshot on a normal man, since many tiny creatures are about as big as a human head, while someone who can fight normal sized people on a fair playing field would be...you ever watch Attack on Titan? And see what happens when a Titan swats a normal human? Yeah, that.
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Sparkletwist

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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2017, 11:56:42 PM »

I'm with Xathan (and not because I'm their sock puppet <_<). In a more simulationist game, like PF/D&D3, tiny is going to bring a lot of assumptions that makes it difficult to balance. Same goes for large.

If you're playing a less simulationist system, like D&D4 or 5, or something that has prescribed limitation, like M&M, then you can balance different sizes a lot more.

I'm really on the fence as to which approach I like better.
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2017, 08:08:02 PM »

I think it'd be pretty easy to house-rule Pathfinder to accommodate Tiny/toy-sized races without causing huge problems.

Alternatively, just change the bounds of what counts as "Small." These are incredibly arbitrary, completely made-up categories anyway that don't reflect reality especially well. Even in a "simulationist" system the size categories and associated bonuses/penalties are pretty rough. There is theoretically some creature that is technically Small but very close to Tiny, and some creature that is Tiny but very close to Small, and those would have very different stats according to size category, while in reality they'd have roughly the same AC etc. I say just ignore or rewrite the size rules in Pathfinder according to taste.
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2017, 09:02:13 PM »

PF has a number of weird and lesser-known rules that only appear when dealing with non-standard creature sizes.  They range from the fairly obvious (Tiny creatures get +8 to Stealth checks), to the uncommon (Tiny creatures have a reach of zero), to the downright esoteric (armor for creatures of Tiny size or smaller confers only 1/2 its normal AC bonus, a rule which is helpfully buried in a footnote of the "armor for unusual creatures" table in the armor and equipment section*).  Some of these may be desirable, or even part of the point of the exercise - certainly the +4 Stealth bonus for being Small is a reason people consider certain races for certain classes in PF.  Whether they all add up to broken-ness or not is just a personal opinion and depends substantially on the adventure itself.

I tend to agree with Xathan that in practice, huge physical disparities create unexpected difficulties.  That's not just true for size, but things like senses and limbs - having a blind character means you need to rethink your descriptions and possibly your plots as well, while a character without opposable thumbs (an awakened animal?) will produce all sorts of odd situations in which a character can't logically contribute to a task which would otherwise have been trivial.


*Presumably the idea here is that a fairy's plate mail is basically just aluminum foil to a human and thus not all that protective, although it's unclear why fairy plate would be only half as effective even against other fairies.  This is one of those "rules which assume you're playing this game the same way the devs are" which takes certain basic assumptions for granted - e.g., that characters are small-to-medium size, and that simulating the Hundred Years' Fairy War is not a priority.
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2017, 09:09:28 AM »

If you're running a game where all of the main characters are that small, you might be able to get away with just shifting the sizes, so that your "Tiny" characters are the new "Medium". This ought to work because, in theory, they're going to have more stuff to deal with on scales smaller than them that normal Medium-sized characters wouldn't see, and the larger size categories are kind of all-encompassing once you hit Colossal. This'd make standard humanoids part of the "Huge" category by default.
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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2017, 06:29:05 PM »

Hoers

If you're running a game where all of the main characters are that small, you might be able to get away with just shifting the sizes, so that your "Tiny" characters are the new "Medium". This ought to work because, in theory, they're going to have more stuff to deal with on scales smaller than them that normal Medium-sized characters wouldn't see, and the larger size categories are kind of all-encompassing once you hit Colossal. This'd make standard humanoids part of the "Huge" category by default.

Gonna second this hard. In general, I think parties work best when the smallest character isn't much more than ~50% the height of the largest - that means that when designing encounters, environments and dangers, you don't need to consider a huge range of possible sizes. There's no reason you can't change the ranges for what counts as small or medium.
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« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2017, 12:51:42 PM »

Xathan

Hoers

If you're running a game where all of the main characters are that small, you might be able to get away with just shifting the sizes, so that your "Tiny" characters are the new "Medium". This ought to work because, in theory, they're going to have more stuff to deal with on scales smaller than them that normal Medium-sized characters wouldn't see, and the larger size categories are kind of all-encompassing once you hit Colossal. This'd make standard humanoids part of the "Huge" category by default.

Gonna second this hard. In general, I think parties work best when the smallest character isn't much more than ~50% the height of the largest - that means that when designing encounters, environments and dangers, you don't need to consider a huge range of possible sizes. There's no reason you can't change the ranges for what counts as small or medium.

Especially if you're willing to adjust size bonuses to be flat or to be in reference to the size differences.
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