How many tiny sized creatures with 0 reach can attack at any one time?


Rules Questions


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A tiny creature can move into or through an occupied square. They need to do this to attack as their reach is 0. So if multiple tiny critters are attacking, how many can occupy the same space to attack the same creature?


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PRD: Combat wrote:
Tiny, Diminutive, and Fine Creatures: Very small creatures take up less than 1 square of space. This means that more than one such creature can fit into a single square. A Tiny creature typically occupies a space only 2-1/2 feet across, so four can fit into a single square. 25 Diminutive creatures or 100 Fine creatures can fit into a single square.

When attacking, obviously there's another creature in that square as well, but this is the general rule.


So 4 tiny + 1 medium can fit into one 5' square.


Four Tiny creatures can fit into one 5' square. With a medium creature in there as well, that would probably be squeezing...

My post was intended to show you the related RAW, as the only RAW I'm aware of that relates to this. A ruling based on that RAW would be up to the GM (unless I'm wrong and it's actually stated explicitly somewhere).


Time to hit the FAQ :)


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

If the tiny creatures are attacking a medium creature, doesn't the medium creature "fill" the space so that the tiny creatures bounce back out of the square after the attack is over ? (because they can't remain).

If a tiny creature is attacking another tiny creature, then they can remain in the same square as Oladon points out.


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Pg 193 CRB

Very Small Creature: A Fine, Diminutive, or Tiny creature can move into or through an occupied square. The creature provokes attacks of oppertunity when doing so.


Slim, that would make things difficult because the tiny creature would provoke AoO every turn to attack, since under your ruling they keep moving in and out of squares the medium creature threatens.


SlimGauge wrote:

If the tiny creatures are attacking a medium creature, doesn't the medium creature "fill" the space so that the tiny creatures bounce back out of the square after the attack is over ? (because they can't remain).

If a tiny creature is attacking another tiny creature, then they can remain in the same square as Oladon points out.

The general consensus is that smaller-than-Small creatures can occupy the same space as Small-or-larger creatures, as well as simply moving into it.


I'd agree with Oladon.

Of course, that brings us back to the original question. How many "smaller-than-small" creatures can pile in with a medium (say) creature?

4 tiny creatures can fit in one square, a medium creature is larger than a tiny creature, so commonsense would dictate an upper bound of 3 tiny and 1 medium at most. However, we could quite reasonable be more restrictive than that.


As another point which doesn't really help to answer the question, in the swarm rules it says that a swarm of tiny creatures consists on 300 nonflying critters which would divide into 75 per square.

So if 75 swarming tiny creatures can fit with a medium in one square, I guess 4 isn't that hard to imagine?


Hmm, gourry, that is a bit confusing.

75 tiny creatures per square? But just a few posts above we have a limit of 4 tiny creatures per square!

Perhaps this is a case of tiny having a double meaning: it is a rules term but also a descriptive term. If this is the case, then it is a bit unfortunate.


Actually, I think I can help, here.

In a swarms case, the tiny creatures are not actually taking up as much space as they normally would... they are all over themselves and on top of each other. In addition to going around, they go up, and there's no room for personal space or maneuvering. The trick with swarms is that, unlike other groups, you're not bothering with individual creatures, tactics, or maneuvering (which is why swarms have special rules), but instead you're dealing with a morass of the creatures, far too densely packed together to fight one-on-one. In other words, the rules change.

In real live, I'm something like two feet wide (purely guessing, here, from looking at myself, as I've never measured my shoulder width) and (at my fattest, I'm guessing again) something like a foot deep. Given that I'm five-foot-six (or maybe five-foot-seven?... I can't recall right now), you could fit about ten of me in a five-foot-square (though you could fit less in a five-foot cube), or maybe a few more with the right contortion/squeezing or if I lost a few pounds.

Now, obviously, that's not exactly a good strategic idea - shoving ten (or more) of me into a five-foot-square means all the mes would basically be limited to running into and stomping on other creatures we were in a battle with... which is basically what's happening with a swarm. All the mes, should we be swarming, (presuming, of course, that somehow my own atrocious dexterity allows the majority of mes to move anywhere like that) would basically ram into someone or something with our combined body weight and (if I was savage/feral/desperate enough) use our teeth and nails to bite and claw at the thing, or our various limbs to flail at it (if we had room), or - more likely - just trying to sit on the creature or otherwise overwhelm it with our body weight to make it stop moving while we fiddled with its belongings until one of us could get a shiv or it exhausted itself from too many of our over-sized rear ends on its face simultaneously. (Incidentally, with so many of us packed that tightly, I'd likely be most focused on not getting stabbed by the other guy and keeping my footing, making it effectively impossible for me to threaten adjacent squares, much like a normal swarm, regardless of my bigger size).

I suppose more accurately, it'd be just as, if not more, likely that all the mes would trip over themselves in an attempt to get away, or use our few karate, judo, and tae kwan do maneuvers simultaneously. Also I'd be really freaked out about all the mes that suddenly exist and would likely enter an existential crisis. But we're trying to discuss me as a swarm, not me as a person within a bizarre context. Because, you know, there's obviously nothing bizarre about me as a swarm. Nope.

And that, more or less, is what a swarm does in general (usually without the acting sentience of myself, thus no targeting the equipment).

In all likelihood, a swarm composed of medium-sized creatures would not be ten-per-square (a ridiculously packed space, though glancing at my toddler son, small-sized creatures may be able to pull that off well enough), but far more likely two-to-five (most likely, I think, the two-to-three range). Regardless, the general conditions I've mentioned above apply - I'd be mostly trying to defend myself and not get tripped (thus no threatening of squares) and really would have no space to maneuver (thus no normal tactics) and generally use the weight of my combined selves to take people down more than weapon damage (though several of us would end up in the grapple).

And, man, you do not want, like, five of me bearing down on you. I could totally see how that would be both distracting and nauseating.

... in other, completely unrelated news, I now have to go make a new encounter for my player to run into soon.
>.>
<.<
(Whew, looks like they bought it.)

In any event, while this is mostly hypothetical guesstimation, that would easily explain the discrepancy between swarms and non-swarms and numbers fitting into squares.


I'm sorry but I don't follow. Essentially what is the ruling on how many tiny creatures, not in a swarm, can be in the same 5 ft space as a medium creature?


Golgathar wrote:
I'm sorry but I don't follow. Essentially what is the ruling on how many tiny creatures, not in a swarm, can be in the same 5 ft space as a medium creature?

To add to this question, does this number change if they can hover/fly?


gourry187 wrote:

As another point which doesn't really help to answer the question, in the swarm rules it says that a swarm of tiny creatures consists on 300 nonflying critters which would divide into 75 per square.

So if 75 swarming tiny creatures can fit with a medium in one square, I guess 4 isn't that hard to imagine?

... also don't forget your swarm should be 3-dimensional, if they are flying creatures. So your swarm of 300 bats, for example, is actually 2 squares wide by 2 squares across by 2 squares high. So... 8 squares in total. Or approximately 37.5 bats per square.

But also consider that this is meant to be an abstract. The swarm is constantly moving, surging, flapping, crawling all over anything and everyone in the area. I would argue that they also probably overlap the edges of the 10 ft. area, just not in such a high concentration of creatures that they cause the damage or Distraction effect associated with swarms to creatures on the edge of the swarm. But like I said, it's an abstract. :)


Golgathar wrote:
I'm sorry but I don't follow. Essentially what is the ruling on how many tiny creatures, not in a swarm, can be in the same 5 ft space as a medium creature?

Per the rules in the core rulebook, it specifically states that up to 4 tiny creatures - stirges, for example - can occupy the same space as a medium creature. They do provoke attacks of opportunity when entering the square (provided the target is not flat footed) but suffer no penalty for occupying the same space, so no Squeezing penalties.

Hope that helps. :)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Stirge would actually be a bad example, since they can fly they should be able to fit 8 in a square since there are 8 2.5ftx2.5ftx2.5ft cubes in a 5 ft. cibe

Shadow Lodge

You can use the bestiary rules to turn any tiny creature entry into a swarm of tiny creatures in which case the number of them occupying a single square becomes meaningless.

I homebrewed a swarm of tiny baby goblins for my group one time. It was mean.


A swarm is generally a writhing mass with little to no consideration for tactics or individual survivability - they just smother everything. It is a very different kettle of fish than an individual attacking on it's own. I would avoid comparing the two rulesets.

My take, 4 tiny creatures can fit in a square. Tiny creatures can move into a square with a medium creature and attack. So effectively very small creatures can ignore a larger creature for determining if they can enter and fight in a square. To me that means 4 tiny creatures can enter a square to attack a suitably sized opponent.

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