Large and Tiny Races as PCs


Homebrew and House Rules


I've been working on a project to expand accepted PC race sizes for a bit now. The point I'm currently at is this: DMs tend to knee-jerk react to Large and Tiny sizes for playable races, and it is an issue I am investigating further.

The basic question I have is this: Would you, as a DM, allow a player to play a Tiny or Large race? Why or why not?

To elaborate: Do you feel that other sized races are overpowered? Underpowered? If so, for how many levels do they stay so before settling in to a more acceptable power curve? What could be adjusted to fix this under/overpowered-ness?

I am aware that one of the biggest complaints regarding Large races is the reach factor. Personally, since any run-of-the-mill BSF can do the same with a handy Enlarge Person spell and a reach weapon at first level, that doesn't terribly concern me - but are they two vastly different situations? SHOULD it be a problem? I'm also aware that a lot of APs and modules are squeeze-city for a Large size character. I don't necessarily view that as a detriment, more as a side-effect of choosing to play a Large character. Do you agree?

Thanks for all the input in advance.


Would I, as a GM allow it? Depends on my mood, but as a general rule, I'd say yes. Why? Because I don't see a problem with it.

Do I feel that other sizes are overpowered? No. I realize that you may be able to achieve things with a size, that you couldn't without, but no, I do not think it affects the game in a way that I could not deal with as GM.

Do I with your point about APs perhaps being squeeze city, and this not being a detriment, but a side-effect? Yes, absolutely.

-Nearyn


I've spent a lot of time working with the size issue. Unfortunately, reach is a pretty huge issue with size large... but more importantly if you think about it, anything you can do with a size medium person to get them to size large you can do with a size large person to make things ridiculous. I mean, there's a psionic spell that lets you change up to two size categories. If you start base size of large, thats huge, then gargantuan. You just became a size category smaller than the biggest things in the game, while still in your normal body. You get bonuses to CMB that most medium opponents can't do anything against. (I use bull rush with a "+all of it" and decline to move with the target as they fly over the nearest building). This is a 10 foot natural reach with no buffs, 15 with a +1 size buff (easy to do) or a 20 foot reach with a moderately difficult effort. Please do add a size large or bigger whip to this.

For size tiny, you can become as small as size fine. Granted, there are fewer non magic ways to become small I think, so the psionic spell is probably the only way you get that small. But still, have you ever tried to out stealth a size tiny creature? It's not easy. Reduce person to diminutive and it's highly unlikely that scout is getting caught before dropping the poison in the kings cup.

Size modifiers aren't inherently evil, but they can be severely abused if you aren't carful.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The polymorph spell mechanics also change when you go beyond the normal scope of medium and small. This should really be reserved for players with advanced knowledge of rules and depending on the class, there should be direct GM involvement during character creation.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TheBlackPlague wrote:

I've been working on a project to expand accepted PC race sizes for a bit now. The point I'm currently at is this: DMs tend to knee-jerk react to Large and Tiny sizes for playable races, and it is an issue I am investigating further.

The basic question I have is this: Would you, as a DM, allow a player to play a Tiny or Large race? Why or why not?

No.

Because the game is balanced around mainly medium characters. Small characters can operate but they will be more disadvantaged than they are advantaged especialy if they take up a role involving physical combat that's not augmented by precision damage.

Having characters that enlarge to Huge, or shrink to Fine brings up complications that aren't matched by sufficient improvement in the overall game.

The exception to this are campaigns specifically designed for such characters, such as a giant's campaign, or a pixie campaign. Both of which require substantial work in tweaking the rules, especially regarding magic.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

tiny races are really good casters, since spells don't care what size you are. however, their carrying capacity means they aren't carrying many magic items anytime soon, such as rods.

I don't really see a problem with it(especially since it's more impactful when casters are lame-sauce).


Creative players can easily get around carrying capacity issues with a crafter in the group. Just craft tiny versions of any equipment the little PC wants and have no real issues.


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I'm working on a tiny size race right now. It's still early in development, but my goal is to make something playable and reasonably balanced.

For a tiny sized race, I would suggest trying to keep them from getting any smaller, so make them a non-humanoid to block reduce person. You also have the logistical issues of getting around when you are only a foot tall. A fly or climb speed (or something more creative) would be a necessity, and even then, just opening doors could be a problem sometimes.

Unfortunately, the large guy doesn't work so well as a non-humanoid. I had a large sized character in a campaign once. He had to use reduce person to fit into interior spaces, and risked getting crushed if it wore off. Take away that ability and they become a serious headache for everyone else at the table.

Honestly, because of the changes that happen when you become large, I prefer medium races with large features, like half-giants.


Such extreme sizes can be exploited for powergaming. There is the already mentioned reach thing with large characters.

On the other side being really small is very good for spellcasters, and they can also improve on this with reduce person. The extra AC and ranged to hit from being small and generally having higher DEX is very good to compensate for lack of armor and low BAB (for ranged touch)


TheBlackPlague wrote:
The basic question I have is this: Would you, as a DM, allow a player to play a Tiny or Large race? Why or why not?

Definitely. I would just make sure that their size is as much a hindrance in some situations as it is a benefit in others, just like in real life.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
Aranna wrote:

Creative players can easily get around carrying capacity issues with a crafter in the group. Just craft tiny versions of any equipment the little PC wants and have no real issues.

wondrous items only come in 1 size.


If I really, really wanted to mess with the size mechanics I'd make a size small race with an SLA to reduce self one size aat will, and the same for a size med to enlarge one size at will. By making the ability SLA, it doesn't stack with any other spell/potion. By making it at will, they can stay that way at all times, but can also revert at will to handle situations where that really isn't desirable (tight spaces, tall doorknobs).
You also solve the item size/weight problems, since you can make med/small items and they'll shrink or grow as appropriate if you word the SLA as such.

I hope this helps, feel free to use it.


Actually, a Large Transmogrifist (Alternative Egoist Psion) could become Colossal. However, so can a Duergar (Psionic) Synthesist or a Synthesist with a Vitalist friend (who knows Expansion). Alternatively, a Synthesist can become Gargantuan with Enlarge Person and Huge evolution. So, being able to Gargantuan and even Colossal would not be exclusive to a Large character.


True, but consistently becoming huge at low levels is difficult without a large starting size.

Whatever size you can normally get to conveniently when starting as medium, increasing your base size by a step makes it convenient to be a size larger than that. No matter how you spin it, starting size determines the level at which you can achieve certain sizes, or the max size you can obtain at a given level, without using poly or similar to completely change form.

That being said, I had a friend who called in a favor to start with permanency enhanced enlarge person on him, so he was a size large dwarf. It was cool stuff, and didn't interfere with the game much... Because enlarge person didn't work on him any further.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Enlarge person is a spell with a 1 round casting time. Even at high levels, it's still an incredibly useful spell. There's even an option for permanency. A Large size also means enlarge person will increase your size further. As a result, going with the logic "Large size is basically a continuous enlarge person" doesn't really hold water. As LazarX points out, the entire game is balanced with the assumption of Medium or Small PCs. We're also dealing with a game where having a larger size inherently grants you more power, as illustrated by the increasing number of larger enemies as the CR increases.

So, yes. A Large race is overpowered. Should that alone stop you from letting a player have a Large race? No. If you trust your player enough that they won't abuse it, then let them play a Large race. If you don't think it's going to disrupt your game, then let rule of cool prevail.


The only large races that can generally make use of Enlarge person would be Giants, whom already have the detriment of high CR and racial HD. Most other large races are outside the humanoid type and unaffected by the spell, if I understand how the spell works, exactly.


Bandw2 wrote:
Aranna wrote:

Creative players can easily get around carrying capacity issues with a crafter in the group. Just craft tiny versions of any equipment the little PC wants and have no real issues.

wondrous items only come in 1 size.

Not actually true

Size and Magic Items wrote:
When an article of magic clothing or jewelry is discovered, most of the time size shouldn't be an issue. Many magic garments are made to be easily adjustable, or they adjust themselves magically to the wearer. Size should not keep characters of various kinds from using magic items.

Its designed that way so the small characters can use the rings, cloaks, boots and other such items when looted from bigger enemies. Or if the party fought an ogre or some other giant enemy the party can actually make use of the loot.


About large and tiny races; I actually got my butt in gear and worked on one; the Quinametin from Central American mythos, which was statted in Dragon Magazine 317. Deriving their stats (which are insanely modest for large characters) proved easy to make into a player race at about 11 RP whilst keeping the concept intact (I can post the stats I derived if you wish). As far as my take on whether or not they're OP, reach does make a difference, but natural reach can always be subverted with ranged weaponry, and of course, magic. The theme I get from people posting here is the same with several other similarly powerful ideas, broken early level, utterly defeated or subverted later.


Darbius Maximus wrote:
About large and tiny races; I actually got my butt in gear and worked on one; the Quinametin from Central American mythos, which was statted in Dragon Magazine 317. Deriving their stats (which are insanely modest for large characters) proved easy to make into a player race at about 11 RP whilst keeping the concept intact (I can post the stats I derived if you wish). As far as my take on whether or not they're OP, reach does make a difference, but natural reach can always be subverted with ranged weaponry, and of course, magic. The theme I get from people posting here is the same with several other similarly powerful ideas, broken early level, utterly defeated or subverted later.

Feel free to post them, I'm always interested in seeing new races.

Since I last posted in this thread, I actually made a playable tiny race (the Vahaan) and a medium race with large-like properties (the Firbholg).

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