RAW vs. RAI: Can you CHOOSE your height and weight?


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Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

There seem to be certain cultural assumptions implicit in a lot of the fuzzier, more gray areas of the Pathfinder ruleset. Places where the RAW are inconclusive or silly and the community has adopted certain unwritten rules that make the game better (or at least file the edge from some of the edge cases). I think this is one of those areas.


As I recall, dying at -Con instead of -10 was "just a house rule" for many years.

I guess RAW is law in PFS though. Presumably there are no particularly fat or skinny PCs in PFS given the locked in weight to height ratio.

That reminds me that I want to buy a mini of Visbarontess Delour Aulamaxa, who definitely appears to be "off the chart".


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Choosing height and weight is a symptom of rampant player entitlement. You can't let those special snowflake players choose stuff like that, or they always end up with something totally inappropriate to your campaign world, and will destroy the game that you worked so hard to create for them. Why do they need to run a tall person when tall people obviously do not exist in your setting? Not only is it totally unrealistic, it ruins the storyline you want to run about them being rejected by all the girls because of their lack of height -- this is important because the angstyness of your setting demands it.

And besides, if you let them just CHOOSE stuff like height, you have to allow them to choose everything, like race -- so allowing them to pick height and weight inevitably results in a kitchen sink campaign full of cybernetic half-dragon catgirl space marines. That might be fine for some people, but I refuse to run something like that and I value my setting far too highly to allow it.

So when I have a player who rudely shows up with something like 6'7" written on their character sheet, I calmly but firmly explain that they're free to pick any height between 5'9" and 6'1" (the campaign restriction range), and if they don't like that, they know where the door is.


Kullen wrote:
And besides, if you let them just CHOOSE stuff like height, you have to allow them to choose everything, like race

I'm...I'm not entirely sure how serious you're being.


Hint 1: I use the "Kullen" avatar to indulge in rampant unchecked sarcasm.
Hint 2: You generally do get to pick your race.

Spoiler:
Although that's pretty contentious, given some previous threads on the topic, which I'm spoofing here.


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Oddly enough I've never seen people make their PCs unusually tall. Generally they seem to prefer making them short and light compared to what one might expect based on their race and Str. If somebody makes a taller, heavier character who isn't (and often can't be) any stronger some ridicule of the bigger PC often ensues.

I generally try to just describe my PCs as I think they should appear rather than getting into some sort of "pound for pound" contest, but a lot of folks really like underdogs and the trope of big muscle men getting bested by old men and little girls. Just bringing it up makes me kind of feel like a big bully and oppressor who deserves to get comically upended by spunky little folks.


I almost always roll. I don't do it for any reason other than I like to roll.


Devilkiller wrote:

Oddly enough I've never seen people make their PCs unusually tall. Generally they seem to prefer making them short and light compared to what one might expect based on their race and Str. If somebody makes a taller, heavier character who isn't (and often can't be) any stronger some ridicule of the bigger PC often ensues.

I generally try to just describe my PCs as I think they should appear rather than getting into some sort of "pound for pound" contest, but a lot of folks really like underdogs and the trope of big muscle men getting bested by old men and little girls. Just bringing it up makes me kind of feel like a big bully and oppressor who deserves to get comically upended by spunky little folks.

Might be for the humour value (which I'm enjoying too), but another thing that might come up is a subtle form of minmaxing. There may be some effects that vary based on a character's weight, including some traps and whether that character can him- or herself be carried by someone else.


Thanks for all your input guys, and just to be clear, I wasn't asking this because I knew a GM that was forcing me to stick to the table, I just noticed that while it says you can pick your age, it doesn't say you can pick your height/weight, which I thought was a bit odd, so I thought I'd see what others think. I totally allow you to pick all three (within reason... no large humans or small dwarves, etc.)

This was mostly just a 'curiosity' post. :D


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Kullen wrote:
cybernetic half-dragon catgirl space marines.

Okay, that is absolutely silly. I would never let someone play that either. A Space Pirate Amazon Ninja Catgirl however, totally legit.

Grand Lodge

And people say the FAQ request threads I make are a waste of space..

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

While RAW, it doesn't say you can pick, as long as there are no mechanical changes, then the PCs can be whatever they want within the scope of the size of the race (when I GM). Humans can be anything that would be classified as medium and gnomes can be anything that fits small sized. Personally, hen I make small characters, I like to choose a size that puts than a hair above tiny. Those size characters just amuse me, especially fighter types

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

It could also be a reasonable interpretation the "You can choose or randomly generate" language applies to everything in that area. Age, Height, Weight.

This type of behavior has been used in the past, for example, in the magical effects and spells chapter they immediately stop saying magical effects and spells and just say spells. It is clear it applies equally to both from various developer posts in the past.

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