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


Rules Questions

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So like the subject says, technically you MUST roll your height and weight...

Note first Age says...

Age wrote:
You can choose or randomly generate your character's age. If you choose it, it must be at least the minimum age for the character's race and class (see the Random Starting Ages tables). Alternatively, roll the dice indicated for your class on the appropriate table and add the result to the minimum age of adulthood for your race to determine your character's age.

However, Height/Weight says...

Height/Weight wrote:
To determine a character's height, roll the modifier dice indicated on the appropriate Random Height & Weight table and add the result, in inches, to the base height for your character's race and gender. To determine a character's weight, multiply the result of the modifier dice by the weight multiplier and add the result to the base weight for your character's race and gender.

Note the lack of any indication that one can choose the height/weight you wish.

Now, I've never met a GM that didn't let players choose their height and weight, even going so far as to not even require the height and weight to match up (in a fantasy world, does it really matter if the bard is overweight?)

But, by the RAW... you must roll.

So, by that respect I am asking to find out are there any GM out there that are STRICT enough to require rolls for height/weight because it doesn't say you can choose?

Then, even if you do allow choosing, do you restrict it to what is possible via the table, ala age?

For example, can I make a 4'11" 103 lbs aasimar, or does my aasimar have to be at least 5'2" and weigh 95 lbs since the aasimar base is 5' 85lbs and the die roll is 2d8 x5?


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So far, all the GMs I have played with allowed us to choose our age/height/weight. In fact, the only time I have ever seen the age/height/weight tables used was for generating NPCs.

As for your Aasimar example, I once wanted to play a really short half-orc, and the GM allowed it as long as it was role-played out(both the advantages and disadvantages).

That's been my experience, anyway!


JulesRagnarsson wrote:

So far, all the GMs I have played with allowed us to choose our age/height/weight. In fact, the only time I have ever seen the age/height/weight tables used was for generating NPCs.

As for your Aasimar example, I once wanted to play a really short half-orc, and the GM allowed it as long as it was role-played out(both the advantages and disadvantages).

That's been my experience, anyway!

Yeah, the aasimar in question is Captain Quinn here. She's got Scion of Humanity and Racial Heritage (Halfling), because her mother was a halfling. So, her being only 4'11" is partially due to that, but also due to the fact that her looks is based off of a real life woman I know who is 4' 11" :P

But yeah, I was double checking on her age as I am writing up her background but then I noticed how her height doesn't match up to the criteria for an aasimar, and noticed that the age says "you may choose but you must fit these criteria" where as height/weight just says "roll this"


Yeap , i have also never saw anyone who actually cared much about this from a rule point of view.

Usually what i saw is the player making the pick and they can pick whatever they want really, never saw even one GM complain.

While true people do use the age table to get an idea, as far as looks go anything is valid from what i have seen.


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I've found a lot of situations where one character has to carry another and weight becomes important. (Optimizers should pick a low weight if allowed to pick.) Height rarely seems to matter mechanically.

Scarab Sages

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Matthew Downie wrote:
Height rarely seems to matter mechanically.

It does matter sometimes.


It outright says you can choose. The 'how to do it randomly' section is there in case you chose that option.


Age wrote:

You can choose or randomly generate your character's age.


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I've never heard of anyone forcing anyone to roll, and it also kind of defeats the sidebar section in Blood of Angels where it talks about non-human aasimar and says an Aasimar can just choose to be Small if they want to, (subject to GM Fiat of course.) It also kinda seems like a fundamental waste of time, because it would basically boil down to a "I tore up sheets and rerolled height/weight till I got numbers that I liked" situation

Liberty's Edge

Robb Smith wrote:

I've never heard of anyone forcing anyone to roll, and it also kind of defeats the sidebar section in Blood of Angels where it talks about non-human aasimar and says an Aasimar can just choose to be Small if they want to, (subject to GM Fiat of course.) It also kinda seems like a fundamental waste of time, because it would basically boil down to a "I tore up sheets and rerolled height/weight till I got numbers that I liked" situation

That's how a lot of people feel about rolling for stats, but that doesn't stop plenty of people from using that method of stat generation.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Seriously?

I mean, can anyone actually say this has come up?

Who does this?

Liberty's Edge

In home games I always let the players choose height and weight; but within reason Ex; no nine foot tall humans with reach.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

PFS doesn't enforce such nonsense.

Yes. I am explicitly calling the forcing of rolling for height/weight nonsense.

I would say so to any DM that would enforce this.

I am not even convinced this is something the rules enforce.


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List of obscure pathfinder rules:
Fireball can destroy your equipment on a Reflex Natural 1
Bards spells can't be enhanced by Metamagic Silent Spell
Casting time of Lesser Restoration is 3 rounds
...
During character generation, height and weight must be determined randomly <- New!!!

Silver Crusade

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The only reason I've ever seen anybody look seriously at those tables is to get a good idea of comparative sizes. I.e. we're generally familiar with what the height and weight of a small, big, and average human are, but a dwarf, halfling, or half-orc are a little harder for us to get a full grasp of.

So it helps you see the reasonable limits of how big or small a race is, and let you modify for what makes sense to you--a high STR and CON character's probably gonna be a bit heavier for their size, and one with low STR high DEX will probably be lighter.


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I think the RAW is vague on this and it is up to GM call.

I have even played with some DM/GMs that assign you a height/weight/age based on your stats and what looks "right" to them.

Other DM/GMs insist on making people roll for everything.

Based on the fact that the iconics have a wide variety of starting heights/weights/ages, I would say that the RAI was for players to choose those details. The wizard and spiritualist iconics, for example, start much older at level 1 that what random chance could generate. The occultist looks like he enjoys hearty dinners.

Because I view PCs as the anomalies of their world's population, I would personally rule your Aasimar height/weight as entirely reasonable.

But no 7 foot tall halflings. We have to have limits somewhere.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I am having a difficult time expressing how inane I find this, and still be board appropriate.


Unusual height and weight has some roleplay potential. That's actually an argument for both rolling and picking.

I'd let the player pick - unless he wants to roll (e.g. because of choice paralysis, old-fashioned attitude, not caring or looking for the challenge to RP a random character). Height would have to be strictly within the size category. Weight should be within the numbers you can get from rolling - unless the player insists in being exceptionally light or heavy. Then I'd make something up like Ogrekin deformities, likely a benefit and a drawback...


blackbloodtroll wrote:
I am having a difficult time expressing how inane I find this, and still be board appropriate.

Weight matters... to an extent. It would be silly if every character declared themselves to weigh 30 lbs, as such would enable many things (Small characters on flying mounts at level 1 with more than bare-bones gear, etc).

I kind of view the tables as "min-maxes"

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So, a player says "I want to play a fat Halfling", and the DM says "Well, F**K YOU! You roll your damn weight, and you like what you get, you rollplaying little S**t.", "HAH! Look like you're a skinny Halfing. TOO BAD MOTHERF**KER!". Player cries.

Yeah. Totally awesome.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

So, a player says "I want to play a fat Halfling", and the DM says "Well, F**K YOU! You roll your damn weight, and you like what you get, you rollplaying little S**t.", "HAH! Look like you're a skinny Halfing. TOO BAD MOTHERF**KER!". Player cries.

Yeah. Totally awesome.

Oh no, I'm not advocating people roll. More just saying that I'd ask a player to come up with a roleplaying reason choosing something more or less than the minimum or maximum of the chart range, just so it's not for powergaming reasons. "I want to play an overweight halfling" is significantly different than "I want to play a 20lb halfling with a Roc animal companion at first level so I can carry a full compliment of gear and not push it to medium encumbrance so it can't fly." So to me, the minimum weight of a female halfling is 27 lbs and a male 32 lbs, anything less and I'm going to eye you funny as to why.

In short: Height and weight matter when they matter. If you're deviating from the chart for roleplay, it's probably fine. If you're trying to get some sort of advantage out of it, you need to stick to the chart. Otherwise, my answer will be "pick what you want."


In my home games I let players pick, but generally require both stats to be in the range of possible values for the race. If a player came to me wanting to pick values outside the range, like the previous Asimar situation, I'd consider allowing it based on the reason. Short halfling Asimar would be fine by me.

I've had players (yes, more than one) pick 9-foot tall humans, claim the character was Large and therefore gained the size increase ability adjustments from the Bestiary (+8 Str, +4 Con, -2 Dex, +2 Nat Armor). Sorry, no. You try that and I'll force rolling in front of me using my dice, and you get whatever you roll.


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Mike J wrote:
I've had players (yes, more than one) pick 9-foot tall humans, claim the character was Large and therefore gained the size increase ability adjustments from the Bestiary (+8 Str, +4 Con, -2 Dex, +2 Nat Armor).

Really? That's just... Really?

Shadow Lodge

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We often pick instead of rolling. Never seen anyone try to get a mechanical advantage from height or weight, though it wouldn't bug me if a character with a mount chose something on the light end of the scale for encumbrance reasons. Going outside the usual ranges would require a little more justification, but the handling aasimar would certainly be OK.


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Mike J wrote:


I've had players (yes, more than one) pick 9-foot tall humans, claim the character was Large and therefore gained the size increase ability adjustments from the Bestiary (+8 Str, +4 Con, -2 Dex, +2 Nat Armor). Sorry, no. You try that and I'll force rolling in front of me using my dice, and you get whatever you roll.

Haha, I can't believe multiple people thought this would fly (unless they were new).


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I let them pick, but use a scale for NPCs. I tend to use it to gauge player types of gamers. Max ht/Min wt? Probably a power hungry player?
Short player with a big character with ...issues.


voideternal wrote:

List of obscure pathfinder rules:

Fireball can destroy your equipment on a Reflex Natural 1
Bards spells can't be enhanced by Metamagic Silent Spell
Casting time of Lesser Restoration is 3 rounds
...
During character generation, height and weight must be determined randomly <- New!!!

I don't think some of those are very obscure.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

PRD

Age

You can choose or randomly generate your character's age. If you choose it, it must be at least the minimum age for the character's race and class. Alternatively, roll the dice indicated for your class on Table: Random Starting Ages and add the result to the minimum age of adulthood for your race to determine how old your character is.

Height and Weight

To determine a character's height, roll the modifier dice indicated on Table: Random Height and Weight and add the result, in inches, to the base height for your character's race and gender. To determine a character's weight, multiply the result of the modifier dice by the weight multiplier and add the result to the base weight for your character's race and gender.

Height and weight does not give the same starting sentence as the age. Personally, this is all trivial and as long as it has no mechanical change(size), then it doesn't matter. I usually have PC be within the range of what a random roll would be, but they can have ones that stretch beyond those as long as it has no mechanical effect. No 5'10' halflings


I want to play Not-Conan. be foreced to roll. Too bad, you're 5ft 3" and weight 220 pounds.

Enjoy your "Noble Savage".

/yeah right

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

actually, the rolling method uses the same roll for both height and weight, so the proportions will always be the same. This is kind of a ding against it forcing rolls. If you wanted a below average or above average weight character, you would need to choose instead of roll


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I have had custom charts for age, hair, eyes, height and weight for years for people that are indecisive or just don't care. If you do care and want to pick, then go for it. If it is something bizarre -- 9 foot tall humans, hair that doesn't exist in that shade for that race and so on -- we'll talk about it and why you are doing it. I certainly wouldn't force a chart on someone.


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Mike J wrote:


I've had players (yes, more than one) pick 9-foot tall humans, claim the character was Large and therefore gained the size increase ability adjustments from the Bestiary (+8 Str, +4 Con, -2 Dex, +2 Nat Armor). Sorry, no. You try that and I'll force rolling in front of me using my dice, and you get whatever you roll.

Yep. I had a player try to pull that on me too. He justified it by saying that Goliath was a real human and was 10 feet tall.

I've also seen a height arms race of sorts where all the players try to be the tallest character in the group just to have the bragging rights as such.


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I have a player who also picks the minimum weight allowed. I stopped caring a long time ago, because it affects so little.

AGE on the other hand, we always discuss limitations on this.

A caster who has +3 CHA/WIS/INT can be pretty scary.

Sure they have STR/DEX/CON similar to a dying housecat, but who cares?

:D


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A different approach to the age problem is simply not allowing different age categories to have statistical effects. Sure, you can play an old man. But you're not getting any buffs for it.


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alexd1976 wrote:

I have a player who also picks the minimum weight allowed. I stopped caring a long time ago, because it affects so little.

AGE on the other hand, we always discuss limitations on this.

A caster who has +3 CHA/WIS/INT can be pretty scary.

Sure they have STR/DEX/CON similar to a dying housecat, but who cares?

:D

I use this trick with most of my casters. Yes, I'm 65 and level 1. I just haven't applied myself until now.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
I am having a difficult time expressing how inane I find this, and still be board appropriate.

This. Someone who actually enforces this is officially micromanaging beyond my ability to imagine (certificates provided upon request) . They should probably not be GMing.


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darth_borehd wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

I have a player who also picks the minimum weight allowed. I stopped caring a long time ago, because it affects so little.

AGE on the other hand, we always discuss limitations on this.

A caster who has +3 CHA/WIS/INT can be pretty scary.

Sure they have STR/DEX/CON similar to a dying housecat, but who cares?

:D

I use this trick with most of my casters. Yes, I'm 65 and level 1. I just haven't applied myself until now.

Me too. :D

Which is why my group monitors it.


In My Humble Opinion wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
I am having a difficult time expressing how inane I find this, and still be board appropriate.
This. Someone who actually enforces this is officially micromanaging beyond my ability to imagine (certificates provided upon request) . They should probably not be GMing.

I hate tell you, but in my experience, this is somewhat common with DM/GMS. Not typical, but it happens. I feel for the original poster and I totally agree a slightly undertall aasimar is allowable. It is something that needs clarifying: Height/weight are guidelines with a few rare exceptions where it matters.

Dark Archive

Deighton Thrane wrote:
Robb Smith wrote:

I've never heard of anyone forcing anyone to roll, and it also kind of defeats the sidebar section in Blood of Angels where it talks about non-human aasimar and says an Aasimar can just choose to be Small if they want to, (subject to GM Fiat of course.) It also kinda seems like a fundamental waste of time, because it would basically boil down to a "I tore up sheets and rerolled height/weight till I got numbers that I liked" situation

That's how a lot of people feel about rolling for stats, but that doesn't stop plenty of people from using that method of stat generation.

As a GM I tend to encourage dice rolling. I've long been a fan of "3d6 down the line" for stats, ever since 2nd edition. I find it creates interesting characters, and very rarely does someone actually get a "useless" character.

That said, I also see the advantages to a point buy system, both as a player and a GM. From the player standpoint you get (within reason) the exact stats you want. From a GM standpoint, you know everyone is roughly equal stat wise.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I would just keep rolling a new PC. Have to be this weight and height?

Nope. PC commits suicide.

Roll again.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

I would just keep rolling a new PC. Have to be this weight and height?

Nope. PC commits suicide.

Roll again.

This is why most people don't care about height and weight. It affects almost nothing. :D


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Nobody can stop me from playing my 20' dwarf!


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One odd situation where a group insisted on rolling was the 3d4 which an old group of mine insisted every male PC must roll during character creation. I always thought that the practice was intensely silly, but I also happened to roll pretty well. One PC who rolled an 11 took Craft Rod later in his career and titled himself “The Lord of Rodly Might”. All of the magic rods he crafted were 11 inches long. Another guy rolled a 3 for his half-orc Barbarian and endured a little ridicule from time to time. The 3d4 roll wasn't my "innovation", but it became somewhat of a tradition for a while. I think Small PCs got 2d4 instead.

On a different note, if a player insists on playing a Human who is small enough to fit into the Small size category I wonder how many DMs would adjust the character's size to Small and how many would say that the PC remains Medium despite the description. I guess the field could be further divided into DMs who would adjust physical ability scores and those who wouldn't.

@blackbloodtroll - Even if you rolled over and over you'd never end up skinny or fat since you always get the same height to weight ratio.


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Mike J wrote:

In my home games I let players pick, but generally require both stats to be in the range of possible values for the race. If a player came to me wanting to pick values outside the range, like the previous Asimar situation, I'd consider allowing it based on the reason. Short halfling Asimar would be fine by me.

I've had players (yes, more than one) pick 9-foot tall humans, claim the character was Large and therefore gained the size increase ability adjustments from the Bestiary (+8 Str, +4 Con, -2 Dex, +2 Nat Armor). Sorry, no. You try that and I'll force rolling in front of me using my dice, and you get whatever you roll.

I haven't seen that since 1st edition when anything over 7' tall was large.


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Devilkiller wrote:

One odd situation where a group insisted on rolling was the 3d4 which an old group of mine insisted every male PC must roll during character creation. I always thought that the practice was intensely silly, but I also happened to roll pretty well. One PC who rolled an 11 took Craft Rod later in his career and titled himself “The Lord of Rodly Might”. All of the magic rods he crafted were 11 inches long. Another guy rolled a 3 for his half-orc Barbarian and endured a little ridicule from time to time. The 3d4 roll wasn't my "innovation", but it became somewhat of a tradition for a while. I think Small PCs got 2d4 instead.

On a different note, if a player insists on playing a Human who is small enough to fit into the Small size category I wonder how many DMs would adjust the character's size to Small and how many would say that the PC remains Medium despite the description. I guess the field could be further divided into DMs who would adjust physical ability scores and those who wouldn't.

@blackbloodtroll - Even if you rolled over and over you'd never end up skinny or fat since you always get the same height to weight ratio.

I think I was 12 or 13 the last time I was in a group that rolled for "endowment".


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I normally just use those guides to get an idea of what a 'typical' member of the race would look like, and then pick something I like. Then, in our current game, we rolled stats and I ended up with 18 Str, 16 Con. I toyed with the idea of my human barbarian being 4'10" and 90lbs, then decided to not force the issue and rolled.

5'0", 110lbs.

I'm tempted to RP the weight down, and if she ever catches an Enlarge Person, I'll actually play it out as her being just 9', not 10'.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

For anyone who is hung up on whether rolling is required or not, point them at the actual rulebook when you can. The Vital Statistics section starts off with:

Core Rulebook wrote:


The following section determines a character’s starting age, height, and weight. The character’s race and class inf luence these statistics. Consult your GM before making a character that does not conform to these statistics.

In order to have a character that does not conform to those statistics, you'd have to not be rolling the height and weight. Just check with your GM in case they have particular reasons to roll.


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Captain Olivia Quinn wrote:
But, by the RAW... you must roll.

I'm a bit 'meh' on the entire term "RAW". As we always interpret what's writen, everything is RAI, in a sense. To me, this is another one of those examples as to why I don't care about "RAW".

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