Monster Height & Reach


Rules Questions

Liberty's Edge

As I prepare for a 7-11 tier game, I discovered I didn't know how monster height is handled. In a home game I either guess the height or go with the material, but in PFS, I don't have any idea how they calculate height and deal with reach.

So, are monsters considered 5ft tall (I know, absurd, but sometimes PFS is absurd), giving them an effective 3D vertical reach of that which is listed for reach, or do they get their height in addition to that reach?

Ex: A specific Huge creature has 15 foot reach. Does he reach 15ft up, or does he reach 15+ his height (somewhere around 25-30ft) up?

I am completely excluding normal reach rules, as they are well understand and don't have any nuance.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Think of a huge creature as a collection of three 3x3 cubes stacked on top of each other. The fifteen foot reach is counted from the closest vertex to the target.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

I'd go with 15 feet plus its "cube size". So the example creature would indeed reach 30 feet up. ^_^


If you need to think in three dimensions, just imagine a creature's space as a cube. And a creature's reach extends out in all directions from the surface of that cube.

Liberty's Edge

So, a colossal monster, if I were running a game with one, would be 30ft by 30ft by 30ft? It just seems a bit like they would be... bigger? It's not really a problem. Also, I hate to be "that guy", but is there a source for this? I know a player who will contest it, and I want to be able to simply show it to him to settle is promptly. This is a high-death-rate game, and they know it. I just want to settle an argument before it can start.

Ex: Colossal w/ 30ft reach can reach 60 ft. in the air?

Scarab Sages

Height is based on their space.
A medium creature takes up a 5x5 cube. So even if they are 6'5", they still only reach 10 feet high.

It is silly but it is a useful abstraction as it normalizes reach. So a 4'5" creature reaches just as high as a 6'5" without worrying about 'fractional reach'.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
CN_Minus wrote:

So, a colossal monster, if I were running a game with one, would be 30ft by 30ft by 30ft? It just seems a bit like they would be... bigger? It's not really a problem. Also, I hate to be "that guy", but is there a source for this? I know a player who will contest it, and I want to be able to simply show it to him to settle is promptly. This is a high-death rate game, and they know it. I just want to settle an argument before it can start.

Ex: Colossal w/ 30ft reach can reach 60 ft. in the air?

The game does not describe 3D very well. But just tell him that they can reach from their topmost squares in the same way they can reach from there side squares.

There is a bit in the CRB about picking which square your attack comes from in and does not put limitations on top or side or even bottom squares.

Sovereign Court

It doesn't make sense to turn every creature into a cube, since some of them are described as being vastly taller or shorter than that. For example, a troll is Large and about 14 foot tall. That's quite cramped if you push him in to a 10ft cube. Or let's just consider your typical 6+ ft human barbarian. Are you gonna push him down into a 5ft cube?

However, cubes are the easiest way to do reach and movement.

So, consider instead the following: a creature may stand taller than it's wide; it's space doesn't have to be a perfect cube, a cuboid will do. A human could fit into a 5x5x10 cuboid. A troll in a 10x10x15 cuboid. A rat swarm only fills a 10x10x5 cuboid.

Liberty's Edge

Lorewalker wrote:
CN_Minus wrote:

So, a colossal monster, if I were running a game with one, would be 30ft by 30ft by 30ft? It just seems a bit like they would be... bigger? It's not really a problem. Also, I hate to be "that guy", but is there a source for this? I know a player who will contest it, and I want to be able to simply show it to him to settle is promptly. This is a high-death rate game, and they know it. I just want to settle an argument before it can start.

Ex: Colossal w/ 30ft reach can reach 60 ft. in the air?

The game does not describe 3D very well. But just tell him that they can reach from their topmost squares in the same way they can reach from there side squares.

There is a bit in the CRB about picking which square your attack comes from in and does not put limitations on top or side or even bottom squares.

Is there anything specifically detailing the height rule? I've seen a post by Mike Brock detailing how height works, but I'm sure it was for home-game use as it basically said to use the high given in the entry.

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
So, consider instead the following: a creature may stand taller than it's wide; it's space doesn't have to be a perfect cube, a cuboid will do. A human could fit into a 5x5x10 cuboid. A troll in a 10x10x15 cuboid. A rat swarm only fills a 10x10x5 cuboid.

I agree with your sentiment, and have the time to make sure the cuboid is the current size before a game.

Scarab Sages

CN_Minus wrote:
Lorewalker wrote:
CN_Minus wrote:

So, a colossal monster, if I were running a game with one, would be 30ft by 30ft by 30ft? It just seems a bit like they would be... bigger? It's not really a problem. Also, I hate to be "that guy", but is there a source for this? I know a player who will contest it, and I want to be able to simply show it to him to settle is promptly. This is a high-death rate game, and they know it. I just want to settle an argument before it can start.

Ex: Colossal w/ 30ft reach can reach 60 ft. in the air?

The game does not describe 3D very well. But just tell him that they can reach from their topmost squares in the same way they can reach from there side squares.

There is a bit in the CRB about picking which square your attack comes from in and does not put limitations on top or side or even bottom squares.

Is there anything specifically detailing the height rule? I've seen a post by Mike Brock detailing how height works, but I'm sure it was for home-game use as it basically said to use the high given in the entry.

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
So, consider instead the following: a creature may stand taller than it's wide; it's space doesn't have to be a perfect cube, a cuboid will do. A human could fit into a 5x5x10 cuboid. A troll in a 10x10x15 cuboid. A rat swarm only fills a 10x10x5 cuboid.
I agree with your sentiment, and have the time to make sure the cuboid is the current size before a game.

For PFS you should use the standard sizes as is found here.

Read the creature sizes table.
PFS specifically attempts to make an environment where players can know what rules to expect when they sit down at the table.

In a home game though, go by what makes sense to you. It'd be interesting, though probably really suck for any of the smaller PC races and would increase the power of many monsters.

Liberty's Edge

Lorewalker wrote:

For PFS you should use the standard sizes as is found here.

Read the creature sizes table.
PFS specifically attempts to make an environment where players can know what rules to expect when they sit down at the table.

In a home game though, go by what makes sense to you. It'd be interesting, though probably really suck for any of the smaller PC races and would increase the power of many monsters.

Colossal creatures start at 65ft...? I fully understand the sentiment that PFS ought to be universal, and I totally agree. I just want to know whether this will be something I will have to adjudicate to my discretion, which occasionally needs to be done.

Liberty's Edge

If it helps, the monster in question is:

Monster:
The monster in question is a Titan Centipede.

Scarab Sages

CN_Minus wrote:

If it helps, the monster in question is:

** spoiler omitted **

Colossal, and it is a 'tall' creature.

Thus, Colossal
Creature Size = Colossal(tall)
Sze Modifier1 = -8
Special Size Modifier2 = +8
Size Modifier to Fly4 = -8
Size Modifier to Stealth4 = -16
Space = 30 ft.
Natural Reach3 = 30 ft.
Typical Height/Length3 = 64 ft.or more
Typical Weight3 = 125 tons or more

Remember, the 'space' isn't really how much space they take up. And 'reach' isn't just how long their arms are.
The whole thing is really an abstraction. Space and reach together make up the 'zone' that creature is active in. The 'space' is the abstracted zone that enemies must target to hit the character. And 'reach' is where they are fluid enough to attack into but also fluid enough to not be there enough to be attacked.
It is weird. But it prevents every creature from being an amorphous blob that constantly changes size parameters during combat.

Imagine what a 64 foot long 5-10 foot across creature would look like; coiled up, 'standing' tall to attack in the air, stretched out, turned in any specific direction... instead of the base changing shape for each possible motion all the motions are rolled up into one base 'space' and 'reach'.
*edited for proper size based on stat-block reach

Sovereign Court

Well, as you can see in its statblock, it's actually got the reach of a 'tall' creature.

Scarab Sages

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Well, as you can see in its statblock, it's actually got the reach of a 'tall' creature.

Ah, you're right. I was only guessing based on the form. But that certainly is not always correct.

Liberty's Edge

I'm not totally sure what you meant. Are you suggesting that it can reach nearly 100 feet? It seems to be the logical step from the material, actually.

30x30x65 w/ reach 30 = 95 foot reach, or more if it is taller.


While a bit video gamey, a good way to consider it (especially if you have any of the larger miniatures) is that a creature's space is its "hitbox". Arms and legs and tails and wings are in addition to that core. A huge dragon may have a 15 foot long body, from base of neck to base of tail. The neck stretches 15 feet in one direction, the tail 15 feet in the other (or at least 15 feet that is thick enough to functionally tail slap). Wings to the side, etc.

Now you have a dragon taking up a large amount of table space. Granted, this is spread out like he's stretching for yoga, but even if we assume those parts are only half-extended at any point in combat, thats still a 30-35 foot wide space being overshadowed by huge dragon parts.

Some minis that really exemplify this are the old 3.5 gargantuan dragons and the 3.5 bulette, or the Lost Coast Green Dragon or Reign of Winter Catoblepas.


CN_Minus wrote:
Lorewalker wrote:

For PFS you should use the standard sizes as is found here.

Read the creature sizes table.
PFS specifically attempts to make an environment where players can know what rules to expect when they sit down at the table.

In a home game though, go by what makes sense to you. It'd be interesting, though probably really suck for any of the smaller PC races and would increase the power of many monsters.

Colossal creatures start at 65ft...? I fully understand the sentiment that PFS ought to be universal, and I totally agree. I just want to know whether this will be something I will have to adjudicate to my discretion, which occasionally needs to be done.

In the game the monster's statblocks determine reachs and how many squares it takes up. They stat blocks will tell you how many squares it takes up and the reach. If you run a PFS game you are not allowed to change the monster, or any other rules. This is done so that no matter if someone plays scenarios under you or another GM the have the same experience.

Liberty's Edge

wraithstrike wrote:
CN_Minus wrote:
Lorewalker wrote:

For PFS you should use the standard sizes as is found here.

Read the creature sizes table.
PFS specifically attempts to make an environment where players can know what rules to expect when they sit down at the table.

In a home game though, go by what makes sense to you. It'd be interesting, though probably really suck for any of the smaller PC races and would increase the power of many monsters.

Colossal creatures start at 65ft...? I fully understand the sentiment that PFS ought to be universal, and I totally agree. I just want to know whether this will be something I will have to adjudicate to my discretion, which occasionally needs to be done.
In the game the monster's statblocks determine reachs and how many squares it takes up. They stat blocks will tell you how many squares it takes up and the reach. If you run a PFS game you are not allowed to change the monster, or any other rules. This is done so that no matter if someone plays scenarios under you or another GM the have the same experience.

The statblock tells you the 2D interpretation of size. If it clearly and obviously applied to 3D as well, I wouldn't have even asked.


CN_Minus wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
CN_Minus wrote:
Lorewalker wrote:

For PFS you should use the standard sizes as is found here.

Read the creature sizes table.
PFS specifically attempts to make an environment where players can know what rules to expect when they sit down at the table.

In a home game though, go by what makes sense to you. It'd be interesting, though probably really suck for any of the smaller PC races and would increase the power of many monsters.

Colossal creatures start at 65ft...? I fully understand the sentiment that PFS ought to be universal, and I totally agree. I just want to know whether this will be something I will have to adjudicate to my discretion, which occasionally needs to be done.
In the game the monster's statblocks determine reachs and how many squares it takes up. They stat blocks will tell you how many squares it takes up and the reach. If you run a PFS game you are not allowed to change the monster, or any other rules. This is done so that no matter if someone plays scenarios under you or another GM the have the same experience.
The statblock tells you the 2D interpretation of size. If it clearly and obviously applied to 3D as well, I wouldn't have even asked.

I agree, but I was saying that there is no GM adjudication since that was a question you asked. As for the cube thing I will see if I can find a dev(people who make the rules) quote to show that "reaching up" or "reaching down" works the same way or at least say "yeah, its a cube". This would matter for a flying creature because it would be fighting something below it as well as something beside it.

Liberty's Edge

wraithstrike wrote:
I agree, but I was saying that there is no GM adjudication since that was a question you asked.

That's literally the only job the GM has in PFS other than running monsters and signing papers. You're there to resolve issues, and it's your job to know things. If you don't, however, you resolve it to the best of your ability and move along rather than extending the session and breaking the pace of combat.

I think I understand what you meant, and looking at my phrasing I agree. You can't make up rules. That said, I do need a foundation to base my ideas off of, and no one has submitted anything but the chart that says colossal creatures are 65ft tall. I will nearly certainly go with the "cube" idea, but since there's nothing in the rules supporting it that I've seen I might have to forego running this game.


CN_Minus wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
I agree, but I was saying that there is no GM adjudication since that was a question you asked.

That's literally the only job the GM has in PFS other than running monsters and signing papers. You're there to resolve issues, and it's your job to know things. If you don't, however, you resolve it to the best of your ability and move along rather than extending the session and breaking the pace of combat.

I think I understand what you meant, and looking at my phrasing I agree. You can't make up rules. That said, I do need a foundation to base my ideas off of, and no one has submitted anything but the chart that says colossal creatures are 65ft tall. I will nearly certainly go with the "cube" idea, but since there's nothing in the rules supporting it that I've seen I might have to forego running this game.

It definitely needs to be written. I found a few other times it has come up, but most people kind of accept it when they are told unlike some things which turn into big arguments. I think I will start an FAQ on it. It should be an easy, and hopefully quick one to resolve.

Scarab Sages

wraithstrike wrote:
CN_Minus wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
I agree, but I was saying that there is no GM adjudication since that was a question you asked.

That's literally the only job the GM has in PFS other than running monsters and signing papers. You're there to resolve issues, and it's your job to know things. If you don't, however, you resolve it to the best of your ability and move along rather than extending the session and breaking the pace of combat.

I think I understand what you meant, and looking at my phrasing I agree. You can't make up rules. That said, I do need a foundation to base my ideas off of, and no one has submitted anything but the chart that says colossal creatures are 65ft tall. I will nearly certainly go with the "cube" idea, but since there's nothing in the rules supporting it that I've seen I might have to forego running this game.

It definitely needs to be written. I found a few other times it has come up, but most people kind of accept it when they are told unlike some things which turn into big arguments. I think I will start an FAQ on it. It should be an easy, and hopefully quick one to resolve.

The closest you find for 3D is for spell effects. Which, basically, a sphere is a sphere not a circle. Flight, even, is barely covered and even then further abstracted from walking to make calculating movement easier.

As I said before, the game does not handle 3D... basically at all. It is best to stick to the cube idea until they actually write something definitive. For simplicity and sanity's sake.

But, if anyone is reading this and does write some 3D rules please, post them. The game could seriously use them.

And, Wraith, if you could post the link to that here when you have the FAQ request up?

Liberty's Edge

wraithstrike wrote:
It definitely needs to be written. I found a few other times it has come up, but most people kind of accept it when they are told unlike some things which turn into big arguments. I think I will start an FAQ on it. It should be an easy, and hopefully quick one to resolve.

Please send me some kind of notice if/when you speak to a dev/start an FAQ.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Monster Height & Reach All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.