Plight of the Smallfolk


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

1 to 50 of 59 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

How is it that small ancestries don't get utterly trashed by the larger ancestries?

Any time I read about the size differences, it doesn't mean much. I merely think about the hobbits from the Lord of the Rings films and things like that.

However, whenever I set their images side by side, the differences are astounding.

Take this image of a 6-foot tall human as compared to a 3-foot tall halfling for example.

One strong kick from most humans should be able to kill that halfling. Heck, he could probably crush him with one of those books. Conversely, how could said halfling ever pose any realistic threat to most humans? Most any knife or weapon he wields is likely going to be laughably small and lack a corresponding amount of mass/force/threat.

If we imagine that the halfling is a human, and the human is an ogre, we get a similar effect.

I understand that the rules are clear in their indication that smallfolk can be as tough as Medium creatures (tougher even in the case of gnomes and sometimes, goblins), but how does one explain that away conceptually?

I mostly wanted to see if others were equally shocked by the apparent proportions as I was, but if we can brainstorm some conceptual ideas to explain it away and re-immerse ourselves in the fun, then that'd be great too.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

That particular picture makes the halfling just a half-scale human, unlike Golarion's Wayne-Reynolds-style halflings who appear considerably more stocky for their height.

You could certainly make a verisimilitude argument that Small ancestries don't have a chance in a fight against Medium ones, but then you'd have to extrapolate that a human couldn't ever hope to defend itself against a cloud giant to an even greater extent, so we'd have to throw all those stories out, and don't even begin to think about ancient wyrms!

I mean, put a Medium mini next to one of those Gargantuan rune giant minis and tell me how the strongest half-orc could do more than maybe scratch its toe since that's all he could reach in melee. It's just a convention of the genre. Using scale miniatures just points out the ridiculousness.

(Then again, maybe it's like Ant-Man and the Wasp, with humans getting thrown around by Diminutive creatures. They say Tiny PC ancestries are coming....)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It gets even crazier in Starfinder, even among the playable races.

Sometimes even among the same race.

Joana wrote:
That particular picture makes the halfling just a half-scale human, unlike Golarion's Wayne-Reynolds-style halflings who appear considerably more stocky for their height.

Is this more to your liking?

Joana wrote:
You could certainly make a verisimilitude argument that Small ancestries don't have a chance in a fight against Medium ones, but then you'd have to extrapolate that a human couldn't ever hope to defend itself against a cloud giant to an even greater extent, so we'd have to throw all those stories out, and don't even begin to think about ancient wyrms!

Maybe it would look something like this halfling woman taking out this undead giant? XD


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I don't have a problem with. Consider the chimp.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/slate.com/technology/2009/02/how-strong-is-a-c himpanzee-really.amp

They are stronger than a human despite being smaller due to differences in their anatomy. And that's limited to real world biology. Once you start bringing magic biology into it, all bets are off.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:

I don't have a problem with. Consider the chimp.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/slate.com/technology/2009/02/how-strong-is-a-c himpanzee-really.amp

They are stronger than a human despite being smaller due to differences in their anatomy. And that's limited to real world biology. Once you start bringing magic biology into it, all bets are off.

I've heard that before. I've also heard that humans are stronger than chimps in certain areas. Though they are quite strong, humans can do things they can't, and vice versa, because we have different muscles in different areas.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

That picture is flatly wrong. I just measured (with a ruler, on my screen) and, from the tip of his boot to the op of his head, the human is 5 and 1/2 inches, while the Halfling is only 2 and 1/2 inches measured similarly. Those numbers will obviously vary from screen to screen, but the proportions don't and mean that if that Halfling is 3' tall, the human is over 6'7".

Now, you could argue that this is a mater of perspective and angle on the human's feet, but given that this is a visual image to demonstrate something, that's a poor argument.


Ravingdork wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

I don't have a problem with. Consider the chimp.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/slate.com/technology/2009/02/how-strong-is-a-c himpanzee-really.amp

They are stronger than a human despite being smaller due to differences in their anatomy. And that's limited to real world biology. Once you start bringing magic biology into it, all bets are off.

I've heard that before. I've also heard that humans are stronger than chimps in certain areas. Though they are quite strong, humans can do things they can't, and vice versa, because we have different muscles in different areas.

Eh, muscle to muscle chimps are stronger than us in basically every way.

However, our muscle are designed to do different things. We have fine motor control that chimps lack.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:

That picture is flatly wrong. I just measured (with a ruler, on my screen) and, from the tip of his boot to the op of his head, the human is 5 and 1/2 inches, while the Halfling is only 2 and 1/2 inches measured similarly. Those numbers will obviously vary from screen to screen, but the proportions don't and mean that if that Halfling is 3' tall, the human is over 6'7".

Now, you could argue that this is a mater of perspective and angle on the human's feet, but given that this is a visual image to demonstrate something, that's a poor argument.

You're measuring is off then. I literally told the computer to make the halfling half the size of the man. Here's an image showing two halfling standing on top of one another. Note the colored blocks on the left too, they're the same height.

Even if we try and take into account posture and perspective, and measure from the lower heel and ignore some of the floofy hair, you get something like this--which is really close to what I had already (in this version she is at most 10% larger).

Liberty's Edge

Ravingdork wrote:
You're measuring is off then. I literally told the computer to make the halfling half the size of the man. Here's an image showing two halfling standing on top of one another. Note the colored blocks on the left too, they're the same height.

That includes the empty space surrounding the figure (which is part of the image, I'm sure, but not visually apparent as such), as well as the floofy hair and foot perspective, and the hair is much floofier on the halfling.

Ravingdork wrote:
Even if we try and take into account posture and perspective, and measure from the lower heel and ignore some of the floofy hair, you get something like this--which is really close to what I had already (in this version she is at most 10% larger).

That looks a lot closer, though even there, the human's hair is actually tight to his head so you're cutting the top of his head off for measurement purposes, while the halfling's is stopping right about at the top of her head.

And yeah, 10% sounds right-ish. I was basically saying that the human looked 10% too big (6' to 6'7" is right about that)...that's a huge difference in what things look like in this sort of comparison.

My point was not that halflings aren't tiny, they totally are, it was that the particular picture in question had proportions that were off enough to be misleading.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The thing that cemented just how small the Small ancestries are in my mind was the Kingmaker character creator. As you switch from ancestry to ancestry, you first go through a whole bunch of similar height creatures—those are your Mediums—then you get one that's about shoulder-height to them—that's dwarves—and eventually you jump to this teeny tiny creature—that's either your gnome or halfling.

Until then, I was picturing dwarves at about shoulder height (so that was right), but for the halflings and gnomes, I though it was a similar jump (shoulder-height to a dwarf, and about chest-high to everything else), but they're noticeably shorter than that


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
That includes the empty space surrounding the figure (which is part of the image, I'm sure, but not visually apparent as such), as well as the floofy hair and foot perspective, and the hair is much floofier on the halfling.

You might be right about the hair, but I cropped the images flush to the pixels before bringing them in, so I know there is no empty space around them.


Think of it like professional wrestling. The core conceit of pro wrestling is that 5'6" 175 lb Rey Mysterio has a realistic chance in a fight against an opponent who has a full foot and 100+ lbs on him (there is a reason, after all, that combat sports have weight classes).

So if we're okay with that basic idea (you see similar things in movies- there's usually a "big guy" in action movies whose primary role is to be scary and make the smaller hero look good in the end). We can implement it in fantasy games.

Silver Crusade

This is one area where I prefer 1e to 2e.

In 1e most small races at least paid lip service to the idea that they were less powerful in traditional (str based) martial roles. Still fairly unrealistic but it at least allowed me to more easily suspend my disbelief


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Here's an image showing two halfling standing on top of one another.

If the one "standing on top" is actually standing on top of the white space above the bottom ones hair in order to align with the top of the human, then neither of the halflings are actually 3 feet tall.

Furthermore, and this is the unexciting answer to your main query, it's called suspension of disbelief. If you can engage with a Pathfinder setting that includes Zombies, Sprites, Dragons, and Gelatinous Cubes but the height differential between a human and a halfling is too unrealistic to you; your options really are to press the "I believe" button or find a more realistic game.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ravingdork wrote:
Joana wrote:
That particular picture makes the halfling just a half-scale human, unlike Golarion's Wayne-Reynolds-style halflings who appear considerably more stocky for their height.
Is this more to your liking?

Yes, actually. That halfling woman could snap the Small person in the first picture like a toothpick. :D


Ravingdork wrote:
Here's an image showing two halfling standing on top of one another.

It would be more accurate if we scaled up the halflings so that the heel of the top one is standing on the head (not hair) of the bottom one, and the bottom one's heels are lined up with the heels of the human (not the toes, which project down the screen further with the human's larger feet). It looks to me like a +5% increase in size is enough. I calculate the halflings in that picture as being roughly 2'10".


Claxon wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

I don't have a problem with. Consider the chimp.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/slate.com/technology/2009/02/how-strong-is-a-c himpanzee-really.amp

They are stronger than a human despite being smaller due to differences in their anatomy. And that's limited to real world biology. Once you start bringing magic biology into it, all bets are off.

I've heard that before. I've also heard that humans are stronger than chimps in certain areas. Though they are quite strong, humans can do things they can't, and vice versa, because we have different muscles in different areas.

Eh, muscle to muscle chimps are stronger than us in basically every way.

However, our muscle are designed to do different things. We have fine motor control that chimps lack.

Human also have much greater stamina (being exhaustion hunters).

Chimps are always my go-to example as well when this kinda thing comes up (and it has come up a lot over the years). And none of the human's advantages (aside from using weapons and armour to enhance their combat ability, and halflings have that too) matter a jot in the time it takes a chimp to rip you a new one if you get into a fight with one.

_
glass.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I too like the chimpanzee concept. Think of dogs and cats, too. If a feral cat got a hold of you, you'd likely win, sure, but it would come at one heck of a cost in ripped up soft tissue. Dogs are more likely to win as they are closer to half of our size and weight (I mean, some dogs are actually bigger than humans, but that's not really what we're talking about here).

But consider a jaguar and other mid sized cats like that. They can mess up humans but humans outweigh them by a fair margin most of the time.

But honestly, humanoid to humanoid, size is less the issue and ability is what sets fighters apart. There are ways for a larger, stronger person to fight a smaller opponent - there are also ways for a smaller person to fight against a larger opponent. Who will win? Well, the better fighter of course. It's all about knowing yourself and your own capability, and accurately assessing your opponent and their capability, formulating a plan, and then executing it better than the other person.

So, could that human deliver a crushing kick to the halfling's head? Sure. And a halfling that's not a good fighter (the game calls this "low AC" in this case) will allow the kick to connect, and they will be injured. A better fighter will evade or block the kick ("human, you miss with your kick and now it's the halfling's turn.") Now it's up to the halfling to do some damage before the human can get a hold of them.

Pathfinder has Strength as the key ability score for both accuracy and damage, and it works for the game's purposes, but ask any real fighter and they will tell you that strength is only part of the equation. A person with superior coordination will be able to land a telling strike, no matter their relative strength. Even an armored opponent has weak spots, and victory is had by striking those spots. A kick to the groin can be fairly light but still drop a 200 lb man, for example; a jab to the throat can temporarily disable anybody, and you don't need an awful lot of force. Boxing the ears can disorient and hurt an opponent, and it's all about landing the hit in the right spot with the right hand shape.

My final argument... Most humans or ogres will wreck most smallfolk races in a straight up fight. Your bog standard ogre is level 3; your bog standard goblin and kobold is level -1. Meanwhile orcs and drow start at level 1, duergar at level 0... Yes, higher level example of all these races exist, but if you look at the baseline as a racial OOP! ancestral.... average, then you can see that indeed most small races are on the weak side. Ancestries. Did it again. Anyways, I'm trying to say that the baseline is that smaller is indeed less capable in a fight, however each ancestry is capable of rising above their baseline via superior training, experience and equipment.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Overall better balance for what concerns combat, and loot management, instead of a more realistic scenario which could lead to disparities?

Sign me up.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I think the real problem here is why is the Imperial system still in use?

My suspension of disbelief works muche better with a human of 180cm for an Halfling of 90cm.

Please don't hit me too hard!


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
jdripley wrote:

I too like the chimpanzee concept. Think of dogs and cats, too. If a feral cat got a hold of you, you'd likely win, sure, but it would come at one heck of a cost in ripped up soft tissue. Dogs are more likely to win as they are closer to half of our size and weight (I mean, some dogs are actually bigger than humans, but that's not really what we're talking about here).

But consider a jaguar and other mid sized cats like that. They can mess up humans but humans outweigh them by a fair margin most of the time.

But honestly, humanoid to humanoid, size is less the issue and ability is what sets fighters apart. There are ways for a larger, stronger person to fight a smaller opponent - there are also ways for a smaller person to fight against a larger opponent. Who will win? Well, the better fighter of course. It's all about knowing yourself and your own capability, and accurately assessing your opponent and their capability, formulating a plan, and then executing it better than the other person.

So, could that human deliver a crushing kick to the halfling's head? Sure. And a halfling that's not a good fighter (the game calls this "low AC" in this case) will allow the kick to connect, and they will be injured. A better fighter will evade or block the kick ("human, you miss with your kick and now it's the halfling's turn.") Now it's up to the halfling to do some damage before the human can get a hold of them.

Pathfinder has Strength as the key ability score for both accuracy and damage, and it works for the game's purposes, but ask any real fighter and they will tell you that strength is only part of the equation. A person with superior coordination will be able to land a telling strike, no matter their relative strength. Even an armored opponent has weak spots, and victory is had by striking those spots. A kick to the groin can be fairly light but still drop a 200 lb man, for example; a jab to the throat can temporarily disable anybody, and you don't need an awful lot of force. Boxing...

Eh. I was with you until you started comparing real world humans to other real world humans. Size matters a lot for a fight. Skill can level a playing field, sure, but only when you start talking about a pretty glaring disparity in skill. A smaller MMA fighter might beat a larger boxer because a boxer would lack true grappling experience. But once that boxer learns how to grapple... Well, there is a reason combat sports have weight classes.

I just don't think that is relevant when you compare humans to halflings in a fantasy setting. Fiction regularly has skill trump size in a way it simply doesn't in real life. And halflings aren't just smaller humans any more than chimps are. And once you introduce magical biology it all goes out the window. You can just as soon say a gnome can fight a human because they are super charged with positive energy from their connection to the First World, for example.


From the perspective of player characters: We tried it in PF1, and it wasn't great.

From the perspective of NPCs: Halflings are disproportionately common slaves because of their size, and a lot of small-size ancestries usually work in large groups (kobolds, goblins, ratfolk).


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
I understand that the rules are clear in their indication that smallfolk can be as tough as Medium creatures (tougher even in the case of gnomes and sometimes, goblins), but how does one explain that away conceptually?

The game has fire breathing flying lizards. Small people being tough isn't that much of a stretch.


Its a little weird, because for their size, small characters are preposterously strong.

Since we have accurate numerical representations of their actual strength, we see that a STR 16 halfling is just as strong as a STR 16 human. They have the same bulk limits, they deal the same damage with melee weapons.

Since the halfling flaw is to their STR, you might see less 18 STR halflings to be sure.

So, their fortitude DCs are probably about equal too, and there doesn't appear to be size modifiers to grappling or pushing, or shoving, so halflings aren't easier to shove around than medium creatures either.

If you had to find a simulationist answer to this quandary, I'd assume that halflings are comprised of a denser muscle and bone than humans. I'm not a biologist, I have no idea if that's even remotely how that would work, but it sounds good.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kasoh wrote:
So, their fortitude DCs are probably about equal too, and there doesn't appear to be size modifiers to grappling or pushing, or shoving, so halflings aren't easier to shove around than medium creatures either.

I just imagined someone trying to kick a halfling over a cliff only to miss and end up throwing themselves to their doom.

Halfling luck I guess.

If tge OP question ever comes up in my games I just might respond with "Halfling luck, goblin pluck, gnome tough." XD

Lantern Lodge

Ravingdork wrote:
Maybe it would look something like this halfling woman taking out this undead giant? XD

Too soon.

Verdant Wheel

Houserule for you:

Introduce starting ST 14 caps for Small Ancestries.

While this limits diversity of character options, it doesn't change the math.

Plus, it keeps multiclassing on the table.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

How does anyone fight a giant or a dragon or any other titanic beast and not just get crushed by one swat from a monster whose hand is bigger than you are? Who cares, it's cool. Nothing about the game is anywhere near realistic.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I will note that size doesn't matter when there is a difference of 1, but for greater than that it does. A halfling cannot grapple or trip an ogre but a human can. On the flip side humans are immune to those actions by a Pugwampi but halfling arent.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
gnoams wrote:
How does anyone fight a giant or a dragon or any other titanic beast and not just get crushed by one swat from a monster whose hand is bigger than you are? Who cares, it's cool. Nothing about the game is anywhere near realistic.

You're missing a great opportunity to help brainstorm some cool and descriptive scenarios my friend.

For example, a halfling with Titan Wrestler can potentially grapple a Huge dragon! You could describe this any number of ways.

I would describe it as the halfling leaping up and reaching into the dragon's nostrils with his stubby little arms, grabbing fistfuls of nose hair, hooking his little feet underneath the dragon's lower jaw, and yanking down REAL hard while hanging on for the coming ride. The immense pain this would cause the dragon would effectively give it the grabbed condition.

All it takes is a little imagination. :D


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
You're missing a great opportunity to help brainstorm some cool and descriptive scenarios my friend.

No one really seems to be engaging with the brainstorming, we all seem to just be saying that it's NBD.


This is why I prefer my ancestries to be more than "humans, but at a different scale".

Shadow Lodge

Well if you look at folklore, gnomes were supernaturally fast and strong, so this is a small step in the right direction.

My favorite pf1 archetype was vexing dodger, which let a wee folk fight big folk by climbing all over them.

I picture halfling vs human fights like that scene from Tropical Thunder.


pauljathome wrote:

This is one area where I prefer 1e to 2e.

In 1e most small races at least paid lip service to the idea that they were less powerful in traditional (str based) martial roles. Still fairly unrealistic but it at least allowed me to more easily suspend my disbelief

I played a Svirneblin Unchained Monk, and 1e never made me feel too weak (even after I stripped out the defensive racial traits to prevent any issues of imbalance). Once I retrained into Serpent-Fire Adept at later levels, I was actively terrifying. When you're doing 8 attacks and rolling all d20s twice and taking the higher result, size really stops mattering. Especially when you have both Flying Kick and Pummeling Charge, so you always full round.

But yeah, I'm glad 2e has done away with what little punishments there were for size. If I want to play a Goblin Giant Instinct Barbarian swinging around a Large Bastard Sword like I was Guts, I should be able to do it. If I want to leap like 60 feet in the air and swing that sword down on a Dragon, that's what Cloud Leap and a few supporting feats are for.

Sometimes you want your Monk to choke out a monster three times their size. Titan Wrestler is my jam in that case.


People use chimps as an example of "small race can beat us". But chimps have various flaws compared to use: They tire out more easily, and have a greater limit on how far they can travel. The reason being that Chimps and Humans have different ratios of muscle fibers and a different overall bone structure.

So yes a regular chimp will beat a regular human. But a trained human with armor and weapons will definetly beat the chimp; Weapons are force multipliers.

**********************

Now when comparing a 6 ft human vs a 3 ft halfling the both have similar strength but halfings weight less (aka the have a bigger weight-to-strength ratio). So the halfing definetly has a chance of winning given they both have the same skill. But that ignores the severe effects of weight and height differences.

To put the height difference in perspective. A 3ft (90 cm) halfling is about as tall as a 2-3 year old toddler. So imagine a toddler moving around like an expert fighter.

Now for weight. A halfling weights ~34 lbs (15.42 kg), by comparizon a cinder block weights ~33 lbs (~14.96 kg). A welterweight human fighter weights ~170 lb (~77.1 kg), about 5 times as much as the halfing. For comparison a Chimp weights ~100 lbs (~45.36 kg).

The following section relies on comparing relative strength, my values may be wrong and are just for demonstrations
A human weighting 175 lbs may lift say 250 lbs (twice their weight). A chimp weighting 100 lbs may lift 300 lbs (1.5 stronger than human). A halfling weighting 34 lbs may lift 68 lbs (as strong as human), 102 lbs (as strong as chimps), or 250 lbs (7.35 times stronger than a human).

*******************

Having said all that. I think the way to balance small races is by: Halving how much they can carry, giving a bonus to stealth and AC, and giving a penalty to attack and damage.

Liberty's Edge

Smaller creatures, like insects, have a strength far greater than bigger ones compared to their weight.

Put in some ambient magic and you're good to go.


The square-cube law.

A regular ant is 10 times stronger by weight. But they only weight 1 to 5 mg. So at best an individual ant can carry 50 mg or 0.00176 ounces.

Increasing its size will decrease the ratio, but make it overall bigger.

10 * 0 is still 0. But 8 * 5 is 40.

******************

For those that dont know. The square-cube law says that the surface area increases by the square while the volume increases by the cube.

A sphere of radius 2 will have SA= 4pi *2^2= 50.27 and V= 4pi/3 *2^3= 33.51.
Increasing the sphere to radius 4 it will have SA= 201.06 and V= 268.08.
If we make the radius 20, it will have SA= 5,026.55 and V= 33,510.32.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Temperans wrote:

The square-cube law.

A regular ant is 10 times stronger by weight. But they only weight 1 to 5 mg. So at best an individual ant can carry 50 mg or 0.00176 ounces.

Increasing its size will decrease the ratio, but make it overall bigger.

10 * 0 is still 0. But 8 * 5 is 40.

******************

For those that dont know. The square-cube law says that the surface area increases by the square while the volume increases by the cube.

A sphere of radius 2 will have SA= 4pi *2^2= 50.27 and V= 4pi/3 *2^3= 33.51.
Increasing the sphere to radius 4 it will have SA= 201.06 and V= 268.08.
If we make the radius 20, it will have SA= 5,026.55 and V= 33,510.32.

Looking through the bestiary, I'm fairly certain the square cube law doesn't apply to Golarion.


Kasoh wrote:
Looking through the bestiary, I'm fairly certain the square cube law doesn't apply to Golarion.

Magic tends to have that effect on things. Which is why I don't have much problem with "size is not perfectly represented".

Heck I hadn't even realized it until it was pointed it out. But now that I do realize it.....

Obliviousness really is bliss.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

To me, the answer is that in this world of fantastic heroes, the power differential between individuals dwarfs the power differential between ancestries. When you see the difference in capability between a level 1 human and that same human at level 20, it makes a whole lot more sense why the difference between a level 1 human and level 1 halfing is a rounding error.

Liberty's Edge

Pandora's wrote:
To me, the answer is that in this world of fantastic heroes, the power differential between individuals dwarfs the power differential between ancestries. When you see the difference in capability between a level 1 human and that same human at level 20, it makes a whole lot more sense why the difference between a level 1 human and level 1 halfing is a rounding error.

I see it the other way around. Because there are millions of low level halflings and humans on Golarion, but few level 20 humans.

Also Earth is in the same universe as Golarion. So same planar laws of physics.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
Earth is in the same universe as Golarion. So same planar laws of physics.

Pathfinder Earth is to real earth what DC's Golden Age is to the New 52. Totally different realities with different stories.


The Raven Black wrote:
Also Earth is in the same universe as Golarion. So same planar laws of physics.

I mean, except not, because...the laws of physics stop applying to people for crossing an indiscriminate threshold of personal power. Jumping on air. Surviving 400 foot drops and healing back up to full health that afternoon. Scaring someone to death with a look.

Now, perhaps people on earth could accomplish these things if Earth's xp system wasn't still using D&D first edition gold for xp rules, but the physics of Golarion do not really hold up.


Being bigger doesn't automatically make you a better fighter. I'm a lot taller than Mike Tyson but I'm pretty sure I could never beat him in a million years.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

There's a reason all good intelligent sacrifices come from medium creatures, killing small-sized creatures tend to be considerably more trouble than they are worth.

Gnomes are hard to kill because they are supernaturally curious. You can stab a gnome in the gut and throw them off a cliff, but if they ask themselves how bleeding works on the way down they'll survive nine times out of ten. To help them work out how bleeding works all the blood that should be pouring from her wounds will against all odds run up into the brain to help think. And because high-velocity falling is difficult to think through they'll grab a tree branch and steady themself without even noticing, regardless of if the force of the fall should have broken their arm. From there a squirrel, universally known as allies to the gnomefolk, will usually invite them into a burrow to have a seat and properly think, and by the time they gets back around to noticing their wounds their blood will have figured out some of how bleeding works and clotted ensuring they don't die.

Goblins are hard to kill because they are supernaturally energetic. As long as they are still on a sugar rush their bodies will simply refuse to shut down. Knowing this they use a special brine to cultivate sweet-and-sour pickled anything and engorge themselves on sugar-fueled immortality crunches. You can try to drown them in a vat of hot oil and when they get out they'll take a bite from a preserved boot then jump up and down and ask to do it again. You can light them on fire and they will simply run around bragging about how the fire likes them more. You can poison them ... actually, given the amount of toxins they willingly funnel through goblin digestive systems already I'm not wholly certain on that one. In theory you could kill them during a sugar crash, but usually everything in the vicinity of a goblin sugar crash is either dead or too exhausted to move.

Halflings are hard to kill because they are supernaturally lucky. Until their luck runs out they will always be conveniently alive after whatever you do. Kick them off a cliff? Fortunately you forgot to tie your shoelaces and trip when you suddenly move your leg. Cut their throats while they sleep? Lucky them, you grabbed a prop knife from the theater earlier that night by misatke. Light them on fire and drop them in a barrel labelled gasoline? Sure is good you did that, that barrel is full of water but was mislabeled. These sorts of increasingly implausible circumstances continue one-upping each other until one day a Halfling picks up a penny that landed tails up at which point the Halfling's luck runs out, usually underneath a piano.


It is interesting to me how "the strength of humans" on Golarion more or less falls in a fairly narrow band.

Like virtually every 20th level human barbarian (with no magic items) is going to end up with 22 strength. Meanwhile on earth we have a world's strongest man competition (with no magic items) with a whole lot of participants, some of whom consistently do better than others. Sure, you could say the difference is their athletics proficiency, but again a whole lot of 20th level human barbarians are going to have 22 strength and legendary athletics.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
PossibleCabbage wrote:

It is interesting to me how "the strength of humans" on Golarion more or less falls in a fairly narrow band.

Like virtually every 20th level human barbarian (with no magic items) is going to end up with 22 strength. Meanwhile on earth we have a world's strongest man competition (with no magic items) with a whole lot of participants, some of whom consistently do better than others. Sure, you could say the difference is their athletics proficiency, but again a whole lot of 20th level human barbarians are going to have 22 strength and legendary athletics.

This isn't really true in-universe.

It's true very specifically of PCs...but there aren't very many characters built like PCs in the universe. NPCs use different rules than PCs, and while they definitely try and keep them mostly within the PC scale, or pretty close to it, even ignoring AoA (which we should, it clearly violates in-house norms in terms of NPC stats all over the place due to being written before they were as set in stone as they would be eventually), there's a canonical 11th level NPC with a +7 Charisma modifier and no Apex Item in Extinction Curse, so that's only mostly, not an inviolable rule.

And even with PCs, James Jacobs has mentioned the possibility that a specific AP might give out additional Ability Boosts at some point in the future. Get some of those and you can change this a bit even on the PC side of things.

So I'd say that the 'strongest human in the world' almost certainly is 20th level, but is probably not a PC, and might well have a +8 or even +9 in Strength Mod.

All of which is to say, that just because PCs fall into a specific, narrow, band don't assume all NPCs of that species, and thus the species as a whole, will do so as well. I mean, characters with stat mods less than -1 almost certainly exist in the human populace as well...PCs just aren't among them.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:

It is interesting to me how "the strength of humans" on Golarion more or less falls in a fairly narrow band.

Like virtually every 20th level human barbarian (with no magic items) is going to end up with 22 strength. Meanwhile on earth we have a world's strongest man competition (with no magic items) with a whole lot of participants, some of whom consistently do better than others. Sure, you could say the difference is their athletics proficiency, but again a whole lot of 20th level human barbarians are going to have 22 strength and legendary athletics.

Well you could make the case that the real world strong people who do consistently better are also just higher level than the ones who don't. None of whom are going to be level 20 by pathfinder standards anyway.

If you look at fiction, comic book peak human is used to describe both Captain America and Black Panther. They are treated as equal in stats and the pinnacle of what can be achieved. And there are characters like Batman who hit that point on pure training.

The other thing is that there aren't very many 20th level barbarians PCs. Those are the only people who hit those caps. NPCs built to look like barbarians are going to be far more common, and they can have different ability scores and athletics modifiers.

Shadow Lodge

The strongest person on Golarion is an npc, cause they can go up to +13.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
gnoams wrote:
The strongest person on Golarion is an npc, cause they can go up to +13.

But they don't. We've got pretty explicit confirmation from Mark Seifter that the in-house NPC guidelines are that their stats stay much more in the PC range than that. AoA slipped by with some over-statted ones, but that's basically an error.

Now, if they're a vampire or a half-dragon or something, that's another matter, but PC Ancestry folks with nothing like that? Probably max out at +8 or +9 at best.

1 to 50 of 59 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / General Discussion / Plight of the Smallfolk All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.