Large size characters

Yaarel

Adventurer
Large size characters. I was planning to do the following mechanic for a particular race. But now I think I will make it normal for everyone. The idea is, characters must invest in high Constitution to balance out benefits of size.



Constitution score: size
1 to 4: Tiny
5 to 8: Small
9 to 12: Medium
13 to 16: Medium (Powerful Build)
17 to 20: Large
21 to 24: Huge
25 to 28: Gargantuan



Powerful Build 5e merely allows someone to carry more - when few pay attention to weight limits anyway. So I consider it flavor that is possibly interesting for DM narrative adjudication.

Certain size issues are no problem - dwarf stoutness, quadruped, large wingspan.

Grappling is an issue but investment in Constitution cant go to Str or Dex.

The main issue is Large oversize weapons double the weapon damage dice.

My concern is balance. As far as I can tell this seems ok.
 
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77IM

Explorer!!!
Do you intend to modify weapon damage for Tiny or Large+ creatures? Because that's a huge change with gargantuan balance implications.

If you're just changing the space the character takes up in combat, then this seems totally fine. Larger sizes are generally disadvantageous in this regard, although if they get reach it can compensate. Sometimes a monster will have a grapple or push effect that only won't work on larger creatures, but it doesn't come up that often. Maybe the drawbacks of larger sizes is a feature, to cancel out the benefits of high hit points.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
Ass 77 mentions, their is a ton more implied by creature size than just the number of spaces they take up. What all benefits and disadvantages are you also considering for size adjustments? Are you looking at some from 3E stuff like to hit and AC modification? Carrying capacity? weapon damage?

Personally, I'm very weary of size adjustments, didn't like most of them in other editions, don't like the idea of them in 5E.
 

epithet

Explorer
I took a stab at a feat that would enable a character who should be Large to actually be Large. This hasn't been tested, but it seems like a good start to me, roughly similar in net buff potential to the better racial feats.

BIG

Prerequisite: Strength 14 of higher, Constitution 12 or higher, and a racial trait (such as Powerful Build) that counts you as one size larger for determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
Your size is Large, and you count as Large for all purposes. Your size provides you with the following benefits and challenges:
  • You can use a Medium two-handed melee weapon in one hand, and when you use a Medium versatile weapon in one hand it does damage as if wielded with two hands. You can use most Medium two-handed melee weapons with two hands (as if they were versatile,) and when you do you add 1d4 to the weapon’s damage.
  • A spell or other effect centered on you can be centered on any of the four squares you occupy. You can change which square an effect upon which you are concentrating is centered on as part of your turn or when you take a reaction.
  • Your maximum strength and constitution scores are both 22. If another trait or feature raises your maximum strength or constitution above 20, your maximum score is two higher than that trait or feature provides.
  • Your maximum dexterity score is 18. If another trait or feature lowers your maximum dexterity below 18, your maximum score is two lower than that trait or feature provides.
  • You require 4 times as much food and water per day as a Medium size character.
  • Armor made for Medium humanoids will not fit you unless it is magical. Armor made for Large humanoids or Large giants costs four times the equivalent armor made for Medium humanoids, and it weighs twice as much. Armor made for a Large centaur (which consists of most of a Large humanoid suit and most of a suit of barding) costs six times the equivalent armor made for Medium humanoids, and weighs three times as much.
  • You can wriggle into some spaces large enough for a Small creature. While wriggling through a Small space, you are Restrained, but you can use your action on your turn to make a DC 10 dexterity (Acrobatics) check to move 5 feet. You must doff any bulky armor before wriggling into a Small space.

 
I

Immortal Sun

Guest
Just let them be large without any additional cost. It works just fine. I have typically found most players start to dislike being large once they find out they can't go into 75% of dungeons, and 95% of places inside of a dungeon. Or buildings. Or that really tight crevice that is the only exit from the cave. Or ya know, being an obvious monster race.

Taurs ignore the weapon size issue, so there's less mechanical trouble being a Centuar or a Drider than say, being a large minotaur, loxodon(ravnica elephant people) but realistically outside of the most accepting and metropolitan settings these races all have trouble operating in normal society. Crafted items cost substantially more, getting ahold of weapons sized for you is very difficult.

For murderhobos? Large races are HIGHLY abusable. But I mean, you know if you've got murderhobos or not.

I've allowed large races in 3E, 4E, and 5E. Just by saying "ok you're large now".

For 5E: Yes, they take up more spaces which allows them to control more area, but this issue is resolved with existing OA limitations. Yes they have larger weapons which allows to deal more damage, but it's not any more than a well-built barbarian (assuming they're that, it's like 3-4 points per hit). Yes they can carry more weight, but IME being the party mule is rarely their desire.

End of the day advice: just be prepared to present them with situations where "being big" is a drawback.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
Large size characters. I was planning to do the following mechanic for a particular race. But now I think I will make it normal for everyone. The idea is, characters must invest in high Constitution to balance out benefits of size.



Constitution score: size
1 to 4: Tiny
5 to 8: Small
9 to 12: Medium
13 to 16: Medium (Powerful Build)
17 to 20: Large
21 to 24: Huge
25 to 28: Gargantuan

My main concern is balance. As far as I can tell this seems ok.
Why not simply set a minimum Con requirement for being large size+?
Large = x min.
Huge = y min.
Gargantuan = z min.

Because your chart seems wonky in relation to the normal character creation rules.
Consider: I make a 1/2ling with an 18 con. Does that make me a Large creature? Or just the really hardy 1/2ling I envisioned playing?
Likewise; if I make an 8 Con (or less!) human do I shrink? Do you really intend for Tiny humans to be a thing??

What happens if a character gains Con through play (ASIs)? Loses Con somehow?

Simply setting a min. Con score in order to make Large+ characters avoids all that weirdness & still allows for high Con characters of all sizes.
 

epithet

Explorer
Just let them be large without any additional cost. It works just fine. ...
That’s an appealing take on it, but I don’t think I’m willing to hand out the free damage boost from Large weapons. I give everyone a starting feat, so the cost isn’t high.
 
I

Immortal Sun

Guest
That’s an appealing take on it, but I don’t think I’m willing to hand out the free damage boost from Large weapons. I give everyone a starting feat, so the cost isn’t high.
Well, the "cost" is requiring them to have a 14 strength and a 12 con and play a race with the "powerful build" trait. I'm not sure if you're adding more of those races or not, but there's a lot more costs there than just a feat. Your end result is still likely to be large size heavy hitters, so your concerns about damage will probably be magnified rather than minimized.
 

Satyrn

Villager
Well, the "cost" is requiring them to have a 14 strength and a 12 con and play a race with the "powerful build" trait. I'm not sure if you're adding more of those races or not, but there's a lot more costs there than just a feat. Your end result is still likely to be large size heavy hitters, so your concerns about damage will probably be magnified rather than minimized.
This is a good point.

There seems little need for the Strength and Constitution prereqs because the character the feat works best for is gonna pump up this ability scores anyway. The prereqs, then, are just a barrier to players who are interested in the feat for other reasons. It could be a neat way to strengthen a weaker character without actually pumping up Strength.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Do you intend to modify weapon damage for Tiny or Large+ creatures? Because that's a huge change with gargantuan balance implications.
It seems the main benefit of Large size is weapon damage. This doesnt bother me too much, because this kind of bonus to damage requires an opportunity cost, to invest in an unusually high Constitution score of 17+. Also, to invest in extra high Constitution relates to the opportunity cost of investing a feat.

Also, the requirement to invest in Constitution is neutral to both Dexterity fighters and Strength fighters. 5e already seems to strongly favor Dexterity builds. So, I like if Constitution is neutral for either damage dealer build.

So, as far as I can tell, player characters using Large weapons seems fine − with the opportunity cost.

Regarding Tiny weapons. I have never had a player play a Tiny character, so I have never had to deal with it. But if it came up, I probably would enforce it. I dont want a Pixie wielding a greatsword. (I would rather see the Pixie using magic to make a greatsword dance.) Small weapons are already enforced in the sense of Small characters being unable to use ‘Heavy’ weapons. Its an adequate mechanic.

If you're just changing the space the character takes up in combat, then this seems totally fine. Larger sizes are generally disadvantageous in this regard, although if they get reach it can compensate. Sometimes a monster will have a grapple or push effect that only won't work on larger creatures, but it doesn't come up that often. Maybe the drawbacks of larger sizes is a feature, to cancel out the benefits of high hit points.
A Large player character occasionally have narrative disadvantages that can be fun and interesting. The benefit of not being ‘pushed around’, is narratively sensible.

In my view, a narrative disadvantage can never balance a mechanical advantage. But a narrative disadvantage can make a story with quirky challenges.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Ass 77 mentions, their is a ton more implied by creature size than just the number of spaces they take up. What all benefits and disadvantages are you also considering for size adjustments? Are you looking at some from 3E stuff like to hit and AC modification? Carrying capacity? weapon damage?

Personally, I'm very weary of size adjustments, didn't like most of them in other editions, don't like the idea of them in 5E.
I know Large size characters are a taboo in D&D. But now in 5e, I just dont see any problem.

Moreover, Large characters are important in fantasy, playing the Big Guy (one-man army) archetype. This needs to be possible. (I find the excessive abundance of Small player characters at the opposite side of the bell curve, to be somewhat annoying.) Linking size to Constitution hopefully creates an elegant universal mechanic to explain and build a Large size character. In the Monster Manual creature size strongly correlates to the Constitution, and the few exceptions are close enough I dont need to worry about them. Already in official stats, Constitution ≈ size.

Large is not so large. It is someone roughly between 8 feet tall and 16 feet tall. A character who is 10 feet tall, for example, will be conspicuously ‘big’ for thematic flavor and narrative implications, but will be able to at least ‘squeeze’ thru most locations.

My main objective is simply to assign the ‘L’ onto a character whose player wants it. But I also want it to be part of a normal gaming mechanic, that applies in all cases. If it is ‘normal’ according to the rules for a Large character to wield Large weapons, then I want to take this into account. The Constitution≈size is to be an adjudication tool.

So for example, if necessary to quantify the stats of a young Human child, the small size correlates with the fragility, and so I can easily eyeball the Constitution score as somewhere between 5 and 8, depending on the child.



Just let them be large without any additional cost. It works just fine. I have typically found most players start to dislike being large once they find out they can't go into 75% of dungeons, and 95% of places inside of a dungeon. Or buildings. Or that really tight crevice that is the only exit from the cave. Or ya know, being an obvious monster race.

Taurs ignore the weapon size issue, so there's less mechanical trouble being a Centuar or a Drider than say, being a large minotaur, loxodon(ravnica elephant people) but realistically outside of the most accepting and metropolitan settings these races all have trouble operating in normal society. Crafted items cost substantially more, getting ahold of weapons sized for you is very difficult.

For murderhobos? Large races are HIGHLY abusable. But I mean, you know if you've got murderhobos or not.

I've allowed large races in 3E, 4E, and 5E. Just by saying "ok you're large now".

For 5E: Yes, they take up more spaces which allows them to control more area, but this issue is resolved with existing OA limitations. Yes they have larger weapons which allows to deal more damage, but it's not any more than a well-built barbarian (assuming they're that, it's like 3-4 points per hit). Yes they can carry more weight, but IME being the party mule is rarely their desire.

End of the day advice: just be prepared to present them with situations where "being big" is a drawback.
I agree with the sentiments here. Just say, ok now your Large. My main objective is the thematics of character concept. Yet, mechanically, body space applies. Also weapon damage, so I want to mitigate these mechanical implications.

I liked your point about how 5e limits the benefit of Opportunity Attacks. This is probably why Large seems no big deal in 5e.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
Why not simply set a minimum Con requirement for being large size+?
Large = x min.
Huge = y min.
Gargantuan = z min.

Because your chart seems wonky in relation to the normal character creation rules.
Consider: I make a 1/2ling with an 18 con. Does that make me a Large creature? Or just the really hardy 1/2ling I envisioned playing?
Likewise; if I make an 8 Con (or less!) human do I shrink? Do you really intend for Tiny humans to be a thing??

What happens if a character gains Con through play (ASIs)? Loses Con somehow?

Simply setting a min. Con score in order to make Large+ characters avoids all that weirdness & still allows for high Con characters of all sizes.
I can imagine a Dwarf being Large in the unusual sense of crazy stout − more cube shaped. It reminds me of folklore drawings of Scandinavian trolls, that are not really much taller than humans, but are so bulky horizontally, they come across as massive.

I dont want to see 3-foot halflings with 18 Constitution anyway. But if some player really wants a mutant halfling, fine whatever. If for some reason, a player decides to build a halfling with Constitution 8, and then does nothing but improve it to 20 during gameplay, I would resort to a magical explanation for size changes. But I dont foresee this actually happening.

Tiny humans are already a thing, such as newborns. Even Small adults are rare but known.

Effectively, there is a minimum requirement to achieve Large physical size − Constitution 17.

If a character improves Constitution during gameplay, I would normally interpret it as ‘bulking up’ or even a growth spurt, depending on race and age.

However, if a character loses Constitution, I would normally interpret it as the ravages of a disease or other kind of illness. Loss of Constitution is abnormal. Except, the frailty from old age is a disease that requires a cure, in my view.

I can live with defining size as ‘minimum requirements’, yet I am interesting in hardcoding the correlation for a mechanical rule of thumb. Bigger creatures tend to have more hit points and higher Constitution, whereas smaller less and lower. For individual characters, I dont mind specific exceptions to the general rule.

The correlation also makes the Constitution score less ‘passive’, by using it for weapon damage and reach, as well as narrative prominence.



@epithet

I see the value of a feat to gain Large size. But in my case, I want to keep size simple and regular.
 
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ccs

39th lv DM
I can imagine a Dwarf being Large in the unusual sense of crazy stout − more cube shaped. It reminds me of folklore drawings of Scandinavian trolls, that are not really much taller than humans, but are so bulky horizontally, they come across as massive.

I dont want to see 3-foot halflings with 18 Constitution anyway. But if some player really wants a mutant halfling, fine whatever. If for some reason, a player decides to build a halfling with Constitution 8, and then does nothing but improve it to 20 during gameplay, I would resort to a magical explanation for size changes. But I dont foresee this actually happening.
So what do your players want to see? And do you mind if they make strong 1/2lings?

Tiny humans are already a thing, such as newborns. Even Small adults are rare but known.
Well now you're just being obtuse. Quit it.

Effectively, there is a minimum requirement to achieve Large physical size − Constitution 17.
Right. And as a fan of 1e I even like racial (and class) min/max requirements. I just don't see the point of having Con dictate a characters size. That just warps the D&D standard for no reason. Maybe if you're world building & re-writing things to fit that.... But that's not what you're doing here.

If a character improves Constitution during gameplay, I would normally interpret it as ‘bulking up’ or even a growth spurt, depending on race and age.

However, if a character loses Constitution, I would normally interpret it as the ravages of a disease or other kind of illness. Loss of Constitution is abnormal. Except, the frailty from old age is a disease that requires a cure, in my view.

I can live with defining size as ‘minimum requirements’, yet I am interesting in hardcoding the correlation for a mechanical rule of thumb. Bigger creatures tend to have more hit points and higher Constitution, whereas smaller less and lower. For individual characters, I dont mind specific exceptions to the general rule.

The correlation also makes the Constitution score less ‘passive’, by using it for weapon damage and reach, as well as narrative prominence.



@epithet

I see the value of a feat to gain Large size. But in my case, I want to keep size simple and regular.
Size already is simple & regular without having Con involved at all. You're just over complicating it.
 
I

Immortal Sun

Guest
I agree with the sentiments here. Just say, ok now your Large. My main objective is the thematics of character concept. Yet, mechanically, body space applies. Also weapon damage, so I want to mitigate these mechanical implications.
You mitigate them with resource control. It's rare to find a dungeon that fits a large creature (which is why knights don't ride hoseback into dungeons, and also a reason why mounted classes are terribly fun but annoying in a dungeon crawl), and it's rare to find gear that fits a large character. A large character may be limited to using under-sized weapons simply because 8ft greatswords are usually only found in the realm of Annie-Mei, which is a strange and silly realm much like Artie and his Camel Lot.

I mean, it's the same reason dragons aren't running around in plate. It's not that they can't, it's just that finding enough resources and someone capable of making it is hard to come by, even for exceedingly wealthy and powerful monster lizards.

I liked your point about how 5e limits the benefit of Opportunity Attacks. This is probably why Large seems no big deal in 5e.
Which, as above, is just a form of resource control. OAs are a resource. 5E tightly limits them.

As long as you're clear and up front with your players that their own choices will limit the loot they can enjoy and back that up with blacksmiths who are more likely to run and hide from a minotaur than take commission from him, it's not a problem.

It can however feel pretty un-fun. And I only have two "kitchen sink" campaigns that allow large races (a 3.5-based "gonzo game" and a 5E metropolitan game) and I do not allow them in my low-magic or one-shot games.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
@Immortal Sun

The space that a creature takes up represents the bodyspace around the creature, in order to feel comfortable and uninhibited. A human takes up a 5-foot square. A human isnt actually 5 feet wide. It represents the bodyspace. It is possible to squeeze several humans into a 5-foot square. (Heh, flashbacks of highschool car rides.) A Large player character might occasionally have to squeeze, but most of the time, Large characters function normally. I am looking at my own apartment. It has a 12-foot ceiling. A Large character would fit fine here, even if needing to duck thru the doors. Plus magic is a possible solution in special circumstances.

Regarding magic loot, if Large characters are a regular feature − which they are if giants and trolls and others are around − then Large loot will be available too. At the same time, I tend to be accommodating to players who want to augment magic items. Usually, this is for esthetics, such as transferring the magical properties of one sword to an other sword that the player feels looks cooler or has more sentimental value. So, a player who wants to tailor the size of a magical armor can hire someone to do it − or even learn to do it themselves via skill checks and materials.

In a place where Large folk inhabit, the humans are more likely to befriend them, and the Large folk themselves make and customize weapons and armors.
 
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Yaarel

Adventurer
Size already is simple & regular without having Con involved at all.
Building a Large player character isnt simple. It isnt even possible. As a normal option in 5e, it remains absent.

And even in previous editions, the option was available in complicated ways, either with unbalanced mechanics, or inconsistent exceptions.
 

Samloyal23

Explorer
I played 2E and no one batted an eye at an Athasian Half-Giant being Large. If you were a DM you just made it work. This is a FANTASY game, there has to be room for fantastic characters. I think "balance" is overrated, there is always a bigger fish and characters are not going to always be balanced against each other. Deal with it. The 3E and later updates of Athas were appalling. Goliaths instead of Half-Giants? MEDIUM Half-Giants? Get the :):):):) out of here with that :):):):)! Adapt the characters as they were written in 2E or just play 2E!
 

S'mon

Legend
My son has a magical half-giant 5e PC, using Thule Heroic Narrative rules at level 6 he gained the ability to become Large, roughly x1.5 height (from 7'6" base).

Takes up a 4x4 area
Extra die to weapon damage
x4 carrying capacity
Advantage on some STR checks

That's it. Works fine.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
It seems the main benefit of Large size is weapon damage. This doesnt bother me too much, because this kind of bonus to damage requires an opportunity cost, to invest in an unusually high Constitution score of 17+. Also, to invest in extra high Constitution relates to the opportunity cost of investing a feat.

Also, the requirement to invest in Constitution is neutral to both Dexterity fighters and Strength fighters. 5e already seems to strongly favor Dexterity builds. So, I like if Constitution is neutral for either damage dealer build.

So, as far as I can tell, player characters using Large weapons seems fine − with the opportunity cost.
My experience DMing a Large character from level 5 to level 20 makes me suspect that this is not balanced.

I had a PC playing a medium-sized hill giant, and we decided that at 5th level, he could grow to Large size instead of getting Extra Attack. So, rather than making two attacks with a maul at 2d6+Str, he would get one attack at 4d6+Str. Seems balanced, right? If you do the math, it's actually a downgrade. Except that this player figured out how to get extra attacks, via frenzied rage, haste, and Great Weapon Master. I shudder to think what would have happened if he'd had Extra Attack as well. The other players became jealous and complained about it, and I had to balance the character on the back-end by giving out very few Large-sized magic items. (I don't let most items resize.)

So, if the "opportunity cost" you propose is effectively -2 attack and -2 damage, in return for +2d6 damage and +1 HP/level, that doesn't sound like enough to me. Of course, I could be wrong, so I do encourage you to try this out and report back to us.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
My son has a magical half-giant 5e PC. ... Extra die to weapon damage. ... Works fine.
Its true, when players play moreorless straightforwardly, the 5e system seems to handle alot of abuse. Mainly by relying on the DM to monitor and rule-zero situations.



My experience DMing a Large character from level 5 to level 20 makes me suspect that this is not balanced.

I had a PC playing a medium-sized hill giant, and we decided that at 5th level, he could grow to Large size instead of getting Extra Attack. So, rather than making two attacks with a maul at 2d6+Str, he would get one attack at 4d6+Str. Seems balanced, right? If you do the math, it's actually a downgrade. Except that this player figured out how to get extra attacks, via frenzied rage, haste, and Great Weapon Master. I shudder to think what would have happened if he'd had Extra Attack as well. The other players became jealous and complained about it, and I had to balance the character on the back-end by giving out very few Large-sized magic items. (I don't let most items resize.)

So, if the "opportunity cost" you propose is effectively -2 attack and -2 damage, in return for +2d6 damage and +1 HP/level, that doesn't sound like enough to me. Of course, I could be wrong, so I do encourage you to try this out and report back to us.
Yeah, this is the kind of thing I worry about. The combos. And these combos are even normal, working as intended − Rage feature, Haste spell, Great Weapon Master feat. Plus the extra attack feature. It is damage *multipliers* that get out of hand.

Heh. Has 5e entered an era of Linear Wizard, Quadratic Fighter?



I will be starting a new campaign in the near future, from level 1 up. At low tiers, I suspect Constitution will offset the oversize damage fine. It will be a while before I get to high tiers. I will see if it still works well enough at high tiers.

You give good reason to be concerned. I have time to think of a high tier solution, if necessary.



Brainstorming. Suppose, the extra damage dice of a Large weapon only applies to the first attack, once per turn. The flavor rationale would be, the momentum is exponentially higher, so less agile for iterative swings.
 

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