D&D 5E Wheelchair options. Do these seem balanced?

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
modern fencing is in a piste - a back and forth track - and that really does not mimic actual melee combat well), and duck away from fireballs so that the PC is not negatively affected? Absolutely, sure, I can get behind that.
There is a video of rugby being played in wheelchairs on page 1, and another of a guy in a skate park.
 

log in or register to remove this ad


Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
There is a video of rugby being played in wheelchairs on page 1, and another of a guy in a skate park.
Is there one of people doing that kind of stuff on rough terrain?

But that's besides the point I was trying to make. What I was trying to express - probably poorly - is that if we have a game where a wheelchair is no impediment to the PC whatsoever (which I would be willing to do as a GM), is that in itself invalidating the lived experience of people with mobility issues?
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Could there be a "magic wheelchair"
Never said magic.

I'm a firm believer in the non-magical fantastic.

I'm talking about a character who lets you play those people in the videos doing flips and stabbing people and all that --like the actual fantastic characters prevented in D&D by the Verisimilitude Squad, but which are in all the movies and shows. They whip the chair around at high speeds, pop it up into a handstand to block an incoming attack, then run a dude over and it's awesome,

Just like how we want to play a fantastic version of our sad, tubby selves, people in wheelchairs want to do that too, sometimes also with the chair as part of the fantasy.
 

Clint_L

Hero
What's the hit points on the chair? What happens when an orc decides to take an ax to the wheels instead of the person?

Would also include disadvantage on dexterity saves as you really can't go side to side to dodge. And if you're not prone you can't get back up without help without exiting the chair. If they are connected to the chair by straps to prevent them from being taken out it would take a full action to undo the straps to get back up the next round.

Fighting in a wheelchair should be disadvantageous than being on your feet. There's too many drawbacks especially in a combat scenario
These "but that's not realistic" arguments always seem to completely miss the point of fantasy roleplaying. If people being able to fight well in wheelchairs is too much for your imagination, how are you gonna cope with dragons?
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I 100% agree with you that representation matters and that players should be accommodated.

But I'm not clear how to do this well. Could there be a "magic wheelchair" that can go up stairs etc and pivot quickly in a fight (modern fencing is in a piste - a back and forth track - and that really does not mimic actual melee combat well), and duck away from fireballs so that the PC is not negatively affected? Absolutely, sure, I can get behind that. But then I run in 2 problems

1 is "veracity" - sure again, I accept the magic wheelchair. But if we are in a world where this is possible, why a wheelchair and not... I don't know, golem legs? This is the lesser of the two problems, by far, but it is there.

2: Is the magic wheelchair invalidating the experience? If the magical wheelchair deals with all the mobility problems and other issues the player has to deal with in real life... if the wheelchair has no impact on the game, then it's just... a cosmetic choice? On the other hand, if the wheelchair has issues/challenges (difficult terrain? you can't pass!) then it would become rather unpleasant to the player I imagine.

I definitely can ignore problem 1. But I think understanding how to do it well, to solve problem 2, is key (for me at least). And it's not so much a mechanical rules problem, it's a "how to best approach it" problem.
Well Dnd doesnt have facing so manouvering in combat is already abstracted to a degree and as Murderball shows doing that at speed in a wheelchair is possible.

there are also Wheelchairs designed for all terrain use, with large wheels or tracks. The first wheel chair invented in 1655 was hand cranked so difficult terrain isnt impossible, just difficult

Anyway did some googling amd its suprising how much is out there on this topic, sadly not all positive

such as this from 2021 When Sara invented a 'combat wheelchair', she received threats from D&D fans

which also yielded this image, climbing in a wheelchair
DF50E90C-89F4-4DE6-82F6-77E60CCE01C2.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Clint_L

Hero
Is there one of people doing that kind of stuff on rough terrain?

But that's besides the point I was trying to make. What I was trying to express - probably poorly - is that if we have a game where a wheelchair is no impediment to the PC whatsoever (which I would be willing to do as a GM), is that in itself invalidating the lived experience of people with mobility issues?
Leave it up to the PC to decide. Last year, I had a player in D&D Club who uses an actual wheelchair, and she was delighted when I was finally able to get miniatures of adventurers in wheelchairs. I impose no penalties for wheelchair characters, but if a player wants some advantages/disadvantages to fit their vision of what it should be like, well then we have to negotiate. In game, everyone just uses their imaginations to figure out how it works. When in doubt "magic did it."

Side point, not directed at person to whom I replied: This is really a mountain out of a molehill debate. Like, unless game balance is an issue, why does it matter if someone else's character fantasy does not perfectly emulate how you see reality? Live and let live.
 
Last edited:

Voadam

Legend
But that's besides the point I was trying to make. What I was trying to express - probably poorly - is that if we have a game where a wheelchair is no impediment to the PC whatsoever (which I would be willing to do as a GM), is that in itself invalidating the lived experience of people with mobility issues?
There can be a range of desires and feelings with an issue like this.

Some could want to be fantasy parkourists, wheelchairing up walls through anime physicality and inherent awesomeness fully participating in all the physical skill checks as an inherently amazing D&D character.

Some could want intense versimilitude but with the fantasy element of sci-fi/magical floating disk hover chairs that are better than real life chairs allowing them as a closer version of reality people in chairs to make it over tree roots and go down into dungeons and participate with others in ways they could not in real life.

Some could feel that making chairs a non-issue is trivializing their actual experience. They might still like to play a character like Bran from Game of Thrones, where the mobility is an issue but they are still a major powerful character.

Best to work with the expressed desire of the person you are dealing with.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Is there one of people doing that kind of stuff on rough terrain?
The skatepark doesn’t count!?
But that's besides the point I was trying to make. What I was trying to express - probably poorly - is that if we have a game where a wheelchair is no impediment to the PC whatsoever (which I would be willing to do as a GM), is that in itself invalidating the lived experience of people with mobility issues?

Look at the success of the combat wheelchair from last year. There is a demand for such things by disabled people. That is enough information, frankly.

If you have someone at your table who want to be able to glide past the issue, let them. If you have someone who wants benefits and drawbacks, let them use something like in the OP.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
The skatepark doesn’t count!?


Look at the success of the combat wheelchair from last year. There is a demand for such things by disabled people. That is enough information, frankly.

If you have someone at your table who want to be able to glide past the issue, let them. If you have someone who wants benefits and drawbacks, let them use something like in the OP.
No, the skatepark does not, and again, that's beside the point I was trying to make. Given the replies I've been getting, my post must have been preeeety badly written :(

Thankfully, a few did understand, and the answer (which boils down to "see how your player wants to do it") was helpful.
 



MGibster

Legend
These "but that's not realistic" arguments always seem to completely miss the point of fantasy roleplaying. If people being able to fight well in wheelchairs is too much for your imagination, how are you gonna cope with dragons?
What exactly is the point of fantasy roleplaying? I view D&D as an adolescent power fantasy where I get to beat up the bad guys and nobody can tell me what to do. But I'm curious about what others might think.
 


SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
If you're looking for fighting examples in a wheelchair, check out Into the Badlands, where there is a bad ass fighter (Waldo) who is in one and they do multiple combats. That might give you some ideas for inspiration.
 


Art Waring

halozix.com
Love this thread.

Though I probably can't contribute much, I wanted to share one of my favorite gearheads, who built his ratrod in his garage after becoming paralyzed. He was featured in the Fastest Car series and beat a supercar and a Maloof custom. His car Lunchmoney is custom built and 100% hand operated. The second video shows an interview, the interior controls, and some burnouts at the end.

the Adventure team would like to honor our family member Corey Caouette. This young man built his Adventure from the ground up with his bare hands. Paralyzed from the waist down Corey let nothing stand in the way of building his dream. he is now featured on NETFLIX's Fastest Car. So we took all of our favorite Lunch Money highlights and put them into one nice Lunch Box. We Love You Corey.



 

Wheelchairs are ok at low levels, at higher levels they would be silly since by then the character probably has the money to pay for at-will levitation or synthetic limbs, or the shoes from Wicked, or some kind of magic walking stick that lets you get around even if your legs are completely paralysed

EDIT:
Retracted. It's been brought to my attention that I've neglected to consider that there are some magics that only work on vehicles. Additionally I've realized on my own that I neglected to consider that the solutions I've suggested don't work in antimagic fields.
 
Last edited:

mellored

Hero
Wheelchairs are ok at low levels, at higher levels they would be silly since by then the character probably has the money to pay for at-will levitation or synthetic limbs, or the shoes from Wicked, or some kind of magic walking stick that lets you get around even if your legs are completely paralysed
Or something more fun, like a wheelchair that leaves a trail of fire.
starryai-0-559739981-1-0-photo_1.png
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Wheelchairs are ok at low levels, at higher levels they would be silly since by then the character probably has the money to pay for at-will levitation or synthetic limbs, or the shoes from Wicked, or some kind of magic walking stick that lets you get around even if your legs are completely paralysed
Can we please just stop doing this?

Like for reasons constantly enumerated in the thread?
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top