Why do we need a penalty for being small?


Every version of D&D has tried to figure out how to make the small sized characters seem more ‘realistic’ with weapon choices. I can see why we probably don’t want Halfling running around with a 10 foot pole arm weapon, but I don't see why a race choice should make one player inferior to another player who did not chose the 'wrong' race.



In previous editions they  tried having more AC to make up for the reduction in damage, but that just made it a pure bonus to non weapon classes or a class that was going to use small weapons anyway.



In 4th they decided to just make small be a penalty. No bonus to offset it, so no real reason to want to be a small race. DnD next decided to stick with that  idea.



A penalty for weapon damage would be fine if there was also a bonus for being small. If it just meant you do things a bit differently if you are a small race then that would be fine.



Some will say, ‘but the racial bonuses make up for the size penalty’. That sounds great, but wouldn’t it just be easier to have the bonus be part of the size trait and not need to be offset by racial bonuses? That way we don’t need to come up with a bonus for any homebrew race your players may want.



The other issue with the racial bonuses making up for the size penalty is that the play packet did not put that in for the Halfling as far as I can tell. Let’s compare them to the other ’frail’ race we have so far (the elf).



Size:
Halfling: Small (no large weapons)
Elf: Medium
Winner: Elf



Speed:
Halfling:25
Elf: 30
Winner: Elf



Vision:
Halfling: Normal
Elf: Low-Light Vision
Winner: Elf



Weapon training:
Hafling: Dagger, Short Sword, Sling
Elf: Longsword, Shortsword, Longbow
Winner: Elf. They get to improve damage over what a human would get by using the ‘best‘ weapons for the job. The Halfling gets to be ‘as good’ as a human’s weapon damage when using inferior weapons.



Other Abilities:
Halfling: Lucky, Halfling Nimbleness
Elf: Keen Senses, Free Spirit, Trance
Winner: ? It’s nice to be able to have two free re-rolls a day, as a halfing but the Nimbleness is much less appealing now that they have opportunity attacks back in. Immunity to sleep and charm is situational for the Elf, but the Keen Senses may become very useful for exploration. Trance may be useful for times when only the elves in the party had enough time to get their rest before a random encounter.



I just don’t see where the reduction in weapon selection and damage  is compensated by another Halfling ability.



Since all damage numbers are just arbitrary based on how much damage the game designers think a class or monster should be doing, then why would it matter if a small character was doing just as much damage as a medium size character?



We already let a small player wear the same armor as a medium character, so why not say that any ‘large’ weapon a Halfling is using is sized for them, but does the same amount of damage? Mundane weapons could be custom made for a small character, but magical weapons could just resize themselves the way armor already does.  For some reason when a minotaur player takes off his plate armor and hands it to a gnome it fits just right, but that hand-me-down greatsword is just too big.



If a goblin has a 6 foot halberd instead of a 10 foot one, it could still have the ‘reach’ property even if we have to say he has to take a one step lunge forward and then step back after the attack.



Maybe I’m just crazy and not seeing the larger picture, but I’d like to hear what others think on this subject.

Minor detail:  Nimbleness is not negatively impacted by the addition of the opportunity attacks.  Moving through your opponents space does not result in your leaving their reach.

But I agree that some of the differences don't need to be in the game.


If a kobold or a goblin can move 30', why can't a halfling?

And I have already suggested that they ought to use fighter powers such as their push as if they were medium so that they are not punished for being small.

And the weapon training issue is tied up in other problems (I think both lists need work - but not for the reasons you give.  I think that the elves need a finesse or basic weapon so that non-fighters can benefit, and I think that halflings need a basic weapon so that classes that don't  use finesse weapons can benefit).  I also don't like weapon training in general making the best weapons better - I think it should (as it does for halflings) make a flavorful but subpar weapon as good as the better weapons.

Weapon damage - I'm on the fence about.  It is a penalty for halflings who wanted to use those larger weapons.  I certainly don't object to your fixes - they just haven't risen to the level where they are my top issue with 5N yet. 

Maybe when they fix the other problems I'll get worked up more about this one....

Carl
Because according to Randy Newman, "short people got no reason to live."
Every version of D&D has tried to figure out how to make the small sized characters seem more ‘realistic’ with weapon choices. I can see why we probably don’t want Halfling running around with a 10 foot pole arm weapon, but I don't see why a race choice should make one player inferior to another player who did not chose the 'wrong' race.

---SNIP---

Maybe I’m just crazy and not seeing the larger picture, but I’d like to hear what others think on this subject.



You pretty much hit the nail on the head as to the why of rules for small races.  It's all about some people needing that extra dose of realism to be able to play the game.  As for me, I really don't need it.  I agree that a 10 foot pole weapon would be silly for a halfling to wield.  Of course, a 10 foot pole weapon gets pretty silly in those confined dungeon spaces anyway.

If I were going to craft rules for DDN about how to reflect the halflings size, I would probably balance any penalty against maneuverability, and I don't mean a Dex bonus.  I'd let the small races (and the smaller than small ones) either ignore or give their enemies disadvantage on AoOs cause by the small person's movement, or allow them to move through hostile spaces.  As for a penalty, perhaps some weapons become two-handers, and maybe some finesse weapons become strength weapons.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

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Save the breasts.

Because according to Randy Newman, "short people got no reason to live."


IMO, the only newman worth listing to is Paul.

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There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I'm starting to think the game would be better off if about half of the size categories were eliminated.

< 1/16 sq
1/16 sq
1/4 sq
1 sq <- You are here.
4 sq
16 sq
> 16 sq
I partly agree with you, partly not..

but I don't see why a race choice should make one player inferior to another player who did not chose the 'wrong' race.



This is the part I dont agree with. I see no reason why all concievable races should be equal in every way, especially when it comes to something as swinging weapons. I'd say that if a half-orc and a gnome could comfortably use the same weapons and deal the same amount of melee damage, then the system is broken. I realise I am a minority here with wanting huge differences between the races, but that's my opinoin nevertheless. I dont see why they would have to be balanced either.. some races (Im not saying halfling in particular) might just be relatively useless..

That said. I do believe small races have been trated in a bad way. There are a lot of fun possibilities with size differences that are just not explored. Like, as I said in some other thread concerning fighters, CS mechanics that require you to be smaller than the target, in contrast to the opposite. Those same things would apply in human vs. ogre and halfling vs. orc.


To offer the alternative viewpoint, I'm a big fan of concessions to reality wherever it wouldn't destroy the game entirely.  Halflings make perfectly capable fighters, as long as you're not trying to maximize your damage above all else; if you are trying to maximize your damage, then a halfling still makes a great rogue.  That they don't excel in the one position where they should obviously suffer, and where that should be immediately obvious just by looking at them, is a sign that reality isn't completely out to lunch.

For what it's worth, though, the editions with the most concessions toward simulating a consistent world setting, devoid of rampant narrativism or plot breaks, were the Third ones.  Small creatures gained a +1 bonus to both hit and AC, and you could sacrifice that hit to increase your damage with Power Attack.  In 3.5, that was even a beneficial trade, since you lost 1 to hit and gained +2 damage (compared to the 1 damage lost by using the smaller weapon).  The only real tangible loss was that Power Attack was still capped by your BAB, so the medium creatures were still slightly ahead in those rare situations where accuracy stopped mattering.

The metagame is not the game.

"I'm a big fan of concessions to reality wherever it wouldn't destroy the game entirely."

I think this belongs in the RPG designers handbook, somewhere in the top 5.
So, first, a nitpick:
Halflings do have the best damage with the best one-handed Finesse weapon, so that's something.  For what it's worth, I've seen nothing but complaints about Elves getting Longswords instead of a finesse weapon as their racial choice.

Next, a personal opinion:
I hate halflings with a passion, so I really would rather they not be included at all.  In fact, the only small race I don't hate are Kobolds.  The rest can just burn in the "I can't take you seriously" bin.

Finally, a Game Designer opinion:
Small creatures should just have smaller sized weapons that deal the same damage.  The only property that needs to go is Reach, not the entire Heavy category, and only because many would complain, not because I would.  
Not really, realism level is highly variable between RPGs, the appropriateness of that rule is dependent on the realism level of the game, furthermore not every bad design decision is gonna be enough to break any given game but the problem comes when bad design points compound on each other. 

Furthermore Balanced doesn't mean everythign perfectly equal, it means that the benefit(s) from being small should balance out the penalties for being small, and not just for a small subset of classes, a halfling fighter doesn't need to deal the same damage as a half-orc even if for some reason they have the same str. The half-ling does need to derive some advantage that compensates fighters for being small.

In 4e the idea was that small races got extra features and stuff to compensate, while in 3e they got a +1 to attack and AC. Whether or not these succeeded may be debatable, but the point is that an attempt was made. The race craft on the playest is pretty abyssmal, because it's not even trying half the time.
In 4th they decided to just make small be a penalty. No bonus to offset it, so no real reason to want to be a small race. DnD next decided to stick with that  idea.

While I agree that putting only penalties - with no compensating benefits - on being of a Small race is not a good idea, I just want to point out that this afternoon we had the first session of a 4E adventure with a Pixie, a smaller-than-normal Halfling, a Goblin, and a Dragonborn midget.

(The DM tells us we are the second party he has run through this particular scenario, and we are doing way better than the first party did. I'm willing to bet that the other party was not all Small/Tiny characters.)

We already let a small player wear the same armor as a medium character, so why not say that any ‘large’ weapon a Halfling is using is sized for them, but does the same amount of damage?

For that matter, I've often wondered how it is that - by 4E RAW - a Small NPC can easily make a six-foot-long heavy stick for a human to use as a weapon, and a specially-trained Halfling (but not the other Small races) can also use it as a weapon, but no Small character has ever figured out how to make a 4.5-foot-long heavy stick and use it as a weapon.
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Every version of D&D has tried to figure out how to make the small sized characters seem more ‘realistic’ with weapon choices. I can see why we probably don’t want Halfling running around with a 10 foot pole arm weapon, but I don't see why a race choice should make one player inferior to another player who did not chose the 'wrong' race.


Isn't it always about chosing the 'right' race? If you're going to play a wizard, pick a race that gives you a bonus to Intelligence, if you're going to play a fighter, a race that gives you a bonus to Strength, etc...

You're right though, it is just about realism. There really are two schools of thought here and I don't think you can find a suitable solution to please both camps. I would be really interested in hearing people's ideas on how to make small characters both realistic and not a near worthless 2-handed weapon wielding barbarian.


In previous editions they  tried having more AC to make up for the reduction in damage, but that just made it a pure bonus to non weapon classes or a class that was going to use small weapons anyway.



Exactly, they should have had reduced hit points! Oh wait, hit points are an abstraction, scratch that.

+1 to hit kind of compensates for the reduced damage. If you're hitting more often, you're deal more damage.


Maybe I’m just crazy and not seeing the larger picture, but I’d like to hear what others think on this subject.



I personally like the more 'realistic' version better. Halflings with the potential to be at the top of the food chain doesn't sound right.
Every version of D&D has tried to figure out how to make the small sized characters seem more ‘realistic’ with weapon choices. I can see why we probably don’t want Halfling running around with a 10 foot pole arm weapon, but I don't see why a race choice should make one player inferior to another player who did not chose the 'wrong' race.


Isn't it always about chosing the 'right' race? If you're going to play a wizard, pick a race that gives you a bonus to Intelligence, if you're going to play a fighter, a race that gives you a bonus to Strength, etc...

You're right though, it is just about realism. There really are two schools of thought here and I don't think you can find a suitable solution to please both camps. I would be really interested in hearing people's ideas on how to make small characters both realistic and not a near worthless 2-handed weapon wielding barbarian.


In previous editions they  tried having more AC to make up for the reduction in damage, but that just made it a pure bonus to non weapon classes or a class that was going to use small weapons anyway.



Exactly, they should have had reduced hit points! Oh wait, hit points are an abstraction, scratch that.

+1 to hit kind of compensates for the reduced damage. If you're hitting more often, you're deal more damage.


Maybe I’m just crazy and not seeing the larger picture, but I’d like to hear what others think on this subject.



I personally like the more 'realistic' version better. Halflings with the potential to be at the top of the food chain doesn't sound right.



I'm already concerned with giving dwarves a bonus to AC.  I think it's problematic with bounded accuracy (especially with the crappy attack bonuses they gave the monsters).  I recommended making it only a bonus on medium armor, not heavy (it makes medium potentially as good as heavy - the bonus with heavy is not being slowed down).


But I can see giving a +1 to AC to halflings to offset their reduced damage output.  At least to light and medium armors (I'm still not a big fan of bumping the heavy armors any more than they already are)

Carl
In general, I think that "[race] [atypical class] are different" is generally more satisfying than "[race] [atypical class] are just kind of worse." There's a couple different approaches you can take:

1) You can start by imagining sort of what a halfling might be like, throw a bunch of traits on there, and if that makes a halfling fighter just like a worse human fighter, so be it.
2) You can start by imagining what a halfling fighter might be like - what specific effects halfling physiology and culture that make halfling fighters unique and interesting, and then make halflings good at that.

I like #2 better. Note, for those who are new at this, that this is not at all the same thing as "everyone is the same at everything." On the contrary, it's quite the opposite; if the primary difference between a human fighter and a halfling fighter is that the human's numbers are larger, that's not an interesting choice, nor is it actually a meaningful distinction. It also doesn't mean that nobody has any weaknesses or that you can't play an unusually ineffective character if you want those. All it means is that instead of "X are bad at Y", you say "When X Y, they often Y like this", which in most cases is in my opinion way more interesting. Heck, you can still make Halflings not quite as good as other races at being fighters if you want that, but giving them some unique advantages is way cooler than just making them lineraly worse. (I do think that "X are basically never Y", in moderation, has a place; it's just lamer in general.)

Note also that I'm not claiming that D&D has universally failed at this; it actually has a decent track record with giving fun and unique niches to what would ordinarily be race/class combos that are just mechanically uninspiring. I just think it should be an intentional design ethos. (And as long as we're treating the "core four" classes special, it could be focused most heavily on those.)
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I'm already concerned with giving dwarves a bonus to AC.  I think it's problematic with bounded accuracy (especially with the crappy attack bonuses they gave the monsters).  I recommended making it only a bonus on medium armor, not heavy (it makes medium potentially as good as heavy - the bonus with heavy is not being slowed down).


But I can see giving a +1 to AC to halflings to offset their reduced damage output.  At least to light and medium armors (I'm still not a big fan of bumping the heavy armors any more than they already are)

Carl



I don't think I'm comfortable with the idea balancing reduced damage with increased AC. As others have mentioned, the reduced damage is really class specific. A halfling wizard doesn't care that his staff only deals 1d4 damage but he really enjoys the +1 to AC.

If a small race get a +1 to AC, it needs to have some kind of penalty to something else so that overall, the +1 to AC and the something else balance each other out. Unfortunately, we don't have that much to work with in D&D Next. It's either reduced hit points or reduced hit die. I personally don't want to go there but you're very welcome to disagree.

I'm already concerned with giving dwarves a bonus to AC.  I think it's problematic with bounded accuracy (especially with the crappy attack bonuses they gave the monsters).  I recommended making it only a bonus on medium armor, not heavy (it makes medium potentially as good as heavy - the bonus with heavy is not being slowed down).


But I can see giving a +1 to AC to halflings to offset their reduced damage output.  At least to light and medium armors (I'm still not a big fan of bumping the heavy armors any more than they already are)

Carl



I don't think I'm comfortable with the idea balancing reduced damage with increased AC. As others have mentioned, the reduced damage is really class specific. A halfling wizard doesn't care that his staff only deals 1d4 damage but he really enjoys the +1 to AC.

If a small race get a +1 to AC, it needs to have some kind of penalty to something else so that overall, the +1 to AC and the something else balance each other out. Unfortunately, we don't have that much to work with in D&D Next. It's either reduced hit points or reduced hit die. I personally don't want to go there but you're very welcome to disagree.



True - although (and this is my fault for not being clear) I was speaking of a bonus to the light and medium armors (as with the dwarf) not a generic bonus to AC.  Thus the wizard (who doesn't care about his weapon damage) also wouldn't be getting any benefit.


Carl  

I think the encumbrance limit handles things well enough, if it is leveraged more.
A halfling using grownup sized weapons isn't going to be too unbalancing, if a longsword is about the only thing he can carry around.

The problem is, D&D doesn't model the square-cube law properly.  A halfling at half the dimensions of a human should be about one eighth the mass (and thus, about one eighth the carrying capacity).
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />If a kobold or a goblin can move 30', why can't a halfling?



Agree there. They should at least be as fast as goblins.

And I have already suggested that they ought to use fighter powers such as their push as if they were medium so that they are not punished for being small.



Don't agree there. I just can't see a 3-4' halfling pushing a 10' giant. I mean, how? He can barely reach his kneecaps!

I don't want halflings to be the same as everything else. I want the races to be equal-but-different. The fact of life is that a 3-4' high creature isn't going to be able to stand toe to toe with a giant and slug away like there's no tomorrow. There's a reason why goblins and kobolds are at the bottom of the pecking order amongst the goblinoids. That doesn't mean halflings shouldn't be a good choice, but they should be good at different things. Not everyone is as good at the same things.

Besides, when the usual Cockney speaking halfling rogue swipes my precious belongings, I want to be able to smack the little blighter, not proceed to have my arse handed to me by him as well!   Halflings should be dexterous and nimble, but not particularly strong or tough.
Everything expressed in this post is my opinion, and should be taken as such. I can not declare myself to be the supreme authority on all matters...even though I am right!
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Finally, a Game Designer opinion:
Small creatures should just have smaller sized weapons that deal the same damage.  The only property that needs to go is Reach, not the entire Heavy category, and only because many would complain, not because I would.  


I believe ORIGINALLY this was the idea

Large short sword = medium long sword = small great sword

Large long sword = medium great sword = small bastard sword (? i suppose)
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Finally, a Game Designer opinion:
Small creatures should just have smaller sized weapons that deal the same damage.  The only property that needs to go is Reach, not the entire Heavy category, and only because many would complain, not because I would.  


I believe ORIGINALLY this was the idea

Large short sword = medium long sword = small great sword

Large long sword = medium great sword = small bastard sword (? i suppose)



This was - as I recall, how 3.0 worked.  Until the 'realism' proponents got ahold of it and argued that a short sword and a longsword were entirely different weapons with different balance and shapes and that therefore it 'didn't make sense' for a halfling to use a (normal) shortsword as if it were a (small) longsword (with less damage).

So they invented the weapon sizes approach of 3.x

Carl
Since weapon damage is as abstract as spell damage is abstract as hit points, does it even begin to make sense that size matters when it comes to lethality? People can get killed with a needle (or a handy soup cup), so methinks the arguement for even using different weapon damage dice is at best secondary to training.

Hasn't everyone noticed both CS and SA quickly overshadow weapon base damage? I'd rather see weapon damage as a whole done away with, and have different weapon groups have their own special schtick. Maybe two handers get extra damage, shields* get brutal (1/2/3 depending on size) for parry, other weapon groups get a bonus for certain manuevers, etc.

*PLEASE stop making shields non-weapons!

Note: looks like they are now both weapons and armor, so getting closer.

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I realise I am a minority here with wanting huge differences between the races, but that's my opinoin nevertheless.



I can promise you that you are "not" in the minority on this. There are a few on these boards that make a stink about it but they are the ones in the minority.

Since weapon damage is as abstract as spell damage is abstract as hit points, does it even begin to make sense that size matters when it comes to lethality? People can get killed with a needle (or a handy soup cup), so methinks the arguement for even using different weapon damage dice is at best secondary to training.

Hasn't everyone noticed both CS and SA quickly overshadow weapon base damage? I'd rather see weapon damage as a whole done away with, and have different weapon groups have their own special schtick. Maybe two handers get extra damage, shields* get brutal (1/2/3 depending on size) for parry, other weapon groups get a bonus for certain manuevers, etc.

*PLEASE stop making shields non-weapons!



shields ARE weapons now
shields ARE weapons now

Ok, they are shown in both armor and weapon categories, so I'd rather they be removed from the armor side completely.They should get bonuses to parry and protect maneuvers, not add to AC, IMO.

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shields ARE weapons now

Ok, they are shown in both armor and weapon categories, so I'd rather they be removed from the armor side completely.They should get bonuses to parry and protect maneuvers, not add to AC, IMO.



it adds to your AC because it gives you that extra layer that prevents you from getting hit.

but because it only protects a small area its only a small bonus
It shouldn't be forgotten that Halflings are pound for pound one of the strongest races around. A 40 pound, 12 strength Halfling can lift 3 times his body weight before becoming encumbered. Halflings are the ants of the D&D world. If we want to be realistic they should get extra damage on their unarmed attacks since they have the same strength as a human but with smaller fists and thus more pressure due to the lower surface area.

That shouldn't happen though because it's not thematic that Halflings would be the best monks by default. Of course Halflings will be decent monks with some of their other traits like being able to move through hostile squares. What reason is there that a Halfling shouldn't be able to make a decent strength based fighter? A Lightfoot Halfling already makes a good dex based fighter.

I wonder if it would help if every non-human race got a +1 to some stat with another, usually different, +1 coming from sub-race. All Halflings getting +1 dex makes sense and helps push them in a more thematic direction for fighters. Lightfoots could maybe get an extra +1 dex making them the kings of dex but they're more narrow than their stout brothers with a +1 dex and +1 cha. They already give a different array of bonuses to humans than other races. I would argue that humans shouldn't get any racial bonuses though but should get an extra background and an extra specialty. Gives them the right feel, in my opinion, while allowing other races to be better than humans at what ever their area(s) are supposed to be.
To offer the alternative viewpoint, I'm a big fan of concessions to reality wherever it wouldn't destroy the game entirely.


This is the best point made in this thread.  As such, it bears repeating.

Personally, I don't think the game penalizes small races in combat enough.

If you have to resort to making offensive comments instead of making logical arguments, you deserve to be ignored.

"I'm a big fan of concessions to reality wherever it wouldn't destroy the game entirely."

I think this belongs in the RPG designers handbook, somewhere in the top 5.


Agreed. 
If you have two equally balanced options for game design and one is realistic while the other breaks reality, go with the former.

Personally, there really does need to be a mechanically different for beings small. Otherwise size doesn't matter to the game. I saw that quite a bit with monsters in 4e, where you could reflavour a huge ogre into a small kobold by just adding the kobold's racial power. Just weird. 
Reflavouring size feels unsatisfying. Why even have size in the game then? Or just pretend your elf is really a halfling. Reflavour a dwarf into a gnome. 

There does need to be a bonus to that penalty. The lack of a bonus was odd in 4e and feels very against the design of 4e. Smaller weapons and less carrying capacity does seem to be the way to go, but there needs to be some related benefit or perk to being the size of a five year-old.

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A realism level specific rule does not belong in a general guide book to making RPGs. Some RPGs are designed as almost complete departures from the real world and as such should not sacrifice game design for realism.

Furthermore size did matter in 4e, it determined the number of squares you took on the battlefield, and rendered you resistant or vulnerable to various special attacks such as grab, or giant slaying. There wasn't a huge chart and being large didn't boost your str by some rediculous amount but size did indeed matter. If you're gonna bash 4e bash something it actually got wrong, like multi-classing, or the mathfix feats.

The essential problem is that the small size only really affects heavy weapon users, knifers, and mages are not impeded. So if the bonus given to compensate small creatures (at least those intended for PC use) applies to somethign besides heavy weapon users then that class gets to ignore the penalty and reap the benefit. So for example a +1 on attack rolls makes life really sweet for the mages and rogues, and just sort of compensates the axe man.

One can make the case for this not being a huge issue since fighters can nominally wield light weapons with as much skill and CS die as heavy weapons. HOwever the current set of abilities availiable does mean that a half-ling is limited in that respect.

My suggestion is to say that weapons and such for off-sized characters needs to be modified for them to use, so an ogres great axe deals tons of extra damage because there's a frigging ogre swinging it, and a half-ling needs to carve the thing down to size, and alter the weights, before he can use it. However this is gonna set the realism crowd on a warpath because short people with giant weapons is too freaking anime or some such utter garbage.

The alternative is to provide weapons specifically balanced for small creatures that take advantage of small size to do damage on the scale of the larger weapons and just say that larger creatures cannot use larger versions of these to deal even more damage becasue they don't scale up well.

Yeah how about that? The system doesn't have scaling weapons so far so why not have special weapons for small creatures?
1. Remove ability scores from the attack roll (keep them for damage).
2. Give small creatures a Strength penalty and a Dexterity bonus.
3. Play D&DN
That doesn't actually address the specific issue Kalandri.
No, we don't need any specific penalties for being small. All that they do is add another needless level of complexity and racial pigeon-holing. 4E had it almost right but then still included those ridiculous weapon restrictions and limitations, but thankfully those were very easily house-ruled away. Even most claims that penalizing small characters in some ways is logical and/or realistic can be rather easily debunked, again for example the weapon restrictions and limitations that we're seeing again here in the Next play-test.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Even most claims that penalizing small characters in some ways is logical and/or realistic can be rather easily debunked, again for example the weapon restrictions and limitations that we're seeing again here in the Next play-test.



I would be interested in hearing how a 80-lbs. halfling can wield a 25 lbs. Maul. I would prefer having the same rules for creatures of all sizes. If there's a reasonable explanation on why small creatures shouldn't have any restriction on weapon size, please share your arguments! As of now, a halfling with a 2-handed sword twice his size doesn't make sense.

If you manage to convince me that a halfling should be able to wield a 2-handed sword twice his size, you'll also have to convince me that a human or half-orc can't wield an oversized 2-handed sword twice his size.
Actually that's easy. See larger creatures actually have less power compared to their mass. So pound for pound a human can move more than an elephant. Goes the other way too, ants and the like can bench 50 times their wight or some such.

Also I think you'd be hard pressed to find vikings capable of using a 25 pound maul as a practical weapon, as a tool for destroying stuff sure, but for fighting people not so much.

So a gnome could potentially wield a greatsword only slightly smaller and lighter than a human's, and an ogre's great sword is only a bit longer than a human's excepting the modifications for a bigger grip. The reason a gnome wouldn't wield a greatsword is more because it'd be hard to walk around with one at their height.

Anyway, what if we compromise and let the shorties use different weapons? like maybe the tangat doesn't have a version set up for medium sized wielders. 
I think that there should be some effect from being small, but I don't think extra rules considerations are the way to go. Rather, I think size should simply be its own effect -- space, height and reach can all be important factors in the heat of battle, or on any landscape of adventure. They just don't have to be factors that make the character completely unappealing as a concept.
I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.
I would be interested in hearing how a 80-lbs. halfling can wield a 25 lbs. Maul. I would prefer having the same rules for creatures of all sizes. If there's a reasonable explanation on why small creatures shouldn't have any restriction on weapon size, please share your arguments! As of now, a halfling with a 2-handed sword twice his size doesn't make sense.

If you manage to convince me that a halfling should be able to wield a 2-handed sword twice his size, you'll also have to convince me that a human or half-orc can't wield an oversized 2-handed sword twice his size.

I'm glad you asked! To explain, we need to go over a couple of basic premises first:

1) Smaller creatures aren't inherently more stupid than medium creatures, so they're perfectly capable of creating their own weapons perfectly sized for themselves rather than needing to rely on larger creatures to make weapons that they then need to adapt to. In other words, a Human can make themselves a longsword appropriately proportionately sized for a Human, and a Halfling can make themselves a longsword smaller than that of the Human's that is appropriately proportionately sized for a Halfling.

Now, the immediate response to this is typically "Well, sure, but then a Halfling's Longsword is the exact same thing as a Human's Shortsword", but that's not the case. Even two weapons of similar size and weight need to be balanced differently if they're going to be used in two completely different ways by two creatures so different in size, and the hilt sizes at least will differ greatly. Furthermore, if we go with the premise that any small-size weapon can be adequately modeled by a step-down version of the medium-size weapon, we run into the issue that many medium-size weapon don't have any step-down version. For example, there is no step down for a Dagger or a Shortbow or a Scythe.

So, following this logic so far, what we must end up with it something like what 3.5 had, where Halflings can and do make their own smaller versions of every weapon that Humans can and do make. Perfectly reasonable.

B) Now, let's go somewhere completely unrelated and talk about attack bonuses and damage bonuses in general. If you saw a feature that said "Due to your superior accuracy and precision, you get a +2 bonus to X", would you have any idea whether that X was attack or damage? No, you wouldn't. It is a simple matter of fact that the vast majority of instances of such a bonus can be reasonably represented either way. These have even sometimes changed from edition to edition, for example like how Weapon Focus created an attack bonus in 3E but a damage bonus in 4E. Another example from 4E is two races, the Dragonborn and the Gnoll, that have thematically practically identical features (they fight more furiously when bloodied) but the former's is modeled with an attack bonus and the latter's with a damage bonus for mechanical variety.

The great thing about a system as flexible as D&D is supposed to be in that a concept can often be mechanically translated in multiple ways, and the fact that many attack or damage bonuses can often be modeled just fine the other way is a testament to that.

If anything is going to cause a hangup for anybody as I continue to explain, this is going to be it.

#) Stepping back to concerns of size, let's look at the inherent mechanics for size, completely independent of race, present in different editions of D&D. The most detailed and "realistic" was probably 3.5, where there were many, many mechanical implications of being small size that we didn't see afterward in 4E and that we don't see yet in Next. For example, small characters in 3.5 got a size bonus to AC. Logically, this makes some sense, as it is more difficult to hit something that's smaller because you have a smaller target to aim for.

Of course, this is only part of that story. If the AC bonus were the only thing that they got, then two Halfling would have a harder time hitting one another than two Humans do, and that just makes no sense. Therefore, small size creatures also got a bonus to attack rolls due to the advantage granted by their perspective. The entire size chart followed suit. Medium was the default "zero" size, and every size smaller got an identical bonus to AC and attack, and every size larger got an identical penalty to AC and attack. If we wanted to most realistically model the effects of size differences, this would be a perfectly internally consistent way to do so.

Now, let's combine all of the above premises, and the true implications of my proposal become clear. Small creatures do create their own smaller versions of the same weapon that medium size creatures create. However, while these weapons may be smaller, small creatures also have a perspective advantage over larger creatures. Where in the past this perspective advantage has been modeled as a bonus on attack rolls, we can instead now model it as a bonus on damage rolls. If the weapons of a small creature do less damage because they're small but then do more damage due to perspective difference, then these things cancel each other out, and we end up with small-size weapons that are physically smaller than their medium-size counterparts but that, when wielded by a small-size character, still do the exact same die damage as their medium-size counterparts. In other words, despite the fact that we are dealing with differently sized weapons (NOT a Halfling with a two-handed sword twice his size), they can still reasonably be modeled as mechanically identical in terms of everything but their weight, removing a layer of complexity and pigeon-holing from the game.

For maximum realism, add in rules for what penalties are taken when wielding a weapon normally sized for another creature, for example a Human taking a -2 penalty to attack for attempting to wield a Halfling's Greatsword as a Longsword or a Halfling taking a -2 penalty to attack for attempting to weld a Human's Shortbow as a Longbow.

If you've been following closely, then you may be saying to yourself that, following this logic, larger creatures, despite wielding larger weapons, would also be dealing the exact same damage with those weapons that medium creatures would with their versions of them. That is also correct. Should larger creatures do more damage than medium creatures? Probably. Must that damage be as a result of weapon damage dice? No, they don't need to be. The vastly superior strength of such larger creatures should give their damage rolls enough of a static modifier to model this increased damage despite rolling only normal damage dice.

tl;dr, Weapon mechanics across size categories can be made more identical by also taking into account the size of a weapon's intended wielder and not just taking into account the size of a weapon itself.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I love that breakdown.  Every time I see it.




I will say, though, that personally I would also be willing to accept the return of the 3e size bonuses/penalties to Attack and AC.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
Actually that's easy. See larger creatures actually have less power compared to their mass. So pound for pound a human can move more than an elephant. Goes the other way too, ants and the like can bench 50 times their wight or some such.



And neither are humanoids, I'm having a hard time finding this convincing! On the other hand, my 8 year old nephew is also a humanoid. This would be a better comparison point.


Also I think you'd be hard pressed to find vikings capable of using a 25 pound maul as a practical weapon, as a tool for destroying stuff sure, but for fighting people not so much.



And the conclusion is? Mauls shouldn't appear on the weapon list?


Anyway, what if we compromise and let the shorties use different weapons? like maybe the tangat doesn't have a version set up for medium sized wielders. 



I'll go with whatever the game designers come up with on this one to be honest. This seriously isn't a deal breaker for me, not even close. I do prefer my RPGs less codified/abstract and more 'realistic'.
@Crimson_Concerto: I'm convinced! 

Using the same kind of arguments, you could also explain why a small-sized creature doesn't get less HP than a medium-sized creature (what he lacks in health, he compensates with increased agility).

I still don't get how you managed to get rid of the +1 bonus to AC though. Is it something like a halfling is not as good at parrying or blocking with his weapons because their shields/swords are smaller so in the end, the bonus and penalty balance each other out?

I really like your arguments. These are reasonable abstractions that just make the rules easier (upgrading/downgrading weapon damage just makes things more complicated).
I have been noodling around the idea of giving smallies an option to use a reaction to use the Dodge action.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

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