[RPG] How to handle a Tiny Player Character in 5e


Are there any official rules for tiny characters in 5e?

I have a player who is wanting to play a Sprite character. I have found what seems to be a balanced race build here, but I can't find any official rules for how to handle a tiny character, which is not surprising, since this race is homebrew.

  • For added context: my player is not the type to try to exploit the
    rules for combat advantage, he wants to play a Sprite because he read
    the entry in the Monster Manual and thought it would be fun to
    role-play one. For a class he is trying to decide between a Ranger or
    an Oath of the Ancients Paladin.

I found some homebrew ideas, here and here, but I am not totally sold on their suggestions. I was wondering if there is something in the actual rules of 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons that I have missed.

The main problem I have with the suggestions above is from a standpoint of verisimilitude. I just can't picture a tiny creature (probably about a foot to a foot and a half tall) being able to wield a longsword that nearly twice as tall as they are, even if they had to use two hands. Even using normal daggers would be cumbersome, since the grip would have such a large girth compared to their tiny hands.

Is adapting from 3.5e to 5e a good option?

Have you tried applying the old size adjustment rules from 3.5e (swapping a Str penalty for a Dex boost, increasing AC and to-hit, bonus to stealth, etc.) in a 5e context? I may just like those rules because they were what I used the last time I had to deal with this situation. Are there any pitfalls or potential unbalance that I may not be seeing if I go with this approach?

Is there a more 5e way to do things?

Is there a better way to do this that fits more seamlessly in 5e game mechanics?
Would there be any special considerations for getting Advantage or Disadvantage if you are a Tiny character, for example?

Best Answer

The only special rule for tiny characters that I could find is the following (DMG 278):

A creature has disadvantage on attack rolls with a weapon that is sized for a larger attacker. You can rule that a weapon sized for an attacker two or more sizes larger is too big for the creature to use at all.

He would also be able to move through spaces occupied by hostile creatures as if it were difficult terrain (PHB 191):

In contrast, you can move through a hostile creature's space only if the creature is at least two sizes larger or smaller than you. Remember that another creature’s space is difficult terrain for you.

He is also unable to grapple medium creatures (PHB 195):

The target of your grapple must be no more than one size larger than you, and it must be within your reach.

And if you're playing with carrying capacity rules, he would be able to carry less (PHB 176):

Larger creatures can bear more weight, whereas Tiny creatures can carry less. For each size category above Medium, double the creature’s carrying capacity and the amount it can push, drag, or lift. For a Tiny creature, halve these weights.

Otherwise, I don't see any glaring issues that arise purely from having a smaller size.

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