[RPG] How to make an overweight character?


I'm going to start off by saying that this will be my very first time playing any sort of tabletop role-playing game. I know what I'm about to ask may be questionable due to the whole epic fantasy nature of D&D, but I'd like to know if there's any way I can have an overweight/obese character in the game.

I've done very basic research in the 5e Player's Handbook on how to make a character. I have an idea on the character I want to make, but I am not sure on how to go about doing it. The handbook doesn't mention too much about the weight of various species, just their average weight. I'd talk to the DM about this, but this is the first time I've started talking to him and he seems a bit unapproachable about character creation, especially with a character that doesn't really "fit in" with the usual character builds. I'm just saying if someone can make a gelatinous cube a character then I can be able to make my character obese. There's the feat in the Book of Vile Darkness for obesity, but does that have to apply purely for evil alignments? Surely it doesn't have to.

If push comes to shove, I will confront my DM about character creation stuff. I thought I'd ask a community of players for their advice before I do so. Thanks for your help!

Best Answer

Are there any mechanical requirements for playing an obese character in D&D 5e? If so, what are they?

No, there are not. Your character is obese if you say he is. That’s it. Done.

The description of a character is entirely up to the person playing that character.1 It is desired that mechanics “back up” description, so you should think about mechanics in terms of the desired description, but this does not require special rules. It’s a simple matter of keeping the description in mind while making all the various character-creation choices you are going to make.

If not, how can I model my character's obesity within the regular mechanics?

There are a number of different ways you can do this, and which you choose depends entirely on how you imagine the character and how you imagine his or her obesity affects their life. So the way to handle this is to think about what your obese character might be like when you are choosing your various options.

All of the choices you make when creating a character can and should be viewed through the lens of “which choice here can back up the image of the character that I want to project?” Your character, though obese, is going to be adventuring: that has a lot of requirements on a person, from exploring, to traveling, to keeping safe, to killing monsters. Most adventurers are physically fit because adventuring is demanding. How does your character not get fit while adventuring? On the flip side, how do they do all the things adventuring requires without relying on physical fitness?

Note that it is possible to answer all of these questions within the normal framework of character creation. It is also possible to do so without hampering yourself: somehow or another, your character has figured out a solution to these questions that allows him or her to be an effective adventurer while neither having nor gaining physical fitness. You don’t need special penalties: just focus your character-creation resources in directions that reflect this reality.

For example, ability scores: a low Dexterity but high Constitution is a common way to model obesity. This isn’t a special bonus or penalty, since you are not supernaturally or even superhumanly obese. You are just on the high end for natural weights for your race; thus you are on the low end for typical Dexterity scores, and on the high end for typical Constitution scores (if you choose to model it this way). And Constitution is good for a lot of characters, while many characters don’t really need Dexterity. Someone who is obese isn’t likely going out for the things that rely on Dexterity, not when their life depends on them being able to do something effectively. Much better to rely on something else for safety.

For another another option, you may choose to avoid classes and feats that improve your speed. In fact, you can make choices that reward not moving very much. You may choose classes and feats that allow you to avoid significant physical activity: wizard with Heavily Armored, perhaps, so you can stand in place, protected, while casting spells.

And these are definitely not the only options. Every choice can be looked at from this perspective. Skills? Probably not Athletics. Items? Maybe something to provide good meals, or a mount to avoid the large amounts of walking that adventuring might require. Whatever.

So again, being obese is what you make of it. You don’t need special rules for it.

  1. That is, “within reason,” which is decided by the group, but clearly some people are obese so this case shouldn’t be even approaching those limits.

As for the feat in Book of Vile Darkness, that is specifically gorging yourself for the express purpose of disfiguring your body by acquiring grotesque obesity, all as an homage to some evil patron. That is why that is evil – and why it gives special bonuses. It’s ritualistic and profane. If you just are obese, either because you eat too much or because of some medical issue, that doesn’t make you evil and doesn’t require the feat (but also doesn’t come with the dark rewards that the feat does).