[RPG] What special rules apply to tiny or smaller characters/creatures


Tiny creatures have a number rules exceptions, in addition to their size modifier, space and reach, and encumbrance. I think they get to add their dexterity modifier to some things rather than their strength modifier and get only half benefit from armour.

When creating a tiny (or smaller) monster, or considering allowing tiny or smaller player characters, knowing all of these special cases is quite important.

What special rules apply to tiny or smaller creatures?

Best Answer

Here's the Creature Size table for reference.

The important takeaways from Tiny in that table:

  • Fly +4
  • Stealth +8
  • +2 AC (but half armor AC, thank you @Umbranus)
  • -2 CMB and CMD
  • No natural reach (must share spaces to perform melee attacks)

There's also a FAQ related to Tiny (and smaller) creatures' skill checks:

Any creature of Tiny or smaller size should use its Dex modifier instead of its Str modifier for Climb and Swim checks. This will be added to Bestiary 4 as a new Universal Monster Rule.

From Combat

Tiny, Diminutive, and Fine Creatures

Very small creatures take up less than 1 square of space. This means that more than one such creature can fit into a single square. A Tiny creature typically occupies a space only 2-1/2 feet across, so four can fit into a single square. (...) Creatures that take up less than 1 square of space typically have a natural reach of 0 feet, meaning they can’t reach into adjacent squares. They must enter an opponent’s square to attack in melee. This provokes an attack of opportunity from the opponent. You can attack into your own square if you need to, so you can attack such creatures normally. Since they have no natural reach, they do not threaten the squares around them. You can move past them without provoking attacks of opportunity. They also can’t flank an enemy.

This thread has some specific questions about attacks of opportunity:

  1. Does a creature using a reach weapon threaten the sqaure(s) it is occupying?

    No, a creature loses the ability to attack in their natural reach when wielding a Reach weapon. (My own answer. Reach specifically disallows attacking within what would be your melee range)

  2. Does a creature with natural weapons, that uses a manufactured weapon, treat its natural attacks as primary or secondary nat. weapons on attacks of opportunity the round after it used the manufactured weapon on its turn to attack?

    A primary natural attack used with no manufactured weapon in that attack instance is a primary attack (My own answer, I believe the posters misread the question)

  3. How are attacks of creatures with a reach of 0 feet normally resolved? I know it has to enter the square of the creature it wants to attack, but as far as i understand it, it cannot actually share the same space unless the other creature is also tiny or smaller. It has to use an action to move into the square, then another to attack, then it doesnt have an action to leave the square again. Is it staying or does it get a free action to move out and if so can it go to any adjecent square or must it move back to the square it came from?

    ...creature moves into enemy square - this provokes ... for entering the occupied square. If done without a 5' step, Acrobatics, or some other extenuating circumstance anyone standing directly around the occupied square w/5' reach or 10' away from the occupied square w/10' reach also provokes since the 0' reach creature moved through a threatened square. Anyway, once it's in there, if it's still alive the creature makes its attack. If the creature remains in said square it may later make full attacks; otherwise leaving that square is just entering the square in reverse for provoking.

  4. Is it possible to 5-foot step into another creatures square and if so, does it trigger an attack of opportunity?

    A 5-foot-step prevents the AoO for leaving a threatened space, but entering another creature's space will still provoke an AoO regardless. (This is because, in Pathfinder, specific trumps general. Moving into a space involved a more specific rule than movement provoking or not)

  5. How do reach weapons work on tiny creatures?

    Yes they threaten 5', so if you're worried give your sprites longspears. Source

  6. Can a tiny creature enter an opponents square on a charge?

    A 0' reach creature can Charge into an occupied square; provoking still applies. (Charging does not prevent attacks of opportunity, and Tiny creatures' ability to enter squares is more specific than the Charge line about occupied squares)

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