You know that one scene with Isildur in “The Fellowship of the Ring?” This one. Look carefully kids, and remember it well. That’s what a convenient plot device looks like.

Doesn’t matter if you’re writing a novel or running a game. If you’re working within the bounds of fantasy, science fiction, or any of the other genres predicated on the construction of a secondary world, you’re going to have to make some concessions to expediency. Consider the ever-popular language known as “the common tongue.” Translator microbes fall into the same category. Then there’s the timely eclipse. The self-destruct mechanism. The wonderfully non-specific precursor / forerunner / unimaginably ancient civilization that populated your setting with strange and mysterious artifacts. Every Macguffin you meet and evil twin you duel is a concession to the demons of expediency.

In the case of Tolkien, you’ve got to get the ring onto Frodo’s finger. But wait a minute…didn’t the Dark Lord where that thing? Sauron sure as crap isn’t fun-sized. Oh I know! We’ll just make it shrink to fit, the better to tempt its new bearer.

Now consider the case of D&D. You’ve got a world filled with magical whatsits, but you’ve got party members of variable size. That’s why we get these wonderful lines courtesy of the 3.5 SRD: “When an article of magic clothing or jewelry is discovered, most of the time size shouldn’t be an issue. Many magic garments are made to be easily adjustable, or they adjust themselves magically to the wearer. Size should not keep characters of various kinds from using magic items.” That is rock solid design, and a great application of this principle of expediency. That’s why it’s so baffling to me that the designers felt the need to exclude weapons and armor. Why should a cloud giant’s circus tent sized cloak shrink to fit a pixie, but not his broadsword? If anyone would like to hazard a guess (or better yet if Monte Cook happens to be a reader) I’m genuinely curious about the reasoning. So, for that matter, is Fighter.