I hate to say it, but Mr. Stabby has a point. In the real world getting into melee with anything bigger than a bear beggars belief. Elephant guns and explosive harpoons even the score, but that not what’s happening here. Pug may be mighty and Pug may be fierce, but let’s be real: It doesn’t matter how many years of judo you took. Punching a charging rhino to death ain’t happening here on Planet Earth.

Happily, the Land of Adventure is a different place entirely. That means we have plenty of weapons to help us fight for our suspension of disbelief. There’s ki and magic and divine power to draw upon. But even better than those is media precedent. Small things fight big things all the time! Yoda backflips over Count Dooku. Wander climbs a colossus. Kratos dodges [insert giant boss here]. The general pattern is “highly mobile vs. big and clumsy,” and it’s easy to imagine our PCs following suit. Unfortunately, our games don’t always reflect that narrative.

Especially when we’re talking about games that use a grid, it can be tough to break out of the stand-and-swing mindset. I always liked DM of the Rings on this point, but here’s the TLDR: When you’re locked into a single square on the game board, the visual and the mechanics show a static miniature. It’s not moving. It’s not backflipping. It’s just standing there trading blows like a heavyweight bruiser. And when you’re talking about human-sized critters trading haymakers with literal Godzilla, you’ve got suspension of disbelief problems. So I’m sorry Fighter, but being a big strong medium-sized creature isn’t much better than being a kobold in this scenario.

This is why I always liked the Exalted stunt system. There dramatic maneuvers stop being “actually you’d have to make three different jump checks to even attempt that” and become instead “that’s awesome and creative and I award you two bonus dice.” The trick is that you can port this mindset over to others game. The mini may not move on the table, but that doesn’t mean you can’t describe yourself grabbing onto the titan’s hand, riding it up to the thing’s face, and stabbing it through the eye.

It works for me, but what about the rest of you guys? How do you rationalize your heroes surviving hits from house-sized critters? Let’s hear about the weapons you use to fight for your suspension of disbelief down in the comments!


ARE YOU AN IMPATIENT GAMER? If so, you should check out the “Henchman” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. For just one buck a month, you can get each and every Handbook of Heroes comic a day earlier than the rest of your party members. That’s bragging rights right there!