Are we doing dwarf tossing? How have we managed to go nearly 400 comics without dwarf tossing!?

First and foremost, in case it wasn’t obvious from Oracle’s halfling heritage, you don’t have to be a literal dwarf to fit the trope. You can be a halfling, a superhero, or both. Whatever. All that matters is that there’s a big enough dude to give you the old heave-ho. This is among the most basic of power moves, and I suspect that more gamers than not have seen it in action.

Unfortunately for GMs, unless you’ve actually got something like fling ally in your back pocket, chances are you’re left looking at your system of choice and saying, “What mechanics do I use? Is ‘dwarf’ a thrown weapon? Does encumbrance come into play? Maybe it’s just a straight up Strength check?”

That was exactly my problem back on the tropical island of “it bit the boat” and tlkeen longsword fame. My guys were climbing this Mountain of Fire, all bright-eyed and eager to make friends with the local volcano god. Of course they stumbled across an inconvenient lava flow. And being low level, they didn’t have access to flight spells yet. That meant they had to make do with levitate and the strong right arm of their ogre pal. After doing some carrying capacity calculations, factoring in wind speed, and adjusting for the unsteady footing provided by a steep cliff face, I realized I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

“Give me a combat maneuver check I guess?”

“Hrrrrragh!” said the ogre.

“Um,” said I. Papers were shuffled. Rules were consulted.

“Is an 18 good enough?”

“I mean… Sure? Actually, you know what? Yes it is. Why the hell not? Your sorcerer pal pinwheels ass over teakettle across the lava, and even gets a boost from the rising heat. Sorcerer? You can see your base camp from here.”

There was much rejoicing. And for me, there was a lesson learned. When the players come up with a weird mechanic and there’s no clear rule in place, you just make something up, set a lowish DC, and try to call the close ones in the players’ favor. Dwarf tossing is one of those things that could be handled half a dozen different ways in any given system. That’s why I say to trust your gut and go with one that feels right. When goofy power moves and player shenanigans are in play, I now make it a policy to get out of the way and try to let the magic happen. I doubt it’s a mechanically sound approach, but goddamn if my players don’t have fun.

Question of the day! Have you ever been involved in an in-game dwarf tossing? How’d it go? How did you resolve the maneuver? Let’s hear your far-flung tales of far-flung allies down in the comments!


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