Poor Pugilist. It seems she’s run afoul of the same medium-sized-centrism that keeps the halflings of Handbook-World from booking griffin taxis. It’s unfair, I tells ya! But even if an anthropocentric society provides interesting RP opportunities for small-sized races, I think it’s important to keep the flavor and the mechanics separate.

What does that mean? Just look at that lance! Look at that embarrassingly embarrassingly oversized horse! Pug is a professional ass-kicker, and shouldn’t have to make do with ill-fitting second-hand castoffs. Same deal if we’re talking about the four-armed kasatha over in Starfinder or Sir. Noodle the snake in your awakened animals game. In order to function at baseline competency, you need baseline gear.

The design choices in D&D 5e offer a natural advantage here. The system’s core design assumes adventurers with mundane weapons and armor, meaning that you won’t be punished for your unconventional body type. Compare that to Pathfinder 1e. There the optional automatic bonus progression rules offer an excellent demonstration of the bonuses you’re expected to pick up (usually through gear) in normal Pathfinder play. Be wary though, because the second you begin passing out upgrades to the crew—regardless of system—the intent buried in the game design goes out the window. Players don’t care about whether or not they’re meeting the expectations of some hypothetical platonic ideal campaign. They care whether they’re keeping up with their buddies. And if Hugh Mann the fighter gets all the best magical kit while Hal Fling the cavalier can’t find so much as a riding dog, you’ve got problems.

Let me be clear: this is rarely a major problem in most campaigns. Properly-sized gear is a prime candidate for handwaving, and many GMs will take a wish list from their player in order to sprinkle “the right gear” into treasure piles. But if you like to randomly generate your own loot, then the size charts are definitely something to take into account. After all, there’s nothing worse than finding the fabled Sword of Extra Damage only to realize it was designed for a friggin’ giant.

Question of the day then! Have you ever found arms or armor that you couldn’t use due to size / race restrictions? Did you give it up? Did you go through extreme measures to make it fit? Sound off with your own solutions to the resizing problem down in the comments!


GET YOUR SCHWAG ON! Want a piece of Handbook-World to hang on you wall? Then you’ll want to check out the “Hero” reward tier on the The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Each monthly treasure hall will bring you prints, decals, buttons, bookmarks and more! There’s even talk of a few Handbook-themed mini-dungeons on the horizon. So hit the link, open up that treasure chest, and see what loot awaits!