Tuesday, March 1, 2016


I would ask the reader to take the time to look over this post and remember that I am still seeking a much smaller sum of $4,762 in donations before the end of May.  That's just $50 a day; every small donation counts!

As I write my third post about the enlarge spell, I trust I won't be taxing the patience of my readers.  Trying to nail down the details of this spell's effects has been kicking my ass for a couple of weeks now (admittedly, I have been writing a book) and I feel like I'm finally on top of it.

I've introduced a few odd additions to the original description of the spell in trying to account for things the writers of the Player Handbook failed to consider.  For example, while the spell does transform a creatures' equipment in the effect (so that the player's friends don't rip out of their clothes and everything remains G-rated), where is the line drawn?  If the character picks up the end of a rowboat while the spell is being cast, is the rowboat is affected?  What if the character is holding the rowboat on the end of a rope that is run through a pully and the rowboat is clear of the ground?  What if the pully is being held by another character who has been made stronger and is wearing a pair of levitation boots?  If the character picks up a keg full of oil, which is then lit with a long fuse before the spell is cast, does the barrel and the oil, and the fuse, all increase in size?

If you think characters won't come up with questions like this, you don't play D&D.

My full spell description can be read on the wiki.  I had to include a downloadable file (excel) that can be used to calculate the new height and weight from a character's original size.  I have not included any table that will calculate an object's new weight and size - mostly because it is less important, since the object doesn't move, and because my players nearly always use the spell to make one of their own party a big bruiser - these adjustments to the damage done by creatures (both enlarged and shrunk) explains why.  Note that these tables bear very little similarity to the ones I posted last week:

In keeping with discussions last week, I've chosen to make all the space between 56 lbs. and 250 lbs. a sort of neutral zone where damage is always the same for everyone in that range.  Enlarged weapon damage is then adjusted for sizes of 250 or more (adjusted against a weight of 216 lbs, because it has a cube root of 6).  Shrunk weapon damage is adjusted for sizes of 55 lbs or less (adjusted against the cube root of 60).

I don't think that looks half bad.  It is possible for a character to be greater than 250 lbs. in weight and less than 56; and some of the characters in my campaign are.  The smaller characters should be fine; there's no real adjustment until the size drops below 49 lbs - and even at that, the sort of weapons that do 1-10 damage can't be used anyway because the length of these weapons is too long to be used by short, 50 lb. characters.  The shrunk table will mostly be used for determining the actual damage of weapons used by smallish monsters (kobalds and the like), the Monster Manual's numbers be damned (I think they were pulled from backside nether regions, anyway).

The bigger characters, on the other hand, will probably start carrying more massive weapons just so they can get the damage increases.

Note that I don't mind mixing and matching dice to get results with the right averages.  2-14 damage, for instance, is obtained by rolling a d6 with a d8, giving an average of 8.  I don't know why D&D players are particularly opposed to this mix, but they are.  I don't see what difference it makes.  It gives many more options to the amount of damage that can be done by creatures and smooths out that gap between 2-12 and 2-16 or 4-16.

I hope this means I can put the enlarge spell to bed now.  I hate this thing with a heat like a thousand suns just now.


Adam said...

I like these kind of posts. If you find the time and interest, would you revisit some of the fighters' skills in your world? The sage skills, I mean. Spells are cool, but mages already get enough attention (in general, not specific to your blog). I remember reading that your players cannot often or easily identify the levels of their opponents, but that fighter PCs sometimes could, based on recognition of developed muscle groups, etc. I also think you said that only fighters (and some related classes?) could fight from the back of their mounts. I am interested in anything further that you might add to that. In the same vein, any posts you might conceive of that relate to the barbarian. Previously I have thought it a dull class, but I think now that I was just lacking some imagination at times.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I don't play with the barbarian class in my world. Some fighters are barbarians, since it is descriptive of a cultural attitude, not a combat feature.

I would like to come back to sage abilities and I will. I'm under pressure just now from my players, however, to work on clarifying some of the spells used in my world and to create descriptions for illusionist, mage and bard spells. Unfortunately.

Matt said...

I think D&D players are so opposed to the mix of die-sizes because it is asymmetrical, and the statistics of a d8+d6 roll just aren't as simple as 1-in-x or as ingrained in the psyche as 2d6.