Houses Are People Houses Are People

Old school roleplay musings

Minor Adjustment for Minor Physical Differences

Street Kids (Lovely drawings by Evlyn M)

Your player wants their character to be short. What do you do? Do you force them to be a halfling? Do you make some special adjustments to another class to allow for short people? Nah.

One of the best things about the OSR is the lack of a need for rules minutia.

I recently noticed a discussion about how to make adjustments to a class based on height. Changing rules and making a class to describe a minor physical difference is a waste of time and effort, so I thought I’d describe a simpler approach.

Additionally, it’s a waste of brainpower mid-game. If your players are doing math about the effects of being short on their character sheets, they’re not as engaged in thinking about how best to dismantle the thingamajig that is preventing time from affecting the inside of the ancient tower.

Effects of being short:

  1. You can fit in a cabinet unless you’re obese.
  2. You cannot do things that require being able to reach the head of an enemy of average height without first climbing halfway up the enemy’s torso or without first gaining higher ground.
  3. You can run between the legs of enemies when you successfully perform a combat maneuver. (In my rules, a combat maneuver occurs on a critical hit or when sacrificing an attack in order to make a stat check.)
  4. Some people might be bigoted about your height.
  5. You might get a bonus to stealth rolls in certain situations.
  6. If you’re VERY short, you might not be able to carry as much as others.
  7. Climbing might take longer for you.
  8. Your enemies get -1 to hit if they’re dumb or really tall.
  9. Etc.