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Gwenevere Rothwell

Jul 7, 2023

With the introduction of the Sprite ancestry, tiny rules have become a lot more relevant. Previously, Tiny sized creatures were reserved for monsters and familiars, but now players can be tiny too, with no spell required! So, how does it work?

Image by Kiwihug

With the introduction of the Sprite ancestry, tiny rules have become a lot more relevant. Previously, Tiny sized creatures were reserved for monsters and familiars, but now players can be tiny too, with no spell required! So, how does it work?

Space and Reach

It might surprise you to find out, but all creatures have a reach statistic. This usually isn’t too relevant though as the reach on Medium and Small creatures is 5 feet, that is to say, you can reach an adjacent square with weapon attacks. Reach weapons then increase this range to 10 feet, so you can hit people from two squares over. Tiny creatures don’t get this luxury though as their reach is 0 feet. You might be wondering, “Well, how do I attack then?” And the answer is actually pretty simple. You’re so small that you can enter other creatures’ spaces. If you have a reach weapon you treat the reach of the weapon as 5 feet less, so if you have a weapon with a reach of 10 feet, you’d instead have a reach of 5 feet which means you no longer need to occupy the same space as your opponent to hit them with the weapon.

When in another creature’s space you may need to watch out for some extra circumstances. For example, spells that target a space instead of a specific creature will affect you just the same. The spellcaster can’t angle his fireball in such a way that he doesn’t hit you, because unfortunately if he doesn’t hit you he doesn’t hit the enemy either. However, a benefit to this is the fact that you can use the Take Cover action within the creature’s space, using the creature as your cover. Think of this as hiding behind their back, climbing into awkward places, and so on. There is a Mickey Mouse clip which might be a bit before your time depending on how old you are where Mickey Mouse is trying to avoid the wrath of a giant, and to do that he’s getting into all sorts of weird spots, places, and what have you. Of course this follows the standard Take Cover rules, so once you attack the creature you’re no longer in cover—it now knows where you are and can attack you more accurately.

The Power of Friendship

Another fun thing about being tiny that the Sprite introduced is the mechanics for riding your friends. A tiny creature can ride in a pack or on the head of their friend, but this might not be super beneficial. When you enter combat like this you and your friend roll initiative as normal, but take the lowest initiative between the two of you. You can then decide when your turn comes around who goes first between you two. You both only gain two actions each instead of three actions each, which is because the tiny creature’s first action is spent trying to stay on their friend, while their friend’s first action is making sure you’re still on them. It should be noted that you count as negligible bulk to your larger friend, no matter their size.

Now, one question that pops up from this is, “What happens if you let go?” Well, what I assume happens is that your initiative then stays the way it is—as that is how regular initiative works when you go later. You are stuck going later. I’d argue that letting go of your “mount” is something that can be done as a free action, after all it’s easier to get off of something than it is to stay on or get on.

So, what about getting on your ally post initiative? The rules for this are unclear, but how I would work it is the following: it takes 1 action from the rider to ride their friend. This action is the tiny creature getting into position, securing themselves, etc. You then look at the initiative rolls of the rider and the mount and both initiatives become the lower of the two, effectively setting their initiative. I’d say that this doesn’t come into play until next round as it is still your turn when you mount your friend and obviously your turn won’t spontaneously end, nor will you suddenly have another turn in the same round. Once it is your mount’s turn it then works the same as normal: they spend one action keeping you secured, then can spend their two actions however they like. Next round you act on their initiative, can swap around who acts first, and so on, just like the regular rules for mounting your friend.

Difference in Bulk

Bulk is a pretty simple mechanic, but being tiny brings with it some adjustments. For starters, the bulk limit of a tiny creature is half that of a standard creature. Let’s say that you are a tiny creature with 12 Strength. This would give you a +1 Modifier. Your bulk limit then as a medium or small ancestry would be 6. As a tiny creature, that bulk limit would be reduced by half, which would become 3.

On the plus side, because you are tiny your items also weigh less, so while you can only carry half the load of a normal person, your items also weigh half as much. If an item would become lighter than 1 bulk, so if you had an item that is 1 bulk normally and you halve its weight, it would instead become light bulk.

One downside though is that tiny creatures cannot have negligible bulk. Anything that would be negligible bulk would instead be light bulk, meaning everything to you is at least somewhat of a burden. Due to this, it’s pretty imperative that you have at least a decent strength score, but if you have a friend or animal companion they could instead carry the load for you. This can be especially painful with coins, as suddenly even a single coin is quite the load on you.

Despite the bulk differences with your equipment they do not cost any more or less than standard equipment.

Pathfinder 1st Edition Bias

Size differences between Pathfinder 1st Edition and Pathfinder 2nd Edition are pretty drastic. In 1st Edition, size generally gave you a series of buffs and debuffs to a variety of statististics and it was basically meta to play as small a size as possible when it came to casters and as big a size as possible when it came to martials. This isn’t the case anymore thankfully. Even weapons no longer have their damage modified by size. Instead, the point of getting a bigger weapon is to get improved reach (for those of you who want to make a Titan Instinct Barbarian Sprite as an example).

5th Edition D&D Bias

Size doesn’t work the same between 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons as it does in Pathfinder 2nd Edition. A small creature can carry around a greatsword, and so can a tiny creature. There is no such limit in this edition of Pathfinder, so swing away with the biggest, bulkiest weapon you can find—just be sure to watch your bulk limit!

Wrapping Up

Being tiny can definitely be a fun and interesting experience. I for one can’t wait to play a Sprite in a future game. The penalties for being tiny aren’t super terrible, but you’ll want to treat this status with care when playing. That being said, they’re not hugely detrimental and the biggest issue is that negligible bulk items are now light bulk. Don’t be scared to try out a melee focused sprite!

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