# Do creatures occupy cubic space, or are larger creatures still one square tall?

Does a large creature need to squeeze to fit into at 5' tall passageway?

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Similar to this question, but not quite the same: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/3707/197 –  Iszi Nov 23 '10 at 21:56
Same rules as rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/3658/… –  Pat Ludwig Nov 23 '10 at 21:57
I looked at both questions, and neither actually answers this. The mounts question tells us that the rider has the same vertical height as the mount, but not how tall that is. The ducking under obstacles question tells us that medium creatures are 1 square tall. –  Simon Withers Nov 23 '10 at 22:31
You are correct that neither question specifically addresses the height of a single large creature. That's why, in my comment, I said "similar... but not quite the same". However, the same cited rules and common sense principles used in answering those questions also apply to yours. Also, you could technically say this question is the same as the one I linked, since horse plus rider is equivalent to one large creature. –  Iszi Nov 23 '10 at 23:22
Just a side note, I've always house-ruled this as the difference between Medium and Small creatures (in 3.x/PF/4e alike), since they're the only two sizes to take up the exact same 2d-space. I rule that Small creatures take up a 5x5x5 area while Medium creatures take up a 5x5x10 area, allowing non-reach Medium creatures to hit creatures 15 ft in the air. A little non-realistic, perhaps, since most Mediums are only about 6ft tall, but it makes for pretty 3d representations, as the halflings and gnomes (but not dwarves, for whatever reason) and human children look tiny compared to cube stacks. –  gatherer818 Aug 5 '14 at 19:27

From page 200 of the Essentials Rules Compendium:

Space: A creature's space is the area, measured in squares, that the creature occupies on the battle grid. This area represents the three-dimensional space that the creature needs to take part in an encounter, allowing it to turn around, attack, fall prone, and so on. Despite the cubic shape of its space, a creature is not actually a cube (unless it's a gelatinous cube).

Large creatures require two squares in all dimensions for normal combat. Therefore, to fit into an area that is only one square high, they would need to squeeze.

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I assume that they are filling cubic space for the most part. A longer creature might not be as tall as the creature is long.

If the tunnel was wide enough, though it seems like the monster could crawl.

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By rules or by common sense? –  Simon Withers Nov 23 '10 at 20:08
Common sense, the rules seem really vague about height. Also the official miniatures are clearly taller than smaller ones. –  Mark Rogers Nov 23 '10 at 20:11
@Mark Indeed, many of the miniatures are more than cubic, that is `h>w&&h>d`. –  C. Ross Nov 23 '10 at 20:20
The important thing to remember about the cubic size is that it represents the space that the monster controls (and needs available for effective combat). Just as you can fit many humans into a five by five square on the ground, so too can a long monster have a combat space requirement greater than its actual height. –  AceCalhoon Nov 23 '10 at 20:42
There is a rule somewhere in the Rules Compendium on this. I'll post an answer tonight when I have a chance to look it up, if no one else has already done so. –  Iszi Nov 23 '10 at 21:20

I would rule that large creatures usually occupy cubic space. Not only does it make more sense it also makes tactical combat more interesting in situations where height matters.

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I know that in previous editions, and specifically 3 and 3.5, that they did occupy cube space. And I believe that they specifically call that out in the PhB. Being at work right now, I am unable to look it up however.

I have always ruled that they do occupy cubic space, personally. Since Giants at 5 feet tall would be ... silly. :)

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Interestingly, a Goliath can be up to 7'8" tall but is still considered a Medium creature. So, by RAW, he only occupies a 5'x5'x5' space. –  Iszi Nov 23 '10 at 23:21
This is true - and I was more thinking of the "true" giants - ones who are 10-20' tall (ish) –  aperkins Nov 24 '10 at 15:58
In 4.0 there is no such race - at least not for PCs. –  Iszi Nov 24 '10 at 19:30
Correct - I was talking about Monsters (see Fire Giants in the monster manual, Storm Giants, etc.) –  aperkins Nov 24 '10 at 19:51

When you look at most creatures, the really large ones are usually big in area (3 squares or more) but not tall mathematically. Gravity has a funny affect on tall things, they tend to be unstable.

I apply the same logic to my game Creatures. Creatures up to medium in size can fit under a 5' height easily. No squeeze based on height. For each size category over medium I assume 2.5' of height on top of 5' for a creature when they are in a standing, relaxed, posture position.

So a 4sq x 4sq creature would be 5' + 10' high, 15' high. This seems to fit most creatures almost to a tee. Sometimes I have to over ride this rule, but in general it works really well.

So i would rule that a large creature would have to squeeze, unless their description lead me to think there were short.

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A 6'4" fighter… can fight comfortably in only 5' vertical space? Is that really what the rules say? –  SevenSidedDie Nov 24 '10 at 1:19
@sevensideddie yes. Also a nearly eight foot tall Goliath can do just fine in the same place. –  Pat Ludwig Nov 24 '10 at 4:09
Yeah, this all sort of falls into the same category as movement diagonally in combat. It is a rules abstraction for game purposes, so sometimes you get the 'say-what' factor. –  Acedrummer_CLB Nov 24 '10 at 14:24
At least I can't imagine that houseruling that to make more sense would ever cause a problem. Unless… there aren't a lot of adventures with 5' ceilings now, are there? –  SevenSidedDie Nov 24 '10 at 18:07
No, unless it is specifically a tunnel for the challenge, most seem to assume 15+' ceilings. I call it the 'I wanna use a dragon' dungeon design law. Most designs fall into this because... 'That is how we always do it'. –  Acedrummer_CLB Nov 24 '10 at 18:17