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Question: How small can something be and still be considered a "tiny object"?

Background: I have a player who is very excited about using Animate Objects soon, and was trying to come up with options for having a group of Tiny objects available. Obviously this can include bottles or locks, per the "Statistics for Objects" section of the rules (DMG, page 247), and similarly-sized objects. It would probably include marbles, because those are smaller than bottles, and still big enough to hurt. How about a lone 2-inch blade of cut grass, or a 1-inch strand of hair, or a single grain of sand? Each of those is a "discrete, inanimate item" (DMG, pg. 246), but they're considerably smaller than the "Tiny" examples.

I know the GM can rule anything at any time, but is there a referenced "minimum" to being Tiny, either in a firm manner, or strongly implied? Even though they're small, a 1" strand of hair would be magically-empowered by the spell, so I'm not worried about justifying damage. I just want to know if I've missed anything.

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By RAW Tiny is anything from bottle/lock size and downwards

Going by RAW, the smallest you can get for a 5e object is Tiny, even if it's smaller than a bottle or lock. A blade of grass or strand of hair has the same stats and does the same damage as a bottle or ball bearing.

There are currently no sources for 5e which support any classification for objects smaller than the examples listed in the PHB.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ – John Clifford Aug 8 at 13:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Technically, your answer is much easier to extract the answer from. Korvin's is more thorough, but includes a lot of things I didn't ask for, and buries the answer at the bottom as an afterthought. And only yours explicitly says that no sources have rules. And, actually, as far as excess information goes, your removed 3.5e stuff (in the edits) at least made sense to throw in, because it made the answer "no, but here's a way it used to be handled). So I'm giving you the tick, with our without the 3.5e stuff. \$\endgroup\$ – Mister B Aug 8 at 15:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MisterB Glad to be of assistance! Thanks for the tick. I've discussed this further with Korvin and on reflection homebrewing smaller than Tiny objects has a bunch of potential problems that would require significant playtesting to do well, so I'm leaving that part out of my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – John Clifford Aug 8 at 15:44
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To answer the dimensional question

but is there a referenced "minimum" to being Tiny, either in a firm manner, or strongly implied?

No, there is not. Make a ruling as the DM, which is what 5e encourages.

Practically? Get a bag of ball bearings1

I have a player who is very excited about using Animate Objects soon, and was trying to come up with options for having a group of Tiny objects available.

The PHB has listed in the equipment section ball bearings.

Ball bearings (bag of 1,000), 1 gp, 2 lb (PHB, p. 150)

While I think that their intended use (at low levels) is for Rogues to make pursuit hard as they get away from the scene of the crime, I met an 11th level Wizard who carried around a bag of ball bearings for use with the animate objects spell.

Choose up to ten nonmagical objects within range that are not being worn or carried.

He would pour some on the ground and then put them to work. Lethal. Magical buck shot. A walking claymore mine.

Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
Objects come to life at your command. Choose up to ten nonmagical objects within range that are not being worn or carried. Medium targets count as two objects, Large targets count as four objects, Huge targets count as eight objects

Tiny HP 20 AC 18 +8 to hit, 1d4 + 4 damage STR 4 DEX 18

Lasts for a whole minute. Ten rounds (nothing ever survived that long).
As I was playing a Champion Fighter, I bought a bag to make sure he never ran out of ammo. The one thing to remember is: the damage itself isn't magical, so creatures immune to non-magical {type} damage would not even notice them.

It makes a slam attack with an attack bonus and bludgeoning damage determined by its size. The DM might rule that a specific object inflicts slashing or piercing damage based on its form.

Put those copper and silver coins to work

If you have a bag of coppers, they work the same way. And if they are silver coins, fiends and werewolves also get shredded. (Thanks @V2Blast)

1 This would work with caltrops as well. (@BobKerman for the suggestion)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer has a lot of information, and I appreciate the effort. But it's a lot of things I didn't need - he already had plenty of ideas for objects, and the answer to the actual question is down at the bottom with little to draw attention to it, and was literally an afterthought. It's too much to sift through to get the answer, if someone had the same question and came looking through the site. \$\endgroup\$ – Mister B Aug 8 at 15:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MisterB OK, bottom line now up front. You are right, addressing that first is a better organization. Glad you found JohnClifford 's answer helpful! :) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 8 at 15:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you do this with caltrops instead of ball bearings? \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Kerman Aug 9 at 4:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BobKermanI don't see why not. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 11 at 23:43

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