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If my character, a medium-sized creature, were to drink a potion of growth, would his reach with a weapon increase?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Also (now) duplicate: "Does the Primeval Guardian ranger's Guardian Soul feature increase your reach twice?" as the question in the body is "Does the Large size I get from the transformation of Guardian Soul inherently add more reach?" \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Oct 29 '19 at 19:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ This isn’t a duplicate of the question about reach weapons changing size, it’s about inherent reach of the creature when changing size. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 29 '19 at 19:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @sevensideddie The question I linked to above covers/asks that \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Oct 29 '19 at 20:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 It’s definitely a better candidate than the other was. I’m not sure, due to its focus on a specific combo and the idea of “twice”: that gives room for the answers to be more complicated than this straightforward question. So, I’m leaving that to other voters to decide. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 29 '19 at 22:38
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Yes, but...

The rules as written don't address this situation all that well. I argue that your character's fundamental reach would increase, but mechanically this would still be represented by the 5-foot area surrounding the spaces your character occupies. See my answer here for more details on why I think that would be so, but the relevant portion of my reasoning is:

A medium creature takes up one 5'x5' square (1x1 squares on a grid), its body is centered in the middle of one square, and can reach up to 5 feet out in any direction from any edge of that square.

A large creature takes up more squares (10'x10', which is 2x2 on a grid) and so its body is centered on a vertex rather than the center of a square. From that point, it (unarmed) already covers 5 feet to get to the edge of the squares it's occupying and then extends an additional 5 feet into its engagement range. This pattern scales with bigger size classes.

It may also, as a result of its height, have effective vertical distance to deal with in its reach (a 10-foot tall giant can't swing its arm out straight in front of it and expect to hit a 5-foot tall enemy), but that's just flavor and is not represented explicitly in the rules.

None of this has any bearing on a weapon such a creature might pick up:

  • A Stone Giant's Greatclub attack has a reach of 15'
  • Stone Giants are Huge (15'x15' space occupancy, 3x3 squares on a grid), and about 20' or so tall
  • 3x3 squares places its center such that it is 1.5 squares away from the outermost limit of the space it takes up overall, roughly 7.5 feet from its origin or "shoulder" to the edge of the space it occupies
  • A Stone Giant, unarmed, can reach (stretching, lunging, what have you) an additional 5 feet beyond that without movement
  • So its fist (for example) can lash out a total of about 12.5 feet from its center, which is 5 feet beyond the limit of where the giant, itself, is on the grid
  • This is farther, in absolute distance, than a medium creature could extend its arm, and so it does have a "total reach" longer than that of a medium creature
  • But because it has to cross proportionally more squares than does a medium creature to extend that arm beyond the space the creature itself is occupying, that additional reach beyond its own size (as expressed on the grid) is not as dramatic as one might assume

The standard frame of reference for this is corrupted somewhat, as the game does not define space smaller than 5 feet very well and so may overstate the reach a medium creature has. It's honestly weirder that a medium-sized creature can freely reach a distance roughly as long as its own height without moving than for a giant's reach to be described as I did above.

Extra weapon reach beyond that can be gained with a weapon that explicitly offers more reach, just as for a smaller character. In keeping with the "spells do what they say they do" ethos, enlarging weapons alone does not increase their reach, and so whether or not you buy my arguments about reach changing with enlargement (despite not threatening farther-away squares than before) a character will not be able to reach further than 5' beyond its own square(s), with or without a suddenly enlarged weapon, simply from being subjected to enlargement by any means.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think Enlarge grows your gear and weapon too, so it would get extra reach??? \$\endgroup\$ – KAmber Oct 29 '19 at 21:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KAmber It does grow your gear, otherwise your gear would be too small for you to use. However, Large size creatures using weapons (such as an Ogre with a greatclub) do not automatically have a 10' reach. In short, in accordance with the "Spells do what they say do" rule. If "Enlarge" increased the reach of your weapons, it would say so--just like it says it increases their damage. It does not say so, so the spell does not do that. \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Oct 29 '19 at 21:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @guildsbounty (and @KAmber) That's a good point, and is the correct ruling RAW. I think that the enlarged creature's fundamental reach remaining at 5 feet beyond the squares it occupies should render this moot in practice, though. The weapon reach is determined the same as it would be for a medium creature, since the engagement range and reach are unchanged. I'll remove the Stone Giant's Greatclub part of the quoted text, since that does seem confusing here. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case Oct 29 '19 at 21:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question of whether Enlarged weapons increase their reach had been mostly asked and answered before in Does enlarging a character with a reach weapon affect his threat range?. You could link to that and summarise it, to cover that unsurprising objection that has already come up in these comments. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 29 '19 at 22:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Thank you for the reference, I had missed that question. \$\endgroup\$ – Upper_Case Oct 30 '19 at 2:29
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No; Being Large doesn't inherently increase your reach (from the edge of your space); you just have a larger space to reach from

To quote V2Blast's answer to the question "Does the Primeval Guardian ranger's Guardian Soul feature increase your reach twice?":

In general, creature size is not directly related to reach. It allows you to control a larger portion of the battlefield simply by being larger (and thus blocking a wider area, being able to be adjacent to a greater number of enemies, etc.). Some Large-size (or larger) monsters may have a greater reach, but this does not define a general rule that applies to all creatures of a larger size.

This is supported by the answers to this question: Does enlarging a character with a reach weapon affect his threat range?

Mike Mearls, co-creator and designer of 5e, supports this on Twitter here:

Enlarge Person: Does the attack reach of the target increases with it's size?

only if the spell specifies it does - there's no inherent reach by size IIRC

In short: being Large doesn't automatically affect your reach.

Nothing in the rules states that large creatures automatically have increased reach, and so they do not.

And to quote DaleM's answer to the question "Does enlarging a character with a reach weapon affect his threat range?":

Spells do only what they say they do - Enlarge increases the size by 1 category and increases the size of the weapon (doing more damage) but does not increase the reach of the weapon.

Remember that a creature enlarged from medium to large effectively increases reach by 5 feet (more or less) anyway since it now occupies 10 feet of space rather than 5.

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