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Spells which affect an area (e.g. ice storm) tend to have a set damage regardless of how much of the creature's body is within the affected area.

Intuitively (I know this isn't how D&D always works) if a 5ft square of a creature's body within the area being bombarded by ice shards causes them to take 2d8 damage then you would expect a large creature (having two or more 5ft squares being bombarded) to take more damage as more ice hits them.

The question isn't "does ice storm work this way" but are there any methods of dealing damage that do work this way? Taking creature size into account when calculating how much damage would be taken?

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I could find no such feature; here are the best I could find

  • The Githzerai Anarch has a Lair Action to move an object and the DC changes based on the object's size:

The anarch can magically move an object it can see within 150 feet of it by making a Wisdom check with advantage. The DC depends on the object's size: DC 5 for Tiny, DC 10 for Small, DC 15 for Medium, DC 20 for Large, and DC 25 for Huge or larger.

  • The animate objects spell has the damage of the animated object depend on the size of the object being animated.

  • Some things, such as the telekinesis and resilient sphere spells, only work on creatures of specific sizes.

  • Some things, such as Shoving A Creature and the Halfling's Nimbleness, only work on creatures of specific sizes relative to the user.

  • Some things, such as the whirlwind and thorn whip spells, have additional effects on creatures of specific sizes.

  • Some things, such as the Crusher Feat, have additional effects on creatures of specific sizes relative to the user.

  • Some things, such as the ensnaring strike spell, grant advantage to creatures of specific sizes.

  • Some things, such as the enlarge/reduce spell, and creatures, such as the Duergar, have damage dice change alongside size changes. These, however, do not scale up to larger sizes.

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A couple of edge cases spring to mind:

Fall damage

Picture two creatures hanging from the ceiling of a tall room. If one is 10 ft taller than the other, it has 10 ft less to fall before hitting the ground. Therefore, taking the creatures size into account it would take 1d6 less damage.

Dimension Door mishap damage

If you would arrive in a place already occupied by an object or a creature, you and any creature traveling with you each take 4d6 force damage, and the spell fails to teleport you.

It is plausible that the result of a Dimension Door is dependent on a creature's size. One creature might be able to teleport into a small space; the other might be too large and unable to do so without occupying the wall and taking force damage.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for the corner case of fall damage. For what it's worth, you overlooked the simpler case: reverse gravity affecting targets of different heights in an indoor space. \$\endgroup\$
    – screamline
    Jul 15 at 2:10
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It depends very much on a situation.

If some characters are falling to a chasm then I don't think the size has any effect on damage. However, falling from a large tree is different for humans and haflings, for example. For me at least. For the record, halflings are small Consider a situation when a grown man is falling from the tree and a child. My money is on the child.

Spells complicates things even more. Tossing a fireball at a dragon you don't usually consider it's size. I mean, white dragon can be quite big Gargantuan means 20x20 ft. that is 4x4 tiles on standard tactical map. So, theoretically, fireball can reach all 4 front (let's call them that) tiles of a dragon. Aiming at the middle of the dragon you'll get a half sphere with a 20ft radius, so 40ft of diameter over the width of dragon and 20ft perpendiculary to this. In my opinion if a ice storm has damage per tile effect then fireball also should. How about fire storm? In my games you can deal 70d6 dmg with fire storm(7d6 per cube). To provide some context, Meteor Swarm deals 40d6 dmg. On the other hand, meteor swarm's description explicitly says: A creature in the area of more than one fiery burst is affected only once.

I'll say talk with your gm and decide how you'll be calculating this. I did't find any rules about this type of AoE damage.

In my opinion "damage per tile" effect will be overpowered, I don't think D&D was balanced with this idea.

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    \$\begingroup\$ On the subject of size of creature and falls, I recall picturing a very … vivid image upon hearing the saying: “You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft and, on arriving at the bottom, it gets a slight shock and walks away. A rat is killed, a man is broken, horse splashes.” — J.B.S. Haldane \$\endgroup\$ Jul 15 at 6:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @fyrepenguin But a cat, which is larger than a rat but smaller than a human, might walk away relatively unharmed, so it's not all about size. Some animals, like cats, are just better at preparing themselves for a soft landing by spreading their bodies out to reduce terminal velocity and using the time to rotate into the ideal orientation. (And some birds are even larger than cats, but won't take any damage at all since they can fly...) \$\endgroup\$ Jul 15 at 13:37

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