My GM has given my rogue (Shadow Fey pretending to be a drow) a cursed ring that has every spell a wizard/sorcerer knows in it. The limitations are that it can only cast up to one lvl 9 spell a day. In theory I can have a bunch of lvl 1's some, lvl 2's and so on as long as it doesn't exceed a lvl 9 spell. No word yet on cantrips.

This is an RP-heavy game. The cost of the ring that is for every spell I cast I lose an inch of character height that is equal to the spell level. A lvl 1 spell costs me 1 inch and a lvl 9 would cost my character 9 inches. Sure I can cast a wish spell but then my 5'7" rogue becomes a 4'10" rogue, with all the issues that would in theory incur from my rapid loss of height, weight, width, depth and volume.

It's an RP-heavy game, and I love that. But I am very much a "the rules say this" kind of player, and I would like know how to judge this as I shrink so I know is when it starts to impact my strength score. I'm aware that a halfing can't carry as much as a normal human and a human can't carry as much as a giant. Part of the game play is dealing with the increasingly expanding world around my haughty rogue. My 10-lbs chain shirt should in theory start becoming heavier and impacting my ability to dodge; ill-fitting armor would cause a problem as it's non-magical. My 2-lbs rapier will become large and unwieldy, and I'd suffer an attack penalty. My strength score of 11 means I'm now carrying less than my 38 light load would indicate because I'm slowly reducing in all directions. My movement speed of 30' should start to become 20 somewhere around being 3' feet tall.

What is the best way to handle this gradual scale down of character height, as I lose height with each spell cast from the ring?

I know that for older characters there are stat degradation, but I've never heard of one for slowly shrinking.


3 Answers 3


By the rules, nothing would really happen with your stats until you hit the point where you traverse from Medium to Small, at which your stats change (probably -2 STR +2 DEX) and you can't use most of your gear anymore. Then more bad stuff would happen when you hit Tiny, etc.

Where, exactly, you hit these changes in size is up to the DM, but probably it should be around the max-height point of a Halfling, or the min-height point of someone of your own species.

Trying to update the rules for every few inches seems to be rather annoying and probably won't add much value to the actual game. The RP repercussions can of course be played out all the time.

You can roleplay your armor not fitting as well or your weapon being big, but having to remember a large number of penalties and bonuses and recalculating them every time will probably detract from the game, not add to it.

(Also, if you can cast 9th level spells, you might be fairly easily able to offset the shrinking anyway. This cursed item should be Artifact level if it wants to be an actual curse, otherwise you can just use its Wish power to grow back to original height.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I would imagine that the wish spell would not in fact change the character's height. It's kinda supposed to teach my rogue humility, of course I have no idea what my cursed ring does in character yet so I'd have to figure it out. Right now I just have a ring that doesn't come off my finger. The DM trusts me not to be to meta about the power I now have access too. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 15, 2017 at 11:52
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @J.E.Flint if the ring's effect is powerful enough to thwart a Wish, then it's almost certainly an Artifact. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Mar 15, 2017 at 11:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would agree, but it's honestly information I don't have at this point. Since it's supposed to be a punishment I can't see this item undoing the damages it has caused my rogue. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 15, 2017 at 12:22

Typical sizes for creatures can be found in Glossary under Size: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/basics-ability-scores/glossary/#Size

Usually, a change of one step in size category amounts to doubling or halving the height of the creature; hence, a reasonable ruling would be that once you are of half your starting height, you are of small size.

Creature gains some of strength, constitution and natural armour when it grows, and might lose dexterity. Supposing the changes work in reverse when becoming smaller, going from medium to small would give -4 str, +2 dex, -2 con; see the relevant table at http://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/rules-for-monsters/monster-advancement/

Using weapons suitable for inappropriately sized creatures gives an additional -2 penalty to hit. I'm not aware of similar rules for armours, so presumably armour of incorrect size is simply unusable.

If your character spends a long time in a somewhat diminished but not quite small size, then you might decide to come up with some intermediate steps or size categories between small and medium, but such are not covered by the standard rules.

Also recall the usual effects of size; an easy way of finding these is under the racial traits of gnomes or halflings, for example.

You might also consider changing the movement speed(s) of the character, as many small humanoids have base land speed of 20' rather than the default 30' of e.g. humans. This is especially true if the character is reduced to tiny size or smaller; their relative speed would be vastly increased. This is not, to the best of my knowledge, covered by Pathfinder rules as written.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought there was a rule that magical armor sized to fit, but I can't find it, maybe I'm thinking of another game. In 3.5 at least d20srd.org/srd/equipment/armor.htm (armor for unusual creatures table) seems to support your assessment IMO. Otherwise all medium creatures should be wearing small armor to save themselves some encumbrance;) \$\endgroup\$
    – joedragons
    Mar 19, 2017 at 14:17

If your DM rules that as you shrink you also change size categories (there's no actual rule about what actual size things go in each category, and sometimes things that are smaller are a larger size category while larger things have a smaller category), then you will get the benefits and penalties of being very small as time goes on. You can read more about that here.


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