Greetings all, new member here, but very long time Dark Sun player. Great to see a lively and active community here talking about Dark Sun, and it’s a veritable Heward’s Handy Haversack of resources, too!
Anyways, I’m looking to kick of a new Dark Sun campaign for my regular group in a couple of months time, and I’m wanting half giants to be large, because let’s face it, we’re all wanting to revisit those halcyon days of 2E Dark Sun. But when reading general 5E, I often see comments about large characters being especially problematic in 5E. I can only assume that this is due to concerns around reach, and attacks of opportunity etc, but wondered if others had tried large half giants in 5E, and had come across any specific issues with it, or not?
There’s no major issues to making them large. I do so in my 5e dark sun game and while there hasn’t been a player choose the race, it’s pretty balanced and follows most of the 5e design methodology.
The only two perceived problems that get repeated a lot, are weapon damage and area of effect spell effects.
For weapon damage, some people seem to think that you should use the same method as the monster manual, and double the weapon damage dice. This is not a good idea and it definitely overpowered. Monsters and PC’s use totally separate mechanics when determining damage so yeah, don’t use the monster manual method. I just allow half-giant characters to pay double the cost for a half-giant sized weapon. It weighs twice what a normal one does, and its damage dice is increased by 1 die type. So a longsword does 1d10, a greatsword 2d8, etc.
For spells and effects, the argument is that some spells or effects that create an “emanation” effect from your token receive a boost from you having a larger token. I don’t really understand the issue on this one frankly as large monsters would receive the same buff. Is spirit guardians really that much stronger because it’s got a extra 5 feet of radius when the half-giant casts it? I don’t think it is. Especailly since that same half-giant is likely going to be way easier to target by the monsters due to not being able to take cover behind smaller tokens and obstacles, and they can be surrounded by way more enemies than a medium sized token.
This is interpreting that the rules apply the same to NPC/Creatures as they do to PC’s which is not the case in 5E as @Superchunk77 mentioned.
Now if you as the GM want to apply the double damage to PC you can, just as you can say that a PC who is large does weapon damage 1 increment higher than normal: 1d8 is now 1d10, and so on. Or you could add damage as per the enlarge spell.
unlike in 3E, In 5E PCs and NPCs behave differently even if they were the same class.
Pg. 278 DMG “Big monsters typically wield oversized weapons that deal extra dice of damage on a hit. Double the weapon dice if the creature is Large, triple the weapon dice if it’s Huge, and quadruple the weapon dice if it’s Gargantuan.” - THIS IS FOR MONSTERS/NPC’s
This does not mean that a large PC automatically gets to double their dice (unless you as the DM want it to.)
For example, being enlarged via Enlarge/Reduce gives you +1d4 in damage dice. If an enlarged PC grabbed a giants large greatsword they would still do 2d6+1d4. Nothing in the published rules support large PC’s so your applying a 5e NPC rule to a PC, in lieu of a rule that does not exist.
Now perhaps when Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants we may get large PC rules. hopefully we’ll both know this summer.
I think that the point is in the weapon. A weapon makes the same base damage no matter the hands it is in. A Large Greatsword must make a bigger damage then a medium one, because it is heavier. So, let’s wait the guide of the Giants but I mantain my position, Large characters do present some trouble. Troubles that are easily resolved making medium characters with powerful build.
I’ve have also used the large weapon damage on one version of Volga, the half-giant pregen for my convention adventures. But for my campaigns i treat it large like the enlarge spell due to the pc races having more race abilities.
At any rate we looked at this issue in depth when discussing the Half-Giant for a 5e conversion project. Basically the only inherent thing about being large that was a real problem was the potential to use large weapons as described ala monsters manual. As long as you nerf that you should be good. Reach isn’t an inherent aspect of being large so you would need to specifically give them reach if you wanted them to have it. There are a lot of disadvantages to being large to go with the advantages such as not being able to hide, obtain cover, or handle small object as easily. As well as requiring more food and water and appropriately sized equipment being more expensive and less available.
My suggestion for larger weapons. Let them wield two-handed and versatile weapons in one hand while still gaining the versatile damage die. If they wield a half-giant sized two-handed weapon give them a +2 to damage over what a normal two-handed weapon would get and maybe reach.
Have played enough 2nd, 3rd and 4th edition to be aware of the ramifications of reach – my group plays 5E, but we use the 4th ed. version of reach, 5 foot steps, and proving opportunity attacks when you walk through an opponent’s threat range, not when you leave it – but am very comfortable with making that an advantage of being a large character. The disadvantages to which are heightened in the Dark Sun, which balances this out.
I hadn’t thought about the effect on spell radius however, so thanks for that heads up. I agree that it isn’t a deal breaker, and that just going with an extra 5ft radius/effect, but will be conscious of particularly opportunistic players looking to exploit this.