Wound Levels for Tiny Creatures

Realms of Power: Faerie has a table on page 49 stating that really small creatures do not have the ability to take Light Wounds — any damage kills them. That is not in the core, and thus was not applied to books earlier than RoP:F. I rather doubt it was consistently applied after that, either.

It is a sensible table. Is it worth the extensive errata that would result?

Opinions, please.


In my opinion, yes it is worth the errata.

If you don't wan to hunt down every creature that would be affected, might I suggest putting that table in the Errata? that way, everyone who has the errata has easy access to it.

Yes, I think that errata is needed. Right now there are some oddities caused by this, such as mice (Size -10) being harder to kill than a raven (Size -4).

Might as well also clarify the fact that is a wound level is not available to a small creature, it is the next more severe wound level that is applied (for spell which inflict Wounds directly instead of through damage). I may have missed it, but con't find such a statement anywhere.


There is no such statement, due to the lack of any statement about particular wound levels not being available to small creatures.
The aforementioned table just says what wound is taken for a given value of (Damage Total - Soak Total). It does not say anything one way or the other about wound levels not showing up for a given Size.


I vote yes it is worth it.

It avoids oddities such as near unkillable wee beasties.

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After two rounds or playtesting and 14 years of use we are considering an errata for the Wound levels on things smaller than a finch...I'm not sure what that says about our community. 8)

Insofar as my quick scan can tell, this affects 5 monsters from that book (Toy Soldier, Brownie, Sprite. Fool's Fire and Dwarf/Gnome/Goblin (for the smallest Size). As to other books, I don't know - the size range below -4 isn't much used for combat opponents.

Am I right in thinking that you want each Wound Level to have a value of 1 rather than the implied 0? In a game where a CrIg4 spell does +5 damage it seems like much of a muchness.

Personally, I've got no problem with tiny creatures dying as soon as they have the tiniest amount of damage, but I presume I wrote that table, so, of course, I'd say that.


No, it doesn't: the way that shrinking ups Quickness makes them difficult to hit. Giving them Wound penalties if you do them (in the Fool's Fire case) somewhere between 1 and 4 (inclusive) damage doesn't help compared to killing them on the first tap.

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Did you reply to me by mistake? I am in favor of using the table for everything and our group actually plays with it. The "unkillable wee beasties" comment was about things like a mouse have 5 wound levels and more soak than far larger creatures under current RAW without the table.

I think we need to clarify one way or another- either this rule only applies to faeries 9who ca recover from being killed) or it is universal. Either case should be explicitly stated.

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After some thought, my opinion is no, it's not worth it. And I think it's less sensible than it might appear; in fact, less sensible than the corebook table.

The table in RoP:F attempts to deal with creatures much smaller than Size -4. Intuitively, an adder (size -4) should be much tougher than a mouse (size -10), and this is not reflected in the corebook Damage Table - they both use the size -4 or less line. But this issue can always be managed by tweaking Soak - which is something that scales to arbitrarily small size.

Instead, the table in RoP:F adds complications to differentiate creatures of size -4 to -8, but:
a) it really does not solve the issue with the corebook, that just gets "postponed" to size -8: a butterfly has the same Damage Table entry as the toad that supposedly can eat it in one flick of the tongue.
b) it prevents tiny creatures from being "wounded": they are either perfectly fine or dead. So how about the boy who finds a wounded nightingale and nurtures it to life etc. etc.? In general, combat between tiny animals becomes less realistic if using the RoP:F table.
c) it generates all sorts of trouble with effects that e.g. cause the target to lose a non-existing wound level. Sure, those can be clarified, but it gets all very cumbersome.
d) it's less elegant and harder to remember than the table in the corebook.

So, I would instead correct with an erratum the table in RoP:F, to bring it back in line with ArM5, and somewhere (maybe ArM5) I'd note that although tiny beasts all use the same line in the damage table, a mouse (size -10) obviously has a much lower Soak than an adder (size -4), so it's comparatively easier to kill for small opponents like e.g. a cat.


Oh, I completely misunderstood you. Sorry!

Actually, a general rule that Size modifies the Soak score would make a lot of sense in general. But I haven't examined it closely, so it may also have unintended consequences. Maybe an adjustment should only be applied when the creatures fighting are of different Size.

On the other hand, right now the guideline to kill an insect is PeAn Base 30, the same as for a pony (Size +1). This feels wrong. Modifying Soak will not solve that problem.


The problem is that PeAn (and PeCo) existing guidelines are "size-independent" effects, such as causing the victim to die of a heart attack, or to lose use of a limb. For those guidelines, it does make sense that harming a tiny animal shouldn't be much easier than harming a pony: a heart attack is just as lethal for both.

Then again, with T:Group you can kill many more insects than ponies. For a single spell, should it be that much easier to kill 10 million bees than to kill 10 ponies?

If that's an issue, I'd rather add to PeCo/PeAn a General guideline to cause raw, soakable damage; or maybe one to harm based on Size.


I always though that playing with Soak at the extremes would help a lot with the oddities from extreme sizes... right now a +1000 size creature for example could receive a nearly guaranteed Light Wound from an ant attacking it xD

Extremes sizes in general are very weird in ArM

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It does cause two sorts of problems (that the original ArM5 table does not cause, or at least not to the same extent).

First, it makes it impossible to have "wounded tiny animals" - the mouse or songbird that the main character of so many stories rescues and eventually nurtures back to health. Of, course, you can handwave the rules in those situations, but that just highlights there's a real problem with the RoP:F mechanics.

Second, it makes fights between tiny animals less realistic. I once played in a saga where PCs were all magical mice trying to convince human mages to bind them (and help them recover their ancestral murine home). It would have been much harder to have those mice fight each other (and other creatures of roughly the same size) if any fight to first blood had been a fight to the death.

Truth be told, under both ArM5 and RoP:F there's the problem that fights between small creatures are much more "extreme" than fights between man-sized creatures (i.e. a single blow can have a much wider range of effects, due to the fact that the d10 does not "scale down" with wound ranges) but with the RoP:F table it's strictly worse for creatures of size less than -4.

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With any ruleset, there's usually a trade off. As this is a game with humans in the centre, I'm less concerned about the realism of a fight between mices than I am about the difficulty of killing lice.

I agree with ezzelino, I don't think it's wort it.

At the time we are talking about a size 0 character fighting a creature size 5 or larger, or size -5 or smaller, rules are already breaking. This isn't just a matter of changing the wound penalties anymore, but that of more extensive changes to the combat system.

With the damage table on pg. 171 of the corebook there's already little practical difference between damaging a size -4 and a size -10 creature: on average, any +1 damage will cause 6 total damage, and kill both of them. Particularities might be reasonably solved by Soak, but overall I don't see any upgrade in adopting the table from RoP:F.

Regarding the difficulty to kill small enemies (be them animals or any other Form) through hermetic Perdo (Form) spells, this is a particularity of the system. Hermetic Magic is also worse at affecting Part than the Whole of something and we don't frame it as a bug, but as a feature.


I'd go beyond and say that, since that section of RoP:F is concerned with the design of faerie characters, and to some degree in what makes a suitable faerie player character, making any hit against a character even more of an instakill makes for a worse game by making it harder to play as a small member of the good folk.

So if anything, instead of an errata to make RoP:F p.49 apply to other creatures, I'd make an errata to make ArM5e pg.171 apply to faeries.

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Why I prefer the RoP:F table: For example, I think it's really stupid that a child swatting a mosquito, assuming they hit, will probably not kill the mosquito due to their negative Str if they have to reach +5.

Why I don't mind an easier PeAn kill: Animal already treats super-tiny stuff as easier to mess around with, such as growing via MuAn. If it's easier those those Animal spells, why not for PeAn as well. So I would be fine with PeAn 5 killing a mosquito outright.

Why I'm not so thrilled with trying to fix Size in general: Size is really messed up, unfortunately. While it's harder to kill a big thing, it is so much easier to damage it so it's ineffective. I don't think this reflects reality well, and I think it makes fighting dragons and the like worse in a game where that sort of thing should be more exciting. Meanwhile, such dragons should be able to do about nothing more they lie still because their Strength is tiny; while I haven't worked it out carefully, Str increasing on a pyramid scale (Size +1 -> Str +1, Size +2 -> Str +3, Size +4 -> Str +6, Size +4 -> Str+10, etc.) would probably work a ton better, as +2 Str/Size is woefully small. Trying to fix all of this would require quite an overhaul, way too much for errata. And if we were to try to fix Size, we might as well go back and fix animals, as animals in general are an even bigger mess than just their Size. It's probably better to just accept its limitations. If this were for 6th edition, I would be happy to provide a much more thorough analysis of these problems and how many of them could be fixed relatively easily, but not for the errata.

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I think it needs an erratum, but this could be as simple as cross-referencing conflicting rules, and leave it to the troupe to sort out. The big problem with contradictions is not that there is an error, but the confusion of it, when players have read different rules and cannot remember where.

An erratum will not fix any problems in regular combat. Somebody already pointed out that the combat rules break when sizes go beyond ±5, and I remember a canon statement confirming that they never aimed to design a combat system for such sizes. The size rules really do not matter; each group need to find their own ways to adjudicate fights between armed children and mosquitoes.

The question came up in a different thread asking if PeAn can kill tiny creatures with something less then L30. The RoP:F table gives a way out. If the only wound level is dead, a light wound has to mean dead, and PeAn kills vermin more effectively than elephants. The real question here is really what is intended with the PeAn guidelines and other rules which make direct wounds without damage totals and soak. While the RoP:F table opens for an argument, it remains ambiguous, as it does not tell what is supposed to happen when an impossible wound type is inflicted. Hence the useful erratum would be to the PeAn guidelines, if it is supposed to be easier to squash flies with PeAn ... Is it, @David_Chart ?

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