Small PC Races Not Moving Slower

For the last few weeks, I've been running a poll that asked "Should small PCs move slower?", based on a prior investigatory post here, which generated several interesting comments. As you can see, the "No" response won out by about a 2-to-1 margin, and that's what I'll henceforth use in my OED-labeled set of house rules for OD&D. Comments like Lord Kilgore's were particularly telling: "I vote YES, because they SHOULD move slower. In practice, I do not play that way because it's usually more trouble than it's worth." I think that largely sums the issue up; from a realism perspective, there's lots of reasons to say "yes", but from a mechanical gameplay perspective, not so much. Previously I've posted what I like to consider the AD&D Golden Rule regarding realism: "This is not to say that where it does not interfere with the flow of the game that the highest degree of realism hasn't been attempted, but neither is a serious approach to play discouraged." So: Stipulated that having small PCs move slower would give a higher degree of realism. Now: Does it interfere with the flow of the game? In my experience, and apparently many of the readers here, the answer is "yes, it does". Therefore, that's not a level of realism that we can afford.


  1. I agree that small races shouldn't move slower. We never played that way back in the day, and nobody had any problem with it.

    Verification word: joutedst - spelling of "jousted" after one too many cups of wine.

  2. My Golden Rule is essentially: "Play as realistically as you can while maintaining maximum fun." Which is about the same thing, in the end. And why I don't make small demi-humans move slower even though they should.

    Besides, Gimli kept up with Aragorn and Legolas in the three day chase after the orcs across Rohan.

  3. "Besides, Gimli kept up with Aragorn and Legolas in the three day chase after the orcs across Rohan."

    I think that's an excellent case study. (Or else a hideous oversight by the author, you pick. :)

  4. I guess I am not clear as to why having small races move slower is so disruptive to play. After all:

    - Different monsters move slower/faster than player characters

    - Characters in armour or with significant encumbrance move slower

    - Haste and Slow spells alter movement

    And yet, folks use these rules without even a hint of complaint. So.... what problem are we solving, here?

    As to the verisimilitude of such a rule, I would point out that, while the hobbits did not slow the Fellowship down, the orcs that had Pippin and Merry did have to carry them because they couldn't keep up.

    Also, how many pygmies (or dwarfs, for that matter) have you seen that have won medals in track and field at the Olympics?

    Note that I am not _strenuously_ lobbying for such a rule, just pointing out (a) there is reason to think such would actually make sense and (b) the reasons given against implementing such seem remarkably non-compelling.

  5. Racially based movement speed would inevitably lead to the extinction of the slower race. That said, since the game is presumed to occur during a past era, it would explain the doom of halflings and dwarves.