The creatures that populate a Dungeons and Dragons game come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s a need for rules that explain how they interact with the world based on these factors. DnD sizes do more than just tell you how big and imposing your dungeon bosses are. They’re crucial to understand in a combat situation, and they’re just as key for exploring and adventuring in general.
Below you’ll find a complete DnD sizes chart, as well as some tips on how 5e sizes will really affect you in-game. Once you’ve got sizes nailed, DnD classes, DnD races, and DnD character creators are your next stops for all things D&D character-building.
What does size mean in D&D?
A creature can be one of six sizes in D&D 5e:
We know what all these words mean in concept, but how do they translate to D&D mechanics? The size of a character or creature has multiple effects in-game:
Creatures of different sizes occupy different amounts of space on your battle maps. The Player’s Handbook defines space as “the area in feet it effectively controls in combat”. Both Small and Medium creatures take control a 5′ x 5′ area, but this doesn’t mean humans, elves, and goblins are all five foot cubes; that’s just the space they can comfortably act in without needing to move. We’ve included the DnD size chart later in this article for reference.
A creature’s size defines the space it takes up, and this sets a limit on how many foes can surround it in combat. For example, a Medium DnD Fighter will take up a single five-by-five square on your battlemap. Assuming all attackers are the same (Medium) size, eight of them can surround the Fighter, each taking up their own five-by-five square.
The bigger the creature, the more squares surround it, and thus more enemy fighters can get into contact with it at once. At the same time, fewer larger creatures can surround something smaller.
All creatures can squeeze through gaps one size smaller than themselves. This means a Large creature can fit through a space big enough for a Medium creature, a Medium creature a Small one, and so on.
This has a bit of a strange effect on Medium creatures, who occupy the same five-by-five space as a Small creature. If you check out the DnD size chart below, you’ll see Medium creatures, by the RAW rules, can squeeze through a space the same size as they currently occupy. This seems to cancel out the squeeze entirely.
A DM may tweak this using common sense and more details (height and weight for example, which don’t have clear direct relation to size in the rules), but it’s something to be aware of.
In combat, there needs to be a difference of at least two sizes between hostile creatures, before one can move through the other’s space. For example, a Medium Barbarian 5e can’t move through a Large DnD monster’s space, but can move through a Huge foe’s area. That Barbarian would also struggle to block a Tiny enemy trying to get past.
Some creatures have abilities that allow them to move through spaces despite this limitation.
Carrying capacity is typically a creature’s Strength multiplied by 15, while the amount a character can push, drag, or lift is twice as much again. Carrying capacity largely relies on a character’s Strength score, but size factors in too.
According to the Player’s Handbook, “for each size category above Medium, double the creature’s carrying capacity and the amount it can push, drag, or lift”. It also says to “halve these weights” for Tiny creatures.
Characters can’t be grappled by a monster that is two or more sizes smaller than them. Similarly, a character can’t grapple a creature that’s more than one size bigger; a Small DnD Halfling character can only grapple Medium foes, not Large ones.
Weapons and armour
DnD weapons have many characteristics of their own, one of which is being ‘heavy’. Heavy weapons are naturally pretty bulky, and this means Small or Tiny creatures will struggle to use them. Any creature of this size will have disadvantage on all their attack rolls when trying to use a Heavy weapon.
The rules for DnD armor are a bit looser; with the right proficiencies and DnD stats, smaller characters can wear any armour they like. A DM may choose to impose additional rules for equipment sizes, however. The Player’s Handbook calls these “common sense” – a DnD Gnome would be too small to fit in the armour of a tall DnD Tiefling, for example.
DnD size chart 5e
Here’s the DnD 5e size chart:
|Size||Space||Squeezing space||Carrying capacity|
|Tiny||2.5 by 2.5 feet||<2.5 by 2.5 feet||Str x 7.5|
|Small||5 by 5 feet||2.5 by 2.5 feet||Str x 15|
|Medium||5 by 5 feet||5 by 5 feet||Str x 15|
|Large||10 by 10 feet||5 by 5 feet||Str x 30|
|Huge||15 by 15 feet||10 by 10 feet||Str x 60|
|Gargantuan||20 by 20 feet (or larger)||15 by 15 feet||Str x 120|
It can be a struggle to visualise the difference in size between creatures when playing purely with pen and paper; check out our guide to the best DnD miniatures if you want to represent your games with some 3D figures.