A few days ago I started to finalize the backstory and properties of my newest Pathfinder character, an Elf Paladin. After I got her backstory down and her build laid out I went to the core rulebook to look at those nice tables that give you the ability to randomly roll for height, weight, and age. My 6ft 2in Paladin turned out to be less than 120 pounds. I understand Elves are lithe creatures, but the idea of a gangley 120 pound Paladin made me a little sad. That is until I looked back at her statblock. Her 14 strength is higher than about half my current characters, shes actually kind of powerful for her weight.
Power for weight. Its an important aspect of transportation, but not so important in fighting arenas. But say for just a second, if you had to have any of the core races pull a cart, who would you pick. Before running some numbers I’d chose Half-Orc without blinking, maybe Dwarves ahead or just behind them. I went down the rabbit hole, looked to close to the face of Math-God. I decided to calculate the most effective strength to weight core-races.
For this exercise, I simplified things. I used average rolls for weight, and I averages male and female weights to get an average race-weight. In the core rulebook, the women of core races weight less than the males. Usually not by too much, but it’d be a compounding factor that’d only muddy the result. I also didn’t use any age templates. For their racial statblocks, I used the basic melee NPC statblock. We’re talking about pulling carts, you probably want melee attuned members of your respective race being your imaginary cart-pull representative. For races with an assignable bonus like Humans, Half-Orc, and Half-Elves, that bonus was assigned to Strength. I will also only be noting the pull/drag weight, which is just the maximum load multiplied by 5.
|Race||Base ht||Base wt||Modifier||Wt multiplier||Avg ht||Avg wt||Avg wt/race|
|Human M||58 in||120 lb||11||X5||69 in||175 lb||157.5 lb|
|Human F||53 in||85 lb||11||X5||64 in||140 lb|
|Dwarf M||45 in||150 lb||5||X7||50 in||185 lb||170 lb|
|Dwarf F||43 in||120 lb||5||X7||48 in||155 lb|
|Elf M||64 in||100 lb||9||X3||73 in||127 lb||119 lb|
|Elf F||64 in||90 lb||7||X3||71 in||111 lb|
|Gnome M||36 in||35 lb||5||X1||41 in||40 lb||37.5 lb|
|Gnome F||34 in||30 lb||5||X1||39 in||35 lb|
|Half-E M||62 in||110 lb||9||X5||71 in||155 lb||145 lb|
|Half-F F||60 in||90 lb||9||X5||69 in||135 lb|
|Half-O M||58 in||150 lb||13||X7||71 in||241 lb||221 lb|
|Half-O F||53 in||110 lb||13||X7||66 in||201 lb|
|Halfling M||32 in||30 lb||5||X1||37 in||35 lb||32.5 lb|
|Halfling F||30 in||25 lb||5||X1||35 in||30 lb|
|Base Melee NPC||Human||Dwarf||Elf||Gnome||Half-Elf||Half-Orc||Halfling|
In the end we end up with varied weights, but only 3 different strength amounts; 11, 13, and 15. The push/drag capacity of 11 Str is 575lb, 13 Str is 750lb, and 15 Str is 1,000lb.
Next we’ll take the average racial weight and divide the races carrying capacity by that. With that we’ll get pounds per pounds also known as “How many times body weight”.
|Race||Push/Drag Load||Avg Race Wt||Lb/Lb (x*body wt)|
|Human||1,000 lb||157.5 lb||6.35 Lb/Lb|
|Dwarf||750 lb||170 lb||4.41 Lb/Lb|
|Elf||750 lb||119 lb||6.3 Lb/Lb|
|Gnome||575 lb||37.5 lb||15.33 Lb/Lb|
|Half-Elf||1,000 lb||145 lb||6.9 Lb/Lb|
|Half-Orc||1,000 lb||221 lb||4.52 Lb/Lb|
|Halfling||575 lb||32.5 lb||17.7 Lb/Lb|
Things are pretty even across the board. All the medium sized races have Lb/Lb ratios between 4.4 and 6.35. Elves have the lowest load capability, but are slighter in build and able to keep relative pace with the other medium races. The denser Half-Orc and Dwarves score lower Lb/Lb rations, even though they’re your traditional “strong” races. The small sized races break this math however. Being able to pull/drag an astonishing 15.33 times their body weight, Gnomes are outdone by their Halfling betters who can pull/drag 17.7 times their own body weight! Pound, for Pound Halflings are the strongest core race. Horray Frodo!
Below, for some real world reference I made another chart detailing some other feats of strength.
|Entity||Push/Drag Load||Average Wt||Lb/Lb|
|Bengal Tiger||1,213 lb||430 lb||2.82|
|Valiant the Dog||1,000 lb||103 lb||9.7|
|Kevin Fast||416,299 lb||300 lb||1,388|
Pound for pound, humans are stronger than the most numerous of Tiger species. This does not mean you should go out and mess with Tigers. Absolute strength is still a thing. There’s that random fact we all learned in school that ant can lift 100 times their body weight. Have you ever been moved by an ant? Didn’t think so. The last man on the list there, Kevin Fast pulled an airplane, 1,388 times his body weight, for about 30 seconds. The values in the Pathfinder core rulebook seem to approximate burden weights, not feats of strength. Just wait for Kevin Never-Fast the Halflings double airplane pull, it’ll be the stuff of legends.
**Barbarian in the comments caught my slip up about small and large characters. Rather than edit the article I just want you to direct down to the comments for the correct numbers.**