Looking at a race based on Hobbits or Halflings, and I am wondering about the average weight and if that is affected by denser muscle mass (than human children of the same height), and the realism of their strength.

Using D&D as my guide, but it seems...high for something that's supposed to weigh only 30 pounds and be 3 feet tall.

At Max strength a light load for a halfling is supposed to be: 57 lb. or less, which is almost x2 their body weight. Light load means they are not encumbered by the weight. Medium is 58-114.75 lb. Heavy is 115-172 lb. Heavy means that you're encumbered significantly but you can manage it.Keep in mind, this is the max ability, so these would be the equivalent of, say, a body builder.

Average strength is 24.5 light load. 25-49.5 Medium & 50-75 Heavy. The light load is such a high number for this, when they only weigh 30 pounds, that I am balking at this being realistic.

Is this strength scale and capacity realistic for a 30 pound, 3ft tall humanoid that isn't child? What would be more realistic if it is not?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Muscle mass & density makes all the difference. A nature program showed a young orangutan with the height of a child and quite wide. It was four times the strength of an adult human being. If your Halflings are powerfully built muscular-wise, they could be formidable depending on what you want. Regretfully, i don't any guides to this kind of strength to size. So this is a comment not an answer. Muscle mass & density counts for a lot. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Feb 11, 2017 at 10:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Consider that a typical sled dog averages about 45-55 lbs (20-15 kg), and a team of them can pull a sled 1000 miles, and then go do it again the next day. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Feb 11, 2017 at 19:22
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf A quadruped hauling something can do more than an upright human any day. $\endgroup$ Feb 11, 2017 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Erin Thursby: Suggest you actually look into the biomechanics of sled dogs. Pound for pound, they are considerably stronger, and have much greater endurance, than humans. Nor is it true that quadrupeds can necessarily carry greater loads than upright humans: a rule of thumb is that a horse can consistently carry about 20% of its body weight: trained humans (e.g. combat troops) typically carry 30-50% body weight. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Feb 12, 2017 at 5:09
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf Yes, know they have more endurance. Not asking about a dog or quadruped. How are dogs similar to an upright humanoid? 20% is the recommendation for horses, but they've been routinely weighed down with more--if it's relevant, it's human/humanoid rates that I care about. $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2017 at 19:39

3 Answers 3


In DnD, carrying capacity is multiplied by a factor related to the size of the creature. The numbers are:

Small ×¾, Tiny ×½, Diminutive ×¼, Fine ×1/8

The standard numbers on the carrying capacity table are meant for medium (normal human) sized bipedal creatures, for a small creature such as a halfling you have to multiply every number by a factor of .75.

Well, this means that your so called 57 lb max is really only 42.5 lbs, which is just over their own body weight. Seeing as most people can do bodyweight exercises, this seems just fine.

You also didn't mention what the strength number you're using is, so I'll assume that you used 14 strength as the base value. However, in DnD, you can roll stats for commoners, which is 3d6 worth of rolls.

It turns out that with 3d6 rolls, about half the people will have scores between 3 and 10. Since we're talking an average person (not a leveled up PC), we should use an average number to determine the max values, not 14 (which is really high).

If we use 9 as the Strength value, then the max value for a normal humanoid is 30 (light), 60 (medium), and 90 (heavy), meaning that for a halfling, the max is 22.5 (light), 45 (medium), and 67.5 (heavy).

Do these numbers make sense? I think they do - the light load for a 3 foot tall human that isn't a child and is probably way more beefed up than a child is around the weight of one dumb bell, which sounds right to me.

Note: I'm assuming that 9 strength would be an average body builder's strength IRL based on deadlift capacity. I don't work out and I can deadlift double my bodyweight properly as a max lift, so for a halfling the numbers seem fine.

Note: DnD 3.5 numbers applied in this answer. Other versioning values may vary.

  • $\begingroup$ Actually I believe 10-11 was meant to be average, reasonably strong person. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Feb 11, 2017 at 10:03
  • $\begingroup$ so a light load would be a little over 18lbs yeah that's pretty reasonable. for comparison a "hobbit" is slightly shorter and heavier than an australopithecus. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Feb 11, 2017 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ I already factored in the 3/4 difference. My totals are WITH the size factored in already. Can you re-answer based on the fact that my totals are correct? $\endgroup$ Feb 11, 2017 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ Go ahead and use what I have rather than whatever you can look up as a jumping off total. There's a lot of different versions of the game out there! These are loads--not one-time things you carry a few feet. Carrying my body weight in a backpack seems like it would encumber? $\endgroup$ Feb 11, 2017 at 15:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Mołot Yes, I was using 10 as the average, and 16 (their max, they are at a -2) as the body builder--although, there is an argument to be made that the average strength for them should be scaled to 8-9, because of the negative. Game mechanics aren't what I am here for though--it's my jumping off point for numbers, but I am trying to determine realistically what they can carry. $\endgroup$ Feb 11, 2017 at 16:00

D&D seems to neglect the relationship between linear dimensions, surface area and volume, and this has consequences that occasionally make the relationship of strength and size in its RAW unrealistic.

For a solid of a given shape, increasing scaling its linear dimensions equally so that its height x1 becomes x2, then the increase in mass is proportional to (x2-x1)^3, and the increase in its surface area is proportional to (x2-x1)^2. this works both ways. This also means that the bigger an animal becomes, the thicker its bones need to be, proportionally to ((x2-x1)^(3/2)).

If we consider a human to be (on average) 180cm (6') tall and 75kg (165lb) in weight, then a Halfling 90cm (3') tall ought to weigh 75*(0.5^3) = 9.3kg (20lb).

If we also consider that an average adult male human can lift around twice his body weight, or 150kg (330 lb), then a Halfling of similar proportions should be able to lift 150*(0.5^(3/2)) = 53kg (116lb), or over five times his own body weight.

Since halflings are derived from Tolkien's hobbits, which are not described as being especially slender or childlike, but have an appearance similar to that of a human, then this is not an unreasonable conclusion.

Carrying this even further, a 5cm tall fairy with similar proportions to an adult male human's should weigh 1.6g (0.003lb), and should be able to lift 694g (1.5lb), which is 433 times their own body weight. This sort of strength is sufficient to make them able to wrestle mice and possibly even rats (up to about 500g) that outweigh them by an enormous factor into submission, since most small animals are also proportionally more slender. Consider a 5cm long grasshopper - its legs (other than its hind legs) look twiglike in comparison to a human scaled down to a similar size. A human-proportioned creature of that size would be a literal superman.

So, to answer the question, 30lb is way over the weight that a human of that size ought to be, by a factor of 50% (maybe these are very fat halflings when compared to humans), but 75lb wouldn't be unrealistic as a heavy load for extended carrying when the maximum weight that such a being ought to be able to lift for brief periods is 116lb.

  • $\begingroup$ "30lb is way over the weight that a human of that size ought to be, by a factor of 50%" No--it's NOT over. A 3 ft tall human child is expected to weigh at least that. I used an online calculator: healthstatus.com/perl/calculator.cgi $\endgroup$ Feb 13, 2017 at 2:23

This is D&D, not reality. So, no, it is not remotely realistic.

Strength is due mostly to muscle mass and leverage. A 30-pound halfling simply doesn't have that much muscle, particularly after you account for bones, skin (the largest organ of the human body) and entrails. Furthermore, without significant increases in joint size you wont get the leverage needed.

  • $\begingroup$ I edited the question--if the answer is no, can you tell me what IS more realistic? $\endgroup$ Feb 11, 2017 at 16:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .