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Arcane Focus: What's the Use of Enlarge Reduce?

By @DIYDungeonmaster

Magic is a pervasive force in our fantastical worlds. It's laced into our very beings, it inhabits the rocks and trees and it weaves together the infinite mysteries of the cosmos. It does all sorts!

Magic can wrench souls from our bodies, erupt into fireballs and elude with dissonant whispers, it can also make us BIGGER and smaller.

Here we will focus on such a spell called Enlarge Reduce, before seeing what fun things Players and DMs alike have used it for.

First thing's first: What is Enlarge Reduce?

By casting this spell "you cause a creature or an object you can see within range to grow larger or smaller for the Duration [...]

Enlarge. The target's size doubles in all dimensions and its weight is multiplied by eight.

Reduce. The target's size is halved in all dimensions, and its weight is reduced to one-eighth of normal."

Now bear in mind, this is Enlarge Reduce in a nutshell. It has some intricacies to the ruling, which we will refer to when relevant.

A Player enlarged has a buff to strength and deals some extra damage when it comes to laying the smackdown. While a Player reduced has the opposite effect.

There are so many creative, ingenious and downright evil uses for Enlarge Reduce that I can't cover them all in one article. You can find what our community has said over on:

Here are some of my picks for some original uses of Enlarge Reduce from the community. We'll discover what buggery Players and DMs have gotten out of this spell. We'll first look at the spell's application to role-play, then how the spell has been utilized in combat.

Dealing with Doors.

One for you mischievous types out there, Andrew puts it eloquently:

"1) Pebble goes into Keyhole. 2) Enlarge. 3) $$$"

A Sorcerer short on cash, snooping 'round or in need to escape from a cell can easily jimmy a lock this way.

However, rules-wise, there is a caveat in the ruling:

"If there isn't enough room for the target to double its size, the creature or object attains the maximum possible size in the space available."

This can throw a spanner in the works, or a pebble in the lock, if you find yourself at the mercy of the DM's discretion. I personally take a leaf out of Captain Barbossa's book that the rules "are more like guidelines", so if the "rule of cool" applies to your game, there's one trick to get you into some shenanigans.

Handy Transport.

Antony has a handy way to get around:

"Cast reduce on Gnome.

Cast Mage Hand.

Mage Hand carries Gnome!"

Gnomes and Halflings are already rather small folk, but with an ingenious use of Reduce coupled with a sometimes overlooked cantrip, you're in for an easy ride for the duration of the spell.

This is a clever way to help to negate potential athletics/acrobatics checks and saves, which Wizards aren't famous for passing, when, for instance, climbing a cliff face, descending a sheer drop or traversing whatever lies in wait for you in the treacherous tales the DM weaves for you.

One for the Bards.

For the Bards out there, Travis has our backs:

"Reduce + school uniform + shaving kit = best disguise ever."

For you pesky Bards of Lore out there, you can definitely utilize Reduce, should you be inclined to steal some magical secrets.

When you're feeling like a lil stinker and want to sneak around in places you really shouldn't, you can fool some lowly guards and have a right knees up with your friends with this one.

The duration of the spell may spice things up, but if you have the spell slots, you have the time! If not, you can get the jump on them if you've not the inclination to keep up the ruse. Either way, you're cooking with gas.

(I am stealing that one for my game)

There are some great uses for Enlarge Reduce outside of combat that help you avert or find trouble and creatively get yourself to wherever your adventure takes you.

Now let's lay the smackdown and see what our Players have in store when going toe-to-toe with the bad guys:

Super Mighty Fighter T-Rex.

We're starting off big... Scotland had a really cool experience running for a group that utilized Enlarge within a three spell combo to make their own Godzilla-sized clash of titans:

"As a DM, my players took on an ancient black dragon by hitting the fighter with Enlarge, Flying and Polymorph into a T-Rex. Needless to say, I was not prepared for that move."

I think it's fair to say, if anyone's group pulls the rug from underneath them with this doozy, I don't think they'd be prepared either. Game on.

This one is a tricky maneuver to pull off, as Flying and Polymorph are also concentration spells, so you'd need all your spellcasters to synergize and keep concentration for the duration of combat; but I think the Dragon will be more worried by the flying T-rex coming to hurt them than to worry about the casters, lest the Dragon be the wiser of course, but who doesn't want to see a big flying Dino fight?

Artillery support.

Joshua has a simple, yet great way to become a demolitions expert:

"Cast on an arrow in mid-flight, became a ballista bolt"

When one is stuck with your run-of-the-mill shaft, you're punctured. When one is stuck with an enlarged shaft, half your torso is obliterated.

This is a great way to skewer larger opponents, shatter through some weaker structures and potentially act as a battering ram should the arrowhead be removed.

The Goliath Flip.

When in need to stop a convoy or rob a wagon of traders, Greg has you covered:

"Player was a Goliath. Used Reduce to sneak under a wagon full of soldiers then Enlarged to throw the wagon. I probably "rule of cool" that one but the visual was totally worth it"

Oh, the fear in those poor soldiers' eyes as they began to levitate ominously before eating dirt. What a feat of barbaric strength and cunning ingenuity to take on what could've been a hefty combat scenario. Points of inspiration to both those tenacious Players for some clever use of both Enlarge and Reduce.

So there you have it, an Arcane Focus of Enlarge Reduce. Let us know if you have any cool ways to get in or out of trouble with this spell over on the community link at the top.

(Insta:) @diydungeonmaster is a professional Voice Actor, Dungeon Master for hire, and Artist based in Cardiff, UK. The DIYDM Studio will open in mid-August 2021 to bring a space for an immersive Dungeons & Dragons experience to Cardiff. Virtual and physical sessions available soon.

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