Stop Measuring in Units We Don't Use (Feet and Minutes)

65 posts / 0 new
Last post
Players don't use feet at the table.  We use squares.  4E admitted to this and you're regressing to the bad old days of having to divide by five.  Much of the world doesn't know what 5 feet means.

Solution: Divide all measurements of distance (speed, range, AoE) by five and call them what we ACTUALLY USE... squares or spaces.  Combat happens on a grid, not with rulers.  If you've used your own products you'd know this.

Minutes, hours and days are pretty meaningless in mechanics.  Combat does not last minutes.  It's not divided into seconds.  It's turns and rounds.  We don't deal in 6 minutes... we deal in scenes and actions.  Days are more of a problem than a benefit as they lead to the five minute work day.  Have powers recharge based on something in the story.

Solution: Use the units of time that we ACTUALLY USE... rounds, turns, scenes, etc.

All depends on how you played the game. I definitely made use of days and hours. Minutes not so much directly, more in fractions of hours. Definitely made use of feet. In North America we all know what that means. Ideally, everything would default to yards. A square would be 2 yards. If you don't care that much, then you don't convert from the original 5 feet. If you use metric, it's a meter instead of a yard, and practically the same otherwise.
Players don't use feet at the table.  We use squares.  4E admitted to this and you're regressing to the bad old days of having to divide by five.  Much of the world doesn't know what 5 feet means.




Some players use squares.  Not all.  I'd be willing to wager maybe not even half.  We did in 4E because everything was measured that way and more imporantly the blasts and bursts had some sort of weird minecraft blockiness to them so that everything had shapr corners where things could hide to stay safe from the blast (or burst).

If they only go with one term for measurement then I'd much prefer feet. 

I do agree though that if they're going to use Rounds etc. then spell durations etc. need to be in that format.  I shouldn't need to try to figure out how many rounds are in a minute and how much time is left on a spell when combat starts or ends.  Heck I'd get rid of turns and just have Rounds, Scenes etc.

A round is a precise term of measurement equal to "X" seconds of combat.  Plain and simple.  Spell durations by and large should use this.  Even if we say that a round is 6 seconds and Spell "Y" last 10 rounds (instead of 1 minute).  Leave longer durations to rituals.

Squares (or spaces) are a straight-jacket on game-play, which prevents you from throwing a fireball into the middle of a 55-foot-wide room or walking down the middle of a ten-foot-wide corridor.  If they would stop making reference to squares or space, then maybe we could get people to finally consider things in-game rather than out-of-game.

Since that's not going to happen, though, I fully endorse switching from feet to yards.  Most people in North America know what a yard is, and most people outside of North America know that a yard is about a meter.
The metagame is not the game.
back at it, Uriel?
Once again I must remind you because you play that way doesn't mean all D&D players do. Our group prefers ToM style so squares mean nothing to us.
Aw, I was hoping this would be about the metric system.

While yes, gridded combat would be a bit easier if measured in squares, I'd like something a bit more believable in-game.  I don't want to see an adventuring store selling a "10 square long hempen rope".

What about paces? It wouldn't break verisimilitude for me to enter a corridor about two paces across and roughly ten paces long.
They use "feet" because not everyone uses battlemats.  If you don't play on a grid, "3 squares away" means nothing.  It's for "theater of the mind."

Completely agreed on time, though.  I just change all spells to last "until the end of the battle or scene" or "until the next long rest" or whatever.  Same thing with less accounting.
There was another thread that wanted the game to swap out 5 feet for 3 feet (1 yard) which could easily be converted to 1 meter.  This seemed like a very good idea to me.  I think switching to squares would be a mistake, because, as other posters have said, not everyone uses a battle map.

1 square = 1 yard (3 feet) = 1 meter.  Smile 
One thing for sure: there's no possible way I can enjoy the game if they don't get the units right.

Believe it or not, the 5-ft. square is a relic of AD&D 2E. Specifically, the use of a grid for combat was introduced in the Player's Option: Combat and Tactics accessory. Apparently, it survived the transition to 3E and 4E (and even became a core thing), and seems to have survived into 5E.
Before Player's Option (and 3E), spells and effects used yards.

The thing is, some people do like to use a combat grid. And while 5 ft. as a unit does seem odd, it fits well in melee scale.
I don't think the "there are people who don't know what a foot is" argument against the 5-ft. scale is valid. If people have bothered to read and learn 50+ pages of rules, they can also learn what a foot is. I learned to play D&D in 1992, when I was 13. I live in Greece, so feet, pounds, yards, and inches were unheard. But I learned.

Time tracking is problematic in its entirety. Even in 2E, spell duration tracking was problematic. Having effects last "logical" units (like an encounter, a scene, etc.) sometimes seems more practical than using real-life units, but not always. The real problem in this case is that outside combat, time is essentially not tracked in D&D. When you walk around the city, or snoop around the enemy warlord's stronghold after the wizard has cast invisibility on you, do you or the DM hold a timer and watch it tick away the seconds of invisibility's duration? Obviously not. You and the DM simply guess approximately when an hour has passed. Given such inaccuracy, it makes no difference which unit of time is used. In combat, we use rounds, a logical unit equal to "approximately" 6 secs of real time (notice that even here there is an approximation). Here therefore we can have spell durations measured in rounds. Making effects last either a single round or an entire battle is simply a matter of convenience (tremendously reduces bookkeeping).

In summary, I don't mind the 5-ft. scale, even if it seems odd that nearly every length and distance are measured in multiples of 5 ft. Time tracking, however, does need an upgrade imho.
Yeah I'm sorry my group kind of prefers feet as opposed to squares.

Vampire Class/Feat in 2013!

I prefer Next because 4E players and CharOpers can't find their ass without a grid and a power called "Find Ass."

Before Player's Option (and 3E), spells and effects used yards.

1E used yards and inches interchangably, and at random.

I agree with the op.  I prefer it mentioned in squares and also about the time phrases.  I think it was ok to keep track of some of the timing in 4e, such as, "until the end of the encounter."  Or even, "until the end of next turn." 
As lok_soldier pointed out, 5-ft squares did not first appear in 4e.  People who don't like grids and minis seem to like saying that stuff belongs to 4e because it's a popular scapegoat.  You don't have to use them, but minis have been a part of D&D since it's conception, as the original D&D was based on Chainmail (a miniatrure war game), and actually recommended that you also owned a copy of Chainmail.
As far as units go, I prefer the term spaces over squares or feet.  I define a space to be the amount of space around a person considered to be their personal space, which has roughly a 5-ft diameter.  Other people can enter your personal space, but it's harder to maneuver when this happens (e.g. squeezing).  When thinking of spaces in this sense they are (I find) actually easier to visualize for Theater of the Mind than feet or metres, and for grids the term works for sqares, hexes, or any other kind of grid you like.
spaces does work better than squares. easy to define space as 5' radius. funny how changing the word used can make all the difference.
units of time chould be changed to round and scene to help unify the mechanics as well.
My groups use TotM and Feet works best for us. For combat, the specifics are blurred, and Spaces could be convienient. When they create the Tactical Module, I would prefer the use of Spaces rather than Squares, as IMO Hex Grid is superior to Square Grid, but YMMV.

As far as Time goes, things should not be measured in Rounds, but Turns (your Next Turn, their Next Turn, ect.). Multiple Round Effects are a hassle to remember and I'm glad to see them go. A Duration in Minutes is fine for me, because they give you a good gauge for non-combat duration, and last an entire combat. One thing I don't want to see return is Duration based on Caster Level, because that's really a pain.
i would like to chime in and say we do NOT use a grid AT ALL.
everynow and then, when there are lots of bad guys in the same room, we will lay out little figures, but we dont need a grip to discuss if they are within 35' or if they are not.

we prefer no grid because it makes the experience too gamey for our taste, and it keeps it more free form and story driven.

so I really would not like it, if they used 'squares' instead of feet.

 
As lok_soldier pointed out, 5-ft squares did not first appear in 4e.  People who don't like grids and minis seem to like saying that stuff belongs to 4e because it's a popular scapegoat.  You don't have to use them, but minis have been a part of D&D since it's conception, as the original D&D was based on Chainmail (a miniatrure war game), and actually recommended that you also owned a copy of Chainmail.


Recommended? I've got the original three booklets, and it was damn near required! You couldn't play the game without them, because that's where the combat engine was!
Come visit Dark Side of the Moon, the new home to the Nasuverse fandom!
Most people in North America know what a yard is, and most people outside of North America know that a yard is about a meter.




Well, I think very few in Italy or even Europe know a yard is about a meter. It is something useless: only three Countries in the World don't use the International System of Units (US, Liberia and Burma). And I'm not sure Burma use the US System of units.


Anyway, Wizards generally converts it in the published version.  
Players don't use feet at the table.  We use squares.  4E admitted to this and you're regressing to the bad old days of having to divide by five.  Much of the world doesn't know what 5 feet means.




Some players use squares.  Not all.  I'd be willing to wager maybe not even half.  We did in 4E because everything was measured that way and more imporantly the blasts and bursts had some sort of weird minecraft blockiness to them so that everything had shapr corners where things could hide to stay safe from the blast (or burst).




Minecraft explosions and effect areas (such as from a splash potion) work in circles . I wish that when people mentioned videogames they would actually know something about the videogame they were talking about beforehand.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
Aw, I was hoping this would be about the metric system.

While yes, gridded combat would be a bit easier if measured in squares, I'd like something a bit more believable in-game.  I don't want to see an adventuring store selling a "10 square long hempen rope".

What about paces? It wouldn't break verisimilitude for me to enter a corridor about two paces across and roughly ten paces long.



I like that idea. Of course a pace is a different thing for a halfling than an elf...
I guess part of this comes from my expeirences gaming with both a grid and some very loose Theater of the Mind, but to everyone saying "we use TotM, so we want feet instead of squares or spaces", I honestly want to know how often you have to count out the number of feet for your attacks and movement. In every single TotM game I have played, the distances were ignored in favor of keeping things moving, because we had no references and things were where ever we said they were.

However, for those of us who use battlemats and grids, we are stuck doing extra, pointless math. I cannot express how happy I was to see my 4e character had their movement in squares, so I no longer had to go "Well, I can move 30 ft, 30 divided by 5 is 6, so I can move six squares" and then start deciding my movement. Even worse for spells and ranged attacks, because you would have to do this every time.

Probably the absolute best solution would be to include both, but that will just cause an increase in bulk as they write at two different numbers for ranges. If we can't do that though, why should the people who have the least need for the numbers (because they are simply picturing the action and won't typically need the measurements) dictate what units are used? If you absolutley need to know, well do the reverse of our math, 6 squares, 6 times 5 is 30, so you can move 30 ft, because I guarentee you'll need it less often than we do.
Aw, I was hoping this would be about the metric system.

While yes, gridded combat would be a bit easier if measured in squares, I'd like something a bit more believable in-game.  I don't want to see an adventuring store selling a "10 square long hempen rope".

What about paces? It wouldn't break verisimilitude for me to enter a corridor about two paces across and roughly ten paces long.



I like that idea. Of course a pace is a different thing for a halfling than an elf...

Yeah, pace would change per character, which is just an nightmare. Or it could be the players pace, but that too can vary quite a bit.

For me, feet, inches and minutes work fine. Squares would also work as could yards, but they wouldn't be my first pick. Now time, I'd rather see rounds/encounter/daily durations.

Aw, I was hoping this would be about the metric system.

While yes, gridded combat would be a bit easier if measured in squares, I'd like something a bit more believable in-game.  I don't want to see an adventuring store selling a "10 square long hempen rope".

What about paces? It wouldn't break verisimilitude for me to enter a corridor about two paces across and roughly ten paces long.



I like that idea. Of course a pace is a different thing for a halfling than an elf...


The same could be said for using "foot" as a unit of measurement too.  As you don't currently re-calculate distances in halfling feet or half-ogre feet, the same could be said for accepting a human's pace as standard.  Of course it could be the pace of the high king of the land, or defined as the arm span of the Most Ticklish Elf, or how high a dwarf could reach without getting a stepstool, or whatever flavor method you'd like.
I for one found 4e's use of only squares very inconvienent :P I prefer the feet system myself.
My two copper.
The 5-feet increment unit works well for both ToTM and TV, i don't see it go soon.

Its easy enought to convert and i have observed that many hardcore map users generally use the term ''square'' anyway, when moving or calling ranges.

I have a player who still use the 5-foot step when shifting in 4E games.  And his Rogue backstab peole when he use sneak attack. He also says attack of opportunity instead of opportunity attack etc... The human nature is that many people just stick to calling things as they are used to...Wink

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

The 5-feet increment unit works well for both ToTM and TV, i don't see it go soon.

Its easy enought to convert and i have observed that many hardcore map users generally use the term ''square'' anyway, when moving or calling ranges.

This.

I don't understand why people on either side of this "debate" keep saying things like, "The other unit is meaningless and no one understands what it means."

That is a silly thing to say.  Multiplying or dividing by 5 is the second easiest (right behind 10).  So saying, "Squares are meaningless" is silly, because a Square equals 5 ft by 5 ft.  And saying, "No one understands what feet even mean" is also silly, again, because 5 ft by 5 ft equals a Square.

What I do think is an issue are powers that grant a bonus to speed in single feet, as opposed to multiples of 5.  The Rogue tricks Climb Sheer Surfaces, Superior Footwork, and Vault are examples of this.  They let you roll your skill die and add the result to the distance you climb, walk, or jump (in feet).  So you get between 1 and 12 extra feet (depending on level).  How often will this be actually useful?  How often does the DM say to you, "Sorry, the orc is thirty-two feet away from you" in theater of the mind style of playing?  No one can keep track of positions down to the nearest foot.  These powers get a bit better once you get a D6 (and even more when you get the d8) because the chance of moving an extra 5 feet is there.  The d10 and d12 make it even better (you could get 10 feet), but even then the issue is still there: getting 7 extra feet vs 6 extra feet is pretty pointless.
The issue is even sillier with using Vault to make a High Jump: you add the skill die result to the distance you can jump...in inches.  With High Jump distance calculated in feet...how often does the DM say, "Sorry, you made it up 13 feet (including your  height and extending your arms above you), but the ledge is 13 feet, 3 inches."  I don't think I have ever seen a published D&D adventure that includes height of an object down to inches.

As for units of time, I again find it silly.  1 minute = 10 rounds.  So you are tracking no matter what.  When a spell says it lasts for 1 minute, you don't suddenly lose the ability to count to 10.  If you can track 10 rounds, you can track 1 minute.

It is worth noting that 4E worked the same way, it just simplified it one step further.  Powers that lasted "Until the End of the Encounter" actually lasted 5 minutes.  In other words: long enough that you don't have to bother tracking them during combat.  Typically, the party would have a short rest after the fight, so no need to track at all.

1 minute duration spells are the same for D&D Next.  In all my playtest sessions, I've never had a fight go more than 10 rounds...I don't even think I've had one go more than 6 rounds (and that was due to a lot of missing).




What I do think is an issue are powers that grant a bonus to speed in single feet, as opposed to multiples of 5.  The Rogue tricks Climb Sheer Surfaces, Superior Footwork, and Vault are examples of this.

I agree, all should work by increment of 5 feet. I'd prefer if you spent your skill die to increase the climb, jump or movement by fixed distance (ex. 5 or 10 feet).

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter


What I do think is an issue are powers that grant a bonus to speed in single feet, as opposed to multiples of 5.  The Rogue tricks Climb Sheer Surfaces, Superior Footwork, and Vault are examples of this.

I agree, all should work by increment of 5 feet. I'd prefer if you spent your skill die to increase the climb, jump or movement by fixed distance (ex. 5 or 10 feet).


Yup.  There are enough powers that have you spend the die for something instead of rolling it that this wouldn't seem out of place.  Something like: Spend your skill die to increase the distance you move (or jump or climb) by 5 feet.  If you are level 12 or higher, you increase the distance by 10 feet. 

For the high jump I would make it add 1 foot (or 2 at level 12).




Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I opened this thread thinking it would be about using the metric system. Then I saw it wanted people to use squares. I died a little inside. 
I opened this thread thinking it would be about using the metric system. Then I saw it wanted people to use squares. I died a little inside. 

LOL I, on the other hand, was quite happy that it wasn't a metric system thread. I'll take anything over meters. At least call it yards.

Measuring every dimension in anything other than feet makes for a very hard-to-understand system of reference.  Should we return to the idea of measuring weight in gp, as well?  Because that wasn't nearly confusing enough.  Maybe we should measure distance in inches, like some other incarnations have done, as in "inches on the tabletop."  Performing follicle fission over this makes me giggle.
+1 for SQUARES!

(or at least offer BOTH values in the stat blocks!)
I vote for measurements that exist in-game.

We'll use a standard battle-map for more complicated combats, but most of the time it's more important to describe what's going on in-game in theater of the mind or just a rough "no scale" battlemap.  Squares are a strange measurement when there aren't any squares on the map.  Also, for large combats, my group makes use of a battlemap with large 1-inch squares and small 1/4-inch squares, with varying scales.  The 1/4-inch squares can be 5-feet, 10-feet or 25-feet, depending on how big an area the battlemap is supposed to cover.  In those situations, measurements assuming 5-foot squares are actively wrong.  (Or, you get back to the weird AD&D system where table "inches" mean something different indoors and outdoors and you're lightning bolt actually shoots further outside.)

I don't mind measuring everything in 5-foot increments to make it easier for folks using a standard battlemap.  But let's not use terminology that assumes a specific style of play.  

(And, while we're at it, can we move away from the bizarre 4e battlemap-ism where 100 feet is super-long range?)

-KS 
I only use squares for long fights. Also, it's not hard to tell that one square is 5 feet, or that 10 rounds are 1 minute... with all the quick math we have to do divisions by 10 and 5 are the least of it.

Either way, I suppose having the "30 feet (6 squares)" wouldn't hurt at all. It would actually feel kind of right.

Although "1 minute (6 rounds)" would feel a bit superfluous in information. Effects usually only last a round, a minute, or an hour, and 6 rounds are usually a whole fight. At least for me it is, since my playgroup is 4 players and anything more just drags too much.

I opened this thread thinking it would be about using the metric system. Then I saw it wanted people to use squares. I died a little inside. 



"30 feet (6 squares/9.114 metres)" 
I use hexes - and I don't want to be the guy that says "hey WotC, cater to me only!" so I will just say that using real measurements like feet, yards, meters, or whatever they like is the overall best...

People can convert that to 5-foot squares if they want, 5-foot hexes just as easily... and I can run my game in a mostly theatre of the mind sense without having to do any conversion math, and supplement that with my favorite 3-foot hex close-quarters and 30-foot hex large-field scales as needed.
Careful, man. That much logic might be illegal on the internet. - Salla
I'd prefer to use the units the characters would be using, so I can play it from my character's perspective and not just on a table. I can imagine shooting something that's 100 feet away a lot better than 20 squares away. Maybe I'm at an advantage for being American, but come on, I learned your system, you're smart enough to learn mine for the purpose of the game. It uses feet and inches because it's based on a medieval culture. My point is, ever since Dungeons and Dragons split off from Chainmail, this has been a roleplaying game and not just a tactical war game.
It is possible to do away with the grid, and go the wargame way when using a battle mat.
Lose the squares, and use a ruler (or even better, a flexible tape), to measure distances. Use the de facto standard scale, 1" = 5 feet. You can even have such a ruler dimensioned in feet directly, with 1-foot marks even, so there is no need to convert. No longer an issue of how much is a square, or whether hex grids are better than square ones, or that using a grid seems unrealistic.

But seriously, even with the relatively few combat options in Next, combat takes a while. Who'd want to complicate matters worse by making people measure things with tapes and rulers? Using a grid seems like the ideal solution, and a square one is the easiest form of grid to use. OK, so some conversion might be required at times ("fireball has a 100-foot range, lemme see how much that is in squares"), but it's a lot easier than using a ruler.

I find it hard to believe that someone who has gone to all the trouble of reading and understanding 100+ pages of rules, can create a character, calculate combat values, and understand martial damage dice, finds a minor numerical operation problematic.

What a silly debate...

THIS is what got chosen to be one of the longest threads on the board?

-KW