Yard/Meter based measurements

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Mearls: We tried to keep things at a 5 feet minimum because we felt that both with and without minis, that's the easiest distance to imagine in your head. Personally, I actually like meters because if you draw a map with one meter per square, the dimensions of rooms are more realistic. Alas, we're based in the US and people like their non-metric measures here. It might be something we'll look at for translations and such in the future.
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How about yard based then, that would solve many things.  A map square is a yard (3 feet for the metric folk, ~1 meter), your movement is yard based, and spell range/AoE are in yards.  If your movement is 5 yards, that is 5 squares ...easy.   Same with spell measements, and maps would have realistic sizes.

What do you think?

ENWorld poll here.


EDIT: I see this was brought up in the player playtest forum, didn't mean to double up.  But maybe the WotC folks will see how many like the idea if it is both forums. 

I've advocated this before, so I clearly like it. I've long ago learned to shut off my real world size filter when looking at rooms in D&D. Yards instead of 5' squares would go a long long way to fixing that. Suddenly a family could fit inside a hut again. A typical office could have a few occupants and a desk. A horse could take about 20 square feet instead of 50!

I hope they seriously consider this.
A horse could take about 20 square feet instead of 50!



unless you're a 4E horse, then its 100 square feet!
I am pro-yards.
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Either you don't realize there's a point between the two extremes (boring and optimized) or you consider everything that's not the former to be the latter.
Bingo, and anyone who knows anything about 4e knows that is exactly the state of the game right now.
I'd love to see a poll somewhere on this topic.  I can't think of any reason to not use yards other than "tradition"
I'd love to see a poll somewhere on this topic.  I can't think of any reason to not use yards other than "tradition"



Well yards actually fits into "tradition".  This will tell you how far back I go - In 1e distances were denoted like this 5".  What 5" meant was 5 feet indoors and 5 YARDS outdoors.  Ya, it could be confusing and kind of a pain, but that's all we had!  Most people just went with feet, which is probably how feet became the standard.

Yep, we need a poll, it doesn't look like this forum supports polls, so maybe over on ENWorld. 
What I'd really love is yards, along with a "short, normal, reach" weapons designation. Short would be within a yard, normal would be within two yards, reach would be 2-3 yards but not adjacent.  Allow weapons to attack past allies but giving your opponent cover, or superior cover if you have more than one rank of allies between you and them.

Short is fists, grapples, daggers, hammer, handaxe, saps, garrottes, shields.
Long is most other weapons
Reach is spears, polearms, lances
Pikes could have a special "pike reach" making them effective from 3-4 yards but no closer or farther

Small combatants might have a list of weapons that are considered one category lower for them.

Maybe this is a complication that is better added to a module instead of the base game, but it would work far more smoothly with one yard increments instead of 5' increments.
There is a poll on ENWorld about this here.  So far yards isn't looking so good with the general public.
It is important to remember that there is a big difference between how much space a person needs (in terms of living) and how much space they take up in a fight.  My college dormroom was so narrow that I could almost touch both walls with my arms outstretched, but it was plenty of room for me to live in.  It had a bed, closet, and desk.  But I could certainly not have had a swordfight inside it!

The trouble is when people confuse this issue, such as the poster above who says, "Suddenly a family could fit inside a hut again. A typical office could have a few occupants and a desk."

Even with 5 ft. battle squares, a family can still fit inside a hut, and a typical office can be cramped and small.  Neither location would make for an interesting tactical fight, but that isn't the point of such buildings/rooms.  It is perfectly ok to have small rooms. 
I get that Arithezoo, and I get the point with swinging swords around as well. The problem is that the game borders on the generous for combat's sake and it means I have to switch off that part of my brain that knows how big things are. I'd like it if daggers were more effective in a cramped hut precisely because it is so tight.
It is important to remember that there is a big difference between how much space a person needs (in terms of living) and how much space they take up in a fight.  My college dormroom was so narrow that I could almost touch both walls with my arms outstretched, but it was plenty of room for me to live in.  It had a bed, closet, and desk.  But I could certainly not have had a swordfight inside it!

The trouble is when people confuse this issue, such as the poster above who says, "Suddenly a family could fit inside a hut again. A typical office could have a few occupants and a desk."

Even with 5 ft. battle squares, a family can still fit inside a hut, and a typical office can be cramped and small.  Neither location would make for an interesting tactical fight, but that isn't the point of such buildings/rooms.  It is perfectly ok to have small rooms. 



But you are attacking the middle of the next square, so that's 6 feet total.  I understand that some weapons would cramped, but I also think a 6 foot wide hall can be defended easier by 2 people than a 10 foot hallway.  Besides, ever been to a real castle?  3 feet is generous for an area to be defended by a single person..
Yeah, I'm firmly in the yard/meter camp. We've always found it a bit odd that only four people can fight in a 10' x 10' room, particularly if nobody is using long weapons. Fights seem like they should be cramped and close, with lots of jostling, rather than standing five to ten feet apart making wide swings at each other.
The only difficult part of a meter/yard transition is rescaling the game around 3' increments instead of 5'.  Quite frankly, this is the optimal stage of development to do so.
The only difficult part of a meter/yard transition is rescaling the game around 3' increments instead of 5'.  Quite frankly, this is the optimal stage of development to do so.

Part of the argument, is that everything that is currently scaled at 5 feet, really IS 3 feet. It's a better fit and better scaled.  No need to change anyhing other than the text in the legends and in the rules.
I'm definitely AGAINST yards.

I feel a medium sized creature should fit into a single 'square' completely in three dimensions. A humanoid will often reach or exceed 6'

Therefore, I suggest we do 2 Meter squares, as I have suggested before. This works out to just over 6 1/2 feet. As far as I know, this only drops a few medium creatures from fitting into a square: The Goliath, Gnoll, Bugbear, and likely some team monster only races.

EDIT: Of course if you're not using squares then you don't care, and you can still use Yards to as range and make sqaures two yards / two meters.

I'm coming around to this concept.
I would love to switch to yards/meters per square as the D&D standard. As has been mentioned before, it would scale nicely on maps, and it is also a relatively easy conversion between metric and imperial (just ignore that a meter is slightly bigger than a yard). 

I also like that we would be working with smaller numbers (10 yards instead of 30 feet) theoretically speeding things up, and converting distance to squares is quicker too (1-1).

It does make fighting space particularly tight, but I think that is easier to rationalize away than the bloated structure sizes of the past.

The biggest problem I see is potential for a larger gap in PC speeds; the humans move 10 yards/squares while Halflings and Dwarves move around 6 yards/squares. This could become more problematic with speedier classes and races too. Albeit, I've only really noticed this was a problem with grid play, with mind's eye games it was never a problem.

I will note, with DnDN switching back to feet, a number of my 4e only players were noticeably turned off by the different measure (feet vs Squares) and the larger numbers, switching to yards/meters would likely solve that problem. They are also not as familiar with imperial measures either, so having an easy analog would likely also please them (thats what I get for playing with younger players in a country that made the switch in the last 40 years).
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What I'd really love is yards, along with a "short, normal, reach" weapons designation. Short would be within a yard, normal would be within two yards, reach would be 2-3 yards but not adjacent.  Allow weapons to attack past allies but giving your opponent cover, or superior cover if you have more than one rank of allies between you and them.

Short is fists, grapples, daggers, hammer, handaxe, saps, garrottes, shields.
Long is most other weapons
Reach is spears, polearms, lances
Pikes could have a special "pike reach" making them effective from 3-4 yards but no closer or farther

Small combatants might have a list of weapons that are considered one category lower for them.

Maybe this is a complication that is better added to a module instead of the base game, but it would work far more smoothly with one yard increments instead of 5' increments.



The whole "but not adjacent" thing  would have to be on a weapon by weapon basis. Many polearms (glaives, vulges, etc), and longer two handed weapons like two handed swords and quarterstaffs, can be used effectively against adjacent targets, but are long enough to be used with reach.
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I'm in the SQUARES camp.

You can pretend the squares are feet, 5 feet, meters, yards, parsecs, light years ... whatever you want, it's up to you if you identify politically with a certain unit of measurement and take pride in that.  It matters not one iota what unit of measurement you use as long as it's precise enough for gaming and you use it consistently.  

If the quest for "realism" leads you to argue whether a unit of measurement for a game should be a yard or a meter when a yard is about .9 meters, well, have fun with that.
 
Meanwhile, I'm going to use squares and say they're 1" and pretend the world's been shrunk by Rick Moranis.

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I very much support the yard/meter system.  a yard is a little bit bigger than the width of a doorway. It is also the reach, from center mass of a 6' human. a human of this size who falls in battle will take up 2 yards by 1 yard, depending on how he falls.

When you consided the shorter races like Dwarves, Gnomes, and Halflings a grid system with larger than 1 yard squares seems far to large.

I like Redigfried's use of the word square, but that still has the question of how far a person can reach (in squares), and how many squares a horse or larger animal takes up. there need to be some relative gadge of what a sqare is.

I like MeinVT's system of weapon sizes and attack ranges, but as he noted they arn't nessisarilly Core rules.

P.S. the yard/meter system is winning in the pole now.
Part of the argument, is that everything that is currently scaled at 5 feet, really IS 3 feet. It's a better fit and better scaled.  No need to change anything other than the text in the legends and in the rules.

Ranged effects might need to be recalculated.
(just ignore that a meter is slightly bigger than a yard).

Which is largely insignificant until triple digits, and mostly ignorable until four digits.
Nobody is really going to notice that SAE worlds are 91.44% the size of SI worlds, at least until the numbers involved get very large (1km ~ 1093yd).

Looks like Yards is winning over on the ENWorld poll.  By a lot.  But will it matter?
It won't matter until someone brings it up to marketing
Do your part. Keep this topic in the first page. 

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Pros of Yards

-Rooms can be a bit smaller, so it doesn't feel like a 40x40 ft tavern is a small fighting space, and fighting in a bathroom is possible without it having to be huge.

-Its easily converted into meters or squares without division.

Cons of Yards

-A human sized creature is 2 yards tall, which changes the base 3D shape of a humanoid on a battle grid from a cube to a rectangular box.  This makes flight slightly harder to deal with.
Definitely yards.

The ENWorld poll is doing great now. Yards is winning by a long shot.
Pros of Yards

-Rooms can be a bit smaller, so it doesn't feel like a 40x40 ft tavern is a small fighting space, and fighting in a bathroom is possible without it having to be huge.

-Its easily converted into meters or squares without division.

Cons of Yards

-A human sized creature is 2 yards tall, which changes the base 3D shape of a humanoid on a battle grid from a cube to a rectangular box.  This makes flight slightly harder to deal with.

I human sized creature is 4-6 feet tall, some medium sized creatures are 8 feet tall.
So useing 5 foot squares allready doesn't work.  I don't see the con

Keeping it on the first page. 
I'm in favour of yards. Real-life experience of medieval and early Renaissance buildings means that the old basic-level expectation of 10' wide passages and rooms at least 20'x20' was fundamentally lacking in credibility for me. Yards offers easier metrication, more realistic scales, and extremely easy maths.

Abstract squares are nice for grid combat, but useless for me when I'm telling the players how big the room they just entered is.

Z.
Given the setting- what about "paces" or a pace"

From wikipedia:

A pace (or double-pace or passus) is a measure of distance used in Ancient Rome. It is nominally the measure of a full stride from the position of the heel when it is raised from the ground to the point the same heel is set down again at the end of the step. Thus, a distance can be "paced off" by counting each time the same heel touches ground, or, in other words, every other step. In Rome, this unit was standardized as two gradūs or five Roman feet (about 1.48 metres or 58.1 English inches). There are 1000 passus in onemille, and a mille was sometimes referred to as a mille passus.


The Byzantine pace or vema (βήμα [ˈvima]) was 2½ feet (pous).[1]


A pace in modern terminology is usually taken as being a single pace rather than a double pace. It has no formal definition but is taken as being around 30 inches[2] (800 mm).




pace (not in the modern setting) would be a twice what is described at the end, thus 60 inches which IS 5 feet!

Paces fits dnd better than feet, meter or yards.  I convert everything in my games to paces.  I'd be happier with units i don't have to divide  by 5 if that's what they go with (meters or whatnot) but I think paces just fits so much better.
Please collect and update the DND Next Community Wiki Page with your ideas and suggestions!
Take a look at my clarified ability scores And also my Houserules relevent to DNDNext
the perfect square for battle grid should be 2 by 2 meters(or yards to compliment the non Système international d'unités people).

2 by 3 meters if very large for minimum tactical positioning but it means the minimum space that you can wield 2handed melee weapon efficiently.

if in 1meter(1yd) wide corridor you could have -2 penalty for slashing/blunt 2handed weapons and if the ceiling is a little low further -2 penalty.
 
the perfect square for battle grid should be 2 by 2 meters(or yards to compliment the non Système international d'unités people).

2 by 3 meters if very large for minimum tactical positioning but it means the minimum space that you can wield 2handed melee weapon efficiently.

if in 1meter(1yd) wide corridor you could have -2 penalty for slashing/blunt 2handed weapons and if the ceiling is a little low further -2 penalty.
 


2m by 2m is a pretty huge square! How on earth would you cover pikemen falling into ranks on that kind of scale?

Not every movement decision is tactical positioning by a fighter with a longsword. I strongly endorse a one yard square. The fact that a fighter with a longsword can reach further than that is reflected by the fact that he can hit someone in an adjoining square.

Z.
the perfect square for battle grid should be 2 by 2 meters(or yards to compliment the non Système international d'unités people).

2 by 3 meters if very large for minimum tactical positioning but it means the minimum space that you can wield 2handed melee weapon efficiently.

if in 1meter(1yd) wide corridor you could have -2 penalty for slashing/blunt 2handed weapons and if the ceiling is a little low further -2 penalty.
 


2m by 2m is a pretty huge square! How on earth would you cover pikemen falling into ranks on that kind of scale?

Not every movement decision is tactical positioning by a fighter with a longsword. I strongly endorse a one yard square. The fact that a fighter with a longsword can reach further than that is reflected by the fact that he can hit someone in an adjoining square.

Z.



well, 1×1 is pretty tiny square Tongue Out

And I stated for penalties just slashing/blunt weapons as they require sideways and up&down motions to execute perfectly. spears do not have this restriction and wall of pikeman can be made more dense w/o attack penalties.

also in 1m wide corridor you have some dodge problems also.


also in 1m wide corridor you have some dodge problems also.




I can't recall many battles that were fought in a 5ft corridor- usually we make maps 2 squares wide for hallways- the playtest was funny having the map written as 1sq =10ft
Please collect and update the DND Next Community Wiki Page with your ideas and suggestions!
Take a look at my clarified ability scores And also my Houserules relevent to DNDNext

also in 1m wide corridor you have some dodge problems also.




I can't recall many battles that were fought in a 5ft corridor- usually we make maps 2 squares wide for hallways- the playtest was funny having the map written as 1sq =10ft


Before battlemaps, that was the standard. Almost all my old D&D adventures have 10' squares on the map. The playtest's map is just a (not very good) driect reproduction of the original Caves of Chaos map.

Z.
There is a poll on ENWorld about this here.  So far yards isn't looking so good with the general public.



The general public has proven countless time throughout human history it has no clue whats good for it. People who know better need to force them to use meter/yards for their own good.
While I won't go so far as to say it needs to be forced on them, I definitely think switching to meters/yards is appropriate for 5ed.

Further, despite what M.Mearls might believe, I've seen more support FOR it than against it on these forums.  And it looks to be the same at ENWorld.  Hear that WoTC, we WANT this changed!

On a side note, I'm all for weapons being more or less effective depending on how much room there is.   MeinVT's suggestions suit me very well, even if they are only in a module.
the perfect square for battle grid should be 2 by 2 meters(or yards to compliment the non Système international d'unités people).

2 by 3 meters if very large for minimum tactical positioning but it means the minimum space that you can wield 2handed melee weapon efficiently.

if in 1meter(1yd) wide corridor you could have -2 penalty for slashing/blunt 2handed weapons and if the ceiling is a little low further -2 penalty.
 


2m by 2m is a pretty huge square! How on earth would you cover pikemen falling into ranks on that kind of scale?

Not every movement decision is tactical positioning by a fighter with a longsword. I strongly endorse a one yard square. The fact that a fighter with a longsword can reach further than that is reflected by the fact that he can hit someone in an adjoining square.

Z.



The problem is that the game deals in both vertical and horizantal measurement. A medium creature does not fit into a yard on all axes. It is reasonable that a person could defend a 2 Meter square (constantly moving within it), and most medium creatures will fit into a 2 meter square on both axes (Goliaths and some of the monsters are too tall, but they can slouch I guess). I stand by my opinion of preferring the 2 meter square and I'm glad someone else here agrees with me.

I really don't think ~6.5 ft is too large. It's barely bigger than 5 ft.

I'm european so I only use meters, for me feets always have to calculate when using published adventures, and that's a waste of time. 

 
I'm in favour of yards. Real-life experience of medieval and early Renaissance buildings means that the old basic-level expectation of 10' wide passages and rooms at least 20'x20' was fundamentally lacking in credibility for me. Yards offers easier metrication, more realistic scales, and extremely easy maths.

Abstract squares are nice for grid combat, but useless for me when I'm telling the players how big the room they just entered is.

Z.



I'm not sure we need hyper realism to the point of making all DnD maps depict buildings as they were in any given point in real history.

Most DnD worlds have had better architecture through magic and dwarves for centuries, if not millennium. :P


Bumping for yards, though. In general it just works better, and I've advocated this for years.

@Brazensnow: the difference between a yard and a meter is trivial. ( 1 yard = 0.9144 meters), so just saying meters instead of yards should work fine for pretty much every measurement in the game that uses yards.
Skeptical_Clown wrote:
More sex and gender equality and racial equality shouldn't even be an argument--it should simply be an assumption for any RPG that wants to stay relevant in the 21st century.
104340961 wrote:
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http://community.wizards.com/doctorbadwolf/blog/2012/01/10/how_we_can_help_make_dndnext_awesome
D&D Next can become strictly metric, use meters, but call them “yards” for the US audience. Even refer to “half-yards” and “tenth-yards”, to avoid feet and inches.
D&D Next can become strictly metric, use meters, but call them “yards” for the US audience. Even refer to “half-yards” and “tenth-yards”, to avoid feet and inches.


No.  The majority of users are Americans. We're not making up new nomenclature "Half-yard" and "tenth-yard" just because America refuses to join metric.  If Americans don't want to learn what a decimeter and centimeter is, they're not going to want to refer to things like half-yard and tenth-yard.

Heck, at that point, why not just use fathoms, cubits, and hands?  That way we're all equally unhappy.

I can tolerate "yards" because I remember doing that in AD&D.  Now, yards is used for American football and that's about it. But generally, Americans measure things in inches, feet, and miles.  And I suspect that's going to remain the way D&D measures things until America actually goes metric.
Whether or not that is true Wrecan, which would You prefer? That's the real question. If enough of us want it, and convince enough others it's worth it, we have the chance to at least Try and make DnD better. IMO, it's worth trying at the least.