Moving diagonally

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My group plays DnD4e using MapTool, and so far we've decided that moving diagonally costs the same as moving straight. But there seems to be some confusion, so I am asking here:

Is moving diagonally the same as moving straight up/down/left/right?

Thanks
Yes, it is the same in 4e. No additonal cost for moving diagonally.

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In 4e yes, in previous editions (3.5 specifically) it cost double every other space. So 5ft 10ft 5 ft 10ft for each square. This is probably the source of the confusion. 

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although you are well within your rights to houserule the every other square costs double rule.  I've been doing it and it works fine.
Just to add, the movement metric is set in MapTool when the server is started.
The way my group does it is "if you can move that way in real life, then you can move that way here." Works just fine for us. The only restriction we have is the speed. You can't go over your speed.
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I don't see any need for a house rule to make every other square cost double. The fact that was changed from 3.X to 4e such that you didn't have to do that is a good thing.

What's the upside of that house rule?

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Every other diagonal counting double is technically a more accurate measure of distance, but it's one of those things that as long as everyone is playing by the same rules, simply doesn't make much difference and counting them equally is easier. 
I definitely don't see "technical accuracy" as being an upside.

I was just wondering if there was some cool aspect to that house rule I'm not seeing.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Every other diagonal counting double is technically a more accurate measure of distance, but it's one of those things that as long as everyone is playing by the same rules, simply doesn't make much difference and counting them equally is easier. 

It's "more" accurate, but it's still off by 12 to 13%, so it's not actually "accurate" in any sense I've ever seen used. The first square, which will tend to matter more in the tactical combat, with shifts or 5-foot steps, is just as accurate in either system.

Counting a diagonal as one square is always off by 29%. That's definitely not accurate, but it's very easy. If it's more than 29% easier, or 29% quicker or, heck, even 10% quicker, it's worth it.

But exact distances rarely, if ever, matter anyway.

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I definitely don't see "technical accuracy" as being an upside.

I was just wondering if there was some cool aspect to that house rule I'm not seeing.

Technical accuracy is only an upside if it maters to the people at the table. At my table, simplicity > accuracy.
It has the potential interesting quirk of making areas round/conicular. I wouldn't do it without mussing with the rules for how you calculate a blast as well as a burst, but it could be interesting - and with the right group, wouldn't slow anything down once people got used to it (I mean, we used it in 3.5 all the time and it didn't exactly take very long to figure out a 20' circle...after awhile we knew exactly what the template looked like).

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(I mean, we used it in 3.5 all the time and it didn't exactly take very long to figure out a 20' circle...after awhile we knew exactly what the template looked like).

Template?

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Template?

Template
(granted: he seemed to be referring to mentally envisioning such a template... a mental template if you will)

My group plays DnD4e using MapTool, and so far we've decided that moving diagonally costs the same as moving straight. But there seems to be some confusion, so I am asking here:

Is moving diagonally the same as moving straight up/down/left/right?

Thanks

If it feels wrong, switch to hexes.  Maptools supports them.
If it feels wrong, switch to hexes

fwiw: staggered squares are mechanically identical to hexes, but are easier to place square items on. Still, Wargamers tend to prefer hexes because well, they just look really cool.

One idea I've been considering is throwing out the grid altogether, at least for outdoors encounters, and just using a measuring tape. A 6 square move becomes a 6 inch move. A burst 2 power affects everything within 2 inches of the centre point. A blast 3 affects everything in a 90 degree cone up to 3 inches from the attacker. And so on. The areas covered would be a bit smaller than using the grid (e.g. a circle of 2" radius is smaller than the 5x5 square of a burst 2), but that would be compensated for by allowing a target to be affected even if it's just barely touched by the area, rather than requiring it to be completely covered.
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One idea I've been considering is throwing out the grid altogether, at least for outdoors encounters, and just using a measuring tape. A 6 square move becomes a 6 inch move. A burst 2 power affects everything within 2 inches of the centre point. A blast 3 affects everything in a 90 degree cone up to 3 inches from the attacker. And so on. The areas covered would be a bit smaller than using the grid (e.g. a circle of 2" radius is smaller than the 5x5 square of a burst 2), but that would be compensated for by allowing a target to be affected even if it's just barely touched by the area, rather than requiring it to be completely covered.


That was the method in the early editions of the game. It's totally doable without any balance issues. It's simply a matter of the time you are willing to invest in combat (squares tend to be faster) but as long as you have no problem with that it should work without any issues.
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One idea I've been considering is throwing out the grid altogether, at least for outdoors encounters, and just using a measuring tape. A 6 square move becomes a 6 inch move. A burst 2 power affects everything within 2 inches of the centre point. A blast 3 affects everything in a 90 degree cone up to 3 inches from the attacker. And so on. The areas covered would be a bit smaller than using the grid (e.g. a circle of 2" radius is smaller than the 5x5 square of a burst 2), but that would be compensated for by allowing a target to be affected even if it's just barely touched by the area, rather than requiring it to be completely covered.

That was the method in the early editions of the game. It's totally doable without any balance issues. It's simply a matter of the time you are willing to invest in combat (squares tend to be faster) but as long as you have no problem with that it should work without any issues.

What you'll generally find is that exact measurements don't matter, that you will generally be able to look at a layout and determine whether something is or isn't in range. There will be a few edge cases, but I recommend just deciding in advance to call those in favor of one side or the other, or maybe always in the defender's or attacker's favor.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I came from wargaming where I used measuring tapes for many years. Measuring is always time consuming, even with 10 years in the carpentry trade. I thought the use of squares and hexes was to making things simple and easy, so never liked the 3.5 rules for movement. 4E has the right idea by just having diagonal movement be just like every other type of movement. I could never understand peoples arguments, that 3.5 or pathfinder movement rules are move realistic. As Centauri points out it's a insignificant difference.
  I can't think of any other major games that use a square tile map and impose a cost multiplier on diagonal movement. Admittedly, my knowledge of board and computer strategy games and RPGs isn't comprehensive, and tile-based computer games aren't as common now, but all of the ones I've played treated a diagonal move the same as a vertical or horizontal one.
  I can't think of any other major games that use a square tile map and impose a cost multiplier on diagonal movement.

Restricting or Disallowing diagonal movement is effectively acting as a cost multiplier. There are games that do this. Examples: Star War miniatures and Monsterpocalypse.

Do you know of very many other major games that allow diagonal movement on a square grid without a cost increase? HeroClix is one example, but I was curious of others.
I was just refreshing my memory of Mutant Chronicles: Seige of the Citadel, a cheesy but very fun game from 1993 (boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1621/mutant-...). I was delighted to be reminded that even this game counted diagonals as single steps.

Surely the 1-2-1 counting wasn't new with D&D 3.5. I wonder if there was a lot of excitement when it was announced that this movement rule was going to be implemented.

By the way, I badly fouled up my math earlier. 1-2-1 diagonals are actually accurate to either 6% or 1% after the first square. That's pretty accurate, actually. But, since this is a game and not an architecture class, I'm not sure the accuracy is worth it. Yes, it's easy to figure out once one knows the rule, but throughout my experience with 3.5, I've regularly seen the game grind to a halt as someone corrects or double-checks someone else on this point.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

> Do you know of very many other major games that allow diagonal movement on a
> square grid without a cost increase?

Thinking back to old RPG and TBS games on the computer - the ones that actually used grids - all of the ones I can think of treated a square as a square, regardless of whether it was along a diagonal.

Board game-wise... same thing. Granted, individual pieces usually have their own movement rules, but I don't remember any that allowed diagonal movement while imposing a general "oh yeah, it costs more".

--

IIRC, it *was* a new rule with 3E because the game before that had previously assumed a gridless measuring-inches-with-a-tape approach (if you bothered), as had been the model from the beginning. 3E was when the transition to a grid as the default occurred.

EDIT: Ah, wait - didn't the old Gold Box D&D games impose an extra cost for diagonal movement? I'm not actually sure now, but they might have done so. Of course, they were trying to approximate the measure-by-inches with a grid, so...
Also, while 1-2-1 is easy for a straight diagonal, I found it really slowed things down when the path was some kind of curve. Players (usually several of them at the same time) carefully kept track of how many diagonals had been moved, which became surprisingly taxing if there were stretches of orthogonals in between. You were basically counting two things at the same time.

"Ok, ONE, two, three, FOUR-FIVE, six, seven, EIGHT, NINE, no wait, NINE-TEN. Wait, start over...."

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy


... since this is a game and not an architecture class, I'm not sure the accuracy is worth it.



Well put.
We stick with hex grids, they are naturally efficient for movement in all directions. If it something that seems important, we will measure things out. All in all, though, we would rather just hand-wave the specifics of distance and go with what flows naturally than interrupt the flow of the game with mathematics.
... since this is a game and not an architecture class, I'm not sure the accuracy is worth it.

Well put.

We stick with hex grids, they are naturally efficient for movement in all directions. If it something that seems important, we will measure things out. All in all, though, we would rather just hand-wave the specifics of distance and go with what flows naturally than interrupt the flow of the game with mathematics.


I imagine there's also this feeling that one never knows what details might matter. I mean what if someone needs to get out of a room quickly and can go from the middle through the room in the corner or the door on the wall. The door in the wall is closer in 1-2-1, but not in 1-1. Some might say that 1-1 takes away tactical choices. But if it does it takes away so few that I don't think many people notice.

Frankly, I think the same thing results from the use of the grid. We stare at a board position like it's a chess game, looking for traps and things to exploit, when usually they're not there anyway, or they are but one square over another doesn't make a huge amount of difference. But there appear to be possibilities, so we spend game time looking for them. I guess they're found often enough that using the grid seems like it's rewarded for that reason. There are reasons to use a grid, but I don't think the potential for cool possibilities is one of them.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

-- IIRC, it *was* a new rule with 3E because the game before that had previously assumed a gridless measuring-inches-with-a-tape approach (if you bothered)

- 1e actually provided rules for gridded combat, and recommended using a grid when miniatures were used.
- Diagonal movement wasn't discussed.
- Although the various 1e groups I played with always used a grid when miniatures were used, it wasn't mandatory.

-- IIRC, it *was* a new rule with 3E because the game before that had previously assumed a gridless measuring-inches-with-a-tape approach (if you bothered)

- 1e actually provided rules for gridded combat, and recommended using a grid when miniatures were used.
- Diagonal movement wasn't discussed.
- Although the various 1e groups I played with always used a grid when miniatures were used, it wasn't mandatory.


2e Players Option also included lots of details for playing with a grid. I think it may have included the 1-2-1 rule but I'm not sure, I'd have to check on that.
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