metric system?

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Googled through the forums and couldn't find any topics on it, and as an European i am almost obliged by law to mention it :D

The question is, what sort of measurements might we expect to find in 4E? in my opinion there are three options,
  • A. imperial
  • B. metric
  • C. both
  • D. Squares/generic units (new option)

A is probably the most likely choice, since its an American game and America is one of the 3 remaining countries in the world who has not officially gone over to metric yet(along with Liberia and Myanmar). And since i don't have any market data which proves that the US is the biggest market for d&d i can assume thats where they are making most of their money(though i bet Europe is a close second).

B would have been very nice, but i cannot imagine the amount of angry Americans that it would have spawned. Then again, if we are to believe in some stereotypes, most D&D players might be the type that organizes groups and meetings for metric in universities.

C is a good compromise in my opinion, though it might cause more room to be spent. but WotC have said that the design of the new books will be more open than the last ones, so there might be room to squeeze it in. Then again, it can clutter up the design alot when every time movement is mentioned, you need to write 5f/2m or 1mile/1.609KM.


personally i could go for both B and C, but i am not the majority, so it would be interesting to hear people's opinions on this topic...


edit: as D, squares, has been added, i probably have to say something about that as well. basically if everything in the new 4e books uses squares as the generic measurement of anything range-related in combat, people could use whatever measurement they feel like on these squares and it wouldn't be a problem. dragons fire breath has 12 squares range? thats 24 meters or 60 feet. fighter usually moves 6 squares, but with armor he would only move 4. wizards magic missile can reach out to 5-6 squares if he is very low-lvl.

it would also make the game easier to play on a battlemap, as you would not need to recalculate ranges before you start moving around the map. i think this might be the best option as of yet.
In my land we use the metric system too.

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Let me take you back to GenCon in 1988. In a seminar hall Jon Pickens and Dave Cook are answering questions about the upcoming 2nd edition of AD&D. Dave has just been talking about how they are getting rid of the strange scale inches for movement distances and will be using real measurements.

Suddenly a lone european asks the unthinkable - "Will you be using meters then?". Shocked silence. Every head is turned to see who this heretic is. Jon Pickens laughs it off and everything returns to normal.

Even now, nineteen years later, I'm afraid your question will get a similar response as mine got then.
I wouldn't have a problem with any of the options since the metrics used would probably just be distance in meters and weight in kilograms. I know a meter is roughly 3.25 feet and a killogram is roughly 2.2 pounds.(thank you hero system).

I don't think using both would take up much room. First off there describing distance in squares, so only once do they have to say 1 square equals X feet and Y meters. And 2nd for weight that is in the equipment charts where there has always been plenty of dead space where they could fit additional columns.
Let me take you back to GenCon in 1988. In a seminar hall Jon Pickens and Dave Cook are answering questions about the upcoming 2nd edition of AD&D. Dave has just been talking about how they are getting rid of the strange scale inches for movement distances and will be using real measurements.

Suddenly a lone european asks the unthinkable - "Will you be using meters then?". Shocked silence. Every head is turned to see who this heretic is. Jon Pickens laughs it off and everything returns to normal.

Even now, nineteen years later, I'm afraid your question will get a similar response as mine got then.

It would of been better if the response had been. "I said Real measurements"
It would of been better if the response had been. "I said Real measurements"

:P
hehe, since i was only 3 years old at that time i guess i missed that opportunity. i believe though that people are a bit more aware and neutral towards metric now than what they were back then.

one thing that might work for us though is the Star-Wars rpg's, as i think that they have been in metric for a while. maybe they used that to measure how the fans would react to it if implemented in 4e?
I seem to recall reading somewhere that non-English versions of 3.X use metric units, but I've never seen a copy myself. Unfortunately for the majority of the planet's population, though, I've seen no sign that 4E will renounce the American predilection for imperial units in the English text.
hehe, since i was only 3 years old at that time i guess i missed that opportunity. i believe though that people are a bit more aware and neutral towards metric now than what they were back then.

one thing that might work for us though is the Star-Wars rpg's, as i think that they have been in metric for a while. maybe they used that to measure how the fans would react to it if implemented in 4e?

If the U.S. ever converts to the metric system officially, I'd love for the game to use metrics. Until then, I am quite content with our "Imperial" measurements: feet and inches and pounds, oh my.
imperial measurements sounds more fantasy-like than metric. Of course, it's a bit of a nuisance if you have to translate the distances to 90% of your players.
Lands of the Barbarian Kings Campaign Setting - http://barbaripedia.eu
imperial measurements sounds more fantasy-like than metric. Of course, it's a bit of a nuisance if you have to translate the distances to 90% of your players.

Well, yes, they do have a certain charmingly archaic feel about them. But, as you say, in-game conversions must surely be a pain for players outside the States.
imperial measurements sounds more fantasy-like than metric. Of course, it's a bit of a nuisance if you have to translate the distances to 90% of your players.

Archaic, maybe. Fantasy, no. I see no reason why people in Eberron or Forgotten Realms would prefer feet over meter. Cubits, anyone?
But, as you say, in-game conversions must surely be a pain for players outside the States.

It is. 100 feet tells me nothing, but I have an instinctive feel for 30 meter.

That's why I wrote this.
:D
It is. 100 feet tells me nothing, but I have an instinctive feel for 30 meter.

That's why I wrote this.
:D

Right. I'm American, but I've developed a feel for metric units from my work (archaeology). I'd have no complaint with a change, but I don't expect to see it. Bloody American exceptionalism and all that.
The german translations of the books all use metric.

But unforunately, german translation often get published some years after the english versions and most are never translated at all, so you'll have more fun if you stick to english all the time.
Lands of the Barbarian Kings Campaign Setting - http://barbaripedia.eu
It is. 100 feet tells me nothing, but I have an instinctive feel for 30 meter.

That's why I wrote this.

hehe, i see we have a veteran fighter for the cause here then :p

The german translations of the books all use metric.

But unforunately, german translation often get published some years after the english versions and most are never translated at all, so you'll have more fun if you stick to english all the time.

yeah, i can imagine that once they translate the rules, they also do the measurements, but its very unlikely to come out at the same time as the core books. and i personally prefer english because my german is bad.
It is. 100 feet tells me nothing, but I have an instinctive feel for 30 meter.

That's why I wrote this.
:D

I'm just the opposite. It's two sides of a coin.

I'm certainly not opposed to them using/including metric substitutions in/for countries that use them, but I fully expect the product in the U.S. to include good ol' inches and pounds.
Using both seems like it'd be the logical choice to me. Needing a calculator to play = not fun. And at least one market will be needing calculators regardless of whether the text is in Imperial or Metric. Hence.
wonder how much trouble it would be for wizards to make two versions for each book. it would perhaps be the cleanest way of doing it, but the problem will be that theres always a chance to miss one of the small notes about it somewhere.

if you only have one version which uses both imperial and metric, you know the rules that you are to follow and it will be easier to avoid errors, but i'm still worried about it not looking too good.


for those to have trouble with metric, basically just think of a meter as a long yard(90% of a meter is proximately one yard)
and i personally prefer english because my german is bad.

So, how is your swedish? :D
I think 4e is going to be using squares. And maybe some imaginary longer unit for farther travel. Either way I expect there to be a sidebar that will equate the units they use to real life things.

For instance, if they create a new unit called the Fisee (Far as I See) that was equal to say X miles and Y km, would that be so bad? Especially if the Fisee were easily calculable from the speeds characters have. Like a Fisee could be...

6 squares/round * 10 rounds/minute * 50 minutes / hour = 3,000 squares. Yes I know there are 60 minutes in an hour, not 50, but I am figuring in rest and trying to keep the number "round" down to make a comfortable rate of movement.

FYI, 30 feet per 6 second round is about 4.1 mph (~6.6 km/h), which is kind of fast for long distance walking

3,000 sq/hr comes out to an average of ~2.84 mph. I think most people could maintain 2.84 mph for several hours.

But Fisee is just a silly name... We might see Kilosquares instead :P
So, how is your swedish?:D

better than my german :p

personally i prefer having games with alot of rules in english because its good training in a secondary language. it might be nice to have it in your own language when teaching new people how to play, but that only happens once doesnt it? :D
wonder how much trouble it would be for wizards to make two versions for each book. it would perhaps be the cleanest way of doing it, but the problem will be that theres always a chance to miss one of the small notes about it somewhere.

if you only have one version which uses both imperial and metric, you know the rules that you are to follow and it will be easier to avoid errors, but i'm still worried about it not looking too good.


for those to have trouble with metric, basically just think of a meter as a long yard(90% of a meter is proximately one yard)

I think most people using the Imperial system know the whole "meter ~ 39 inches"-bit, but it's still a hassle when you have larger distances in play, or when you have to deal with kilograms. (I'm trying to speak in generalities as there are individual cases of ease or familiarity, such as myself due to having chemistry, Alg II, and Calculus classes which required frequent conversions.)

Also, regarding two books: it shouldn't be too hard to do. If the books are stored digitally somehow, which I assume they would be prior to printing, a simple "find all" function to find all the "ft." or "feet" or "foot" or whatever would allow them all to be located and replaced rather easily(it would still be time-consuming and tedious, but they shouldn't miss any).
it might be nice to have it in your own language when teaching new people how to play, but that only happens once doesnt it? :D

Not for me. I must have taught literally thousands of people to play RPGs. It helps immensely to use our own language.

Or at least metric measurements. :D
I think most people using the Imperial system know the whole "meter ~ 39 inches"-bit, but it's still a hassle when you have larger distances in play, or when you have to deal with kilograms. (I'm trying to speak in generalities as there are individual cases of ease or familiarity, such as myself due to having chemistry, Alg II, and Calculus classes which required frequent conversions.)

But in the end it just comes down to the US being a holdout in this case. If it wasn't for the huge cultural impact you have on the rest of the world for the moment, you'd been forced to convert a long time ago.

And for every producer that thinks "my customer expects a US product to conform to US measurements", another opportunity is lost.

Also, regarding two books: it shouldn't be too hard to do. If the books are stored digitally somehow, which I assume they would be prior to printing, a simple "find all" function to find all the "ft." or "feet" or "foot" or whatever would allow them all to be located and replaced rather easily(it would still be time-consuming and tedious, but they shouldn't miss any).

Been there, done that. Not as easy as you would think. It's all those "or whatever" that gets you.
It is. 100 feet tells me nothing, but I have an instinctive feel for 30 meter.

That's why I wrote this.
:D

Even though I have a pretty excellent ability to eyeball distances and rates (I'll be able to tell you approximately how long it will take to reach a point I can see if something's going a certain speed [even if I know neither the numeric distance or rate]), I can never peg a number, imperial or metric, to something I eyeballed.
On behalf of everyone I have ever been gaming with I vote for a metric system. Even though its modern, its a meta-game concept and really shouldnt have anything to do with the feel of the game.

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On behalf of everyone I have ever been gaming with I vote for a metric system. Even though its modern, its a meta-game concept and really shouldnt have anything to do with the feel of the game.

It has nothing to do with the feel of the game itself and everything to do with how players interpret the world. An American will know approximately how long a hallway is if its 30 feet long, but a metric user won't have a grasp on it.
But in the end it just comes down to the US being a holdout in this case. If it wasn't for the huge cultural impact you have on the rest of the world for the moment, you'd been forced to convert a long time ago.

And for every producer that thinks "my customer expects a US product to conform to US measurements", another opportunity is lost.


Been there, done that. Not as easy as you would think. It's all those "or whatever" that gets you.

I use the "find all" function all the time for stuff like that. Like I said, it's very tedious, but it's not difficult.

As for the U.S. not using the metric system: who cares? If it didn't impact you(let us assume they do print two books, and stay within D&D[ignoring other instances where our units of measurement apply]), does it really matter? The answer is likely no, and if it's yes, you simply care too much, to be honest. The fact that the vast majority of people that do care only care because they think it causes them problems is hardly the fault of the U.S.

We don't whine(and I'm not saying you are) about the metric system being used when it is, and we certainly don't ask the rest of the world to convert to the imperial system. The fact that the rest of the world sees our system as outdated/inferior/what-have-you is simply a case of ego-centrism(I realize that many cultures use metrics, but it is still a feeling of cultural superiority, even if it's a shared culture).

As for the producer thinking that, if he thinks that(as it is worded currently), then perhaps there is an opportunity lost. What isn't nonsensical, however, is for a producer to think, "my customer in the U.S. expects my product I am selling in the U.S. to use U.S. measurements." I made the customer specific to the nation(as opposed to a generic customer that could be of any nation) and the product non-specific in origin(goods made in China or Mexico that are printed in English/other languages, anyone?), and removed "conform" because it is hypocritical to say we are forcing people to conform when you specifically are opposed to our measurement system anyway and would like to see us adopt metrics.

This still leaves room for goods that are not sold in the U.S. normally, but are sold on the secondary market. These goods obviously are not intended for a U.S. audience, and should not be expected to use the imperial system.
It has nothing to do with the feel of the game itself and everything to do with how players interpret the world. An American will know approximately how long a hallway is if its 30 feet long, but a metric user won't have a grasp on it.

I think unundindur was referring to the sentiment voiced earlier that feet and pounds just "feel more fantasy". I agree with him (and you) that it's not part of the question.

Having an instinctive grasp of given descriptions have, though, and I can't see how they can keep both groups happy with one product. Dual-statting everything... well, maybe.
They used metric in the Modern and SW games. It is a feel for the futuristic.

Old imperial is OK as far as pounds and feets goes. But please!!!! Get rid of Farenheit!!! That is nearly impossible to convert on the fly.
The question is, what sort of measurements might we expect to find in 4E? in my opinion there are three options,
  • A. imperial
  • B. metric
  • C. both

Well there is a third option, use a another unit of measure. I'm pretty sure the current edition of Star Wars measures distance in "squares", which have a imperial and metric conversion value. For weight they could go old school D&D, and measure everything in "gold coins".
They used metric in the Modern and SW games. It is a feel for the futuristic.

Old imperial is OK as far as pounds and feets goes. But please!!!! Get rid of Farenheit!!! That is nearly impossible to convert on the fly.

9/5+32 isn't exactly what I'd call a massive challenge, but I agree that it is one of the sillier conversions. =/

I still think Kelvins are the most appropriate, however. Absolute zero at zero, instead of at -273, makes much more sense to me. It's just a lot more intuitive.
Yeah, but that leads to the biggest murphy's rule ever. Everything's bigger/smaller in Europe. In 3.5, everything's bigger in Europe. In Star Wars Saga system, everything's smaller in Europe.

Quite frankly, I AM an American. I think the metric system SHOULD be used in the game, should ALWAYS have been used in the game, and that we're kidding ourselves if we don't switch.

Hero System has been metric since it's inception. ZERO PROBLEMS. It's fine.
I use the "find all" function all the time for stuff like that. Like I said, it's very tedious, but it's not difficult.

As for the U.S. not using the metric system: who cares? If it didn't impact you(let us assume they do print two books, and stay within D&D[ignoring other instances where our units of measurement apply]), does it really matter? The answer is likely no, and if it's yes, you simply care too much, to be honest. The fact that the vast majority of people that do care only care because they think it causes them problems is hardly the fault of the U.S.

We don't whine(and I'm not saying you are) about the metric system being used when it is, and we certainly don't ask the rest of the world to convert to the imperial system. The fact that the rest of the world sees our system as outdated/inferior/what-have-you is simply a case of ego-centrism(I realize that many cultures use metrics, but it is still a feeling of cultural superiority, even if it's a shared culture).

As for the producer thinking that, if he thinks that(as it is worded currently), then perhaps there is an opportunity lost. What isn't nonsensical, however, is for a producer to think, "my customer in the U.S. expects my product I am selling in the U.S. to use U.S. measurements." I made the customer specific to the nation(as opposed to a generic customer that could be of any nation) and the product non-specific in origin(goods made in China or Mexico that are printed in English/other languages, anyone?), and removed "conform" because it is hypocritical to say we are forcing people to conform when you specifically are opposed to our measurement system anyway and would like to see us adopt metrics.

This still leaves room for goods that are not sold in the U.S. normally, but are sold on the secondary market. These goods obviously are not intended for a U.S. audience, and should not be expected to use the imperial system.

Considering that WotC is not very likely to publish two books, I do care. And with good reason.

However, even if they did, I still worry about the US not making any effort to adopt the metric system. When you say "we don't expect the rest of the world to convert to the imperial system" you do realize that the US was one of the seventeen original signatory nations of the Convention du Mètre in 1875? The SI (a.k.a the metric system) is the international standard governed by ISO. It is not ego-centrism to regard you as a holdout when almost every other nation in the world has abandoned their national systems (we scrapped our old non-metric system in 1883) and switched. It's not that many cultures use metric - it's that all other cultures have given up on their cultural uniqueness on this point, but the US hasn't.
Yeah, but that leads to the biggest murphy's rule ever. Everything's bigger/smaller in Europe. In 3.5, everything's bigger in Europe. In Star Wars Saga system, everything's smaller in Europe.

Quite frankly, I AM an American. I think the metric system SHOULD be used in the game, should ALWAYS have been used in the game, and that we're kidding ourselves if we don't switch.

Hero System has been metric since it's inception. ZERO PROBLEMS. It's fine.

People that play Hero won't complain, because they joined a metric game. I'm sure there are people, however, that were discouraged and chose not to start playing for that reason. You don't hear complaints from people who aren't on Hero boards because the people that would complain don't play. It's simply bad logic, that argument.

That said, I still stand by my statement that if our country ever does officially convert to metrics, I fully expect D&D to follow suit.
it's that all other cultures have given up on their cultural uniqueness on this point, but the US hasn't.

That's just bitterness and silliness, right there. That's not a logical reason to change. That's just saying, "we changed, so you should too!"

I'd really have respected your argument more if you had stuck with, "[...] many cultures use metric." As it is, you give no concrete and fundamental reason for us to convert.

Also, read my above post where I reiterated one of my original statements.
That's just bitterness and silliness, right there. That's not a logical reason to change. That's just saying, "we changed, so you should too!"

I'd really have respected your argument more if you had stuck with, "[...] many cultures use metric." As it is, you give no concrete and fundamental reason for us to convert.

Also, read my above post where I reiterated one of my original statements.


No, it's no bitterness. I mean, my grandparents weren't even born in 1883. It's not like I miss aln, skäppa, or fjärdingsväg.

It's not like the other lemmings are waiting for you to jump off the cliff. Every nation that has changed did it for a good reason - to promote international trade and exchange of ideas.

That is a logical, concrete and fundamental reason for you to convert - in practice. Officially you converted many years ago.
It's not like the other lemmings are waiting for you to jump off the cliff. Every nation that has changed did it for a good reason - to promote international trade and exchange of ideas.

I love how you mention "exchange of ideas" as if doing away with the imperial system is a direct implementation of that. Now I'll help counter my own argument a little bit: one concept of exchanging ideas is that some ideas are worse, and can be replaced by "better" ones. Now I'm going to show why that perspective isn't necessarily right(or even applicable).

You can't define a "better" measurement system. Measurement systems are just relative definitions.

Also, it's not even truly applicable in this case since you can't say that the metric system was meant to promote exchange of ideas, and thus, by extension, was meant to replace something with itself. Who is to say that the imperial system could not do the same thing if more people 'got on board' with it? This goes back to my first point: they both serve the same function. Neither is inherently better than the other.

Now that I've offered my logic, offered the opposing logic, and refuted said opposing logic, please continue.
Why the rest of the world use the metric system?

Because it isn't based on a King's feet or thumb. It's cientific.

Today, it is defined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures as the distance travelled by light in absolute vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.

It's a lot more logical, also. I mean... 12'' = 1', if my memory isn't cheating me. But metric system works on decimals, which is the way all other things work (unless you apply for the "there are 10 kings of people, those who understand binary and those who don't").

I hope WotC go for the metric system! \o/
When you say "we don't expect the rest of the world to convert to the imperial system" you do realize that the US was one of the seventeen original signatory nations of the Convention du Mètre in 1875? The SI (a.k.a the metric system) is the international standard governed by ISO.

Just for kicks, I decided I'd throw this little bit in here as well: "In 1958 the United States and countries of the Commonwealth of Nations defined the length of the international yard to be 0.9144 metres. Consequently, the international foot is defined to be equal to 0.3048 metres (equivalent to 304.8 millimetres).

The international standard symbol for a foot is "ft" (see ISO 31-1, Annex A). In some cases, the foot is denoted by a prime, which is often approximated by an apostrophe, and the inch by a double prime. For example, 5 feet 2 inches is denoted by 5′2″. This use can cause confusion, because the prime and double prime are also international standard symbols for arcminutes and arcseconds."

Case in point: it's also conveniently defined by the ISO, making it an accepted international standard of measurement.