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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I for one found 4e's use of only squares very inconvienent :P I prefer the feet system myself.
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...
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.
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?)
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 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.
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?
Switch to yards (with an explicit note that a yard is about the length of a human stride, or a meter, or half the height of a human).
If you want to convert, 2 yards =~ 5', so it isn't hard to keep the scale of the game almost the same with a search and replace on the rules.
An ability that lets you move xd6 feet further can instead move you xd6/2 yards further. Dividing by 2 is easy, and gives you a quite similar scale to xd6 feet (well, 50% larger, but that is pretty similar).
Nope. Feet are fine. I've been using the metric system my whole life and I have no problem understanding that 30' equals six squares and that 5' is just above 1,5m. The problem with squares is that it's very 'mechanical' and takes away from the immersion/visualisation aspect. What if the group isn't using a grid? It would be quite silly to tell the players that they take a penalty because they're shooting an arrow at an orc that's "three squares" beyond the range limit of their weapon if they don't even have squares in front of them in the first place. If you use miniatures, why not decide with your group that you will be measuring distances in squares and just not call feet? Dividing by five isn't even math, it's that automatic.
This is a roleplaying game and not a board game. Those who want squares can play chess or monopoly.
Having played a lot of Pathfinder Society, I've spent a great deal of time on battlemaps. I have never had a problem with translating my 30' of movement into six squares. If you're even sitting down to a game of D&D, you've already committed to doing some math anyway. In fact, your first action in rolling up a character is adding three numbers together repeatedly. Heck, at least we're not having to calculate THAC0 anymore!
The pitfall of measuring all ground distances in squares is that it implies that playing on a battlemap is the ONLY acceptable way of playing D&D. The reason that the use of squares is credited to 4E despite the previous existence of battlemaps is that 4E is the only version to exclusively use squares as a measuring unit.
P.S. Besides, anything that makes D&D more accessible to Liberians and Burmese is definitely a plus...
Lets call it inchess.. then make them refer to a different game world distance indoors from out doors so it can make so much sense like 1e...
Well somebody mentioned THAC0
being someone of the world and not the US. the metric system seems to me the way to go.
but because wizards are a US company with a US market it is not going to happen even if we all voted for metric.
That being said, why not paces? standardisation was around in medival times. and for the sticklers, a pace can even be a foot or a fraction of a metre or whatever.
First of all, grids and miniatures are and have always been optional for Tabletop RPGs, at least for D&D.
Making the game based on grids is just wrong.
D&D is about letting your imagination fly.
If I throw a fireball of 20ft radius inside a 50ft-wide room I need not a grid to imagine how much of that room will be affected.
Combat with grids and miniatures is much slower and restrained by rules than when you play without them, and although I understand the appeal of this kind of gameplay for many people, there's plenty out there who like better to play the good ol' "dice, paper and imagination" only.
Dude, D&D requires some basic math... if you can't translate your 5ft measures into squares while playing miniatures then I strongly suggest you look for another sort of entertainment.
I'd like them to have only three durations for spells/effects:
Turn (as in, until end of this or next)
I.e. sorta like 4e, because the minute, 10 minute, and hour/level durations from earlier editions were annoying, especially the shorter ones.
Please just no to the OP request. D&D is roleplaying games we need more immersion not less by distancing it further away from what we use I.e. feet, minutes and all those things the OP seems to dislike.
Definitely prefer feet (either as feet or yards) to squares but would prefer if they just listed both in most cases like so:
Range: 25' (5 squares/hexes/etc.)
I do like the idea of yards, but it's not very backward compatible.
However, I definitely do NOT like using minutes, especially when spell durations are fairly arbitrary as they currently seem in DDN. I'm not going to be tracking 37 minute spiderwalks or 17 1/3 minutes invisibilities when we're trying to quest. The annoying thing about those is that, you're basically just telling the DM to arbitrate a spell duration once it's out of combat, and that's not really fair for the player. Again though, I'd like to see both, just have it be a bit more standardized. Say: 1 round (6 seconds), 1 encounter (1-10 minutes), 1 scene (10-60 minutes/<1 hour), or 1 day (24 hours). Heck you could even throw in 1/2 day and week for good measure.
I very much sympathise with the OP.
I don't use feet or minutes much in my game nearly as much as squares/rounds, and I don't find that that breaks "immersion" at all. No more so than writing down "15 strength" instead of "strong enough to bench press 200lbs." =P Usually "breaks immersion" is just a way of saying "something I'm not used to". For one person multiplying by 5 to find feet breaks immersion, for another deviding by 5 to find squares does the same.
But for that very reason, in the interest of keeping the system as flexable as possible for different playstyles and uses of the rules, I think it's appropriate that the feet/yards and hours/minutes/seconds are the officially given units. These "real world" units are universal in their meaning and don't depend on any one rule system, so whether you're using the standard 5 foot grid or or some custom hexogon-grid or just TotM you can easily convert these distances and times for use at your own table.
So yeah, I'll just be deviding by 5 to find the range or a spell, but I don't mind doing it. It may break my "immersion" a bit at first, but only until I get used to it. And I think that it's honestly the best decision for the devs to make in this case.
I hardly see the problem. Using feet and minutes is fine. Do you want to use squares? Divide by 5 for squares. Want to use turns instead of minutes? Divide the amount of seconds by 6. It's very very very simple.
A few years ago I bought an adventure module that was an ebook. It had a button. If you clicked the button it conveted all the stat blocks to either d20, Savage Worlds, and some other games. It would be great if D&D Next could embrace technology and really use it to solve issues like this. If you want feet and minutes, Click the button. If you want squares, or meters, or whatever, click a button. This could also work for other modular rules.
Living outside the US, I would like to have centimeters, meters, kilometers instead of inches, feet and miles of course. After all, that's how the entire world does things. I could also live with squares if they represented something in meters.
But I understand that a lot of US players are either unwilling or unable to change the way they calculate distances because they have no way of getting a feel for it in the country they live in. Maybe most americans do not leave their own country and therefore have no way of knowing anything else.
Also, WotC is an american company that produces a US game for the US market. I guess I wouldn't want americans coming over here to my home country Germany and telling us how to brew beer. Thinking about this as I write, there is a difference, though: german beer is appreciated around the world as far as I know, while feet and inches are not? Is that so, I am not sure. And who am I as a german to tell others how they should calculate distances?
Anyways, I do not expect the return of the SW Saga Edition or d20 Modern 2m-squares and I can live with it. Having to calculate feet and inches into cm and meters is a good brain exercise.
That said, "minutes" really should be changed IMO. Especially because "minute" represents "until the end of the encounter" 95% of the time. So why not be honest and say what it really means?
But I also do not think we will see a return of the "until the end of the encounter" either because that probably is considered too gamey by those who do not like 4E and 3e Bo9S, people WotC seeks to win back in general. And maybe too many people are simply unwilling or unable to state when an encounter is over. It definetely is less simulationist, which some people do not like.
And I can live with that, too.
Next really has many other more important issues to fix.
Imo, movement and distance and similar "complexity" shouldn`t have to be part of a gridless combat system. Sometimes I even run combat in 4e as skill challanges, maybe something inspired by that mechanic or a simple, fast and narrative form of combat should exist in Next as an optional rule or something!
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