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RPMiller
05-08-2008, 11:31 AM
Inspired by this thread: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=1962 I decided to start a thread on a subject that continually comes up in various forums.

I think it comes from not being constrained by the grid.

I can't tell you how many times I've commented about that very thing. This is the bad thing about square grids and I wish more people would stop using them as the base of their drawing. Just draw your map then lay a grid over the top. I understand the old school mentality and the benefit of having the grid for mechanics reasons, but it just "feels" so much better when a map isn't confined by orthogonal lines.

In my opinion, the staggered square and hex grids are superior to the square in the realm of mechanics as well, and I remain baffled that D&D doesn't at least take the small step to using staggered squares. The mechanics would actually be simplified in some aspects by that move and the old school mappers would still have orthogonal lines to draw on.

================================================== =======

So this brings me to my questions.

Other than sentimental reasons, why do folks still use the square grid?
Of the three major grid types (square, staggered square, hex), which one do you prefer? Why?
Now take the game system out of the equation and tell me which one you prefer? Why?
Did you know that with Virtual Tabletops such as MapTool that you can actually play without any sort of grid because it is able to measure distances?

And here is a small example of each type just to make sure there isn't any confusion. ;)

RPMiller
05-08-2008, 11:37 AM
For myself, I prefer either hex or no grid at all. Hex is handy for fast distance calculations and provides smoother turning radii and 12 facing directions.

No grid is great for playing on a VTT and is less distracting regarding the map and the options that you have available. Unfortunately not all systems can cope with the lack of a grid such as threat zone rules and the like.

torstan
05-08-2008, 11:48 AM
Well, I now map without a grid. However I play in maptool with the grid turned on because players like to know where they are, who they are flanking and like having an easy way to eyeball spell area of effects. Also, maptool currently works better with the grid on than off.

However, my slavish addiction to the rules will not extend to the 4e rule that the diagonal of a square is the same as the length of a side. A square is not a circle and I don't find non-Euclidean geometry to be 'easier' :) (waits for 4e flame war to derail mapping thread...)

RobA
05-08-2008, 11:54 AM
For 1 I'd answer game mechanics. I play 3.5e pretty exclusively, and everything is detailed based on square grids.

If someone wrote a hex conversion for 3.5e I'd probably consider it (or try that micro rule set posted if it works with hexes)

-Rob A>

NeonKnight
05-08-2008, 11:57 AM
I am so old school I go with Squares. But then that is because my game mechanics demand it.

Kasim
05-08-2008, 12:23 PM
Other than sentimental reasons, why do folks still use the square grid?

Old habits are hard to break.

Of the three major grid types (square, staggered square, hex), which one do you prefer? Why?

Hex shaped would be my main choice as it gives more choices for smooth movement, the 12 facings and better sense of front, back, sides.

Now take the game system out of the equation and tell me which one you prefer? Why?

I'd prefer none at all, instead using overlays and ruler type tools.

Did you know that with Virtual Tabletops such as MapTool that you can actually play without any sort of grid because it is able to measure distances?

I'm actually looking forward to doing the same with Viewing Dale. Using a ruler overlay to measure distances, for that true table top feel. :P

Midgardsormr
05-08-2008, 12:23 PM
I grew up on MERP, which was generally gridless. I've never quite grown accustomed to using a grid, so I generally leave it off of my maps unless there is a pretty good reason to have one. Even then, I'd prefer to use an overlay rather than putting it in the map itself.

jfrazierjr
05-08-2008, 01:47 PM
I remember in the olden days where you drew maps, you did it on grid paper cause it was such a pain to use the ruler to measure each and every single line you ever put. Besides that, it's much easier to desribe a rooms dimensions and have everyone just know how much room there is because they are familiar with grids. Personally, I would not mind using hexes, but I abhor staggerded square.

Joe

Redrobes
05-08-2008, 02:57 PM
I voted for none but it depends a little. For outdoor use I don't see any need for a grid at all. With hex I always thought it was more for convenience than any kind of real need for it.

Some kinds of indoor stuff can be easier to map if calling it out on paper. I always remember the groans and slow down in play when you got to caves. But a VTT overcomes all of that.

The main reason I still use a grid is for mapping with a snap to grid option. Putting in pillars, tiles, walls and so on is much easier. Getting perfect 45 degree angles and so on is hard without some kind of snap action.

With a VTT you can place down an area template for fireballs and measure distances with similar types of ruler. Personally I don't think its a good idea to let the players get a good idea of exactly how far their bow shot is until they have let fly. And I don't particularly like the restriction of tile based movement or facing. These all seemed like constructions to make the game play easier from being able to say to DM ill move 5 squares north and for the DM to say that you can have exactly 3 squares worth of attackers around you. In some ways the grid gets in the way when the perfectly round fireball template lies half way across a grid.

So I wouldn't want to be without the option but generally, no, I don't need no stinkin' grid.

Gamerprinter
05-08-2008, 03:05 PM
Truly for me, I never use a grid on my own maps when I play D&D, approximations spoken in game works well enough for my group.

We used and sometimes still play Battletech - and that of course requires hex grid maps.

However, nowadays I am making maps for others and have to meet their expectations. Squares are fairly consistent for the printed battlemap market, and its what's expected. Plus D&D movement rules is usually square not hex. And if I'm creating a VTT map, then I use an implied square grid to get scale correct across the map, but then I don't include the grid with the final, as grids are inserted and scaled at the user's whim.

I use square, hex and no grid - it depends on who the map is for. :P

RPMiller
05-08-2008, 03:49 PM
Besides that, it's much easier to desribe a rooms dimensions and have everyone just know how much room there is because they are familiar with grids.
I rarely describe dimensions in exacting terms unless the PCs have some sort of measuring device, and if they are playing via VTT the sizes of the various objects and their own token is enough to give them the spacial size.

Personally, I would not mind using hexes, but I abhor staggerded square.
Interesting. Why do you abhor staggered square? I am very curious about that.

I voted for none but it depends a little.
That's why I made it a multiple selection poll. ;)

For outdoor use I don't see any need for a grid at all. With hex I always thought it was more for convenience than any kind of real need for it.
Some systems use hex for their mechanics as well.

Some kinds of indoor stuff can be easier to map if calling it out on paper. I always remember the groans and slow down in play when you got to caves. But a VTT overcomes all of that.
Agreed.

The main reason I still use a grid is for mapping with a snap to grid option. Putting in pillars, tiles, walls and so on is much easier. Getting perfect 45 degree angles and so on is hard without some kind of snap action.
I totally agree with this as well. We all tend to need some sort of reference when drawing up the map, but it shouldn't limit the map either as is the case with most old school maps that have right angles everywhere, and as for including it in the map well VTTs handle that as well.

In some ways the grid gets in the way when the perfectly round fireball template lies half way across a grid.
Exactly!

Truly for me, I never use a grid on my own maps when I play D&D, approximations spoken in game works well enough for my group.
Good to hear. I think most groups can deal quite well with it if they have the imagination to envision the scene. If the need more exacting details then the grid because an important crutch for those players.

We used and sometimes still play Battletech - and that of course requires hex grid maps.
Always a great game to toss out for a break from "usual". There is a great demo on the RPTools site that shows mechs walking around with their spot lights on. That always puts a smile on my face.

However, nowadays I am making maps for others and have to meet their expectations. Squares are fairly consistent for the printed battlemap market, and its what's expected.
Depending on the system of course. If you did a square grid map for the Hero System players they would look at you like you were from another planet and then burn it in effigy. ;)

Plus D&D movement rules is usually square not hex. And if I'm creating a VTT map, then I use an implied square grid to get scale correct across the map, but then I don't include the grid with the final, as grids are inserted and scaled at the user's whim.

I use square, hex and no grid - it depends on who the map is for.
All good points and since you mention mechanics again, I have another question and this is for everyone above who mentioned mechanics actually.

Why do you adhere so strictly to the published mechanics? I already know the answers that will be "Because I don't play with the same people on a regular basis so I need to keep the rules as expected". I'm more interested in those of you that play with the same people. Do you not like using House Rules that could potentially "fix" a broken mechanic or do you feel that you won't be playing the system "right" or something else? I'm curious from a game designer perspective. In every system that I've been involved in there has always been a statement to the effect of "If it doesn't work for you, toss it out". I'm just curious if folks do that.

Also, I don't quite understand the need for "conversion rules" for D&D mechanics to hex. All a square or a hex is is a unit of measure. If you went through the book and everywhere it said 'square' you replaced it with 'space' wouldn't it still work just fine? :?: I admit that I'm not real up on the most current rule sets, but it seems silly to me that you couldn't easily just replace the square with the hex or whatever and call it good.

su_liam
05-08-2008, 04:00 PM
I voted for none, but I'm not averse to a graticule for some purposes. Hex is just too unnatural for a map in my opinion; it just kind of shouts, "game map," to me(although I might use hex for an alien map). Staggered squares is just poor man's hex.

After doing miniature gaming for awhile, I don't find the use of rulers(or protractors or even retroactive encabulators) to be excessively onerous, although I find I prefer to let the computer work out line of sight. :roll:

RPMiller
05-08-2008, 04:03 PM
I voted for none, but I'm not averse to a graticule for some purposes. Hex is just too unnatural for a map in my opinion; it just kind of shouts, "game map," to me(although I might use hex for an alien map). Staggered squares is just poor man's hex.
Yea, staggered square is the answer to those that use squares simply because they need orthogonal lines.

ravells
05-08-2008, 04:51 PM
I went for 'no grid' as well, as on the very rare occasions that I play these days, we tend to freeform.

Chgowiz
05-08-2008, 07:00 PM
After doing miniature gaming for awhile, I don't find the use of rulers(or protractors or even retroactive encabulators) to be excessively onerous, although I find I prefer to let the computer work out line of sight. :roll:

Oh, that brings back memories of Battletech games. There used to be some tool that a guy had for LOS and figuring out range if we didn't have hex maps. It wasn't a rule, but it had markings to represent LAM range, MG, rail guns...

Now I'm suddenly craving a Jenner vs. Phawk fight...

Neurowiz

jfrazierjr
05-08-2008, 07:38 PM
I rarely describe dimensions in exacting terms unless the PCs have some sort of measuring device, and if they are playing via VTT the sizes of the various objects and their own token is enough to give them the spacial size.

I am more thinking of old school. I have not GM'ed in around 15 years. Mainly, back in the day, I made my maps on grid paper to make it easier for me. We never played with miniatures and while one or more of the PC's usually mapped, during battle, it was usually a case of me giving verbal directions and ranges rather than someone looking at the ma, though in a few instances the map was referenced in case of obstacles (such as altars that might hamper movement)

Interesting. Why do you abhor staggered square? I am very curious about that.

heh.. they hurt my eyes like hell! Someone posted on the maptool forum about possibly using diamonds to force perspective, but the example with just the grid hurt my eyes as well (though no where near as much as staggered squares). But that may have been because there was no background items such as doors, altars, etc to break up the noise.

If I ever get to GM again, I will most likely use hex via Maptool or some othre VTT.

RPMiller
05-08-2008, 08:47 PM
Ah, those both make perfect sense. Thanks for the clarifications. :)

jaerdaph
05-08-2008, 10:56 PM
I prefer square grids for dungeons, floor plans and battle maps. For overland maps, I prefer no grid at all, but there is something very appealing about a hex grid overland map to me, but only for the aesthetics, not the functionality. So call me "ol' skool". :)

RPMiller
05-08-2008, 11:28 PM
I prefer square grids for dungeons, floor plans and battle maps. For overland maps, I prefer no grid at all, but there is something very appealing about a hex grid overland map to me, but only for the aesthetics, not the functionality. So call me "ol' skool". :)
But why? Why do you like square grids for dungeons, floor plans and battle maps. Is it because of the system you use, aesthetics, or something else?

================================================== ===============

For everyone, I'm asking because we as a society, nay as a species seem to be stuck in the "Because it has always been done that way" mentality, and even though I have heard just about every reason under the sun I have yet to hear a strong logical reason for continuing to do something that might be "obsolete". (NOTE: I'm not saying one grid type is superior over another it just happens to be part of the conversation.) I see it a lot in the work place for instance and I'm just curious how far it extends and why people become "stuck in their old ways".

I'm not saying that anyone is inferior or stupid, I'm just curious what the thought process is, or even if there is no thought process, behind the continuation of old methods. When I was teaching I used to hear IT professionals give me the "because it's always been done that way" reason about a billion times, but no one could ever tell me why the better method wasn't being used. Of course grid use is a silly topic to shine this sort of light on, but I see it as a related aspect of human habit and thought patterns that fascinate me.

One of my favorite stories is about a woman that invites her neighbor over to her house for a dinner party with the woman's mother and grandmother.
The neighbor comes over early to help the woman prepare.
The woman tells the neighbor that she is making a ham and takes it out of the refrigerator. She then sets it out the counter and cuts off both ends of the ham.
The neighbor asks the woman why she did that and the woman says, "Because that is the way I've always done it and the way my mother showed me."
The neighbor asks, "Isn't that a waste though?"
The woman just shrugs.
Then the woman's mother arrives and the neighbor gets to ask the question that is now holding her curiosity hostage. She approaches the mother and asks, "Why do you cut both ends of the ham off before putting it in the oven?"
Interestingly the mother's response is the same as the woman's, "Because that is how my mother did it."
Now the neighbor is bursting with curiosity when the grandmother arrives and quickly insists on asking the fateful question, "Why do you cut both ends of the ham off before putting it in the oven?"
The grandmother smiles and says, "Oh. I don't do that anymore."
Both the woman and her mother stare at the grandmother now curious as well about why they do what they do.
The grandmother continues, "I used to do that because the only pan I had to cook it in wasn't big enough to hold the whole ham."

The moral of the story? I'll let you figure it out. ;)

Gamerprinter
05-09-2008, 12:19 AM
Why do you adhere so strictly to the published mechanics? I already know the answers that will be "Because I don't play with the same people on a regular basis so I need to keep the rules as expected". I'm more interested in those of you that play with the same people. Do you not like using House Rules that could potentially "fix" a broken mechanic or do you feel that you won't be playing the system "right" or something else? I'm curious from a game designer perspective. In every system that I've been involved in there has always been a statement to the effect of "If it doesn't work for you, toss it out". I'm just curious if folks do that.

I've got nothing against house rules, but my gaming group had a 10 year D&D hiatus after the auto accident death of our primary DM. Last year, someone everyone in the group knows but never played with had a nearly full set of 3.0 with some 3.5 books and wanted us to playtest his campaign world. So know we are tip-toeing through the rules just as 4E is about to come out. We want to know the rules well enough to fix what is broken in our game - but that takes play time to fully understand what is wrong.

Regarding square grid and D&D, two issues.

For printed maps only targetting a D&D gamer market, using square grid is the "expected" format as the existing game mechanic uses square for movement - plus it matches the square bases, lots of miniatures come with.

The second is, well from my experiences at work, (not including VTT) if there's no grid, their's no visible scale - How big is that tree, oh I thought that was a bush. Scale issues arise.

Like I said in the games I DM, a grid is something "foreign" to my maps - I don't use them at all. Grids can hide and confuse detail on the map.

Also on that commissioned map I did for the Blue Max game, they wanted Hex of a specific size, based on the scale of the miniature planes being used in the game and its game mechanic requirement of a visible hex grid. I didn't want to hide the detail, so I created a "fatter" line on the grid, made it white, then gave it a 60% transparency. They weren't really lines, rather shapes cut-out from a rectangle the size of the map area.

Xara doesn't let me apply transpanency to lines - I can change color or make them not visible. Any object or image can have transparency applied, so I created a grid object, not stacked hex pattern with a defined line width.

NeonKnight
05-09-2008, 10:53 AM
But why? Why do you like square grids for dungeons, floor plans and battle maps. Is it because of the system you use, aesthetics, or something else?

================================================== ===============

For everyone, I'm asking because we as a society, nay as a species seem to be stuck in the "Because it has always been done that way" mentality, and even though I have heard just about every reason under the sun I have yet to hear a strong logical reason for continuing to do something that might be "obsolete". (NOTE: I'm not saying one grid type is superior over another it just happens to be part of the conversation.) I see it a lot in the work place for instance and I'm just curious how far it extends and why people become "stuck in their old ways".

I'm not saying that anyone is inferior or stupid, I'm just curious what the thought process is, or even if there is no thought process, behind the continuation of old methods. When I was teaching I used to hear IT professionals give me the "because it's always been done that way" reason about a billion times, but no one could ever tell me why the better method wasn't being used. Of course grid use is a silly topic to shine this sort of light on, but I see it as a related aspect of human habit and thought patterns that fascinate me.

For me, my favorite example of this phenomenum is the following:

The Monkey Experiment, (or) “Why Do We Do That?”

Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, all of the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result, and all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon the monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be attacked.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth.

Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey. After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana.

Why not? Because as far as they know, that’s the way it’s always been done around there.

But, for me, I play predominantly D&D. D&D has always been built around the Square grid, for no other reason than the grid allows a way to easily map the dungeon/evirons, Measure distances, etc.

Yes, it is not 100% accurate, but it doesn't matter. I have played games where there is no grid, and all movement, distances etc is measured with a tape measure, twine, etc. It was annoying and so piddling I could not stand it! (No, sorry my figure is exactly 0.49 inches from yours and you only have a reach of 0.5 inches so you can't reach me :?) Sure in a grided system you can still have that (Your reach is 2 squares and I am three squares away), but there is no objectivity there, we can both see the 2 or three squares. There is no wasted effort of pulling out the micrometers to gain an unfair advantage.

Also, for me, my home games are very, very lax as it is a case of getting together with friends and having a good time. The grid allows us to quickly play the game and have within the game an internal set of rules/logic. This is something we all need in a game be it Snakes & Ladders, Monopoly or D&D. In Monopoly you know if you roll a 5 & 1 you move 6 spaces on the board, you know you colloect \$200 passing go, etc. In D&D We know a Fireball is a 20' radius sphere or a 4 square radius 'circle'. As a result the players can anticipate it. In a gridless game, players could easily feel cheated if they find the baddy is outside the burst by 0.1 of an inch. And switching the D&D Game to hexes of some other 'grid' system opens up a whole new set of problems (what is the area of a fireball? How is a cone Handled, how much 'space' does a Large Creature take up? What about Half Hexes?).

So, for me, A square grid is so ingrained into me (because of my game of choice) that to play on something different is alien to me.

RPMiller
05-09-2008, 12:52 PM
What I'm hearing is still the "Because it has always been done that way" answer with no "real reason" being given.

"Because that is what the system uses" - As I mentioned earlier, there is no reason that a hex, circle, or even an octagon could not replace a square. They are merely visual space indicators.
"Tape measures, etc" - Yes, you can take those to an extreme but if you are playing with rational people that just want to have fun, close should be good enough considering these same individuals are willing to use a square grid.
"What area do these take up?" - Space is space regardless of the shape of the grid. If the hex is the same size (relatively) as the square, area is moot.

Another reason I am asking about all this is that there are some game design elements that I will be working on in a couple months for a publisher and I want to know where people are on these issues. Currently his system uses a tape measure for distance and movement, but we are talking about bringing it into the VTT world as well as producing some conversions for other systems and I want to get a feel for how people would handle a different grid in their system of choice. Obviously I'm having a hard time understanding why it is so hard to accept using a hex in place of a square or even visa versa.

rlucci
05-09-2008, 01:18 PM
Have you ever tried to figure out distances between hex squares? Other than the old point and count method, most people would be stumped as to how to go about it mathematically. The point is we’ve all been taught the X-Y Cartesian coordinate system. It’s perfectly suited for measuring on flat surfaces and for most of us, it’s... comfortable (for lack of a better word).

But to RPMiller’s point, constraining oneself to a grid – even a hex grid – makes for fairly unrealistic maps. And to that, I have to agree. If the mechanics of one's game doesn't depend on the grid, I would be happy to see it go by the wayside.

But for those of us who are stuck with grid-based game mechanics, how about a compromise? We could draw the map first and then, instead of just plopping a full grid over the top of it, we could lay and align sections of the grid over various elements of the map. I’ll upload a chunk of my Mines map to illustrate what I’m talking about.

-RLucci

su_liam
05-09-2008, 01:20 PM
In the extreme case, tape measures, protractors, etc.; for the most part: thumb, finger and scale.

Even at the edges, I'm not sure how good precise precise measurement is realistically. At 600m you have a 30% chance of hitting the target, at 601m, 15%; at 1600m you have a 5% chance of making a hit, at 1601m your never going to hit the target(never ever, not in a million tries, not a chance):?:. How much realism does that add?

On the other hand, the, "the diagonal is the same as the orthogonal," assumption is nearly 50% off. This is equivalent to measuring 600m as being the same as ~850m:!:. My fingers are better than that.

The square grid, or any grid, tends to constrain your design in unrealistic ways. The square page, and the need to fill it to the corners, is bad enough, let me tell you. Historically a ten foot grid means 10'x10' corridors. Have these people ever been inside a house? I'm supposed to believe I'm in a dank, claustrophobic cave that's roomier than my front hall? You know the corridors on the Enterprise(CT) were only eight feet wide? Even the 1.5m grid in the FASA Star Trek game were constraining. I miss that game.

The more I think about grids, the more I think, nononooo...:mrgreen:

Why yes, I do enjoy my smilies...

RPMiller
05-09-2008, 01:27 PM
I think I have to be clearer...

Related to the grid questions:

I have no problems with using a square grid to draw on.
I have a problem with a map constraining itself to those grids just for convenience.
I do not understand the need to use the square grid for the actual playing when there are inherent problems with using it and the mechanics have to be made complex to deal with them.

Related to the "always been done that way" discussion:

I do not understand the cognitive dissonance (http://changingminds.org/explanations/theories/cognitive_dissonance.htm) that people are willing to put up with for no apparent reason when it is so much easier to just make the change and move on.

su_liam
05-09-2008, 01:28 PM
On the whole grid-constraints thing, I remember an FPS on the mac called Marathon. I learned after a lot of playing that the fastest way to run was turned at a 45º angle and sidestepping. The two movements added up, you see. If diagonals and orthogonals are counted the same, it pays to run diagonally as much as possible. Wow, the universe has a preferred frame of reference, and a preferred direction. You'd think someone would notice. Perhaps a fantasy world Pythagoras at the Agora. "The shortest distance between two points is a NE/SE/SW/NW diagonal. The cardinal directions are magically longer."

RPMiller
05-09-2008, 01:29 PM
Why yes, I do enjoy my smilies...
And you are so good at using them too. 8)

NeonKnight
05-09-2008, 01:58 PM
The problem of the dungeon being constrained to the grid comes about BECAUSE of the grid system (IMHO).

Example:

In a game without miniature representation, it is easy enough to just draw something out and say: "This is roughly what it looks like"

But as soon as you put any sort of empirical measurement into the system it falls apart.

My character can move X amount on my turn, but your character moves Y on your turn, and the Monster/Villain moves Z on it's turn, can attack further, but your character can shoot a certain distance. How are these measured on the battlefield? Thus comes the grid (be it triangles, Octogons, Hex, Circles or whatever).

I see a grid system of either squares/Hexes as the most simple because I can 'eyeball' it on both the 'Big Table' with the miniatures set up and the adventure map. By utilising a grid (lets say Square), I can see in the adventure the room is 6 squares by 5 squares, with a 5 square long 1 square wide set of stairs entering the room on one side.

With the grid I can ensure the battleboard is identical to the adventure.

Now, as an aside, at GenCon last year for the BIG D&D 4e presentation, they had a temple set up in the hall with a map on the floor set up in the 5' squares the game is based on. I was talking with the then head of Organized Play, Ian Richards. I stated that in reality, saying that I occupy a 5'x5' square is a lot of territory to stand in, and in reality I can see just how 'ridiculous' it looked to say in a 10'x10' room only 4 people can fight.

But that is reality, and the game mechanics need to be addressed for an internal logic. Yes, the grid is unrealistic. Yes, dungeons built with rooms in variations of 5' increments is unrealistic. I know this, but the game needs it, to make sense. Otherwise, you start having incidents (regardless of how level headed everyone is) of people assuming they are here but another assumes they are there. Incidents of one combat 10 people involved in a melee in that 10x10 room and another incident where it's deemed you can't.

This is known as the game's internal logic, and is an example of what I have a problem with in the Spider-Man movies. In the comic strip he had web-shooters he loaded with compressed chemicals to make his webs. They felt that in the movies it would be a little hard for the 'fans' to handle is ole Petey could make a Chemical a 3M company cannot (that being synthetic spider silk), so they decided he produced it himself. WHAT A MINUTE! He's putting out each time he shoots his webbing the same amount of fluids and proteins as a normal male does each time he ejaculates (sorry, but it needed to be said). Now, how the hell does he keep his body full of nutirents and wtare etc without becoming extremely dehydrated after a simple fight. The internal logic has fallen apart.

SO, again, the D&D game system demands that buildings/dungeons be built along the 5' grid system as that is the internal logic of the game system. It also means no 'wasted space' as the game states a M sized creature can fight within a space smaller that 5' but is deemed 'squeezing' into the space and takes a penalty (see my point above about the reality of the 5x5 grid).

RPMiller
05-09-2008, 02:09 PM
see content above
Points taken and understood but the logic is flawed, or rather altered, by an old way of thinking. If we think from the grid and optimization we are doing a disservice to the "reality" of the given situation. It is far more fun to deal with adverse circumstances and penalties and still succeed than to be given optimal situations and succeed.

If you draw your map "realistically" and without concern for the mechanics and then apply the mechanics you will have a much more interesting encounter that really tests the mechanics of the system to their fullest.

In my opinion if a system requires you to make that many adjustments to the setting to be able to work the system is flawed. The system should be able to handle any situation that might be presented. I suppose that is why I grew away from D&D and play systems like GURPS, Hero and others whose systems are far more forgiving and less dependent on things such as those you bring up.

jaerdaph
05-09-2008, 02:16 PM
I know exactly what you're saying, Ralph, about the "because it has always been done that way" mindset since we both work in law firms. :)

I'd have to say the d20/3.Xe rules (and 2e and 1e before that) primarily determine (dictate?) my dungeon/floor plan/battle mat preferences, and nostalgia and aesthetics after that - I remember going right to the maps after opening up a D&D or AD&D module when I was kid because I thought they were so cool. So while, yeah, the rules have heavily influenced my preference, I still like the way it looks. A square grid can, however, limit design choices, especially when mapping dungeons.

I have been moving away from d20 and derived games though towards more “rules-lite” systems such as vs. Monsters, so the grid becomes less of a need and more of an aesthetic preference. I may just have to try thinking outside the box (or should I say, "fall off the grid") and give maps with no grid a try in these games.

delgondahntelius
05-10-2008, 07:02 AM
ya'll lost me at "Which Grid type do you prefer...."

RPMiller
05-12-2008, 12:33 PM
I'll take that to mean no grid for you. ;)

Interesting results in the poll, and very useful. Thank you to everyone that contributed and especially to those that commented. I really like seeing the various trains of thought and getting a glimpse into the minds of other gamers... as scary as that might seem. ;)