D&D Fans Want Wizards To Get Rid Of The Imperial System

D&D Fans Want Wizards To Get Rid Of The Imperial System
Image: Wizards of the Coast

Dungeons & Dragons has come a hell of a long way, except in one very precise area: units of measurement.

The latest 5th Edition, and revisions to it over the years, has modernised and streamlined all sorts of things. It’s brand of approachable table-top design isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it has established a precedent: if Wizards thinks it makes sense for the greater good, then anything — skills, prior characterisations, lore, popular crossovers — is up for grabs.

Except, apparently, the metric system.

Image: Reddit

Fans have been calling on Wizards to toss out the imperial system for years, and with good reason. The vast majority of the world, unlike the United States, doesn’t use the imperial system. So while it made sense that D&D was originally based on imperial units, there’s tens of millions of players worldwide who have enough math to do already when it comes to a session of D&D.

There’s lots of ways the confusion about imperial vs. metric pans out in a real-life scenario, but I quite liked this quip from one person who was petitioning Wizards to have a metric conversion button in D&D Beyond:

DM: About 1000 feet away from you on the hill stands a lone tower with lights coming out from it.

Player 1 *Thoughts*: 200 squares away! Got it!

Player 2 *Thoughts*: 1000 feet = 1000 m (3280ft) so the tower is very far away

Player 3 *Thoughts*: Who cares how long away it is! CHARGE! COMBAT WOO!

So naturally, there’s a petition to give the imperial system the boot once and for all.

“Only three countries in the world (officially) still use the Imperial System and it continues to be a sore spot for the education and enjoyment of anyone outside of the US,” the petition reads.

Benefits for buggering off the imperialist measurements include making life easier for character creation worldwide, standardising movement and combat calculations for spells, making the 100 grams to 1 kilogram conversion simpler for various items and making it easier for newer, especially younger players, to quickly learn the game.

It’s worth noting that a lot of DMs generally homebrew this stuff anyway, especially with those new to tabletop. If a player isn’t sure whether a spell is liable to hit, they’ll ask the DM and the DM can generally make a call on the fly. That’s fundamentally fine and it works for most people, but it’s also putting the onus on players and DMs/GMs. It’s really something that Wizards of the Coast should just sort out from the off, especially since the whole point of Dungeons & Dragons: 5th Edition is to make the tabletop game more accessible for more players.

“94.7 percent of the world uses the metric system by population, with only USA, Myanmar and Liberia using Imperial,” the petition notes.

Wizards has already converted non-English language editions of the 5th Edition handbook into metric, so it’s not like the company has some kind of philosophical or even in-game explanation for the stubbornness. They could even go the full corporate route to appease Hasbro: re-releasing the existing English handbooks with all the measurements updated to metric. A collector’s edition, perhaps?

Comments

  • Yes please, Almost the entire world uses Metric and the world does not revolve around America. If Americans dont like it they can get with the times.

  • Haha, I posted that petition on twitter about a week ago or so! So glad to see it getting the attention it deserves. This should be a no-brainer!

  • Can Blizzard also get rid of yards as well while everyone’s at it? I’ve got no idea how fucking far away 30 yards away and I don’t want to have to care about it.

  • Well, the UK is about to revert from part imperial to a lot more imperial, so that’s really 4 countries. Yeah Brexit!

  • I’m sorry, but not all D&D players are wanting there. Its only a MINORITY that are complaining about it.
    Your weapon reach is 5ft, that is only roughly 1.5m. That means you then have to change all your squares in combat to 1.5m.
    Oh wait, you can do that yourself, you dont need a printed book to tell you how it goes.

    • Or you and the others can get with the times and use modern measuring systems instead of using a centuries-old one that makes little sense.

    • Ooorrr you could you know just say its 1.5m so most folks dont have actually whip out a calculator and convert the distances?

      But naaah streamlining how a game would be played would be lazy and terrible right? =P

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