D&D 5E Conversion to the metric system - how do YOU do it?


First Post
Hey guys! I'm really looking forward to trying out D&D 5e as soon as it's available here in Sweden. One thing that nags me a bit is the use of non-metrics in the system, since I've only DMed swedish games before that always use SI-units.

So... how do you convert D&D to the metric system? Some rough estimates that can be applied? Ways to think about distances and weights? I want to be able to run it TOTM-style, but have a hard time thinking in feet and lbs, especially on the fly.

Thanks :)

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If you divide distances in feet by three, that's about the number of metres -- and also the number of paces or strides, which works better than either as an in-world term to use in play. I wouldn't bother thinking much about exact weights, unless your characters carry scales.


For distance a rough estimate of 3 feet to a yard and 1 yard=1 meter should suffice (1 mile equals roughly 1.6 kilometers).

For weights I'd use google to convert pounds to kilograms (though that's roughly 1 pound = .45 kilograms).

Uh... liters are 1 gallon to 3.8 liters.

The Hitcher

Yep, 3 ft to 1 metre is close enough, as is 2 lb to 1 kg.

We predominantly use the metric system in Australia, but people do still talk in feet sometimes, so I don't find them much of a problem. Weight in pounds does confuse my brain, but it only rarely comes up.


If you think about it it does not matter if the conversion is actually accurate so long as it is consistent. You could even say that 1lb = 1kilo. So long as a sword is 5 units and your player can lift 200 units then in either case you can still only lift 40 swords (carefully!). You can get into immersion arguments (but everyone knows a sword isn't 5 kilos!!) but if you do you are taking your fantasy role playing game a little seriously.

For distance you could make 5ft = 1 meter to make the use of battlegrids easy. Tell the players that this is a planet where everyone is rather petite.


As a Canadian who was raised on the metric system.... I primarily think in feet and pounds. I have no idea how to help you.

One thing I guess is that I never found feet and pounds to be hugely important. The weight of things is usually for carrying capacity but I've found two systems I like more than that and so that is a non-issue for me. And for distances - well that one is trickier but I don't find it comes up very often either. Except for the movement of people - 30 feet, 25 feet, 20 feet - which can be converted to meters either straight calculator conversion (before play), or by swapping the feet into yards and then to meters as a rough estimate (during play), or by ignoring the issue entirely (keeping as it is?). Especially if going for theatre of the mind, I don't see the problem. I can't visualize 30 feet, 10 yards or 10 meters (and I think primarily in feet and inches) but I know 30 feet is the movement speed of a medium creature, so I use it as a measurement. Otherwise it doesn't really come up too often in TotM.

Be careful if converting to meters and then running a grid, it will mess with things - especially on littler creatures and their distance traveled. For quick conversion 30 feet becomes 10 squares, but 20 feet has to be rounded to 6 or 7 (20/3 = 6 and 2/3) and 25 is just over 8 (8 and 1/3) which doesn't create a nice scale to movements. I don't even want to think what it would look like for straight mathematical conversion.

I wish they did distances in yards though, so much more elegant for this conversion and for visualization (apparently). Even for the sizes of spaces for creatures (my favourite reason).

So, tl/dr - no idea really, sorry. But I wouldn't really worry about trying to convert it.


As a Canadian who was raised on the metric system.... I primarily think in feet and pounds. I have no idea how to help you.

Heh, me too. Weight and short distances are imperial and everything else is metric. I can do some simple conversions for meters and feet and pounds and kilos, but rarely need to.


If I'm using a grid, then 1 square = 1 meter. That means it is actually a slightly different scale but it works and means you don't have too much calculation to do. So for 5e it will mean 5ft=1m. Again, wrong but easier to calculate.

I've never worried too much about weight.

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