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

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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 :)
5ft roughly equals 1.5 meters. That's the easiest conversion.

If using a grid, it's tempting to make 1 square = 1 meter, which makes houses and dungeons less ridiculous in size.


First Post
In many ways 3ft=1m is a better scaling (and I like calling it a pace).

It fits better with oversized minis that have become the norm. Its probably a more natural scaling for melee distances. It gives you more space in cramped interiors, including old school modules, where instead of say a (then 10 foot) square is 2*2 you say it is 3*3, which can makes those a lot more interesting. Things like movement, given the very short round, probably feel more natural...

There are probably some others.

A while back I posted that idea. 3 feet = 1 yard = 1 meter = 1 square = 1 "pace". Human speed becomes 10 paces, regular darkvision becomes 20 paces, etc.


This is what I use:
  • 5 feet - 1.5 meters
  • 1 mile - 1.5 kilometers
  • 1 pound - 0.5 kilograms
  • 1 gallon - 4 liters

It's not really accurate, but its easier for me to measure things in the fly using these numbers.


First Post
The German translation of both D&D and Pathfinder always use the approximation of 5 feet = 1.5 m.

That's as official as possible. ;)


3 feet are a meter. Close enough, but only really works when you don't play on a grid, or things get wonky.


First Post
Yep, for that reason tactical map scale is 5 ft. = 1.5 m.

On the other hand travelling distances are usually converted according to real world conversion factors.


First Post
having grown up in Canada I used some of those unit in the past but with their french name. So I have to translate the units two times in my head to find the french word and translate it in metric after that. For some units I have no idea how to translate them fast like in the equipment section where I see "a third of an ounce"


It's not like the precise measurements are important anyway. According to the rules, an average human can lift 150 pounds and jump 10 feet without even having to roll.

If you want to get all mathy, 5 feet is 152.4 cm which is hand waveable as 1.5 meters. And thus 10 feet is 3 meters is a decent way to approximate distances on a grid. Treat each 5x5 square as 1.5m x 1.5m. For long distances 1 mile is 1.6 km or 1 km is 0.6 miles. That should be all the conversion that you need to play the game in metric distance units.

1 kg is 2.2 pounds. So 5 kg = 11 pounds. That should also be easy to deal with.

Volumes have so many wacky names in imperial units that you are better off sticking with those units as you don't usually care about volume except when buying goods. And buying those goods in traditional units will feel more in-world during the in-game conversation. Your character is drinking a pint of ale. Not .5 liters of ale.


I usually round up the system. For distances in feet, they rarely appear below 5, so I round it to 1,5 meters. As for the pounds, I round it at 1/2 kg, and a gallon is roughly 4 liters. Round it up to the nearest easy number. I do not agree with the system of measurement used, but as the game was created in the only country other than Liberia that doesn't use the metric system... I understand it. In Fralia, our Argentinian shared world, we are currently developing a system that deals with metagame measures (5 ft = 1,5 m = 1 square => 1 "jump"), roughly translated to the metric system to deal easily with.


We used once 2×2m square instead of 5×5ft square. one vertical square is enough to make most medium creatures comfortable.

Normal walk speed would be 10m, 8m for dwarves, 12 for wood elves, that makes normal walk speed little above average(6 km/h or 3,73mph), 8 hrs march would be 48km or 30 miles.

Normal darkvision at 20m.


I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
We simply used imperial units. If you move 6 squares (30') and monk or barbarian moves 40' (8 squares) it doesn't matter if that is 10m or 30m as long as everyone else uses the same. Same with the weight.

Only rarely will you need to convert something (my last instance was some years ago with acres as are measurement - funny thing is, after some math, it turned out to be known measure in our villages, approximating area of land that can be tilled in one morning (with horses and oxen, not tractors) :) )

The point, however, is that it will be easier to use them as written and bother with conversion only if something is extremely important.

In real life, unit conversion can be extremely important. In my work, it is even vital as some equipment could simply explode. In RPG, I simply use squares and as long as no one tries to carry impossible loads, I will not take the weight of items into account. Keep logical and sensible and everything should work out fine.

The only value in conversion is player visualization. If you say 5 feet to someone for whom metric is "native", they might have trouble visualizing. That's why using 1.5 m is good enough. Saying 1.5 m to that person allows them to easily visualize the distance.

But not all players care, conversion is usually unnecessary except when visualization matters. (How big is a 90 feet by 60 feet room?) Just use squares. Dividing 40 feet by 5 to get 8 squares is a lot faster than dividing by 3 1/3 to get 12 m.

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Dungeons actually work out to much more reasonable sizes with 1m wide hallways rather then 5ft.

I also have an imperial to metric cheat sheet on my DM screen.

Epic Threats

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