D&D 5E Distance Estimation

reelo

Hero
I like the way The Black Hack and its derivates does it:

Close: ≤5ft
Nearby: 6-30ft
Over there: 31-60ft
Far away: 61-120ft
Distant: 121-300ft
Way far away: beyond 301ft

When using TotM just use these descriptives instead of precise numbers.
 

log in or register to remove this ad




overgeeked

B/X Known World
I wonder have you ever been hunting or even just thrown a rock at something?
Yep. I know what I can hit, with what, and I can guess the distance in very rough estimates, so when someone says people can tell exactly how far something is or exactly how many inches or whatever, I know they’re making stuff up.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I have nothing to add involving the game... but I'm pretty sure my son's scout troop has vast new respect for estimating distances, lengths, and heights after the past few meetings...
 






I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
The distances that matter are ‘in melee (close), in reach, in dash, in range and long range”, they dont need to be precise, just give the needed information
I do TotM, and this is basically it. I might add in some random complication depending on the battlefield. Like, you're fighting in a cave, so the uneven ground here means it's two moves / a dash action to get to Point B. I try to keep things cinematic.
Players could look and estimate distances, but they wouldn’t know until the distance mattered (for range attack or spell) and we used a tape measure.
What's the goal of adding that complexity? What's fun about it?

For me, it feels unnecessary. There's already rolls to hit in the game; I like having players generally know if they're within the right range for the effect they're using.
 


As a DM I estimate distances on both the macro and micro level, whether it be miles, line of sight on an open plain or squares on a grid. On an average encounter we don't count squares, within reason. The only time we bother doing that is when it's an encounter where the outcome is going to have an important effect on the adventure/campaign. One thing I do sometimes to get a good idea of how accurate my estimations are is to pick some location that everyone in the group is familiar with then use the measure tool on Google maps to get an idea for instance how much 30', 1/4 mile, a mile is, etc. This way when someone asks how far away is "X" I can just reference two points in our neighborhood that we're all familiar with.
 



Vaalingrade

Legend
It adds a dash of realism and keeps the players from gaming the distances.
Keeps them from gaming the distances in this.. game... with game terms for distance.

It's a game.

Can we all agree that Dungeons and Dragons is a game?

A game where you get powers that don't work if you aren't in range. Like will not proc, period. Either you can use it or you cannot. The only places where range-finding will matter will be with ranged weapons (which add a third state where you just suck at hitting, and then you just can't do it) and AoEs, which have completely predictable areas, unlike RL grenades.

So the typical gotcha with rangefinding isn't the 'lol your spell doesn't work, you just wasted a daily resource while I floss on you with my big brain', it's 'you can't cast that, walk forward five feet, then do it'.
 


Oofta

Legend
As someone who spent too much time in their misspent youth with archery and "plinking" with a gun, I can guarantee that anyone who is decent at using ranged weapons has a pretty good idea of distance. I may not have been able to tell you that a target was 50 feet away, but I could adjust for the drop and still hit my target.

Whether you're launching an arrow or a bullet, the moment the projectile leaves your weapon it starts to fall. Gauging distance to allow for that is just second nature and something humans are quite capable of doing. It doesn't matter if we're firing an arrow or throwing a football. With a bit of practice we just know.

Besides, exact distances in D&D are just there to make the game easier, it's an oversimplification to make the game playable.
 

As someone who spent too much time in their misspent youth with archery and "plinking" with a gun, I can guarantee that anyone who is decent at using ranged weapons has a pretty good idea of distance. I may not have been able to tell you that a target was 50 feet away, but I could adjust for the drop and still hit my target.

Whether you're launching an arrow or a bullet, the moment the projectile leaves your weapon it starts to fall. Gauging distance to allow for that is just second nature and something humans are quite capable of doing. It doesn't matter if we're firing an arrow or throwing a football. With a bit of practice we just know.

Besides, exact distances in D&D are just there to make the game easier, it's an oversimplification to make the game playable.
I am no marksman and I am no expert but as long as I have my glasses on 10ft increments i should be close
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top