# D&D GeneralHere's What A 5' Square Actually Looks Like

Over on imgur, a user called DoofusDad created a real-life five-foot square to illustrate what it actually looks like.

#### FrogReaver

##### As long as i get to be the frog
Isn’t the point of having a scale so that you can contextualize temperatures without having to feel them?

The point of having a scale for outside temperatures is so you can hear the number and contexualize what that means. Nothing about boiling matters for that.

#### Charlaquin

##### Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
The point of having a scale for outside temperatures is so you can hear the number and contexualize what that means. Nothing about boiling matters for that.
Outside temperatures? Do you not use temperature scales for other things?

#### Kinematics

Outside temperatures? Do you not use temperature scales for other things?
Yes, but in those cases the 0-100 range is largely meaningless. The only important point is consistency with other things being measured, and water is probably not very relevant.

NB: I'll reiterate that the conflict only occurs if you consider the 0-100 range in particular to be important to your measuring system. If you don't care about what number range you're dealing with, then the specific scale is likewise arbitrary.

#### Charlaquin

##### Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Yes, but in those cases the 0-100 range is largely meaningless. The only important point is consistency with other things being measured, and water is probably not very relevant.

NB: I'll reiterate that the conflict only occurs if you consider the 0-100 range in particular to be important to your measuring system. If you don't care about what number range you're dealing with, then the specific scale is likewise arbitrary.
The whole scale just makes more sense to me if 0 and 100 are tied to objective values. In Fahrenheit, they’re just seemingly arbitrary “really cold” and “really hot.” Makes it harder for me to grokk what the numbers between those points actually mean.

#### GreyLord

##### Legend
To reiterate again: The swords in the picture earlier in the thread are not generic D&D longswords.. They are longswords in the historical sense, which are a specific type of sword almost exclusively used in two hands, and with a grip specifically designed for that.
Showing me pictures of arming swords is not going to change what a historical longsword is. Talking about average swords or swords in general isn't going to change the fact that what is depicted in that picture looks like a couple of two-handed swords with the blade and grip length commensurate with two-handed swords.
I mean just look. - Do you really think they look like the same length and proportions as the swords that you linked to?

As I pointed out in my first post, arming swords like the ones you link to would be placed in the "longsword" category of the 5e weapons table, because they are one-handed swords that were occasionally used in two hands. The 5e longsword category covers those, all the way up to something close to an actual longsword.

Yes. This is pretty close to what I have been saying in my first post in the thread, and posts since.

Historical longswords do have two-handed grips: - it is generally part of the definition of that specific type of sword.
D&D longswords are a much broader category covering many types, most of which have one-handed or at least not full twohanded grips.

Nope. At the time, arming swords and the like would have just been called "swords". The concept of the longsword as a one-handed sword is mostly a D&Dism.

I think that I have been pretty careful to distinguish when I am talking about the historical longsword or the D&D definition. Is there anywhere in my posts where I haven't made it sufficiently clear?
In order to risk hitting someone in a 5ft square next to you, you would have to bring your weapon offline from your opponent at a significant horizontal angle. Unless you're using a shield, you really don't tend to do that when engaged with an opponent because its a recipe for getting yocked. In a line fight you tend to stick with vertical swings specifically because you don't want to tangle weapons with your allies or with an opponent other than the one you're trying to hit. Even with a shield, a horizontal backswing that endangers your allies would be considered pretty wild specifically because it does endanger your ally.
Likewise any kind of followthrough that leaves you with your weapon significantly horizontally offline or risks hitting your allies is excessive.
The Swords I showed you are NOT CALLED ARMING SWORDS.

Why do you insist on calling them something they are not?

You are going off with D&Disms. (well, maybe not D&Disms, but RPGisms on could say, or modern applications of an item rather than the traditional historical references).

We see it permeate a LOT of historical ideas these days, but when sites start classifying something as a Bastard Sword, you know it has generally been influenced by D&D isms.

Most of the "longswords" that you are talking about were created during the Renaissance (but ironically, an instant giveaway of a site that is trying to change the label of swords will say they were around in the Middle Ages).

Most of the definitions these days that use words such as Bastard Sword, Long Sword or Great Sword are pure D&Disms that have crept in to people's vernacular, but had no real bearing on what they were traditionally considered or called.

Generally in the Middle Ages and times prior to the Renaissance a sword was called...a sword. There was no...Long Sword, Arming Sword, or much less other things people have come up with in modern times.

Particular swords had specific type of classifications at times, specific to that type of sword, but they normally did not have the branching that many here indicate.

Longswords in SOME German and other texts referred to a longer blade or grip but OTHERS that would refer to a long sword or long blade were just talking about a sword or blade that was longer (and sometimes even, an innuendo in reference to other things involved in the pun). Generally, a longsword just meant a SWORD that was longer. It didn't necessarily mean that it had to have a grip with two hands (though you are free to try to reinterpret many historical texts if you desire, though it wouldn't make a LOT Of sense in many instances).

I hear that many modern fencers use the definition you are stating, but historically, it's bunk that a longsword required a longer grip. It simply meant....a longer sword.

Swords with two grips that were referred to by Germans and others are unclear at what they were specifically referring to at times, but some of those references are actually to what YOU are calling a Great Sword.

It sounds like we are referring to two separate things. One where I've seen D&Disms creep in, which is what you seem to be using and is with some of the modern fencing definitions (where yes, a longsword has a grip for two hands, but has no basis in historical reference...except D&Disms which have crept into it)...and the other which deal with the more historical definitions which I seem to be using.

However, the modern fencing definitions are not what the historical definitions are. This is where I think the disagreement comes out, as what we learned in history decades ago, prior to the D&Disms creeping into other sports and such, do NOT coincide with what those types of fencers define swords as today. Thus the historical definitions of these things which I am using do not conjoin with what you are using.

King Richard would have probably been MUCH displeased if you had referred to his sword as a short sword or arming sword I imagine (yes, as with Shakespeare...that can be seen as a slight pun).

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#### GreyLord

##### Legend
You do understand that outside of RPGs, when a Medievalist says "longsword" they mean a large 2-handed straight edged sword which can also be used one handed if necessary? The terminology is pretty consistent these days. Longswords can always be used 2-handed. The typical 1-handed straight edged sword is called an arming sword.

Edit: Longswords start coming in ca 1350, with a few earlier examples (hence arguments about 'could Wallace have wielded a longsword') - they are definitely Medieval not Renaissance. The 6' long Zweihanders are Renaissance, they are 2-handed only.

Well, I don't. Nor do those of my acquaintance. SOME OF THOSE WHO FENCE in MODERN SPORTS with those types of weapons use this definition, but that definition is actually DIFFERENT than what the historical definitions utilize.

We see this with various other weapons in fencing or other sports.

In regards to the Renaissance, you are trying to pin an exact date on and unexact thing. I was taught that it was around 1350 (interesting that you use that date) that the Renaissance was firmly underway. However, start dates vary between 1300 to 1400.

Some may even contend it started as early as the late 13th century, though most would probably say that is a little too early for the broad categorization. I tend to go with the arrival of the Black Plague in Europe, or probably around the mid 14th century.

#### GreyLord

##### Legend
Nope. At the time, arming swords and the like would have just been called "swords". The concept of the longsword as a one-handed sword is mostly a D&Dism.

I think that I have been pretty careful to distinguish when I am talking about the historical longsword or the D&D definition. Is there anywhere in my posts where I haven't made it sufficiently clear?
In order to risk hitting someone in a 5ft square next to you, you would have to bring your weapon offline from your opponent at a significant horizontal angle. Unless you're using a shield, you really don't tend to do that when engaged with an opponent because its a recipe for getting yocked. In a line fight you tend to stick with vertical swings specifically because you don't want to tangle weapons with your allies or with an opponent other than the one you're trying to hit. Even with a shield, a horizontal backswing that endangers your allies would be considered pretty wild specifically because it does endanger your ally.
Likewise any kind of followthrough that leaves you with your weapon significantly horizontally offline or risks hitting your allies is excessive.

Coming Back to this, as your post seemed to go two ways on it, and I while I wanted to address the modern ideas you try to retroactively apply to history, there are things that we would agree with.

For example, the concept of the longsword as is perceived in D&D IS mostly a D&Dism. As you said, most of the swords would have just been called swords (though particular swords WERE classified specifically as certain types at times for various reasons). In 5e, the SAME can be said though, where the longsword as listed seems more what D&D typically lists as a Bastard Sword, or could also fall into your idea of the modern fencing definitions of a longsword, rather than the general idea of the past where a long sword is generally just meaning or indicating a sword longer than others (and as that could be general or broad, that could include a VERY LARGE gamut of different swords, both one and two handed).

HOWEVER...in regards to the actual fighting and 5 foot square I really had no beef with what you were stating or others were talking about. I just have a dislike these days with all the kids trying to insert modern definitions into history rather than simply using history itself.

In regards to what you say with fighting, I can see your point...enough to divide it from your other posts to say, unless someone says something contrary to convince me (and none have thus far, it could be that I am not versed in HEMA as well as others in regards to fighting and such), I see your point and can agree.

#### GreyLord

##### Legend
Measurements you grew up with make sense to you. Measurements you’re not used to seem dumb to you. News at 10.

Is this the oldest internet argument? I think it might be. One day people will tire of it!

This is a pretty good point.

With Celsius and Fahrenheit as comparisons, once you get used to either one it is not hard to utilize either as the measurement to know how warm, cold, hot, or freezing it is. It is what you are used to.

#### PsyzhranV2

##### Hero
The Swords I showed you are NOT CALLED ARMING SWORDS.

Why do you insist on calling them something they are not?

You are going off with D&Disms. (well, maybe not D&Disms, but RPGisms on could say, or modern applications of an item rather than the traditional historical references).

We see it permeate a LOT of historical ideas these days, but when sites start classifying something as a Bastard Sword, you know it has generally been influenced by D&D isms.

Most of the "longswords" that you are talking about were created during the Renaissance (but ironically, an instant giveaway of a site that is trying to change the label of swords will say they were around in the Middle Ages).

Most of the definitions these days that use words such as Bastard Sword, Long Sword or Great Sword are pure D&Disms that have crept in to people's vernacular, but had no real bearing on what they were traditionally considered or called.

Generally in the Middle Ages and times prior to the Renaissance a sword was called...a sword. There was no...Long Sword, Arming Sword, or much less other things people have come up with in modern times.

Particular swords had specific type of classifications at times, specific to that type of sword, but they normally did not have the branching that many here indicate.

Longswords in SOME German and other texts referred to a longer blade or grip but OTHERS that would refer to a long sword or long blade were just talking about a sword or blade that was longer (and sometimes even, an innuendo in reference to other things involved in the pun). Generally, a longsword just meant a SWORD that was longer. It didn't necessarily mean that it had to have a grip with two hands (though you are free to try to reinterpret many historical texts if you desire, though it wouldn't make a LOT Of sense in many instances).

I hear that many modern fencers use the definition you are stating, but historically, it's bunk that a longsword required a longer grip. It simply meant....a longer sword.

Swords with two grips that were referred to by Germans and others are unclear at what they were specifically referring to at times, but some of those references are actually to what YOU are calling a Great Sword.

It sounds like we are referring to two separate things. One where I've seen D&Disms creep in, which is what you seem to be using and is with some of the modern fencing definitions (where yes, a longsword has a grip for two hands, but has no basis in historical reference...except D&Disms which have crept into it)...and the other which deal with the more historical definitions which I seem to be using.

However, the modern fencing definitions are not what the historical definitions are. This is where I think the disagreement comes out, as what we learned in history decades ago, prior to the D&Disms creeping into other sports and such, do NOT coincide with what those types of fencers define swords as today. Thus the historical definitions of these things which I am using do not conjoin with what you are using.

King Richard would have probably been MUCH displeased if you had referred to his sword as a short sword or arming sword I imagine (yes, as with Shakespeare...that can be seen as a slight pun).

Dude: chill with the quadposting. The edit button exists for a reason.

Language evolves. Word use and categorization changes to account for new entries in a dataset. In ye olde days of King Richard, swords were "swords" because they didn't have that many types of swords to compare with each other. That was 900 years ago, and today we need more words and terms to categorize all the different kinds of swords that have come into existence across the globe.

Can you accept that nobody will have a clue what you're talking about if you refer to everything from a Spartan xiphos to a Viking sword to a Qing Dynasty jian to an Italian sidesword to a Moro kris to a Napoleonic cavalry sword as just "sword"? If yes, then why is the one-handed knightly sword of the High Middle Ages seemingly this sacred article that nobody can call by any other name lest Saint Maurice rise from the grave and recover his sword to smite you with it? Pretty much everybody knows that when you say "arming sword", you're talking about a straight, one-handed, double-edged sword with cruciform hilt dating from the former half of the 2nd millenium that is to be used from horseback or as a sidearm in conjunction with a shield. Or will you only be happy when you brainwash the entire planet to speak in exclusively Oakeshott typology?

#### GreyLord

##### Legend
Dude: chill with the quadposting. The edit button exists for a reason.

Language evolves. Word use and categorization changes to account for new entries in a dataset. In ye olde days of King Richard, swords were "swords" because they didn't have that many types of swords to compare with each other. That was 900 years ago, and today we need more words and terms to categorize all the different kinds of swords that have come into existence across the globe.

Can you accept that nobody will have a clue what you're talking about if you refer to everything from a Spartan xiphos to a Viking sword to a Qing Dynasty jian to an Italian sidesword to a Moro kris to a Napoleonic cavalry sword as just "sword"? If yes, then why is the one-handed knightly sword of the High Middle Ages seemingly this sacred article that nobody can call by any other name lest Saint Maurice rise from the grave and recover his sword to smite you with it? Pretty much everybody knows that when you say "arming sword", you're talking about a straight, one-handed, double-edged sword with cruciform hilt dating from the former half of the 2nd millenium that is to be used from horseback or as a sidearm in conjunction with a shield. Or will you only be happy when you brainwash the entire planet to speak in exclusively Oakeshott typology?

A majority of the population have no idea what an "arming sword" is. In fact, most would still call a sword a sword.

Many swords have specific names or referred to specifically by those who used them or made them. Terms from D&D such as "longsword" or "bastard sword" tend to hang around certain circles in popularity. Ironically, such terms were used, but rarely in the same way that we refer to them in D&D (whether it is AD&D with the one handed double edged, or 5e with the plausible two handed grip [1d10 dmg]). Not trying to brainwash anyone, but make it clear that the some of the references are more to a FANTASY than history.

When using the term longsword it is FAR different than using the term of a specific type of sword or blade.

Of course, when referring to a fantasy roleplaying game, fantasy terms probably have just as much relevance as historical thought. I'm just old school back to when the History Professors would make abundantly clear the real history of swords as opposed to the fictional ideas put out by various organizations on campus at the time. Those types of lectures stuck with me...probably for FAR TOO LONG of a time. Sort of like the old guy who yells at the young kids to get off his lawn.

#### Von Ether

##### Legend
The first thing my players asked, upon seeing this image, is why D&D doesn't clarify multiple characters standing in the same 5' x 5' space, such as back to back fighting, especially for denying flanking. Clearly, because of usage of miniatures, but that's not an answer to be given to realism-focused group.

Coordinated fighting in the same space requires a proper feat investment with worthwhile benefit, but a good house rule for back to back fighting for denying flanking could use some thinking.

They do realize that back-to-back fighting is not literal. That unless they are standing completely still and not moving their feet, they are more likely step on each other or elbow each other than deal a lethal blow to an enemy?

#### S'mon

##### Legend
Well, I don't.

OK then!

I think people have laid out current usage to you pretty clearly. Horse, water, drink.

#### Charlaquin

##### Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Measurements you grew up with make sense to you. Measurements you’re not used to seem dumb to you. News at 10.
While generally true, that’s not what’s happening in this conversation. I grew up with (and still live in a country that uses) imperial, but metric makes way more sense to me.

#### Cap'n Kobold

##### Hero
The Swords I showed you are NOT CALLED ARMING SWORDS.

Why do you insist on calling them something they are not?

You are going off with D&Disms. (well, maybe not D&Disms, but RPGisms on could say, or modern applications of an item rather than the traditional historical references).

We see it permeate a LOT of historical ideas these days, but when sites start classifying something as a Bastard Sword, you know it has generally been influenced by D&D isms.

Most of the "longswords" that you are talking about were created during the Renaissance (but ironically, an instant giveaway of a site that is trying to change the label of swords will say they were around in the Middle Ages).

Most of the definitions these days that use words such as Bastard Sword, Long Sword or Great Sword are pure D&Disms that have crept in to people's vernacular, but had no real bearing on what they were traditionally considered or called.

Generally in the Middle Ages and times prior to the Renaissance a sword was called...a sword. There was no...Long Sword, Arming Sword, or much less other things people have come up with in modern times.

Particular swords had specific type of classifications at times, specific to that type of sword, but they normally did not have the branching that many here indicate.

Longswords in SOME German and other texts referred to a longer blade or grip but OTHERS that would refer to a long sword or long blade were just talking about a sword or blade that was longer (and sometimes even, an innuendo in reference to other things involved in the pun). Generally, a longsword just meant a SWORD that was longer. It didn't necessarily mean that it had to have a grip with two hands (though you are free to try to reinterpret many historical texts if you desire, though it wouldn't make a LOT Of sense in many instances).

I hear that many modern fencers use the definition you are stating, but historically, it's bunk that a longsword required a longer grip. It simply meant....a longer sword.

Swords with two grips that were referred to by Germans and others are unclear at what they were specifically referring to at times, but some of those references are actually to what YOU are calling a Great Sword.

It sounds like we are referring to two separate things. One where I've seen D&Disms creep in, which is what you seem to be using and is with some of the modern fencing definitions (where yes, a longsword has a grip for two hands, but has no basis in historical reference...except D&Disms which have crept into it)...and the other which deal with the more historical definitions which I seem to be using.

However, the modern fencing definitions are not what the historical definitions are. This is where I think the disagreement comes out, as what we learned in history decades ago, prior to the D&Disms creeping into other sports and such, do NOT coincide with what those types of fencers define swords as today. Thus the historical definitions of these things which I am using do not conjoin with what you are using.

King Richard would have probably been MUCH displeased if you had referred to his sword as a short sword or arming sword I imagine (yes, as with Shakespeare...that can be seen as a slight pun).
OK
It sounds like our disagreement seems to be mostly about the specific terms by which I was referring to distinguish different historical swords.
The links that you posted appear to be to 3ft-3 1/2 ft swords with cruciform guards and one-handed grips. I was calling these 'arming swords'. - What term would you prefer I use when referring to these?

The swords in the picture that this conversation has been about appear to be around 5ft long with a two-handed grip of the type much beloved of the more common schools of HEMA. I was calling these 'longswords'. - What term would you prefer that I use when referring to this type of sword?

I'm using these terms because the others on the board tend to use the same terms to describe them and so would understand the distinctions that I'm making. I'm certainly interested in the correct terminology however.

Coming Back to this, as your post seemed to go two ways on it, and I while I wanted to address the modern ideas you try to retroactively apply to history, there are things that we would agree with.

For example, the concept of the longsword as is perceived in D&D IS mostly a D&Dism. As you said, most of the swords would have just been called swords (though particular swords WERE classified specifically as certain types at times for various reasons). In 5e, the SAME can be said though, where the longsword as listed seems more what D&D typically lists as a Bastard Sword, or could also fall into your idea of the modern fencing definitions of a longsword, rather than the general idea of the past where a long sword is generally just meaning or indicating a sword longer than others (and as that could be general or broad, that could include a VERY LARGE gamut of different swords, both one and two handed).
I think that the 5e weapons table, particularly the 'Longsword' category is deliberately broad, encompassing a large variety of different weapons into it. Its a better strategy than filling the page with names of things that in most cases would have the same or very similar statistics.

In regards to what you say with fighting, I can see your point...enough to divide it from your other posts to say, unless someone says something contrary to convince me (and none have thus far, it could be that I am not versed in HEMA as well as others in regards to fighting and such), I see your point and can agree.
Amusingly, it might be better to look at reenactors or LARPers when it comes to this sort of fighting. HEMA schools tend to concentrate on one-on-one combat, possibly because many of the texts they are based on seem to address duelling or similar situations.

#### jasper

##### Rotten DM
Looks about right for the space a human-sized creature can control in close combat.

Really wish D&D would make the switch to metric. Especially cause you could make squares meters and then it would be 1-1. Maps would be a bit smaller, but I think that’s a worthwhile change.
How? It still going to take one square on the graph paper to represent 1 meter. And most play maps have 1 inch squares.

#### jasper

##### Rotten DM
Unfortunately, because our country is so damn big, it would be a tremendous (and tremendously expensive) undertaking to make the switch nationwide.
We tried this in the 70s, it went no where.

#### Oofta

##### Legend
Not to get into a historical debate about sword categories, but in many cases long sword just referred to anything longer than average. Short sword? Shorter than average ... whatever the average was for that region and time period.

I personally think of rapiers as being some variation of arming sword, saber, etc. Epees are only used for sport and are not real weapons.

#### Charlaquin

##### Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
How? It still going to take one square on the graph paper to represent 1 meter. And most play maps have 1 inch squares.

I just mean a map of the same number of squares would represent a smaller space.
We tried this in the 70s, it went no where.

#### Garthanos

I can't remember who did them, but I think I got these from Owen K.C. Stephens's social media. It's the same image flipped so you can see the space with two combatants, then photoshopped with sword and shield (though the swords look a bit large, like 2-handed swords being used one-handed).

View attachment 113967
View attachment 113968
Way too close dude you are supposed to have to move inside to hit the enemy those guys are already inside each others weapon reach bad form bad form,

The range is fine for fisticuffs though.

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