# 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
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.

All values are objective.

0 farenheit is objectively 32 degrees below feezing

100 Fahrenheit is 68 degrees above freezing and 112 degrees below boiling

Those are objective values. They just aren’t tied to a precise physical phenomenon.

0 Fahrenheit still has physical meaning though. It’s the temperature nearly all water freezes at (not just fresh water).

What temperature does that occur at in celcius. You have to look it up

#### FrogReaver

##### As long as i get to be the frog
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.

Just curious. What objective physical phenomenon do you tie 100 meters to?

#### Charlaquin

##### Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Just curious. What objective physical phenomenon do you tie 100 meters to?
...What? Meters aren’t a scale.

#### Charlaquin

##### Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Yes they are
No, meters are units of measurement. I suppose you could say 100 meters is 1/400,000 the circumference of the earth?

#### FrogReaver

##### As long as i get to be the frog
No, meters are units of measurement. I suppose you could say 100 meters is 1/400,000 the circumference of the earth?

Celcius and Farenheit are units of measurement too.

#### Charlaquin

##### Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Celcius and Farenheit are units of measurement too.
No, Celsius abs Fahrenheit are scales. Degrees are units of measurement.

#### FrogReaver

##### As long as i get to be the frog
No, Celsius abs Fahrenheit are scales. Degrees are units of measurement.

Then metric is a scale and meters are units of measurement. Same difference. Get back to the important point instead of quibbling over unimportant details? Neither metric nor meters tie the value 100 to any meaningful physical phenomenon. Why is it okay for distance to work that way but not temperature?

#### PsyzhranV2

##### Hero
Just curious. What objective physical phenomenon do you tie 100 meters to?
One hundred metres is:

One one-hundred thousandth of the distance from the equator to the north pole.

The length of 165076373 wavelengths in vacuum of the radiation of krypton-86.

The distance light travels in a vacuum in the time of 3.33564095e-7 seconds.

#### FrogReaver

##### As long as i get to be the frog
One hundred metres is:

One one-hundred thousandth of the distance from the equator to the north pole.

The length of 165076373 wavelengths in vacuum of the radiation of krypton-86.

The distance light travels in a vacuum in the time of 3.33564095e-7 seconds.

Sounds about as tied to a physical phenomenon as tying 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 112 degrees below the boiling point of pure water (212 degrees Fahrenheit)

#### Charlaquin

##### Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Sounds about as tied to a physical phenomenon as tying 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 112 degrees below the boiling point of pure water (212 degrees Fahrenheit)
Yes, but I unlike with temperature, distances are easy to understand without reference to a specific point on a scale.

#### GMMichael

##### Guide of Modos
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.

...but I notice you're talking about swordfighting here. Odd that you refer to shield-use as a secondary thought, but I have made no effort to limit my observations on the 5 foot square to sword use. Notably, DoofusDad opted to illustrate the 5 foot square with a monk's typical loadout, sandals included.

So in future references to my earlier snippets of wisdom, please consider that there are other weapons in D&D besides swords, other shapes of standard-5-foot-characters than human, and annoying bards that keep trying to reach into your square to pour a healing potion on you while you're busy fighting an orc chieftain.

By the way, my earlier observation could be rephrased as such:

Me said:
With DoofusDad's depiction, it's pretty obvious that a 5 foot square is purely for mathematical convenience, because a 10 foot square is too big for simulating a defensive line and a 5 foot square is too small to represent the full combat space needed by a tiefling flail-wielder. Or a dragonborn bo-staffer. Or a human with a bastard sword. And a shield.

#### CleverNickName

##### Limit Break Dancing
Now, someone needs to build a 10' x 10' square and park a horse in the middle of it. Because we need to know.

#### Beleriphon

##### Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
Now, someone needs to build a 10' x 10' square and park a horse in the middle of it. Because we need to know.

Its about as a big as a typical horse stall, which usually run 12x12.

Edit: However... (spoiler due to image size)

Last edited:

##### Heretic of The Seventh Circle
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.
Pretty sure rapiers in 5e are primarily meant to refer to historical one handed, thin bladed, dueling rapiers. Their length thus varies a good deal, as does whether they are built exclusively for stabbing or rather for stabbing and cutting. These weapons occupy a period of time a bit later than many like for their dnd, but it is what it is.

If you don’t want proper rapiers in your dnd, they also mechanically represent an arming sword quite well.

#### Oofta

##### Legend
Pretty sure rapiers in 5e are primarily meant to refer to historical one handed, thin bladed, dueling rapiers. Their length thus varies a good deal, as does whether they are built exclusively for stabbing or rather for stabbing and cutting. These weapons occupy a period of time a bit later than many like for their dnd, but it is what it is.

If you don’t want proper rapiers in your dnd, they also mechanically represent an arming sword quite well.

True. Like all classifications, the term "rapier" changes based on era and region. Terms are so loose in D&D that rapier can easily encapsulate multiple styles of swords, I just can't envision a modern fencing epee that many people think of as a rapier as being used for anything but tournaments.

So it's just how I envision it.

#### Greenfield

Not sure on the metric v imperial measure thing. (Imperial being inches and feet.)

Decimal is easier to work with, but in game we never go down to the inch/centimeter, so it's not a thing there.

And, as illustrated, you'd need a 2 meter square to adequately represent the reach and control area of a person armed with any bladed weapon larger than a butter knife. so the whole 1:1 argument kind of goes away.

And when it comes to longer distances, such as the 25 or so miles a man can walk in a day, or calling it 40 kilometers, the decimal advantage doesn't apply. We could be talking furlongs at that point and it wouldn't make a difference.

One advantage of Imperial is the foot: Metric doesn't have an equivalent unit of measure, a convenient unit smaller than a meter but larger than a centimeter. I mean, yeah, we could say "31 centimeters", but that gets verbally clunky all over again. (By the way, my conversion math may be wonky. I actually don't know how close 31 centimeters is to a foot. )

So I guess, being an American, I prefer inches, feet and miles. In game terms there seem to be little advantage either way.

#### Cap'n Kobold

##### Hero

...but I notice you're talking about swordfighting here. Odd that you refer to shield-use as a secondary thought, but I have made no effort to limit my observations on the 5 foot square to sword use. Notably, DoofusDad opted to illustrate the 5 foot square with a monk's typical loadout, sandals included.
No, I'm just making the distinction mostly between two-handed weapons and one-handed weapons used with a shield. In a line fight, two-handed weapons are generally kept with the business end aligned horizontally with the opponent and blows are mostly vertical or diagonal - precisely because swings out to the side are less practical and endanger your allies in adjacent squares.
With a shield, keeping the weapon in front of you to defend yourself isn't needed, but swings are still generally coming mostly down rather than across.
Off the top of my head, I can't think of any weapons that require being practically wielded in such a manner that they might endanger someone fighting next to you.

So in future references to my earlier snippets of wisdom, please consider that there are other weapons in D&D besides swords, other shapes of standard-5-foot-characters than human, and annoying bards that keep trying to reach into your square to pour a healing potion on you while you're busy fighting an orc chieftain.
Even the chonkiest of Dragonborn aren't going to be filling up a 5ft square themselves. And bluntly, I wouldn't expect many party members to use techniques that would risk hitting their allies next to them.

#### Warmaster Horus

##### Explorer
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.

American game, American rules. Besides, what was the last great song or piece of fiction that was entitled with a unit of the metric system - other than weight because that usually refers to elicit substances? The Who's "I Can See For Kilometers and Kilometers"? Ray Bradbury's classic "Celcius 233.33"? Go for a walk in the 2.83 Hectare Wood with Winnie the Pooh?

In any case, you're lucky we're not still stuck in the " days, where " meant feet indoors and yards outside.

#### GMMichael

##### Guide of Modos
Off the top of my head, I can't think of any weapons that require being practically wielded in such a manner that they might endanger someone fighting next to you.

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