D&D 4E Non-Euclidean Geometry in 4E?

Reaper Steve

Explorer
This has been stewing in my brain since the DDM2.0 rules release a few weeks ago, but after listening to the most recent podcast tonight, I feel compelled to speak up.

As most now know, in DDM 2.0 diagonal movement only costs one square. It is billed as easier and faster. They also made a point that they are reducing the differences between D&D and DDM.

From this, I infer that D&D 4E will also count diagonal movement the same as forward or lateral.

After much contemplation, I have decided:
THIS IS A HORRIBLE DECISION!

If this is true, it will have a severe impact on my ability to enjoy the game (everybody's got to have something, right? I guess we found mine. :) ) Sure, I could houserule it, but movement counting conventions ripple into all aspects of the game.

I got the impression from the podcast that Shoe wasn't happy with the decision, either.

Seriously,
It's just plain wrong.
I'm not insulted by it per se, but I do think that this decision shows a disregard for the average intellect.
I think the average person does (or easily can) grasp that the diagonal is longer than either straight side of a square. This person will think 'huh, that's strange' when looking at the movement rules.
Conversely, the person that hasn't yet seen this concept is now being taught incorrectly.
Sorry, but that's just too far in the name of speed and ease.

What's really frustrating is that there is an easy way to do diagonal movement (instead of 1,2,1,2)... measure in half squares. Diagonal movement costs 1.5 squares, doubled to 3 if difficult terrain (like anything else.) No, you can't use a leftover .5.
Piece of cake.
Straight, diagonal, straight (difficult), diagonal, diagonal (difficult)?
"1, 2.5, 4.5, 6, 9"

WotC, hear my plea!
1) Does 4E count diagonal movement as only one square?
2) If so, please reconsider before it is too late. Such a decision flies in the face of common sense and basic geometry. The increase in 'ease of play' is not worth such a departure from basic measurement, especially when solutions exist that are nearly as simple and infinitely more believable.

If you wanted uniform movement in D&D, you would have chosen hexes. I, for one, am happy with squares am I'm glad you stuck with them.
So treat it like a square.
Respect your players' intellects and respect the diagonal.
 
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~Johnny~

First Post
I spent years playing D&D and SWRPG before I noticed the "1,2,1,2,1" diagonal movement rule. I consider anything but "one square of movement is one square in any direction" to be totally counterintuitive.

And yes, I realize that diagonals are longer. It doesn't offend my intellect at all. It's just one of many simplifications in an abstract movement system.
 

I say up with Non-Euclidean Geometry.

Let ease of counting triumph of space and time.

Further, I would argue that any person who knows that diagonals are 'longer' than straight lines also understands that dealing with that issue is a pain.
 

TwinBahamut

First Post
I'm used to videogames where diagonal movement is absolutely impossible, and you can only reach a diagonal square by first moving to an adjacent square, so using something other than the irritating 1,2,1,2 counting is just fine if you ask me. If anything, I think they should just disallow diagonal movement entirely, because just having the option makes it slightly harder to count up movement distances. Not using the 3.5 system hasn't hurt my suspension of disbelief so far, especially since alternating how you count movement can get annoying when you are charting out a complicated move action with several shifts between diagonal and non-diagonal movement...
 

Reaper Steve said:
Seriously,
It's just plain wrong.
I'm not insulted by it per se, but I do think that this decision shows a disregard for the average intellect.
Wow. Really? You don't think they changed it because it's easier, takes less time, and makes little or no practical difference in the game?

There are many explanations that present themselves before assuming malice on WotC's part. Why assume the worst when there are other explanations? Such as, "we thought it would be more fun this way"?
 

starwed

First Post
My group rarely plays with a grid in any case. Even when using minis, we're just approximating the distance.

But if you're going to bother to keep track of distances exactly, you might as well do it the correct way.
 


Kunimatyu

First Post
TwinBahamut said:
I'm used to videogames where diagonal movement is absolutely impossible, and you can only reach a diagonal square by first moving to an adjacent square, so using something other than the irritating 1,2,1,2 counting is just fine if you ask me.

Well, there's your reason -- they changed it because 2-square diagonal movement was too videogamey.

Bam, problem solved. :)
 

Greenfaun

First Post
Meh, when I was 16 I would have been totally outraged, but now it seems like an okay idea. I mean, the most realistic system would be a map with no grid at all, and players would use a calibrated piece of string to measure distance directly from point A to point B, and see if they have enough movement to take it. No-one in their right mind would play that game, though.

I'm generally a fan of hex-grids, but it's been a long time since I've gamed with someone who didn't hate hex-grid playmaps with a fiery passion. My sample isn't scientific, I know, but I kind of assume that everyone hates hex-maps now.

So square grid it is. And either correcting for diagonals or not correcting for them both have problems. I lean towards the "Diagonal=1.5 squares" solution to prevent weirdness like being able to cover more distance running diagonally than running square, and area-effects being giant squares, but it's not a huge deal to me anymore. Probably I'll houserule the 1.5 thing if I'm DMing, but I'll be happy to play either way.
 

Elder-Basilisk

First Post
Conceptually, the place that it will bother me the most is when anything takes place off the two dimensional grid. Are the bad guys 30 feet off the side of the road on a ledge 30 feet off the ground? They're 42 feet away from the PC on the road then, but the non-diagonal counting game is going to say that they're six squares away. That's an example that came up recently in my game and that I know that the answer to "is it within point blank shot range?" would have been different if we were using the 4.0 rule.

Now, as to why that will bother me. I'm pretty sure that the primary reason it is going to bother me is because we're using a two dimensional grid and for three dimensions, we tend to use real world distances rather than squares to count. How deep is the pit? I'm going to say that it's sixty feet deep rather than that it is twelve squares deep. How tall is the wall? It's fifteen feet tall rather than three squares tall. Since it is not represented on the grid, a square does not have any obvious meaning but, everyone can imagine sixty feet or fifteen feet.

Now, if I know that 5 squares are five feet on each side and also five feet tall, I can calculate what square you are in if you're on top of that fifty foot wall or at the bottom of the sixty foot pit. But there is still going to be pretty dramatic disconnect when I'm told that the guy thirty feet over and thirty feet up is actually six five foot squares away--or 30 feet--even though 40 feet is the most accurate approximation of five foot increments.

The other place that this will bother me is with regard to charging. At least in the minis rules, you have to charge to the nearest square that is adjacent to a creature. But, if all distance is measured in squares you will almost always find that there are, in fact, several nearest squares to choose from.

Take this situation for instance: M is the monster; P is the PC.
_ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ M _
_ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ P _ _ _

Looking at it visually and using dead reckoning, it is pretty obvious that A is the square nearest to P that is also adjacent to the monster M

_ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ M _
_ _ _ A _ _
_ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ P _ _ _

However, if you count the distances, you will find that there are actually three squares A that are adjacent to the monster M, one of which is actually on the other side of the monster M on the horizontal axis.

_ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ M _
_ _ _ 3 3 3
_ _ 2 2 2 _
_ _ 1 1 _ _
_ _ P _ _ _

Not exactly intuitive.

At least when using the 1/2 rule for diagonal movement as we did in 3.0, a distance calculated in squares would usually work out about the same as a distance calculated in feet and the nearest square mathematically would generally be the nearest square on the grid as well.

Not so in 4th edition. And it's going to come up whenever real world numbers interact with squares (which will be often) and whenever whenever someone charges (which will also be often, and worse yet, I forsee a lot of differences in the way DMs treat that with some DMs going for the actual nearest location based on a real world application of nearest and other DMs using the much more flexible but less intuitive "nearest in terms of movement cost")
 
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