D&D General The 10' hallway default. How? Why?

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Gygax used 10' halls and suggests 3 men can fight abreast in such.

I'm tempted to use colorful language but... Gygax was just incorrect on that one. YOu can construct cases where it'll work, but it doesn't generalize.

Below is a man in a 5' square. Imagine lopping 2' off each side of this - you could stand in it, sure, but taking vigorous action with bladed weapons and not lopping your neighbor's head off would be challenging.

1568655899175.png


Image from: D&D: Have You Ever Wondered What A Five Foot Square Actually Looks Like? - Bell of Lost Souls
 

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S'mon

Legend
I'm tempted to use colorful language but... Gygax was just incorrect on that one. YOu can construct cases where it'll work, but it doesn't generalize.

Below is a man in a 5' square. Imagine lopping 2' off each side of this - you could stand in it, sure, but taking vigorous action with bladed weapons and not lopping your neighbor's head off would be challenging.

Well it was 1e AD&D, so he had different space requirements for different weapons. You could fit more gladius-armed Romans or spear-armed hobgoblins into your frontage than axe-swinging gauls or flinds swinging flails.
 

Greenfield

Adventurer
The default was basically mechanical.

In the original D&D the standard of measure was that each map square indoors represented 10 feet. It was 10 yards outdoors. And since most dungeon designs were drawn on what's essentially graph paper it was really hard to plot a corridor that was smaller than that.

That original game also called for using the map board from an Avalon Hill game called Wilderness Survival as the standard for outdoor terrain. Like many mapped board games that board was divided into one inch squares.

So an "inch" indoors was one square on the graph paper, and represented 10 feet, while an "Inch" outdoors represented 10 yards.

Part of that was the idea that things like archery are inherently limited when in doors: Range is limited by how high the arrow's trajectory. the "arch" of archery, could be. Can't be higher than the ceiling indoors, while the the lowest limit outdoors would be the height of the forest canopy outdoors.

So the default standards were that distances were always expressed in "inches", with an inch representing 10 feet indoors and 10 yards outdoors.
 

andargor

Rule Lawyer Groupie
Supporter
I'm not sure if this was mentioned in the thread, but there was a specific rule in AD&D for miniatures where each 10' square depicted in the maps would be split in a 3x3 grid for miniatures, each 1" square being equal to 3 1/3 ft. Sounds confusing, but it worked for us for years.

AD&D 1E DMG, p.10

9imnEVh.png
 

S'mon

Legend
So we could go Old School Minis with 1" = 3.3 feet, 25mm = 1 meter (I think those are close enough as makes no difference) but in the Old School Minis Renaissance we can use the same scale for length as for width! :)
 

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