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A Matter of Scale

30 April 2011 by

We just wrapped up the “dungeon” layer of the moat house. In going through the dungeon I had felt that the combat was cramped, and just too “close quarters”. It wasn’t until after the last fight, and reading the last room description that I figured out why.

The last room they searched was an offshoot of a larger room, which was used to store supplies. The room was 2 x 4 squares on the map. Coming from a 2e AD&D background (and subsequently 3e and 4e), I mapped this room out with 5′ squares as 10′ x 20′. Much to my surprise the room description listed it as a 20′ x 40′ room. I reviewed the map again, and skimmed through the entire description in the module. At no place did it ever give a scale.

The overland maps each have a scale. The map of Hommlet is 30′ squares, and the map of Nulb is 20′ squares, and the map of the Temple exterior goes back to 30′ squares. I found a scale note in the page corner of the map that detailed the Church of St. Cuthbert in Hommlet, and it says “Scale: 1 square equals 10 feet”.

I never would have guessed that the scale note on the one map would apply to all interior maps. And maybe the 1e AD&D standard is 10′ squares, and I just didn’t realize. At least I’ve gotten this figured out for the rest of the grand trek, and combat will be all the better since everyone will have more room to maneuver and plan tactics. I know the thief and ranged fighters will certainly appreciate it…

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2 Comments to “A Matter of Scale”

  1. Well, we have had an issue the opposite way(not from a DM error). I can recall at least twice that a friendly mage(let’s just call him Doldrunn for now) cast a Lightning Bolt in a small room with lots of party and 3 bad guys. Add in about 6 circular columns in the room. The mage decided to “be careful” and only cast the 5′ variation (guess he forgot that it extends the length) to avoid hitting party members. SO he gets a low initiative and tosses his spell, blasting the wall and most of the party (some hit MULTIPLE TIMES) He did about 50-70 dmg(total)to the 2 bad guys and about (250 to 300 total) to the rest of the party(counting his own damage to himself).

    It was a classic event still remembered to this day. The party members were trying VERY hard to be quiet as he prepared to cast this spell in the little bitty room. I have to give some quick glares so that people would not say something to change his spoken planned activity. Some of the party and the people watching(we had people who would just sit and watch in those days) had to get up and walk around a bit to stay shushed.

    • That event is a fond memory for me (my portion of the party damage not withstanding), and remember the laughter quite well…

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