[RPG] How to deal with non-metric based systems


While this question is specifically about D&D fifth edition, I realise it can be relevant to any system which doesn't use the metric system.

I live in Europe, and I have been playing D&D since my early teenage years. Thinking about it now, I've never really been able to work accurately with distances, weights, or any other units of measurement used in the book, them not being in the metric system. As a player, when I enquire the DM about something related to distance, I get a reply in units I can understand, so that's not an issue. But when consulting the Player's Handbook, I always struggle.

For those of you who are accustomed to the metric system, how do you deal with this annoying aspect? Do you annotate your books? Have you developed a conversion method that works reliably and doesn't disturb the game's flow?

Best Answer

Coming from Sweden, this is obviously an issue for me as well. Personally, I just make rough conversions on the fly as needed, but communicate everything to the players in the given units (inches, feet, yards, lbs etc).

Some basic conversion that I use (that are incorrect, but close enough to get a feel for the numbers):

  • 1 lbs = 1/2 kg, or 1 kg = 2 lbs.
  • 1 inch = 2.5 cm
  • 1 foot = 30 cm
  • 1 yard = 1 meter
  • 1 mile = 1.5 km.

I mostly feel that the imperial system works pretty well in fantasy RPGs, since it feels like an old timey way of thought and adds some flavor.

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