Metrification of Pathfinder


Homebrew and House Rules

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I would liken to humbly request the paizo folks to add the metric system to the game. it would be veryn helpful to all the non-americam gamers out there to get a better grasp of the distances and wheights involved in everything you guys publish. please.


Don't do it, Paizo! It's much more trouble than it's worth!

Paizo Employee Sales Associate

Lost Nasa Probe wrote:
Don't do it, Paizo! It's much more trouble than it's worth!

I see what you did there.


Cosmo wrote:
Lost Nasa Probe wrote:
Don't do it, Paizo! It's much more trouble than it's worth!
I see what you did there.

but not me. What's the real problem here?


Jucassaba wrote:
I would liken to humbly request the paizo folks to add the metric system to the game. it would be veryn helpful to all the non-americam gamers out there to get a better grasp of the distances and wheights involved in everything you guys publish. please.

For what it's worth, Star Wars d20 was done in Metric. Take a look at that for comparisons.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

If you want something precise, the conversions from 'English' to metric units are easy enough to find.

If you want something with simple math that's close enough to estimate, while still letting you think in the units you are most familiar with:

Make a 'square' a 1.5 meters or 2 meters (whichever you prefer) instead of five feet. Adjust other effects accordingly e.g. an spell that affects a '10 foot cube' becomes a 3 or 4 meter cube.

Divide all pound weights in half to get kilograms.


Ross Byers wrote:

If you want something precise, the conversions from 'English' to metric units are easy enough to find.

If you want something with simple math that's close enough to estimate, while still letting you think in the units you are most familiar with:

Make a 'square' a 1.5 meters or 2 meters (whichever you prefer) instead of five feet. Adjust other effects accordingly e.g. an spell that affects a '10 foot cube' becomes a 3 or 4 meter cube.

Divide all pound weights in half to get kilograms.

yeah, thats easy, but my problem(and my players) are long distances and speeds. we don't know how to convert feets to miles and other crazy unconversible imperial units

Dark Archive

You know, I never had any problems with pounds and inches. Until I had to explain it to a player who did...

Paizo Employee Sales Associate

Black XIII wrote:
Cosmo wrote:
Lost Nasa Probe wrote:
Don't do it, Paizo! It's much more trouble than it's worth!
I see what you did there.
but not me. What's the real problem here?

He's making a sly reference to this.


Jucassaba wrote:
yeah, thats easy, but my problem(and my players) are long distances and speeds. we don't know how to convert feets to miles and other crazy unconversible imperial units

5280 feet in a mile. What's not memorable about that? ;-)


Evil Lincoln wrote:
Jucassaba wrote:
yeah, thats easy, but my problem(and my players) are long distances and speeds. we don't know how to convert feets to miles and other crazy unconversible imperial units
5280 feet in a mile. What's not memorable about that? ;-)

huheu...everything

but back to the point, I remember GURPS did it in their core rulebook.
is there some resistance in doing it?

evil lincolm:can you tell me what is an ounce and an inch? they have such silly names that I can't take them seriously

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Jucassaba wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:

If you want something precise, the conversions from 'English' to metric units are easy enough to find.

If you want something with simple math that's close enough to estimate, while still letting you think in the units you are most familiar with:

Make a 'square' a 1.5 meters or 2 meters (whichever you prefer) instead of five feet. Adjust other effects accordingly e.g. an spell that affects a '10 foot cube' becomes a 3 or 4 meter cube.

Divide all pound weights in half to get kilograms.

yeah, thats easy, but my problem(and my players) are long distances and speeds. we don't know how to convert feets to miles and other crazy unconversible imperial units

For any measurement based on feet, just use the 5 feet = 1.5 meters conversion you use for tactical distance.

For miles, a mile is about 1.66 kilometers, but rounding that to 1.5 for simplicity's sake shouldn't break your game.


Jucassaba wrote:
Evil Lincoln wrote:
Jucassaba wrote:
yeah, thats easy, but my problem(and my players) are long distances and speeds. we don't know how to convert feets to miles and other crazy unconversible imperial units
5280 feet in a mile. What's not memorable about that? ;-)

huheu...everything

but back to the point, I remember GURPS did it in their core rulebook.
is there some resistance in doing it?

evil lincolm:can you tell me what is an ounce and an inch? they have such silly names that I can't take them seriously

One ounce is 1/16th of a pound (not the currency).

One inch is 1/12th of a foot.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's not a real adventure unless you measure your progress by furlongs per fortnight.

:p


There are many easy conversion charts and programs available for free online. Just run a search on your favorite search engine.

Dark Archive

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"The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets 40 rods to the Hog's Head, and that's the way I likes it!"

-Abe Simpson


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Ah, the metric system.

Logical.

Concise.

Internally consistent.

It'll never catch on here. Give it up.


i'm not proposing a total comversion, just a coexistance that would only add to the game.

PS:what is a pound?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Matthew Winn wrote:

"The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets 40 rods to the Hog's Head, and that's the way I likes it!"

-Abe Simpson

I remember seeing this episode back when I was in school and had one of those composition books with the conversion tables inside the covers. I worked it out. Turns out that's AWFUL mileage.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Jucassaba wrote:


PS:what is a pound?

A pint's a pound, the world around?


LordClammy wrote:
There are many easy conversion charts and programs available for free online. Just run a search on your favorite search engine.

And if your favourite search engine happens to be google, you already have a program for easy conversion. Google "12 inch in cm" "255 terameters in light years" "77 megagrammms in oz" and see what happens!

It's also a calculator.


Ross Byers wrote:
Jucassaba wrote:


PS:what is a pound?
A pint's a pound, the world around?

Actually...that particular piece of information is INCREDIBLY useful for finding out how much a full 55-gallon drum weighs. Want to lift and throw that barrel? Better have a high enough strength to lift 440 pounds over your head. (2 pints in a quart times 4 quarts in a gallon times 55 gallons = 440 pounds)


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Jucassaba wrote:
i'm not proposing a total comversion, just a coexistance that would only add to the game.

The problem is, the thing that would get added is space requirement.

In the end, I actually like Pathfinder using feet and pounds. It's a fantasy game set in a medieval-like world. It's supposed to be backwards and obsolete.

Jucassaba wrote:


PS:what is a pound?

A place where they take your car when they tow it.

Either that or a unit of weight measurement equal to 500g, or 453odd g, depending which pound (so it's actually two weight measures)

And the brits, those crazy rascals, call their currency Pound (actually Pound Sterling).

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

KaeYoss wrote:
And the brits, those crazy rascals, call their currency Pound (actually Pound Sterling).

That's because it was originally backed by a pound of sterling silver, IIRC, so it's actually one of the less silly money names.


Jucassaba wrote:
I would liken to humbly request the paizo folks to add the metric system to the game. it would be veryn helpful to all the non-americam gamers out there to get a better grasp of the distances and wheights involved in everything you guys publish. please.

Weight usually is not too much of an issue unt8il someone starts trying to do something silly like carry the entire contents of a house or something.. There are about 2 pounds in a kilogram (

2 pounds = 0.90718474 kilograms). I can't see that level of precision being necessary, just divide/multiply by two if you just want a mental estimate of understanding on how heavy something is or how much someone can carry.
Distance is similarly simple. The system for distance/range/movement speeds is based on 5x5 foot grid maps, conveniently there are 3 feet in a meter making for easy mental math if it is important enough for you to guesstimate a distance/range/size

I don't think you see miles too often in the system itself, but 3km is close enough to 2 miles to be even if you ever need a mental conversion (3 km = 1.86411 mi), and 1KM=~0.6miles

Basically it's a ton of work that would be really awkward because the weight of a lot of things gets rounded up to 1 pound for convenience sake to represent fragility. Distances are mostly based on things that can apply to 5foot square grid maps, you can't convert it cleanly and would Have silly things like a 9.144 Meter speed instead of 30 feet... not exactly simple to model that without just converting it back to feet because bonus/penalties are usually going to be some other poorly converting number


KaeYoss wrote:
Jucassaba wrote:
i'm not proposing a total comversion, just a coexistance that would only add to the game.

The problem is, the thing that would get added is space requirement.

In the end, I actually like Pathfinder using feet and pounds. It's a fantasy game set in a medieval-like world. It's supposed to be backwards and obsolete.

Jucassaba wrote:


PS:what is a pound?

A place where they take your car when they tow it.

Either that or a unit of weight measurement equal to 500g, or 453odd g, depending which pound (so it's actually two weight measures)

And the brits, those crazy rascals, call their currency Pound (actually Pound Sterling).

thats in your country. My country has been using metric since 1814. the metric system is nothing new here.


Jucassaba wrote:
yeah, thats easy, but my problem(and my players) are long distances and speeds. we don't know how to convert feets to miles and other crazy unconversible imperial units

No problem. Pathfinder doesn't use Imperial units. It uses US customary units.

See, the Imperial System is simultaneously newfangled (invented in 1824, after the Metric System) and obsolete (officially replaced by the metric system in all countries where the Imperial system was ever official).

The major point of difference is the gallon. The British Empire aped the metric system's liter-kilogram relationship by creating a new Imperial gallon of ten pounds of water. Traditionalists, Americans kept using the old Queen Anne gallon, even after we officially adopted the metric system in 1866.


just realized the temperatures are in fahreiheit(is that how its spelled?)
I never understood the logic behind that one, water freezes at 32° and boils at 212°. WTH?


Jucassaba wrote:

just realized the temperatures are in fahreiheit(is that how its spelled?)

I never understood the logic behind that one, water freezes at 32° and boils at 212°. WTH?

Here in tropical Florida we tend to keep the thermostat around 70 or so, give or tage 5-10 degrees for colder/less humid climates I believe.100+ is hot, your car in the sun can get to like 120-150 I think, but also too lazy to look it up


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I like the imperial or non metric system for my fantasy games, makes it all quaint and old worldly like.

Sort of like seeing fractions on the motorway off ramp signs....


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ross Byers wrote:
Matthew Winn wrote:

"The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets 40 rods to the Hog's Head, and that's the way I likes it!"

-Abe Simpson

I remember seeing this episode back when I was in school and had one of those composition books with the conversion tables inside the covers. I worked it out. Turns out that's AWFUL mileage.

It turns out, that's an understatement. :P

Also, for the OP, an inch is a measure of length approximately = the last joint of your thumb.


The inch is actually the WIDTH of the thumb at the last joint. That's 2,5 cm or so. Most people actually believe it's the LENGTH of the last phalanx of your thumb, which is about 3,5 cm. Check if you wish.

The foot, 30,48 cm, is the length of the foot of some poorly defined male at some point in history. If I remember correctly, a yard is three feet, or the distance from the thumb to the nose when your arm is stretched straight out, thumb up. A fathom is as far as you can reach out, fingertip to fingertip, arms out straight. It's very practical, because you can always measure how big something is, merely by measuring with your own body. Except you can only do that if you happen to be that poorly defined male.

The mile is roughly 1609 meters, unless you're at sea, then you have nautical miles of 1852 meters. Huzzah!

I won't even go into weights, because they are confusing enough to stump me. In paricular, it's obvious you need different weights to measure different things. Ounces and troy ounces, anyone? Carats?

Now, where this TRULY shines is constants. Most of us SI-using people are familiar that the gravity acceleration is around 9,82 m/s2. If you convert that to other systems, here's a hint: Don't expect the numbers to stay the same...


For all those who like non-metric, why not use old british money ingame? I dare you!

4 farthings = 1 penny
12 pence = 1 shilling
5 shillings = 1 Crown and so on

To me (us?) it seems just as logical as pounds, feet or barrels.
And Fahrenheit, really? I would understand the Kelvin scale, but "0 is the temperature of the coldest winter of my home town" isn't really a good idea.

On the other hand, it could be worse, DSA (german RPG) uses 10-days to measure the week.

Anyhow we will keep playing like we always did, an hour has 20*Pi minutes, there are 12*e (eulerian number) hours per day, a year has Pi*e*50 days, and a week is the squareroot of that number.

Btw. is the right angle should be less than 90° if you get close enough to a sphere of annihilation (or whatever is a black hole). And creatures with more or less than 10 fingers should not be allowed to use the decimal system as it was invented by counting fingers and/or toes.

Anyhow I respect that you use the same measurements as is customary in your country, but please try to change your customs :)


Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Sissyl wrote:

The inch is actually the WIDTH of the thumb at the last joint. That's 2,5 cm or so. Most people actually believe it's the LENGTH of the last phalanx of your thumb, which is about 3,5 cm. Check if you wish.

The foot, 30,48 cm, is the length of the foot of some poorly defined male at some point in history. If I remember correctly, a yard is three feet, or the distance from the thumb to the nose when your arm is stretched straight out, thumb up. A fathom is as far as you can reach out, fingertip to fingertip, arms out straight. It's very practical, because you can always measure how big something is, merely by measuring with your own body. Except you can only do that if you happen to be that poorly defined male.

The mile is roughly 1609 meters, unless you're at sea, then you have nautical miles of 1852 meters. Huzzah!

I won't even go into weights, because they are confusing enough to stump me. In paricular, it's obvious you need different weights to measure different things. Ounces and troy ounces, anyone? Carats?

Now, where this TRULY shines is constants. Most of us SI-using people are familiar that the gravity acceleration is around 9,82 m/s2. If you convert that to other systems, here's a hint: Don't expect the numbers to stay the same...

Hmm... you are indeed correct. I guess I always just assumed that the people who standardized the units had tiny hands! :P I'm 6'3" 195 lbs., so I'm used to people having smaller hands than me. :) It does make sense, though, considering that the measurement of 'hands' is the width of the palm, not the length of the hand.

Edit- Richard, I would love to use something like the old British money for Pathfinder. Give it a bit of that 'old-world' feel. The only thing that would bother me is having to re-write the item costs.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm more or less down with feet and miles after all these years, but I'll never comfortable with Fahrenheit. Go Celsius!

Scarab Sages

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Fahrenheit actually not without merits. While I'd agree that the 32 and 212 points are a bit odd, the system works well enough in normal climates for providing a high gradiation of temprature. The diffrences in temprature between 76 and 78 degrees are distinct and easily felt by the human body.

I think celsius is great for science and stuff. The true dog of the imperial system is the Rankien. There is no excuse to ever use that scale over the Kelvin.


Rankien is exactly to Fahrenheit what Kelvin is to Celsuis.

How about the Delisle scale? Wikipedia says the Russians used it for over 100 years, and so many Russians can't be wrong.
If this temperature rises, it gets colder *spooky noises*.


Matthew Trent wrote:
The diffrences in temprature between 76 and 78 degrees are distinct and easily felt by the human body.

Only if your pretty good at telling what the humidity and wind is. 'Chill factor' pretty commonly has a range larger than 2°F.

Even if I accept your statement (2°F is easily felt) then wouldn't Celsius still be better, where 1°C is roughly the same change and be a more convenient threshold.

On the real issue at hand I'd have more of an issue with archaic units in games if we had to worry about volumes more. Like silly spells that affected a number of cubic feet per level. Simple things like 3' = 1m and 2lb = 1kg are simple enough and good enough for normal use.


estergum wrote:

I like the imperial or non metric system for my fantasy games, makes it all quaint and old worldly like.

Sort of like seeing fractions on the motorway off ramp signs....

why do people feel this system is old looking? don't they use it everyday? souldn't it feel... recent?


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Richard Leonhart wrote:


On the other hand, it could be worse, DSA (german RPG) uses 10-days to measure the week.

The Forgotten Realms have a ten-days-week, too.

Silver Crusade

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The British measurement system is a unique and wonderful creation. We measure distance in inches, feet and miles but we teach our kids kilometres and centimetres. Also weights have that distinction too. We are taught grams and kilos at school and then quote weights in pounds ounces and stones.

That said drinks come in litres and millilitres not fluid ounces, temperature is in centigrade not farenheit etc. etc.

Our system of weights and measures can best be described as Metperial.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Man i remember when we started playing saga edition and it was in metric. Probably as irritating for us as inches and pounds are to everywhere else. The conversion isnt really an issue, its a matter of having a sense of things. If someone says to me 100 feet, or 50 miles per hour, I immediately have an impression of how far, fast or heavy something is. If its in metric I have to think about it first, and doing conversion in your head or on paper breaks immersion. The only solution here really is to either list everything in both measurement systems or release 2 books one of each. Converting on the fly is just to counter active to immersion. Thog the barbarian doesnt care how many feet in a meter, he just wants to know how far away the things are that he wants to smash. Or how heavy the rock is he will be smashing with.


Jucassaba wrote:
KaeYoss wrote:
Jucassaba wrote:
i'm not proposing a total comversion, just a coexistance that would only add to the game.

The problem is, the thing that would get added is space requirement.

In the end, I actually like Pathfinder using feet and pounds. It's a fantasy game set in a medieval-like world. It's supposed to be backwards and obsolete.

Jucassaba wrote:


PS:what is a pound?

A place where they take your car when they tow it.

Either that or a unit of weight measurement equal to 500g, or 453odd g, depending which pound (so it's actually two weight measures)

And the brits, those crazy rascals, call their currency Pound (actually Pound Sterling).

thats in your country. My country has been using metric since 1814. the metric system is nothing new here.

Woohoo. 1814. So we only had it officially since 1872. That's 60 years later than you, but I wouldn't call it new around here, as it was over 100 years before I was even born.


Jucassaba wrote:

just realized the temperatures are in fahreiheit(is that how its spelled?)

I never understood the logic behind that one, water freezes at 32° and boils at 212°. WTH?

Actually, they're in degrees Fahrenheit.

Fahrenheit used different points of reference for his scale than Celsius.

From Wikipedia:

"According to an article Fahrenheit wrote in 1724, he based his scale on three reference points of temperature. In his initial scale (which is not the final Fahrenheit scale), the zero point is determined by placing the thermometer in brine: he used a mixture of ice, water, and ammonium chloride, a salt. This is a frigorific mixture which stabilizes its temperature automatically: that stable temperature was defined as 0 °F (−17.78 °C). The second point, at 32 degrees, was a mixture of ice and water without the ammonium chloride. The third point, 96 degrees, was approximately the human body temperature, then called "blood-heat""


Jucassaba wrote:
estergum wrote:

I like the imperial or non metric system for my fantasy games, makes it all quaint and old worldly like.

Sort of like seeing fractions on the motorway off ramp signs....

why do people feel this system is old looking? don't they use it everyday? souldn't it feel... recent?

Well, I only use inches and feet and the like when I'm playing Pathfinder.

It doesn't really feel recent to me. Plus, it feels like the sort of stuff we had before we had proper units, like cloth which was was measured in "ells" (the proper English term is cubit, but it's the length the measurer's ell had) or peasants measuring the fields in "morgen", i.e. the area of land they could work in a morning.

Couple it with the silly conversions (12 inch = 1 foot; 3 foot = 1 yard; some big number of feet = 1 mile) and it feels like something people made up as they went along, which is what mostly happened.

SI units feel modern and scientific because people sat down and defined them properly, using standard conversions that either multiply (or divide) by 10 or 1000 for the most part (kilo, mega, giga, tera and so on, though).

Around here, pounds are still used informally for food items (though this is the "metric pound", i.e. 500g).


FallofCamelot wrote:
The British measurement system is a unique and wonderful creation. We measure distance in inches, feet and miles but we teach our kids kilometres and centimetres

Didn't you recently adopt the metric system? In such circumstances, a period of acclimatisation is unavoidable. Give it a few years or decades and the old units will be mostly quaint artefacts.

I can still remember when we had DM instead of Euro as our currency, and also the years after the change, when basically everyone doubled the number to get the "real price". And some people (especially older people) still do it.

Such things simply take time.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ok, I am just going to come right out and say it. The metric system has no soul. Oh sure, it is all very precise and orderly. Powers of 10 and all that. It is inherently coherent and has sensible reference points (like the temperature at which water freezes).

But it is all very clinical, very scientific. But not imperial measurements a foot is a foot because its kind of the length of a persons foot. An inch is the width of a thumb. A yard is somewhere around the average stride. These measurements have histroy, they have style. I cant imagine some midevil farmer sorting out how many meters long a horse was. He had all the tools to measure right there on his body. And sure it wasnt 'accurate', but it was good enough and it meant something to people other then those labcoat wearing scientists and their 'metric system'. You dont need a set of precision tools to sort out feet and miles!

Silver Crusade

KaeYoss wrote:
FallofCamelot wrote:
The British measurement system is a unique and wonderful creation. We measure distance in inches, feet and miles but we teach our kids kilometres and centimetres

Didn't you recently adopt the metric system? In such circumstances, a period of acclimatisation is unavoidable. Give it a few years or decades and the old units will be mostly quaint artefacts.

I can still remember when we had DM instead of Euro as our currency, and also the years after the change, when basically everyone doubled the number to get the "real price". And some people (especially older people) still do it.

Such things simply take time.

That would be logical. Unfortunately it isn't happening. I was taught metric at school from about age 6. I still refer to weights in pounds and distance in miles almost 30 years later. Motorway signs are still in miles and I don't see that changing any time soon.

TV shows refer to mph, the speedometer on my car measures in mph, I have wighing scales that measure in pounds and stones etc. Hell I even measure distances in Warhammer by the inch...

The point is that whilst we are taught metric distances at school no-one ever applies them. I can tell you how many metres in a kilometre but I can't tell you how many kilometres to London. Conversely I have no idea how many furlongs in a mile but I can tell you right now that I am about 110 miles from central London.

Theory is all well and good but it needs to be applied for it to catch on.


Kolokotroni wrote:
I cant imagine some midevil farmer sorting out how many meters long a horse was.

Yeah, a midevil one wouldn't. a hievil one might. A loevil definitly won't. ;-P

I agree with you that these backwards measurements like ells and thumbs make sense for a medieval setting. It actually enhances the flavour.


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Incidentally, I think the Mile derives from the roman road system, so while it is 5280 feet, it is also 1000 military paces — which is sort of metric of them, isn't it?

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