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"Ground Scale Question" Topic


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357 hits since 28 Jan 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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conn183528 Jan 2019 3:19 p.m. PST

Having recently purchased Goodman Games Into the Borderlands (collecting TSR's B1: In Search of the Unknown and B2: The Keep on the Borderlands), I'm toying with the idea of constructing the Caves of Chaos as a backdrop for campaign. I'm leaning toward Otherworld Skirmish as the rule set.

The TSR original map has a scale of 1 square = 10 feet which I can layout as 1 square = 1 inch on the table. This seems also be compatible with the scale used in Otherworld (ie see ‘Up from the Depths', p. 108). In terms of scaled movement, given the ‘standard' Speed of 6, most figures would move 60' or 120' per activation. On my terrain that's 6" – 12." So here's the question: Should the terrain be built with 1" = 10'. Or 1" = 5' meaning that with a Speed 6 the figures actually moves 30' – 60' on the ground per activation? On the one hand, I fear that corridors and rooms will be too crowded (small) at 1"=10' but on the other hand, the 1"-5' promises to produce a huge piece of terrain. Also, current D&D maps tend to be 1" = 5' IIRC.

Any thoughts and insights are most welcome.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP28 Jan 2019 3:35 p.m. PST

I build my dungeon terrain using 1" = 5 feet. I do this because it works better with mini's, compared to 1" = 10 feet. It just works for me.

I built the upper wooden fort, from the module, G1: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, in 1" = 5 feet. It was huge, but what a blast to play! Here is my thread on this topic: TMP link

For mini's, the 1" = 5 feet scale, just works. Not certain why, but it just works… For me. Your experience may vary. Cheers!

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP28 Jan 2019 4:54 p.m. PST

In the game, it's assumed that four man-sized beings can occupy a 10'x10' space. So if you're wanting to create a gridded tactical space that matches this assumption, with the typical bases for 28mm figs, you'll need to go with 1"=5' for your scale.
For a 1"=10' scale, you'll need much smaller minis, with bases that will fit in a 1/2" square.

CeruLucifus28 Jan 2019 8:01 p.m. PST

What Parzival said.

Personal logo PrivateSnafu Supporting Member of TMP28 Jan 2019 10:27 p.m. PST

I've thought about building the caves from B2. I came up with having 40mm equal 10', using 15mm figures on approx. 15mm bases. 2-3 figures able to fight across a 10 ft tunnel. I was going to make a close fighting rule or such so the 3rd hero could fight in there if he had it. If my memory serves correct (I'm not looking at the module) with a bit of cheating the whole cave complex would fit on a 4x6 or 4x8 table. A lot of folks have 15s on 40mm ancients basing so I figured it was compatible. I'd built the corridors 42mm and call it close enough.

Good luck sounds fun.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP29 Jan 2019 1:33 p.m. PST

The 1" = X standard emerged in the 1970s during the age of true 25mm figures.

A 1" space works pretty well today if you're using 1/72 plastic minis.

With 28+mm figures today, I find that 30mm-1.5" works best to accommodate any crowd of figures in action poses. Personally, I just don't worry about technical definitions of ground scale, and just give movements, ranges, and blast areas in 'number of spaces'.

DungeonDelver Supporting Member of TMP10 Feb 2019 6:33 p.m. PST

If memory serves, the old school (1e and White Box) D&D proposed a 1 square equals 10 feet scale for mapping. But that mapping was for pencil and paper dungeoneering rather than miniatures. Even with true 25s that was problematic if the square are 1". The resolution over time was a shift to 1" = 5' scale.

I'm dedicated to 15mm dungeons so I use 15mm = 5' or 1.5m squares. That adheres pretty closely to the 1/100th nominal scale of modern 15mm/18mm figures. I base single figures on a #10 SAE washer that are 12mm across, so nearly 4ft in scale. The bases, squares, and distances all make sense together.

I like to play so called skirmish scale where the figure scale and the ground scale are the same, but plenty of games intentionally distort that relationship. So you're free to create wiggle room on that basis to.

30mm figures are in 1/60th scale and that makes 25mm/1" squares skirmish scale for them. Skirmish scale makes dungeon decor fit better and tactical fights more "realistic" – but then again its all a game. The down size of skirmish scale is that things in real life are big. So it is often an advantage to shrink the ground scale a bit.

Hope that helps…

Zephyr111 Feb 2019 3:51 p.m. PST

I use 1.25" squares for my 3-D dungeon/sci-fi floors. 1" can be kind of cramped even for 1" bases (especially when limbs & weapons are sticking out every which way.) The square size is also conveniently the same size as the plastic lock blocks I use for layout guides. (And half size for 15mm is 5/8" squares… ;-)

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