I have been reading through some of the 13th Age rules on combat and I was particularly interested in the way that system handles combat range. While I am loving D&D 5e, tracking distance and positioning can be quite a pain sometimes, and often times when I am trying to describe the scene players will ask me to draw out the locations of the enemies. If I can simplify the way range and adjacency are determined, I suspect it will help to make combat much smoother.

I don't want to adopt the entire combat system, just the way positioning is handled. I don't want to modify opportunity attack rules, the action economy, or anything else of the sort. I'd like to retain as many core 5e rules as possible, and adapt them to work with similar 13th Age mechanics (such as the 'Intercept' action, which I imagine would translate to Opportunity Attacks in 5e).

My question is, how can I integrate the 13th Age range system into 5e? What problems might arise from this, and how can I solve them? How might area of effect spells, ranges, and move speeds be accounted for when abstracting distances to broad categories rather than 5' increments?


1 Answer 1


I run D&D 5E combats describing distance in multiples of 30 feet, calling these "moves". Most spell/weapon ranges are in multiples of 30 feet. I made throwing weapons (normally a range of 20/60) have a range of 30/60 for simplicity. Since 5E doesn't have concepts like "5 foot step", the approximation is OK.

"The archers are two moves away." - means PCs have to spend 2 rounds moving to get into melee range.

"Fireball has a range of four moves and hits everyone one move from the center."

It worked out fine. It sped up combat while still giving us some tactical play. If my players want more precise tactics then they ask for a grid, which they do in maybe 2/3 of combats.

Dwarves get the long end of the stick in this system, though, since normally they can move 25 feet in a round, not 30 feet. That's OK. Nothing says that a "move" has to be exactly 30 feet.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ How do you handle characters who have faster movement (monks and wood elves come to mind)? It may be okay to give the dwarves a leg up, but it seems almost punitive to take away the monk's speed. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 19, 2016 at 5:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ That sounds like a job for (dis)advantage. A dwarf's action has disadvantage when they move and act, since they have to "hustle" to cover the last 5', while a monk/barbarian/wood elf can "take their time" to cover the distance. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 19, 2016 at 14:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Or, alternately, ignore move speed while in combat. It matters more in a chase scene and for overland travel. Combat is too quick and crazy to worry about specific speeds. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 19, 2016 at 14:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .