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<   No. 834   2005-05-09   >

Comic #834

1 Alvissa: If we trek a couple of miles northwest we should strike the banks of the Elusian River.
2 Lambert: Miles? Will we make it back in time for dinner?
3 Kyros: You've never been on a quest before, have you?

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2014-06-28 Rerun commentary: Having grown up with the metric system of weights and measures, it's trickier for me to imagine distances in miles or feet or what-have-you than to express them in kilometres or metres.

However, when playing a pseudo-medieval fantasy game, it feels more "authentic" (whatever that means in the context of high fantasy) to use the older system of units.

So I have noticed when playing such games that we tend to use metric units when discussing things out of character and being precise for the purpose of the game mechanics and what the characters can achieve:

"How tall is the castle wall?"
"It's about 4 metres high."
but switch to using somewhat imprecise* old fashioned units when speaking in character:
"Yon castle lies 12 miles to the nor'east."
Which leads to some interesting conversations sometimes:
"The pit is about 15 metres deep."
"I have 50 feet of rope. Is that enough?"
* By "imprecise" I mean that neither I nor my players have a really good intuitive idea of how far 12 miles is, so using these units is a rough and inaccurate way of communicating a distance in our conversations. I do not mean "imprecise" in the scientific/mathematical sense of the word.

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