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I'm interested in the possible ramifications of switching to a hex grid for combat within DnD5e. It seems to provide a better reflection of how being adjacent/surrounded etc works (there's always a "side" of a cell that you share with adjacent cells) and also how movement works (diagonals, again, being an awkward consequence of squares.)

I understand that DnD, across all editions, is designed with square grids in mind. For this reason there will be rules that require some massaging to make them work, and there might even be a few that need to be completely re-worked. Likely there are play elements that would come up differently too.

I'm hoping that there are people out there who have tried this, and/or combat-experienced rules-lawyers who would be familiar with the difficulties involved here, who's experience/expertise I might draw on to inform my own attempts. I don't want to open a debate or discussion so much as get an overview of what difficulties might arise and thereby how compatible a hex grid could be with 5th Edition.

Obviously analysis from experience would be ideal, though if there are specific rules that would obviously require significant revision I'd be interested to know about them even if people haven't tried it.

Would the above, with slight re-wording so it's not a description of a question, but rather just a question be considered off topic as it's not hard facts enough, or for some other reason? It seems kinda borderline to me.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure I should be saying this here, but DnD, across all editions, was not designed with square grids in mind. The 5e section on using tactical maps and miniatures on the DMG handles both square and hex maps equally. I remember this in 3.5e as well, if my memory serves. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Aug 13 '18 at 17:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HellSaint h-uh. I guess that makes sense; I’ve just seen and heard about square grids when in the context of DnD almost exclusively, which must be what gave me that impression. \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Aug 13 '18 at 20:43
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"What problem might arise?" is never as good a question as "I'm having this problem, how can I solve it?"

The question you describe above is one of a class I'll call "pre-problem solving." They anticipate that $SOMETHING may go wrong if $THING is changed, and ask questions about that expectation.

Often they're broad, or vague, and when comments try to drill down to specifics they start to unravel. Not always, but often. Very often.

So are they on topic? To this I answer a resounding "mu". They facially are, but they're often troublesome and so we tend to avoid them....

Personally, my response to this is "first try the thing you're proposing. If it causes actual problems, ask about those problems."

P.S. the DMG has guidance for hex-based combat, which were developed with the feedback of a year's iterative playtesting. You should look there, too.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ooh, it's good to know that the DMG has guidance! I'll check that out too! \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Aug 13 '18 at 1:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ It lives around p.247 and onward. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 13 '18 at 1:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ H-uh. That has sparked a whole new question for me, though it basically answers the one I was thinking of asking above. \$\endgroup\$ – Isaac Reefman Aug 13 '18 at 1:51

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