From The Authentic D&D Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

The D&D campaign uses a wide variety of unfamiliar, archaic units of measure with which most players are unfamiliar. Units that are used in Alexis' World are defined and compared below, for the benefit of players in that world. These correspond to common measurements in the 17th century, the approximate time of Alexis' campaign as it relates to Earth's history. Therefore, these measurements are "imperial" in nature and not metric. Metric equivalents are not given, since they would not exist in the minds of characters at the time; additionally, there is something to be said for requiring the player's minds to think in measuring objects in the same way that people did once upon a time. Units are divided according to what is measured.

Mapmaking & Distances

Type Diameter Area Population if density
is 60 persons per acre
miles yards feet sq.miles blocks acres sq.ft
20-mile hex 20 35,200 105,600 346.41 58,963 221,702 9,657,361,047 13,302,144
6-mile hex 6.667 11,733 35,200 38.494 6,552 24,636 1,073,040,116 1,478,170
2-mile hex 2.222 3,911 11,733 4.276 728 2,737 119,219,905 164,198
Land hex 0.741 1,304 3,911 0.476 81 305 13,246,656 18,278
Village hex 0.247 435 1,304 0.0528 9 33.8 1,472,603 2,028
Block 0.0823 145 435 0.00587 1 3.76 163,874 225
Sub-block 0.0274 48.3 145 0.00065 0.11 0.416 18,208 25
Lot 0.00914 16.1 48 0.0000723 0.0123 0.0463 1,995 2.8
Plot 0.00305 5.4 16 0.00000806 0.0014 0.0052 222 0.31
Combat hex 0.00102 1.8 5 9.01E-07 0.0002 0.0006 21.7 0.03

The huge expanse of the world is mapped in 20 mile hexes, which provides a convenient size for measuring steady travel by land or sea, transport distances and population density. Since a hexagon can be easily broken into groups of seven hexagons (with six one-third pieces around the edge), we can build a mapmaking process that progressively expands the game world, as shown in the diagram.

Divided 20-mile hex.jpg

Since each hex is subdivided by 3 hexes in diameter, and 9 hexes by area, the chart on the left indicates a set of "map sizes" that enables simple transference from one size to the next. The dimensions of each size of hex are given as a short-hand to describe each size of map. Although a "6-mile hex map" actually has hexes that are 6.667 miles across, the misnomer is easy to use than would be something more accurate.

Six-mile hex maps are used to provide regional-sized maps, when depicting the provinces inside a large country, or when the country itself is comparatively small (less than 4,000 square miles).

Two-mile hex maps are used to provide local details surrounding player lands and adventures. One 2-mile hex contains about 30 hides.


Equals 5,280 feet and 1,760 yards in length; in area, it is 640 acres, the equivalent of about seven hides. Land is not officially measured in miles in the game world, but miles are always used to express road distances. A mile also describes a distance of 8 furlongs and 80 chains.

A Nautical mile is used for maritime navigation and never on land. The nautical mile equals 6,076 feet. A Knot measures a speed of 1 nautical mile per hour; this number is derived by using a knotted rope, with knots separated by 47 feet, 3 inches, and a 30-second sand glass, in order to calculate a boat or ship's speed. Knots are also used to calculate wind speed at sea.


This plan of a manor is wholly conventional. It is intended to show: (1) the various features that might be found in English manors (or vills) of the medieval period; (2) the more important changes in the agricultural system which occurred in England from the fourteenth century onward. Many of these manorial features, of course, appeared in similar domains on the continent


Describes land that is one chain in width and one furlong in length. This width equals the space required by eight furrows; the length equals the point when a pair of oxen need resting. It is therefore the best use of the oxen's strength, as the animals can be driven for a furlong, then turned at the maximum point (a difficult procedure) and brought in line at the same time they are effectively rested before driving the next furrow. Therefore, all plowed land was measured in strips of this dimension, as opposed to more squarish shapes that would require unnecessary turning of the owner's oxen. The acre also represents the total are that can be effectively plowed by one team of two oxen in the space of one day.


Also an oxgang or oxgait, an area of 15 acres, the practical amount of land that a single ox can plough in one season, in time to plant crops. Cottagers and poor villeins will have one bovate to work on, which typically they don't own and cannot dispose of freely.


Also a ploughgate, an area of 120 acres, or four virgates. The carucate's acreage describes the fertile land comprised by the allotment; an actual carucate may consist of many more acres (the number varies depending on the region) of land that is impractical to plough. This allotment can be usefully equated to certain definitions of a hide.


A measure of value and tax assessment for freeholders who own land. Formerly, this tax included rendering food as tribute to members of nobility, but in the 17th century tax is usually paid in coin. In times of need, a hide may yet be required to supply a combatant to the nation's fyrd, or manpower for the army. Land taxes are typically 10-15% of the value of the land to be paid per year. A hide will consist of between 60 and 120 acres (two to four virgates), depending on the fertility of the soil, as the true measure is the production of approximately 1,620 bushels of grain yearly.


An association of 80 to 100 hides, commonly with a loose geographical grouping, consisting of between 40 and 100 square miles (including untilled land). Theoretically able to supply or support 100 men under arms (a "company"). Multiple companies are grouped together to form political "lathes," which are in turn subdivisions of "counties, each of unfixed sizes." Full-sized manor estates consist of land equal to a hundred (though many older manors are small through the sale of land to pay rents).

Knight's Fee

Land consisting of 5 hides, commonly made up of marginal ploughland with little waste and equally 600 to 640 acres, or one square mile. This area will be contiguous, but often snaking through a strategic valley or upon one side of a river upon a county or kingdom's border. In addition to the knight dwelling upon the land, an additional retinue of 25 equipped soldiers are supposed to keep their homes on the Fee.


Also a yardland or yard of land, an area of 30 acres, or 2 bovates. This is the practical amount of land that a pair of oxen can plough in one season, in time to plant crops. The term "yardland" is etymologically unrelated to the yard of land around a dwelling. Villeins will keep tilled land equal to a virgate, which they don't own and of which they cannot freely dispose.