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D&D 3E
Sharing 5' Squares 
16th-Nov-2004 05:48 pm
Back when I first started running 3E with my group, I made a serious mistake. The issue of two characters sharing a single 5-foot square came up, and I decided to allow it. It was abused more times that I can think about, including three characters sharing a square during combat.

Now that I'm running a brand-new campaign, I want to do things differently. But if I disallow 5' square sharing totally, the players will revolt.

Right now, I've house ruled that that for every additional person in a square, there's a cumulative -5 penalty to everything: skill checks, attack rolls, saving throws, AC, etc as well as 25% chance of spell failure.

The players think my modifiers are extreme and unfair. I'm willing to bend a little bit, but having minor penalties seems to invite abuse.

Any thoughts?
16th-Nov-2004 10:51 pm (UTC)
i say crack the spine of the dmg and show them the page where it says what they've been doing is illegal, and make with the mea culpa. "i made a rules error. the error i made was 'fair' because it was applied equally to all situations up till now, and going back to how the rules actually read will be 'fair' because i'll be applying the actual rule evenly from now on." i do this all the time. if i make a mistake i can't undo it, there are no "replays" because this isn't kick-ball. but if you screw up that's no reason not to fix it in the future. my players understand. some of the errors i've made were in their favor, some against, but it is a game and there are rules and they have been tested and in general it works better if you follow them. so admit to the mistake, don't allow it anymore and if they feel a need to fight that way let them all play halflings with the swarmfighting feat.
16th-Nov-2004 11:11 pm (UTC)
Tell them it's ludicrous to cram up like that and they're lucky to get it with those penalties.

Actually Gibberlings in Monsters of Faerun I believe, have an ability that allows them to do just that. They bunch up together in a couple squares and go nuts.
16th-Nov-2004 11:13 pm (UTC)
Fix it, and fix it right. 3 people in a 5 foot square fighting, and not against one another? Forget it.

If you really can't get them to play the game right, then just remember, any rules misreading the players can abuse, the bad guys can abuse. If three PCs in a 5 foot square have na advantage, so will 3 NPCs, but the three NPCs will have just a bit more.
16th-Nov-2004 11:56 pm (UTC)
wow. Oops

First of all, your the dm, this is your house rule. Explain that what is happening isn't working, and you have to change it.

I would then mark off a 5 foot square with masking tape, give them all toy weapons of the size they use and put them in it. I think they'll understand, and if they argue, just beat them up in their 5 foot square. joking.
17th-Nov-2004 03:32 am (UTC)
Agreed, put your foot down. If they complain, mark off the square.

16th-Nov-2004 11:56 pm (UTC)
The correct, formal rule is as follows:

"If you enter a larger creature's space, and you're not small enough to be an exception, you're grappling." Adjudicate from there -- i.e., wizards can cast no-somatic component attacks, but since everyone's so close together NO ONE can dodge, rogues get free sneak attacks, etc., etc.

That said, if you want to do away with the "5'square" rule, go right ahead. And then have an equal number of class-leveled orcs do the same thing, and see if they still want to keep the rule.

IMC, I got ride of the grid entirely, and use a "Battle Tactics" skill to hande things like fighting in close formation--i.e., in the same square.
17th-Nov-2004 12:17 am (UTC)
I say tell the players to suck it up, only one character in a 5' square.

But I believe there is a feat in Complete Warrior... Swarm Fighting I think that allows you to share a square with someone else with the same feat. Perhaps suggest that they all take this feat, and then use whatever rules follow from it.
17th-Nov-2004 12:40 am (UTC)
It's a new campaign, explain that the previous ruling was an error, and for the new campaign you are going by the rules. They'll get used to it.
17th-Nov-2004 03:03 am (UTC)
Every campaign is an isolated event wherein the same rules need not apply, especially house rulings.

Being as how you are running the game and it says in the official rules that characters cannot enter the same 5' square as another (except under certain circumstances), there's no reason not to just present it to your players as is.

If they "revolt," they don't really want to play the game: what the DM says is law, after all.
17th-Nov-2004 06:05 am (UTC)
You're letting your players step all over you.

19th-Nov-2004 12:35 am (UTC)
Make one of them hit another member in the area when they're swinging their weapon or run into the caster when he/she is casting a spell. REVEL in when they roll a 1. Surround/corner them so they have restricted movement in this space. Anything that makes them think twice before grouping in one spot like that. If they want the house rule of sharing a space, they need the negatives that would come with being so close along with the positives.
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