Fighting Shoulder to Shoulder
Yesterday I ran another practice run of one of the A-series modules, the sewer part of A1 in fact. I will post more detail about this later, but one thing that quite surprised me was how the fighting in cramped corridors worked. The map clearly has pretty much every corridor as being only 5′ wide. When informed of this my players immediately formed themselves into single file marching order, as opposed to the two-abreast marching order they usually prefer for 10′ corridors.
It wasn’t until they hit the first big combat with the orcs that I realized the module assumes the corridors are actually big enough for two to fight side by side. In fact, both major encounters with the orcs dictate that the orcs should have ranks two wide. It’s even depicted that way in one of the illustrations. Now, since the party had already made the assumption that 5′ was only wide enough for 1 and we had gone that route for some time, I stuck with it and adapted the orcs’ strategy.
Of course, now that I have the time I dug into the books. According to B/X, “When fighting in a 10′ wide corridor, it is not likely that more than two or three characters could fight side by side.” (B26). Hmm, that’s not too helpful. AD&D is of course a bit more specific:
Each ground scale inch can then be used to equal 3½ linear feet, so a 10’ wide scale corridor is 3 actual inches in width and shown as 3 separate squares. This allows depiction of the typical array of three figures abreast, and also enables easy handling of such figures when they are moved. (DMG, p. 10)
I’m pretty sure this is not at all how most people play. Those of us used to using miniatures in the modern versions of the game probably got the 5′ per inch stuck in our heads, and thus when using a battle-map and miniatures only two figures can fit side by side in a 10′ wide corridor.
Of course in my games I don’t use a gridded battle-mat, so that’s not a concern for me. Now I feel conflicted about which direction to go on this. Certainly when running A1 again I will allow two side by side in the 5′ wide corridors as it seems that’s what the module is built for. For general use though, I could see going either way. Sounds like a good excuse for another poll: