Movement and Position - How to Play DnD 5e


Movement in combat is crucial. While there are times when it makes sense to hold your ground, it is often important to move about to stay out of harms way, to keep foes in range of your attacks, and to support your allies.

At the beginning of your turn you have a pool of movement equal to your highest speed in any movement type. This represents the maximum distance you can move on your turn without doing something to get more movement (such as taking the Dash action). You can break up your movement, performing actions at any point before, during, or after your movement.

You are not required to move on your turn. If you are happy right where you are, or if you’re stuck in mud or something, you’re free to stand right where you are.

Table of Contents

Moving Between Attacks

If you take an action that includes more than one weapon attack, you can break up your movement even further by moving between those attacks. For example, a fighter who can make two attacks with the Extra Attack feature and who has a speed of 25 feet could move 10 feet, make an attack, move 15 feet, and then attack again.

Using Different Speeds

If you have more than one speed, such as your walking speed and a f1yingspeed, you can switch back and forth between your speeds during your move. Whenever you switch, subtract the distance you’ve already moved fram the new speed. The result determines how much farther you can move. If the result is O ar less. you can’t use the new speed during the current move. For example, if you have a speed of 30 and a flying speed of 60 beca use a wizard cast the fly spell on you, you could fly 20 feet, then walk 10 feet, and then leap into the air to fly 30 feet more.

Jumping is considered part of your movement using your land speed, and if you lack a climb speed or a swim speed, distances moved while climbing or swimming count against your land speed. For more, see Movement, earlier in this guide.

Difficult Terrain

Difficult terrain is any space through which you’re unable to easily move at your normal speed. Rubble, borken furniture, or uneven ground are all examples of difficult terrain. The space of another creature, even an ally, is also difficult terrain. In all cases, difficult terrain costs two feet of movement for each one foot moved, meaning that it costs double to move through difficult terrain.

If multiple effects cause difficult terrain in the same space, the effects do not stack. For example, if you move through an area of rubble where an ally is standing, it still only costs 2 ft. of movement for each 1 ft. moved.

Being Prone

“Prone” typically means lying down, but in game terms it means nearly any position other than standing. Lying flat, rolling around, and crawling all count as prone. The specific effects of being prone are described in Conditions, later in this guide.

You can drop prone on turn without spending any movement or any action. To stand from prone, you must expend half of your movement to do so. If your speed is 0 for some reason, such as because you are being grappled, you are unable to stand. If you can’t spend half of your movement for some reason, you are unable to stand.


If you are prone, you can move about by crawling. Crawling costs one additional foot of movement for each foot moved, and this additional cost stacks with other increases to the cost of movement. For example: If you are crawling in difficult terrain, crawling costs 3 feet of movement for each 1 foot moved.

Moving Around Other Creatures

You can move freely through a nonhostile creature’s space, though the space is still considered difficult terrain. “Nonhostile” means any creature that you don’t consider an enemy and that doesn’t consider you an enemy.

Normally you are unable to move through a hostile creature’s space. However, if the creature is two sizes larger than you, or if the creature is two sizes smaller than you. For example: a halfling (small) could move through the space of an angry ogre by running between its feet. Similarly, that same ogre could move through the halflings space by stepping over it.

In any case, you may not willingly end your movement in another creature’s space. The official rules aren’t clear what happens if you run out of movement while you’re in another creature’s space, so I recommend moving back to the space you were in before entering the creature’s space.

In addition to potentially blocking the space which they are in, hostile creatures threaten an area around them called their “reach”, and if you exit a creature’s Reach that creature can make an Opportunity Attack against you as a Reaction. For more on Reach, see “Space and Reach”; for more on Oppportunity Attacks, see Melee Attacks; for more on Reactions, see Actions in Combat, all later in this guide. I promise they’re not as complicated as I’m making them sound.

Flying Movement

As mentioned previously, flight is great. However, if a flying creatures’ fly speed is reduced to 0, if it is knocked prone, or if it is otherwise unable to move (unconscious, paralyzed, etc.) it falls unless it has the Hover ability or it has the ability to fly magically, such as by using the Fly spell.

<<< Previous Page Next Page >>>