SRD:Movement, Position, and Distance

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Movement, Position, and Distance

Miniatures are on the 30mm scale—a miniature figure of a six-foot-tall human is approximately 30mm tall. A square on the battle grid is 1 inch across, representing a 5-foot-by-5-foot area.

Tactical Movement

How Far Can Your Character Move?

Your speed is determined by your race and your armor (see Table: Tactical Speed). Your speed while unarmored is your base land speed.


A character encumbered by carrying a large amount of gear, treasure, or fallen comrades may move slower than normal.

Hampered Movement

Difficult terrain, obstacles, or poor visibility can hamper movement.

Movement in Combat

Generally, you can move your speed in a round and still do something (take a move action and a standard action).

If you do nothing but move (that is, if you use both of your actions in a round to move your speed), you can move double your speed.

If you spend the entire round running, you can move quadruple your speed. If you do something that requires a full round you can only take a 5-foot step.

Bonuses to Speed

A barbarian has a +10 foot bonus to his speed (unless he’s wearing heavy armor). Experienced monks also have higher speed (unless they’re wearing armor of any sort). In addition, many spells and magic items can affect a character’s speed. Always apply any modifiers to a character’s speed before adjusting the character’s speed based on armor or encumbrance, and remember that multiple bonuses of the same type to a character’s speed don’t stack.

Table: Tactical Speed

Race No Armor or Light Armor Medium or Heavy Armor
Human, elf, half-elf, half-orc 30 ft.(6 squares) 20 ft.(4 squares)
Dwarf 20 ft.(4 squares) 20 ft.(4 squares)
Halfling, gnome 20 ft.(4 squares) 15 ft.(3 squares)

Measuring Distance


When measuring distance, the first diagonal counts as 1 square, the second counts as 2 squares, the third counts as 1, the fourth as 2, and so on.

You can’t move diagonally past a corner (even by taking a 5-foot step). You can move diagonally past a creature, even an opponent.

You can also move diagonally past other impassable obstacles, such as pits.

Closest Creature

When it’s important to determine the closest square or creature to a location, if two squares or creatures are equally close, randomly determine which one counts as closest by rolling a die.

Moving through a Square


You can move through a square occupied by a friendly character, unless you are charging. When you move through a square occupied by a friendly character, that character doesn’t provide you with cover.


You can’t move through a square occupied by an opponent, unless the opponent is helpless. You can move through a square occupied by a helpless opponent without penalty. (Some creatures, particularly very large ones, may present an obstacle even when helpless. In such cases, each square you move through counts as 2 squares.)

Ending Your Movement

You can’t end your movement in the same square as another creature unless it is helpless.


During your movement you can attempt to move through a square occupied by an opponent.


A trained character can attempt to tumble through a square occupied by an opponent (see the Tumble skill).

Very Small Creature

A Fine, Diminutive, or Tiny creature can move into or through an occupied square. The creature provokes attacks of opportunity when doing so.

Square Occupied by Creature Three Sizes Larger or Smaller

Any creature can move through a square occupied by a creature three size categories larger than it is.

A big creature can move through a square occupied by a creature three size categories smaller than it is.

Designated Exceptions

Some creatures break the above rules. A creature that completely fills the squares it occupies cannot be moved past, even with the Tumble skill or similar special abilities.

Terrain and Obstacles

Difficult Terrain

Difficult terrain hampers movement. Each square of difficult terrain counts as 2 squares of movement. (Each diagonal move into a difficult terrain square counts as 3 squares.) You can’t run or charge across difficult terrain.

If you occupy squares with different kinds of terrain, you can move only as fast as the most difficult terrain you occupy will allow.

Flying and incorporeal creatures are not hampered by difficult terrain.


Like difficult terrain, obstacles can hamper movement. If an obstacle hampers movement but doesn’t completely block it each obstructed square or obstacle between squares counts as 2 squares of movement. You must pay this cost to cross the barrier, in addition to the cost to move into the square on the other side. If you don’t have sufficient movement to cross the barrier and move into the square on the other side, you can’t cross the barrier. Some obstacles may also require a skill check to cross.

On the other hand, some obstacles block movement entirely. A character can’t move through a blocking obstacle.

Flying and incorporeal creatures can avoid most obstacles


In some cases, you may have to squeeze into or through an area that isn’t as wide as the space you take up. You can squeeze through or into a space that is at least half as wide as your normal space. Each move into or through a narrow space counts as if it were 2 squares, and while squeezed in a narrow space you take a –4 penalty on attack rolls and a –4 penalty to AC.

When a Large creature (which normally takes up four squares) squeezes into a space that’s one square wide, the creature’s miniature figure occupies two squares, centered on the line between the two squares. For a bigger creature, center the creature likewise in the area it squeezes into.

A creature can squeeze past an opponent while moving but it can’t end its movement in an occupied square.

To squeeze through or into a space less than half your space’s width, you must use the Escape Artist skill. You can’t attack while using Escape Artist to squeeze through or into a narrow space, you take a –4 penalty to AC, and you lose any Dexterity bonus to AC.

Special Movement Rules

These rules cover special movement situations.

Accidentally Ending Movement in an Illegal Space

Sometimes a character ends its movement while moving through a space where it’s not allowed to stop. When that happens, put your miniature in the last legal position you occupied, or the closest legal position, if there’s a legal position that’s closer.

Double Movement Cost

When your movement is hampered in some way, your movement usually costs double. For example, each square of movement through difficult terrain counts as 2 squares, and each diagonal move through such terrain counts as 3 squares (just as two diagonal moves normally do).

If movement cost is doubled twice, then each square counts as 4 squares (or as 6 squares if moving diagonally). If movement cost is doubled three times, then each square counts as 8 squares (12 if diagonal) and so on. This is an exception to the general rule that two doublings are equivalent to a tripling.

Minimum Movement

Despite penalties to movement, you can take a full-round action to move 5 feet (1 square) in any direction, even diagonally. (This rule doesn’t allow you to move through impassable terrain or to move when all movement is prohibited.) Such movement provokes attacks of opportunity as normal (despite the distance covered, this move isn’t a 5-foot step).

Movement Modes

Creatures may have modes of movement other than walking and running. These are natural, not magical, unless specifically noted.


A creature with a burrow speed can tunnel through dirt, but not through rock unless the descriptive text says otherwise. Creatures cannot charge or run while burrowing. Most burrowing creatures do not leave behind tunnels other creatures can use (either because the material they tunnel through fills in behind them or because they do not actually dislocate any material when burrowing); see the individual creature descriptions for details.


A creature with a climb speed has a +8 racial bonus on all Climb checks. The creature must make a Climb check to climb any wall or slope with a DC of more than 0, but it always can choose to take 10 even if rushed or threatened while climbing. The creature climbs at the given speed while climbing. If it chooses an accelerated climb it moves at double the given climb speed (or its base land speed, whichever is lower) and makes a single Climb check at a –5 penalty. Creatures cannot run while climbing. A creature retains its Dexterity bonus to Armor Class (if any) while climbing, and opponents get no special bonus on their attacks against a climbing creature.

see also SRD:Fly

A creature with a fly speed can move through the air at the indicated speed if carrying no more than a light load. (Note that medium armor does not necessarily constitute a medium load.) All fly speeds include a parenthetical note indicating maneuverability, as follows:

  • Perfect: The creature can perform almost any aerial maneuver it wishes. It moves through the air as well as a human moves over smooth ground.
  • Good: The creature is very agile in the air (like a housefly or a hummingbird), but cannot change direction as readily as those with perfect maneuverability.
  • Average: The creature can fly as adroitly as a small bird.
  • Poor: The creature flies as well as a very large bird.
  • Clumsy: The creature can barely maneuver at all.

A creature that flies can make dive attacks. A dive attack works just like a charge, but the diving creature must move a minimum of 30 feet and descend at least 10 feet. It can make only claw or talon attacks, but these deal double damage. A creature can use the run action while flying, provided it flies in a straight line.


A creature with a swim speed can move through water at its swim speed without making Swim checks. It has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. The creature can always can choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. The creature can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.

Big and Little Creatures in Combat

Creatures smaller than Small or larger than Medium have special rules relating to position.

Tiny, Diminutive, and Fine Creatures

Very small creatures take up less than 1 square of space. This means that more than one such creature can fit into a single square. A Tiny creature typically occupies a space only 2-1/2 feet across, so four can fit into a single square. Twenty-five Diminutive creatures or 100 Fine creatures can fit into a single square. Creatures that take up less than 1 square of space typically have a natural reach of 0 feet, meaning they can’t reach into adjacent squares. They must enter an opponent’s square to attack in melee. This provokes an attack of opportunity from the opponent. You can attack into your own square if you need to, so you can attack such creatures normally. Since they have no natural reach, they do not threaten the squares around them. You can move past them without provoking attacks of opportunity. They also can’t flank an enemy.

Large, Huge, Gargantuan, and Colossal Creatures

Very large creatures take up more than 1 square.

Creatures that take up more than 1 square typically have a natural reach of 10 feet or more, meaning that they can reach targets even if they aren’t in adjacent squares.

Unlike when someone uses a reach weapon, a creature with greater than normal natural reach (more than 5 feet) still threatens squares adjacent to it. A creature with greater than normal natural reach usually gets an attack of opportunity against you if you approach it, because you must enter and move within the range of its reach before you can attack it. (This attack of opportunity is not provoked if you take a 5-foot step.)

Large or larger creatures using reach weapons can strike up to double their natural reach but can’t strike at their natural reach or less.

Table: Creature Size and Scale
Attack and
AC Modifier
Special Attacks
Height or
Weight3 Space4 Natural Reach4 Carrying Capacity Mulitplier
Tall Long Biped Quadruped
Fine +8 −16 +16 6 in. or less 1/8 lb. or less 1/2 ft. 0 ft. 0 ft. ×1/8 ×1/4
Diminutive +4 −12 +12 6 in.–1 ft. 1/8 lb.–1 lb. 1 ft. 0 ft. 0 ft. ×1/4 ×1/2
Tiny +2 −8 +8 1 ft.–2 ft. 1 lb.–8 lb. 2-1/2 ft. 0 ft. 0 ft. ×1/2 ×3/4
Small +1 −4 +4 2 ft.–4 ft. 8 lb.–60 lb. 5 ft. 5 ft. 5 ft. ×3/4 ×1
Medium +0 +0 +0 4 ft.–8 ft. 60 lb.–500 lb. 5 ft. 5 ft. 5 ft. ×1 ×1-1/2
Large −1 +4 −4 8 ft.–16 ft. 500 lb.–2 tons 10 ft. 10 ft. 5 ft. ×2 ×3
Huge −2 +8 −8 16 ft.–32 ft. 2 tons–16 tons 15 ft. 15 ft. 10 ft. ×4 ×6
Gargantuan −4 +12 −12 32 ft.–64 ft. 16 tons–125 tons 20 ft. 20 ft. 15 ft. ×8 ×12
Colossal and Colossal+ −8 +16 −16 64 ft. or more 125 tons or more 30 ft. 30 ft. 20 ft. ×16 ×24
  1. This modifier applies to the bull rush, grapple, overrun, and trip special attacks.
  2. Biped's height, quadruped's body length (nose to base of tail)
  3. Assumes that the creature is roughly as dense as a regular animal. A creature made of stone will weigh considerably more. A gaseous creature will weigh much less.
  4. These values are typical for creatures of the indicated size. Some exceptions exist.

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