D&D 5E Can We Come Up With Better (but still simple) Movement Rules?

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
What was your personal best running through a forest littered with leaves and crumbled ruins, while carrying a 25 pound pack, a longsword in a sheath across your back, a belt pouch with a pound of coins, and while wearing boots and a cloak? After a solid two days full of hiking at a moderate pace and eating camp rations and foraged grouse with berries? ;) To make it fair, I should probably add while being chased by an angry bear...
This is somethin that absolutely should not be ignored.

Others have noted how much is missing from the tactical movement rules & that makes a lot of things hard, but specifically for a set of "chase" rules the best example I've seen doesn't care either way as it is simultaneously more dramatically more and less impacted by rules via aspects
1608701407110.png

The rules for fate are deceptively simple & generally difficult to cleanly apply to d&d in a pc facing way, but chase scenes are one that fits very well since they tend to go TotM or get resolved almost instantly making ruls for a chase itself pointless. One of the modules in embers of the last war starts with a dive from a sharn tower with various things that can give benefits or delay you in a pretty good approximation example. Basically each side rolls some kind of skill check (or con save?) & either gains or loses a point/tickmark/whatever until one side has +3. Unfortunately d&d doesn't really have any rules for trying to do a 20 mile sprint & just assumes you can. I'd look at the 3-4 pages covering that rule in the fate core rulebook for inspiration.
For a GM you can pretty much use the rules as is & make up whatever reasons for your players rolling with the opponent rolling or just having a flat dc the players need to beat & they won't even notice but will remember how awesome it felt. I've done that quite a few times but will warn that tabaxi basically break the entire thing & rogues with cunning action dash+dash action basically beak it because double or triple movement speed is too much to fot within the ilusion of descriptive aspects you make up on the fly unless the players are chasing quicklings or something
 

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Rockyroad

Explorer
I personally would not mess with the movement speeds in the game. It may not be completely accurate but it's an approximation that makes some sense. As others have pointed out sprinting in a straight line is different from combat movement. On the other hand if the enemy is in retreat and you're "chasing" them down then switching to a chase mode (whatever chase rules you may want to use) would be appropriate.

Having said that, if you really want extra speed incorporated into combat, a simple way to do it may be to add 10 ft x Athletics mod to your Dash Action. In exchange you have disadvantage on your next attack or maybe others have advantage on their next attack against you, whatever you want to do with that as long as there is some cost to getting the extra speed. This would scale as you improve in Athletics which would make sense. And I would not require an athletics check. For one it would make it simpler without having to make extra rolls and second, it's just running. I fail to see the need to actually make a check for that. Additionally, this extra speed should be tied to your Dash Action and not be given as a free add on to movement because then you'd be stepping on the Rogue's toes.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I don't think flanking solves this issue either, as melee fighters pretty quickly just find themselves in lines and don't have any reason to move more than 5ft.

I personally aim to emphasize movement in my monster supplement through NPC abilities that target areas and give PCs time to react.
Flanking is missing the risk that made you plan or put in effort to get it. back when doing more than 5foot step meant AoOs a player would plan slightly more than "I run straight at it in the most direct route" so they could come in at one side while their ally comes in at the other side or something like that if they wanted to make use of flanking right away & to move one 5ft square at a time if not. in 5e they just need the move speed to do donuts around the baddie without worry. Now in 5e it's basically "do you have two or more melee characters in the group? are they attacking the same monster? well they must not have any move speed left this round if they aren't flanking yet so will be next round" It reduces the tactical elements down to major league baseball players playing T-ball
 

loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff (She/Her)
Flanking is missing the risk that made you plan or put in effort to get it. back when doing more than 5foot step meant AoOs a player would plan slightly more than "I run straight at it in the most direct route" so they could come in at one side while their ally comes in at the other side or something like that if they wanted to make use of flanking right away & to move one 5ft square at a time if not. in 5e they just need the move speed to do donuts around the baddie without worry. Now in 5e it's basically "do you have two or more melee characters in the group? are they attacking the same monster? well they must not have any move speed left this round if they aren't flanking yet so will be next round" It reduces the tactical elements down to major league baseball players playing T-ball
Yeah, and also opportunity attacks ain't that scary, since most of the monsters just have several pretty weak attacks.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Yeah, and also opportunity attacks ain't that scary, since most of the monsters just have several pretty weak attacks.
and the fact that monsters who have fewer big attacks are rendered harmless by the first level spell healing word & death saves acting as an absorb shield to soak anything up to death by massive damage for each of those heakling word's
 

Rockyroad

Explorer
Except for feats like Sentinel or other special abilities, what would getting rid of OA do to the game? Would it encourage more fluid movement rather than the trench warfare that so often seems to occur in melee combat? I would think grappling would become very popular. Thoughts?
Sorry, don't mean to derail the thread.
 
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DND_Reborn

Legend
I personally would not mess with the movement speeds in the game. It may not be completely accurate but it's an approximation that makes some sense. As others have pointed out sprinting in a straight line is different from combat movement. On the other hand if the enemy is in retreat and you're "chasing" them down then switching to a chase mode (whatever chase rules you may want to use) would be appropriate.

Having said that, if you really want extra speed incorporated into combat, a simple way to do it may be to add 10 ft x Athletics mod to your Dash Action. In exchange you have disadvantage on your next attack or maybe others have advantage on their next attack against you, whatever you want to do with that as long as there is some cost to getting the extra speed. This would scale as you improve in Athletics which would make sense. And I would not require an athletics check. For one it would make it simpler without having to make extra rolls and second, it's just running. I fail to see the need to actually make a check for that. Additionally, this extra speed should be tied to your Dash Action and not be given as a free add on to movement because then you'd be stepping on the Rogue's toes.
Interesting you should mention this as I was thinking along similar lines.

I like the idea from @NotAYakk about others getting advantage on attacking you if you increase your speed or movement. Combing that with my own thoughts and your suggestions:

Quick Move (part of Dash). Once per turn, you can further increase your movement when taking the Dash action, adding 10 x your Strength (Athletics) modifier to your speed, but until the start of your next turn attacks against you have advantage and you have disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws. You cannot quick move while wearing heavy armor or if you are heavily encumbered.

Looking at how some numbers work out I think this works well.

Ex. A 7th-level Rogue with STR 12 and Expertise in Athletics would have a +7 modifier for Strength (Athletics), adding 70 feet of movement. With a base speed of 30, and dash adding 30, quick moving would bring the total to 130.

Having expertise with max ability would gain +170 feet, for a total of 230 feet of movement, which would be faster than world-records IRL.

At high levels with magic, the right build could have movement well in excess of 750 feet, which is crazy to think about, but works for a fantasy game. :)
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Except for feats like Sentinel or other special abilities, what would getting rid of OA do to the game? Would it encourage more fluid movement rather than the trench warfare that so often seems to occur in melee combat? I would think grappling would become very popular. Thoughts?
Sorry, don't mean to derail the thread.
It would make the tactical component even more pointless than it already is. Getting rid of so many AoOs is part of why movement is already screwy in 5e
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Quick Move (part of Dash). Once per turn, you can further increase your movement when taking the Dash action, adding 10 x your Strength (Athletics) modifier to your speed, but until the start of your next turn attacks against you have advantage and you have disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws. You cannot quick move while wearing heavy armor or if you are heavily encumbered.
(a) so I would really want to make it a check. It being a check makes it flow into "chase" rules quite well.

It could even be a DC 10 check, and you gain "5' for every point your check exceeds 10".

(b) being easy to attack isn't enough. Quick moving into total cover is then a no-brainer. And it shouldn't be a no-brainer.

In 4e, you also got a penalty on attacks when you sprinted. Extending this to 5e, you'd get disadvantage on attacks, ability checks, and enemies have advantages against saves you impose.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
(a) so I would really want to make it a check. It being a check makes it flow into "chase" rules quite well.

It could even be a DC 10 check, and you gain "5' for every point your check exceeds 10".

(b) being easy to attack isn't enough. Quick moving into total cover is then a no-brainer. And it shouldn't be a no-brainer.

In 4e, you also got a penalty on attacks when you sprinted. Extending this to 5e, you'd get disadvantage on attacks, ability checks, and enemies have advantages against saves you impose.
Hmm... I'm trying to avoid extra rolling. And there aren't any checks made for movement in the current chases rules IIRC anyway until you start facing exhaustion. The "check" thing is sort of there in that you are using your Strength (Athletics) modifier to increase your speed instead of it just being a set increase.

As far as total cover, it is a no-brainer anyway since attacks would fail, either way, so seeking total cover is always a good thing. ;)

As far as getting disadvantage on your own attacks, you are already using the dash action as your action, so unless you have a feature which still allows you to attack, you don't get to. As far as those features are concerned, I wouldn't want to penalize them as they are special features, etc. and shouldn't be penalized IMO. I don't think there would be anything wrong if someone wanted to penalize them, I just don't.

I was thinking that using Quick Move might cost your reaction to gain the boost to speed (in addition to already taking the Dash action). In which case I would word it thus:

Quick Move (part of Dash). You can use your reaction to further increase your movement when taking the Dash action, adding 10 x your Strength (Athletics) modifier to your speed, but until the start of your next turn attacks against you have advantage and you have disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws. You cannot quick move while wearing heavy armor or if you are heavily encumbered.

The "once per turn" section is no longer needed since you only get one reaction per round anyway. This also increases the cost for classes like rogues, who can no longer use Uncanny Dodge if using Quick Move. 🤷‍♂️
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Thanks everyone for your input/feedback. I've reviewed the thread and decided working with the dash action is not the way to handle things.

Instead, I am addressing the Athletics skill directly. We already have rules for movement involving climbing, swimming, and jumping; so I'm focusing instead on adding them for running. Using your normal move and dash is sufficient to cover "jogging" or x2 movement.

This will move the house-rule section to being under Special Types of Movement (PHB 182). So, I am working on that now... :)
 

Argyle King

Legend
I have to agree. Movement rates have no meaning once combat begins. According to the PHB, "In combat, characters and Monsters are in constant motion, often using Movement and Position to gain the upper hand."

Excuse me?

Unless you use optional flanking rules, it's Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots because no one wants to either risk an OA or burn an action to disengage to avoid the OA.

I'm not sure I'd agree. The basic fundamental task of a combat unit is to shoot, move, and communicate.

Even with D&D's somewhat weird movement rules, mobility is important. If I can switch to ranged attacks and hit the enemy without allowing them a chance to hit me, that's a massive advantage for my side in the conflict.

I do agree that the structure of 5E removes some of the tactical usefulness of mobility and positioning, but it is not without value. Catfolk are able to do something similar to what the OP mentions, and I've (anecdotally) seen ways of abusing that.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Catfolk are able to do something similar to what the OP mentions, and I've (anecdotally) seen ways of abusing that.
Yeah, our Tabaxi monk is crazy fast and with doubling his speed for one turn can really close in and get some attacks in when others can't.

But, that brings up a big issue as I see it. WAY too many things all have the same speed of 30! I think the lack of variable speeds doesn't help any, either.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Yeah, our Tabaxi monk is crazy fast and with doubling his speed for one turn can really close in and get some attacks in when others can't.

But, that brings up a big issue as I see it. WAY too many things all have the same speed of 30! I think the lack of variable speeds doesn't help any, either.
around 30 with 5ft squares is a good average simply because of the limitations in size for things like battlemats printable maps that fit inside a normal sized book, how far a player can reach across abattlemat if not seated closest to the action, and.... drumroll the size of most tables minus space for character sheets. If you get too high a speed it becomes difficult to model at the table

Even if you switch to a digital map tool like arkenforge where the number of squares more limited by what floating point can fit (ie tens of thousands or more) you only switch to a different problem that becomes even worse as 5e's excessive ranges quickly displays once players realize they can take advantage of it. Creating huge maps for that kind of thing is orders of magnitude more work than a simple 50-100x50-100 map. Counting the squares is a gigantic timesink that quickly leads to throwing out the mapping & not bothering to count them. Finally if you just map the area where the action is expected to be you don't need to have the map built so that every possible approach is equally fortifed to prevent any player with eyes just saying "well lets walk throughhere & ignore the whole mess" or similar
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
around 30 with 5ft squares is a good average simply because of the limitations in size for things like battlemats printable maps that fit inside a normal sized book, how far a player can reach across abattlemat if not seated closest to the action, and.... drumroll the size of most tables minus space for character sheets. If you get too high a speed it becomes difficult to model at the table

Even if you switch to a digital map tool like arkenforge where the number of squares more limited by what floating point can fit (ie tens of thousands or more) you only switch to a different problem that becomes even worse as 5e's excessive ranges quickly displays once players realize they can take advantage of it. Creating huge maps for that kind of thing is orders of magnitude more work than a simple 50-100x50-100 map. Counting the squares is a gigantic timesink that quickly leads to throwing out the mapping & not bothering to count them. Finally if you just map the area where the action is expected to be you don't need to have the map built so that every possible approach is equally fortifed to prevent any player with eyes just saying "well lets walk throughhere & ignore the whole mess" or similar
I understand your point, but I would hate for such logistics to be a reason why game design suffers.

Most of our maps use 10-foot squares but the grid snaps to 5-foot so it is easy to quickly count up the movement IME. YMMV of course.

Anyway, I'm just brainstorming over things right now, so we'll see what happens.
 

Argyle King

Legend
Yeah, our Tabaxi monk is crazy fast and with doubling his speed for one turn can really close in and get some attacks in when others can't.

But, that brings up a big issue as I see it. WAY too many things all have the same speed of 30! I think the lack of variable speeds doesn't help any, either.

In a previous game, one of the players did something similar with a monk/rogue multiclass.

He would dart in, hit, disengage, and then run away. In an enclosed room it didn't work as well, but it was still an effective way to needle down an enemy with minimal danger. The group joked about trying a campaign where we all built characters around that basic concept and acted as a team of speedy cat-ninjas.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I understand your point, but I would hate for such logistics to be a reason why game design suffers.

Most of our maps use 10-foot squares but the grid snaps to 5-foot so it is easy to quickly count up the movement IME. YMMV of course.

Anyway, I'm just brainstorming over things right now, so we'll see what happens.
I think the problem in 5e is more that the system suffers because they didn't consider things like that or how people actually gm/play the game when "designing" too many parts of the system.
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
UPDATE: Here's what I am thinking for Running:

1608912269355.png


Notes: I elected against including disadvantage on ability checks mostly because running and jumping could easily happen in the same turn (i.e. the running long jump), and it wouldn't make sense if a check was require for the jump.

I was thinking about adding this, but it seems too fiddly:
OPTIONAL: You also have disadvantage on ability checks that do not include proficiency in the Athletics skill.

Another option is to use the rule for fast movement penalizing Wisdom (Perception) tests (PHB . 182):
1608913646122.png

and using something similar for Running.

The limitation on the Dash action under Chases (DMG p. 252) limits how long you can run quickly, as doing so would require the Dash action as well.

Limitations:
I could easily come up with rules for limitations on how long you can run, etc. but 5E has no such rules for limitations on special types of movement (how long you can climb or swim, for instance). We all know 5E is purposefully negligent about such things, however, so for the time being I am ignoring them as well and leaving it up to DM fiat.
 

Except for feats like Sentinel or other special abilities, what would getting rid of OA do to the game? Would it encourage more fluid movement rather than the trench warfare that so often seems to occur in melee combat? I would think grappling would become very popular. Thoughts?
Sorry, don't mean to derail the thread.
Unlikely. It would mean that nothing would much stop you moving unless you have a reason to - but the same would apply to the enemy so why bother? You can dart in and hit and then back out really, but the enemy can still follow even if they're engaged with someone else.

In certain edge cases you would get weird results - a Monk could hit someone and have enough movement to back entirely out of reach for attack.
 
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I'm a bit confused by the OP. A lot of the discussion seems to follow concerns over tactical movement - but I don't see that in the OP. It seems more concerned with differential movement and the fact that movement is so predictable.

If you want more fine-grained tactical movement then make more use of the grid - but if you want more fluid dynamic movement it's probably better to do what 13th Age does and get rid of the grid. Instead divide the battlefield up into zones. People are either engaged, nearby (in the same zone) or far away (in a different zone). Therefore movement to other zones requires a DC and an Athletics and Acrobatic check depending on the type of terrain. Moving through a barroom brawl has one kind of difficulty while trying to clamber over some boulders up a hillside to get to the archers has a different one. As 5E has different movement speeds give characters a movement bonus or penalty to the roll of +1/-1 for every 5ft of standard movement they have above or below 30.

Also allow unengaged characters to intercept (as in 13th Age) if you pass close to them (don't worry about squares - it's artificial anyway - it's always been ridiculous that you can potentially weave your way around enemy combatants who are standing still in order to get to the back line - intercepting is something that D20 games have long desperately needed - grid or no grid). If you are intercepted then you will take an attack of opportunity if you want to continue.

This both speeds up movement greatly and also makes it more interesting. (PCs don't have to worry about difficult terrain and how it affects movement and if the archer is just out of reach - they just describe what they are trying to do and the GM sets a DC).

Edit: It wouldn't be too hard to actually have some kind of hybrid system where movement within a single zone with multiple combatants is grid based and highly tactical with flanking and the like, while movement from one zone to another is more abstracted.
 
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