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D&D 5E How broken is tunneling speed?

Stalker0

Legend
It’s true that the OA would be from the original square, hence total cover would not matter. Same idea as if someone moved away from you into fog, the fog doesn’t affect the OA if they weren’t in it when they started movement.

however thst belies the point as someone noted above. The initial 5 ft burrow down doesn’t generate the OA to begin with, as you haven’t left reach. It’s only on the second piece of 5 foot movement (going further underground or away from the person) that would generate the OA, and at that point you would have total cover.
 

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Voadam

Legend
Assuming we are talking about grid combat and not TotM, the attack must occur while the target is still in the initial square. That's why the Sentinel feat works. Sentinel doesn't "pull back" the target, it drops it's speed to 0 and prevents it from leaving it's square.

Opportunity attacks only make sense if you can attack before the opponent is completely out of reach. It doesn't make any difference if the movement is horizontal or straight down with burrowing.
Right, the last square they are still in reach. Not necessarily the first one.

So if they start on the left in reach, run around you to your right and leave reach on your right, you attack them on the square to your right interrupting them right before they leave that square and not the initial one on your left.

When someone is next to you and moves down one square they are still in the 3d cube of reach and so do not provoke, when they are underground five feet and go down five more feet that would be when they leave your reach, not the initial square cube on the surface.
 

Nefermandias

Adventurer
Right, the last square they are still in reach. Not necessarily the first one.

So if they start on the left in reach, run around you to your right and leave reach on your right, you attack them on the square to your right interrupting them right before they leave that square and not the initial one on your left.

When someone is next to you and moves down one square they are still in the 3d cube of reach and so do not provoke, when they are underground five feet and go down five more feet that would be when they leave your reach, not the initial square cube on the surface.
Yes, you are right about the attack occuring on the last square adjacent to you. So I don't see how burrowing would prevent the opportunity attack?
 

Voadam

Legend
Yes, you are right about the attack occuring on the last square adjacent to you. So I don't see how burrowing would prevent the opportunity attack?
Because you can't attack the adjacent square diagonally down from you in the grid cube you threaten because your attack is blocked by the ground.

Unless you are a ghost or something like that.

Normally the grid is only concerned with 2d movement, but we are introducing 3d movement with burrowing and incorporeal flying ghosts.

Otherwise burrowing straight down from adjacent to you does not leave the infinitely vertical square adjacent to you and does not provoke.
 

Nefermandias

Adventurer
Because you can't attack the adjacent square diagonally down from you in the grid cube you threaten because your attack is blocked by the ground.

Unless you are a ghost or something like that.

Normally the grid is only concerned with 2d movement, but we are introducing 3d movement with burrowing and incorporeal flying ghosts.
Do the ground really block the attack though? I'd be under the impression that it only provides cover? Same as attacking someone around the corner of a stone wall.

EDIT: It shouldn't be a big deal, really. 3d movement has always been present in my games since forever...
 

MarkB

Legend
Do the ground really block the attack though? I'd be under the impression that it only provides cover? Same as attacking someone around the corner of a stone wall.

EDIT: It shouldn't be a big deal, really. 3d movement has always been present in my games since forever...
If the burrower is not leaving a tunnel, they become completely surrounded by earth the moment they enter that square diagonally down from you.

So when they try to leave that square and would provoke an opportunity attack from you, you can no longer see them. And you can only make opportunity attacks against creatures you can see.
 

Nefermandias

Adventurer
If the burrower is not leaving a tunnel, they become completely surrounded by earth the moment they enter that square diagonally down from you.

So when they try to leave that square and would provoke an opportunity attack from you, you can no longer see them. And you can only make opportunity attacks against creatures you can see.
That makes sense.
 

Rabulias

Hero
Burrowing without a tunnel is effectively the same as incorporeal in effect for this discussion, like a ghost who drops down 5 feet into the ground in front of you.

By a twisting of the written rules (but maybe not RAI), they are both technically leaving your reach in that you cannot reach them (blocked by the ground). Converting this to 2D, imagine an orc (O) standing at the end of a narrow stone wall, fighting a goblin (G) diagonally adjacent to the orc like so:

O____wall
....G

If the orc steps to the right, so the wall is between it and the goblin, is an Opportunity Attack provoked?

EDIT: Added periods in front of the goblin to show spacing.
 

Nefermandias

Adventurer
Burrowing without a tunnel is effectively the same as incorporeal in effect for this discussion, like a ghost who drops down 5 feet into the ground in front of you.

By a twisting of the written rules (but maybe not RAI), they are both technically leaving your reach in that you cannot reach them (blocked by the ground). Converting this to 2D, imagine an orc (O) standing at the end of a narrow stone wall, fighting a goblin (G) diagonally adjacent to the orc like so:

O____wall
G

If the orc steps to the right, so the wall is between it and the goblin, is an Opportunity Attack provoked?
Orc stills technically adjacent, so no opportunity attack is provoked.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Over the years there's been plenty of discussion about the effect of fly speed on games. Some DMs are fine with 1st level PCs having it right out of the gate (aarokocra, tiefling variant, etc) while others prefer it be limited in order to shut down encounter-circumventing tactics. In 4e, flight was very limited because the designers believed that easy access to flight negated to many common encounter tropes.

I'm building homebrew classes and was looking at tunnel speed (Edit: i meant burrow speed). It seems super duper extra OP, especially when combo'ed with something like cunning action disengage. Has anyone experienced PCs with tunnel speed at their table? Was it broken? What do you feel would be a good level to start allowing PCs access to tunnel speed?
View attachment 143771

EDIT: Burrowing speed. I mean burrowing without making a tunnel.
I am not sure how broken it would be but I did want to mention I think it's very cool and worth figuring out how to make it work .I love the idea of a D&D playable race that can burrow.

At this point, I'm leaning at leaving out all burrow speed because I imagine disengage being abused and characters being effectively invulnerable when it's not their turn

Aw, I hope you find a way to make it work. I think this would be a very fun thing to play, and would result in countless stories to tell about your game, and is worth figuring out how to balance it.

What if you required a bonus action to activate burrowing? That would cease the use of cunning action.
 
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MarkB

Legend
Another thing to bear in mind is that burrowing without some variant of tremorsense means you're essentially deaf and blind once you're below ground. So, does this race have some kind of extra senses, or does the character get lost very easily once they're underground?
 

Stormonu

Legend
Also, if you are burrowing with no tunnel left behind, there is the likelihood air is limited and could run out. Might want to consider a burrowing creature needs to hold its breath while burrowing.
 

Aw, I hope you find a way to make it work. I think this would be a very fun thing to play, and would result in countless stories to tell about your game, and is worth figuring out how to balance it.

What if you required a bonus action to activate burrowing? That would cease the use of cunning action.
Another thing to bear in mind is that burrowing without some variant of tremorsense means you're essentially deaf and blind once you're below ground. So, does this race have some kind of extra senses, or does the character get lost very easily once they're underground?
What I'm working on is rebooting of some of the magic of incarnum classes with real-world terminology - I.E. chakra magic instead of incarnum, manifestations instead of soulmelds. I'm beginning with one of my favorite classes, the totemist, which has the ability to channel the disembodied soul energy of magical beasts and form them into pieces of armor on a character's body, granting them the features of creatures from D&D lore.

In 5e, creatures that used to fit the old magical beast type are almost uniformly all monstrosities, and a lot of the ones that were made into soulmelds for the 3.5e class are present in 5e. Purple worm and bulette were 2 that the totemist had access to in 3.5 and I wanted to port them with the new design philosophy I'm using with 5e manifestations. Both creatures have tremorsense and burrow speed, so I was looking at giving characters access to these as part of one or the other creature's manifestation. If I included both, there would certainly be a way for one character to have both tremorsense and burrow speed on the same build.
 

Stalker0

Legend
If the burrower is not leaving a tunnel, they become completely surrounded by earth the moment they enter that square diagonally down from you.
I think for a game that wanted to introduce burrowing speeds as a default could go with the interpretation that "there is a tunnel for a few seconds, that then closes in behind the person".....allowing for an OA with cover.

Its one of those things the rules don't REALLY specify, I mean I agree with MarkB's interpretation, but if a DM wanted to use the interpretation I just mentioned to make a burrow speed a little more balanced I wouldn't blink an eye.
 

MarkB

Legend
I think for a game that wanted to introduce burrowing speeds as a default could go with the interpretation that "there is a tunnel for a few seconds, that then closes in behind the person".....allowing for an OA with cover.

Its one of those things the rules don't REALLY specify, I mean I agree with MarkB's interpretation, but if a DM wanted to use the interpretation I just mentioned to make a burrow speed a little more balanced I wouldn't blink an eye.
That's a perfectly reasonable way to handle it.
 

MarkB

Legend
What I'm working on is rebooting of some of the magic of incarnum classes with real-world terminology - I.E. chakra magic instead of incarnum, manifestations instead of soulmelds. I'm beginning with one of my favorite classes, the totemist, which has the ability to channel the disembodied soul energy of magical beasts and form them into pieces of armor on a character's body, granting them the features of creatures from D&D lore.

In 5e, creatures that used to fit the old magical beast type are almost uniformly all monstrosities, and a lot of the ones that were made into soulmelds for the 3.5e class are present in 5e. Purple worm and bulette were 2 that the totemist had access to in 3.5 and I wanted to port them with the new design philosophy I'm using with 5e manifestations. Both creatures have tremorsense and burrow speed, so I was looking at giving characters access to these as part of one or the other creature's manifestation. If I included both, there would certainly be a way for one character to have both tremorsense and burrow speed on the same build.
As a class feature it's certainly a lot easier to balance than as part of a race / lineage. The closest comparison would be the druid's wild shape, and while that feature places level-based restrictions upon flying and swimming creatures, it doesn't do so for burrowing.

If a druid can turn into a giant badger at 2nd level, it's probably not too broken to allow similar capabilities to a class feature, though if you're going for a burrow speed equivalent to walking speed, plus special senses, it'd probably be better to leave until, say, 4th-5th level.
 

As a class feature it's certainly a lot easier to balance than as part of a race / lineage. The closest comparison would be the druid's wild shape, and while that feature places level-based restrictions upon flying and swimming creatures, it doesn't do so for burrowing.

If a druid can turn into a giant badger at 2nd level, it's probably not too broken to allow similar capabilities to a class feature, though if you're going for a burrow speed equivalent to walking speed, plus special senses, it'd probably be better to leave until, say, 4th-5th level.
The big issue that I'm trying to tamp down is OP combos. The druid wildshape is fairly combo-proof in 5e because it shuts off every other racial or class power when it's active, so you don't have greatsword paladin badgers with cunning action popping in and out of the ground with smites (or whatever). If someone has full class abilities, burrowing, and can cunning action every round, that's super strong.

Right now, I'm really leaning towards leaving burrow speed totally out. I've already looked at the purple worm manifestation - Wormtail Belt - and dropped tunneling in favor of a quake attack based on the wurm from the Ravnica book. The bulette manifestation - Landshark Boots - is going to be completely based around landing and knocking targets prone. Tremorsense still seems alright though.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Landshark boots (soulmeld):
You gain a burrowing speed in loose earth, mud and sand equal to your walking speed until the end of your turn as an action. While in underground, you have tremorsense in a range of 30 ft, you are prone, you have disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws, you can't take reactions, and the only action you can take is a bonus action to use the feature from this soulmeld to emerge or burrow deeper.
 

Landshark boots (soulmeld):
You gain a burrowing speed in loose earth, mud and sand equal to your walking speed until the end of your turn as an action. While in underground, you have tremorsense in a range of 30 ft, you are prone, you have disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws, you can't take reactions, and the only action you can take is a bonus action to use the feature from this soulmeld to emerge or burrow deeper.
I think that making it take an action is a decent idea but most of the stuff like prone, disadvantage on saves, etc, seems extraneous since you have total cover anyway. I'd word it something like: "Burrowing: As an action, you can move through the sand, earth, and snow with a burrow speed equal to your walking speed. While burrowing, you have tremorsense with a range of 30 feet."

This does let you combo a bonus action disengage and be underground when it's your enemy's turn, but you have to blow your whole action every round to keep it up. This gives you invulnerability in a lot of situations but you essentially have to give up all of your offense to achieve it.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I think that making it take an action is a decent idea but most of the stuff like prone, disadvantage on saves, etc, seems extraneous since you have total cover anyway. I'd word it something like: "Burrowing: As an action, you can move through the sand, earth, and snow with a burrow speed equal to your walking speed. While burrowing, you have tremorsense with a range of 30 feet."

This does let you combo a bonus action disengage and be underground when it's your enemy's turn, but you have to blow your whole action every round to keep it up. This gives you invulnerability in a lot of situations but you essentially have to give up all of your offense to achieve it.
Yup sorry, I copy pasted the Withdraw feature of the tortle. Its indeed extraneous.
 

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