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5E Question on diagonal movement with minatures (or VTT)

tommybahama

Adventurer
Hello tabletop heroes!

I have a question that came up in today's session. Suppose blue knight wants to use the Disengage action to move diagonally 30 feet along the yellow path without provoking an Opportunity Attack from the red enemy minotaur. Our DM says that's not allowed because it moves through the enemy minotaur's space. He ruled I would have to move along the green path which leaves me 5 feet short of where I wanted to be.

According to RAW, which is right? Can you give me a page # or other reference I can refer to in the future? I looked in the DMG on dndbeyond and couldn't find anything specific to this situation.

Our DM rules that if there was a medium sized enemy where the green 10 ft marker is then you couldn't squeeze between the two enemies to follow the yellow path. That seems fair enough. But here there is no other enemy on the opposite square.

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Hriston

Adventurer
I don’t have a page reference right now, but your DM is wrong on both counts. Following the yellow path, you are neither moving through the minotaur’s space nor the space containing the 10 foot marker. You are only moving through the spaces that the path cuts across.
 

Volund

Explorer
I would frame your question slightly different. Can you move from the square marked 5 ft to the square marked 15 ft using only 5 ft of movement? The answer should be the same whether or not you take the Disengage action.
"Entering a Square. To enter a square, you must have at least 1 square of movement left, even if the square is diagonally adjacent to the square you are in. (The rule for diagonal movement sacrifices realism for the sake of smooth play.)" PHB 191
"A creature's space is the area in feet that it effectively controls in combat, not an expression of its physical dimensions." PHB 191.
"Corners. Diagonal movement can't cross the corner of a wall, large tree, or other terrain feature that fills it's space." PHB 192.
My reading of this is that you would have to move along the green path to go around something that fills the entire 10x10 space, but since a monster does not physically fill a 10x10 space (except a gelly cube!), you can move diagonally past it along the yellow path. I don't know if this qualifies as RAW, but it's how my group plays on a grid.
FWIW, your DM's ruling isn't one I'd argue about. I've played in games where the DM used the optional diagonal rules from DMG 252 and they would say you should end your move one square short of the end of the green path. Since this applied equally to monsters it really didn't have a noticeable affect on playing the game.
 




Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I'm going to be contrary to the developing consensus and say that it's a toss-up, so your GM is right in their game. Why a toss-up? Well, the argument that the minotaur doesn't fill the space is very true, but it does fully control the space, and you cannot move through a space fully controlled by an enemy without a special circumstance. So, for the purposes of 'is this space completely blocked from movement' the answer can very much be 'yes.'
 


Hriston

Adventurer
I've been running combats theater-of-the-mind style with a graph paper map on the DM's side when needed, so I would measure out any diagonal movement with a ruler, in which case you'd end up one square back from where your DM put you.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
I agree that by RAW your DM is incorrect on both accounts: you are not moving through a space occupied by the minotaur and even if another enemy was at the 10 ft square space, you can move along diagonals so you would not be stopped by that either.

One thing I think people sometimes forget when dealing with grids (either VTT or minis) is the space a creature "occupies" is not literally filled by that creature. This is why you can move through a non-hostile creature's space, you just can't end your move in their space. If you think about an elevator that might be 5' x 5', you could have 4-5 people standing in it without any issue (might be a bit tight, but not too bad really) despite D&D's medium creature occupying that entire space. It is also the reason why creatures can move through a space one-size category smaller than what they would normally occupy, they just spend extra movement while in smaller spaces and have disadvantage on attack rolls and DEX saves.

So, while the minotaur occupies a 10' x 10' space, there is plenty of room inside that area. Without optional rules from the DMG for Overrun or Tumble (pg. 272), you cannot move through the minotaur's space unless you are Small (or Tiny) or Gargantuan. However, since characters can move diagonally (not just horizontally and vertically), the blue knight is moving around the Minotaur's space, not through a square occupied by the minotaur.

However, if we change the map a bit and the double-black lines represented a wall, you would have to follow the red path, and you would be going through a square that is actually occupied by the minotaur. If your tables uses the optional Overrun or Tumble rules, you could try to move to the minotaur's space (white circle), and if you are successful continue moving along the red path. If your table doesn't use the Overrun/Tumble rules, you would have to go completely around the minotaur.

1593955633113.png


Finally, if you are using optional rules fo Overrun and Tumble, your table might want to adopt the optional rule for diagonal movement from the DMG pg. 252. The first diagonal counts as 5, then next 10, then 5 again, and so on, repeating. If you followed that, the blue knight would only move to here (the yellow arc showing about 30 ft of movement). As you can see, the diagonal rule works pretty well IMO:

1593958241520.png


Anyway, ultimately it is up to the DM and the table to discuss how you want movement to work in such cases and to make certain both the DM and players are consistent. You should point out that the blue knight was not threatened by the minotaur, and you are using your action to disengage to move safely by it. You could have just as easily moved and dashed, completely avoiding the minotaur and all squares around it.
 

jgsugden

Legend
The rules say you can't move trough an enemy creature's space. The yellow line cuts along the corner of a square occupied by an enemy creature. This really asks whether creatures occupy the grid lines around themselves.

While the rules are not specific to how we treat this, they are specific about corners for terrain blocking:
Corners. Diagonal movement can’t cross the corner of a wall, large tree, or other terrain feature that fills its space.
You could think about this two ways: 1.) As the rule applies for non-creatures, it sets a precedent that should apply to creatures, or 2.) They had an opportunity to specify hostile creatures here and decided not to do so.

Note that if your answer is that you can't pass along that diagonal, then 4 enemies surrounding a PC in the cardinal directions would lock that PC down and prevent any movement, while 4 enemies standing at the diagonals would not do so. I do not believe that to be desirable.

C = Character, E = Empty, O = Opponent

Trapped!

EOE
OCO
EOE

Free to flee!

OEO
ECE
OEO

I would allow the movement along the diagonal corner.
 

TaranTheWanderer

Adventurer
I agree that by RAW your DM is incorrect on both accounts: you are not moving through a space occupied by the minotaur and even if another enemy was at the 10 ft square space, you can move along diagonals so you would not be stopped by that either.

One thing I think people sometimes forget when dealing with grids (either VTT or minis) is the space a creature "occupies" is not literally filled by that creature. This is why you can move through a non-hostile creature's space, you just can't end your move in their space. If you think about an elevator that might be 5' x 5', you could have 4-5 people standing in it without any issue (might be a bit tight, but not too bad really) despite D&D's medium creature occupying that entire space. It is also the reason why creatures can move through a space one-size category smaller than what they would normally occupy, they just spend extra movement while in smaller spaces and have disadvantage on attack rolls and DEX saves.

So, while the minotaur occupies a 10' x 10' space, there is plenty of room inside that area. Without optional rules from the DMG for Overrun or Tumble (pg. 272), you cannot move through the minotaur's space unless you are Small (or Tiny) or Gargantuan. However, since characters can move diagonally (not just horizontally and vertically), the blue knight is moving around the Minotaur's space, not through a square occupied by the minotaur.

However, if we change the map a bit and the double-black lines represented a wall, you would have to follow the red path, and you would be going through a square that is actually occupied by the minotaur. If your tables uses the optional Overrun or Tumble rules, you could try to move to the minotaur's space (white circle), and if you are successful continue moving along the red path. If your table doesn't use the Overrun/Tumble rules, you would have to go completely around the minotaur.

View attachment 123435
If you remove the Minotaur from this example, the red line is still an illegal move. You can't move diagonal through a wall space.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
If you remove the Minotaur from this example, the red line is still an illegal move. You can't move diagonal through a wall space.
The walls are on the interior of the other spaces, not the spaces the creature would occupy when moving. If it were otherwise, I would agree with you and not drawn it the way I had.
 


tommybahama

Adventurer
Thanks for all the replies. This was one of those combats where the DM was rolling hot and maybe doing a bit of metagaming as well so the potential for a TPK was real. That five feet of extra movement could have been the difference between life and death for two of the party including my character.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Our DM says that's not allowed because it moves through the enemy minotaur's space. He ruled I would have to move along the green path which leaves me 5 feet short of where I wanted
Your DM is wrong with regard to at least a couple of things.

First, if you use the Disengage action, you don't provoke OAs anywhere. It does not matter the path, disengaging makes you safe, end of discussion. PHB page 192.

In addition, if you did not use Disengage, following the green path and then continuing away would not help, you would still provoke an OA. You provoke an OA when moving out of reach, no matter the path, PHB page 195.

The part which is tricky is whether the four squares occupied by the minotaur count as being "filled" by it. PHB page 191 says: "A creature's space is the area in feet that it effectively controls in combat, not an expression of its physical dimensions." The grid rules on next page say "Diagonal movement can't cross the corner of a wall, large tree, or other terrain feature that fills its space."

I would rule that controlling a space is not the same as filling it, and following the yellow path is possible, but the "large tree" example might suggest otherwise i.e. you have to move around to get past (using the miniature bases could be a legitimate way to adjudicate: can you move straight through the yellow path without having to push the minotaur base to the side?). However this is about being able to move at all along the path, nothing to do with OAs.
 
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The only way I've ever prevented anyone from moving across corners of enemies is between two of equal or larger size (you can force your way past two smaller ones). Creatures don't occupy the entire space, even if they are moving around within it.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Srd 93 If you take the Disengage action, your movement doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks for the rest of
The turn. So you can take the yellow path and blow kisses at the minotaur with no OOA.
If you don’t disengage and take the green path the minotaur with 5 feet reach can take an OOA at the marked 10ft square or at 20 ft square. The space two squares left of minotaurs toes.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
Unless I am missing something, a number of comments seem to be about a possible OA?

The blue knight disengaged and the OP acknowledged there would be no OA. When the DM disapproved, it was because he ruled the blue knight could not move diagonally across the front corner of the minotaur. The DM insisted that corner of the minotaur be avoided, and the green path had to be followed instead.

Pretty much I think everyone has agreed the yellow line is permissible RAW. We also know if the DM decides to rule otherwise, that is fine as long as the table knows the altered movement rules and all are in agreement on them.
 

akr71

Adventurer
Unless I am missing something, a number of comments seem to be about a possible OA?

The blue knight disengaged and the OP acknowledged there would be no OA. When the DM disapproved, it was because he ruled the blue knight could not move diagonally across the front corner of the minotaur. The DM insisted that corner of the minotaur be avoided, and the green path had to be followed instead.

Pretty much I think everyone has agreed the yellow line is permissible RAW. We also know if the DM decides to rule otherwise, that is fine as long as the table knows the altered movement rules and all are in agreement on them.
This was my thought exactly. If the knight disengaged as their action, follow the yellow path with absolutely no worries about an attack of opportunity. The knight is spending their action to negate the chance of the minotaur getting an OA.
 

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