Moving in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition is frequently barely a matter of deciding where a animal or actor quality wants to reach. Climbing, while considered a special type of motion, works in a lot the same room with a few excess rules to consider.
How does climbing work in D & D 5e ? What does having a climbing amphetamine mean ? And, how can a Game Master function climbing into an confrontation ?
This article goes over everything you should need to know about climbing in 5e and how it works.
What’s in This Article:
- Rules for Climbing in 5e
- How Climbing Works in D&D 5e
- Getting a Climbing Speed
- Running a Climbing Encounter
- Climbing in 5e FAQ
Let ’ s start off by looking at the explicit rules for climbing in the Player ’ s Handbook .
Rules for Climbing in 5e
Climbing in D&D 5e is a special type of movement a creature may do. While climbing, each foot climbed counts as 2 for movement speed unless a creature has a specified climbing speed. Additionally, climbing through difficult terrain takes 2 extra feet of movement.
At its effect, climbing is just a manner for a creature to move in 5e. But, doing so is typically more strenuous than walking or running, so it takes more drift focal ratio.
Each foot of movement costs 1 extra foot (2 extra feet in difficult terrain) when you’re climbing, swimming, or crawling. You ignore this extra cost if you have a climbing speed and use it to climb or a swimming speed and use it to swim. At the DM’s option, climbing a slippery vertical surface or one with few handholds requires a successful Strength (Athletics) check.
beginning : DnD Beyond | Basic Rules – Chapter 8 : gamble now, these rules besides apply during combat encounters. so, if a creature has a motion amphetamine of 30 feet and no specify climbing focal ratio, they may climb up to 15 feet as separate of their be active. From Chapter 9 of the PHB :
Your bowel movement can include jump, climbing, and swimming. These different modes of movement can be combined with walk, or they can constitute your entire move. however you ’ ra moving, you deduct the outdistance of each separate of your move from your amphetamine until it is used up or until you are done moving .
Source: DnD Beyond | Basic Rules – Chapter 9: Combat What ’ s more, following the rules for breaking up movement, a creature may move and climb as part of their motion. For exercise, a creature with 30 feet of movement may move 15 feet, climb a 5-foot rampart at the monetary value of 10 feet ( remember : climbing takes 2 feet for every 1 foundation moved ), and move the remaining 5 feet after scaling the stature. basically, moving regularly takes 1 foot of motion speed for every 1 foot moved ; climbing regularly takes 2 feet for every 1 foot ; and climbing through unmanageable terrain takes 3 feet for every 1 foot. so, as an example, a creature with 30 feet of campaign speed would be able to move up to 30 feet normally, climb 15 astir feet, or climb up to 10 feet through difficult terrain .
How Climbing Works in D&D 5e
Climbing works in much the same way as regular movement but at a reduced pace. A creature may choose to scale a climbable surface at the cost of 1 extra foot for every 1 foot moved. honestly, that ’ s all there is to climbing in 5e.
Climbing works like even movement. It ( typically ) doesn ’ t take an action or Ability Check. All a animal needs to do is start scaling a surmountable come on and factor each 1 foot moved as 2. Of course, there are specific circumstances to keep in mind like figuring out a animal ’ south climbing speed, when and Ability Check is necessity, and how assail works. so, let ’ s go over these following.
Figuring Out Climbing Speed
If a creature doesn’t have a specified climbing speed, the default equals half their normal movement speed or one-third if climbing through difficult terrain. If a creature does have a specified climbing speed, they may climb that number of feet as part of their movement.
For a creature without a declared speed, use: Climbing Speed = Movement Speed / 2 (rounded down if using a square-based grid for movement). This is because, as stated earlier, each 1 foot moved while climbing counts as 2.
For a creature with a declared speed, simply use the stated climbing speed. For example, the Tabaxi have a trait called Cat’s Claws which, among other things, grants them a climbing speed of 20 feet. So, that’s how far they can climb.
With all this in mind, if a creature climbs through difficult terrain, you then also need to factor that in. But, you don’t halve a creature’s already halved movement speed. Instead, when climbing through difficult terrain, count each 1 foot of movement climbed as 3.
Basically, you divide a creature’s movement speed by one-third if they don’t have a climbing speed and they climb through difficult terrain. That said, creature’s with a climbing speed essentially cut that speed in half.
For example, a creature with 30 feet of movement speed without a specified speed may climb 10 feet through difficult terrain. Meanwhile, a creature with a climbing speed of 30 feet would be able to climb 15 feet through difficult terrain as each feet only counts as 2 instead of 3.
Climbing & Ability Checks
A Game Master may impose an ability check for a creature to climb under extraordinary circumstances. Heavy downpours, strong winds, or slick surfaces may all constitute an Ability Check to climb. Strength (Athletics) is the typical skill used for climbing checks.
Ordinarily, climbing only uses a creature’s available movement speed. A creature simply begins scaling a climbable surface with no other action or check necessary.
That said, if there are significant external factors, a Game Master may ask for a creature or player character to make an Ability Check to climb a surface. These situations are up to each individual GM, but here are some examples as to when climbing may require a check:
- Slippery surface (ice wall, water-coated cliffs, etc)
- Few handholds
- Intense winds, rain, or snow
- Carrying another creature
- Volatile rock movement (earthquakes, moving cliffsides, etc)
These are just a few examples. Situations when a GM may call for an Ability Check to climb are as endless as that GM’s creativity.
Now, typically, if you’re making an Ability Check to climb in 5e, you’ll use a creature’s Strength (Athletics) skill. Climbing is a physically strenuous activity, so a creature’s ability to hang on usually relies on their raw strength. Failing to hang on to a surface while climbing usually means falling, so player characters and creatures with higher Strength Ability Scores are usually better suited to climbing in extreme circumstances.
Attacking While Climbing
There are no specific rules for making attack rolls while climbing in 5e. So, it ultimately comes down to a Game Master’s ruling. However, it stands to reason that so long as a creature has a free hand and can hold their place, they can still attack normally while climbing.
D&D 5e’s rules don’t actually explain how to attack or be attacked while climbing. So, Game Masters need to use their best judgement when making these calls.
That said, it’s generally going to follow common sense. While climbing, a creature usually uses most if not all of its appendages to move up or down a surface. However, if that creature is holding its place, they may only need to use 2 or 3 appendages. This means, a creature in 5e could climb, stop, make an attack, then continue climbing.
Now, for most humanoid creatures (i.e. pretty much all of the available player character options), this typically means using both hands and feet to climb and holding on with at least a hand and foot or both hands. So, they could make an attack with a one-handed weapon while climbing.
Of course, if the creature has different appendages which may aid in climbing, holding on, or attacking, they may not have these restrictions. For example, the loxodon’s trunk allows them to do simple tasks and a GM may allow a character to use it for climbing, leaving possibly both hands free to make an attack. Likewise, the hadozee’s Dextrous Feet usually only let’s them manipulate objects as a bonus action, but having an opposable toe could be argued as a climbing aid to, again, leave their hands free for attacks made with two-handed weapons.
This all said, it’s up to the Game Master on allowing a creature to attack while climbing.
Getting a Climbing Speed
Player characters have a few options for gaining a climbing speed. Certain racial traits, class features, magic items, and spells all offer the ability to establish a specified climb speed so you don’t have to use your half of your base movement.
The typical methods of gaining a intend climbing focal ratio in D & D 5e include :
- Racial and lineage traits
- Class features
- Magic items
now, there ’ second besides the Athlete feat. But, that doesn ’ metric ton give a climbing speed per selenium ; it precisely removes the extra 1 foot of motion speed used while climbing. That said, let ’ s break in each of these down.
Your character may start with a climbing speed thanks to their race. However, only a few races and lineages grant a player character a climbing speed.
The following 5e player races and lineages include a trait which grants a player character a specific climbing speed:
- Tabaxi (VGtM, MotM)
- Dhampir (VRGtR)
- Grung (OGA)
- Simic Hybrid: Nimble Climber option (GGtR)
Some class features grant your character a climb speed. Particularly, the Druid’s Wild Shape feature gives you the option to turn into a beast with a climbing speed like a giant spider.
The following classes and sub-classes grant a player character in 5e a climbing speed in some way:
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- Druid: Wild Shape (2nd-level) (PHB)
- Artificer: Artificer Infusions – Replicate Magic Item (10th-level) (TCoE)
- *Rogue (Thief Archetype): Second-Story Work (3rd-level) (PHB)
- Barbarian (Path of the Beast): Bestial Soul (6th-level) (TCoE)
- Paladin (Oath of the Open Sea): Mythic Swashbuckler (20th-level) (TCSR)
Technically, Wild Shape and Replicate Magic Item don’t grant a climbing speed. Wild Shape allows a Druid to turn into a creature with a climbing speed. Replicate Magic Items allows an Artificer to replicate items which do grant it like the Gloves of Swimming and Climbing. While Artificers get access to Replicate Magic Items at 2nd-level, they can’t replicate items which grant a climbing speed until 10th-level.
The Second-Story Work feature doesn’t grant a climbing speed. Instead, it removes the extra movement requirement for climbing. So, instead of each foot of climbing costing an extra foot, climbing through non-difficult terrain works as regular movement.
Certain magic items proffer a climbing speed as part of their effect. the Gloves of Swimming and Climbing and Slippers of Spider Climbing are a couple examples.
The following magic items grants a creature wielding them a climbing speed in 5e:
- Slippers of Spider Climbing (DMG)
- Potion of Climbing (DMG)
- Spider Staff (LMoP)
- Gloves of Swimming and Climbing (DMG)
- Cloak of Arachnida (DMG)
- Silken Spite (EGtW)
Spellcasters have a few options at their disposal for gaining a climbing speed. Spider climb is the most direct example, but polymorph and shapechange are others for turning into another creature with a climbing speed.
There’s only 1 spell which explicitly grants a creature a climbing speed in 5e:
- Spider Climb: 2nd-level
Other spells which improve movement speed like expeditious retreat technically improve climbing speed, but they don’t explicitly grant it.
Technically, spells like polymorph and shapechange can grant a creature a climb speed by turning them into a different creature that has one similarly to the Druid’s Wild Shape feature.
Running a Climbing Encounter
Presenting a climbing-based encounter to your players, especially in the early levels, is a good way to challenge them. Whether you’re running a combat encounter up and down a steep incline or simply having them scale a mountain to reach their destination, introducing climbing into your game is a great and easy way to put a mundane obstacle in the way of your players. Climbing encounters present interest challenges to both player characters and Game Masters. But, they can be a lot of fun merely due to their singularity. Game Masters running a climbing meet don ’ t only need to keep track of the regular elements but besides verticality. typically, many encounters are relatively, horizontally directly with possibly some vertical elements like trees, cliffs, and buildings. But, these are often afterthoughts or extra elements for designing concern battlemaps, not the stress. Keeping the verticality of a climbing brush at the forefront presents a unique difficulty for GMs ; actually keeping racetrack of how far up or down any given animal is. For dramaturgy of the mind games, this international relations and security network ’ t that a lot of an offspring. But, for games using battlemaps, vertical bowel movement is a bit of a challenge as you either need to use some field of the mind OR use other resources like improbable standees or a disjoined guide tracking altitude. additionally, there ’ s an component of not only tracking creature stead relative to height, but besides embrace and line of spy. For model, when climbing a mountainside, the identical platform creatures stand on would serve as cover from attacks originating from below them. indeed, as a Game Master, here are a few tips for helping run a rise encounter in 5e :
- Treat it like a horizontal map but know that leaving a platform or losing grip means falling
- Remember tools to help player characters in climbing (climber’s kit, abilities for flight, etc)
- Know the rules for falling and make sure your players understand them as well
- Start simple; don’t add intense weather effects or other elements which make climbing more difficult
- To start, give creatures platforms as unspoken “checkpoints” they can reach and stand on (and still fall from)
For players, climbing encounters involve the ever-present danger of falling. Despite being relatively harmless ( at depleted levels and abject heights ), falling is a solid hindrance as many players don ’ metric ton want to risk it. however, if presented the challenge or it becomes required for their quest, climbing and the gamble of falling become a unique obstacle which allows actor characters to possibly use abilities and equipment they normally wouldn ’ thyroxine. besides, from a plan point of view, strategizing around a erect surface is a different challenge than a relatively flat battlefield. Like contending with cover and line of sight for attacks, player characters then need to think about what to do when a party penis takes enough wrong to fall unconscious and startle making death save throws. It ’ s an matter to challenge a fortune of players might not get to experience. What ’ s more, know the tools at your quality ’ randomness disposal. Can they fly ? Do they have lasso and pitons ? Do they have a trait, feature, spell, or magic detail to help them climb ? While the GM is challenging your quality with a unique obstacle, your character may have tools at their disposal to make a climb meeting easier ; if not for the party, for themselves. Some exercise of climbing-focused encounters you can run in 5e admit :
- A mountainside to reach a harpy nest with the harpies harrying the player characters along the way
- A massive tree in the middle of a heavy lightning storm to find and help a wounded roc
- An enormous, slime-coated wall on the edge of a cursed swamp where a warlock resides at the top
Climbing in 5e FAQ
Is Climbing an Action in 5e?
No; climbing does not take an action in 5e. It is a special type of movement and uses a creatures movement speed as such. Climbing in 5e uses astir campaign amphetamine but doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate require the use of an military action to start it .
What Skill is for Climbing?
Climbing under normal circumstances doesn’t require a skill. However, for extraordinary situations, a Game Master may require a creature use their Strength (Athletics) skill to make an ability check to climb. normally, climbing doesn ’ thyroxine require the habit of a skill through an Ability Check. But, more acute situations like high winds, slippery surfaces, or
Do You Get Advantage When Attacking a Climbing Creature?
Rules as written, you do not get advantage on attacks made against climbing creatures.
There is nothing explicitly in 5e ’ s rules about climbing and attacking or getting attacked. then, attacking a climb creature doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate confer advantage on that fire simply because there ’ s no rule for it .
Does Dash Apply When Climbing in D&D?
Yes; the Dash action applies when climbing in D&D 5e. Since the Dash action effectively increases a creature’s movement speed, it increases how far that creature may climb. Taking the Dash action just allows a creature to move up to their movement accelerate again. so, a smash animal basically is able to climb a number of feet accordingly with their regular movement and then again for taking the Dash natural process .
If a Creature Doesn’t Have a Climbing Speed, What is It?
If a creature doesn’t have an explicit climbing speed in 5e it is effectively equal to half their movement speed. More specifically, if a creature doesn ’ thyroxine have a specified climbing accelerate, each 1 foot climbed counts as 2. For ease ’ s sake, this effectively halves a creature ’ south drift speed while climbing.
Do You Need Free Hands to Climb in 5e?
You don’t need free hands specifically to climb in 5e. If a creature has other capable appendages (prehensile tail, opposable toes, etc), they may still be able to climb. However, a creature typically needs at least 1 free hand to scale a climbable surface. again, there actually international relations and security network ’ metric ton any specific rule requiring free hands to climb in 5e. It ’ s more of a common sense rule ; of course a creature needs some sort of absolve extremity to climb, but that doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate necessarily mean a free hand. A creatures with a prehensile tail or opposable toes could technically use those to aid in climbing. For exemplar, a loxodon may use their proboscis in place of a hand to climb a surface. Of course, since there ’ s not explicit rule on this, these rulings come gloomy to the Game Master at each table .
How Far Can You Climb in D&D?
You can climb as far as your movement speed allows in 5e. There is no other restriction on distance. There are no restrictions on how far a creature may climb digression from their movement speed. A creature could climb their utmost speed every meter their move without farther repercussions.
Summary on How Climbing Works in D&D 5e
That’s about everything you need to know about climbing in 5e.
Climbing is considered a special type of movement. It doesn’t take an action or Ability Check (usually) to do as it simply uses up a creature’s movement speed. If a creature doesn’t have a specified climbing speed, each 1 foot moved takes an extra foot, effectively doubling the amount required per foot.
How often do you have your character climb in your game? Have you ever run a climbing-centric encounter? Leave your thoughts below in the comments!
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