Can You Move Through Enemies in D&D? (Solved for Beginners)

During a Dungeons & Dragons adventure, your character will often face hard choices. While you can fight, sometimes the best action is to move.

Can you move through enemies in D&D?

Characters can move through enemies in D&D. A character can move through an enemy at least two sizes smaller or larger than their character. Moving through enemies reduces character speed and gives enemies an opportunity attack. Characters cannot purposefully stop in the space of other beings.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about moving through enemies in D&D.

Can You Move Through Enemies in D&D? (Conditions)

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A woman warrior fighting a dragon—Can You Move Through Enemies in D&D
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Characters can move through enemies if certain conditions are in place.

These conditions include:

  • The size of your character
  • The size of the enemy
  • The state of the enemy
  • Speed of movement
  • Race or class limitations/exceptions

Player characters can move through enemies that are twice as big or twice as small.

If you are a medium-sized character, you can move through tiny and huge creatures but not enemies that are small, medium, or large.

Keep in mind there are some additional limitations to this movement for some creatures.

For example, you can move through an enemy that is helpless—that is, incapacitated in some way.

So, your medium-sized rouge can slip through a space occupied by a knocked-out or sleeping half-elf.

Speed is another condition that deserves mentioning.

Moving through enemy lines counts as difficult terrain under the official rules. The action will consume double your movement (your movement will reduce by half).

Let’s say that you want to move through an enemy and your character’s standard movement is 20 feet.

When you move through an enemy, you will move 10 feet instead.

Certain races and classes come with exceptions to the movement rules.

For example, Halflings can only move through enemies that are one size larger than them. However, there is an Enlarge/Reduce spell that can help any character shrink or grow one size to be able to move through an enemy.

Related: Can You Dash Twice in D&D? (Solved With Examples)

Should You Move Through Enemies? (Why or Why Not?)

Moving through enemies is often used as a way to avoid combat or as a last resort when trapped. It could also be a strategic move to gain an advantage over other opponents.

For example, if your character was fighting against several enemies in melee combat, you can take move through an enemy to get out of attack range from the other creatures.

 However, it’s not something you should always do.

You have to pay attention to what’s going on in battle and gauge whether it’s a good idea to try to get through a line of enemies or not.

 If moving through an enemy will be detrimental to your ultimate success, it’s better to stay put.

Use this tactic only when you are sure it will give you an advantage—or when there are no other options.

That’s because moving through an enemy might provoke an opportunity attack from your enemy.

An opportunity attack allows an enemy to use a reaction against you. It does not use up one of the enemy’s standard actions.

Moving through enemies is not a preferred tactic in D&D, unless there are no other means of defending yourself or escaping.

Just be sure you are making calculated decisions before moving through enemy lines.

How Do You Move Through Enemies in D&D?

Moving through enemies is not always an easy task and might get you killed.

It’s helpful to know some general guidelines to inform your decision. These guidelines help you understand if moving through enemies is advantageous based on your race, class, size, and situation.

 Here are the guidelines to follow when moving through an enemy:

  • You can’t move to a space occupied by an enemy. That means you’ll have to move all the way through them.
  • Some creatures, especially huge ones, may be an obstacle even if they are helpless.
  • While moving squares, you can’t end your movement in the same space as your enemy (this is also true of allies).
  • If you have a trained character, you can attempt to tumble through your enemy’s space. That character gets an advantage on the roll to avoid area effects and attacks of opportunity.
  • If you have a Tiny or Diminutive character, you can move through the spaces occupied by medium, large, huge, or gargantuan creatures. This move risks an opportunity attack from your enemy.

Your enemy may not get an opportunity attack if you move through them while invisible or using another similar spell or magic.

Here is a good video that quickly covers the essentials of combat in D&D, including movement:

YouTube video by the Dungeoncast—Can you move through enemies in D&D?

When Can You Move Through Enemies in DND?

You can move through enemies anytime that you want in D&D. At the same time, I don’t recommend that you move through an enemy unless it is your last resort.

Or, if you can do so without receiving damage.

The best time to move through enemies depends on the answers to four critical questions.

Here are those three questions:

  • Who are your enemies?
  • How big are they?
  • Do they get an attack of opportunity on you?
  • Is there any other option?

If you’re facing giant, overpowered enemies with your back against the wall, go ahead and move through them.

You may take a hit (from an opportunity attack), but you’ll be able to escape.

You can then run off, lick your wounds, and regroup for another battle. Sometimes a strategic retreat is the smartest and boldest move of all.

Can You Shoot Through Enemies?

Apart from moving through enemies to gain better positioning, you can also shoot through them. This tactic also uses the size of the creature and the amount of space it occupies.

First, you have to consider whether it’s possible by taking several things like buildings and walls into account.

Also, think about the number of enemies standing between you and your target. It might be worth considering the range of your weapon, too.

Finally, make sure that there are no allies standing between you and your target.

You can try to shoot through enemies with a spell or an area effect like a fireball, but the save check might make things difficult for you.

So, it’s almost always better to attack normally without obstruction, if possible.

Create a DND Character With Jasper ...
Create a DND Character With Jasper Art
Can You Move Through Ghosts in D&D?

Players can move through incorporeal enemies and allies—such as ghosts—in D&D.

Even though the ghost is incorporeal, moving through a space occupied by a ghost is still considered difficult terrain.

This follows the rules as written by Dungeons and Dragons.

If the ghost is friendly, you might get slowed down but are otherwise safe.

If the ghost is hostile, they may take an opportunity attack against you, and even attempt to possess you.

Can You Move Through Allies in D&D?

You can move through a friend or ally’s space. Any non-hostile creature is considered an ally.

The space of another creature, whether enemy or ally, is treated as difficult terrain.

If you need to move through an ally, take the distance disadvantage into account. When you’re combatting in close quarters, every action counts.

Can You Move Through Occupied Squares?

Players can move through occupied squares (or spaces) if they are occupied by enemies or allies.

You can even move through animals and objects, as long as the objects do not include walls or trees. Even then, you can use spells, magic items, and class abilities to move through occupied squares.

For example, you can teleport to the other side of a locked door.

Can You Occupy the Space of a Prone or Unconcious Being in D&D?

According to the rules as written (RAW), a player cannot occupy the same space as another being, unconscious, prone, or not.

However, many DMs create house rules to allow it.

For example, the players must pass through a dead or unconscious guard propped up against a locked door at the end of a castle passageway.

In this rare case, a player might need to occupy the same space as the guard to unlock or otherwise open the door.

One homebrew option is to treat the guard as difficult terrain.

Personally, I would:

  • Treat an incapacitated being as difficult terrain
  • Treat a prone (but concious) being the same as any other being

Final Thoughts: Can You Move Through Enemies in D&D?

It’s these small questions in D&D that make a big difference in the enjoyment of a game.

In fact, you’ll probably run into hundreds or thousands of unique situations like this during a single multi-session campaign.

A great place to start is with official D&D gear:

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D&D Core Rulebook SetCheck the latest price
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Recommended D&D Resources

You can also learn helpful answers by browsing through the other articles on this site.

Here are a few related posts:

Sources

Wizards of the Coast
D&D Beyond