Rules Index


Chapter 9: Playing the Game / General Rules / Movement

Movement Types

Source Core Rulebook pg. 463
Creatures in Pathfinder soar through the clouds, scale sheer cliffs, and tunnel underfoot. Most creatures have a Speed, which is how fast they can move across the ground. Some abilities give you different ways to move, such as through the air or underground.

Each of these special movement types has its own Speed value. Many creatures have these Speeds naturally. The various types of movement are listed below. Since the Stride action can be used only with your normal Speed, moving using one of these movement types requires using a special action, and you can’t Step while using one of these movement types. Since Speed by itself refers to your land Speed, rules text concerning these special movement types specifies the movement types to which it applies. Even though Speeds aren’t checks, they can have item, circumstance, and status bonuses and penalties. These can’t reduce your Speeds below 5 feet unless stated otherwise.

Switching from one movement type to another requires ending your action that has the first movement type and using a new action that has the second movement type. For instance, if you Climbed 10 feet to the top of a cliff, you could then Stride forward 10 feet.

Speed

Source Core Rulebook pg. 463
Most characters and monsters have a speed statistic—also called land Speed—which indicates how quickly they can move across the ground. When you use the Stride action, you move a number of feet equal to your Speed. Numerous other abilities also allow you to move, from Crawling to Leaping, and most of them are based on your Speed in some way. Whenever a rule mentions your Speed without specifying a type, it’s referring to your land Speed.

Burrow Speed

Source Core Rulebook pg. 463
A burrow Speed lets you tunnel through the ground. You can use the Burrow action if you have a burrow Speed. Burrowing doesn’t normally leave behind a tunnel unless the ability specifically states that it does. Most creatures need to hold their breath when burrowing, and they may need tremorsense to navigate with any accuracy.

Climb Speed

Source Core Rulebook pg. 463
A climb Speed allows you to move up or down inclines and vertical surfaces. Instead of needing to attempt Athletics checks to Climb, you automatically succeed and move up to your climb Speed instead of the listed distance.

You might still have to attempt Athletics checks to Climb in hazardous conditions, to Climb extremely difficult surfaces, or to cross horizontal planes such as ceilings. You can also choose to roll an Athletics check to Climb rather than accept an automatic success in hopes of getting a critical success. Your climb Speed grants you a +4 circumstance bonus to Athletics checks to Climb.

If you have a climb Speed, you’re not flat-footed while climbing.

Fly Speed

Source Core Rulebook pg. 463
As long as you have a fly Speed, you can use the Fly and Arrest a Fall actions. You can also attempt to Maneuver in Flight if you’re trained in the Acrobatics skill.

Wind conditions can affect how you use the Fly action. In general, moving against the wind uses the same rules as moving through difficult terrain (or greater difficult terrain, if you’re also flying upward), and moving with the wind allows you to move 10 feet for every 5 feet of movement you spend (not cumulative with moving straight downward). For more information on spending movement, see Movement in Encounters.

Upward and downward movement are both relative to the gravity in your area; if you’re in a place with zero gravity, moving up or down is no different from moving horizontally.

Swim Speed

Source Core Rulebook pg. 463
With a swim Speed, you can propel yourself through the water with little impediment. Instead of attempting Athletics checks to Swim, you automatically succeed and move up to your swim Speed instead of the listed distance. Moving up or down is still moving through difficult terrain.

You might still have to attempt checks to Swim in hazardous conditions or to cross turbulent water. You can also choose to roll an Athletics check to Swim rather than accept an automatic success in hopes of getting a critical success. Your swim Speed grants you a +4 circumstance bonus to Athletics checks to Swim.

Having a swim Speed doesn’t necessarily mean you can breathe in water, so you might still have to hold your breath if you’re underwater to avoid drowning.