Types of Movement
This page has general rules for moving around and the many exciting, fun, and possibly painful things that happen to you when you do so.
If you are looking for what happens to you while moving around, such as getting frozen by cold or baked by the sun, caught in a wildfire or having an avalanche hit you, you should look for the Environmental Effects rules for guidelines. Have fun!
General Movement Rules
- Epic Path is designed to be run on a square grid, using counters or miniatures for all players and monsters, with all terrain laid out for everybody to see.
- In Epic Path, each square on a combat map is assumed to be five feet on a side, and five feet high. This basic 5-foot cube is also often called a 'space'. Note that Space has two meanings, and can stand for a five foot square, or it can denote all the volume taken up by a creature (see below).
- All objects and creatures fit into some multiple or fraction of those five foot squares.
- Moving around on the map costs you five feet of your movement allowance for each square you move. Your movement refreshes when you get another turn.
- The direction you are moving does not matter: Diagonal moves are the same as straight moves and may be combined with each other in any way that makes sense to you. These '1 for 1 counting rules' are used for all movement.
- When you have moved a distance equal to your movement rate with the movement type you are using, you must stop moving for this round, switch to a different movement type with which you still have some movement left, or declare a double move (see below).
- Some squares may require more than five feet of move to enter, and some may not be entered at all. Leaving a square is always free.
- Theater of the Mind is also possible, but requires a cohesive table. You have been warned!
- The GM adjudicates any unusual circumstances.
Type of Action: Move Action
Walk refers to moving along the ground at your listed speed. For most size-medium creatures, this is 30 feet. Moving like this is a cautious walk, and is primarily used during combat. Despite this, walking provokes attacks of opportunity from enemy creatures, if you leave a space they threaten.
Characters can only walk through unoccupied spaces or spaces occupied by allies, and any walk must end in an unoccupied space, or the creature is subject to the Squeezing rules.
The terms "base land speed" and "move" are often used interchangeably with "walk". It may be useful to note that "move" is a type of action, and "walk" is a way to use a "move action" (to move along the ground at your listed speed).
Part of a Move Action
Type of Action: Special (see below)
When something can be performed as "part of a move action," it requires a move action to perform. However, this type of action specifically allows the user to use the move action to both perform the action and move up to their speed. For example, a character can walk up to their speed, and while doing so, also draw a weapon.
Nearly any action you perform with a move action (such as standing up from Prone) can also include an action which is "part of a move action".
However, if you degrade your move action to a Swift Action, take a Full Attack Action, or a Full-Round Action, you cannot perform a "part of a move action" action this round. That is, you must take an actual move action (though not necessarily to move) to include a "part of a move action" activity with it.
Some examples of actions which are "part of a move action":
- Drawing a weapon
- Sheathing a weapon
- Drawing a potion or item from a bandoleer or other easy-access location
- Pick up an item from the ground (in your space or in a space you are moving through)
Type of Action: Full Attack Action
A double move allows a creature to move up to twice its listed speed with one (or more) of its available movement types. A double-move is considered a single action, so there is no need for the creature to stop at the end of its first move action. The creature must obey all normal rules for passing through enemy creatures, threatened squares, blocked or obstructed squares, difficult terrain, etc.
Like walking, a double move is a cautious form of movement, though it still provokes attacks of opportunity if you leave any space that is threatened by one or more enemies. Note that, because it is a single action, you can only be the target of one attack of opportunity per enemy creature you provoke, even if you leave multiple spaces threatened by the same enemy.
Type of Action: Full-Round Action
A character may declare a 'run' action as a full-round action. Running allows the character to move up to four times their listed speed (or three times their listed speed if they are wearing heavy armor). After any turn in which a character performs the run action, they gain the flat-footed condition until the start of their next turn, unless they have the Runner (Feat), since running is a more reckless form of movement than walking. If a character declares a 'run' action, they may not perform any 5-Foot Steps during the same round (except with an action point, or a class feature like the prowler's "Shifty"). Since it is a fast, reckless sort of movement, Run may make the character susceptible to Collision Damage, so be careful!
A character can run for a number of rounds equal to their Constitution score, but after that they must make a DC 30 might check to continue running. The character must check again each round in which they continue to run, and the DC of this check increases by +2 for each check they have made previously. When they fail this check, they must stop running. A character that has run to their limit gains the Fatigued condition.
Characters using the 'run' action can't cross difficult terrain. Characters may not use the 'run' action if they cannot see.
Type of Action: Free Action (special; see below)
Taking a 5-foot step is a special type of free action that allows you to move one square (five feet) from your current space without provoking attacks of opportunity from nearby enemy creatures that threaten your square. A creature can take a 5-foot step before, during, or after their other actions in the round. However, there are some conditions that must be met in order to take a 5-foot step on your turn.
There are four general ways in which a creature can become eligible to perform a 5-foot step:
Perform No Other Movement
- A creature can take a 5-foot step as a free action in any round in which they don't perform any other kind of movement. This means the creature cannot use any action, or perform any activity, which causes them to move from their starting location through their own volition if they want to use this mechanic. Examples of this include (but are not limited to):
- Creatures cannot take more than one of these sorts of 5-foot steps in a round. This is the most common way for monsters to use a 5-foot step in combat, although players may also use this mechanic.
Trade Away Attacks From A Full Attack Action
- A player character that declares a Full Attack Action may use attack actions to perform 5-foot steps, up to a maximum number of times equal to the number of attack actions their current character class grants during a full attack action.
- Any attacks performed subtract from the number of attacks they can trade away for 5-foot steps, and similarly, any 5-foot steps taken by 'spending' an attack action reduces the number of available attacks in the full attack action. The 5-foot steps can occur during any part of the full attack action, including before, after, or between attacks, assuming the character has enough attacks to perform each action.
- For example, a fighter declares a full attack. Since fighters get 4 base attacks during a full attack, they may make up to four attacks during a full attack action. They can use all four of these attacks to attack targets they can reach (or within range, if using ranged attacks), or they can trade away one or more of these attacks to perform an equal number of 5-foot steps, to a maximum of four, moving up to 20 feet without provoking attacks of opportunity, due to their utter combat focus. If they perform a combination of attacks and 5-foot steps, the 5-foot steps can occur before, during, or after the attacks, as the fighter prefers.
- Where characters perform attacks starting with their highest to-hit numbers and working their way down to their worst to-hit numbers, action-action 5-foot steps 'use up' the worst to-hit numbers and work up to the highest to-hit numbers. This is true even if the 5-foot steps are taken between attacks.
- 5-foot steps taken by trading away attacks from a full attack action do not count as movement, and may therefore be combined with a free-action 5-foot step, assuming all other criteria for the free-action 5-foot step are met (see above).
- Characters can never trade away more attacks for 5-foot steps than the base number of attacks provided by their character class, even if they have access to bonus attacks through feats, spells, or magic items. If the character is dual- or multi-classed, their base number of attacks during a full attack is always based on the number of attacks granted by their current character class.
- Any 5-foot steps taken use up all bonus attacks that would normally be taken at the same to-hit bonus. That is, if you have a bonus attack that uses your worst to-hit, and you trade away your worst to-hit for a 5-foot step, you also lose that bonus attack. You do not get additional 5-foot steps for these bonus attacks; they are simply lost when the attack with the same to-hit bonus is traded away for the 5-foot step. Since your best to-hits are used up last, bonus attacks that use your best to-hit are only used up if you take a number of 5-foot steps equal to your full base number of attacks.
- Monsters cannot trade attack actions for 5-foot steps during a full-attack actions; this feature can only be used by player characters.
Class Features, Racial Traits, Feats, etc.
- A creature may gain access to a 5-foot step by using a feat, class feature, racial trait, monster ability, or any other legal source (subject to GM approval, of course). For example, some classes (e.g. Prowler) and races (e.g. Bru-Kin) have special abilities that allow them to make more than one 5-foot step in a single round, or in rounds in which they have already moved. The listed rules may also specify different limitations for using the ability (e.g. the additional 5-foot step may cost a swift or move action to perform). In these cases, the specific ability's rules take precedence over the rules listed here.
- If a creature has an Action Point that can be used to grant a move action, they may spend the action point to take a 5-foot step instead (using up the move action), even if they have previously moved this round, or have already taken a 5-foot step. Using action points in this manner deliberately breaks the normal rules for 5-foot steps, since action points are meant to simulate truly heroic deeds.
- A creature can't take a 5-foot step if the space they are attempting to move in to is considered difficult terrain or impeded terrain, unless they possess a movement type that allows them to ignore that type of difficult terrain, and that also allows the use of 5-foot steps (e.g. Hover).
- A creature can't take a 5-foot step if they are attempting to move into a space that is concealed, either partially or totally (typically due to dim light or darkness, but sometimes fog, or other conditions may cause this), unless they have some means of seeing normally in those conditions (e.g. Darkvision).
- Any creature with a move speed of 5 feet or less cannot ever take a 5-foot step, since moving even 5 feet requires a move action for such a slow creature.
- No creature may take a 5-foot step using a form of movement for which they do not have a listed speed.
Type of Action: Move Action
While Quelled, Prone, or Splayed, you can crawl 5 feet as a move action. Crawling provokes attacks of opportunity from enemies who threaten a square you are attempting to leave when crawling. A crawling character begins and ends the crawling movement with the same Quelled, Prone, or Splayed status condition as they started with. Also see the Fast Crawl (Feat) and those feats it unlocks for more options while crawling.
Type of Action: Part of a Move Action
If a creature is 2 size categories or larger than a nearby creature, it can effectively ignore that creature when moving (though moving still provokes attacks of opportunity as normal). By doing so, the larger creature can step over the smaller creature, ending its move either on or past the smaller creature. Neither creature is considered to be squeezing as a result of a stepover, because the relative size differences are so great.
If the larger creature chooses to end its movement while sharing one or more squares with smaller creatures, those creatures may remain in those spaces, and provide easy Internal Flanking for their allies. The smaller creatures may also move out of the occupied space (provoking as per normal movement rules) if they prefer, using normal movement (or they can tumble out using Acrobatics, to attempt to avoid taking attacks of opportunity). All internal spaces of a creature are considered to be threatened squares of that creature.
If the larger creature is subjected to forced movement, it is possible to make the larger creature stepover legally sized (smaller) creatures as part of that movement.
Note, however, that smaller creatures cannot enter the square of larger creatures with normal movement, but must instead use the Might skill (if they want to stop inside one of the spaces the larger creature occupies), or Overrun (Combat Maneuver) (if they want to move to an unoccupied space on the other size of the larger creature).
Type of Action: Standard Action
You can use the withdraw maneuver to attempt to move out of a location without provoking attacks of opportunity from nearby enemies.
To perform the maneuver, you must choose one enemy creature that you can perceive and that is threatening you. This creature is considered the 'primary target' of this maneuver. You may then move up to your speed, and the primary target may not make any attacks of opportunity against you during this movement. Each square of your movement must take you further away from the primary target (it cannot include any squares that are the same distance or closer than any previous square of your movement). This portion of the withdraw maneuver is automatic, and occurs regardless of whether you succeed or fail on the Movement skill check.
If you wish to avoid attacks of opportunity from other creatures in the path of your movement, you must roll a Movement check versus the Maneuver Defense of the target creature. If you succeed on the check, you may choose one other creature you can perceive and that threatens any squares in the path of your movement, and that creature may not make an attack of opportunity against you during the move, either. For every 2 by which you exceed the target DC, you may prevent one additional enemy creature you can perceive from making an attack of opportunity against you during your move.
Note that you do not need to move directly away from any creatures other than the creature you designated as the primary target.
Enemies you are unable to perceive may still make attacks of opportunity against you, and you can't withdraw from combat if you're blinded. Because the withdraw action is considered movement, you can't perform a 5-foot step during the same round in which you withdraw. You may not withdraw using a form of movement for which you don't have a listed speed.
Note that despite the name of this action, you don't actually have to leave combat entirely.
- See: Withdraw for details.
Characters covering long distances cross-country use overland movement. While performing overland movement, the characters are subject to Environmental Effects, which can certainly make travel very hazardous in hostile terrains or weather conditions.
Overland movement is measured in miles per hour or miles per day. A day represents 8 hours of actual travel time. If the character has a mount, they use the mounts speed but are still subject to fatigue (details below). If the character has (or is riding on) a crewed vehicle, then they may move longer than 8 hours per day without risk of fatigue. The classic example is a large, crewed sailing ship the characters are simply riding on, in which case a character can ride for 24 hours a day, thus moving up to three times (details below). The GM adjudicates all unusual circumstances.
- Walk: A character can walk 8 hours in a day of travel without a problem. Walking for longer than that can wear him out (see Forced March, below).
- Hustle: A character can hustle, moving at double their normal overland speed, for 1 hour without a problem. Hustling for a second hour before a full night's rest deals 1 point of Primal (undefined damage type) damage, and each additional hour deals twice the damage taken during the previous hour of hustling. Even worse, any character who takes any nonlethal damage from hustling becomes fatigued. The fatigued condition persists until all Primal damage has been healed.
- Run: A character can't run for an extended period of time. Attempts to run and rest in cycles effectively work out to a hustle.
|Speed||5 ft||10-20 ft||25-30 ft||35-40 ft||45-50 ft||55-60 ft||65-70 ft||75-80 ft||85-90 ft||95-100 ft||105-120 ft||125-140 ft||145-160 ft||165-180 ft||185-200 ft||205ft +|
|Walk||.5 miles||2 miles||3 miles||4 miles||5 miles||6 miles||7 miles||8 miles||9 miles||10 miles||15 miles||20 miles||25 miles||30 miles||40 miles||50 miles|
|Hustle||1 mile||4 miles||6 miles||8 miles||10 miles||12 miles||14 miles||16 miles||18 miles||20 miles||30 miles||40 miles||50 miles||60 miles||80 miles||100 miles|
|Walk||4 miles||16 miles||24 miles||32 miles||40 miles||48 miles||56 miles||64 miles||72 miles||80 miles||120 miles||160 miles||200 miles||240 miles||320 miles||400 miles|
- Note: The Movement and Distance chart is fairly self-explanatory, but a note is in order about the 'Move 5 ft' column. This column assumes the characters are attempting to move a long distance through Impeded Terrain. A real-world example would be climbing Mount Everest. Mountain climbing is a classic example where it takes a full round effort to move five feet, and doing so all day long will get you a scant four miles, and looking at the table below, doing this in trackless mountains lowers that to a paltry two miles. This seems terrible, and it is. Moving long distances through impeded terrain is punitive and awful, and unless there's a really good reason, players should not try it. Or, get some way of bypassing that terrible terrain. Just ride the eagles, guys. Now, if the GM wants a story of truly epic struggle, that's fine, but it's going to be a brutal slog.
- Terrain: The terrain through which a character travels affects the distance he can cover in an hour or a day (see Table: Terrain and Overland Movement). A highway is a straight, major, paved road. A road is typically a dirt track. A trail is like a road, except that it allows only single-file travel and does not benefit a party traveling with vehicles. Trackless terrain is a wild area with no paths.
Table: Terrain and Overland Movement Terrain Highway Road or Trail Trackless Desert, Sandy x1 x1/2 x1/2 Forest x1 x1 x1/2 Hills x1 x3/4 x1/2 Jungle x1 x3/4 x1/4 Moor x1 x1 x3/4 Mountains x3/4 x3/4 x1/2 Plains x1 x1 x3/4 Swamp x1 x3/4 x1/2 Tundra, frozen x1 x3/4 x3/4
- Forced March: In a day of normal walking, a character walks for 8 hours. The rest of the daylight time is spent making and breaking camp, resting, and eating. A character can walk for more than 8 hours in a day by making a forced march. For each hour of marching beyond 8 hours, the character takes 2d6 points of Primal (undefined damage type) damage and becomes fatigued until such time as all Primal damage is healed. It is possible for a character to march into unconsciousness by pushing themselves too hard.
- Mounted Movement: Mounts tend to have better move speeds than characters traveling on foot, and unless the mount specifically states otherwise, it provides no additional benefits to overland movement. Mounts can be coerced to hustle, or even forced march. Since mounts have no hit points of their own (they share the rider's hit points), Primal damage caused by hustling or forced marching is applied the same way as described above, except that the mount is also fatigued, which negatively affects Ride and Handle Animal skill checks.
- Vehicle Movement: Ships, and other vehicles that are propelled by means other than draft animals, may be capable of operating non-stop for all 24 hours of a day. In such a case, their overland movement numbers are tripled when calculating the distance traveled per day. Some examples are listed below:
Table: Overland Travel By Vehicle Vehicle Per Hour Per Day Cart or wagon 2 miles 16 miles Raft or barge (poled or towed) 1/2 mile 5 miles Keelboat (rowed) 1 mile 10 miles Rowboat (rowed) 1-1/2 miles 15 miles Sailing ship (sailed) 2 miles 48 miles Warship (sailed and rowed) 2-1/2 miles 60 miles Longship (sailed and rowed) 3 miles 72 miles Galley (rowed and sailed) 4 miles 96 miles
Space and Reach
All figures are considered to occupy a given amount of space on the battlefield. Creatures of Size Medium and Size Small take up a single 5-foot square, and that square is often called a space. Confusingly, smaller creatures take up a smaller space: Tiny creatures take up a 2 1/2 by 2 1/2 foot space, Diminutive creatures take up a 1 foot by 1 foot space, and Fine creatures, no matter how tiny, are defined to take up a 1/2 foot by 1/2 foot space.
This means that small creatures can effectively fit multiple creatures into a 5x5 square. The space of smaller creatures were carefully chosen such they neatly "pack" into a 5x5 square. Thus, 4 tiny creatures fit into a five foot square, 25 Diminutive, and 100 Fine creatures could fit into a five foot square. For practical reasons, it is recommended that no more than four creatures be allowed into one space, no matter how tiny.
Size Fine Creatures
- Occupies a space of ½-foot by ½-foot, and only has reach within the confines of its own space.
- Note: Sized-fine creatures are frequently much smaller than 6-inches in size, but they require this much 'elbow room' to properly maneuver, unless they are part of a swarm.
- Can fit into a gap at least a ½-foot wide in all dimensions without squeezing.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 3 inches wide in all dimensions, but suffers the penalties for squeezing while doing so.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 1 inch wide in all dimensions, but it is considered impeded terrain, in addition to the normal squeezing penalties.
- Can share a 5-foot square with up to three other creatures without squeezing, regardless of the size of the other creatures.
- If the Size-Fine creature is a player character (does not apply to monsters or summoned creatures):
Size Diminutive Creatures
- Occupies a space of 1-foot by 1-foot, and only has reach within the confines of its own space.
- Can fit into a gap at least 1-foot wide in all dimensions without squeezing.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least a ½-foot wide in all dimensions, but suffers the penalties for squeezing while doing so.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 3 inches wide in all dimensions, but it is considered impeded terrain, in addition to the normal squeezing penalties.
- Can share a 5-foot square with up to three other creatures without squeezing, regardless of the size of the other creatures.
- If the Size-Diminutive creature is a player character (does not apply to monsters or summoned creatures):
Size Tiny Creatures
- Occupies a space of 2 ½-feet by 2 ½-feet, and only has reach within the confines of its own space.
- Can fit into a gap at least 2 ½ feet wide in all dimensions without squeezing.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 1-foot wide in all dimensions, but suffers the penalties for squeezing while doing so.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least a ½-foot wide in all dimensions, but it is considered impeded terrain, in addition to the normal squeezing penalties.
- Can share a 5-foot square with up to one other sized-tiny creature without squeezing.
- If the Size-Tiny creature is a player character (does not apply to monsters or summoned creatures):
Size Small Creatures
- Occupies a space of 5-feet by 5-feet (just as a Sized-Medium creature), and has 5-feet of reach (all squares adjacent to its space).
- Can fit into a gap at least 5-feet wide in all dimensions without squeezing.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 2 ½-feet wide in all dimensions, but suffers the penalties for squeezing while doing so.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 1 foot wide in all dimensions, but it is considered impeded terrain, in addition to the normal squeezing penalties.
- Cannot share squares with other creatures without squeezing, unless those other creatures are at least two size categories smaller than the Size Small creature.
- If the Size-Small creature is a player character (does not apply to monsters or summoned creatures):
Size Medium Creatures
- Occupies a space of 5-feet by 5-feet, and has 5-feet of reach (all squares adjacent to its space).
- Can fit into a gap at least 5-feet wide in all dimensions without squeezing.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 2 ½-feet wide in all dimensions, but suffers the penalties for squeezing while doing so.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 1 foot wide in all dimensions, but it is considered impeded terrain, in addition to the normal squeezing penalties.
- Cannot share squares with other creatures without squeezing, unless those other creatures are at least two size categories smaller than the Size Medium creature.
- If the Size-Medium creature is a player character (does not apply to monsters or summoned creatures):
- Receives a no size bonuses or penalties.
On the flip side of the coin, big creatures take up more space on the battlefield.
Size Large Creatures
- Occupies a space of 10-feet by 10-feet (2x2x2 squares), and typically has 10-feet of reach (all squares within 10 feet of its space).
- Can fit into a gap at least 10-feet wide in all dimensions without squeezing.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 5-feet wide in all dimensions, but suffers the penalties for squeezing while doing so.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 2 ½-feet wide in all dimensions, but it is considered impeded terrain, in addition to the normal squeezing penalties.
- Cannot share squares with other creatures without squeezing, unless those other creatures are at least two size categories smaller than the Size Large creature.
- If the Size-Large creature is a player character (does not apply to monsters or summoned creatures):
Size Huge Creatures
- Occupies a space of 15-feet by 15-feet (3x3x3 squares), and typically has 15-feet of reach (all squares within 15 feet of its space).
- Can fit into a gap at least 15-feet wide in all dimensions without squeezing.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 10-feet wide in all dimensions, but suffers the penalties for squeezing while doing so.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 5-feet wide in all dimensions, but it is considered impeded terrain, in addition to the normal squeezing penalties.
- Cannot share squares with other creatures without squeezing, unless those other creatures are at least two size categories smaller than the Size Huge creature.
- If the Size-Huge creature is a player character (does not apply to monsters or summoned creatures):
Size Gargantuan Creatures
- Occupies a space of 20-feet by 20-feet (4x4x4 squares), and typically has 20-feet of reach (all squares within 20 feet of its space).
- Can fit into a gap at least 20-feet wide in all dimensions without squeezing.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 15-feet wide in all dimensions, but suffers the penalties for squeezing while doing so.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 10-feet wide in all dimensions, but it is considered impeded terrain, in addition to the normal squeezing penalties.
- Cannot share squares with other creatures without squeezing, unless those other creatures are at least two size categories smaller than the Size Gargantuan creature.
- If the Size-Gargantuan creature is a player character (does not apply to monsters or summoned creatures):
Size Colossal Creatures
- Occupies a space of 25-feet by 25-feet (5x5x5 squares), and typically has 25-feet of reach (all squares within 25 feet of its space).
- Can fit into a gap at least 25-feet wide in all dimensions without squeezing.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 20-feet wide in all dimensions, but suffers the penalties for squeezing while doing so.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 15-feet wide in all dimensions, but it is considered impeded terrain, in addition to the normal squeezing penalties.
- Cannot share squares with other creatures without squeezing, unless those other creatures are at least two size categories smaller than the Size Colossal creature.
- If the Size-Colossal creature is a player character (does not apply to monsters or summoned creatures):
Size Titanic Creatures
- Occupies a space of 30-feet by 30-feet (6x6x6 squares), and typically has 30-feet of reach (all squares within 30 feet of its space).
- Can fit into a gap at least 30-feet wide in all dimensions without squeezing.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 25-feet wide in all dimensions, but suffers the penalties for squeezing while doing so.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 20-feet wide in all dimensions, but it is considered impeded terrain, in addition to the normal squeezing penalties.
- Cannot share squares with other creatures without squeezing, unless those other creatures are at least two size categories smaller than the Size Titanic creature.
- If the Size-Titanic creature is a player character (does not apply to monsters or summoned creatures):
Note that creatures can be larger than Titanic, but it is recommended that all larger figures, no matter how large, be represented in table-top play by figures with a base no larger than 6x6.
Size Titanic-Plus Creatures
- Occupies a space of 60-feet by 60-feet (12x12x12 squares), and typically has 60-feet of reach (all squares within 60 feet of its space).
- Can fit into a gap at least 60-feet wide in all dimensions without squeezing.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 30-feet wide in all dimensions, but suffers the penalties for squeezing while doing so.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 25-feet wide in all dimensions, but it is considered impeded terrain, in addition to the normal squeezing penalties.
- Cannot share squares with other creatures without squeezing, unless those other creatures are at least two size categories smaller than the Size Titanic-Plus creature.
- If the Size-Titanic-Plus creature is a player character (does not apply to monsters or summoned creatures):
Size Titanic-Two-Plus Creatures
- Occupies a space of 120-feet by 120-feet (24x24x24 squares), and typically has 120-feet of reach (all squares within 120 feet of its space).
- Can fit into a gap at least 120-feet wide in all dimensions without squeezing.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 60-feet wide in all dimensions, but suffers the penalties for squeezing while doing so.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 30-feet wide in all dimensions, but it is considered impeded terrain, in addition to the normal squeezing penalties.
- Cannot share squares with other creatures without squeezing, unless those other creatures are at least two size categories smaller than the Size Titanic-Two-Plus creature.
- If the Size-Titanic-Two-Plus creature is a player character (does not apply to monsters or summoned creatures):
Size Titanic-Three-Plus Creatures
- Occupies a space of 240-feet by 240-feet (48x48x48 squares), and typically has 240-feet of reach (all squares within 240 feet of its space).
- Can fit into a gap at least 240-feet wide in all dimensions without squeezing.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 120-feet wide in all dimensions, but suffers the penalties for squeezing while doing so.
- Can squeeze into a gap at least 60-feet wide in all dimensions, but it is considered impeded terrain, in addition to the normal squeezing penalties.
- Cannot share squares with other creatures without squeezing, unless those other creatures are at least two size categories smaller than the Size Titanic-Three-Plus creature.
- If the Size-Titanic-Three-Plus creature is a player character (does not apply to monsters or summoned creatures):
This progression continues to any size you may wish, but you will likely have to resolve combats involving such creatures using the Theatre of the Mind.
Reach is how far away a figure can attack another figure with a melee weapon or other melee attack.
Size Medium and Small creatures have a reach of five feet. That is, they can attack into (and thus threaten) all squares that are adjacent to their space.
Size Tiny and smaller figures have no effective reach. They cannot reach into adjacent squares far enough to effectively attack, and therefore they also cannot threaten. For very tiny creatures, they must enter a larger creature's square in order to attack or threaten it. Entering another hostile creature's space requires a Might check to Clamber, no matter the size difference, unless you are the larger creature and you are big enough to perform a Stepover (i.e. at least 2 size categories larger than the creature you are stepping over). If you wish to move through a hostile creature's space, you must declare an Overrun (which requires a Movement check to perform).
A creature always has Reach to all portions of its own space, and therefore can threaten all squares that are within its space.
Big creatures typically have a longer reach. As a general guideline, creatures typically have a reach equal to the side of their space. That is, Size-Large creatures reach ten feet, Huge creatures reach 15 feet, Gargantuan creatures reach 20 feet, Colossal creatures reach 25 feet, and Titanic creatures reach 30 feet. This is not written in stone, however, and every monster should be referred to in their writeup for what their reach is and how they threaten.
You create a flank any time you have maneuvered on the battlefield in such a way as to inconvenience your opponent due to the threatening actions of yourself and your allies. Flanking is the most common way in which teamwork with your friends provides you with a tangible in-game benefit.
If you have a flank against an enemy creature, you gain a +2 flanking bonus to your attack rolls against the creature. The same is true for your ally who is also flanking the creature.
Flanking only counts for melee attacks within your threatened area. If you do not threaten, you cannot flank or gain benefits from a flank. In order to threaten, you must be proficiently wielding a weapon capable of doing lethal damage in one or more of your hands, and able to perceive the target in some way. Some classes, feats, and racial abilities may present other ways to threaten squares.
To determine whether you have a flank, both you and an ally must be threatening the same creature. Trace a line from the center of a square you occupy to the center of a square your ally occupies, and if that line passes through opposite sides or opposite corners of the enemy's space, you have a flank against that enemy.
Corner squares ONLY flank with the opposite corner squares. Thus, a line which passes through a side of the creature's space and exits out a corner of its space (or passes through a corner of the creature's space and exits out a side of its space) is not a flank.
If your line to determine a flank enters the side of a target creature's space and exits an adjacent side (i.e. through the south edge of the creature's space, and out the east or west edge of its space) it is not a flank. Also, any line which passes directly along the border of a target creature's space is not a flank.
However, when determining a flank against a size-large or larger creature, you only have to be able to trace the line against any portion of the opposite side of its space. This means that, against larger creatures, it is usually easier to establish a flank against its side squares than its corner squares.
Only allies which threaten the creature you are threatening can provide flanks. NPC's who are not allies, or allies who are not threatening the creature in question, cannot contribute to a flank. Creatures not wielding a weapon which threatens, or that have a reach of 0 can't flank an opponent because they don't threaten adjacent squares. (Such creatures only threaten squares in their own space.)
If a creature is size-large or larger, it can choose which of the squares in its space it wishes to determine flanks from (i.e. it does not draw its line from the center of its total space, but from the center of any one square within its space). Thus, larger creatures often have an easier time flanking smaller creatures.
If a single square contains more than one creature, and you establish a legal flank to that square, you flank all creatures in that square.
Reach and Flanking
Creatures with reach (or reach weapons) don't have to be adjacent to a creature they're attempting to flank.
In addition, when determining whether they flank a creature or not, they can trace a line from any corner of their own space to any corner of an ally's space who is also threatening the target creature. If this line passes through opposite sides (or opposite corners) of the creature they are attempting to flank, it is a successful flank. As with normal flanks, a line that only passes through adjacent sides of a target creature's space, or only passes directly along a target creature's border, does not grant a flank.
Note that size large or larger creatures with reach can start this line from any corner of any square they occupy.
In cases where there are very large size differences between foes on the field (i.e. 2 size categories or more), it is possible for smaller foes to be inside the space of a larger figure. In such cases, then neither figure is considered to be Squeezing.
This often occurs because the larger creature makes use of the Stepover feature to move over top of, stop in the space of, or move past a sufficiently small creature.
For a smaller creature to enter a larger creature's space requires the Clamber feature of Might. Creatures wishing to pass all the way through another creature's space must use the Overrun maneuver. Simply avoiding attacks of opportunity while moving through threatened squares requires the Tumbling feature of Acrobatics.
While inside the space of a creature two size categories larger than itself (or more), a smaller creature can gain internal flanking against the larger creature if he has an ally that threatens the larger creature from any space.
The larger creature flanks the smaller (internal) creature if any of the larger creature's allies are able to threaten the square the smaller creature occupies. The larger creature's ally also gets a flank against the smaller (internal) creature, in this case.
ALL of any creature's occupied squares are considered to be part of its threatened squares.
Alternative Movement Types
A number of alternative movement types exist, allowing a wide variety of surfaces and environments to be more efficiently navigated. Note that these movement types do not provide any useful benefits to movement outside of their native element. That is, a creature with flight is not a better swimmer because of it, and similarly, a creature with earth glide can't move through the air unless it also has flight.
Combining Movement Types
If a creature has more than one movement type, it may sometimes wish to use more than one movement type during a single move action. This is allowed, using the following rules:
- 1. The cost to enter each square in the creature's path is subtracted from the speed of all movement types the creature possesses, regardless of which type of movement is used to actually enter that square. Difficult terrain or other movement-impairing obstacles are counted in the cost to enter the square.
- 2. Once a movement type has had its speed reduced to 0, it can no longer be used during this move action. Remaining movement types with available speed can still be used, if the appropriate terrain is available in the next square of the chosen path.
- 3. A creature must end its movement in its current square if the next square it wishes to enter requires a movement type whose remaining speed has been reduced to 0.
- As a single move action, that creature could Walk on the ground up to 30 feet, and if the next square it entered was swimmable water (e.g. a lake), it could swim up to 90 additional feet during the same move action.
- If the lake requires more than 30 feet of Walk speed to get to, the creature cannot reach the lake in a single move action, even though it still has Lesser Swim speed available to it.
- Conversely, if it uses a move action to first swim 35 or more feet, it cannot use its Walk speed during any later portion of that move action, as its Walk speed has been reduced to 0.
Special Movement Rules
If your character is carrying enough weight, their movement will be slowed. There are three categories of encumbrance, Light, Medium, and Heavy. The pound value of these categories are determined by the character's Strength score on the Carrying Capacity table. This number can be increased by increasing the character's Strength score, or by placing one or more skill ranks into the Might skill. Some magic items may also improve a character's carrying capacity.
Each of the encumbrance categories affects your movement exactly as the armor of the same name category. Namely, Medium encumbrance reduces your movement by five feet if your base move is above 20 feet, and Heavy encumbrance reduces your movement by ten feet if your Walk speed is above 20 feet and five feet otherwise. Note that these movement penalties stack with the movement penalties for wearing medium or heavy armor!
For example: Wearing heavy armor and carrying enough weight to place you in Medium encumbrance reduces your movement by 15 feet if your Walk speed is above twenty feet or 10 feet if your Walk speed is twenty feet or below.
If these penalties reduce your base move to zero, you can no longer use a move action to move. You must now use a standard action to move five feet, and can move no more than five feet per round unless you use an action point to take two standard actions in a round.
In addition to the above effects, weight-based encumbrance lowers your speed when you take a Run action. A normal Run action is made at 5x the character's Walk speed. However, if that character has medium encumbrance, the multiplier is reduced by one to x4. Heavy weight encumbrance lowers the Run multiplier by two to x3. These penalties also stack with the reductions from wearing medium (-1 to the multiplier) or heavy armor (-2 to the multiplier). As a result, a creature wearing heavy armor and carrying a heavy encumbrance has a Run multiplier of only x1, meaning they gain no additional speed when performing the Run action.
Entering a square which requires you to squeeze counts as difficult terrain.
If you end your turn in the same space as another creature, and each of you normally takes up the full space, you are both considered to be squeezing. Squeezing can only occur if the two creatures sharing a space both agree to allow that to happen, or one creature is unable to prevent it (such as being unconscious or stunned). Even if one of the two creatures sharing a space is prone, both creatures are treated as squeezing. However, if one of the creatures is dead, the squeezing rules do not apply. Instead, the dead creature is treated as rough terrain (GM's may elect to ignore the 'dead creatures are rough terrain' rule, since it's kind of annoying to keep track of).
Squeezing can also occur when a character tries to fit through a space that is designed for creatures one size category smaller than he is, but wider than his head. No creature can pass through a space narrower than its head (unless it has some special ability allowing it to break this rule). An example of a narrow space might be a door designed for size-small creatures. A medium-sized creature could fit through there, but their ability to attack or defend themselves while doing so would be greatly impaired. A large-sized creature couldn't fit through the size-small door at all.
Squeezing: Entering a square which requires squeezing is treated as difficult terrain. While squeezing, a creature suffers a -4 penalty to attack rolls and a -4 penalty to AC.
Creatures that fall onto a solid surface take 1d6 points of damage per 10 feet fallen, to a maximum determined by the GM. In normal air on the Prime Material, the normal maximum for falling damage is 20d6. Falling in the Aether, where there is no normal air, may have no maximum limit at all, while falling in the Plane of Earth might be flat-out impossible. This may also be modified by the surface being impacted. Falling onto jagged broken obsidian shards might add +2 per die, a jumble of broken tree-trunks or solid stone may add +1 per die. Normal unremarkable 'ground' is base damage. Soft loam or deep grass might remove -1 per die. Falling allows no saving throw to reduce the damage, although you may attempt an Acrobatics check to take some of the sting off (see below). Falling damage is a form of uncommon physical damage, related to, but different from, bludgeoning damage. Creatures that sustain damage from a fall (after any mitigation they might have, such as DR) also gains the prone condition.
If a character deliberately jumps instead of merely slipping or falling, the first 10 feet of the fall inflict no damage. A DC 15 Acrobatics check allows the character to avoid any damage from the second 10 feet as well. Thus, a character who slips from a ledge 30 feet up takes 3d6 falling (physical, uncommon) damage. If the same character deliberately jumps, they take 2d6 points of falling damage. If that character leaps down with a successful Acrobatics check, they take only 1d6 points of falling damage from the plunge. In all three scenarios, since the character takes damage, they would also fall prone, unless they could somehow reduce that damage to zero through some mitigation such as DR.
A character cannot cast a spell while falling, unless the fall is greater than 500 feet or the spell is an immediate action, such as Feather Fall (Sorcerer/Wizard Spell). Casting a spell while falling requires a Caster Check to concentrate with a DC equal to 10 + (spell level x 4). Casting Teleport (Sorcerer/Wizard Spell) or a similar spell while falling does not end your momentum, it just changes your location, meaning that you still take Falling Damage, even if you arrive atop a solid surface.
Adventurers frequently bash themselves into things through various circumstances. For example, a Barbarian sees a Drow Matriarch with no escorts, so he charges her full speed...only to find the Force Wall in the way. He smashes into the wall full speed, but how much does that hurt? This is treated as a collision, which is a more general case of Falling damage. In this case, since he was in a Charge maneuver, he was not considered to be moving cautiously. As a result, he takes 1d6 of damage per ten feet of his speed at the moment of the collision. If he has a base speed of 50 feet and a Haste spell to raise his speed to 80, then he takes 8d6 from this collision. Ouch.
It's made even worse by the Matriarch laughing....
Note that charges, overruns and other deliberate cases of a character ramming into things never causes damage to the character who instigates it, nor are the collision rules applied to the creature or object being rammed into. Collision rules only apply if the collision is unexpected, or outside of the control of the character. Combat maneuvers already deal damage, so the harm caused by an overrun is already built into the rules of that maneuver.
Collisions only happen when you are not moving in a cautious way. If you are swept away by a raging current or massive blast of wind in the Plane of Air, you are not moving cautiously. If you are making a Charge, you are not moving cautiously. Beware the Run maneuver! Running is VERY fast movement, and since you lose your Dex, you are not considered to be cautious. Running full speed into a Wall of Force can be deadly. The GM adjudicates any strange or unusual cases.
If a character is moving in a cautious manner, i.e., a normal move at his base speed, he would take no damage at all from bumping into things; the reward for moving cautiously! Note that making a double-move (converting your standard action to a move action and moving twice) is also considered cautious movement.
Collisions most obviously occur when a player character fails a Ride skill roll or is otherwise dismounted and falls off a horse or other mount. To put it mildly, falling off a horse at a full gallop, even though it is only a few feet down, still hurts a LOT. Similarly, falls off wagons and other close-to-the ground vehicles are resolved using collision rules, as are cases where wagons run into you. Indeed, collisions are used for many things, such as being swept away down a boulder-strewn gully by a flash flood, or being run over by a huge round stone that rolled out of the ceiling in a lost temple, or when that nobles carriage runs wild down the streets, or even when the hapless adventurer is being dragged along the ground behind a racing horse. Any time an object bangs into an adventurer in an uncontrolled and violent fashion, this can be resolved using these collision rules.
Note, being dragged by a horse really sucks; you want to get out of that as soon as possible.
Collisions rarely occur between creatures, who are assumed to duck, dodge, or otherwise allow a hurtling character to pass by.
Falling into Water
Falls into water are handled somewhat differently. If the water is at least 10 feet deep, the first 20 feet of falling does no damage. The next 20 feet of falling deals half normal falling damage (1d3 per 10-foot increment). Beyond that, falling damage is resolved as normal (1d6 per additional 10-foot increment).
Characters who deliberately dive into water take no damage on a successful DC 15 Movement check or DC 15 Acrobatics check, so long as the water is at least 10 feet deep for every 30 feet fallen. The DC of the check, however, increases by 5 for every 50 feet of the dive. See Acrobatics for more details.
Thrown or Dropped Objects
|Titanic and larger||+34d6|
Just as characters take damage when they fall more than 10 feet, so too do they take damage when they are hit by thrown or dropped objects. Note that thrown or dropped object damage is resolved differently from collisions, because such objects are typically thrown by a bad guy, rather than being environmental hazards. Note further that it is possible to have an environmental falling object, such as a tree toppling in a storm, which is resolved via slightly different rules, since there's no bad guy to make a touch attack.
Objects thrown or dropped upon characters deal damage based on their size and the distance they have fallen. The table above details how much damage such an object inflicts. The nature of the object can raise or lower this damage. A nice, soft mass of falling feathers might do -2 points per die, while loose brush and debris does -1 per die. Thrown or dropped objects that are exceptionally dense, strong, and hard, like solid boulders, might inflict +1 points per die, while objects specifically intended to cause harm in a fall, like pointy stone stalactites, a portcullis, or a pile driver, might inflict +2 points per die.
Dropping an object on, or throwing an object at, a creature requires a ranged touch attack. Such attacks generally have a range increment of 20 feet. If an extremely large object is being thrown at you it affects an area, and the attacker may roll to-hit against all creatures in the area. What fun!
NOTE: Falling objects that are part of a trap use the trap rules instead of these general guidelines.
Some terrain is too tricky to move through at normal speed. Such terrain is called "difficult" though this can encompass many scenarios: obstacles, slippery or unstable footing, steep slopes, etc. When moving through difficult terrain, each square moved into counts as two squares (10 feet), effectively reducing the distance that a character can cover in a move. Characters cannot run or charge through difficult terrain, nor can they take 5-foot steps.
Sometimes the terrain is so difficult that you must clamber over it on hands and knees, rather than just carefully navigating it. Examples include junk-strewn rooms, vine-choked jungles, or waist-deep bogs. A creature wishing to move through such terrain must use a full-round action to move 5 feet. This is not treated as a 5-foot step and does provoke attacks of opportunity. Creatures attempting to move through impeded terrain cannot run or charge through such terrain, nor can they maintain any stances, including stealth.
Note that impeded terrain is not the same as blocked terrain, such as walls, locked doors or closed portcullises.
Some impeded terrain may allow an Acrobatics (if obstacles), Might (if climbing) or Movement (if swimming or flying) check to move more than 5 feet per full-round action, at the GM's discretion. As a general rule, however, spending a full round to move 5 feet does not require any sort of skill check.
Blocked terrain is terrain it is impossible to move into without such things as incorporeal powers, burrowing, earth glide, extremely small size, extremely large size, etc. Note that teleport can move through blocked terrain as long as line of sight and line of effect rules are satisfied. Further note that many types of blocked terrain also block line of sight and/or line of effect. The GM adjudicates any unusual cases. Examples of blocked terrain include solid walls, natural stone or dirt, doors, shutters, gates, and portcullises, roofs and roads, pillars, columns, and statues, etc.
Note that weapons with the Unwieldy quality, such as the Long Whip, cannot be used while adjacent to blocked terrain. Weapons with the Cumbersome quality, such as the Great Whip, suffer a -4 penalty to attack rolls made while adjacent to blocked terrain.
On a square grid, in clear terrain, a character may move into any of the eight squares adjacent to their current square. Sometimes, however, a character will want to move diagonally from one space to another, and a blocked space will occupy a space in between. Cutting a corner of a blocked space may or may not be possible, depending on the object causing the space to be blocked.
If the blocked space which you are attempting to move diagonally past is completely filled, such as the corner of a dressed stone hallway, then you cannot cut a corner to skim past that space. Most buildings and man-made areas feature corners which cannot be cut.
If the space is blocked but not completely filled, such as a rounded cave wall, a statue, a large tree or rounded pillar, then you can still cut the corner to move diagonally past it.
Note that cutting a corner around a blocked space isn't a way to pass through blocked terrain, it is a way of skirting the edges of it. Thus, you cannot cut a corner to somehow pass through a portcullis or closed door.
Some squares, such as pit openings, lava or the edge of a cliff, or a trapped space are considered hazardous terrain. While the exact effects of moving into a hazardous terrain space can vary, they are inevitably undesirable. Hazardous terrain is not the same as difficult, impeded or blocked terrain, as a character can freely move into spaces of hazardous terrain; they just don't want to. Weapons with the Unwieldy or Cumbersome qualities treat adjacent hazardous terrain as a normal space and can operate unimpeded.
An occupied square is any square which falls within the allocated space for a creature's Size. Medium and smaller creatures Occupy one square. Large creatures occupy 4 squares, Huge creatures occupy nine squares, Gargantuan creatures occupy sixteen squares, Colossal creatures occupy twenty-five squares, and Titanic creatures occupy thirty-six squares. Note that occupied squares are NOT blocked, impassable, impeded, or even difficult terrain simply because they are occupied. To enter another creatures squares is not simple, but is possible. Refer to the sections on squeezing, stepover, acrobatics, internal flanking, threatened area, etc.
To threaten an area, a creature must be capable of inflicting harm upon a foe in a legal fashion as a reactive action, namely, be able to take attacks of opportunity. Usually this requires a creature to be proficiently wielding a melee weapon or possess natural attacks. Ranged attacks almost never threaten squares, and if they do, require special abilities or feats to do so.
Creatures who can make legal attacks of opportunity threaten all spaces they have Reach to and all spaces they occupy. Yes, moving around inside the space of a hostile creature provokes attacks of opportunity, so be careful when seeking that internal flank.
Most forced movement is handled via the Combat Maneuver system, but there is an added class of "automatic" forced movement which is occasionally available via spells, class abilities, monster powers, etc. All forced movement allows the attacking creature to move an enemy one or more squares from its current location.
It is not normally possible to resist forced movement at all, unless you have a special power or ability which specifically opposes such movement. No matter how the forced movement is inflicted, either by Combat Manuevers, spells, class abilities, etc, all forced movement is resisted by any special powers or abilities that resist forced movement. Such resistance applies after Maneuver Offense vs Maneuver Defense rolls are resolved. Note that forced movement reductions stack, so if a character has a means of reducing forced movement from more than one source, such as a class ability or magic item, the character uses the sum of the reductions offered.
Forced movement ignores the penalties to movement for rough terrain, but must be into unoccupied squares of a size and shape equal to the creature being forcibly moved. If there are no unoccupied squares available for the creature to be legally forced into, the forced movement does not take place.
A creature subjected to forced movement may elect to fall prone at any time during the forced movement (including its starting square), immediately ending the forced movement. This tactic is especially useful to avoid being forced into a hazardous square, such as a pit or a trap.
A creature which has voluntarily dropped to Prone can elect to ignore any forced movement inflicted upon it as long as it remains prone. However, a creature which was made prone involuntarily gains no such resistance to forced movement until it has had an opportunity to stand up (usually a move action). Note the creature doesn't need to stand up (and, indeed, doing so would remove its resistance to forced movement), merely have the action available that would allow it to stand up.
Creatures which are immune to prone can still use this option and are not prone afterwards, making them incidentally immune to forced movement. Monsters with roles that render them immune to status conditions can use this tactic, for example. Tank role monsters are immune to all status conditions, so they can use the 'fall prone' election to stop forced movement at any time, and then are not prone, and can do it again as often as required.
Forced movement never provokes attacks of opportunity, unless there is a feat or ability in play which pierces this.
- A Push is forced movement in which a creature is moved by an attacker in a path away from the attacker. Each square of this forced movement must be further away from the attacker's square(s) than the square being exited. If any squares in the desired path are blocked or occupied by any creatures (friend or foe) the push ends in the square prior to this obstruction.
- A Pull is forced movement in which a creature is moved by an attacker in a path toward the attacker. Each square of this forced movement must be closer to the attacker's square(s) than the square being exited. If a pulled creature is already adjacent to your space, you can continue to pull them into any other square adjacent to your own space within the range of the pull. If any squares in the desired path are blocked or occupied by any creatures (friend or foe) the pull ends in the square prior to this obstruction.
- A Slide is forced movement in which a creature is moved by an attacker in any path the attacker wishes. If any squares in the desired path are blocked or occupied by any creatures (friend or foe) the slide ends in the square prior to this obstruction.
Three Dimensional Movement
For three dimensional movement, the '1 for 1 counting rules' in Epic Path greatly simplify calculating ranges. The reason is simple: In 1 for 1 counting rules, the different altitudes can be ignored, as long as the difference in altitude is equal to or less than the difference between the figures. A few moments spent looking at a battle mat will demonstrate why this is true, and will explain why Epic Path simplifies this game mechanic.
For example, a ranger wants to shoot an orc who is hiding thirty feet high in a tree. In 1 for 1 counting rules, as long as the ranger is thirty feet or more away from the base of the tree, the range is simply defined as the range to the tree's square. If the ranger is closer than thirty feet to the base of the tree, the range is simply thirty feet, no matter where he moves around the base of the tree. This is a tremendous simplification and makes gameplay much faster and smoother. This example illustrates the simplification for 3d distances: choose the greater of the horizontal distance, or the vertical distance, and that is the range. The diagonal component is ignored. Trigonometry is evil!
For this reason, it is strongly recommended that referees enforce 'altitude ceilings' in three dimensional encounters. This is readily accomplished inside large buildings and caves, etc. Outdoors, in pure aerial combats, it is usually simplest to abstract 'up' and 'down', so that the maximum distance between two combatants is always defined as the distance between their figures on the map. Alternatively, the referee may rule by fiat that cloud cover, or a tree canopy, or hazardous smoke/vapor, etc, limits the maximum altitude at which combat is possible.
If these rules are followed, then range and area of effect in three-dimensional movement is no different than in 2-dimensional movement. All squares are visualized as cubes. Moving from cube to cube may be done from face-to-face, or edge to edge, or corner to corner. All moves and ranges are counted as 1 for 1.
As a corollary to this, when three dimensional movement is being used, all characters are considered to be represented as cubes in space, not squares on the map. The cube is a number of squares high equal to the number of squares per side of the figure's size. Note that if Mounts are being used, 3d space is assumed, so that the players normal space is merged into the Mounts space.
Thus, a small or medium creature occupies a cube five feet on a side. A large creature occupies a cube ten feet on a side. A huge creature occupies a cube fifteen feet on a side. Larger creatures continue using this same progression. For game balance reasons, the same number of smaller creatures will fill a cube as fill a same size square. Two Small creatures may occupy a five foot cube without squeezing. Four tiny creatures fill a cube, etc. This rule is to prevent dozens and dozens of enemies from filling a single space.
This system makes it much easier to accommodate feats of derring-do. For example, how high up is a Huge Elephant's back? Fifteen feet! So if a player character jumps to the back of an elephant, that is how far away they are from the ground. The bottom of the character's cube rests upon the top of the elephants cube, and reach and range are determined accordingly. (In this example, the Elephant is not a Mount, obviously. Unless you tame it. Handle Animal is pretty awesome!)
All cubes that border either a side, edge, or corner are considered adjacent in three dimensional movement.
Reach now affects all adjacent cubes, including the one above your head (and beneath your feet) as well as the ones above and below your adjacent squares.
Areas of effect, defined above as squares, are simply counted as cubes in three dimensional movement. Odd-sized cubes are centered upon a target cube, even-sized cubes are targeted upon the three-axis intersection of eight cubes.
Forced Movement In 3-D
Generally speaking, most forced movement occurs in two dimensions, along the ground. This is true even if the forced movement occurs underwater, as long as the creature being moved is on the bottom of the body of water.
Creatures in the middle of water, with no nearby surfaces, who are subjected to forced movement are moved laterally, as though they were in two dimensions. While this limitation is completely artificial, it makes it simpler to track a battle. Since you can't suffer falling damage when swimming underwater, there's no actual tactical value for treating the environment as truly 3-D, even though it is. Adding 3-D elements to such an encounter needlessly complicates it, without providing any benefit.
In cases where the forced movement occurs to a creature in the air, the forced movement is nearly always directly down. In cases where the type of forced movement (such as a Push) could not be downwards, (for example, a creature on the ground Pushes a creature in the air), then the Pushed creature moves directly up.
Creatures underground cannot be forcibly moved into blocked terrain (such as the ground) even if the acting creature and the target creature have burrowing move speeds (like Earth Glide). Forced movement can never be used to force someone into blocked terrain.
Some special abilities exist which allow forced movement to use three-dimensions. For example, a giant may have the ability to knock a creature up into the air, even when it starts off on the ground. Refer to the special ability for the exact rules to follow in these cases.
GM's should strive to keep this as simple as possible, and limit 3-D forced movement to only directly up or directly down whenever possible. Keep in mind how complicated it can become to track everyone's exact elevation, and evaluate that against how useful or memorable that complexity actually makes the battle. In most cases, 2-D is complicated enough.