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The 5e D&D spell Freedom of Movement says:

The target can also spend 5 feet of movement to automatically escape from nonmagical restraints, such as manacles or a creature that has it grappled.

But, the grappled condition sets a grappled creature's speed to 0. therefore, by the rules as written, doesn't she or he have no movement to spend?

Is there some rule where you can "spend" from your normal base speed even when it is temporarily reduced? Or is this just one of those cases where we all shrug and go "eh, it is obvious what was meant"?

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2 Answers 2

I think this is one of those instances (we've certainly found a few in the past few weeks) where the natural language approach does hurt.

Rather than speed of 0, it should likely be "you can't move by normal means."

It's pretty clear that this is supposed to mean "hey, you get out of the grab and still have 25 (or 20 or whatever) feet of movement left." But it's a bit of an odd way to go here. If we're parsing it exactly as written, then yeah, it doesn't actually work.

So if we're taking a strict RAW approach, this spell doesn't work. This is definitely a case where anyone should be able to see what the spell is supposed to do and apply a fair and just ruling that it allows you to escape and subtracts 5 from your remaining movement. The following wording for the spell indicates the fairly clear mechanical intent:

The target can also automatically escape from nonmagical restraints, such as manacles or a creature that has it grappled. It's remaining speed is reduced by 5 feet.

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The description of the Grappled condition is irrelevant. The text for Freedom of Movement specifically says that it can used to free the target from a grapple. This overrides any implications from the Grappled condition. This is a situation where a general rule (for the Grappled condition) is explicitly set aside by a specific rule (for the Freedom of Movement spell). When a specific rule contradicts a general rule, the specific rule is considered to be authoritative unless developers make their intentions known by providing relevant errata.

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