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One would imagine that movement while squeezing would be somewhat hindered, as making oneself occupy less than their normal space is not an easy task.

In reading comments to a recent answer on the topic of shifting and opportunity attacks, I got to wondering, what restrictions are there actually to your movement while squeezing?

In the squeeze definition, there seems to be no outright restrictions as to what can be done while squeezing, although it does specify that the squeezing action in itself is a move action during which you may only move half your speed. After you've completed that action though, it seems your options are wide open.

One interesting conflict we come into though, is between shift and squeeze. The only benefit to shifting is that it avoids opportunity attacks. However, squeeze specifies:

Provoke Opportunity Attacks: If squeezing causes any part of your space to leave a square adjacent to an enemy, that enemy can make an opportunity attack against you.

Generally, we judge between rules like these by using "specific beats general" but in this case, which is really the more specific?

For that matter, what is the above-quoted squeeze rule addressing? Only the squeeze move action itself, or a penalty of remaining squeezed?

Here's some example scenarios:

A Psion Shardmind (speed 6) is tasked with exploring a mole's home for some treasure the mole has stolen. The burrow is small though, so that the Shardmind cannot fit into it normally. So, he takes a move action to squeeze and enter 3 squares deep into the hole.

In front of him, the hole stretches into the darkness with no apparent branches out for at least 30 feet.

  • Can the Shardmind move his full speed (6), or is he restricted by being squeezed?

As the Shardmind moves deeper into the burrow, the mole pops out in a square adjacent to him. Unfortunately, this particular Psion does not have any melee or close attack powers. (Really, what's a Controller doing solo anyway? But, that's beside the point of this story.) So, he needs to be at least one square away from the mole to attack without provoking an opportunity attack from it.

  • Can the Shardmind shift away from the mole, while squeezed, without provoking an opportunity attack?
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3 Answers

According to the rules on page 292 of the PHB:

  1. Yes. You can move your full speed while squeezing (but not as part of the initial squeeze action).

  2. Yes. You can shift while squeezing, and do not take an opportunity attack for doing so.

The half movement speed and opportunity attacks only apply to the initial act of squeezing. The penalty to attack rolls and combat advantage apply for the full duration of the squeeze.

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You spend a move action to

  1. Squeeze yourself, during which Large and larger creatures may provoke opportunity attacks by "shrinking" away from opponents (the shardmind in the example does not provoke these as he does not reduce the number of squares he occupies).

  2. (Optionally) move half your speed, which may provoke opportunity attacks.

You may then spend additional move actions on this turn or later turns to:

  • Shift 1 square, as normal.
  • Move your speed, as normal.
  • Do anything as you are permitted to do with a move action (like move a stinking cloud), as normal

At any point you may spend a free action to end the squeeze.

So, once you are squeezed, no penalty to movement - the shardmind can move his full speed as normal on any and all subsequent move actions, and can indeed use a move action to shift away from the mole.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think I may have just realized a point of clarification for this question:

Normally, players think of squeezing in the sense of trying to get into small places like burrows and such. These places are still counted as one square in size, but require the special action of squeezing for medium-sized creatures (such as most PCs) to enter.

However, large-sized (or bigger) creatures may actually leave a particular square by squeezing. Therefore, the "opportunity attack" clause was written to address what happens in those cases.

For example, let's take a horse and rider who need to escape a battle by means of a narrow bridge.

    B
    B
   HH
  MHH

In the map above, "B" represents the bridge, "H" represents the horse (which is also space shared by the rider), and "M" represents a monster. All other space is irrelevant, except that spaces to the left and right of the bridge are non-traversable.

In order to move onto the bridge, the horse and rider must first make themselves small enough to fit. This would be done by squeezing, which changes the map to this.

    B
    B
   *H
  M**

Asterisks indicate squares formerly occupied by the horse and rider. This is what the rules mean by "If squeezing causes any part of your space to leave a square adjacent to an enemy..."

Similarly, an opportunity attack would be provoked even if the horse and rider were to squeeze toward the monster, as seen below:

    B
    B
   !*
  MH*

This is because one part of the horse's space, represented by the exclamation point, is leaving a square adjacent to an enemy.

It seems that, after the squeeze action is taken, separate move actions may be used as normal without any restrictions based on RAW.

So, the only way for the horse and rider to get out of this effectively, without provoking an opportunity attack, is to do a triple-move as follows:

  1. MOVE - SHIFT one square eastward, to put space between the horse/rider and the monster.
  2. STANDARD (MOVE) - SQUEEZE into the square directly south of the bridge. Move five squares (standard riding horse is speed 10) onto the bridge as part of this action.
  3. ACTION POINT (RUN) - Haul boogie full speed +2 away for 12 squares!

To address the original scenario:

  • The shardmind may use a move action to walk his full speed, as a separate action after the squeeze action, without needing to first end the squeeze.
  • The shardmind may use a move action to shift without provoking an opportunity attack, as a separate action after the squeeze action, without needing to first end the squeeze.
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