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The Orc's Agressive trait (Volo's Guide to Monsters) lets you use a bonus action to move toward an enemy, as long as you finish closer to him than you started.

Must this movement be in a straight line directly pointed at the enemy (ex: doesn't work if there is an obstacle in the way you could otherwise pass by moving at its side) ?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Which source are you using for the ability? They are both in the Monster Manual and Volo's guide and I think the wording is different. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Jan 28, 2018 at 19:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Volo's wording. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gael L
    Jan 28, 2018 at 19:21

2 Answers 2

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You do not have to move in a straight line.

Aggressive. As a bonus action, you can move up to your speed toward an enemy of your choice that you can see or hear. You must end this move closer to the enemy than you started.

Nothing about this feature indicates that you must move in a straight line. The only condition is that you must end up closer to the enemy than you started. You could actually move away for part of the movement or end up behind the enemy, as long as you are at least 1 square closer (if on a grid) than compared to where you started.

Some DMs might rule that you must move toward the enemy for every square of movement, but even this would not require a straight line (you could use diagonals). I interpret the meaning of moving toward the enemy as a constraint on the entire movement and not on every piece of the movement. The wording is a little ambiguous though, so there is room for differing opinion.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, since there's no set order in which you have to use your regular movement and your bonus action, you could theoretically arrange it such that you ultimately end up farther away from the enemy than when you started your turn. (Though you can't split up the bonus-action movement itself, you can use your regular movement before your Aggressive bonus-action movement or after it, or both if you split up the regular movement.) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jan 28, 2018 at 21:40
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The exact wording is (VGtM p. 120):

Aggressive. As a bonus action, you can move up to your speed toward an enemy of your choice that you can see or hear. You must end this move closer to the enemy than you started.

There is nothing there that says you have to go in a straight line, only that you must move “toward” and “end this move closer”. So long as you don’t move further away during the move (i.e. each step brings you “towards” or, at least, not away) and end up closer, you have met the conditions.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The last sentence is oddly formulated. You CAN move further DURING your move (say to go around an obstacle), as long as you end up closer in the end. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 29, 2018 at 14:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JPChapleau no the sentence says what I want it to say. At my table you can move closer or stay at the same distance but never move away - that’s what “toward” means. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Jan 29, 2018 at 20:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JPChapleauI think that the wording may be to avoid cheese/exploits, in terms of using this additional movement to not just hit that enemy that one can see, but also get well past that enemy and then hit another one further on. (For example, if one is at level 5, fighter, and has two attacks). \$\endgroup\$ Jan 29, 2018 at 23:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Say enemy is behind a wall. I can SEE or HEAR him, if I move around the obstacle (not by shortest route), I can become adjacent to him. I filled all the requirements for the rule: I could see/hear the enemy at the start of my turn, and I end up closer to him (adjacent). \$\endgroup\$ Jan 30, 2018 at 15:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JPChapleau my position is that you don’t have to take the shortest route, you just have to take a route that never increases your distance from the target - that’s what “towards” means. Other people can take your position and that’s fine. Given that you can use normal movement before and after your bonus action the restriction is not onerous. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Jan 30, 2018 at 20:27

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