One Tumble skill use requires a check (DC 25) to do this:

Tumble at one-half speed through an area occupied by an enemy (over, under, or around the opponent) as part of normal movement, provoking no attacks of opportunity while doing so. Failure means you stop before entering the enemy-occupied area and provoke an attack of opportunity from that enemy. Check separately for each opponent. Each additional enemy after the first adds +2 to the Tumble DC. (Player's Handbook 84)

Abe the Medium human rogue is 10 ft. from his opponent, Bob the Medium human fighter who wields a longsword. Abe takes a move action and uses 10 ft. of his speed 30 ft. to become adjacent to Bob. Then Abe makes a Tumble skill check as described above to move through Bob's space, fails the Tumble skill check, provokes an attack of opportunity from Bob, and stops before he enters Bob's space.

Does Abe's failed attempt to enter Bob's space flat-out end Abe's move action? Or does Abe's failed attempt to enter Bob's space consume 10 ft. of Abe's speed, and Abe can spend his remaining 10 ft. of speed as he wills? Or does Abe's failed attempt consume none of Abe's speed—as Abe didn't actually enter Bob's space after all—, and Abe can spend his remaining 20 ft. of speed as he wills? Or is there another outcome that I've not listed here?

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is the same question... rpg.stackexchange.com/q/122092/9671 \$\endgroup\$
    – Wyrmwood
    May 25, 2018 at 20:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Wyrmwood I don't think this is a duplicate. There's no ready action involved nor are attacks of opportunity made. Similar? I guess in the sense that both are possibly by one reading Does an attempt to do a thing count as doing the thing? but I think there's sufficient differences between the two questions to warrant a separate ask. \$\endgroup\$ May 25, 2018 at 20:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ The other question is broader, since it addresses both readied actions and attacks of opportunity, but while this question certainly addresses a very specific case, I think both questions would benefit from a 30,000 foot view that covers all cases, rather than focus on the subtle differences that, at least in my opinion, should be handled consistently. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wyrmwood
    May 27, 2018 at 16:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Wyrmwood Sincerely, I respect your opinion. Nonetheless, my hope is that this case is addressed somewhere by the rules as it's so specific. Similarly, it feels like to me that, due to its commonality and the very basic nature of the check, it just shouldn't mandate DM intervention like adjudicating the ready action does—like an answer to this and this situation in isolation must exist. Feel free, though, to vote your conscience to close the question as a duplicate or—even better—to answer it! \$\endgroup\$ May 27, 2018 at 16:38

2 Answers 2


I think "Failure means you stop before entering the enemy-occupied area and provoke an attack of opportunity from that enemy" is pretty clear. "Stop" does not mean "consume 10ft of your movement and try again", it means stop.

  • \$\begingroup\$ While I can appreciate this answer's reading of stop, an analysis of the game's use of stop in similar contexts might make this answer more persuasive. \$\endgroup\$ May 28, 2018 at 22:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the burden of proof lies on the other court here. Is there somewhere in the game where "stop" means "keep going"? \$\endgroup\$
    – Yandros
    May 28, 2018 at 22:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Seriously, it's cool if you're satisfied with your answer, but an answer is supposed to stand on its own rather than mandate it be proven wrong by other readers. \$\endgroup\$ May 28, 2018 at 22:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ The only one I can think of is this: "Accidentally Ending Movement in an Illegal Space: Sometimes a character ends its movement while moving through a space where it’s not allowed to stop. When that happens, put your miniature in the last legal position you occupied, or the closest legal position, if there’s a legal position that’s closer." Note how "stop" is used. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yandros
    May 28, 2018 at 22:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ The problem is that the other possible interpretation if "stop" is... not stopping at all. At some point, when there are no rules to clarify, common sense or a dictionary must rule; otherwise you could ask if a banana qualifies as a club and expect the others to come up with a quote from the rules that say otherwise. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yandros
    May 28, 2018 at 22:26


In all cases, readied actions, some immediate actions and attacks of opportunity, game flow is interrupted; an action is started, and that action itself, provokes a response. The response is then resolved, then provided circumstances have not changed, the action that was interrupted continues.

Although an interrupting action is resolved before the action that triggered or provoked it, the response does not retroactively prevent the action from starting.

attack of opportunity

An attack of opportunity "interrupts" the normal flow of actions in the round. If an attack of opportunity is provoked, immediately resolve the attack of opportunity, then continue with the next character’s turn (or complete the current turn, if the attack of opportunity was provoked in the midst of a character’s turn).

readied action

Then, any time before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition. The action occurs just before the action that triggers it.

immediate action

Some special abilities or spells use immediate actions in response to other actions (or consequences of other actions, like damage)

an immediate action can be performed at any time — even if it's not your turn.

In most cases, actions may not be split up, so an interrupted action that cannot be continued is no longer available (lost, consumed, wasted, whatever you want to call it). With Tumbling, it is during a move action that the check may be failed, so provided circumstances no longer prevent it, the move action may continue.

Even though an interrupting action is resolved before the action that elicited it, that eliciting action had to start in order to elicit the response.

Tumbling is not unlike moving out of a threatened square; it is the movement that provokes and it is resolved before leaving the threatened square, even though that action is what caused the provocation.

The Tumbling description does not mention whether or not you have to move back into your square.

Faliure means you stop... and provoke

On the other hand, Overrun does.

If you fail [...] you have to move 5 feet back the way you came, ending your movement there.

As does Bull Rush

If you fail [..], you move 5 feet straight back [..]

If you treat Tumble like Overrun or Bull Rush, then there is a movement cost for entering the square, then failing and going back.

If you treat Tumble like it's written, then you would ignore any movement from the failed attempt.

I think it would be unfair to impose penalties not listed (like interpreting stop as ending your movement), but I do think using the movement cost in Overrun as a guide for tumble makes sense, as both are attempting to move through an enemy's square (as noted in the descriptions under Movement Position and Distance -> Moving through a Square).

As written

If you treat Tumble as written, and different from Bull Rush or Overrun, then in your example, Abe moves 10' then attempts to move into Bob's square, but fails. There is no cost to the attempt, so Abe has 20' of movement left.

As Overrun and Bull Rush

However, if we treat Tumble like Overrun (and Bull Rush); Abe uses 2 squares (10') of movement to approach Bob, two more squares (10') to attempt to move into Bob's square (since it's difficult terrain), where he fails his Tumble and uses two more squares (10') moving back out. If he can otherwise continue (Bob's attack of opportunity didn't change circumstances), Abe would be able to move, although at this point, he's used 30' of a 30' move action.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That last paragraph is genuinely surprising. The text says, "Failure means you stop before entering the enemy-occupied area" (emphasis mine), yet this answer would have that read that as entering anyway? Also, should those parenthetical 5 ft.s be 10 ft.s due to the typical creature's speed reduction for having use the Tumble skill? \$\endgroup\$ May 29, 2018 at 13:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes. It isn't a response if he never entered. Yes, they should be 10'. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wyrmwood
    May 29, 2018 at 16:30

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