This question keeps coming up in our groups over and over without a satisfactory conclusion (and frankly quite a few hurt feelings on the part of upset polymorphed players, and the rules lawyers constantly trying to get them to waste a 4th-level spell slot).

What size doors can a Giant Ape (MM, p. 323) squeeze its body through? It is listed as a Huge beast.

I think the question really might come down not to "what is the exact diameter of the ape's head / pelvis / collarbone" but actually one of: "What are the dimensions of the average dungeon door?" Though I suppose some concrete answers to any of these questions would be better than what we've currently got.

  • 4
    The real question is what the doorway is made of, not how large it is. – Joe Sep 25 at 0:03
  • 6
    I feel bad for any DM who has to deal with players whose feelings are hurt when they aren't allowed to squeeze a Uhaul-sized primate through buildings meant for typical-sized humans. Do they treat all such opportunities for creative problem solving as a burden? – Pink Sweetener Sep 25 at 1:14
  • 2
    It's a giant ape. If it wants to go through a wall, it doesn't need a doorway. – Studoku Sep 25 at 15:22

In combat, can squeeze thru a 10' door; out of combat, DM's adjudication

The Player's Handbook has rules for "squeezing" - a character normally requires a space fit for their size (5' for Medium, etc), but can "squeeze" into a space for one size smaller at the cost of it costing extra movement, causing disadvantage, etc.

However, these rules are clearly meant to help adjudicate combat in narrow spaces, or other tense moments where you're trying to move quickly. They don't reasonably apply when the character is at ease.

For example, per these rules a Medium character, like a human, can only squeeze into the space of a Small creature, which is still 5'; they can't go thru 2.5' spaces at all. But in reality, a 2.5' wide hallway, while narrow, is perfectly walkable by an average human; you might brush your arms on the walls, and dashing down it would be troublesome, but that's it. Even a 1' corridor can be used by most people, it just requires a sideways shuffle.

(I recall squeezing myself thru my family home's doggy door many times as a teen, when I'd forget my keys. It was about 1' x 1.5'. Required some gymnastics, but doable.)

So, back to the question at hand - what can a Giant Ape fit thru? Huge creatures are, roughly, 4x larger in every dimension than a Medium creature. This suggests a width of at least 10' across the shoulders (and for an Ape, you probably want to round that up a bit), and a depth, when standing as straight as an Ape can, of at least 4-5'.

So I'd personally say that a Giant Ape could, with effort, squeeze thru a 5' wide door. They'd have to shimmy on the ground for it, tho, and it would take several actions. Note that human-sized doors are not 5' wide, they're usually about 3' wide; I'd rule against squeezing thru that without damaging the doorframe.

So as long as your dungeon has fairly wide doors (or just double doors), the ape could get thru.

  • 6
    It amuses me that most of the other answers here are effectively ruling that humans cannot fit through doors. – Carcer Sep 24 at 23:13
  • 4
    This is an interesting point, but it presents another issue: by this interpretation, medium sized creatures cannot squeeze at all. A medium sized creature can fit into a 5' wide space normally, or squeeze into a space big enough for small creatures (also 5'). Therefor, if we stick to a strict textualist interpretation, medium creatures can never benefit from squeeze. Another reading of the rules, using absurdity avoidance canon, would be to say that humans can squeeze through 2.5' spaces, the next meaningful smaller size down. – Pink Sweetener Sep 24 at 23:23
  • 4
    That is literally what the PHB says (see other answers for more details). But I agree with you in general, and would indeed let them "squeeze" in 2.5' spaces. That doesn't change any part of my answer, tho. – Xanthir Sep 24 at 23:39
  • 2
    In support of your argument (and against my own), the section of the PHB that includes the rules for squeezing begins "Each creature takes up a different amount of space. The Size Categories table shows how much space a creature of a particular size controls in combat. Objects sometimes use the same size categories." Then again, though it is a section heading, this text refers specifically to a table, and size categories are used extensively in out-of-combat contexts. For example, Boots of False Tracks, the Enlarge/Reduce spell, and the Disguise Self spell. – Pink Sweetener Sep 25 at 0:37
  • I would probably rule as DM that going beyond the combat rules for squeezing (as you suggest for the 5' wide door) is going to take some kind of check, especially if there is any time constraint. That matches your personal "required some gymnastics" - people really do get stuck doing this kind of thing and need rescuing. Might be easy (DC 10 Dex, fail by 5 or more and get stuck/Restrained), and easy to resolve (DC 15 Athletics or Acrobatics to escape and re-try), but could be a reasonable principle to bring into a game in case the scenario of ape going through door becomes important/ – Neil Slater Sep 25 at 10:14

A Giant Ape can at best squeeze through a 10' wide door.

PHB page 192 states:

Squeezing into a Smaller Space: A creature can squeeze through a space that is large enough for a creature one size smaller than it. Thus, a Large creature can squeeze through a passage that's only 5 feet wide. While squeezing through a space, a creature must spend 1 extra foot for every foot it moves there, and it has disadvantage on attack rolls and Dexterity saving throws. Attack rolls against the creature have advantage while it’s in the smaller space.

Now let's consult the PHB's table of creature size:

PHB creature size

The space taken up by a Giant Ape (or more accurately, "Huge Ape") is 15'x15'. To find this creature's squeeze width, we just go down one size on the chart to "Large": therefor a huge creature like the Giant Ape can only squeeze through 10' wide spaces.

If you're looking at a dungeon map with 5'x5' grids, consider the following chart from the DMG for another helpful perspective DMG creature size and space chart Superimpose the imprint of that huge-sized creature over your dungeon for standard Giant Ape movement, or superimpose the imprint of the large-sized creature for squeezes. Either way, most published dungeon maps will be difficult if not impossible for such a creature to move through.

And all of this is with the very liberal assumption that a door is equal to 1 square map grid. A 5 foot wide door is very above average, and already that's too small for your large primate friend. Aside from the doors of a cathedral, or any structure that carriages are meant to go inside of (gates, barns, stables etc) there are very few humanoid-sized structures that will have a frame big enough for a giant ape. Of course it is completely up the DM to determine how big the doors are in your world, but note that even for a historical castle's portcullis, a giant ape must use the squeeze feature, so it sees unlikely that they would fit through ordinary interior doors, or even hallways, without some magical size adjustment.

  • 2
    I'd like to point out that by these rules, a Terrasque (70 ft wide, 50 ft tall) could squeeze itself through a 15ft doorway :D – Berry M. Sep 26 at 9:07
  • 1
    @BerryM. It just crumples up like a piece of paper and rolls through. – Suthek Sep 26 at 12:26
  • 2
    @BerryM. :P 70' seems very wide. You sure about that? I see it listed as 70' long on forgottenrealms.wikia. – Pink Sweetener Sep 26 at 13:38
  • 1
    @PinkSweetener Are you fat-shaming a short Terrasque? – Berry M. Sep 26 at 13:44

From this answer to the question "What is 'squeezing'?", we have this reference in the PHB, page 192:

Squeezing into a Smaller Space:
A creature can squeeze through a space that is large enough for a creature one size smaller than it. Thus, a Large creature can squeeze through a passage that's only 5 feet wide. While squeezing through a space, a creature must spend 1 extra foot for every foot it moves there, and it has disadvantage on attack rolls and Dexterity saving throws. Attack rolls against the creature have advantage while it’s in the smaller space.

From the intro to Monster Manual (p. 6) or here in the basic rules, possible creature sizes (in order) are Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge, or Gargantuan, which means that a Huge creature can squeeze through an opening that is large enough for a Large creature, which from the size chart (also in the MM), is 10 ft x 10 ft.

As for the average size of a doorway in a dungeon, it will depend on who it was built for. Usually, humans (or humanoids) are the builders, and so the doorways, unless mentioned as double doors or exceptionally large, are designed for a medium creature to pass through. A dragon's lair or Storm Giant's tower will have their average opening sized appropriately.

Often, the size of a door will be shown on the map by taking up a number of 5' squares (for typical dungeon maps, adjusted if your map uses a different scale).

  • I apologize for the weird links as I am not near my books and have highly restricted Internet, so I had to get creative. I welcome any edits to provide better links from D&D Beyond or similar. – cpcodes Sep 24 at 23:07

What size is the door cannot be answered except for by the DM. There is no concrete answer in universe for door sizes. The door created by a Fire Giant is different to the door created by a gnome.
At the same time, a dungeon occupied by an Ancient Dragon would be chosen in part because it is large enough for their size. Just as a dungeon occupied by goblins does for them.

Squeezing into a Smaller Space:

A creature can squeeze through a space that is large enough for a creature one size smaller than it. Thus, a Large creature can squeeze through a passage that's only 5 feet wide. While squeezing through a space, a creature must spend 1 extra foot for every foot it moves there, and it has disadvantage on attack rolls and Dexterity saving throws. Attack rolls against the creature have advantage while it’s in the smaller space. (PHB, p. 192)

The size of a Giant Ape's head, pelvis, collarbone and shoes are all irrelevant. The rules for squeezing through a space are clear. 10ft x 10ft is the smallest space a Giant Ape can squeeze through (excluding DM fiat).

The rules for Squeezing can be found on page 192 of the PHB and state:

Squeezing into Smaller Spaces

A creature can squeeze through a space that is large enough for a creature one size smaller than it. Thus, a Large creature can squeeze through a passage that's only 5 feet wide.

Therefore, a huge creature would be able to squeeze through a large sized door (10' by 10' according to the table on page 191 of the PHB).

  • 7
    Doubly authoritative due to username. – Derek Stucki Sep 24 at 23:06

To add some additional context to strict RAW (which as mentioned oddly indicates that a human cannot squeeze through an opening less than 5" wide):

Earlier editions of the squeezing rules said:

You can squeeze through or into a space that is at least half as wide as your normal space.

... so maybe something got lost in translation between editions.

For some additional ideas on squeezing through even smaller spaces, 3.5e had the following rule on squeezing:

To squeeze through or into a space less than half your space’s width, you must use the Escape Artist skill.

And from the description of Escape Artist:

Tight Space (DC30): The DC [...] is for getting through a space where your head fits but your shoulders don’t. If the space is long you may need to make multiple checks. You can’t get through a space that your head does not fit through.

[...]

Squeezing through a tight space takes at least 1 minute, maybe longer, depending on how long the space is.

Note: Escape Artist was replaced by Acrobatics in 5e, and DC's are less extreme... DC 30 might be closer to a 24 now.

Of course, if I was a Giant Ape, I'd probably instead try to widen the doorway with my attacks.

Your Answer

 

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.