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The grappling rules state:

Moving a Grappled Creature.

When you move, you can drag or carry the grappled creature with you, but your speed is halved, unless the creature is two or more sizes smaller than you.

If I have 30 speed and have an enemy grappled, then I move 15 feet and release my grapple on my target, do I still have 15 feet of movement left, or is it lost for the round?

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After releasing the grapple, you can move 15 more feet

Movement speed is only halved while you are dragging the creature

When you move, you can drag or carry the grappled creature with you, but your speed is halved, unless the creature is two or more sizes smaller than you.

The condition is clear, when you move with a grappled creature your speed is halved. If you are no longer moving with a grappled creature, this rule no longer applies and your speed returns to normal.

When your speed changes, the amount you can move also changes

On your turn, you can move a distance up to your speed.

This is a simple rule and it has no qualifiers. During one round you can move up to whatever your current speed is. It doesn't mention any exceptions for cases where your speed might increase or decrease during the turn.

So, the rule simply is:

$$ \text{movementLeft} = \text{currentSpeed} - \text{movementUsed} $$

If your speed increases during your turn (for example if you cast haste on yourself), you can move further that round. If it decreases, so does the distance you can move.

Thus, if you move 15 feet with your grappled creature you have moved 15 feet with a speed of 15.

$$ \text{movementLeft} = (30/2) - 15 = 0 $$ After releasing the grapple, your speed becomes 30.

$$ \text{movementLeft} = 30 - 15 = 15 $$ And, according to the rules, you can move a distance up to your speed on your turn. Since you have already moved 15 and you have a speed of 30, you have 15 feet more you can go.

Haste as an alternate example

Consider the case of haste used mid-turn. Haste doubles the target's speed. Consider a creature that moved up to its current speed, saw a need to move further and then cast haste on itself.

It doesn't make sense for the creature to not be able to move further now that they have a new speed. After all, if they had cast it at the beginning of their turn they would have been able to move the full distance just fine. Why does it matter that they cast it after moving part of the way?

The above ruling correctly (IMO) allows the creature to move the appropriate amount of spaces because movement is continuously calculated off the current speed of the creature. When the speed changes, so does the amount of movement no matter when that change occurs.

Difficult terrain uses a different calculation that does not apply here

Conditions such a difficult terrain use very different rules and language for describing how movement is penalized.

Every foot of movement costs one extra foot

This is not how the moving a grappled creature rules are written at all and they aren't the same as this question demonstrates. Without language like this in the rule for grappled creatures, there is no rules support for calculating the movement the same way. Whether or not this was intentional, only the designers can say. Barring errata, this is the RAW ruling that we have.

As always, if a DM wants to change a rule, they can do so. In this case, changing the rule such that dragging is treated like difficult terrain would probably not be something that has any noticeable effect on game-enjoyment (but it isn't something I've tested).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Dec 7 '18 at 20:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Due to the fact that effects like from Difficult Terrain (Movement costs 1 extra foot of speed) are written differently than how movement while Grappling is written, it's best assumed that they're interpreted as having different outcomes. To assume that Grappling and Difficult Terrain have the same effect would almost imply the Grappling rules are written incorrectly, which is impossible to prove. As this currently is the only answer that provides a different outcome than Difficult Terrain, this seems to be the most accurately interpreted answer, until errata or Sage Advice says otherwise. \$\endgroup\$ – Man_Over_Game Dec 10 '18 at 15:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Apr 12 '20 at 20:19
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You can't move, since you have zero movement left

You can release the target at any time, effectively changing your speed:

you can release the target whenever you like (no action required)

You will get your normal speed, but you won't get your movement back. In 5e "speed" is not equal "movement". For example, if your walking speed is 30ft, you can move up to 30 feet per turn; when you moved 30 feet, your speed is still 30, but now you have 0 movement.

See these related questions for details:

After you moved 15 feet with 15ft speed you have 0 movement left. Even if you get faster speed afterwards, it won't give you any extra movement (otherwise, you could move your normal 30 feet this round, regardless of the fact that your speed was halved).

@Slagmoth added a fair point here:

I honestly think the devs used a poor word choice on this. It would be easier to think about it the same way as difficult terrain which would be that it costs you twice as much to move a given distance as opposed to halving your speed.

For the sake of simplicity, you shouldn't use two different methods (one for difficult terrain, another one for grappling) for calculating a similar slowness effect. It seems Mike Mearls uses the same ruling:

Things like caltrop/ball bearings ref to moving at half speed how do you do that? Treating each 5' as 10 like difficult terain?

yes, essentially pay an extra 1' per 1' moved

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Dec 8 '18 at 4:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ By "should be" do you mean you think it should be written that way or that the rules actually are written that way now? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Dec 10 '18 at 12:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose I mean, the GM should treat it that way. I think this question cannot be answered only by strict RAW reading, so we have to apply 5e design philosophy and common sense. \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Dec 10 '18 at 14:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor could you add that to your answer? I feel like that would be useful to know and would tie everything together. Normally when you make big leaps from the rules it is good to say so so you don't come across as making assertions of what the rules actually say. It is good to point out when RAW is insufficient or confusing. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Dec 10 '18 at 14:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ There is no point where grapple spends that movement, it doesn't matter that you don't get it back. Speed is what determines your movement that you can spend, compare for example: Your grapple movement speed is 15 and if you switch to your walking movement speed it is 30 and you can still move 15. The same way that if your walking speed is 30 you can walk 30 and then still use your flying movement speed of 60, and still move another 30 by flying, but not by walking. \$\endgroup\$ – Akixkisu Mar 2 '20 at 1:13
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No. When you move with a grappled creature your speed is halved.

tl;dr As soon a character moves with a grappled creature, your speed is halved. Releasing the creature does not undo the halved movement for the round.

Movement and speed

On your turn, you can move a distance up to your speed

When you halve the speed, you halve the distance that can be moved on a turn.

How grappling affects the distance a character can move.

The act of moving a grappled creature halves your move speed. There is no provision for releasing a grappled creature along the way returning the move speed lost.

Moving a Grappled Creature. When you move, you can drag or carry the grappled creature with you, but your speed is halved, unless the creature is two or more sizes smaller than you.

E.g.

  1. A character with move speed 30 begins to drag a grappled creature.
  2. The move speed is now halved to 15.
  3. The character moves 5 feet and releases the creature.
  4. The character has 10 feet of move remaining.

Specifically answering the above situation: The character begins to drag a grappled creature. Their speed is halved to 15. They move 15 feet. They release the creature. They have 0 (15-15) movement remaining. Dragging the creature halved their movement.

Grapple is not using different move speeds.

If grapple were a separate move speed, then a character could use both in the way the question describes.

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    \$\begingroup\$ With your example, would moving 15 feet and then grappling allow an additional 15, 7.5, or 0 feet? \$\endgroup\$ – Man_Over_Game Dec 7 '18 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanielZastoupil Added a section to specifically address the situation in the posted question. \$\endgroup\$ – GcL Dec 7 '18 at 18:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanielZastoupil if you move 15 of 30 move speed, then grapple, you still have 15 move remaining. If you move 15 of 30, grapple, then try to drag the creature, your move speed is halved and you have 0 remaining. \$\endgroup\$ – GcL Dec 7 '18 at 19:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ So, in a sense, your understanding of it is that grappling halves the player's maximum speed, and if the player's current speed is higher than the maximum, their current speed drops to the new maximum. \$\endgroup\$ – Man_Over_Game Dec 7 '18 at 19:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ You might want to make clear that in your interpretation, releasing the grapple has no effect on your move speed, and that it is still halved until your next turn. As-is it is implied but not stated. \$\endgroup\$ – GreySage Dec 7 '18 at 19:29

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