Do the Forced March rules (PHB, p. 181) apply to walking around in a dungeon, in Omu, in cities, etc. - i.e. to all movement? Or does it only apply to "far travel"?

Do RAI and RAW differ? It says "travel".

We've been playing it as "adventuring 8 hours, chilling at the camp 8 hours, sleeping 8 hours". (We like a very rules driven, time-tracked-in-detail, encumbrance, etc. all in a detailed "simulationist" style rather than a more story-focused style.)


1 Answer 1


They are designed to handle continuous long-distance travel.

The section of the rules in which the forced march rules appear, titled, "Speed", states:

Every character and monster has a speed, which is the distance in feet that the character or monster can walk in 1 round. This number assumes short bursts of energetic movement in the midst of a life-threatening situation. The following rules determine how far a character or monster can move in a minute, an hour, or a day.

As you can see, the travel pace rules are meant to calculate distances for more long-term, continuous movement. Generally, within a dungeon, characters are not moving continuously at a steady pace, as is assumed for the travel pace rules. Instead, characters are generally pausing and exploring, and often fighting for short bursts of time.

In addition, the "forced march" rules specify:

Forced March. The Travel Pace table assumes that characters travel for 8 hours in day. They can push on beyond that limit, at the risk of exhaustion.

For each additional hour of travel beyond 8 hours, the characters cover the distance shown in the Hour column for their pace, and each character must make a Constitution saving throw at the end of the hour. The DC is 10 + 1 for each hour past 8 hours. On a failed saving throw, a character suffers one level of exhaustion.

As you can see, they are even more explicitly stated to cover traveling for more than 8 hours in a day total. Generally, if a "dungeon" takes more than 8 hours of continuous travel to traverse, it's not so much a dungeon as it is an extensive cave system likely connected to the Underdark.

If the party decides to adventure in such a dungeon, exploring and adventuring and fighting for over 8 hours in a single day, the Forced March rules could be applied.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Your last sentence is not true when it comes to Dungeon of the Mad Mage. It's a mega dungeon in which (lore wise) NPCs have lived lifetimes in. \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Mar 30, 2019 at 7:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ The situation is that they are on their feet & walking for more than 8 hours. Going back and forth throughout a dungeon, city or large building. Fighting isn't necessarily less fatiguing. Short rests, or sitting down discussing a puzzle, we do not add to the 8h, it's been a limit on "on your feet" time only. Sometimes combining crossing hexes (which is clearly "far travel") and then immediately going into a dungeon. Not sure what the intent is here, having some doubt what the rules team meant. And yeah sometimes we do Underdark stuff. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandra
    Mar 30, 2019 at 9:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Added a clarification. As for questions of designer intent itself, those are not allowed here. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 30, 2019 at 9:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your first quote ("Every character and monster has a speed...") doesn't really seem to support your point. I assume you included it because it says the rules in question are for "how far [you] can move in... a day", but the ellipsized text states that the same rules are also for how far you can move in a minute or an hour, allowing the possibility that the rules in that section (such as Forced March) could also apply to movement done on the scale of minutes. (I do agree with your conclusion and that the second quote supports it, but the first quote seems out-of-place here.) \$\endgroup\$ Mar 30, 2019 at 11:24

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