# If I am hiding and moving silently at the same time, what is my total movement penalty?

In D&D 3.5, according to page 79 of the PHB under the move silently skill:

You can move up to one-half your normal speed at no penalty. When moving at a speed greater than one-half but less than your full speed, you take a –5 penalty.

And, according to page 76 of the PHB under the hide skill:

You can move up to one-half your normal speed and hide at no penalty. When moving at a speed greater than one half but less than your normal speed, you take a –5 penalty.

Assuming:

• I have no special abilities that have any relevance to this circumstance

• I am able to move silently and hide in the same round

• I wanted to do this without incurring a penalty on my skill checks

• My normal movement speed is 30ft

Would my speed, which I have opted to reduce, be to 15ft or would it be 7.5ft?

# Your actual speed remains unchanged; you've just opted not to use all of it so that you don't suffer any penalties

A creature can move at up to half speed and suffer no penalties on both its Hide skill and its Move Silently skill. It may seem like the creature's speed is reduced because it's electing to move more slowly to avoid the penalties, but the skills—alone or in combination—don't create in the creature an actual speed reduction.

A speed reduction, by the way, would trigger the rules for Hampered Movement that, in part, say

If more than one condition applies, multiply together all additional costs that apply. (This is a specific exception to the normal rule for doubling…) For instance, a character moving through difficult terrain in darkness would pay 4 squares of movement per square moved into (double cost times double cost is quadruple cost). (Player's Handbook 163)

But, as already mentioned, since the creature is picking how quickly it moves, the Hampered Movement rules don't apply.

• Yes I have opted to reduce my speed, this question is, is my speed now 15ft or 7.5ft? May 29, 2019 at 16:23
• @MichaelDorf "A creature can move at up to half speed and suffer no penalties on both its Hide skill and its Move Silently skill." May 29, 2019 at 16:24
• @MichaelDorf It's a semantic argument, but it's a really important one and one the game itself forces the reader to make. A creature can travel using its entire speed while using the skill Hide and Move Silently but it may choose to go slowly to avoid penalties. That choice doesn't reduce the creature's speed, though, because speed reduction is a game separate concept: A creature sneaking through difficult terrain, for instance. May 29, 2019 at 16:29

15 feet. (Your speed is not reduced.)

For most purposes, you could consider hiding or moving silently as reducing your speed, and it wouldn't make a difference to any end results. However, that is not what happens. "Speed" is a character trait, just like load limits. You can carry different weights based on your load limits, and you can move different distances based on your speed. How much you are currently carrying does not change your load limits, and how much you have moved does not change your speed.

As you quoted, each penalty is a state-based check: if you move more than half the distance written in the "speed" box on your character sheet, you take a penalty to hide. Also and separately, if you move more than half the distance written in the "speed" box on your character sheet, you take a penalty to move silently. Neither text says that you speed changes, so there is no stacking.

• Thanks for the contribution. May 29, 2019 at 16:27

If you look in the rules compendium move silently is hardly mentioned while hide gets a lot of time devoted to it. Hide is even used when sneaking up on an opponent rather than move silently. It would seem that move silently is somewhat obsolete and can be combined into the hide skill. Other RC suggestions include absorbing pick lock into disable trap and combining spot and listen into perception. If you chose to do this one nice side effect is PCs with more skills which makes for more interesting play.