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The Echo Knight archetype of the fighter class has the ability to manifest an echo of the knight. The Manifest Echo feature includes the following text (Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 183):

You can use a bonus action to magically manifest an echo of yourself in an unoccupied space you can see within 15 feet of you. This echo is a magical, translucent, gray image of you [...]

On your turn, you can mentally command the echo to move up to 30 feet in any direction (no action required).

No limitations seem to be specified so does this mean that the echo can translate vertically (I hesitate to use the word fly or levitate) and/or through walls?

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No, it cannot (usually).

The class feature description of the echo knight's Manifest Echo gives no guidance here, but the echo knight subclass description is not all features - Explorer's Guide to Wildemount (p. 183) motivates for us exactly what an echo knight's Manifest Echo ability is doing:

A mysterious and feared frontline warrior of the Kryn Dynasty, the Echo Knight has mastered the art of using dunamis to summon the fading shades of unrealized timelines to aid them in battle. Surrounded by echoes of their own might, they charge into the fray as a cycling swarm of shadows and strikes.

But Thomas, that's just flavor text! Sometimes flavor text is not just flavor text, particularly when a natural application of the flavor text very clearly motivates how a particular ability functions.

In this case, I've bolded the key phrase; your manifested echoes are "fading shades of unrealized timelines". Your echo is an alternate timeline of yourself, which naturally means that the echo cannot do anything you cannot do, unless otherwise specified by the various subclass feature descriptions. If there is no alternate timeline in which I can move vertically or pass through walls, then there is no vertically moving or wall-pass-throughing echo to manifest.

But I have a flying speed!

Then your echo has a fly speed, maybe. If flying (read: moving vertically) is innate to your character, such as an Aarakocra echo knight, then alternate timelines where you move vertically are totally feasible, and your manifested echo could be one of them.

But what if I can cast fly? I'm going to call this DM purview, but I personally lean toward "Sorry, you cannot choose to manifest the echo that had just cast fly". Nothing in the feature descriptions allow an echo to generally benefit from buffs you have or have available to you.

But I can normally pass through walls!

Can you, though? Per PHB, p. 7:

an adventurer can’t normally pass through walls

I'm not aware of any racial or class features that just allow you to pass through walls willy-nilly. As for spells or magic items requiring activation, the reasoning I outlined concerning use of the spell fly applies.

As always, the DM may rule otherwise.

After receiving some feedback in chat, user GcL helpfully pointed out:

I think the presence of a floor in one timeline does not constrain the presence nor location of a floor in another timeline.

Following the logic of different timelines, the [echo] "in the air" is actually standing on a floor or ground that does exist in the timeline they're drawn from.

This is not an entirely unreasonable argument, so it would not be entirely unreasonable for a DM to permit the echo to move vertically or pass through walls, especially given the apparent ambiguity of the feature description.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I like this answer but why then can you move it 30 feet and not your speed feet? If the knight was a halfling with 25 feet speed, in what unrealized timeline would they have moved 30? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 9, 2023 at 16:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NobodytheHobgoblin Ask Matthew Mercer. I’m rationalizing rules with known lore. We know that doesn’t always work out one-to-one. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 9, 2023 at 17:17
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The echo can move in any direction

This class isn't worded well. The feature says you can command the echo to move but the echo is an object and doesn't have any modes of movement or speed. We also have the unusual language "in any direction". Normally this would mean that the echo, despite the commands, can't move. Try to command a rock or a tree to move 10 feet up into the air, and see what result you get.

By strict RAW this is practically nonsense, the echo cannot move, no matter how much you yell at it. What the heck were the designers going for?

Luckily, JC was kind enough to explain:

The echo created by an Echo Knight doesn't have a speed, and the knight can move the echo in any direction, including into the air. The echo can hang out wherever you move it.

A more reasonable suggestion

As usual, I warn heavily against listening to JC. It's not very fun to tell the Echo Knight that they cannot move their echo, so a ruling is all but necessary. You can follow JC's ruling and let them move it around however they want. I think ruling that the echo has the same movement modes as the caster seems like a fair option.

JC disclaimer

Beware trying to extrapolate JC's rulings. Just because they say that since the echo has no speed it can 'Hang out in the air", that doesn't mean that everyone who has no speed can do the same.

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Yes, it can.

It's an object, not a creature, and as a result, the rules regarding creatures and their speeds doesn't apply to it. In general, spells and abilities do what they say they do, and as a result, yes, you can move the Echo through walls or into the air.

If you must attach a fluff explanation, maybe you're pulling the echo from a timelike where the wall you moved it through didn't exist, or where there's an object it can stand on.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Since the Echo "occupies space" it seems to me that it can "fly" but could not be moved through a solid wall. Can a generic object in 5E be moved through solid walls? I ask because I honestly don't know. \$\endgroup\$
    – JonSG
    May 27, 2020 at 14:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think it says anywhere that it's an object. Is that supportable officially? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Sep 3, 2020 at 15:57
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No (unless the caster can fly)

While echo knight is poorly written (and balanced) it is clearly intended to be a replica (echo) of the caster, and should follow common sense as far as this goes.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ There is nothing that states an echo can't be moved vertically. And I believe there was as Crawford tweet clarifying this. Given that the echo is an object that takes up space, it could be assumed that it cannot move through a wall, however this is also not clarified in the rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – Imaginary
    May 26, 2020 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @imaginary and that is because the whole book it comes from is poorly written. Raw you probably have a point, but it's clearly not intentional. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    May 26, 2020 at 19:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a fair ruling, but I would probably explain a little why there was a need for a ruling. \$\endgroup\$ May 27, 2020 at 2:19

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