6
\$\begingroup\$

The standard rule on moving through other creatures' spaces state that in order to move through a hostile creature's space, a creature must be two sizes larger or smaller than the one whose space they want to pass through.

The optional overrun rules in the DMG (p. 272, in chapter 9) now require a roll, but does it remove the size differential as well and completely replace the rules around moving through other creatures' spaces?

\$\endgroup\$
1
  • \$\begingroup\$ You could probably extend this question to include Tumble as well, since it has the exact same wording (minus advantage/disadvantage on check if you're larger/smaller than the enemy). \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 1 '20 at 23:14
5
\$\begingroup\$

Overrun adds a totally new way to move through an enemy space.

Overrun is listed in the "Action Options" section of the DMG (p. 271-272). It doesn't replace or (partially or fully) "override" any existing rules; rather, it supplements them by adding an additional way to move through an enemy space.

The general rule

The rule on moving around other creatures says, in part (emphasis mine):

You can move through a nonhostile creature's space. In contrast, you can move through a hostile creature's space only if the creature is at least two sizes larger or smaller than you. Remember that another creature's space is difficult terrain for you.

This is the general rule - normally, assuming that there is no more specific rule or game feature that contradicts it, most creatures can only move through a hostile creature's space if it's 2 sizes larger or smaller than that creature.

An existing exception

However, even without considering Overrun, there's already a specific race that overrides the size requirement of this general rule: halflings. The Halfling Nimbleness trait says:

You can move through the space of any creature that is of a size larger than yours.

This specific trait clearly overrides the general rule on moving through other creatures' spaces where the two rules conflict. Any creature could already move through the space of a hostile creature that is two sizes larger than it, so this trait makes it so halflings can additionally move through the space of a hostile creature only one size larger than it. It's not presented as an additional action option, just a specific benefit that overrides part of the general rule

Overrun is an additional action option with its own limitations

Likewise, the description of the "Overrun" action option says (emphasis mine):

When a creature tries to move through a hostile creature’s space, the mover can try to force its way through by overrunning the hostile creature. As an action or a bonus action, the mover makes a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the hostile creature’s Strength (Athletics) check. The creature attempting the overrun has advantage on this check if it is larger than the hostile creature, or disadvantage if it is smaller. If the mover wins the contest, it can move through the hostile creature’s space once this turn.

Consider that the rule on moving around other creatures already lets any creature move through a hostile creature's space an unlimited number of times, with the sole condition that the creature moving is at least 2 sizes larger or smaller than the enemy.

In contrast, Overrun expends an action or bonus action, requires a successful Strength (Athletics) check (on which you have disadvantage if you're even 1 size smaller than the enemy), and lets you move through the enemy's space only once on that turn even if you win the contest.

If Overrun was still forced to abide by the size restriction of the regular rule on moving around other creatures, then it would just be flatly worse than the regular rule. If that were the case, then it wouldn't be an additional action option - no creature would ever use Overrun, since they'd just be risking failure and wasting an action/bonus action for no benefit. (And if the idea is to replace the regular rule entirely, such that creatures can't move through a hostile creature's space at all without using the rule, then the description of Overrun would need to explicitly say so.)

Rather, the point of Overrun is to add an additional option to the game. Without it, if a player asks whether their Medium-size character can move through the space of the Medium orc or the Large troll in front of them, the base rule just says the answer is no. With the Overrun action option, however, the DM can say, "You can, but you'd have to pass an Athletics check and spend your action or bonus action to do it."

Overrun effectively has no meaningful impact if the hostile creature is already 2 sizes larger or smaller than you; as mentioned above, you can already move through such a creature's space without expending anything.

(And regardless of size, another creature's space (whether friendly or hostile) is still difficult terrain for you, as stated in the rules on difficult terrain.)


Tumble doesn't care about size either

The same logic applies to the "Tumble" action option (DMG, p. 272) as well. Tumble uses nearly identical phrasing to Overrun; it requires spending your action or bonus action, and involves contested Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks by you and the hostile creature, but there is no automatic advantage/disadvantage on the check based on size. Thus, as an additional action option, Tumble also does not have any size-based restrictions on who can attempt to do it.

\$\endgroup\$
6
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just to be clear, it's not just adding a new way but replacing the other way. Right? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 1 '20 at 23:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch: ...No, as the answer pretty clearly states: "It doesn't replace or (partially or fully) "override" any existing rules; rather, it supplements them by adding an additional way to move through an enemy space. [...] (And if the idea is to replace the regular rule entirely, such that creatures can't move through a hostile creature's space at all without using the rule, then the description of Overrun would need to explicitly say so.)" The description of Overrun and Tumble does not say they replaces any part of the regular rule, so they're just extra options available to characters. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 1 '20 at 23:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Overrun and Tumble are entirely separate from the existing way to move through an enemy's space in the PHB/basic rules. If your game uses the Overrun and Tumble options, then characters have 3 options for moving through an enemy's space: the usual way ("you can just do it, if the enemy's 2 sizes bigger/smaller than you"), Overrun ("you can do it regardless of the enemy's size, but you'll need to win a contested Athletics check and use your action/bonus action to do it, and you can only do it once per turn"), and Tumble (same as Overrun, except contested Acrobatics checks). \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 1 '20 at 23:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ So if you use the Overrun/Tumble rules, it's simply adding another layer of requirements which both enable smaller creatures and create more requirements for larger creatures. If it's simply another layer, I guess i'm confused with the limitation that a small creature can't, but also an ability for them to be able to. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jun 2 '20 at 15:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Overrun/Tumble rules do effectively "override" the word "only" in the statement "you can move through a hostile creature's space only if the creature is at least two sizes larger or smaller than you", because now the base rules are not the only way to move through an enemy's space - Overrun and/or Tumble, if allowed by the DM, are additional ways to move through an enemy's space that use totally different rules on how they work. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 2 '20 at 19:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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