Normally flying up or down does not give or cost extra movement, as covered here.

However, Etherealness spell (duration 8 hours) states the following:

You remain in the Border Ethereal for the duration or until you use your action to dismiss the spell. During this time, you can move in any direction. If you move up or down, every foot of movement costs an extra foot.

For a flying creature, which enters Ethereal plane using this spell, does flying up or down cost extra movement? This is assuming it's possible to fly in the Ethereal plane at all, but I didn't find anything saying it's not.


1 Answer 1


The etherealness spell does not mention a particular type of locomotion.

Etherealness states:

During this time, you can move in any direction. If you move up or down, every foot of movement costs an extra foot.

Since there is no mention of which speed you are using here, such as walking or flying, it doesn’t matter which speed you use. Moving up or down still costs twice as much movement.

This is a restriction of the spell, not a property of the plane.

The DMG has an interesting statement about the Ethereal Plane that contradicts the etherealness spell:

The Ethereal Plane also disobeys the laws of gravity; a creature there can move up and down as easily as walking.

If you are in the Ethereal plane by way of etherealness, then moving up down is actually twice as hard as walking. So this restriction on movement is not an inherent property of the plane, it is a limitation put on you by the spell itself. If you got there by other means, then you could move up and down using your walking or flying speed with no penalty for moving up and down.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It might be a property of the border between Ethereal and Prime Material plane. Mechanically, it changes nothing, of course. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Sep 26, 2021 at 14:00
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot We don’t have any indication that the movement penalty applies via other methods of entering the border ethereal. For example, if I readied my movement while under the effect of blink, there is nothing to indicate that I could not use my full 30 feet to move straight up while on the border ethereal. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 26, 2021 at 14:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Most likely the whole thing is an oversight, perhaps same piece of rule (moving up/down on ethereal plane) written in two places (description of the spell and description of the plane), and then modified only in one place. Perhaps one piece of text carried over from earlier editions, while other piece edited. Still, as written, it is what it is. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 27, 2021 at 4:54

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