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The Player's Handbook makes a conflicting statement that some people may find confusing, requiring some official clarification.

Barbarian (PHB pg. 25)

Fast Movement (Ex): A barbarian’s land speed is faster than the norm for his race by +10 feet. This benefit applies only when he is wearing no armor, light armor, or medium armor and not carrying a heavy load. Apply this bonus before modifying the barbarian’s speed because of any load carried or armor worn. For example, a human barbarian has a speed of 40 feet, rather than 30 feet, when wearing light or no armor. When wearing medium armor or carrying a medium load, his speed drops to 30 feet. A halfling barbarian has a speed of 30 feet, rather than 20 feet, in light or no armor. When wearing medium armor or carrying a medium load, his speed drops to 20 feet.

If it was mentioned once, maybe it's an error, but it mentions it twice with different races to the same effect.

Are both examples mistakes, or is the first inclusion of the medium armor a mistake?

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1 Answer 1

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Medium armor typically reduces the wearer's speed. A barbarian's extraordinary ability fast movement mitigates but does not obviate the medium armor's speed reduction. The barbarians in the examples benefit from the fast movement ability but are still slowed by their medium armor. (On the other hand, were those barbarians in heavy armor, they'd typically be as slow as anyone else in it, the fast movement ability having no effect.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The answer might be clearer if it stated explicitly that a humans "normal" speed with medium armor from 30 to 20 feet, so the Barbarian's Fast Movement is still active during from the drop form 40 to 30 feet. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 3, 2023 at 20:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ Another example that would have been confusing would be to use dwarf barbarian, as their movement speed stays at 20 in medium or heavy armor. \$\endgroup\$
    – youknowwho
    Mar 4, 2023 at 8:36

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