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The PHB doesn't have very much information on Squeezing, and I'm wondering how the rule applies to a creature "squeezing" between two other creatures.

Page 192 says:

Squeezing into a Smaller Space: A creature can squeeze through a space that is large enough for a creature one size smaller than it. Thus, a Large creature can squeeze through a passage that's only 5 feet wide. While squeezing through a space, a creature must spend 1 extra foot for every foot it moves there, and it has disadvantage on attack rolls and Dexterity saving throws. Attack rolls against the creature have advantage while it’s in the smaller space.

This seems all fine and good, but I'm wondering if a large creature really has to politely squeeze through the 5' gap between 2 Elves, or if this type of movement follows other rules? Imagine a 15' wide hallway, of which 5' is Elf, 5' is empty, 5' is second Elf. How does the large creature get through?

Probably relevant to this would be the rules on size (page 191):

Space: A creature's space is the area in feet that it effectively controls in combat, not an expression of its physical dimensions. A typical Medium creature isn't 5 feet wide, for example, but it does control a space that wide.

So does a Bulette (or any large creature) need to Squeeze through the 5' gap between two medium sized creatures because they are "controlling" their grid spaces and one can't move through a hostile creature's square (pg 191)? This is what the RAW seem to be, but I'm wondering if I'm missing something. Are there different rules for creatures squeezing between creatures? I'd assume that a large creature would rather shove through someone than squeeze around them, but I'm looking for actual rules before I house rule it.

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From the Player's Basic Rules, page 71 (or PHB p. 191):

In contrast, you can move through a hostile creature's space only if the creature is two sizes larger or two sizes smaller than you.

An ogre is a large creature and elves are medium. So an ogre can't move through an elf's space. In your previous example, if we have a 10-foot wide passageway with two elves standing side by side, the ogre can't get through without killing one of the elves or forcing them to move.

The rules on squeezing into a smaller space are for an ogre trying to move along a 5 foot corridor. The rules on creature size that you've quoted back this up—the ogre isn't actually 10 feet wide, that's just the space he controls. So he can move through a 5 foot wide gap, but it's cramped and he can't move freely.

Now, you might be thinking that it's a bit unfair on the ogre if the 2 elves can form an impenetrable barrier against it. As you've said, he'd rather shove them aside than squeeze between them. And he can do just that! From the Player's Basic Rules, page 74:

Using the Attack action, you can make a special melee attack to shove a creature, either to knock it prone or push it away from you. If you're able to make multiple attacks with the Attack action, this attack replaces one of them.

The target of your shove must be no more than one size larger than you, and it must be within your reach. You must make a Strength(Athletics) check contested by the target's Strength(Athletics) or Dexterity(Acrobatics) check (the target chooses the ability to use). If you win the contest, you either knock the target prone or push it 5 feet away from you.

So you're right, shoving is the ogre's answer here.

Now, with your new example, (2 elves in a 15 foot corridor with a 5 foot gape between them), things are different. The ogre does indeed have to squeeze between them. Fortunately for him, it's not going to matter all that much.

Why? Because he's almost guaranteed to be moving on his own turn. Unless there are more enemies than just the elves, he's not going to provoke any opportunity attacks while squeezing, and he can attack before or after he squeezes. So the only squeezing penalty that is actually going to apply to him in this situation is the double cost for movement.

Note that if he stopped between the elves, all these penalties would apply to him. That makes sense though—standing between two enemies with not enough space to move around in would make it difficult to dodge attacks or attack effectively.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This all makes sense, but what about if the elves are in a 15' wide hallway and there is 5' between them? Does the Bug Bear squeeze there? Added this to my question above. \$\endgroup\$ – Besty Nov 28 '14 at 3:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Besty Updated, hopefully it makes sense. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Nov 28 '14 at 4:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, your answer makes sense. This is sort of what I assumed would happen. I think that the trick is to fluff up an answer to the inevitable "why is the bug bear tip-toeing between us instead of charging through?" I think the answer is to say something like "He doesn't want to get too close to your swords, so he dodge/sqeezes through the gap." \$\endgroup\$ – Besty Nov 28 '14 at 4:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Besty Sounds about right, charging between two armed opponents would be a great way to get large slashing wounds on either side of your body. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Nov 28 '14 at 4:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman The PHB page for your first quote is p.191 - might be useful for anyone in future :) \$\endgroup\$ – Tommy Nov 28 '14 at 9:29
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They can do something else.

On page 272 of the 5th edition DMG, there are the following options that a 5e DM may allow players to do as actions in their campaign.

Overrun

You can try to force your way through an opponent's space by making a contested Strength (Athletics) vs. Strength (Athletics) check as an action or bonus action. You have advantage on the check if you're larger than the opponent, or disadvantage if smaller. If you succeed, you can move through the enemy's space once this turn.

Shove Aside

You can use a variant of the shove attack to move an opponent 5 feet to an empty space within your reach. Use the rules for shove attack - a contested Strength (Athletics) vs. Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check - but you (the attacker) have disadvantage on your Athletics roll. If you succeed, you move the opponent 5 feet to a different space within your reach.

Tumble

You can try to tumble your way through an opponent's space by ducking, weaving, etc. As an action or bonus action, you can make a contested Dexterity (Acrobatics) check vs. Dexterity (Acrobatics) check. If you succeed, you can move through the enemy's space once this turn.

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