# How much movement does a monk need to run up and stand on top of a 50-foot wall?

Whilst perusing the 5e PHB for the first time, I came across the Monk. And just like every other class, after I finished reading all of the Monk Features, I thought to myself WOW This class is Amazing, and I want to play one! The first filthy hack I thought of was abusing the Monk's Unarmored Movement, which gives a Movement Speed Bonus based on the Monk's Class Levels, given on the Monk Table on p. 77. BUT, that very same feature grants a new special ability at 9th level:

## Unarmored Movement

Starting at 2nd level, your speed increases by 10 feet while you are not wearing armor or wielding a shield. This bonus increases when you reach certain monk levels, as shown in the Monk table.

At 9th level, you gain the ability to move along vertical surfaces and across liquids on your turn without falling during the move. (emphasis mine)

The very first thing I thought to do with that was build a Wood Elf Monk, who at 9th level would have a speed of 50 ft, and run up a 50 foot tall building or wall or run across 50 foot rivers and such. BUT, lets say this monk does run up to the top of a 50 foot wall and expends all of their movement, where exactly are they? I imagine that their feet have made it to the top and they are probably still horizontally aligned, not in any real position to grab the ledge. Perhaps the last bit of movement actually puts them standing on the top of the wall that they just ran up though, which would be much easier on the monk.

So my question here is, does a monk have to use some of their move to stand on top of the thing they were running up?

That is somewhat awkwardly worded, so I apologize for that. The ideal situation is that, as a part of the 50 foot movement up a vertical surface, the monk ends up on-top of whatever they were just running on. That may not be the case, however, and the monk may very well fall 50 feet down subsequently.

Although movement in 5e is not governed by squares, they are probably a helpful model to this particular exercise. Everything in the universe is effectively measured in 5' increments and using squares to model this will give us an effective answer to this question Let's posit a 50' wall

 x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x


Now let's look at the veritcal space next to the wall

 yx
yx
yx
yx
yx
yx
yx
yx
yx
yx


Finally we need to have the flat part on top of the wall, and the space above that

  yyyyyyyyy
yxxxxxxxxx
yx
yx
yx
yx
yx
yx
yx
yx
yx


Now, supposing our hero starts at the first y (marked a below), and runs up, he runs out of movement at the 10th y (marked b below).

  yyyyyyyyy
bxxxxxxxxx
yx
yx
yx
yx
yx
yx
yx
yx
ax


If you start at a, you might be able to climb up onto the top of the wall. However, if you have a 45 foot wall you are safe. If you have to move to a, a dash would be required to not fall (as you don't have the ability to stay vertical).

The problem here is that if the wall extends at all into the square above the one marked b, then you're in trouble, you have to move into the square above it as diagonal movement is not possible.

This will be both at the discretion of the map makers (if the building extends a bit above the square you're probably not going to move diagonally) and also your DM (he may allow a bit of wiggle room here). Consult your DM before you attempt any 50' wall climbs.

45' wall climbs (and lower) are safe though.

• I suppose that it might be possible to climb up once you get there, but there might be an acrobatics check before any athletics can be done, depending on the awkwardness of the run. Jan 28, 2015 at 20:41
• @Javelin I doubt there'd be any need to climb, you'd basically be (at worst) moving into the space above momentarily, it should not be difficult, so I would not anticipate the need for a climb check. I mean if you have the ability to run up a wall.... Jan 28, 2015 at 20:46
• In your example above, it looks like b is only 45' away from a to me. 8 empty squares and then the destination square = 9 squares of movement = 45'. You shouldn't count the origin square as 5' movement. As you mentioned, the monk can't move diagonally onto the roof (if the square is completely filled), but I do think that the monk could get 1 square higher than you show. Jan 8, 2018 at 18:46
• @NickBrown you start with you feet on the ground, you need to take a step or two in order to put your feet on the wall. That'd be 5 ft. Apr 29, 2018 at 19:01
• You're describing walking up the wall in a way that is different from the mechanics of climbing up the wall in 5e. It only takes 5' of climbing movement to go from the first square to the second square. You don't have to spend 5' to go into "climbing mode." Apr 29, 2018 at 21:08

At 9th level, you gain the ability to move along vertical surfaces and across liquids on your turn without falling during the move. (emphasis mine)

Note that it says "to move". It doesn't say that you are horizontal running up the wall like the Flash or a Looney Tunes cartoon. It more vague than that. So you can interpret it as a form of climbing that involves no chances of falling on surfaces that would very difficult or even impossible to climb via the normal rules.

Also remember that we are talking six-second combat rounds. That means a lot of details can be abstracted as there is more than enough time to do them. Look at all the things that can occur during a interaction (page 70, basic players) during movement.

• draw or sheathe a sword
• open or close a door
• withdraw a potion from your backpack
• pick up a dropped axe
• take a bauble from a table
• remove a ring from your finger
• stuff some food into your mouth
• plant a banner in the ground
• fish a few coins from your belt pouch
• drink all the ale in a flagon
• throw a lever or a switch
• pull a torch from a sconce
• take a book from a shelf you can reach
• extinguish a small flame
• put your ear to a door
• kick a small stone
• turn a key in a lock
• tap the floor with a 10-foot pole
• hand an item to another character

If a character can bend down to pick up an axe from the floor while doing a move. A monk character has enough time to stand up at the top of the climb after his move.

One further comment.

The 9th level ability is the author's interpretation of one of the abilities displayed in Chinese wuxia fantasy. In this particular case is an fantasy version of a real technique called Qinggong.

The use of qinggong has been exaggerated in wuxia fiction, in which martial artists have the ability to move swiftly and lightly at superhuman speed, and perform gravity-defying moves such as gliding on water surfaces, scaling high walls and mounting trees.

I seen wuxia movies like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, the heroes in these film do outright fly, there are also scenes showing them doing what is essence a super climb. Hence why the author of the wikipedia article included scaling high walls as one of the exaggerated abilities.

• It might be worth noting that even if your DM doesn't allow you the ability to stand at the top, they would likely agree that that interaction could cover hanging from the top ledge. Jan 28, 2015 at 22:11
• I would have said "along" does imply walking up the wall Jun 6, 2018 at 23:33

My point of view: The height of the wall is measured from the ground, feet level. If it is 50 feet high and the monk can move 50 feet, and the end of the move his feet are at the top of the wall. The last 5 feet will (a sort) diagonal move. In my book, the monk can climb a 50 ft wall and end at the top of it.

To say it in other words: the space the monk starts in is not his move, so he ends up 5 ft higher than in previous example.

Let's take a 5 ft wall.

start:

..
mX


Monk moves 5 ft up

m.
.X


In my opinion, he can move diagonal and end up like this with the same 5 ft step

.m
.X


Same for a 10 ft wall

..
.X
mX


10 ft move

m.
.X
.X


And the diagonal step as last part of move, still the same 10 ft move

.m
.X
.X

• This is a good synthesis of the movement rules that neatly sidesteps (heh) the issue of changing position or getting your feet onto the top. Jun 6, 2018 at 14:24

To me this seems best left up to DM discretion. Personally I would say no it doesn't let them be on top of the building but, not necessarily that they'd fall off if they don't reach the top in one turn/round.

The feat says they gain the ability to run along vertical surfaces without falling during the move, but it doesn't specify 1 turn/round.

A character doesn't just freeze up at the end of 6 seconds, that's just all the action they can take in a 6 second interval. After those 6 seconds are up, they can simply segue into the next six seconds with more movement.

• Do you happen to have any experience playing this way? How has it turned out? When left to your DM's (or your, as the DM) discretion, how was it ruled? Jun 6, 2018 at 10:17
• Generally, at the end of your turn or at least at the end of the round, if you are not on the ground and have no means of suspending yourself in the air, you fall. Jun 7, 2018 at 8:16