Does the climbing distance include an extra square for a horizontal move?

An example to clarify ...

Character is at the bottom of a 15' vertical cliff, no special effects, so each square of climbing costs an extra square of movement.

From standing at the bottom to standing on the top square at the edge of the cliff, does it take 6 or 7 squares of movement?, i.e.

  • 6 being 2, 2 for two vertical climbing movements, and 2 for a diagonal climbing onto the cliff top
  • 7 being 2, 2, 2 for three vertical climbing movements, plus 1 to move horizontally

I recollect reading somewhere the final square of movement was "diagonal", from the climbing, to the standing ... but I can't find it, so I'm wondering if I'm confusing with an other system


1 Answer 1


The horizontal move is free

From the Skill Descriptions section of the Player's Handbook, page 182:

Athletics (Strength)
Success: You climb at one-half your speed. When you climb to reach the top of a surface, such as when you climb out of a pit, the distance to reach the top includes allowing you to arrive in the square adjacent to the surface. The last square of movement places you on that square.

In other words, climbing past the top of a vertical surface lets you automatically move to be on top of it, instead of floating in midair. In your example, it would cost 6 squares of movement.

Oddly, this text isn't repeated in the Rules Compendium description of the skill, but it does add that the creature can choose whether it wants to arrive standing or prone when it changes from vertical to horizontal.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah ha, glad to know I wasn't going mad! ... many thanks \$\endgroup\$
    – SteveC
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 8:41

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