Can you use the Monk skill Shadow Step while tied up or with your hands bound to a wall?

At 6th level, you gain the ability to step from one shadow into another. When you are in dim light or darkness, as a bonus action you can teleport up to 60 feet to an unoccupied space you can see that is also in dim light or darkness. You then have advantage on the first melee attack you make before the end o f the turn.

As far as I can tell there is no rule that you can't use Shadow Step to get out of that situation.


Yes, you can still use the ability, but it may not release you of your bonds. Ropes tied around you would teleport with you, along with the rest of your clothes and equipment. However, if you were tied to something, you would no longer be attached to it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ How did you arrive at the last sentence as a declarative statement? How is that "something" different from the rope? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Sep 19 '15 at 0:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ The ability changes your location. If the something is part of the original location, it doesn't come with. What constitutes being attached to the location and what constitutes being attached to you would need case by rulings by the DM. \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Stucki Sep 19 '15 at 1:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I interpret that to mean that things that are attached to you and not also nailed down come with you. If you're tied to a stick used to keep you rigid, it teleports. If you're tied to a post set in the ground, it doesn't. Though the former leads to question: if your legs are tied together, can you shadow hop? \$\endgroup\$ – Blue Footed Booby Sep 22 '15 at 14:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not buying that something you're tied to wouldn't come with you. Shadowstep implies movement by the declaration that you need to step into a shadow (step being figurative as I'm sure any movement should suffice). However if you are attached to something via restraints, this would prevent you from moving from location A to location B. Effectively, you would shadowstep to the same spot you are in. By the logic used here, shadowstep would leave you naked. How is an ability supposed to differentiate between your quarterstaff and the pole you're tied to? \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Sep 22 '15 at 20:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/… \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Stucki Sep 23 '15 at 14:52

I would rule yes or no depending on the situation


At 6th level, you gain the ability to step from one shadow into another

Means: Your Hands are tied: no Problem step into the shadows

Your feet tied so you cant step and you lie on the floor or are tied to a pole:

No stepping no shadowstep


I believe this is one of those questions the designer left up to the DM to decide. I tried finding any reference to how teleport works in regards to any other mechanic. The only significant one I found was that teleporting out of an enemy's reach does not provoke an opportunity attack. I definitely did not find anything that mentioned teleportation in relation to the restrained condition or any similar effect.

This style of leaving ambiguity in the system was a deliberate choice for 5th Edition.

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    \$\begingroup\$ ", he said, rather unhelpfully. \$\endgroup\$ – Will Rhodes Sep 20 '15 at 3:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ But it is accurate nonetheless. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Sep 22 '15 at 20:56

If you are bound you are incapacitated and can take no actions, therefore cannot use shadowstep.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is incorrect. A tied-up character is restrained, not incapacitated, and can thus take actions. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl Sep 20 '15 at 9:33

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