Let's say an Aarakocra, with a native flying speed of 30ft, starts to fly upwards.

Does her 30ft flying speed bring her to a height of 30ft or does moving up 1ft cost more than 1ft of available movement?

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    \$\begingroup\$ You'll find that frequently physics does not come into play in the rules. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 15:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, one more optional rule alongside the 'diagonal movement' one would have not go amiss. But I can wrap my brain around this, I suppose. Halvin vertical flights causes a race problem with climbing after all. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sent_
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 15:26

3 Answers 3


Movement in any direction costs 1' per 1'.

There is no reason within the rules to limit vertical movement. The only modification to 1'=1' is that if you are using 5' squares, diagonal movement does not carry additional cost unless that option is also being used.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Does the duration of a round come into play for movement at all? Might be worth adding, at your discretion. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 15:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PremierBromanov how so? \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 15:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ The idea that movement is not linear. You can fly 30 feet total in a round, a 6 second effort. Acceleration comes into play, if we're speaking realistically. Moving up may have a different "curve" for distance / time, but it's the same length. I dont know, I thought I had a better image of what I meant in my head. If we're talking about realism, that sort of thing comes into play \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 15:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PremierBromanov yeah, just dealing with how the rules work, bringing real physics into play is really just asking for pain. Movement speed is an abstraction that represents a realworld thing, I feel it's best to simply leave it abstract. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 15:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I agree. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 15:35

There is a simple house-rule for this that works and adds a bit of flair.

Try this: Increasing altitude by 5' reduces movement that turn by 5', and decreasing altitude by 5' increases movement that turn by 5'. No more than half of one's movement can be spent in one turn to go vertical, and when descending movement cannot be more than doubled.

What makes this fun is that it allows "swooping" attacks. The aarakocra can use her first two turns to ascend 30', then on her next turn descend and move 60'. If you use this rule, keep in mind that it does provide a new advantage for flyers. A minor one, but an advantage nonetheless.


When you fly up you are climbing, so unless you have the hover trait, or you have the athletic feat which lets you climb without extra movement, then yes, it takes extra movement.

Climbing, Swimming, and Crawling
While climbing or Swimming, each foot of Movement costs 1 extra foot (2 extra feet in difficult terrain), unless a creature has a climbing or Swimming speed. At the GM’s option, climbing a slippery vertical surface or one with few handholds requires a successful Strength (Athletics) check. Similarly, gaining any distance in rough water might require a successful Strength (Athletics) check. (Basic Rules, p. 67)

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    \$\begingroup\$ "When you fly up you are climbing..." definitely needs citations. I'm pretty sure it doesn't work like that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 25, 2021 at 5:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center. \$\endgroup\$
    – Community Bot
    Commented Oct 25, 2021 at 6:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleMonkey While I am not sure that the RAW case Richard is making is right in terms of game mechanics - and if one would expect this to be the case in an AL game for example - I do know (as a pilot) that climbing is what you do when you increase altitude while flying, and it does take more effort/energy to climb than to fly straight and level., and that if you have constant power you slow down when you climb. This answer is an interesting take from a verisimilitude frame of reference and it does use RAW to support it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 25, 2021 at 12:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I could see the argument made that 'climbing' is the natural English usage of climbing, which as you say includes gaining altitude. But I would prefer that the answer make that argument explicitly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Oct 25, 2021 at 15:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kirt Yeah, I think that the answer could be improved as you suggest. All I did in the edit was add some formatting and a link. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 25, 2021 at 16:14

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