Newbie GM here. Neither I nor any of my friends have played D&D for years. I recently found five 3e books at a second hand store, and we thought we'd start up again for fun. However none of us have ever been GM. I've taken on the task, but the learning curve is steep, and it's causing some delay and in fighting on rules, especially ones that may or may not need "house rules" to deal with them.

So, my first question is this: Are there rules that to apply to fleeing?

When my PCs have defeated a group of monsters, I often have the last remaining one try to escape. We've tried finding in game rules around this to no avail, (I've tried doing searches here and on other forum sites as well).

Lacking this I made up a house rule, but I'd like to know how it's supposed to work.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This Q&A site has a one question per post setup because putting two questions in one question post results in unfocused and low-quality answers. I've removed the second question to focus this on your first question. Please do feel free to post your second question as its own question post though! You can see the removed text (for copy-pasting convenience) in this post's edit history feature, by clicking the link that says "edited [time] ago" at the bottom of the post. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 17:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just to double-check, are you asking for rules about how to flee or whether to flee (i.e. determining NPC morale/strategy)? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 18:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Definately 3rd edition. Sorry, I tried to add the tag 3e, but it wouldn't allow me due to not enough experience. Next time I'll add that as a heading on my question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 18:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm asking "how to flee", as in difficulty in catching a fleeing character, whether it is treated as the defender being on "full defensive", or perhaps they lose some AC points since their backs are turned. (My PC's opinion) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 18:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't worry! Your question's tagged appropriately. It's just unusual to see 3E questions instead of 3.5 ones; such questions are absolutely appropriate and answerable. I've heard there are even those who prefer 3E to the dwarf-loving, haste-nerfing 3.5. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


Fleeing an encounter is difficult in Dungeons and Dragons, Third Edition

Tactically, a creature wanting to end an encounter moves away, usually by taking the action run (Player's Handbook (2000) 127) or double move (PH 126–7). Running is straight-line-only movement of typically 4× the creature's speed but causes the creature to lose its Dexterity bonus to Armor Class and does nothing to obviate any attacks of opportunity that the creature may incur due to its movement. A double move, on the other hand, is safer but slower, allowing the creature to move up to twice its speed and the creature doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity for leaving the space it started from. (Also see Movement on PH 117).1

Likewise, tactically, those who wish to pursue do so by going after the creature, also usually taking the action run or a double move or, if within striking distance, by taking the action charge (PH 124), ending the charge with a grapple attempt (PH 137). Success on the grapple attempt means grappling ensues, and the formerly-fleeing creature's progress is halted unless it escapes the grapple.

This all occurs on the grid or battlemat or whatever playing surface you're using, by the way. Make some room.

Strategically, the Dungeon Master's Guide (2000) provides frankly pretty terrible (albeit nominally realistic and certainly playable) rules for Evasion and Pursuit (70). To summarize, the faster dude wins, yet if speeds are equal make opposed Dexterity checks, with the winner succeeding either in catching up or losing his pursuers, as desired.2

1 This free-space-during-a-double-move idea would later be codified by the 3.5 revision into the action withdraw.
2 If you want more interesting narrative chases, the sort-of D&D 3E compatible Pathfinder Role-playing Game makes its chase procedure available here.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @Powerdork Sure, creatures with appropriate training or abilities can flee better—the Tumble skill is trained only, for instance, and dimension door is a thing, too!—, but this is an attempt to capture the rules at their most elemental without taking into consideration the abilities and training of the creature doing the fleeing. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 18:29

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