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The group that I play with, for a while now have been understanding the rules for difficult terrain such that you can take a 5 foot step into it but not out of it.

I just read the feat nimble moves though:

Benefit: Whenever you move, you may move through 5 feet of difficult terrain each round as if it were normal terrain. This feat allows you to take a 5-foot step into difficult terrain.

When talking about the 5 foot step the rules only mention that you can use it only when your movement is not hampered.

You can only take a 5-foot-step if your movement isn't hampered by difficult terrain or darkness. Any creature with a speed of 5 feet or less can't take a 5-foot step, since moving even 5 feet requires a move action for such a slow creature.

The rules for a 5 foot step in difficult terrain don't seem to cover what I am asking about

In some situations, your movement may be so hampered that you don't have sufficient speed even to move 5 feet (a single square). In such a case, you may spend a full-round action to move 5 feet (1 square) in any direction, even diagonally. Even though this looks like a 5-foot step, it's not, and thus it provokes attacks of opportunity normally.

Does this mean we have been using the 5 foot step and difficult terrain wrong or are the rules ambiguous?

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A creature usually can't take a 5-foot step to enter a square that hampers the creature's movement

When determining the movement costs for hampered movement, the game usually doesn't care where the creature is and instead cares where the creature's going:

Difficult terrain, obstacles, and poor visibility can hamper movement (see Table: Hampered Movement for details). When movement is hampered, each square moved into usually counts as two squares, effectively reducing the distance that a character can cover in a move.

If more than one hampering condition applies, multiply all additional costs that apply. This is a specific exception to the normal rule for doubling.

In some situations, your movement may be so hampered that you don't have sufficient speed even to move 5 feet (1 square). In such a case, you may use a full-round action to move 5 feet (1 square) in any direction, even diagonally. Even though this looks like a 5-foot step, it's not, and thus it provokes attacks of opportunity normally. (You can't take advantage of this rule to move through impassable terrain or to move when all movement is prohibited to you.)

You can't run or charge through any square that would hamper your movement.

Emphasis—and extra emphasis—mine. Thus at issue is the creature's destination square not its current square. The creature's already in its current square, so the creature doesn't have to care about that square's terrain, having already overcome the difficulty of entering it!

For example, going from a square of supernatural darkness into an adjacent square of bright light is just normal movement, but going from a square of bright light into an adjacent square of supernatural darkness usually costs double movement due to poor visibility. In fact, going from any square into an adjacent square of supernatural darkness usually costs double movement due to poor visibility, the condition of the starting square typically not mattering at all.

Exiting then reentering the same square of hampering terrain still costs additional movement, of course. A creature can't move normally back and forth between squares of hampering terrain just because it's occupied the same square of hampering terrain previously. For example, moving from a square of supernatural darkness to a square of supernatural darkness then back to the original square of supernatural darkness does not speed up the return trip.

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The answer is right there in your question.

You can only take a 5-foot-step if your movement isn't hampered by difficult terrain[...]

So normally you can't 5-foot-step in difficult terrain at all. When going from normal terrain into difficult terrain, it isn't the space you're leaving that matters but the space you're entering.

The second part of your question isn't rules for a 5-foot-step, but a special full-round action you can take when you have no movement to spend (eg your speed has been reduced to 0). This doesn't apply to difficult terrain because terrain doesn't reduce your speed; it acts as an obstacle to it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ There wasnt a second part, that was to show my homework \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Jun 19 '16 at 17:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Fering I moreso meant the latter part of your entry. Just wanted to address it :) \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o Jun 19 '16 at 20:01

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