I have a player who is planning a monk aarakocra, and he asked me this: Unarmored Movement just says "speed". Does that mean all speed for each movement type, or just ground speed?


RAW, no.

Unarmored movement: "your speed increases by 10 feet while [conditions, also gets faster later]" (PHB p.79, "Unarmored Movement")

So what's increasing? Your speed:

Every character and monster has a speed, which is the distance in feet that the character or monster can walk in one round." (PHB p.182, "Movement," emphasis mine)

So the monk feature increases by 10 the distance in feet that the character can walk in a round. For your Aaracokra that number is 25, increasing to 35.

RAT (Rules As Tweeted), yes.

@JeremyCrawford says "bonuses/penalties to speed apply to your speeds in general, unless the text specifies walking, flying, etc." (Emphasis mine, thanks to @keithcurtis for the pointer.)

I'm usually pretty hesitatant to rely on tweets, even from Jeremy, but this one hits the mark pretty directly: you'd look at all your speeds (25' walking, 50' flying) and add 10' to each for Unarmored Movement.

[Later] and here's one that hits it exactly: Aarakocra Monk Unarmored Movement. I'll spoil the surprise: Jeremy says it's +10' for flying speed, too.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What about PHB p.190, "these different modes of movement can be combined with walking, [...] However you're moving, you deduct the distance of each part of your move from your speed until it is used up or until you are done moving" and further down, the entire section on using different speeds implies "speed" refers to whichever movement type you are currently using. If my reading is right, then a L20 aarakocra monk would effectively have 55ft walking and 80ft flying, the last 30ft would just shift with whatever mode they use. That seems like a lot though. \$\endgroup\$ – JAMalcolmson Sep 10 '16 at 19:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's tempting, but the paragraph you quote in part from p.190 is specifically addressing "jumping, climbing, and swimming" as described in the relevant "Special Movement" section of p.182. I don't see anything on p.190 to make me think differently about flying. Now, perhaps that seems like cutting too fine a point? Where I think this question would get really hard to answer would be if you were looking at a playable race with a climbing or swimming speed, because then pp.182 and 190 would seem to come in direct conflict. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Sep 10 '16 at 20:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ In other words, p.190 seems to be addressing the situation of a creature without that movement type natively accounting for moving in that fashion. Aaracokra, with a called-out flying speed, seem to fall in a different (and unlisted) category. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Sep 10 '16 at 20:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ The section on using different speeds on p.190 specifically mentions a creature with walking speed and flying speed! XD I've decided I'm not going to allow it in any case, because that eventual 80ft is insane, but I'd like to know if I'm validated by the rules, or if I should write down an actual house rule on the matter. I have no interest in misleading a player. Maybe I should submit this to sage advice to find out their intent. \$\endgroup\$ – JAMalcolmson Sep 10 '16 at 21:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well I submitted it to sage advice. Maybe there'll be an official answer soon, considering he has to reply to tweets about it atm. For now I'll just explain that the rules are vague, and tell him why I'm ruling against it. \$\endgroup\$ – JAMalcolmson Sep 10 '16 at 23:01

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