I have a player in my campaign playing an Unearthed Arcana Revised Ranger. The Ranger's 'Natural Explorer' ability grants the following:


you are skilled at navigating the wilderness. You gain the following benefits when traveling for an hour or more:

  • Difficult terrain doesn’t slow your group’s travel.


I have currently been forced to make a Rule-0 ruling regarding when this ability stops functioning, and would like a more universal judgement if one exists. If this ability is activated it would end when the party stops traveling, but what specifically ends travel?

I am looking for a RAW answer. RAI answers will do only if no RAW ruling can be made.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Since “answer according to how the game works, only give answers off-rules if necessary and you can support it” is already how everything is supposed to work here, there's no “tag tax” necessary when asking for that, and so [rules-as-written] is reserved for a different meaning than what this question is about. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 3, 2017 at 18:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Sorry about that - only read the brief on the tag wiki, and it seemed to fit \$\endgroup\$
    – Conduit
    Apr 3, 2017 at 18:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ No trouble! It's a tricky tag to get the hang of, since its usual meaning covers so much. It's just that since otherwise it would fit on 50% of our questions, it either had to be removed entirely from the site (undesirable), or more narrowly defined, but it's hard to write a good tag wiki for that narrower definition that isn't easily misread as the broad, half-our-questions meaning. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 3, 2017 at 19:02

3 Answers 3


Travel is ended by entering combat or any other sort of tactical movement (Where a character's speed is used)

"Travel" Refers to the movement mechanics described on page 181 of the PHB.

At the start of Chapter 8: Adventuring, the PHB defines the rules for traveling and movement in scales of days, hours and minutes. Here, you can also find the Travel Pace Table and the Activity while Traveling sub-section.

Traveling applies while the above rules are being utilized. In other words, the players are considering to be "Traveling" whenever they are moving and are outside of combat (Where the combat movement and round rules are used), and this includes navigating a dungeon. This is the same condition for being able to perform any of the Activites while Traveling.

The smallest unit of time in the Travel Pace table is 1 minute, so this is the shortest allowed one for traveling. In order to travel, a Travel Pace must be established, so this rules out any sort of tactical movement.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel this answer best focuses on the most deterministic property of travel - whether a travel pace is being used. Accepted, and thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – Conduit
    Apr 3, 2017 at 19:38

Traveling is any collective party movement outside or in dungeons.

The DMG breaks travel down in increments ranging from 10ft to 6mi (DMG 242), and makes specific reference to traveling inside dungeons. This means that "traveling" can be very short or very long distances.

If you want to be super precise, DMG 242 further states that

The rules for travel pace in the Player's Handbook assume that a group of travelers adopts a pace that, over time, is unaffected by the individual members' walking speeds.

And PHB 181 only draws a distinction between ordinary movement and combat movement

Every character and monster has a speed, which is the distance in feet that the character or monster can walk in 1 round. This number assumes short bursts of energetic movement in the midst of a life- threatening situation. The following rules determine how far a character or monster can move in a minute, an hour, or a day.

This means that essentially any party movement that's not a combat can be treated as traveling.

In the case of the Revised Ranger's ability, this means that the benefit only goes away when the party stops moving, whether that's for combat or for resting, as long as the entire traveling period is at least one hour. The specific wording of the ranger ability makes references to traveling in the wilderness, but there are no specific restrictions written in that bullet point, so it would seem that it works in dungeons as well.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting! Maybe call out more the difference between individual movement vs collective? That seems to be the main thread of your argument, but it's not clearly stated. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Apr 3, 2017 at 19:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ending travel the moment travel pace becomes supplanted is a good deterministic measure - not to mention one that lines up with and encapsulates my Rule-0 decision. Thank you! \$\endgroup\$
    – Conduit
    Apr 3, 2017 at 19:27

The text you quoted defines what travel is:

When traveling an hour or more...

Travel ends when you stop actively moving. If you stop to fight, you have ended your 'travel' because you are no longer purely moving through the terrain. You have stopped.

The same would be said if you took a Short or Long Rest. Travel has stopped. It effectively also doesn't begin again until you've moved for at least one hour - meaning that your first hour of travel in difficult terrain still counts as difficult terrain.

The ranger is effectively leading the group and finding the best path to minimize the impact of the difficult terrain. In the case of a fight, each player is individually making movement decisions and is no longer being led by the ranger.

There are minimum travel times that begin at 1 minute, but the assumption remains that if you are not actively moving, you are not traveling. And traveling begins at 1 minute (PHB 181) and the ranger ability doesn't engage until 1 hour of travel.

  • \$\begingroup\$ In a way, defining how it begins also defines how it ends. You must be actively travelling for more than an hour to get the benefit. If you are no longer moving, you are no longer traveling. The answers below also do not state when travel ends, but what qualifies as travel movement pace. The assumption is that if you are moving, you are traveling. If you are not moving for at least one minute, you are traveling. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Apr 3, 2017 at 19:23

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