Movement Through Allies Difficult Terrain?


Rules Questions

Shadow Lodge

I joined a group playing RotRL Anniversary Edition, and they sprung a couple rules I can't really find basis for anywhere. The biggest of which is that moving through allies in combat is considered difficult terrain. I've been playing Pathfinder for at least five years (PFS, mostly) and have NEVER seen this done before. The only basis I can think of is them misinterpreting rules for crowds...

The second one is that a diagonal counts as moving through all four squares (the one you are moving to, and the ones next to it). Never seen this rule, either, but the situation comes up less.

Is there any support for these? Or, even better, is there support that these interpretations of the rules are wrong? I would very much like to never have to worry about this again, it's a very frustrating thing to deal with in combat.


I have no idea what you group is thinking. Allies are normal terrain, as you've said.

Dark Archive

there's no penalty for moving though allies, and moving diagonally counts as two squares after the first diagonal in that move action.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Technically, yes, you do pass through the perpendicular squares when you move on the diagonal. It doesn't matter much unless there's harmful terrain (like a pit or a wall of fire).

Shadow Lodge

While it's nice to be agreed with, unless I get a massive amount of people agreeing with me, I'd just be parroting my arguments from other sessions. Anyone have any specific rules proof or a link to a dev post? Because, as far as I can find, I can't find anything to refute their interpretation other than 'it doesn't say'.


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Is it possible that they are misapplying the charge rules?
Since you can't charge through an ally's square and you can't charge through difficult terrain, they might be incorrectly deducing that an ally's square counts as difficult terrain.

At an rate, the relevant rules are under Moving through a square. I've bolded a couple of points that might help you in your argument:

You can move through an unoccupied square without difficulty in most circumstances. Difficult terrain and a number of spell effects might hamper your movement through open spaces.

Friend: You can move through a square occupied by a friendly character, unless you are charging. When you move through a square occupied by a friendly character, that character doesn't provide you with cover.

Opponent: You can't move through a square occupied by an opponent unless the opponent is helpless. You can move through a square occupied by a helpless opponent without penalty. Some creatures, particularly very large ones, may present an obstacle even when helpless. In such cases, each square you move through counts as 2 squares.


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The burden of proof is on your friends, not you. They have claimed that allies count as difficult terrain. Ask them to point out where the rules state this.


CampinCarl9127 wrote:
The burden of proof is on your friends, not you. They have claimed that allies count as difficult terrain. Ask them to point out where the rules state this.

That is a truly terrible response. The opposite can be equally true. The rest of the group [incorrectly I agree] have stated that moving through allies is difficult terrain. The burden of proof is on the individual to prove the way the group plays is wrong houserule terrirory, not supported contradicted by the rules.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Those are at least viable houserules, and frinkly I find nothing that specifically contradicts them.

The movement rules quoted above show that moving through a friendly character's space gets no special treatment, so there is no mandate for it being treated as difficult terrain, but it's easy to see why this argument is less than convincing for guys who've always played it this way. It says you "can move through that square" but doesn't specifically say that such movement is at no added cost.

It does at least seem plausible that the presence of an ally in the square might slow down movement a bit. One might even posit that the presence of an ally is in some way an obstacle, as defined here:

PRD wrote:
Hampered Movement: 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.

Regarding the other oddity:

Ninjaxenomorph wrote:
The second one is that a diagonal counts as moving through all four squares (the one you are moving to, and the ones next to it). Never seen this rule, either, but the situation comes up less.

I'm assuming that this is used to determine if an adversary can hit you with opportunity attacks, or whether a hard corner blocks said movement, rather than the actual cost of moving diagonally. The ogre example from the CRB movement rules supports this interpretation, but I can't recall having seen any specific examples where an adversary can only reach one of the squares you're moving diagonally next to, and can *still* claim an attack of opportunity. It seems highly plausible, though, and a logical corrolary to diagonal movement.

Shadow Lodge

The fact that, as you said, there is nothing that directly contradicts them is what worries me. Maybe I can find a recording of devs doing combat where they do it normally...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Why not just roll with it?
You said that this group has always played this way... sure, it costs you a square of movement here and there, but that's not a major issue in most cases. Plus, your adversaries suffer the same penalties and arguably might suffer them more often.

Again, both interpretations seem very plausible.


Ninjaxenomorph wrote:
The fact that, as you said, there is nothing that directly contradicts them is what worries me. Maybe I can find a recording of devs doing combat where they do it normally...

The entire basis we have for reading the rules contradicts it. The rules don't say allies count as difficult terrain, therefore allies don't count as difficult terrain.

Hugo Rune wrote:
CampinCarl9127 wrote:
The burden of proof is on your friends, not you. They have claimed that allies count as difficult terrain. Ask them to point out where the rules state this.
The opposite can be equally true.

Not even remotely. The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the person making the postive claim. In this case, the burden of proof falls on the person who says the rule exists. Here, I'll prove it to you. Tupac is alive and is currently the night manager at an In-N-Out in Hollywood, plotting revenge on Biggie Smalls, who is also still alive. You don't think that's true? Well, I don't have to prove it's true, you have to prove it's false.


Dallium wrote:


Hugo Rune wrote:
CampinCarl9127 wrote:
The burden of proof is on your friends, not you. They have claimed that allies count as difficult terrain. Ask them to point out where the rules state this.
The opposite can be equally true.
Not even remotely. The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the person making the postive claim. In this case, the burden of proof falls on the person who says the rule exists. Here, I'll prove it to you. Tupac is alive and is currently the night manager at an In-N-Out in Hollywood, plotting revenge on Biggie Smalls, who is also still alive. You don't think that's true? Well, I don't have to prove it's true, you have to prove it's false.

For the group that the player is part of, the norm is there is a penalty for moving through allies. The positive claim would then be some writing that categorically states that allies do not form an obstacle or hindrance. To play your game, here is a well-referenced article providing the evidence that Tupac and Biggie Smalls are both dead. I would be intrigued to see a recent picture of them both to support your position.


Dallium has the right of it.

I say that there is a purple hippo in Australia who can speak Japanese. Prove me wrong.

You can't. You can't prove that something doesn't exist, you can only point out that I have no evidence that supports that it does exist.

This is burden of proof 101. Easy.


Well, it's a great way to win an argument on the internet, but it may not be the best way to make friends with this gaming group.


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I think they are maybe mashing some things together.

In 5E, allies do count as difficult terrain. It is possible they or the GM, plays both.

However, in PF, the only rule in the book containing moving through a square containing an ally is the one quoted above.

CRB Combat chapter:
Moving Through a Square

You can move through an unoccupied square without difficulty in most circumstances. Difficult terrain and a number of spell effects might hamper your movement through open spaces.

Friend: You can move through a square occupied by a friendly character, unless you are charging. When you move through a square occupied by a friendly character, that character doesn't provide you with cover.

Opponent: You can't move through a square occupied by an opponent unless the opponent is helpless. You can move through a square occupied by a helpless opponent without penalty. Some creatures, particularly very large ones, may present an obstacle even when helpless. In such cases, each square you move through counts as 2 squares.

Ending Your Movement: You can't end your movement in the same square as another creature unless it is helpless.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Well, it's a great way to win an argument on the internet, but it may not be the best way to make friends with this gaming group.

This is the most important issue.

Sure, the Pathfinder rules never state that moving through an ally's square costs double, like difficult terrain. As we see above, by the RAW it doesn't.

But it's not an unreasonable houserule. Tell the other guys you're perfectly OK with playing by this rule, if that's what they want, but patiently explain that nowhere does such a rule appear in the PF books.

Then just suck it up, and play things "their way".


Core Rulebook, p. 193 wrote:
A creature can squeeze past a creature while moving but it can’t end its movement in an occupied square.

And squeezing means, among other things, double movement cost. Unless it's stated somewhere else that allies are an exemption from this rule, I'd say that's RAW.


This thread is several months old so the issue has probably been resolved.

That being said:
@Adjoint, those rules are about squeezing, not about moving through an allies square. It would be helpful if you looked at the whole passage for context.

Quote:

Squeezing: In some cases, you may have to squeeze into or through an area that isn't as wide as the space you take up. You can squeeze through or into a space that is at least half as wide as your normal space. Each move into or through a narrow space counts as if it were 2 squares, and while squeezed in a narrow space, you take a –4 penalty on attack rolls and a –4 penalty to AC.

When a Large creature (which normally takes up 4 squares) squeezes into a space that's 1 square wide, the creature's miniature figure occupies 2 squares, centered on the line between the 2 squares. For a bigger creature, center the creature likewise in the area it squeezes into.

A creature can squeeze past a creature while moving but it can't end its movement in an occupied square.

To squeeze through or into a space less than half your space's width, you must use the Escape Artist skill. You can't attack while using Escape Artist to squeeze through or into a narrow space, you take a –4 penalty to AC, and you lose any Dexterity bonus to AC.

So, if for some reason you are large size and there is a 10ft hallway and you have an enemy, you can squeeze past them. You take the squeezing penalties and will provoke for moving past them. This includes that the one square you move through will count as double for how far you can move in the round.

As to the original post...this advice probably isn't needed but CampinCarl is right. When someone makes a claim, the burden of proof is on them to show you where that rule is. You literally can't find proof to tell them they're wrong in most cases, because that's not how the rules are written.

The good news is:

Quote:

Moving Through a Square

You can move through an unoccupied square without difficulty in most circumstances. Difficult terrain and a number of spell effects might hamper your movement through open spaces.

Friend: You can move through a square occupied by a friendly character, unless you are charging. When you move through a square occupied by a friendly character, that character doesn't provide you with cover.

It mentions nothing about moving through an allies square costing double, it only says that it's allowed. And you wont find a rule saying it counts as difficult terrain so it doesn't. And I will add, you also wont find a rule saying it doesn't count as difficult terrain because that's not how the rules work. You would first need a general rule to say it did count as difficult terrain (which doesn't exist).

Secondly,

Quote:

Measuring Distance

As a general rule, distance is measured assuming that 1 square equals 5 feet.

Diagonals: When measuring distance, the first diagonal counts as 1 square, the second counts as 2 squares, the third counts as 1, the fourth as 2, and so on.

Your friends are completely wrong. The above explains how to measure distances when traveling diagonals.

And honestly, why would you count all 4 squares when moving on a diagonal? You would be much better off just moving up 1 and over 1 expending half of the movement you would by your friend's method.


I'm aware that this thread is old, but I still believe it was better to add to it, than to start a new one. For when I was googling for an answer I found this thread and it seemed to give an answer, but then I found that passage that looked like it says something else. And why I thought it brings something new is beacuse I considered a space occupied by a creature a square that needs to be squeezed through.

But now I agree with @Claxon that "squeezing past a creature" is supposed to mean squeezing through squares adjacent to it, to avoid passing through its square. Just to clarify the example you have given: If a Large creature squeezes beside a Medium creature in 10 ft. corridor, it does not passes through it square, so DC for Acrobatics check to avoid AoO is just CMD, not incresaed by 5 (but it would be if the Large creature decided not to squeeze and just try to pass through the enemy's square).


That's correct

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