A Guide to Jumping in 5e, Woman jumping between rocks

A Beginner Player’s & DM’s Guide to D&D 5e’s Jumping Rules

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition gives players a lot of options for navigating the environment. One of these options is jumping but this comes up so infrequently that remembering the rules for it can be a bit tricky.
 
How does jumping work in 5e? How do you calculate it? How can you increase a character’s jump distance?
 
This article covers everything you need to know about jumping in 5e.

Let’s start by looking at the most basic rules for jumping in D&D 5e.

Rules for Jumping in 5e

Jumping in 5e is a special type of movement. As such, the number of feet you jump counts against your total movement speed.

During a character’s adventures, situations may arise when they need to leap across a cavern or over a collapsed walkway. 5e comes with its own rules outlining how a creature may jump over these distances but they’re a little jumbled and scattered throughout the Player’s Handbook.

The basic rules for jumping in 5e are pretty much as follow:

  • A creature may either jump horizontally or vertically
  • Each foot jumped counts as 1 foot of movement but movement speed doesn’t determine jump distance
  • Figuring out jump distance relies on a creature’s Strength stat
  • Jumping in 5e doesn’t take an action of any kind
  • The rules for movement speed also apply to jumping
  • A creature may jump as many times as they want on their turn as long as they have the movement speed left to do so

Movement Speed & Jumping

A creature’s movement speed has no impact on their jump distance. However, their jump distance does have a limit based on that creature’s total movement speed.

Basically, when a creature jumps in 5e, each foot they leap counts as 1 foot of movement regardless of whether they jump vertically (high jump) or horizontally (long jump). But, a creature’s movement speed doesn’t determine how far they can jump.

Think of it this way; a creature’s distance jumped counts toward the amount they may move but their movement speed doesn’t affect how far they can jump.

Also, the same rules for movement speed also apply to jumping. As such, jumping in 5e is also restricted by the rules for moving.

This applies to rules like:

  • A creature that uses all of its movement speed can’t jump because they have no more movement to use
  • A creature may break up their movement through jumps
  • Jumping away from a hostile creature still provokes opportunity attacks unless the moving creature uses the Disengage action
  • A creature with 0 movement speed, like being affected by the Grappled condition, can’t jump

This also means if a creature can only jump up to their maximum movement speed, even if they can jump further. For example, a creature with 30 movement speed and 18 Strength can jump between 9 and 18 feet (depending on if they have a run up which we’ll get to in a second). If that creature moves 25 feet, they may only jump up to 5 feet as that’s all they have left in their movement speed despite having the ability to leap further.

This also means a creature can break up their movement speed as normal while jumping. Using the same example, that creature could jump 9 feet, attack a creature, then jump 9 feet away and have 12 feet (or more likely, 10 feet since most tables use 5-foot squares) of movement left.

Now, to calculate how far a creature can jump, you need to know their Strength Ability Score and modifier.

Calculating Jump Distance in 5e

Acrobatics jumping and sliding

Explicitly from the Player’s Handbook, your Strength score determines your jump distance both laterally and vertically. However, taking a jump from standing or running also plays a part in calculating a creature’s jump distance in 5e.

It’s important to note, your character’s (or creature’s) long jump distance is tied to their actual Strength score NOT their Strength modifier. However, their high jump distance DOES rely on their Strength modifier. For example, a Fighter with a Strength score of 18 uses that number when calculating their long jump distance and 4 for their high jump distance.

Just make sure to know which type of jump uses which between your Strength score and modifier.

Now, to figure out your long jump distance you need to determine if your character gets at least a 10 foot lead up to their leap. If they do, they can jump up to their Strength score in feet. On the other hand, if a character has less than a 10 foot run or leaps from a standing position, they may only jump up to half their Strength score.

To use the earlier example of a Fighter with 18 Strength, if they get a 10 foot run up, they can jump up to 18 feet as their long jump. But, they can only jump up to 9 feet if they jump from a stand or have less than 10 feet of lead up.

Next, a character’s high jump distance works a bit differently.

If a character runs at least 10 feet, they can jump up to 3 + their Strength modifier feet high. From a standing position or with less lead up, they can only jump half that distance.

Continuing the 18 Strength Fighter example, this character’s Strength modifier equals +4 due to 5e’s Ability Scores rules. So, with at least a 10 foot run up, this character can leap 7 feet into the air. But, with less lead up, they can only jump up 3 feet, rounded down.

However, a character’s height also plays into this as far as their reach is concerned. Since a character can reach up as they jump, they can effectively reach 3 + their Strength modifier + 1 1/2 their height in feet high.

Say our Fighter is a Human and is 6 feet tall. With a running high jump, they could reach 16 feet high at the height of their jump and at the tips of their fingers. But, the same character would only be able to reach 12 feet from a standing high jump.

Now, the Player’s Handbook also states your Game Master may allow you to make a Strength (Athletics) check to jump higher than normal. But, this is completely at your GM’s discretion. That said, if you want your character to push themselves a little further beyond their normal capabilities, just ask your GM to see if they’ll let you.

This all assumes a character can jump from one platform to another cleanly. But, the rules for jumping in 5e consider the circumstances of leaping over or into hazards.

Jumping Over Obstacles

Of course, this is Dungeons & Dragons. Jumping without hazards is just mirthful bounding.

The Player’s Handbook specifically outlines setting low Difficulty Classes (DC) for jumping over obstacles. Specifically, jumping over an obstacle no taller than 1/4 the length of your jump. These types of obstacles may warrant a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) check to clear.

For example, out 18 Strength Fighter wants to jump over a low hedge as running around or through it would take too long. With a running jump, the Fighter can jump 18 feet. This means the hedge can be no taller than 4 feet as 18 / 4 = 4.5 rounded down per the general advice at the start of the PHB. Even then, the Fighter needs to then succeed at a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) check to jump over the hedge or hit it, stopping their movement.

Next, the Player’s Handbook also outlines jumping into difficult terrain like thick mud or areas affected by spells like spike growth or web. Jumping into difficult terrain forces a creature to make a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check falling prone on a failure.

How to Increase Your Jump Distance in 5e

Man practicing a jump kick in a park

D&D 5e has a variety of ways to increase your base jump distance including racial traits, class features, spells, and more.

Your character doesn’t need to be held back by the default method of calculating jump distance. That is to say; you have options for increasing how far your character can jump through a variety of methods during character creation and over the course of play.

The main ways you can increase your characters jump distance in 5e include:

  • Improve their Strength score
  • Play a character race with a jump-related trait
  • Play a character class which improves or augments your movement
  • Cast spells which improve your mobility
  • Find movement-augmenting magic items
  • Take the Athletic feat when you can

Of course, we’ll go over each of these in more detail. So, let’s start with the most basic and universal method; improve your character’s Strength score.

Strength Score

Since both your long jump and high jump distances rely on your Strength Ability Score, both upfront and by modifier, increasing your character’s number in this stat also increases their jump distance. A character’s long jump distance improves by 1 foot for each single increment while their high jump distance improves on even scores. This is because your Strength modifier only increases on even numbers.

For example, a character with a 17 strength has a maximum long jump distance of 17 feet without outside help but their high jump on equals 6 feet (3 base + 3 Strength modifier). But, if you increase their Strength to 18 at your next Ability Score Improvement, their long jump distance also increases to a maximum of 18 feet and their high jump distance increases to 7 feet (3 base + 4 modifier).

Racial Traits

Certain races in D&D 5e have traits which increase their jump distance.

The following races come with traits which can increase their base jump distance either passively and permanently or actively and temporarily as of Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse:

  • Githyanki: Githyanki Psionics
  • Grung: Standing Leap
  • Harengon: Rabbit Hop
  • Satyr: Mirthful Leaps
  • Shifter: Shifting – Swiftstride
  • Tabaxi: Feline Agility

Bear in mind, a few of these options, like the Tabaxi’s Feline Agility or Shifter’s Shifting traits, simply augment your character’s overall movement speed which, by extension, means a character can jump more often without fear of running out of movement. But, they don’t directly improve jump distance.

Class Features

A number of classes get features which either improve a character’s jump distance explicitly; increase movement speed, allowing more jumps; or increase Strength which also improves jump distance.

Here’s a list of class features which either directly or indirectly increase a character’s jump distance.

  • Artificer: Artificer Infusion: Arcane Propulsion Armor
  • Artificer (Alchemist Specialist): Experimental Elixir: Swiftness
  • Artificer (Armorer Specialist): Armor Model: Infiltrator
  • Barbarian: Fast Movement, Primal Champion
  • Barbarian (Path of the Totem Warrior): Totem Spirit: Eagle
  • Barbarian (Path of the Beast): Bestial Soul
  • Druid: Wild Shape
  • Fighter (Champion Archetype): Remarkable Athlete
  • Monk: Unarmored Movement, Step of the Wind
  • Monk (Way of the Drunken Master): Drunken Technique
  • Paladin (Oath of Glory): Channel Divinity: Peerless Athlete, Aura of Alacrity
  • Ranger (Beast Master): Exceptional Training
  • Rogue: Cunning Action
  • Rogue (Thief Archetype): Second-Story Work
  • Rogue (Scout Archetype): Superior Mobility
  • Warlock: Invocation: Otherworldly Leap
  • Wizard (Bladesinging): Bladesong
  • Wizard (School of Graviturgy): Adjust Density

Spells

There aren’t that many spells which increase jump distance in 5e. That said, there are a few.

Here is the list of spells which help in increasing jump distance. Again, this is either directly (explicitly improving jump distance) or indirectly (increasing movement speed or other factors).

  • Expeditious Retreat: 1st-level
  • Jump: 1st-level
  • Longstrider: 1st-level
  • Haste: 3rd-level
  • Control Winds: 5th-level

Most notably, the jump spell stands as probably the most obvious choice for improving your character’s jump distance magically.

The Jump Spell

The jump spell is a low-level spell available to the Artificer, Druid, Ranger, Sorcerer, and Wizard classes. Technically, it’s also available to Warlocks through the Otherworldly Leap Invocation. Also, the Githyanki get access to jump through their Githyanki Psionics trait.

Jump is an extremely simple spell as it explicitly triples a creature’s jump distance.

Here’s the description for the jump spell in 5e:

  • Level: 1st
  • Casting Time: 1 Action
  • Range: Touch
  • Components: Vocal, Somatic, Material
    • Material: Grasshopper’s hind leg
  • Duration: Up to 1 minute

You touch a creature. The creature’s jump distance is tripled until the spell ends.

Source: DnD Beyond | Basic Rules – Jump

Jump isn’t the only spell which explicitly improves a creature’s jump distance; control winds also specifically calls it out. However, it is the only spell which improves jump distance in a wholistic sense. Control winds only improves high jumps but jump triples both high and long jump distance.

Magic Items

There are about as few magic items which improve jump distance in 5e as there are spells. From what I could find, there are only 5 magic items which either directly or indirectly improve a character’s jump distance.

  • Boots of Speed
  • Boots of Striding and Springing
  • Potion of Speed
  • Ring of Jumping
  • Teeth of Dahlver-Nar

Now, the only 3 which increase jump distance specifically are the Boots of Striding and Springing, Ring of Jumping, and Teeth of Dahlver-Nar (on an 8 result of a 1d20 roll). The Boots of Speed and Potion of Speed just increase movement speed which means a creature has more room to leap.

Feats

The only feat which explicitly increases jump distance in 5e is Athlete. This feat halves how far a character needs to run to get the full effect of a long or high jump. So, instead of needing 10 feet of lead-up, a character with the Athlete feat only needs 5 feet.

It could be argued the Magic Initiate feat could improve jump distance since it allows a character to gain access to 1 1st-level spell. A character could take the jump spell with this feat.

Additionally, the Mobile feat increases a character’s movement speed by 10 feet. This is an indirect benefit to jump distance, so there’s that as an option as well.

Finally, any feat which grants a bonus to a character’s Strength score also indirectly improves their jump distance. Even if they don’t get an increase to their modifier for height, even increasing their Strength by 1 improves a character’s long jump distance.

Encouraging Players to Jump

As a Game Master, encouraging your players to navigate their environment through jumping is an easy way to introduce hazards and obstacles to any adventure.

I think a lot of tables underestimate the impact introducing a potential plummet affects players. Once you put a short cliff or comparatively close ravine in front of your players, they’ll come up with all sorts of ways for negotiating the obstacle even if it’s not that threatening.

Of course, reminding your players their characters have the option of jumping and how relatively simple those rules are may be needed.

So, we’re gonna look at the 2 ways to use 5e’s jumping rules in your game; out-of-combat adventuring and during combat hazards.

Close Gaps While Adventuring

Including short gaps in your environments poses an obstacle for your characters to overcome either through magical means or by risking jumping.

Treacherous cliffs, rocky spires cutting through rough waters, or bypassing street-level hazards over rooftops are all examples of incorporating the option of jumping throughout an environment. Best of all, these are out-of-combat hazards and obstacles for your players to negotiate and deal with.

Here are some ideas for encouraging player characters to jump over or navigate certain obstacles while adventuring:

  • A 10-foot wide ravine over a 20-foot pit
  • Floating rocks spaced 5-10 feet apart over a magical electrical storm
  • A violent mob blocks off streets in the city with the easiest way around being the rooves of tightly-packed buildings
  • A swift-moving river dotted with slick rocks spaced 7 feet apart
  • Strangling vines cover the forest floor, forcing the characters to leap from tree to tree to navigate the woods

Drops Around the Battlefield

Dropping out the floor from underneath characters in-combat is a great way to encourage them to leap from platform to platform.

Being based on 5e’s movement rules, jumping fits perfectly in combat encounters. But, encouraging player characters to jump during combat is a bit tricky. Even if you get them to start jumping around the battlefield, you’re pretty much only making things more difficult for melee-focused martial characters. Ranged combatants and spellcasters won’t be as affected as they don’t need to get close thus meaning they won’t need to move as much.

That said, introducing falling platforms or changes to the battlefield with this in mind can means developing more interesting combat encounters.

Falling platforms, rising hazards, and other dynamic hazards are great for introducing ways to encourage your players to leap around the area. Here are some ideas for introducing jumping hazards to your combat encounters in 5e:

  • A collapsing tower forces characters to navigate safe platforms
  • Rising lava leaves taller rocks as safe areas to stand on and leap to
  • The enemy has the floor rigged as rising platforms which they alter at will
  • A battle between moving carriages or ships forces combatants to jump from vehicle to vehicle to engage their enemy
  • The battlefield consists of enchanted platforms which fly around the environment

Jumping in 5e FAQ

Horse jumping over a barricade with its rider

Does Jumping in 5e Take an Action?

No. Jumping in 5e does not take an action. A creature just needs to have movement speed to use during their jump.

Jumping in 5e is basically a special type of movement and doesn’t take an action of any kind to perform.

How Many Times Can You Jump in 5e?

A creature can jump as many times as they want in 5e so long as they have movement speed left to use. Put another way; a creature may jump a number of feet equal to their movement speed spread across any number of leaps.

There’s not limit in 5e on how many times a creature may jump. However, a creature may only jump a number of feet equal to their movement speed. So, the only limit to how many times a creature may jump is how far they may move on their turn.

Can a Creature Take Fall Damage From Jumping?

Yes, a creature can take fall damage as the result of jumping though not directly from jumping itself. If a creature jumps up and falls 10 or more feet, they still take fall damage according to how far they fall.

Just because a creature initiates a high jump doesn’t mean they won’t suffer fall damage if they plummet too far. Usually, the highest a creature could jump would be 8 feet with a maximum 20 Strength score (+5 modifier) and the 3 foot default height. However, traits, features, spells, and other extra abilities may mean a creature jumps high enough to suffer fall damage.

The default rules are for every 10 feet a creature falls, they take 1d6 damage.

Looking at an example, a character with a 20 Strength score under the effects of the jump spell would be able to jump up to 24 feet high ([+5 Strength modifier + 3 default height] * 3 due to jump spell). Falling from that height would mean that character would take 2d6 damage after landing from their jump assuming they leapt straight up and fell straight back down.

Can a Creature Attack While Jumping in 5e?

Yes, a creature can attack while jumping in 5e. The rules for breaking up movement to take actions technically allows for a creature to take the attack action after jumping and before landing.

Rules as written; 5e allows a creature to break up their movement between their actions. Basically, a creature with 30 feet of movement could move less than their maximum speed, take an action, then finish their move using their left over speed For example, a creature with 30 feet of movement could move 10 feet, attack, then move 20 more feet.

There’s nothing in the rules for jumping which alters how this works. So, as the rules stand now, a creature could jump, attack mid-air, then land.

This was also confirmed by D&D’s lead rules designer, Jeremy Crawford, in 2018. Someone asked if a creature could attack during a horizontal or vertical jump citing the Breaking Up Your Move rules in the Player’s Handbook. To which Jeremy Crawford replied, "Yes, that’s doable."

Does Jumping Trigger Attacks of Opportunity?

Yes, jumping out of a creature’s reach still provokes an Opportunity Attack.

Jumping is essentially a special type of movement but still counts as "regular" for the purposes of determining whether they trigger Opportunity Attacks. A creature still needs to take the Disengage action prior to jumping to avoid triggering Opportunity Attacks.

 

Summary of Jumping in 5e

That about covers everything you should need to know about the rules behind jumping in D&D 5e.

Jumping is essentially a special type of movement and follows the basic rules for moving with additional mechanics on top. It uses a creature’s Strength score and modifier for figuring out long and high jump distance and is limited by movement speed. There are many ways to building a character for jump distance with bonuses from racial traits, class features, spells, magic items, and feats.

How often do you use 5e’s jumping rules? Do you try to encourage your players to navigate precarious environments? Leave a comment below with your experiences!

If you liked this article or found it helpful, consider following Role Player’s Respite for more rules guides, mechanic breakdowns, and inspiration for your next game or character!

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