Dash action in DnD 5e explained

Whether you’re fleeing the local town guard or quaffing potions to run down the bolting horse, knowing how to get the best out of the Dash action can get you out of some tight jams!

A dwarf dashing down the street


How does Dash work in 5e?

Dashing is an action that can be used by any moving creature, whether it’s players trying to get away from danger or the DM’s monsters giving chase. Using a Dash action grants an additional movement on your current turn equivalent to your current move speed for that turn. For instance, a standard human in DnD 5e has a walking speed of 30ft per turn, using a Dash action would double this, adding an additional 30ft, allowing you to move 60ft in the turn.

Do speed modifiers affect dashing?

Dashing takes into account both positive and negative speed modifiers. For instance, if our human’s movement is currently magically enhanced to 60ft per turn by some rather nice Boots of Speed, it would mean could be able to move a staggering 120ft in a single turn while dashing. This works the other way around too, so if our human took off those magic boots, put some rocks in their backpack and encumbered themselves with minus 10ft movement penalty to slow them down to 20ft of movement, our Dash would only give us 40ft of, not doubling from the original 30ft base movement speed.

Prone and dashing

It’s quite common for players to want to Dash after having some serious smack laid down on them, which sometimes ends up with them being prone. It’s important to remember here that dashing does not double your speed, it simply gives you an extra movement. Using our human as an example, if they are prone, they must spend 15ft of their movement to stand up. This leaves them with 15ft movement. Using the Dash action means they can move again, this time the full 30ft (as they are standing up). So after being prone, with no other modifiers, a creature with a 30ft base movement speed can cover 45ft (15ft + 30ft).

Deciding whether to give up or dashKnocked down? Sometimes it’s just best to Dash!

How many times can you Dash in 5e?

The rules as written put no restriction on dashing in sequential turns, so you could theoretically keep dashing! Dashing takes a full action by default, but there are different feats and magic that mean you can dash multiple times in a single turn.

Can I use a bonus action after dashing?

By standard, no, a Dash takes a full action. There are however some abilities, feats and spells that allow you to take a Dash as a bonus action!

Abilities that allow you to Dash as a bonus action:

  • Cunning action is a 2nd level Rogue ability that grants a Dash as a bonus action.
  • Step of the Wind is a 2nd level Monk ability that grants a Dash as a bonus action by spending 1 Ki point.
  • 3rd Level Eagle Ability which is available to Totem Barbarians grants a Dash as a bonus action.
  • Battlerager charge which is available to, you guessed it, Battlerager Barbarians at level 10 also allows a bonus action Dash when raging.

A rogue running away from the town guardA Rogue’s cunning action ability allows them to outstep pursuit

Spells that allow you to Dash as a bonus action:

  • Expeditious Retreat is a 1st level spell that grants Dash as a bonus action

How to use improve on Dash

  • Action Surge is a 2nd level Fighter ability that grants a full second action, this can be used to double-Dash!
  • Haste is where it’s at. Not only will Haste double your movement speed, it also grants an additional action meaning a human with 30ft movement speed could move 30x2x3 = 180ft of movement!

Can you dash while flying?

Absolutely! The Dash action is not limited to your walking speed, but your movement speed. You can use the Dash action to double your speed while flying.

Can you hold a dash action?

Although your DM may rule differently on this, the rules as written for the Dash action say: “When you take the Dash action, you gain extra movement for the current turn”. Dash does not make you move, but rather adds to your movement allowance on that turn; strictly speaking, Dash should not allow movement as a readied action.

How much movement does Dash give you in 5e?

As I’m sure you can now appreciate, there is no fixed answer to how much additional movement the Dash action provides. Each Dash action (because we can have multiple ones in a turn) simply provides you with another opportunity to move at your current speed, taking into account all modifiers.

Dashing away from dangerWhen it gets dangerous – dash!

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First introduced to D&D by the cRPG Baldur's Gate after borrowing it from a friend in 1998, Mark is currently experiencing repeated bouts of unconsciousness trying to take his melee Wizard through a 5e campaign.