Last Updated on October 6, 2023
When taking part in combat in DnD 5e, the Dash action is a great way to move quickly – either towards or away from your enemies or allies.
Dash is a common and incredibly useful action in combat, so this guide will tell you everything you need to know about the Dash action.
Best Uses of the Dash Action
- Getting your PC into a good position to make an attack next round.
- Helping allies who are not next to you.
- Moving away from an enemy who may attack you.
How Does the Dash Action Work in DnD 5e?
When you take the Dash action, you gain extra movement for the current turn. The increase equals your speed, after applying any modifiers. With a speed of 30 feet, for example, you can move up to 60 feet on your turn if you dash.
Any increase or decrease to your speed changes this additional movement by the same amount. If your speed of 30 feet is reduced to 15 feet, for instance, you can move up to 30 feet this turn if you dash.
The Dash action is an easy action to take in combat. By declaring that you are taking the Dash action, you gain additional movement equal to your current movement in that turn. Simply declare Dash and move to where you want to go.
If your movement speed has been reduced, such as by a spell, Dash gives your additional movement equal to your reduced speed.
Likewise, if your movement has been increased by a spell, such as Haste, Dash gives you additional movement equal to your increased speed.
Here’s an example:
- Your base movement speed is 30ft.
- If you take Dash as your action, you can move up to 60ft that turn.
- If your base movement speed has been reduced to 20ft due to an enemy casting Ray of Frost on you, you can take Dash as your action to move 40ft.
- If your base movement speed has been doubled to 60ft because of the Haste spell, you can take Dash as your action to move 120ft on your turn.
Class-Specific Dash Actions
Some classes in DnD 5e have Dash actions included in descriptions of their special abilities or spells. Here is a run-down of the class-specific Dash actions.
Barbarians: Eagle Totem and Dash
Eagle. While you’re raging and aren’t wearing heavy armor, other creatures have disadvantage on opportunity attack rolls against you, and you can use the Dash action as a bonus action on your turn. The spirit of the eagle makes you into a predator who can weave through the fray with ease.
Player’s Handbook, Barbarian, p. 50
Barbarians who choose the Path of the Totem Warrior can choose a totem spirit at 3rd level. If they choose the eagle, they can use the Dash action as a bonus action on their turn whenever they are raging.
This cannot be done if the Barbarian is wearing heavy armor.
Clerics and Paladins: Channel Divinity and Dash
As an action, you present your holy symbol and speak a prayer censuring the undead. Each undead that can see or hear you within 30 feet of you must make a Wisdom
saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is turned for 1 minute or until it takes any damage.
A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from you as it can, and it can’t willingly move to a space within 30 feet of you. It also can’t take reactions. For its action, it can use only the Dash action or try to escape from an effect that prevents it from moving. If there’s nowhere to move, the creature can use the Dodge action.
At 2nd level, Clerics gain their Channel Divinity feature which lets them Turn the Undead. When Clerics successfully turn an undead creature, the only action that creature can take is the Dash action as it is trying to run away from the Cleric.
The only time the undead creature would not take the Dash action is if it is trying to escape specifically from an effect or spell that would prevent it from moving.
Likewise, Paladins who take the Oath of Devotion or the Oath of the Ancients at 3rd level can use their Channel Divinity feature for a similar effect. For the Oath of Devotion, ‘Turn the Unholy’ forces undead and fiends to take the Dash action.
For the Oath of the Ancients, ‘Turn the Faithless’ forces fey and fiends to take the Dash action. This has the same effect on fiends and undead, forcing them to take the Dash action on their turn to run away from the Paladin.
Monks: Step of the Wind and Dash
You can spend 1 ki point to take the Disengage or Dash action as a bonus action on your turn, and your jump distance is doubled for the turn.
Player’s Handbook, Monk, p. 78
At 2nd level, Monks can harness the mystic energy of ki and have a certain number of ki points based on their level. These ki points can be spent on various abilities, including Step of the Wind, which lets Monks take the Dash action as a bonus action on their turn.
Rangers: Companions and Dash
At 3rd level, Rangers gain a beast companion. Rangers can use their turn to verbally command their companion to do a variety of things, including the Dash action.
At 7th level, if the beast companion doesn’t attack on any given turn during combat, the Ranger can use a bonus action to command the beast to take the Dash action on its turn.
Rogues: Cunning Action and Dash
Rogues are quick, so at 2nd level, they can take the Dash action as a bonus action at the end of each of their turns in combat.
The Dash Action in Spells
There are several spells that allow you or your allies to take a Dash action or bonus action. Here is an overview of each of them.
This spell allows you to move at an incredible pace. When you cast this spell, and then as a bonus action on each of your turns until the spell ends, you can take the Dash action.
Player’s Handbook, p. 238.
You project a phantasmal image of a creature’s worst fears. Each creature in a 30-foot cone must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or drop whatever it is holding and become frightened for the duration.
While frightened by this spell, a creature must take the Dash action and move away from you by the safest available route on each of its turns, unless there is nowhere to move. If the creature ends its turn in a location where it doesn’t have line of sight to you, the creature can make a Wisdom saving throw. On a successful save, the spell ends for that creature.
Player’s Handbook, p. 239
Choose a willing creature that you can see within range. Until the spell ends, the target’s speed is doubled, it gains a +2 bonus to AC, it has advantage on Dexterity saving throws, and it gains an additional action on each of its turns. That action can be used only to take the Attack (one weapon attack only), Dash, Disengage, Hide, or Use an Object action.
When the spell ends, the target can’t move or take actions until after its next turn, as a wave of lethargy sweeps over it.
The Dash Action and Feats
If you think your character will be making use of Dash a lot, it might be worth choosing a feat that includes the Dash action as one of its benefits. There are two feats that mention the Dash action: Charger and Mobile.
When you use your action to Dash, you can use a bonus action to make one melee weapon attack or to shove a creature.
If you move at least 10 feet in a straight line immediately before taking this bonus action, you either gain a +5 bonus to the attack’s damage roll (if you chose to make a melee attack and hit) or push the target up to 10 feet away from you (if you chose to shove and you succeed).
Player’s Handbook, Charger, p. 165
The Charger feat allows your character to make a melee attack as a bonus action whenever they take the Dash action. This is a great feat for offensive characters, especially Barbarians and combat-focused Paladins.
The Mobile feat gives you many abilities that improve your movement. This includes when you take the Dash action on your turn, difficult terrain doesn’t cost you any extra movement.
Taking the Dash Action on a Mount
You can control a mount only if it has been trained to accept a rider. Domesticated horses, donkeys, and similar creatures are assumed to have such training.
The initiative of a controlled mount changes to match yours when you mount it. It moves as you direct it, and it has only three action options: Dash, Disengage, and Dodge. A controlled mount can move and act even on the turn that you mount it.
If you are riding a controllable mount in DnD 5e, one of the actions you can direct it to take is the Dash action. The Dash action will apply to the mount’s speed and not your own.
Examples of the Dash Action in DnD 5e
Dashing Before a Melee Attack: Barney the Barbarian has a base movement speed of 30ft. There is an orc shaman 60ft from him who needs to be taken out quickly. On his turn, Barney the Barbarian takes the Dash action to get within melee range of the orc shaman. On his next turn, he attacks the orc shaman.
Dashing to Take Cover: Sonia the Sorcerer is being attacked by ranged goblins and needs to take cover. The nearest cover is 60ft away, but Sonia the Sorcerer’s speed is 30ft. If Sonia takes the Dash action on her turn, she can reach cover during her turn.
Common Questions About the Dash Action in 5e
Final Thoughts on the Dash Action in DnD 5e
The Dash is a simple action for players and DMs to understand and make the most of in their DnD games.
The key thing to remember about the Dash action is: Dash gives you additional movement equal to your current speed.
Keep this golden rule in mind and whenever Dash comes up for you as a player or a DM, you’ll be able to use it with ease!
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Rich is an avid D&D player and DM. He has been playing since the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st and 2nd editions. He has run campaigns of various editions with family and friends for over 20 years. Playing DnD 5th Edition in person at local game stores and online with VTT’s over the past 10 years has provided a consistent connection to how the game has grown. He strongly believes in understanding the source material, but catering the games to your individual players. Feel free to ask anything in the comments or drop him an email: [email protected].