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Chapter 8: Tactical Rules / Movement and Position

Tactical Movement

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 256
Tactical movement is used for round-by-round combat and is typically tracked using a battle map with a grid of 1-inch squares and miniatures representing all combatants. Characters generally don’t walk during combat, for obvious reasons; they hustle or run instead. When you move your speed and take another action, you are hustling for about half the round and doing something else the other half.

Measuring Distance

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


When measuring distance, count the first diagonal as 1 square, the second as 2 squares, the third as 1, the fourth as 2, and so on. You can’t move diagonally past a hard corner (such as the corner of a building or starship or the side of a doorframe), but you can move diagonally past a creature (even an opponent) or less rigid objects, such as plant life.

Closest Creature

Sometimes it’s important to determine the closest square or creature to a location. If two squares or creatures are equally close, the creature taking the action that requires the closest square be determined decides which square counts as closest.

Moving Through Occupied Squares

You may be able to move through an occupied square without difficulty in certain circumstances, with different effects based on the creature in a given square, as noted below.


Unless you are charging, you can move through a square occupied by an ally or a friendly character. When you do so, that creature doesn’t provide you with cover (see page 253).


You can’t normally move through a square that is occupied by an opponent, but you can move through a square that is occupied by a helpless opponent without penalty. Some creatures, particularly very large ones, present an obstacle even when helpless; in such cases, each such square you move through counts as 2 squares. It is also possible to use the tumble task of the Acrobatics skill to move through a square occupied by an opponent (see page 136). Some creatures break these rules. A creature that completely fills the squares it occupies (such as a 5-foot-cube robot) cannot be moved past, even with the Acrobatics skill or similar abilities.

Ending Your Movement

You can’t end your movement in the same square as another creature unless that creature is helpless.

Terrain And Obstacles

From cargo crates and wrecked vehicles to vines and rocky rubble, many terrain features affect your movement.

Difficult Terrain

Difficult terrain, such as heavy undergrowth, piles of junk, or steep stairs, hampers movement. Each move into a square of difficult terrain counts as 2 squares of movement. Each diagonal move into a difficult terrain square counts as 3 squares. You can’t run or charge across difficult terrain. If you occupy multiple squares with different kinds of terrain, you can move only as fast as the most difficult terrain will allow. Flying and incorporeal creatures are not hampered by most difficult terrain, though a dense tree canopy or web of chains might count as difficult terrain for flying creatures.


In some cases, you 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. While squeezing, you have the entangled condition (see page 275), which includes moving at half your speed.

Special Movement Rules

These rules cover special movement situations.

Ending Movement In An Illegal Space

Sometimes you may need to end your movement while moving through a space where you’re not allowed to stop. When that happens, you stop in the last legal position you occupied.

Double Movement Cost

When your movement is hampered in some way, your movement usually costs double the normal amount. For example, each square of movement through difficult terrain counts as 2 squares, and each diagonal move through such terrain counts as 3 squares (just as two diagonal moves normally do).

If a movement cost is doubled twice, then each square counts as 4 squares (or as 6 squares if moving diagonally). If movement cost is doubled three times, then each square counts as 8 squares (12 if diagonal) and so on. This is an exception to the general rule regarding multiplying values.

Minimum Movement

Despite whatever penalties to your speed you might have, as long as you can move at all you can take a full action to move 5 feet (1 square) in any direction, even diagonally. This rule doesn’t allow you to move through impassable terrain or to move when all movement is prohibited. Such movement provokes attacks of opportunity as normal (despite the distance covered, this move isn’t a guarded step).