Adventures seem to be made up of moments of extremes. You might spend hours groping about in an old abandoned mine, or wandering the back roads of a desolate wilderness, with boredom and fatigue a constant.
And then, out of the blue, the world explodes into action as you stumble across a gang of Orcish bandits or a swarm of giant spiders. There seems to be little in the way of a middle ground, either plodding and uneventful or explosive and life-threatening. But then again, it is why you chose this life.
And when it is time for action, everyone has their skills and tricks to give them the advantage. Dash is one of those actions that help load the dice of combat in your favor, metaphorically speaking.
There are times when guarded caution is called for, times when guile and silence win the day. And then there are times when you need to get involved in a hurry, attack before your opponent has time to get their guard up, or perhaps get the hell out of there. Those are the times when you can rely on Dash.
How does Dash Action 5e work?
The D&D 5e Player’s Handbook has this to say about Dash.
“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 rate of 30 feet, for example, you can move up to 60 feet on your turn if you dash.
Any increase or decrease in speed changes this additional movement by the same amount. If your rate of 30 feet is reduced to 15 feet, you can move up to 30 feet this turn if you dash.”
So, elect that you will use the Dash action before you move and head to your chosen destination at double the speed. Zooooom! It also means that even if some magic or adverse event has reduced your base speed, Dash will still double that movement allowance.
Dash as a special action
While anyone can take Dash as an action, which includes NPCs and even creatures, some classes have Dash as part of a special action.
For example, Barbarians who opt to follow the Path of the Totem Warrior will get the option of a totem spirit at 3rd level. Should they opt for an eagle, they can use the Dash action as a bonus action on their turn whenever they are raging, but not when restricted by heavy armor.
Clerics & Paladins
At Level 2, Clerics get the ability to turn Undead through the use of Channel Divinity. The Undead, once successfully turned, must use the Dash action to get as far away from the Cleric as quickly as possible. Paladins using the Oath of Devotion or the Oath of the Ancients have a similar effect on their foes.
From the 2nd level onwards, Monks can manipulate the magical energy of ki. These ki points allow the Monk to specialize in various abilities, including Step of the Wind, which enables Monks to take the Dash action as a bonus action on their turn.
At the 3rd level, Rangers can gain a companion beast and use their turn to verbally command that companion to do various things, including the Dash action. Once the Ranger reaches the 7th level, if the beast companion opts not to attack any given combat turn, the Ranger can use a bonus action to command the beast to take the Dash action instead.
Finally, Rogues are so naturally fast that at 2nd level, they can take the Dash action as a bonus at the end of each turn in combat.
Dash also combines and works with several spells and feats to produce some wonderfully valuable results.
Final Thoughts on Dash Action 5e
Dash is perhaps the most straightforward and versatile action to use in and around combat. It gets you into the fray faster than your opponent might expect. It puts you out of reach of their weapon when you prefer to put some distance between you and that Ogre with a rather sharp spear. It banishes all manner of unholy creatures at double their usual speed and, when combined with some classes’ unique skills, goes above and beyond in your time of crisis.
Simple, effective, essential!