How long is a turn in DnD 5E?

Understanding the mechanics of how long a turn lasts in 5E.

© Dice Cove

In Dungeons & Dragons, turns are essential when it comes to combat since you can’t do much until it’s your turn. In combat, a turn only takes 6 seconds; this includes the turn for every creature in the initiative order. So a spell that lasts 1 minute would last 10 rounds, most combat only last on average 3 rounds, but it’s handy to know for those more challenging fights. However, turns are only a measurement of time within combat; outside of combat, time is instead measured in minutes, hours, or even days. 

On page 181 of the PHB, we can see what events might fall into each time frame: exploring a dungeon, picking locks, and searching rooms can be measured in minutes. Exploring or performing tasks in the wilderness can be measured in hours due to the terrain and greater distances. Longer journeys, such as between major cities or expeditions to remote locations, can easily be measured in days.

But other than that, it’s not too hard. And with that all sorted, perhaps it’s time to roll initiative!