One of the great things about the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons is that it is vert light on rules. One problem with adding more rules is that if we add too many we run the risk of this edition devolving back into 3rd edition. However that will not stop me from suggesting potential house rules. Think of these as possible ways to address common issues that may arise during play.
Falling Damage: The basic rule is simple: 1d6 points of damage per 10 feet fallen, to a maximum of 20d6.
Jumping to avoid damage: If a character deliberately jumps instead of merely slipping or falling, the character receives no damage for the first 10 feet and on a DC 15 DEX (Acrobatics) check he receives no damage for the first 20 feet and lands on his feet.
Clarification: A character who slips from a ledge 30 feet up takes 3d6 points of damage. If the same character deliberately jumped, he takes 2d6 points of damage. And if the character leaps down with a successful Dexterity (Acrobatics) check, he takes only 1d6 points of damage from the plunge.
Falling onto Soft Surface: Falls onto yielding surfaces (soft ground, mud) ignores the first 1d6 points of damage.
Clarification: This reduction is cumulative with reduced damage due to deliberate jumps and the Athletics skill check.
Falling into Water: If the water is at least 10 feet deep, you must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check to enter the water without damage. Otherwise you receive 1d6 points of damage from any fall up to 20 feet of falling. Regardless of the save, you receive an additional 1d6 of damage for every 10 feet fall beyond 20 feet.
Diving into Water: Characters who deliberately dive into water take no damage on a successful DC 10 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check, so long as the water is at least 10 feet deep (or 20 feet deep if the dive is over 100 feet). However, the DC of the check increases by 1 for every 10 feet of the dive beyond 20 feet. There is a maximum DC of 35.
Landing on Your Feet: The official rule is that you land prone unless you receive no damage from the fall. I have no problem with this. However, I don’t think it would break anything if you allow the character to land on his feet if he makes his Athletics check.
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Yes! The 5e rules are super simple but leave a lot up to the DM. I’ve written pretty much the same rules but definitely adopting some of your suggestions too. Thanks!
You are welcome. I am just trying to share.
I think most DMs handle these situations as they come up on a case by case basis, and I do too, but for the common ones, I like to have them written down somewhere for quick reference so I can be somewhat constant in my rulings.
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