Dungeon Master Assistance

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D&D 5E – Falling Objects


falling-objects

Falling Objects

Just as characters take damage when they fall more than 10 feet, so to do they take damage when they are hit by falling objects. I was using these house rules for 3rd edition and they still work for 5th edition. I would typically allow a character to make a DC 15 DEX saving throw to jump out of the way and take no damage.

Objects that fall upon characters deal damage based on their weight and the distance they have fallen.

For objects weighing 200 pounds or more, the object deals 1d6 points of damage, provided it falls at least 10 feet. Distance also comes into play, adding an additional 1d6 points of damage for every 10-foot increment it falls beyond the first (to a maximum of 20d6 points of damage).

Objects smaller than 200 pounds also deal damage when dropped, but they must fall farther to deal the same damage. Use this table to see how far an object of a given weight must drop to deal 1d6 points of damage.

Object Weight Falling Distance Maximum damage
200 lb. or more 10 ft. 20d6
100-199 lb. 20 ft. 10d6
50-99 lb. 30 ft. 5d6
30-49 lb. 40 ft. 4d6
10-29 lb. 50 ft. 3d6
5-9 lb. 60 ft. 2d6
1-4 lb. 70 ft. 1d6

For each additional increment an object falls, it deals an additional 1d6 points of damage up to the maximum damage. Objects weighing less than 1 pound do not deal damage to those they land upon, no matter how far they have fallen.

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9 responses to “D&D 5E – Falling Objects

  1. Pingback: D&D 5E – Falling Objects — | MEASURELESS EONS

  2. Terra Alexstrasza April 5, 2017 at 12:07 am

    I have a character who currently weighs around 900 lbs and is 10 feet tall when fully upright, and has just learned that jumping on vampires will squash them. Our DM used the stats on this article for that. Do you feel that being absurdly higher than the 200 lb. mark listed here will denote less height needed for the 20d6 damage?
    200 lbs. is approximately 22% of 900 lbs. And 22% of 10 ft. is about 2.2 ft. So, at this point, it’s less a matter of how high she’s jumping and more a matter of weight vs. the carry strength of the victim with a dex save to catch me. So if the victim was capable of carrying 900 lbs., it’s basically just “do they catch me”, right?

    In the end, although this leaves my character prone after doing it, she will probably try doing it again.

    And I can’t legit find any solid articles about large characters jumping onto shit.

    P.S. My DM loved me rolling 20d6 because it was just hilarious.

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    • Ronny April 5, 2017 at 9:42 am

      This bring up several points.

      1 – To directly address your question. I recommend not increasing the damage from heaver objects, or reducing the distance they have to fall to do damage. In my games, everything weighing 200 pounds or more does the same damage. This is the same amount of damage your character would receive if he fell onto the ground from that height. And a character receives no damage from a fall of under 10 feet.

      2 – I may be wrong, but from reading your question you may not be understanding the table correctly. It is showing how far an object of different weights has to fall in order to do 1d6 points of damage. An object weighing 200 pounds or more does 1d6 points of damage if it falls at least 10 feet, 2d6 if it falls 20 feet, etc. So it will have to fall 200 feet to do 20d6 damage. The Maximum damage column show the maximum amount of damage it can do regardless of how far it falls. And any object that falls less than 10 feet does no damage from the fall itself, but your DM may rule that it does some other type of damage depending on the object and the situation.

      3 – Jumping onto an opponent to smash him is a really cool idea, but it may be a little more complicated than you suggest.

      First, You will have to jump up at least 10 feet to fall far enough to do any damage from the fall. Here is the rule for jumping “When you make a high jump, you leap into the air a number of feet equal to 3 + your Strength modifier if you move at least 10 feet on foot immediately before the jump. When you make a standing high jump, you can jump only half that distance. Either way, each foot you clear on the jump costs a foot of movement. In some circumstances, your DM might allow you to make a Strength (Athletics) check to jump higher than you normally can.” You would have to have a strength score of 24 to jump up 10 feet without a Strength (Athletics) check. That makes it almost impossible for you to jump high enough to do falling object damage to him. So in most cases it will be easier if you jump off of something like a balcony, a building, or a cliff.

      Second, This is an attack, so you would have to make a successfully attack roll. I would make this an opposed dex. check. If he doesn’t see you I would make you do a DC 15 Athletics check to hit him. Failure to hit him indicates that you miss him and land on the ground. If you miss, your character receives the falling damage. If you hit you both receive the same amount of damage. I do agree with your DM that this will leave you prone if you hit or if you miss. If you hit it will leave you both prone.

      Third, The rule says that your character receives 1d6 points of damage per 10 feet fallen, to a maximum of 20d6. This does not take into consideration your character’s weight. So I would have any PC that attempted to jumped down on an opponent receive 1d6 points of damage per 10 feet fallen and his opponent would receive the same amount of damage if the attack is successful. I would use this rule regardless of the weight of the PC. Note that this completely ignores the above table.

      Because of the exceptional weight of your character, your DM may want to increase the amount of damage your PC does when he falls onto a monster. If I was the DM, I might rule that your falling damage doesn’t change, but the damage you do to someone you fall on is double the amount you receive. I might also rule that a light weight character, say someone under 100 lbs., does half damage to the monster.

      I will leave it up to your DM do decide how to handle it if your opponent wants to try to “catch” you.

      You may also want to look at what I had to say regarding falling damage:
      https://olddungeonmaster.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/dd-5e-house-rules-falling/

      Like

  3. Yerza November 9, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Ok we ran into a similar problem : My Barbarian goliath totem of the bear can carry (15*20*2*2) 1200 pounds on top of is body mass of 450 pounds for a total of 1650 pounds (yes i do have to walk underwater for bridges). When I drop 20 feet on a kobold it should die … could we expend the table for higher weight ? Maybe 400-799 2d6 per 10 feet, 800-1599 3d6 per 10 feet up to the same cap. Or just a basic + 1d6 per 200 pounds after the first 200 so a 2000 pound rock falling 10 feet would do 10d6 or something ? Just throwing idea.

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    • Yerza November 9, 2018 at 8:40 am

      *Warforged* not goliath sry (I’m called Goliath)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ronny November 9, 2018 at 10:38 am

      I don’t think that I would do that. Here is why.

      First, this is entirely up to your DM. The rules as written would call this an unarmed strike. The current PHB errata from WoTC updates what’s in the PHB on page 195. It states “Instead of using a weapon to make a melee weapon attack, you can use an unarmed strike: a punch, kick, head-butt, or similar forceful blow (none of which count as weapons). On a hit, an unarmed strike deals bludgeoning damage equal to 1 + your Strength modifier. You are proficient with your unarmed strikes.” I understand that that doesn’t always seam like enough damage.

      So what if we do as you suggest? The expanded rule for more damage for more weight might look like this:

      Keep Max damage = 20d6
      200-399 lb. 1d6 for every 10 feet falling distance
      400-799 lb. 2d6 for every 10 feet falling distance
      800-1,599 lb. 3d6 for every 10 feet falling distance
      1,500-2,999 lb. 4d6 for every 10 feet falling distance
      3,000 lb or more 5d6 for every 10 feet falling distance

      But lets compare this to some monster’s damage. This would mean that a storm giant would do more damage with his rock if he just dropped it.

      A storm giant is about 21 feet tall so he could hold a bolder over his head about 30 feet off of the ground. so if we adopted this new rule and he dropped it on a PC it would do 15d6 damage. Calculate that by saying that the boulder is over 3,000 pounds (refer to : https://olddungeonmaster.com/2017/03/28/dd-5e-weight-of-bolders/ ) and it has 30 feet falling distance. So 5d6 for every 10 feet falling distance gives us 15d6. If he throws the rock it can do a maximum of 57 points of damage (4d12+9) but a maximum of 90 if he drops it (15d6). Using my existing house rule would have a 2 ton boulder dropped 30 feet do a maximum of 18 points of damage (3d6). That is a lot less than any giant’s thrown rock damage and seems to me to be about right.

      Also, as a DM I would hate to see combat always having creatures jumping onto each other. What you can do, other creatures can do as well. A dragon just doesn’t appear as threatening if his best attack is to fall onto people.

      Now, if your DM agrees that when you drop 20 feet onto a kobold it should die I have no problem with that. I would require you to make an attack and give the kabold a saving throw and also give your character some damage and you end up prone (refer to my other comments) but that sounds like fun. But I don’t think that is something that should be happening all of the time.

      Remember, there are times when something such as a stone ceiling or castle wall falls on your character and if he can’t jump out of the way he just dies. The DM doesn’t have to say how much it weighs or how far it falls.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ashley Rastel November 16, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    The giant is a good example ! So a naked storm giant can carry a single stone of 1740 pounds without being encumbered (29*15*2*2) If he drops it from a height of 30ft we get 3d6 from the fall and 8d6 from the extra weight damage to a maximum of 66 points of damages very close to 57. Giving on average 38, little over the 35 but that is using the biggest rock he could possibly carry around not encumbered I don’t think he should be able to throw it 240 feet. So me and my DM thank your for the giant example it really cleared out the situation 🙂

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  5. Ashley Rastel November 16, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Further more, we came up with a table to encompass swinging object like a wrecking ball. We retain the max damage of 20d6 and use the rule of 1d6 extra damage per 200 pound over the initial weight needed to cause damage.
    50-99 ft/round — 1d6 for a 200 pound object
    100-150 ft/round — 2d6 for a 200 pound object
    151-199 ft/round — 3d6 for a 200 pound object
    200-250 ft/round — 4d6 for a 200 pound object

    500-550 ft/round —10d6 for a 200 pound object

    750-799 ft/round —15d6 for a 200 pound object

    1050 + ft/round —20d6 for a 200 pound object

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    • Ronny November 16, 2018 at 3:45 pm

      I’m not going to do the math, but at first glance this looks workable. The main thing is that you got your DM to okay it. I don’t use encumbrance rules for monsters and my mind hurts thinking about long a rope would have to be for a free-swinging pendulum with a 200 pound weight on the end of it to travel 1050 ft/round 🙂
      Have fun and may all your d20s be critical hits.

      Like

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