D&D 5E – Falling Objects
Posted by Ronny
on December 23, 2016
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.
|200 lb. or more
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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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.
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:
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.
*Warforged* not goliath sry (I’m called Goliath)
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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.
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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 🙂
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
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.
I like to look at things differently (the first encounter I killed an enemy by throwing another enemy at him) and my dm is new. So we pretty much immedietly ran into the falling object issue. “If I threw a rock 100 feet in the air (19 str goliath, so between that or lets say 50) level 1 couldn’t I just do 5 to 10d6 damage to people?” The solution we both came up with was the damage ratio was 1 to 10 (1 damage for every 10 pounds) and the longer it falls the closer the ratio gets to 1 to 1 (at 100) not perfect of course but it’s pretty easy to tweak and it’s something we came up with on the fly
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I wouldn’t allow it as you described it, although if that is the way you and your DM want to play that is all that matters. I think that it could easily become too powerful compared to the other classes and weapons. Also I prefer to keep it simple where I can. If I had a player that wanted his goliath character to throw boulders I might use the homebrew “Boulder as a weapon” I found here:
1d12 bludgeoning 100 lbs. Heavy, Thrown (range 30/80), Two-Handed, Special
I would normally only allow creatures with a size of “large” use a boulder as a weapon. But I might make an exception and also allow goliaths.
With a telekinesis spell which is only 5th-level you can technically throw one of these boulders as the range for the spell and the weapon are 30ft but the boulder can also be 10 times as heavy which should make it 10 times as powerful. This should mean that a 9th-level wizard can do up to 120 damage per turn or an average of 65 for 60 turns which seems a bit powerful because it means that in two turns but more realistically 4 this wizard could kill a storm giant but it might be OK
For game purposes, I have capped the falling damage at 1d6 for every 10 feet of fall. This is in keeping with the falling damage for a falling creature hitting the ground. Any more could be game breaking. I currently have a player with a ring of telekinesis so he can, in effect, cast the spell every round. I need to create a post with the house rules I came up with. For now here is the basics of what I came up with for our game:
1) The way I read the spell, it requires an action to move or manipulate an object. This is not an attack action, so you cannot attack with it. You can however drop something onto or crash it into objects or creatures. You can only move the object up to a maximum of 30 feet.
2) When you move an object, it moves at 30′ per round (about 30 miles per hour) so it isn’t too difficult to dodge. If you move something to bump into a creature (not exactly an attack), the creature must succeed in a dexterity save or take bludgeoning damage. The amount of damage depends on the weight of the object. I set this damage to 1d8 if the object weighs 200 lb. or more, 1d6 if it weighs 50-199 lbs., and 1d4 if it weighs 1-50 lbs.
3) Objects that fall upon creatures deal damage based on their weight and the distance they have fallen as per the table in this post. The target can make a DEX save to avoid being hit. Because you can’t move anything more than 30 feet, you won’t normally drop it more than 15 feet down on a creature you are fighting. If it weighs 200 lbs. or more it will do 1d6 points of damage for each 10 feet it falls to a maximum of 20d6. If it falls 15 feet, that will only be 1d6. Because you can only move an object a maximum of 30 feet, to drop it more than 15 feet onto a creature the object you are moving must start out higher than the ground the creature is standing on. For it to fall more than 90 feet, your character must be at a higher level than your target and have a supply of heavy objects there with you. Perhaps you are on a cliff above your target. Of course the Barbarian can push boulders off onto the target as well.
4) If you drop an object onto a creature that is more than 30 feet below the object, there is a chance it will miss the target and hit in a random square surrounding the target. For really long drops it might even hit a random square two or more squares from the target.
This makes the wizards damage typically be far less than of your 120 points of damage per turn.
i was debating doing a dragoon utilizing jump and feather fall. with the right skills, spells, or feats.. or higher ground to bounce up 60 feet should be doable quite often and 10-20 ft drop should be easy enough to get. Things like Grung get a decent jump height anyways. lance/spear and shield, then feather fall to negate your own damage. add fly and you could get some ridiculous height to drop from but then you have rounds passing the enemy could move. might miss a turn, might miss the attack, but a hit would be brutal and keeps you out of combat for a round…maybe chug a potion on the way down lol
Several people have talking about having their character fall onto a creature to do damage to that creature.
I don’t think I would allow such a game breaking action.
First, this would be an attack. There are no rules for using your body (or any anyone else’s body) as a weapon. The rule for an improvised weapon specifically states that it must be an object (or a dead goblin). So the DM would be justified in not allowing it at all. Even if the DM allowed it, it would only do 1d4 damage.
I don’t understand why the current theme is that if you could Jump up extremely high because of you physical prowess why people seem to think you are “falling” back downward. Look to athletes, when they jump they go high but they aren’t considered “falling” when they come down for a landing that is well within their athletic capability.
As a DM I would only make the jump/attack for a character make an Athletics check if they are falling down to an uneven surface or something, but even then it wouldn’t be a difficult check because the character has the ability to jump that high he should be able to land his own jumps without issues.
Obv this is for each DM descretion but I think some people get wayyyy to involved with the rules which are only supposed to be guidelines.
A jump attacking Dragoon for example could just do his attack damage and an extra 1d6 fall damage and land perfectly fine next to his opponent, because he jumped purposefully to do this.. he isn’t considered “falling” unless he is declared unstable in his jump in the first place.
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druid summons 8 riding horses, each weigh well over 200 pounds. if he summons them over ten feet, onto an enemy… is that 160 d6?
You don’t get to choose the beasts… you provide the CR, and your DM decides what appears. As a DM I often allow the PC to choose, but if they were going to abuse the spell in this manner, I would have flying creatures summoned if they had to appear in the air.
Here is a discussion that addresses your question directly.
some interesting ideas, but why does everyone want to throw their characters at enemies?
Ronny, I think the table needs to stay capped at 20d6, and here’s why (even though it’s not logical, neither is a world of magic).
REDUCE/ENLARGE …. SOOOOO much fun….. esp. in the hands of the prepared… (1 round, 2 PC’s, ambush):
step 1. REDUCE boulder (1/2 size, 1/8th weight) … and concentrate
step 2. OK 18 Str Barbarian, pick it up (max lift = 30 * STR = 480 lbs)
step 3. And drop it down on those below (cliff, wall, ravine, etc.) ….
step 4. …. and stop concentrating…. builder back to 8x480lbs = 3840 lbs …..
– so on your table a 200 fott abush is max 20d6 = good (and yes, obviously rules for attack, and
but scary when you start arguing about how much EXTRA rock the 3840 boulder has shaken loose, effective converting this into an AOE avalanche … with a LEVEL 2 spell.
even if we don’t consider continue to reduce the fall increments, but only double max damage as weight double:
Object Weight Falling Distance Maximum damage
200 -400 lb. 10 ft. 20d6
400 -800 lb 10 ft. 40d6
800-1600 lb 10 ft. 80d6
1600-3200 lb 10 ft. 160d6
3200-6400 lb 10 ft. 320d6
200 foot fall of 3840 lb rock is game breaking…. hell, even “just” a 50foot drop on that scale might be… devastating….
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Excellent point. This is why on my table I have set the maximum damage to 20d6.
thanks. Given the reasonable max 20d6, what are your thoughts on falling distance increments for that kind of weight.I feel like it might be reasonable to continue to reduce distance require to get to maximum, but equally wouldn’t make sense to scale that too much either. for example:
Object Weight Falling Distance Maximum damage
200 -400 lb. 9 ft. 20d6
400 -800 lb 8 ft. 20d6
800-1600 lb 7 ft. 20d6
1600-3200 lb 6 ft. 20d6
3200-6400 lb 5 ft. 20d6
would still require 5ft *20 = 100 ft to get to max damage… seems reasonable?
2′ reductions would be too much, clearly imho:
Object Weight Falling Distance Maximum damage
200 -400 lb. 8 ft. 20d6
400 -800 lb 6 ft. 20d6
800-1600 lb 4 ft. 20d6
1600-3200 lb 2 ft. 20d6
3200-6400 lb * ft. 20d6
and a 3/2 starts getting too complicated:
Object Weight Falling Distance Maximum damage
200 -400 lb. 8.5 ft. 20d6
400 -800 lb 7 ft. 20d6
800-1600 lb 5.5 ft. 20d6
1600-3200 lb 4 ft. 20d6
3200-6400 lb 3.5 ft. 20d6
I like it.
If I used it, I would probably simplify it a little to something like:
200 – 1999 lb. 10 ft. 20d6
2000 lb. or more 5 ft. 20d6
I have a cockemamy scheme to defeat the big bad by my Aarakorcan rogue character with a Str. of 19 to stealth (at advantage due to the cloak of elven kind), fly up 200 feet, and drop a cube of heavy metal that weighs about 100 pounds, whilst simuletaneously using the spell Enlarge to multiply it’s weight by 8, making this 800 pound cube of metal squash this dude.
Because fuck Death Knights, that’s why.
As a DM I would require you to make an attack roll to hit the target. I would treat it as an improvised thrown weapon that has a normal range of 20 feet and a long range of 60 feet and, as an improvised weapon, it only does 1d4 damage.
I would also be curious as to how you plan on casting the enlarge spell “simultaneously” because casting the spell will require another action.
Your DM may not be as strict as I am, but I have found that clever ideas such as these tend to spiral out of hand. Before you know it, all of the PCs and all of the monsters might be spending their time trying to figure out how they can drop extra heavy objects from high distances and forgoing all other forms of combat.
It is still a clever idea though.
Ronny, just let the players have fun.. it’s not actually breaking the game if everyone enjoys it. Improvised weapon or not, that’s a 100lbs falling from a high distance. To say it just did 1d4 sounds ridic..
Personally I’d make him roll to hit with disadvantage and if he hits It would be the d4 for improvised weapon plus the falling damage. Someone else could save their turn to enlarge it as it fell, but the same person cannot use two actions.
LET IT HAPPEN!
On rethinking this – I would allow a PC to attempt to drop a heavy item onto an enemy using the falling objects table I have in this post. This would be an improvised action and NOT an attack action. Rather than an attack roll, I would have the player make a contested roll with the PCs DEX check vs. the opponent’s DEX (athletics) check. I might give the PC a minus 1 on his check for every 5 feet of height beyond 10 feet above the target. On a miss I might roll to see in which direction and how far the dropped item fell from the target based on how high he was above the target when it dropped. It may hit someone else.
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