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Hurl Into Heaven allows you to fling a creature 5 to 50 feet into the air, where it will remain until the start of your next turn. At that point, "the target drops to the ground ... taking 3d10 + Intelligence modifier damage".

My question is, Is this damage in addition to normal falling damage, or in replacement of it? If the former, than this power could be used to inflict up to a total of 8d10+INT damage.

One thing perhaps to note in considering this, is the Miss effect of the power: "You lift the target 5 feet into the air...". Without falling damage, I think there would be nominal difference between being permitted to lift the creature 50 feet on a Hit, and 5 on a Miss.

Another thing to consider is the verbiage "drops to the ground". This could be technically different from falling. However, this brings up another question: If Hurl Into Heaven's damage replaces falling damage, is additional falling damage - beyond that which would otherwise be imposed by Hurl Into Heaven - also negated?

Scenario:

A Goblin is adjacent to a 50-foot pit. A Psion casts Hurl Into Heaven on the Goblin, followed by an Action Point to Dimensional Scramble. Hurl Into Heaven lifts the Goblin 50 feet into the air, and Dimensional Scramble teleports the Goblin to a space over the pit. At the start of the Psion's next turn, the Goblin would "drop" 100 feet before reaching the ground below him.

One of three things may happen here, depending on the rulings:

  • Damage from Hurl Into Heaven overrides all falling damage. 3d10+INT
  • Damage from Hurl Into Heaven only overrides falling damage imposed by that power. 8d10+INT
  • Damage from Hurl Into Heaven is added to all falling damage. 13d10+INT or 3d10+50+INT

So, what happens here?

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My answer is unaltered. It seems to me that you won't be satisfied except with the answer you already have in your mind, in which case I recommend doing that. –  anon186 Oct 25 '10 at 14:25
    
I gave in to the urge, and submitted this query to WotC Customer Support. Even they seem to be having trouble with it - they've escalated the Incident, and I should hear more in 24-48 hours. –  Iszi Oct 27 '10 at 15:21
    
WotC Customer Support wrote back again. They said there's no official answer to this situation, and they're forwarding it to the development team for further work. Meanwhile, it's a "DM's Discretion" scenario. I think I'll leave this question open, pending a rules update. –  Iszi Oct 27 '10 at 18:38
    
Considering noone has yet addressed your scenario specifically while the main question has answers with little dissent, perhaps breaking out the scenario into its own question will help highlight it (and separate it)? –  Pat Ludwig Nov 9 '10 at 19:31
    
@PatLudwig - The second question is dependent upon the answer to the first question. Also, as I've stated, WotC has now placed this explicitly in the realm of "DM Discretion" until an update to address this rule is released. So, as my earlier comment notes, I'm leaving all answers un-accepted for the time being. –  Iszi Nov 9 '10 at 19:49

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Powers in 4E are "rules exceptions"... the power mechanics as a generality replace, not augment, any other mechanical material. Unless and until WOTC specifically says otherwise, this replacement principle applies. This replacement principle is explicit on PHB1 page 11:

Simple Rules, Many Exceptions
Every class, race, feat, power, and monster in the D&D game lets you break the rules in some way. These can be very minor ways: Most characters don’t know how to use longbows, but every elf does. These exceptions can also appear in very significant ways: A swing with a sword normally does a few points of damage, but a high-level fighter can use a power that can fell multiple monsters in a single blow. All these game elements are little ways of breaking the rules—and most of the books published for the D&D game are full of these game elements.

Specific Beats General
If a specific rule contradicts a general rule, the specific rule wins. For example, a general rule states that you can’t use a daily power when you charge. But if you have a daily power that says you can use it when you charge, the power’s specific rule wins. It doesn’t mean that you can use any daily power when you charge, just that one.

Since the power states that it does 3d10+Int_Bonus, that's a specific rule. This means it replaces the general rule, not augments it.

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Don't know why someone down-voted this. It's a fairly good analysis. –  Iszi Oct 25 '10 at 14:55
    
@iszi looks like it was someone deciding to downvote based upon the author, not the content. The system eventually purged the downvote, which means that, since I've never edited the post, the system characterized their downvote as a "malicious pattern" downvote, and deleted it. A bunch of such downvotes disappeared in mid november. –  aramis Jan 6 '12 at 6:16

As the damage is specifically stated from the dropping, then its instead of normal falling damage.

As a principle rule of the game is that specific rules replace general rules (Page 11 of PHB 1), this rule is quite clear in being the specific damage applied.

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Ah, but specificity is just the issue here... it's not specified that the damage is in place of falling damage. –  Iszi Oct 25 '10 at 2:48
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@Iszi - I might believe that, but the power specify that the target drops to the ground. Not falls. Perhaps a semantic difference, but I think its significant. –  Pat Ludwig Oct 25 '10 at 4:45
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@Iszi: Page 11 of PHB 1 says specific rules replace general rules as a specific design principle of the game. –  aramis Oct 25 '10 at 6:17
    
@PatLudwig You have a point. I think I'll throw out a separate question to address something that might break that though. –  Iszi Oct 25 '10 at 13:55

Look at comparable powers of that level - is the damage they do more like 3d10, or 8d10? Presumably the designers wouldn't make this power an exception to the rule.

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