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The description for Slow Fall is bare boned:

Slow Fall

Beginning at 4th level, you can use your reaction when you fall to reduce any Falling damage you take by an amount equal to five times your monk level.

Essentially it functions as a level/feet dependent Feather Fall spell.

Unlike previous editions of D&D the 5th edition's version of Slow Fall doesn't require a monk to grab hold of nearby walls or trees to slow their fall: Essentially they drop like people in martial arts movies do. In our game it's considered a Ki ability that doesn't use Ki points and is described just looking cool.

Lacking any particular description shouldn't a monk be able to carry someone (a fellow PC clinging to their back, for instance) so long as the additional weight doesn't surpass the monk's encumbrance capacity?

If so then could a monk seek to catch someone who's falling and counter the fall with his/her allotted Slow Fall capacity so long as the encumbrance factor is respected?

Example:

In the first scenario if he carries a party member (say Lidda the Halfling from 3.5 edition) who is holding onto his back and doesn't overburden him then the two should land without problem.

In the second scenario Lidda has fallen and he jumps and catches her. The DM could rule that the monk's Slow Fall negates all damage but what she would take from the momentum (distance she fell) before she was caught or all damage period if it's within his allotted "damage reduction".

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  • \$\begingroup\$ the 5 x monk level figure is the damage reduced, not the number of feet falling distance, though. I suppose the question still holds, but it becomes less finicky. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Jul 25 '17 at 0:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Safe zone is meant to be the fall that has almost zero chance of dealing any damage (and avoiding to fall prone). for a 50 feet fall vs lv 10 monk, that is 5d6 (max 30 damage) - 25 reduction. Wolfram gives a 1.6% chance of taking any damage at all. For 60ft that raises to 14%, 70ft 41% So the safe zone can be considered lv x 5 foot (rounded down). @daze413 \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Jul 25 '17 at 3:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ 5 x monk level(10) would reduce the damage by 50, which is actually better than a "safe zone" of 50 feet, @Mindwin. My point is that there's a whole segment of the question that could still be a good valid question but the (mis)understanding of what the 5 x monk level actually is, muddles it a bit. I would suggest, to the OP, edit the 2nd scenario to ignore the actual feet fallen, but focus on the damage taken, instead. \$\endgroup\$ – daze413 Jul 25 '17 at 3:55
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there's nothing in the rules telling you things you're holding don't get helped by slow fall.

So to get this out of the way, rules as written say absolutely nothing about when you stop falling if someone catches you, much less how to catch someone that's falling.

We will just skip to the part where the monk and lidda are falling to their deaths as one mass. Our monk buddy is going to cancel the fall damage just fine due to his class feature (though one could argue he needs a free hand or something to touch a wall depending on the world). Lidda also gets off easy, so long as the monk keeps a hold of her. From a rules perspective, anything you're holding is usually part of your inventory and the class feature includes the halfling our monk is holding. I certainly don't see any part of the rules demanding that you make saves against the thousand gold pieces in your pockets ripping the muscle off your skeleton when you hit the floor, so a halfling is no different in this case.

Of course, more realistic GMs are welcome to give the monk a pass, and hope the halfling doesn't rip his arms off when they land. She is an object with mass and momentum, so if it's your idea of "cool story bro" for the monk to potentially lose an arm knock yourself out. There's nothing telling you no either way.

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RAW, no.

The ability specifies "falling damage you take", not "falling damage anyone you are carrying takes."

Your catching scenario is difficult to pull off, given the action economy in 5e. You would need to be able to trigger "catching someone" as a reaction, possibly from a Readied Action. Lidda's fall completes on the same turn it starts. There is no such thing as "falling speed" in 5e. If something causes you to fall, you fall and hit in the same turn. In any case, the answer would be the same, the ability only reduces personal damage.

This is RAW. It might easily play differently at the table.

In the first scenario you posit (carrying a character who does not encumber you), I suspect most DMs would be lenient and allow it. That's what heroes do.

As for the catching another character, this would require a DM who is very lenient or loose with reactions, actions and turn order. I'd let you do it, because again, that's what heroes do. It's also something that is not likely to occur often enough to be abused. Other DMs may be more strict.

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As others have already stated, RAW is indeed no, but the question wasn't tagged with that nor requested RAW. I also don't think that makes for a very good story.

I think it helps to alter how you perceive Slow Fall in action. There's the typical wire fu, which suggests that you fall and take forever and a day to land gently, thus negating the fall damage. I think most people think of Slow Fall in this manner. But the rules don't indicate that the duration of the fall changes like they do with Feather Fall. Instead, I envision it as a very quick fall that the character isn't affected by (to a point).

For example, the hero's three-point landing, or Batman snatching someone out of mid-air and safely absorbing the impact of the landing with his own body to protect the passenger.

Your answer lies in the realm of DM discretion, but if you consider the media representations; either wire fu or Batman three-point landing, it should be noted that the passenger is always safe. It wouldn't be unreasonable to extend that to your scenario for the sake of story.

I think you're on the right track to limit the ability based on encumbrance as stated within the ability's description. Batman can save Vicki Vale from a fall, but Bane's on his own.

https://giphy.com/gifs/wIsYVTnC7n4A0

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