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I'm just beginning to DM my first campaign, and one of my players asked this of me.

She plays an Orc with 20 strength, so theoretically I think she probably could drop-kick a Gnome, but I have no idea how to calculate it, or what kind of number I'd require her to roll on a check for it.

Forgive me if this is somewhere in the DM's Guide, I haven't been able to find anything.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think a drop kick is picking someone up, dropping them and kicking them. \$\endgroup\$ – trinityalps Jan 29 '18 at 17:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Based on the linked wikipedia article, it's probably more likely that the player wants to punt the gnome. The article indicates that a drop kick involves "a player dropping the ball and then kicking it when it bounces off the ground." A punt involves dropping the object onto the foot. \$\endgroup\$ – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Jan 29 '18 at 18:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas: New question: how high do gnomes bounce when dropped? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jan 29 '18 at 19:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ The wikipedia article linked isn't comprehensive. In Aussie Rules football, a drop kick is dropped directly on the foot. There's about 10 million people here who assume that is what a drop kick is without further explanation. \$\endgroup\$ – Sir Adelaide Jan 30 '18 at 2:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ In addition, there's also dropkick of martial arts, which isn't either drop kick of american football nor aussie football: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dropkick. Article describes it in context of wrestling, but it exists in other forms of combat sports as well: blackbeltwiki.com/flying-drop-kick \$\endgroup\$ – eis Jan 30 '18 at 6:48
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A gnome isn't as light as you think

Gnomes weigh 40 lbs on average according to the Player's Handbook. That's more than twice as heavy as a bowling ball and I doubt that even a 20 strength character could kick it much further than a couple of feet, even with the powerful build trait.

How far then?

I'd call it a unique shove and just use the shove melee attack option for 5 feet letting it deal unarmed strike damage (1 + Strength) on hit.

This should also be limited somewhat by necessitating a grapple, which makes sense thematically and means you will need to use two attacks to deal one attacks worth of damage plus shove. This will rarely unbalance the game.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jan 29 '18 at 23:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd add a saving throw to not sprain, or worse break, the PC's foot or ankle. Just attempting to kick a wet soccer ball can severely hurt someone not expecting the ball to be wet. I know, from sad experience, that this is a really probable way to sprain an ankle badly. \$\endgroup\$ – Pieter Geerkens Jan 30 '18 at 19:56
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If the subject is willing/helpless, I'd say the drop-kick is fluff and treat them as an improvised thrown weapon:

Improvised Weapons

Sometimes characters don't have their weapons and have to attack with whatever is at hand. An improvised weapon includes any object you can wield in one or two hands, such as broken glass, a table leg, a frying pan, a wagon wheel, or a dead goblin.

An object that bears no resemblance to a weapon deals 1d4 damage (the GM assigns a damage type appropriate to the object). If a character uses a ranged weapon to make a melee attack, or throws a melee weapon that does not have the thrown property, it also deals 1d4 damage. An improvised thrown weapon has a normal range of 20 feet and a long range of 60 feet.

Although I'd probably knock the range down and say the damage is dealt to them as well as whatever they hit.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Indeed, slinging gnomes sounds like a much better idea than kicking them. The distance covered by the gnome will be much larger. If the gnome isn't helpless yet, stun it. Unless you're planning on providing bonus damage multipliers for a floundering gnome, of-course... \$\endgroup\$ – Mast Jan 30 '18 at 10:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mast Give the gnome spiked armor and use them as a grappling hook. It's a bard with practical uses :D. I played a warforged a few years back who participated in airship combat by boarding the enemy ship, then asking each evil gnome how much they weighed... followed by throwing them overboard. That being said, they weren't willing. \$\endgroup\$ – TemporalWolf Jan 30 '18 at 18:53
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It's not primarily a matter of weight, but of elasticity and coherency. The gnome is much larger than your foot, is essentially a sack of beans, and is only in contact with the boot for a short distance. No matter how hard you kick the gnome, the non-kicked gnome bits will only go as far as the kicked part can pull them. The answer, therefore, is : Much farther than the gnome wants, but still only a foot or two. Tell your player not to sweat the small stuff (like gnomes).

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a good answer involving actual kicking physics. Unfortunately much of DnD doesn't follow physics, so this answer may not strictly apply. But its a good starting point for a DM trying to make a story telling experience from the game that the players can relate to. \$\endgroup\$ – Sir Adelaide Jan 30 '18 at 2:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SirAdelaide: In absence of explicit rules to cover the situation (which the answers all seems to agree there isn't) then why is this not as good as anything else? \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Jan 30 '18 at 9:47
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It's probably an Acrobatics or Athletics check. There are no hard and fast rules for drop-kicking a gnome, but I would say it depends on the check's result. The DC could either be the gnome's AC, or it could be something simpler like 10 or 15, depending on how difficult it is.

There is a racial ability called Fling Ally in D&D 3.5, perhaps that could serve as inspiration.

Point is, it's very open ended. Perhaps on a good roll they kick the gnome 20 feet. On a natural 20 they score the final touchdown with the gnome and win the game for the scrappy underdogs.

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