I'm playing a half orc druid, level 4, and I got knocked down a 250 ft pit. I was at full health and have a max HP is 34 life. My first thought was to transform into a Dire Wolf and hopefully mitigate some of the damage I'd take. The Dire Wolf has 37 hp. After my DM rolls the 20d6 he gets a total falling damage of 110, meaning instant death. I however still had my Relentless Endurance left but didn't really know when or where I could've used it to save myself (if even possible) and neither myself or DM could really agree on where to use it. We kind of just ended the session assuming my character was still in free fall and decided we'd discuss it later.

So the question is this: is there any time between reverting from wolf to orc or from orc to dead that I can use Orc's Relentless Endurance to stay alive?

Relentless Endurance. When you are reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright, you can drop to 1 hit point instead. You can’t use this feature again until you finish a long rest.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented May 27, 2018 at 0:32

3 Answers 3


RAW, you are dead

Xanathar's Guide to Everything states you move 500 feet in the first round* of falling. If you fall anything between 200 and 499 feet, you take 20d6 damage, and don't have time for Wild Shape.

Your DM can save you

Based on your question, your DM is willing to let you use Wild Shape while falling.
Dire Wolf is not enough, you will need a form with 110 - 2 x 34 = 42 HP. There are 2 of these in the official sources:

  • Giant Hyena
  • Giant Octopus

If your DM lets you take any of these, you not only survive, but you can walk away thanks to Relentless Endurance.

*) This is pretty good physics for the first round. Unfortunately for subsequent rounds it still sets your speed to 500 feet per round, while it should be closer to 1100.

  • \$\begingroup\$ There is nothing in the rules of D&D that suggests that falling is instantaneous. The rules merely cover the damage inflicted. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 14:27
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @András falling from 600 feet should take almost exactly one round: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/75954/23970 \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 14:51
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @JackAidley see the falling rules in Xanathar's Guide--they (ludicrously) state that one instantaneously descends up to 500 feet when a fall begins. (I've houseruled this to "happen" just before the beginning of one's next turn, personally.) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 14:57
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @András well, the Xanathar thing is weird: they go with 500' (which is a decent estimate including some drag) but say it happens the instant the fall starts! It's certainly no physics engine =) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 14:58
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 it actually happens throughout the round. But it is resolved in that turn. Because nobody else could act outside that turn to save the falling character, and tracking turn by turn where the falling corpse-to-be is would break the table game. So it is abstracted to be considered instantaneous. AD&D 2nd PHB (or DMG) had a nice fluff box (almost a whole page) about why a round takes 1 minute (then), it is a worthy read to abstract why stuff takes 6 seconds (now) to happen, but are resolved instantly. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 16:40

Sorry, you're dead

Relentless Endurance. When you are reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright ...

You were killed outright so Relentless Endurance doesn't trigger.


110 damage, minus 37hp, leaves 73 damage to account for. With your 34hp, this will kill you outright.

Relentless Endurance says:

When you are reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright, you can drop to 1 hit point instead.

So unfortunately Relentless Endurance does not apply.

Usually when I've seen this sort of situation, the player and DM have improvised rules to keep the character alive. "How wide is this pit? Can I brace my druid staff against the walls? Can I make an Athletics check to slow my fall enough that I don't die? Can I cast entangle on the walls, so that the moss reaches out and catches me? Can I wild shape into one of those flying-squirrel things, that can't actually fly but can glide and doesn't take falling damage?" That's between you and your DM, though.

  • \$\begingroup\$ A 250 feet fall would take just over 4 seconds (according to angio.net/personal/climb/speed ) which should give time to carry out an action, the question is whether there is one that could save the character. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 14:30

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