The scenario: An enemy is atop a 499 foot cliff. A hero is at a place where he can stand and move freely (enough), let's say in the middle (around 250ft). Immediately after the hero's turn, the enemy will begin to fall straight down (past the hero and within his reach) for reasons unimportant.

Will a readied action to "Attack an enemy that falls within my reach" trigger?

I know that the RAI, RAF, and RACS answer is "Yea, of course". But RAW falling happens "instantly" (ish) for distances less than 500 feet (hence the restriction) and reactions happen after their triggers, unless otherwise specified by an ability.

Notes: No, the enemy is not using featherfall or any other fall-altering (faltering?) ability.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Feather Fall itself has a range and the falling target might start outside the range of the spell, It would therefore be quite reasonable to ready a Feather Fall for when a falling creatures enters your spell range, catch it with the spell and then let it fall to the ground, possibly again exceeding your range. \$\endgroup\$
    – bp.
    Mar 21, 2018 at 4:05

1 Answer 1


A readied action can trigger during a fall

The rules for falling have been clarified with this:

The rule for falling assumes that a creature immediately drops the entire distance when it falls. (XGtE)

While this occurs immediately, it does not occur instantly. An action readied with a perceivable trigger that occurs during the fall can still trigger. The assumption is initiative does not continue until the fall has ended.

For some perceivable instant, the enemy falls within your reach. Per readied actions this triggers the attack.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You might add that XGtE is optional material as illustrated in a recent question. The DM at that table might ignore this entirely. \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Mar 20, 2018 at 17:45
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth: This answer is actually not based on optional XGE material. This passage from XGtE is actually just stating here what the rules already say in the core rules (just a bit clearer) before describing the optional rule that modifies it. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 20, 2018 at 17:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think the falling rules are really that important. I think that trigger will work beacuse the enemy is falling into their reach. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 20, 2018 at 17:48
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Great distinction between "immediately" and my "instantly". That clears up a lot of confusion. \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Mar 20, 2018 at 17:55
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch there was actually some disagreement about that. But if this is the answer, that is irrelevant. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 20, 2018 at 18:07

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