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This question speaks of watery sphere as a replacement for feather fall because of this line:

If [the sphere] moves over a pit, a cliff, or other drop-off, it safely descends until it is hovering 10 feet above the ground. Any creature restrained by the sphere moves with it.

When I first read this line, I interpreted that as a way to prevent players from moving the big bad over a 400ft cliff and dropping him. The answer to the question above, however, mentions concentration being a potential reason why the sphere wouldn't reach the bottom.

If you could drop concentration willingly to drop the big bad 400ft, that seems to disprove my reading of it, but if you couldn't, that seems to imply that the sphere moves instantaneously, with no room to lose concentration (while still being "safe").

How fast does the watery sphere move while descending safely, and is releasing concentration before it does possible?

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RAW, Up to the DM

Watery sphere does not specify how fast the sphere descends, and although there are rules for how fast a creature falls in freefall that other answers have noted, I would not describe that pace of descent as "safe" - and those rules do not strictly apply to magical effects anyway.

How I would rule it: 60 feet/round, following other spells with "safe" descent

The spell Feather Fall states:

Choose up to five Falling creatures within range. A Falling creature's rate of descent slows to 60 feet per round until the spell ends. If the creature lands before the spell ends, it takes no Falling damage and can land on its feet, and the spell ends for that creature.

The spell Earthbind states:

The target must succeed on a Strength save or its flying speed is reduced to 0 feet for the spell's duration. An airborne creature safely descends at 60 feet per round until it reaches the ground or the spell ends.

This implies to me that 60 feet/round is a "safe" rate of descent in the game - thus I would use it as the rate that a Watery Sphere descends.

Regardless, you can drop concentration at any time

You can end concentration at any time (no action required) (PH, 203)

So you could move the big bad trapped in your Watery Sphere off the cliff, then immediately drop concentration before it starts descending.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I've not played 5th edition but providing like 3.5, a round is 6 seconds then the rate of 60ft a round is roughly 6.8mph. \$\endgroup\$ – samuraiseoul Aug 2 '18 at 21:43
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Using Xanathar's optional rule for falling: 500 Feet per turn

Additionally, you can release concentration at ANY time.

Assuming gravity works the same (which is questionable), a character falls 500 feet immediately, and I would use the same ruling for this.

Xanathar's Guide to Everything on p.77:

When you fall from a great height you instantly descend up to 500 feet. If you're still falling on your next turn you descend up to 500 feet at the end of that turn. This process continues until the fall ends.

As for concentration, you can release concentration at ANY time. This includes split seconds, and can be specified out of character, in game when you wish to do so.

I don't like the idea, personally, of leaving concentration while moving that fast, so personally I've implemented a spell check to do so.


Additionally for flavor's sake - I would flavor this like being quickly thrown around at an amusement park ride. You're strapped in and safe but the ride is still moving quickly.

Maybe we should ask for implementation of G-Force in D&D!


Although: It has been brought up that these are optional rules, and you're allowed to interpret the game how you please. The number one thing to remember: be consistent.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would hardly say this counts as a "safe descent", since that results in normal falling damage \$\endgroup\$ – Blake Steel Aug 2 '18 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the safely part is safely landing 10 feet above the ground. \$\endgroup\$ – Austin Donley Aug 2 '18 at 14:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think so. It specifies safely fall, and a watery magical sphere seems capable of padding the fall of an adventurer, especially because no falling speed is specified and it specifies safely, so we're left with interpreting that gravity works the same if not otherwise specified. \$\endgroup\$ – Austin Donley Aug 2 '18 at 14:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AustinDonley What do you mean by "I don't like the idea, personally, of leaving concentration while moving that fast, so personally I've implemented a spell check to do so." \$\endgroup\$ – Blake Steel Aug 2 '18 at 15:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BlakeSteel Technically speaking, you can drop concentration at any time, which includes any instant moment while falling "instantaneously" down 500 feet. That is a little too precise, in my opinion, and because of that I have the players roll a Spell Check (d20 + spell modifier + any bonuses) of DC15. If they meet the DC, they can drop concentration when they want. Otherwise I have them roll a dice to determine if it was too early, or too late. It's a little clunky, but it helps my immersion. \$\endgroup\$ – Austin Donley Aug 2 '18 at 15:10
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You fall at 500 ft / 6 sec

In D&D and IRL, you don't take damage from falling, you take damage from suddenly stopping. The spell does not say what speed you fall at, only that you fall safely.

Given that spells only do what they say, and this spell does not change your fall speed, it should be assumed that the sphere falls at the same rate.

In physical terms, the sphere probably slows as it nears the ground, so that the average speed is slightly slower than a free fall. If you as a DM want to simulate this, a ruling that says that you fall 400 ft / 6 sec will probably not upset anyone at the table.

But D&D is not itself a simulation, it is a game. And as such, things fall instantly, measurement is non-euclidean, and magic is a thing. So the answer that you fall 500 ft / 6 sec is as realistic as you dealing the same non-lethal damage with your mace as you would lethal damage.

As far as releasing concentration:

You can release concentration at any time without requiring an action. Given that it would be on your turn that you would move the watery sphere over a ledge, there is no reason why you could not immediately after, release concentration and cause whoever is trapped inside to fall.

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