Just realized that in DMing 5e I have unconsciously used a falling-in-water rule-of-thumb that I inherited from somewhere (maybe 2e or AD&D or maybe even Pathfinder). The ruling I've been using is as follows:

  • No damage for 20 feet of falling.
  • Half-damage next 20 feet.
  • Normal damage beyond that.

Realizing there should be a Strength (Athletics) for "swimming" (in context, "diving") to take even less damage with a proper dive in sufficiently deep water, I started to look for specifics on that. Am I just missing it somewhere? (Also didn't find it searching this stack.)

Are there clear 5e rules for both jumping and diving in water of various depths?


There are no rules for falling or diving into water in 5e at all

Right now, this is an area the rules don't touch on at all. It is left completely to the DM.

The only rules listed in any of the rule books for falling in any medium is the basic rule in the PHB and the optional rules for flying creatures and falling from great heights in XGE. Other than that, nothing else is mentioned about water or otherwise.

Jeremy Crawford confirms this and offers up a personal house rule in this tweet:

There's no official rule for falling into water. As DM, halving the falling damage is what I typically do.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thx! I wonder if there's a non-opinion-based way of asking a stack question about a bit more sophisticated ruling than that. Players with good swimming skill are entitled to ask for better treatment, no? \$\endgroup\$ – Valley Lad Feb 20 at 16:42
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @ValleyLad Hmmm I'm not sure if there is, but there might be. I might take your idea and a proposed question to Role-playing Games Meta and/or Role-playing Games Chat and see if they have any suggestions. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Feb 20 at 16:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.