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Can a character jump vertically (with range 3 + strength modifier) to reach a flying enemy?

Or, is it impossible to combine a vertical jump with an attack?

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    \$\begingroup\$ What is the distance between enemy and target? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 3 '19 at 14:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I don't see Bruno's comment as a partial answer, it doesn't even attempt to answer the question about reach, just a related link about jump distance. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Dec 3 '19 at 15:35
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Yes, you can.

You can jump as part of movement, without even making a check if it's within your defined jump distance; and you can make an Attack action at any point during your movement. You can even split up your movement between the attack rolls you get, if you get more than one as part of an Attack action.

Player's Handbook, p. 190:

BREAKING UP YOUR MOVE

You can break up your movement on your turn, using some of your speed before and after your action. [...]

MOVING BETWEEN ATTACKS

If you take an action that includes more than one weapon attack, you can break up your movement even further by moving between those attacks.

Based on that, there's nothing in the rules that stops you from taking an attack action while in the middle of a jump -- or even making multiple attacks, taking a bonus-action attack, and Action Surging to use a second Attack action while still in mid-jump.

That said, hovering in the air while you attack over and over seems a bit silly to me (reminds me of Devil May Cry or Final Fantasy VII), so as a DM, I'd probably rule that you can only make one attack roll in that way before you come back down. In theory you could just jump again for each attack (spending movement to do so), but that still sounds iffy from a narrative perspective, at least to me, so if I decided to let you jump again to try a second swing (or third), I'd probably say it counts as a standing start -- but that's just my opinion.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ While I disagree with the need to nerf it because it 'feels sill' in a game where some pretty wild stuff happens, thank you for making the update! \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 3 '19 at 15:48
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You can jump as a part of your movement

On your turn, you can move a distance up to your speed.

Your movement can include jumping, climbing, and swimming.

See Basic Rules, Movement and Position

That does not change your reach though

Reach is a specific game term, reach determines your range without movement, it also affects your opportunity attacks. For player characters their reach is 5 ft, unless you have a weapon with the Reach property.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can the character attack before falling back down tho? \$\endgroup\$ – Bruno Souza Dec 3 '19 at 14:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ OP has not yet clarified distance of enemy (as per NautArch's comment), but what if the flying enemy was just out of reach above the PC, would jumping then allow the PC to attack the flying enemy. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Dec 3 '19 at 15:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BrunoSouza: I think even a strict reading of the rules would allow one to jump up one or more spaces, do an attack, and then land. \$\endgroup\$ – Mooing Duck Dec 3 '19 at 23:50
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Flying enemies are supposed to be a scourge to melee attackers.

There's no raw way to attack a flying enemy more than five feet above you when you have a 5-foot reach.

Raw workarounds:

  • Increase your reach; reach weapons, having a naturally longer reach, lunging strike from the Martial Adept feat, etc.

  • Ready an attack against melee attacks. If the flyer has to come down to attack, and then flies away again, a melee attacker can go to the attack location and ready an action to attack when the enemy comes into range.

    • Or hope for an opportunity attack from a careless retreat.
    • Either of these attacks could be a grapple to prevent the creature from retreating.
  • For the sake of completeness: use a ranged attack. You can pull out that handaxe or a bow or whatever.

Beyond that, it's Houserules all the way down... er... up.

We've had to deal with this a few times at my table and we allow what you're asking about. In the scenario where an attacker is flying ten feet above a melee attacker with an attack range of 5 feet, they can spend 10 feet of movement to attack the enemy above them (5 feet up and 5 feet back down).

While everyone has seemed satisfied with that, if it were to be a frequent occurrence (i.e. - if I were to start purposefully planning encounters that relied on flying enemies and reach), I would probably adjust the rules a bit in the favor of the enemies.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So if your character can normally hit a creature 5 feet over their head and has a +5 strength bonus, but the thing is flying 10 feet above them, they can't do a vertical leap (8 feet up with a running start) to hit the creature, without invoking a house-rule? \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Pseudonym Dec 3 '19 at 16:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DarthPseudonym unclear raw, in my opinion. Though, at that point, it's equivalent to the house rule. As it stands, I'm comfortable with my answer being at the bottom. I feel you and I are thinking similar things with a slightly more or less strict viewpoint. \$\endgroup\$ – goodguy5 Dec 3 '19 at 17:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think even a strict reading of the rules would allow one to jump up one or more spaces, do an attack, and then land. \$\endgroup\$ – Mooing Duck Dec 3 '19 at 23:51

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