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I see rules for falling creatures and the damage they take when struck by a falling object. But what about the object itself?

Does a dropped object take falling damage?

Context: someone dropped an object. I see the hit points the item should have but not how much damage it should take hitting the floor.

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Use your best judgement for determining falling damage for objects.

When objects are involved, the rules firmly suggest using common sense and your best judgement. There are no specific rules for objects that take falling damage. However, it is common sense that a bottle falling from the sky shatters on the ground while a feather gliding down might take no damage at all. The damage type of falling damage is bludgeoning damage.

Objects (DMG 246):

Use common sense when determining a character's success at damaging an object.

Objects and Damage Types (DMG 247):

You might decide that some damage types are more effective against a particular object or substance than others. For example, bludgeoning damage works well for smashing things but not for cutting through rope or leather. [...] As always, use your best judgment.

Damage Types (PHB 196):

Bludgeoning. Blunt force attacks —hammers, falling, constriction, and the like— deal bludgeoning damage.

In the case that a character wants to prevent the falling object from taking damage, for instance with a spell, then consider whether it is a valid target. Note that Feather Fall does not target objects (Sage Advice Compendium V2.3 p. 12):

Some spells (like eldritch blast) target a creature. Some others (like fire bolt) target objects too. Does this mean that I can’t attack the door with eldritch blast?
The target specifications (creature, object, or something else) in spells are intentional.

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Yes. Objects take damage from falling.

How much is up to the DM

Determining the amount of damage for falling objects is explicitly DM fiat per Dungeon Master Guide (DMG p247).

You might decide that some damage types are more effective against a particular object or substance than others.

The falling damage in the rules is specifically about creatures.

It would be reasonable to have falling damage per distance determined by an object's size, material, or other characteristics.

Use Damage Thresholds for damage susceptibility

Some objects are more susceptible to damage types than others. Considering using kind of damage reduction applied to components of sailing ships as a method for calculating damage to objects.

Damage Threshold from Ghosts of Saltmarsh (p. 186) or DMG (p. 247)

A component has immunity to all damage unless it takes an amount of damage that equals or exceeds its threshold, in which case it takes damage as normal. Damage that fails to bypass the threshold is considered superficial and does not reduce the component's hit points.

E.g. It would be fair to determine a chandelier has a damage threshold of 0 while a cannon ball has a damage threshold of 50.

Modeling driven vs story driven

D&D is not a good physics model

Calculating the results of statistics and rolls is running an engine. Doing that pauses the development of the story to determine an outcome, and the determination of the outcome by rolls might not be very satisfactory. It has been said by Jeremy Crawford and reiterated here that:

Indeed. D&D is not a physics engine.

Driving the story

Determining if an object is broken, unusable, repairable, or unaffected by a drop does not need to include the randomness of dice rolling, unless that's fun for your players.

When an object falls, consider:

  • What outcome is expected by the players? Use surprise judiciously.
  • What outcome drives the story they're interested in telling and participating in?
  • Is it important or something that provides depth the the narrative?

It may become obvious that there are many cases where the dice can remain at rest and not break up the storytelling.

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