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We were fighting some berserkers. I was already flying (fly spell) so decided to use eldritch blast and the Grasp of Hadar invocation.

Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with your eldritch blast, you can move that creature in a straight line 10 feet closer to you. (XGtE, p. 57)

As I flew over one of the Berserkers, I zapped him with EB twice (at 5th level this cantrip emits two blasts) and applied Grasp of Hadar on him. I pulled him toward me ten feet, straight up. Once I had pulled him up, he didn't stay up; the DM ruled that he had to fall since the Grasp doesn't grapple him nor hold him in place.

I recommended to the DM that he take an additional 1d6 falling damage; I rolled it and he agreed.

Is this correct, or did we misunderstand how Grasp of Hadar works?

Imbedded question if the answer to the above is "yes, d6 damage was correct" -

Something that had us scratching our heads was how far offset do I need to be before the fall won't be enough to cause damage? I can be as high as 90' up and EB will still reach, but if I am too far offset the vertical height of the Grasped creature won't be 10 feet (for example at a 45 degree angle they would be about 7 feet off the ground). For the time being the DM is going to wing it, but I thought I'd ask so that I have something more concrete to offer him.


A related question about thorn whip is here and I suspect that the Four Elements Monk Water Whip feature has a similar behavior.

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Drop 'em like they're hot

This was a phenomenal maneuver! As you've said, the warlock invocation grasp of hadar states:

you can move that creature in a straight line 10 feet closer to you.

Since you are flying and above them, that does mean you pull them off the ground. There is no difference in the language or any requirement that they stay on the ground, so they don't!

And since you've pulled them 10' up, then they should fall as well, triggering the 1d6 bludgeoning.

A clever use of your abilities and invocation - well done!

Do you have to be directly be above?

As KorvinStarmast wrote in a comment, a DM ruling that you must be directly above them for this to work is reasonable, but depends on the rules being used for diagonal movement.

The PHB simplifies things with treating any grid movement as 5', even diagonals. There is an optional rule in Chapter 8 of the DMG where diagonals use more movement, but that's optional. Playing Theatre of the Mind and sticking with actual measurements would require being directly above the target in order to pull the 10' up to cause damage. However, those playing Theatre of the Mind could still use the diagonal rules from either the PHB or the DMG in addition to their imagination.

In some ways, it may be easier to say you need to be directly above, otherwise you may be under the 10' gate for falling damage. But talk with your DM about what system they want to use consistently.

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    \$\begingroup\$ For what it’s worth—having done the math—using the 1.5 approximation for \$\sqrt{2}\$ that 3.5e uses, any position that is “at least as up as it is over” should be eligible to drag the target to a square 10 feet above its position (potentially as well as 5 feet over). And since 5e doesn’t use that approximation in its playing on a grid variant—but instead approximates it as just 1—this is even more true (and in fact you could get 10’ up, 10’ over). When not using a grid and not approximating, though, then yes, you would need to be directly above \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan May 13 at 4:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Theater of the mind doesn’t have to calculate the hypotenuse—the 10 feet stated by the invocation is the hypotenuse. And by definition, if the hypotenuse is 10 feet and the base is non-zero, the height is going to be less than 10 feet, so no falling damage. It’s only with the rounding used with a grid that you might be able to accomplish lateral movement as well as 10 feet of vertical movement. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan May 13 at 13:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ I mean, “potentially requiring” is simply untrue, it will never be necessary to calculate the hypotenuse—that’s the thing we’re given, 10 feet. No calculation involved, it will just always be 10 feet (unless you’re closer than that to begin with). What might need calculation is the lengths of the legs of the triangle, specifically the vertical one—which you could calculate from the hypotenuse and the angle—but it turns out we don’t need to calculate that either, because it’s always going to be less than 10 feet unless you are directly above the target. This is just math. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan May 13 at 13:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I clearly need more coffee and I also clearly am terrible at math. Updated - is that what you were saying (as I go get more coffee.) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 13 at 14:09
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As the other answers have said, the answer to the first part of the question is yes. You lift him 10 feet, he falls 10 feet, and takes the usual damage.

For the second part, I would consider vertical movement to follow the same measurement rules as horizontal. If you are playing on a grid (PHB 192), two 5' squares diagonally is still measured as 10'. So lifting at a 45 degree angle, the fall distance will still be 10'.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is this based on the figures/picures in the back of the DMG regarding using cubes on grids? (I don't think we do that, but I get the idea that this is the basis for your answer). If so, page ref would be handy. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 13 at 13:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ I couldn't find a reference for vertical grids, so I referenced the standard 2d grid rules. \$\endgroup\$ – Adeptus May 13 at 14:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK, cool, thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 13 at 14:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ The only problem I see to this answer is when using the diagonal of a cube, but I agree with you. \$\endgroup\$ – MrTakeru May 13 at 14:20
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RAW: Yes, the berserker take falling damage (they are now 10ft away from the ground, if they haven't, for any reasons, a flying speed, they are falling).

If we want to be accurate to physic (which is not RAW), then the barbarian is 10ft away from the ground only if you are exactly over him, else you have to use the pytagore theorem (or al kashi theorem if you go crazy and to something really unusual) to determine their actual height, which have all the chance to be less than 10ft.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Just got an email from the DM; he's decided on "within the creatures square or any square one adjacent to his square suffices for "above" him. Offset any more, and no falling damage. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 12 at 14:02

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