The feather fall spell (PHB, p. 239) says:

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 feel, and the spell ends for that creature.

Am I able to move horizontally as I descend (to "glide", basically), or can I only fall vertically in a straight line, directly down to the point below me when the spell was cast? Or is this simply something that isn't specified and is something that the DM is expected to resolve?

This came up in a game I ran a couple of weeks ago. Luckily, this was asked preemptively as they were planning how to storm an orc camp, and the plan was changed before I was pressed for an answer, so I was able to dodge making a ruling entirely. However, if it were to come up again, it is simply up to me (the DM), or is there anything that suggests one or the other ruling?


1 Answer 1


No horizontal movement

The spell only mentions reducing your rate of descent when falling to avoid damage. And when creatures fall it is generally accepted to be straight down!

So that's all the spell does. If the spell itself allowed you to move horizontally as well, it would say so.

That said - in the sense of "normal physics unless noted otherwise" - if you had some other way of imparting horizontal momentum during the descent then that would presumably work as long as the fall was long enough to give you a chance to do something (a fall is technically "instantaneous" according to the default rules-as-written, but Xanathar's Guide has some optional rules concerning falling distance per round). An example that a DM may allow would be casting Gust of Wind as you fall.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ The (non-XGtE) falling rules don't say that a fall is instantaneous; they don't specify how long it takes at all. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark Wells
    Jul 15, 2020 at 15:07

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