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Imagine a party of PCs exploring a dungeon inside a volcano. After a climactic confrontation with the Big Bad, the volcano begins to erupt, and the PCs must flee for their lives. Unfortunately, one of the PCs -- Tarly Target -- is badly injured and can barely walk. Working together to carry Target, the PCs race toward the volcano's mouth. Just as freedom nears, a sudden quake tears open the path before them, creating a 15-foot chasm that begins filling with molten lava. There's no way Target can make the jump.

Psimon Psion, a PC with the Telekinetic feat (from Unearthed Arcana: Psionic Options Revisited), proposes to use the feat to try to hurl Target across the chasm. The feat's third bullet says:

As a bonus action, you can try to telekinetically shove one creature you can see within 30 feet of you. When you do so, roll your Psionic Talent die, and the target must succeed on a Strength saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + the ability modifier of the score increased by this feat) or be moved toward you or away from you a number of feet equal to 5 times the number you rolled. A creature can willingly fail this save.

Assuming Psion could roll a 3 or greater on his Psionic Talent Die, sufficient to move Target the full 15 feet required to clear the chasm, is this a viable use of the feat? Must Target remain in contact with the ground the entire time he's being moved by the shove, such that he'd immediately plunge to his doom once moved over the chasm? Or can the shove actually propel him through the air to the other side?

For completeness's sake, I note the following:

  • The normal shove action (PHB p. 195-196) only moves a creature a maximum of 5 feet, so it does not offer much guidance here.
  • The telekinesis spell (PHB p. 280-281) can move a creature, but the move is not characterized as a shove and explicitly can hold the target in mid-air, so it is not helpful here either.
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It's up to the DM

As you've noted, the language is unclear and this also remains Unearthed Arcana. There really isn't a clear answer because the mechanic isn't clear and it's new. Referring to other mechanics can help guide a DM to an answer, but it's just a guide.

Instead, I'd go with what makes narrative fun. I can't think of any good reason to not allow the shove over empty ground, but there is risk involved now. Should you roll less than 3, you may have just killed someone.

That, and shoving folks off a cliff is a thing, so why not over a chasm?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure your last point, about shoving folks off a cliff, quite lands (so to speak). Using a normal shove to move a target 5 feet horizontally into a space over empty air would result in the target immediately falling; I don't think that's controversial. The difference with this telekinetic shove is that it can theoretically move a target far enough to end up on solid ground again. A normal shove would only be analogous if the target were being shoved over a gap less than 5ft wide, and I'm not sure the falling rules would even care about a gap that small. Maybe? I dunno. \$\endgroup\$
    – screamline
    Oct 23 '20 at 17:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd be inclined to lean towards allowing it to shove across the opening because it's cooler. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 23 '20 at 17:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @screamline Falling rules...aren't great. \$\endgroup\$
    – NautArch
    Oct 23 '20 at 17:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RevenantBacon I'm definitely a proponent of Rule of Cool... but I like to be circumspect about anticipating players' expectation, too. \$\endgroup\$
    – screamline
    Oct 23 '20 at 17:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Granted. Frankly that's the real genesis of this question. If the falling rules were better/clearer, we'd know the answer already. :\ \$\endgroup\$
    – screamline
    Oct 23 '20 at 17:42

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