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Are there any rules (or JC tweets) about how jumping from a height works?

I know about the rules for, e.g. long Jump, but those assume that the thing I'm jumping to is on the same level as me.

Suppose I'm starting from a 60ft high wall, and I want to jump into the pond that's X feet away from the foot of the wall. How big can X be and still allow me to make the jump?

Clearly I can get further than my Long Jump distance (or my standing jump distance, if the wall has no space for a run up). But how much further?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Not looking for anything about Feats, spells, magic items, etc. that would increase my jump distance - just want to know how much extra I'd gain from the height itself. \$\endgroup\$
    – Brondahl
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 8:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have a follow up Q about how Feather Fall would interact with this, but I'm expecting to ask that as a separate Q, once we've got an answer for this one. Shout if you disagree :D \$\endgroup\$
    – Brondahl
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 8:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related, sorta: "As I descend vertically when affected by Feather Fall, can I also move horizontally?" \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 25, 2021 at 11:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Our party is currently looking at how to make the jump from the floor of the sunken city in Tomb of Annihilation to the lower rock-pillar surrounded by lava. This website is proving useful for a real world physics estimation to set expectations. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 18:25

2 Answers 2

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If you want to extend a jump, you need an Athletics roll.

p175 gives this as an example of an athletics roll.

You try to jump an unusually long distance

So, a cliff would serve as a way to argue to a DM you should go further and have it be easier. How much further, and at what DC and whether you get advantage is up to them.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It might be worth Advantage on the roll. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Commented May 26, 2021 at 2:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ You may want to include that even with the Athletics roll, the total distance (horizontally) cannot exceed the character's speed (typically 30-60 feet). \$\endgroup\$
    – Journer
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 21:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do the rules say that somewhere? \$\endgroup\$
    – Nepene Nep
    Commented May 28, 2021 at 7:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NepeneNep Actually, they do, and that intent is further confirmed by a JC tweet. However, there is some disagreement about whether that total distance limit is per turn or per jump. See What happens when you run out of movement while jumping? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 18:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ As far as I can see, there's no official statement that an athletics roll can't extend it. After all, the text says that the jump will be unusually long- if you just wanted to jump the normal expected distance, no need for a roll. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nepene Nep
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 5:33
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You do not gain any additional jump distance

The rules on Long Jumps state:

When you make a long jump, you cover a number of feet up to your Strength score if you move at least 10 feet on foot immediately before the jump. When you make a standing long jump, you can leap only half that distance. Either way, each foot you clear on the jump costs a foot of movement.

There are not other rules that change this rule such that jumping from a higher location to a lower location increases the horizontal distance travelled and so that distance does not change.


Similarly, if somebody is falling down a 10,000 foot drop, they fall straight down and cannot redirect themself horizontally. Doing so requires a fly speed which they do not have.

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ So you're imagining that they'll leap, say 15 feet out horizontally and then, spontaneously and instantaneously, stop moving horizontally and start falling vertically? XD. Fair enough :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Brondahl
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 12:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ As far as the rules are concerned, yes. If you want to houserule and model the real-life physics of jumping and falling in this game - which already fails, rather a lot, to model real-life falling - you are free to do so. I'd say my answer makes about as much sense as falling precisely and exclusively 500 feet once every six seconds and never really hitting any point in-between. Or as much sense as instantaneously falling the full distance of a fall, no matter how large the fall. Those are the falling rules from Xanathar's the the Players Handbook \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 25, 2021 at 12:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a physics-enhanced-aside, you must start from a height of N*(N-1) times your jump distance to go N times further, e.g. if you have STR = 15 and long-jump (15') from a height of 90', you could go 45' (3x multiplier). With STR 10-20 you can jump 30-46 feet from your 60 foot height \$\endgroup\$
    – Cireo
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 20:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Jumping from high to low is easy, it doesn't even require a check. Gaining horizontal distance in the process is what requires the check. While it makes sense to gain some extra distance, keep in mind you're falling at ~83' a second (in the Xanathar rules), whereas your horizontal velocity is on the order of (Strength/6)' per second (Strength/3 if you assume it only takes half your round). So with Strength 15 and a 60' drop, that'd be an extra ... 1-2 feet. \$\endgroup\$
    – Errorsatz
    Commented May 26, 2021 at 0:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you wanted to bring real world physics into your calculations then you'd have to realise you wouldn't pick up much horizontal distance anyway. Your downward velocity would rapidly outstrip your horizontal velocity. You'll still be moving forwards but you'll accelarate towards the ground so quickly that you'll reach it before your horizontal movement goes much further. Unless you jump from a really tall location in which case you'll likely die on impact anyway. You can get around this by using feather fall arguably. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 26, 2021 at 3:18

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