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Reflecting on the old and new (due to new rules in Xanathar's...) answers here about the distance someone falls, I'm trying to brainstorm how to make sure I fall alongside someone else during combat who hasn't intentionally fallen.

Let's say we're fighting a Roc while balancing on a tightrope and the Roc cleverly shoves one of us to our doom. If the fall speed was slow, or if fall speed was spread out over the round, I think I could catch up to someone (with appropriate shenanigans, like Misty Step or Far Step). But Xanathar's says:

When you fall from a great height you instantly descend up to 500 feet. If you're still falling on your next turn you descend up to 500 feet at the end of that turn.

The instant descent has got me stuck. I suppose I can take a readied action each turn, and then use my reaction to jump off the rope as soon as one of my companions falls. And of course if I have Feather Fall I can slow their descent, but I flunked out of the wizard academy by trying to have a demon take care of every obstacle in my final exam instead of casting a spell myself.

Is my companion doomed to a splattery death?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure I follow the last part of your question regarding a demon helping you with your final exam. I also don't see why you can't just cast feather fall as soon as they fall. Why do you feel the need to fall with them? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 0:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, it was a bit of flippant color. In this hypothetical example maybe I'm a Warlock who doesn't have Feather Fall, but I have other means of moving quickly through space. Falling with them is very plot-specific to a game I'm in, but will be important (important enough that I'm open to burning my action each round taking a ready action I might not use). \$\endgroup\$
    – mkdir
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 1:17

2 Answers 2

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If this is important at your table, make your own rulings

The rules as written to not simulate falling with any degree of accuracy because a) long falls don’t happen that much, b) when they do, the rules are mostly ok most of the time.

However, in the real world, when you fall, you fall really, really fast - 1,000 feet in the first 10 seconds as you speed up to belly down terminal velocity and then 5 seconds for every 1,000 feet. So the TCoE rule gives a falling speed less than half what actually happens.

By changing your attitude, you can change your velocity both vertical and horizontal. You can increase the rate of descent by between 20 and 45% by doing this. A 1 second (round) head start will take 3-4 seconds (rounds) to make up.

So if you know what you’re doing, react quickly enough and have enough air (time) to work with you can catch up to your companion.

Now, go and work out the rulings for what you want to achieve.

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    \$\begingroup\$ >By changing your attitude, you can change your velocity both vertical and horizontal. Oh sure. That's why a sunny disposition helps you keep your head in the clouds, whereas somebody more grounded will far more rapidly come down to earth. \$\endgroup\$
    – order
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 12:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Exactly -- this is a place for creative play, not specific rules. I'd totally allow an acrobatics check during a multi-round fall to manipulate the scenario, like maybe a DC 14 to assume a streamlined position and catch up to somebody who fell before, the traditional "jump after them with a parachute" sort of thing... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 14:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I appreciate this answer, though I see I didn't make clear that I was asking from a player's perspective, not a DMs (hence asking about my companion, not about one of my players). I don't have the authority at this table to make rulings. I suppose I could appeal to the DM, but I'm not a fan of asking them to make rulings especially for me. \$\endgroup\$
    – mkdir
    Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 2:31
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You could grab them, or tie yourself to them.

There are no official rules about how that would work, but the obvious ruling for the DM to make would be that you would both fall at the same time. (You'd have to, since you're stuck together!)

If you can't do that, you'll have to ask your DM for a ruling on how to achieve your goal.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Simple and brilliant. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 5:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the practical suggestion of tying ourselves is great. I suppose holding on to each other (maybe what you mean by grabbing?) works too, but I'd be afraid it'd leave me vulnerable to the DM deciding as they fall and it's not my turn I'm not able to hold on to them. \$\endgroup\$
    – mkdir
    Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 2:33

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