The monk's Slow Fall feature description states:

Beginning at 4th level, you can use your reaction when you fall to reduce any falling damage you take by an amount equal to five times your monk level.

The "Falling onto a Creature" rule in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything states:

If a creature falls into the space of a second creature and neither of them is Tiny, the second creature must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or be impacted by the falling creature, and any damage resulting from the fall is divided evenly between them. The impacted creature is also knocked prone, unless it is two or more sizes larger than the falling creature.

Scenario: Monk falls on a creature. He uses his slow fall feature with his reaction. The damage will be reduced only to the monk or both to the monk and the creature?

Relevant questions:

After all of my research I came to this:

The time of reaction doesn't affect the time of its effects. Per the reaction timing rules in Xanathar's Guide to Everything, a reaction's effects takes place after its trigger completes, unless the description of the effects states otherwise. In the case of the monk's Slow Fall feature, you could argue that this is a reaction to the fall, so by the general rule it should apply after the fall completes. And the effect's description says that it is affecting the process of taking damage without a mention about the speed of the fall. So it looks like accepted answer in the question Using the optional rule on falling onto a creature, is the fall damage divided between creatures before or after damage resistance/reduction? has made a little mistake by emphasizing that you use reaction during the fall and not emphasizing "damage you take" as with every other mentioned feature.

The rules from the PHB/Basic Rules on "Damage and Healing" state, under "Damage Rolls":

Each weapon, spell, and harmful monster ability specifies the damage it deals. You roll the damage die or dice, add any modifiers, and apply the damage to your target.

and under "Hit Points":

Whenever a creature takes damage, that damage is subtracted from its hit points.

I would argue that there are two processes here applying damage to the target and taking damage by the target. And the latter happens, well, later.

Tasha's uses the words resulting damage. First way to read this as the final sum of fall damage per 10 feet of the fall. That damage would be divided, applied and then taken by you and your enemy. Second way - that this is some final damage taken by you, that will be divided and split between you and enemy.

In conclusion, I see a few interpretations here:

  • First: RAW interpretation to which I personally lean to - Monk's slow fall and other features and spells of other classes that use reaction, don't affect speed of the fall and use the words "reduce damage taken/damage you take/damage target takes" in their description (like Spirit Shield and Song of Defense) will work after the division of the "resulting damage", thus reducing the damage only to monk.

  • Second: RAW interpretation - all of those features and resistances work before the division of resulting damage, thus reducing damage to an enemy as well.

  • Third: somewhat RAI - slow fall due to its name suppose to slow the fall just before the impact, without affecting overall speed of falling, so the victim of monk's fall will take reduced damage because of this feature. (But I think the feature's name is a really weak argument)

  • Fourth: the fall damage has some specific non-mentioned quality and if spell/skill or feature mentions reducing fall damage you take, not just damage you take, then it would be applied before Tasha's division of resulting damage. In every other case it would be applied after. (I have failed to find such quality)

So my main question is which interpretation would be right in terms of RAW? And are there any mistakes I made with my reasoning?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I think you may be better served if you remove your interpretations from the question body and either submit as an answer, or just let the community of experts help determine the answer without the specific options you provide (we may have more!) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Aug 22, 2022 at 17:11
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I've closed this as a duplicate since it has been asked before. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 22, 2022 at 17:30


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