RAW, can I counter the prone condition by falling 5 feet?

It seems like there are several ways to counter the prone condition.

1. Uncontroversially, a creature may spend half of it's movement to stand

You can drop prone without using any of your speed. Standing up takes more effort; doing so costs an amount of Movement equal to half your speed.

1. RAI, a creature may be subject to the prone condition unless it is

affixed to something that keeps [it] upright.

and

If it's physically impossible for you to be prone, you're not subject to the prone condition.

So, being affixed to chains on a wall or otherwise forcing a creature out of prone with grapple counter the condition.

And 3) RAW falling seems to counter the prone condition:

At the end of a fall, a creature takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it fell, The creature lands prone, unless it avoids taking damage from the fall.

If I fall less than 10 feet, I will avoid taking any damage. And, RAW this seems to counter the prone condition. But, it is unclear if this is RAI.

So, the heart of the question is, If I'm lying prone on a table 5 ft tall, can I crawl off the edge of the table and land on my feet to end the prone condition?

It seems like, in both real life, and RAW, I should be able to drop off the table, onto my feet, thereby ending the prone condition. Specifically, it seems reasonable to me that falling 5 ft would give a creature an opportunity to land on their feet. But, I'm looking for RAW that might contradict this.

• I did not downvote it myself, but I think what could contribute is that (a) you have been changing the question, from a simple general question about how you end up from falling when starting prone to a very specific case of crawling/dropping off a table which might better enable an answer you have given to it yourself and (b) maybe people are just getting tired of it -- serveral respondents like Kirt have provided really thoughtful explorations of the subject, so if that is not helping you, we may be at a loss on how to help. Sep 27, 2022 at 17:12
• @GroodytheHobgoblin, some other of my questions have been closed for being too general. See rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/201504/… . It is my understanding that Questions are supposed to be well researched and highly specific. If respondents are answering the wrong question, I ought to clarify, right? What is it you think people are getting tired of? Sep 27, 2022 at 17:20
• I appreciate Kirt's thoughtful explanation. But, he is speculating about RAI and my question specifies RAW. Is there something you think I'm missing? Sep 27, 2022 at 17:22
• one more thought, and then I'll stop: in my experience, artificial, rules-lawyerly posts that cling to the letter of the text in spite of it being obvious what that the intention and a useful interpretation is tend to be ill received. I have one such question about banishment that is my most-downvoted, and one answer about shield, that is likewise. Sep 27, 2022 at 17:33
• @GroodytheHobgoblin, it's a good thought, and it might make sense for an answer "clinging" to an interpretation, but this is a question searching for specific rules about this situation. Sep 27, 2022 at 17:59

The prone condition states

• A prone creature’s only movement option is to crawl, unless it stands up and thereby ends the condition.
• The creature has disadvantage on attack rolls.
• An attack roll against the creature has advantage if the attacker is within 5 feet of the creature. Otherwise, the attack roll has disadvantage.

If you you are already prone and falling, there is no reason the condition would end. The condition's text states that you need to stand up to end it. Falling without taking damage is not standing up. While there might be other reasonable ways to end it that are not mentioned explicitly like an ally helping you by pulling you up, crashing into the floor is about the last thing that would make sense to do so.

The rather obvious meaning of the clause starting with "unless" in the falling rules is that if you fall hard enough to take damage, you will fall prone as a result of the fall.

There is this question about teleportation where the most upvoted answer comes to the conclusion you could (although the second answer that also has substantial support concludes you could not). When an argument can be made either way, this typically means that the rules do not fully resolve it, and you should ask your DM how they handle it (or decide how you want to, as the DM).

• @nonymous Please review the comment privilege page, in particular the last section When shouldn't I comment: "Secondary discussion or debating a controversial point; please use chat instead." If you would like to continue a discussion about a specific point, please flag a comment and request a moderator move the thread to a chat room. The comment section is not for having these sorts of extended discussions. Sep 27, 2022 at 18:06
• @nonymous As I am not a moderator, I can do nothing to your comments except for flag them for moderator attention. Please see this meta post for details: Why are site comments being deleted? Sep 27, 2022 at 19:25
• chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/info/139494/… Sep 27, 2022 at 19:33
• TM is right, comments are not for exhaustive discussions and arguing a point. Doubly since you have an opposing answer and it's reasonably clear the answerer does not intend to edit based on these, please vote and move on (and/or edit your answer to clearly show what you think is correct). I'm leaving the above chat link up for anyone interested, but I'm expecting this to be it for these comments. Sep 27, 2022 at 19:42
• @nonymous FWIW what you will have seen from TM is an prompt which occurs after a sufficiently long back and forth, which creates a room with message copies of comments but which does not delete the comments. That's either the posters removing their comments or a mod doing so (often in response to flags for it). Sep 27, 2022 at 19:43

RAI not automatically

At the end of a fall, a creature takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it fell, The creature lands prone, unless it avoids Taking Damage from the fall.

It is certainly true that this passage, taken literally, means that someone who avoids taking fall damage does not land prone. It should be clear that the intent is, however, that someone who starts the fall not prone does not then become prone as a result of the fall, because they did not take damage. This fits the context of a typical fall and makes sense; usually someone is not prone when they begin their fall and they are knocked prone as a result of hitting the ground.

It would be strange indeed for someone to start a fall prone and then have the fact that they did not take damage somehow force them upright at the end of the fall. Clearly that is not the intent of the rule, which assumes that they are not prone initially. The mistaken assumption about initial conditions resulting in an illogical conclusion is perfectly paralleled by an old joke in English:

A patient asks a doctor, “Will I be able to play the piano after the operation?”
“Certainly,” the doctor replies.
“That’s great! I wasn’t able to play the piano before,” the patient remarks.

For example, suppose a creature is wearing a ring of feather falling when they are Paralyzed. Then, they are knocked prone and pitched off a high balcony. A second creature is Petrified, toppled, and rolled off a nine-and-a-half-foot drop. Yes, a literal interpretation of the rule means that somehow they both will remain prone for their entire fall but will then both miraculously land upright when they hit the ground. However, most DMs would rule this were nonsensical applications of the rule.

Even the appeal to Szega's high-scoring answer about using teleportation to counter the prone condition is, in my opinion, misplaced. Their argument is not that teleportation allows one to re-orient in space (which at least is plausible within the narrative) but rather that a literalist interpretation of the rule above says that someone who starts prone but doesn't take damage in a fall will be placed upright - not by the magic of teleportation, but by the power of the rule. Yes, this is literally true RAW, but it is narratively silly.

At the end of a fall, a creature takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it fell. The creature is knocked prone upon landing, unless it avoids Taking Damage from the fall.

Applying this common-sense revision would make the rule align with what most DMs are going to rule anyway.

Electing to use movement

If simply falling without taking damage is not enough to remove the prone condition automatically, there are multiple ways within the rules to do so; however, they would either require you to "stand up from prone" or otherwise use extra movement.

From your starting position prone atop the table, you could simply stand up on the table (costs Move of half your Speed) and then leap down, landing on your feet since the fall was less than ten feet and you didn't take damage.

If for some reason you didn't want to stand up while on top of the table (say, you were under ranged attack), you would need to move off the table before standing up. We know that moving while prone has to be done at a crawl, and that crawling costs an extra foot for every foot moved. So you will crawl to the edge of the table, move off, fall while prone, not take damage since it is less than 10 feet, land prone (supposing, as I contend, the mere act of falling doesn't force you upright), and then stand up (at the normal cost to stand up).

Finally, if you don't want to fall, you could crawl to the edge of the table and lower yourself down. I think this could be considered 'climbing', since you would be pushing off of a vertical surface. Interestingly, while the PHB tells us that climbing is a "Special Type of Movement", it doesn't actually tell us what climbing is or when it should be used (or how it interacts with prone), so that will be a decision for your DM. If it were me, I would be comfortable saying that paying the movement penalty for climbing down your curiously-high table would result in you being vertical, and thus not prone, by the time you reached the floor, without having to have separately paid to stand up. That would be a ruling, though, not a rule.

Any of these three methods would get you off the table and on your feet with no chance of failure but with the expenditure of a considerable amount of your move. But I suspect you are after something flashier.

Petit Parkour?

Your question (and subsequent answer and comments) seem to indicate that what you would really like to do is use the act of falling to re-orient yourself so that you start prone but land on your feet, without having to have expended any extra movement to "stand up from prone". This is entirely reasonable if you can get your feet to 'fall first', before the rest of your body. But it should take a certain amount of skill to do well, that is, without hesitation or losing any movement. In this case, what we have is a 'skill challenge' - you are suggesting something that some characters should be able to do better than others, and that won't always work.

Consider the definition of a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check:

Your Dexterity (Acrobatics) check covers your attempt to stay on your feet in a tricky situation, such as when you're trying to run across a sheet of ice, balance on a tightrope, or stay upright on a rocking ship's deck. The DM might also call for a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check to see if you can perform acrobatic stunts, including dives, rolls, somersaults, and flips.

The situation you describe, using a controlled fall off a high table to become upright from prone without having to spend movement to do so, is for me a textbook case for a low-DC Acrobatics check, with success operating just as you would like it to. If you were in Heavy armor or encumbered while doing this, I would either set the DC higher or call for a Strength (Athletics) check, treating it as an attempt to "pull off a stunt midjump."

My guiding principle here as a DM is that what you are trying to do is reasonable and possible, but it is not an automatic consequence of the rules of movement or falling. Thus you don't get it for 'free'; either you spend movement to make sure it works like you want, or you rolls the dice and you takes your chance.

• Thanks for the contribution. For clarification, I was asking about RAW. I tend to think that it's actually kind of reasonable that dropping 5 ft would give you the opportunity to land on your feet. Szega's answer is 5 years old. If you're really going to speculate about the designer's intent, couldn't the designers have come out to clarify this mechanic, which is no secret, in the last 5 years? Sep 27, 2022 at 1:09
• @nonymous I do think its reasonable that a 5' drop would give one the opportunity to land on their feet - but because they are actively attempting to do it, not because a rule forces them to do so. I plan on updating to cover this when I have a chance. And there are MANY features the designers have had the chance to correct in five years and have not; this would be relatively far down the list...
– Kirt
Sep 27, 2022 at 1:12
• sure. But, it's safe to presume the PC is actively attempting, no? I believe your consideration about how it should read is totally valid. I'm actually really ambivalent about what would make the most balanced game here. The question strictly concerns RAW. Sep 27, 2022 at 1:17
• Your general question just says 'if I start prone and fall less than 10 feet, will that make me not prone?' And my answer is RAW yes, but that is silly. Then you ask, 'for example, what if I am trying to land on my feet?' That is the part that I need more time to answer.
– Kirt
Sep 27, 2022 at 1:21
• This is an extremely well thought out and reasoned answer! @nonymous I think there are two rules at play here: the one that demands you need to stand up to leave prone status does not vanish when looking myopically at the text of the awkwardly worded falling rule. So you have to resolve this contradiction, and this needs the DM to make a call (and to me it seems pretty obvious how this should be handled.) Sep 27, 2022 at 8:04

Yes. Strictly, RAW, there is nothing to contradict this.

Consider the scenario where a creature is dragged (prone) into a dungeon and then hoisted up by its arms. Because it is affixed vertically to the wall with chains, it is physically impossible for the creature to be prone, thereby countering the prone condition. So, the insistence about a singular way to counter the condition are misplaced. Since it is possible to counter the prone condition in multiple ways, and it is reasonable that falling 5 ft would allow you to land upright, and, RAW, you do. We have to take the rules at their letter.

Furthermore, as Szega pointed out, RAW this is possible for teleportation. And, the actual mechanics of this use of teleportation are irrelevant to the mechanics of falling. It would work the same way with any kind of falling.

• Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Sep 27, 2022 at 15:30