Is there a saving throw to stop forced movement (a push, pull, or slide) from forcing you into a square that will damage you?

My wizard's tactic lately has been to try to Thunderwave enemies into the Wall of Fire. My DM gave the enemies a chance to save from entering the wall because it would cause them damage. I can't find anything under the forced movement section that says that except for "Catching yourself" which refers to the Falling section (PHB p 284) where it says

...if a power or bull rush forces you over a precipice or into a pit, you can immediately make a saving throw to avoid going over the edge.

Did I miss the rule she's using? If there is no other rule, why is falling treated different? (i.e. what makes a character grab at the edge of the pit more effectively than at the edge of a wall of fire?)

Granted, she did apply the same rule when we were getting pushed around into a pool of acid a while ago, so either way she's applying it fairly.


2 Answers 2


From the DMG/Compendium, the important part for your question:

Forced Movement and Terrain

Difficult Terrain: Forced movement isn’t hindered by difficult terrain.

Blocking Terrain: Forced movement can’t move a creature through blocking terrain (page 61). Every square along the path must be a space the creature could normally occupy.

Challenging Terrain: Forced movement can make some powers more effective or hinder them, depending on the specific challenging terrain. The DM can require the target of forced movement to make a check as if it were moving voluntarily across the terrain, with the same consequence for failure.

Hindering Terrain: Forced movement can force targets into hindering terrain. Targets forced into hindering terrain receive a saving throw immediately before entering the unsafe square they are forced into. Success leaves the target prone at the edge of the square before entering the unsafe square. If the power that forced the target to move allows the creature that used the power to follow the target into the square that the target would have left, the creature can’t enter the square where the target has fallen prone. If forced movement pushes a Large or larger creature over an edge, the creature doesn’t fall until its entire space is over the edge. On the creature’s next turn, it must either move to a space it can occupy or use a move action to squeeze into the smaller space at the edge of the precipice.

A DM can allow a power that pushes a target more than 1 square to carry the target completely over hindering terrain.

Published in Dungeon Master's Guide.

And from the DnD FAQ ( http://wizards.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wizards.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=1396 ):

Are zones that deal damage (like the Wizard power Stinking Cloud) considered ‘hindering terrain’? Can I make a save to fall prone and avoid being forced into one?

No, zones are not considered hindering terrain. Hindering terrain refers to more permanent features like pits, cliffs or pools of lava.

The resultant answer: For zones, base DnD rules do not give a saving throw to avoid being put into the fire. For pools of acid, you are given a saving throw to catch yourself before it and fall prone.


Your tactic is legal and should be allowed.

Here is a good summary of some recent answers from WoTC Customer service. It is still an open question if you can cause a target to take damage multiple times by sliding them in and out of a zone. (Obviously thunder wave can't be used this way, but other abilities can).

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, if you're pushing your thunderwave victim along the edge of a zone you can push them diagonally in and out and in and out. But it doesn't come up that often. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bryant
    Sep 22, 2010 at 12:02

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