In previous editions of Dungeons and Dragons there was typically a reasonable assurance of being able to resist/avoid forced movement, or a way to prevent being harshly penalized for it (saving throw to drop prone rather than going over a cliff in 4e).

In 5e while the number of ways to move enemies around has been reduced from 4e it is still very much present. The Warlock's repelling blast being the best example in that all it requires is a hit to push an enemy 10', which is positively deadly near a cliff side. Are there any rules I am missing for this? Obviously it isn't balance critical as it is terrain specific, and honestly the idea behind it is likely to be seen as fun by most players.

Still it seems very out of place from a numbers perspective in 5e. With typically lower monster HP's and party damage outputs, and falling damage remaining the same the cliffs have already become deadlier. Even simple environmental damage from some spikes is far more valuable to combat than it used to be. So while I am willing to accept there is nothing to do once an ability has moved someone into a dangerous spot besides watching them suffer, I feel like I might just be missing a rule somewhere.


2 Answers 2


It's out of place in 4e, but 5e is a different game and it's not out of place in any way. You're not missing a rule, just importing expectations into the game that aren't part of it.

To avoid being pushed off cliffs or onto spikes in 5e, you do what people do: stay far away from cliff edges, pits full of impaling spikes, and other lethal hazards. Adventurers will often choose to forego common peasant wisdom, but that is the price of adventure and a chance at fabulous treasure. Nobody said adventuring was a safe occupation.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That being said, nothing prevents the GM to provide impromptu rules to handle deadly or save or die situations. The rule say that you are being pushed, but what happens after that? Maybe if you are moved off a cliff, you can rely on your acrobatics or athletics to grab that tree branch and save yourself. I think that 5.0 is made to stimulate the GM creativity. \$\endgroup\$
    – fortuna
    Commented Mar 23, 2015 at 14:35

Forced movement not being allowed to matter is a 4e-only thing

In the earliest versions of D&D, this is part of what saving throws were for, but that was for if you, like, accidentally walked into a pit and wanted to try and catch yourself on the edge. If a hobgoblin shield-bashed you into a pit, or an evil wizard reverse gravity-ed you into a bunch of stalactites it wouldn't typically be handled any differently than if they shield-bashed you out of a doorway or reverse gravitied you out in the open or something, you just were screwed because you let yourself get backed up against a pit or didn't think about those corpses impaled on the ceiling earlier.

In AD&D it's about the same, but there's a lot more official forced movement (and published content in general) than in the earliest versions of the game, some of which is also present in the Basic series. The only notable change in this direction is to charm person et al., which has now become the enchantment school of magic, and which usually but not always doesn't let you command people to kill themselves or gives them an extra save if you do. You can read more about the history of Charm Person here

In 3.x you sometimes get extra special saves if spellcasters try to use spells like wall of iron offensively, but on the whole forced movement is not handled differently when it exposes targets to some hazard-- that is how it is expected to be used.

In 4th edition only, moving people into hazards is a no-no and the rules consistently and thoroughly stop or penalize you for trying to do that.

Consequently 5e has no equivalent special rules

5th edition is designed to feel a lot like AD&D 2.0. Consequently, many of the massive departures from established norms, like forced movement no longer being primarily used for throwing enemies into hazards, have reverted. There are no special extra saves if you get shoved off a cliff instead of 5' on flat ground, the only difference is that one of those is a lot more likely to kill you.


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