On a successful Shove against a target, what are the consequences for creatures directly behind?

Scenario: The characters are single file in a narrow corridor (crates and barrels to one side and a cistern on the other), facing an oncoming mob. The lead character is successfully shoved by the mob, and moved back 5 feet into the next character in line.


My inclination, as the DM, would be to think about what would happen in the physical world, since the RAW is silent on this. So, what would happen in the physical world if you and a friend were walking alone in a narrow area and the lead person were to stumble backward into the following person? The following person would try to catch the lead person and push them back upright. So, how to we translate this into the D&D world? If the following person sees the shover (Perception), roll a DC against Dexterity (I might skip the perception check and make the DC contingent upon the follower's Wisdom) as a Reaction. Next, I might do a Strength check to see if the follower is strong enough to push the leader back into a stable position (taking into account racial differences and armor type). Sure this is a lot of rolling, for each step, but you could boil it down to Reaction and pushing the leader back upright. Perhaps the 3 PC in line could help get the lead PC back up. For a fail, the second PC is also knocked down -- Rinse, Lather, Repeat.


The lead character ends up (unwillingly) in the space of the ally behind

As usual in 5e D&D the RAW are silent here. The closest we get is:

MOVING AROUND OTHER CREATURES: You can move through a non hostile creature’s space. (...) Whether a creature is a friend or an enemy, you can’t willingly end your move in its space. (PHB 191, my emphasis)

As the character behind is an ally, the lead character can enter his space. He cannot stay there willingly, but as he was shoved it was unwilling, so that's OK.

This is not technically RAW as the character is being shoved, not taking his move, but this situation does at least make sense of the "willingly" in the RAW. Also it's not a big stretch of the RAW. The shoved character is moving in the common sense even if not taking his Move.

What happens to the ally is really not covered by the RAW

Here the RAW are totally silent so DM's discretion must prevail. My subjective suggestion would be for the shoved-onto character to make a Strength (Athletics) roll to catch the shoved character, or a Dexterity (Acrobatics) roll to get out of the way.


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