I'm trying to build a character that does damage by dropping on people. (It's a baleen whale with grafted wings.) I was reading the SRD on falling damage and it has this very confusing line about falling objects:

For each 200 pounds of an object’s weight, the object deals 1d6 points of damage, provided it falls at least 10 feet. Distance also comes into play, adding an additional 1d6 points of damage for every 10-foot increment it falls beyond the first (to a maximum of 20d6 points of damage).

Is the total falling damage limited to 20d6 or just the falling damage from height (which would make more sense since falling damage is limited because of terminal velocity)?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Out of curiosity, how will the character drop on a foe when a creature can't end its movement in an occupied square? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 10, 2015 at 15:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ The game thinks employing such a tactic requires taking a feat: Crush (Savage Species 31). Apparently, this is more difficult in D&D than we imagine. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 10, 2015 at 17:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't you also take that damage, hitting the ground? \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Jun 10, 2015 at 17:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ Because the game often makes such distinctions, has the DM already ruled that falling creatures obey the rules for falling objects? (I'm honestly not trying to siphon all of the fun from the build! Really! I do, however, suggest seriously that this build be workshopped on a forum.) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 10, 2015 at 17:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Zachiel Creatures only take falling damage from height (in this case 10 feet) and not from weight \$\endgroup\$ Jun 10, 2015 at 20:15

2 Answers 2


No, it's only limited to 20D6 by height alone.

The only part that indicates there is a maximum on damage is the distance portion. As it says:

Distance also comes into play, adding an additional 1d6 points of damage for every >10-foot increment it falls beyond the first (to a maximum of 20d6 points of damage)

So by that, the formula is simply:

(Weight / 200 lbs * 1d6) + {[(height/10 * 1d6) - 1d6] must be <= 20d6} = damage

So for his character at 16 tons, he would do 160d6 damage at 10 feet. The formula would read:

Weight = 16 tons (or 32,000 pounds) / 200 = 160 * 1d6 = 160d6 Height = (10/10 * 1d6) - 1d6 = 0d6

So at 10 feet, he would do 160d6 damage.

At 20 feet, he would start adding the height damage to his total.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It is therefore a decent idea to drop on most enemies from no more than nine feet above the ground. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Jun 11, 2015 at 0:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ To cause damage you need to drop from at least 10 feet. The rules accept no damage from falling less than 10 feet on the target. By this, rolling over an enemy with a whales body would cause no damage to everyone, unless an attack defines it so in the creatures stat block—if RAW overcomes common sense. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 12, 2021 at 14:58

The total damage is

(weight/200 lbs)d6 + (height/10 ft. − 1)d6

except that the (height/10 ft. − 1) factor is limited to a maximum of 20. The (weight/200 lbs) factor is not limited, so the overall damage can increase without bound as weight increases.

We know this because the

(to a maximum of 20d6 points of damage)

parenthetical is specifically included in the sentence about height. A limit on the total would be indicated by a separate sentence referring to the total. This limit also mimics the 20d6 maximum on the damage taken by a falling object or creature, and both 20d6 limits seem to be the implementation of terminal velocity (and, roughly speaking, it successfully implements a reasonable abstraction for that).

My character weighs 16 tons

Then the damage is

(32,000 lbs / 200 lbs)d6 + (height/10 ft. − 1)d6

160d6 + (height/10 ft. − 1)d6

And at 210 ft., the maximum, the damage is

160d6 + (210 ft./10 ft. − 1)d6

160d6 + (21 − 1)d6


Which has an expected value of 630 damage. Sizable, but not ludicrous. These same rules are abused by the so-called “war hulking hurler,” who combines the hulking hurler and war hulk prestige classes, and has strength enough to throw moons and planets. Those do deal ludicrous damage. And also serves as a fine example of why these are broken rules that probably should not be used as the cornerstone of a character’s tactics. They do not work very well.


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