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I envision the Thunderbolt Strike as throwing the target creature away from it, not gently pushing it away. I mean lightning is an instantaneous thing and 10' is more than just losing your balance.

If the target of a Thunderbolt Strike is 5' from a wall when he gets knocked back 10' toward it, what happens? Will he just stop when he reaches the wall, will he take damage as he has still has 5' more to move when he hits it or might he bounce back in my direction?

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Thunderstrike says (PHB p.62)

At 6th level, when you deal lightning damage to a Large or smaller creature, you can also push it up to 10 feet away from you.

Well, if there is a wall in the way, you can't push them 10' away from you.

I envision the Thunderbolt Strike as throwing the target creature away from it, not gently pushing it away. I mean lightning is an instantaneous thing and 10' is more than just losing your balance.

Well, no. The creature is "push[ed]", it doesn't even knock them prone. You can envision what you like but RAW, the creature is staggering away from you - running into a wall is going to help more than it hinders.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It could throw them away violently... just everybody lands on their feet for some reason. \$\endgroup\$ – DCShannon Oct 21 '15 at 4:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ The word "push" implies a particular thing, like being push around by a strong wind -- you stay upright and just forced back away from the source in a straight line. Similar language is used in the Warlock Eldritch Invocation Repelling blast, "When you hit a creature with eldritch blast. you can push the creature up to 10 feet away from you in a straight line." \$\endgroup\$ – J. A. Streich Oct 21 '15 at 19:53

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