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Forgive me if I've botched any math, but here's the situation I've found myself in (assuming 4th level):

Falling damage caps out at 20d6 at terminal velocity. Kronan the Barbarian has 55 Max HP currently. (+3 CON mod, three great HP rolls at level-up.) That means that from Max HP, a fall of any height has approximately a 0.00% chance of instant lethality. And he has Relentless Endurance, so he has a 100% chance of getting up and walking after the fall if he hasn't expended it. He's also got the Bear Totem Path, which cuts non-psychic damage in half when he is raging. That means that even if he has spent his Resilience, his chance of death is about 0% as long as he was conscious and raging before he hit the ground. And he can apparently do this repeatedly as long as he manages to keep at least 1 Hit Point.

Is this correct? Is this character really capable of circumventing death by falling? Can this character willfully jump from the top of a skyscraper multiple times in succession and live to tell about it? Or have I made some mistake?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Regarding your incredulity at this outcome, D&D editions have a long (and well-mocked) history of making death by falling implausibly difficult as a side effect of the HP rules. It's just a D&D thing. :) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 11 '16 at 4:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your barbarian should be wary of using this as a strategy, however. If you are knocked off a cliff on someone else's turn and are not currently raging, you instantly fall 500 feet. Since you can only rage as a bonus action on your own turn, you would not have a chance to rage before you hit the ground if it was 500 feet or less. On the other hand, if the fall was more than 1000 feet, you would fall 500 feet on the turn you started. Then, on your turn, you would activate rage. But at the end of your turn, you would lose your rage (since you did not attack or take damage). \$\endgroup\$ – Kirt Sep 15 at 17:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then you would fall another 500 feet, to 1000. On your next turn you could rage again - if you had any left. So, the safest distance to fall is more than 500 but less than 1000 feet if you want to use rage to prevent damage. I would advise your barbarian to know the heights of any cliffs around. \$\endgroup\$ – Kirt Sep 15 at 17:51
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Yes, your Half-Orc Barbarian is nigh-invulnerable to death by falling, as a consumable resource.

Remember that your relentless endurance and your rages both recharge on a long rest. So four times per long day you can take a header off a skyscraper and be pretty sure of living.* (At least for the moment.)

Also, your Bard and Wizard friends can do this, too. Along with five of their friends.

It's called feather fall.

Point being: you can spend your consumables on base jumping without a parachute, and they can spend theirs on doing it with a parachute. You just get a bigger adrenaline rush out of it. (And the accompanying exhaustion.)


*- How sure? Assuming you start at 6HP or more it's impossible to instantly die from rage-jumping massive damage: the fall would need to do 61 damage after reduction, which is impossible for the mere 20d6 you're looking at. You may be at 0HP and looking at some death saves, the odds on which are not nearly as good**.

Relentless-jumping is a little riskier on the front-end, but you do walk away. At full HP you're looking at ~0.0000003% chance of instantly dying of massive damage, at 1HP you're looking at ~13.4%, if I'm reading my first anydice program correctly. It's non-linear between those two endpoints, and in your favor. Check out the graph if you want to see.

**- The probability of surviving death saves unassisted is ~60%.

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Yes: Your barbarian has virtually no chance of dying

I was intrigued by your claim of "his chance of death is about 0% as long as he was conscious and raging before he hit the ground," and assuming he is at Max HP = 55.

In the PMF of 20d6 below, you can see that there is very little possibility of rolling >110HP on 20d6 (in fact, that possibility is about 0.00001).enter image description here

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