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Trying to figure out the mechanics of a certain situation. PC grapples enemy and uses a move that doubles movement speed. Following that, a stacked move allows the PC to carry grappled enemy 60 ft into the air. In this situation the PC has an added benefit of not taking falling damage. The goal now is to force the grappled enemy to fall with the PC into a 60 ft slam. Would added flying movement downward add to damage? Also, if using flying to assist the slam, would that remove the benefit of no damage while falling for the PC?

Backround info: PC is a Mystic under Order of the Immortal, using the Body of Wind Discipline which grants no fall damage and ignores difficult terrain just with the Psychic Focus. Also in Body of Wind, Mystics can spend Psi points to gain 20ft of flying speed per Psi point used up to 3.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ladifas that's a great foundation for an answer, but please don't put answers in comments. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Apr 23 '16 at 16:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ What is a “stacked move”? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 23 '16 at 18:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Stacked as in abilities that have overlapping effects. \$\endgroup\$ – Chase Whelchel Apr 24 '16 at 13:34
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Id love to go in to the physics reasoning as to why this may work, but unfortunately your character is in the DnD world and physics doesn't always apply. The short answer to your question is No (flying a grappled target harder into the ground would not do extra fall damage).

The reasoning is twofold - grappled targets and falling/falling damage.

First moving a grappled target (from PHB pg195):

Moving a Grappled Creature. When you move, you can drag or carry the grappled creature with you, but your speed is halved, unless the creature is two or more sizes smaller than you.

So your speed is probably halved when you are flying with the target. This has nothing to do with difficult terrain.

But more importantly (and even if your speed wasn't halved), at 60ft per move (120ft double move/round, which is 6 sec), you are traveling at 20ft per sec or about 14 miles per hour. When you are falling, falls are instant or at terminal velocity (this is DMs call as we are in the DnD world not earth), but in a nut shell, you fall much faster than you can slam someone. Thus there is an argument for taking less fall damage by flying someone into the ground than if you simply dropped him from that height.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If anyone wants to consider the actual math on this...a character with a fly speed of 30 flying straight down for one round caps out at 5 feet per second. A humanoid in freefall can hit terminal velocity (173.9fps) in less than six seconds (within 1 round). The speed you would reach in a freefall would be much more significant than the speed a flying creature could impart on you by flying 'down.' I even worked out likely accelerations at one point...and gravity is still stronger. If anyone wants me to link the math, let me know. \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Aug 12 '16 at 14:26
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Straight from a physics perspective, if the flight is winged in benefit, then it would be a straight physics fall. So in a straight physics argument, I'd say you get no extra falling damage benefit for your PC's flying on downward decent. That's just gravity and your PC's mass (dependent on how we interpret the body of wind discipline's no fall damage caveat).

I see you have two options:

  • the wind catches him. Ergo no damage to the enemy, they fall 60 ft but then get caught by small puffy cloud.
  • He turns partially or wholly into Wind. Then he needs to defend how he can maintain a hold onto enemy.

From my interpretation of the no fall damage, I'd consider it a matter of the body. The wording of "Body of Wind" suggests the ability is a psychic ability that translates the body into a part of wind eliminating fall damage.

As for a 'slam.' Not quite a body slam, but more one body landing from a 60 ft drop.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This doesn't really answer the question asked though. I don't have an interpretation issue regarding body of wind, there is a damage issue regarding fall damage vs forced downward momentum damage. As far as body of wind is concerned, there isn't anything implemented alongside it that prevents normal physical actions. \$\endgroup\$ – Chase Whelchel Apr 24 '16 at 13:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ At the end of the day you're creating an event that is fantastic and making it realistic enough to sell to the players. I personally would go for the closest answer to physics interpretation which looking at the dillema again pushes fall damage instead of forced momentum. It's all in the dm. But as there is no rule in body of wind granting the body the benefits of form while in body of wind except the ability to be in the same place of velocity, I'd think a DM would say fall damage. \$\endgroup\$ – Sean Apr 24 '16 at 14:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ChaseWhelchel There isn't a rule about forced downward momentum damage. The game as written isn't that granular, nor as simulationist, unless the DM chooses to make it so. Was your question posed as a player or as a DM? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 24 '16 at 22:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question was posed as both Player and DM as the situation could arguably arise in the future as well. The basis of my question was based off of how an enemy could be forced into a wall and takes damage for every so many feet it was supposed to move but couldn't. I was seeing if the same applied here. If the general rule of thumb would be that is still would only count as fall damage (Which Sean makes a very good argument for) then it should be that the PC should hold the grapple until the last second (preventing any fall saving abilities/spells). Granted, this is a multi-turn attack. \$\endgroup\$ – Chase Whelchel Apr 24 '16 at 22:38
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Your PC has two options:

  1. Fly straight at the ground and "slam" the opponent. This will result in nothing happening except you've used a bunch of movement to fly high, then more movement to get close to the ground. D&D 5e has no concept of momentum, so any momentum gained by flying downward at a high rate of speed will not be imparted on the grappled opponent and thus will not result in actual damage when he is released. His damage will be falling damage taken from the height at which he was dropped/released from the grapple (assuming he is released at the last possible moment, 5ft and no falling damage).

  2. Fly up high and release the grapple. This will ensure the PC's opponent takes maximum falling damage (6d6), and will be a much more effective use of his actions in a given turn.

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