TL;DR: Is there a to-hit penalty for attempting to hit a falling target with a ranged attack?

I ask because: In our session last week, we were set upon by our Drow captors that we had escaped from, as we were trying to climb up the other side of this huge gorge. Our Pally went down on behalf of the Priestess' Insect Plague, which sent our entire party falling since we were all tied together. Bard casts feather fall and we begin falling back down to the bottom of the gorge from about 150ft up. Here's where the Drow spend 2 rounds taking pot-shots at us with longbow attacks, none of which missed I don't think, and 2 were crits. Which sort of annoyed the lot of us, as we began picturing just how difficult it would be to shoot a target falling at 10ft per sec with a bow from a distance of 100ft. Granted, none of us are marksmen, nor Drow in the Underdark, but it still made us wonder if there was any type of penalty when shooting at a falling target. We scoured the DMG and PHB that night, and I've looked around online but haven't found this asked in this sense before. Since there's nothing written, I'm assuming that the answer is "no penalty", but I wanted to hear this from some expert DM's.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ 60 feet per round is the speed most humanoids can dash at (some are much faster) and an archer should have no trouble hitting that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    May 19, 2016 at 2:51

1 Answer 1


As per the RAW, there is no explicit penalty for hitting a falling target. The DM is allowed to award advantage or disadvantage to any situation they think appropriate. It's worth noting that an experienced marksman likely wouldn't have much issues figuring out how to lead a target moving at constant speed and unable to effectively dodge. Very likely, the DM didn't think the drow would have any trouble hitting the party.

In general, 5e tries to avoid having rules for every situation. There aren't explicit rules for hitting a falling target, or charging up a hill, or setting your pike against a charging horse, or a host of other situations one is likely to encounter over a campaign. This is intentionally left up to the GM, who will make a spot ruling based on what they think makes sense in the situation.


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