Forced Movement and Saving Throws


I think it is fairly established that when trying to push someone into a pit or over a precipice using Forced Movement the target gets a Save to fall Prone instead. What about others types of hurtful terrain? Pool of acid? River of lava? Just regular river? Wall of Fire? Cloud of Daggers?

When is a Save given and when is it not? Do you just get to try to avoid falls?

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First Post
From the PHB, page 286:

" Catching Yourself: If you’re forced over a precipice or a pit, you can try to catch yourself before you fall. See “Falling,” page 284"

1.a cliff with a vertical, nearly vertical, or overhanging face.
2.a situation of great peril: on the precipice of war.


1.exposure to injury, loss, or destruction; grave risk; jeopardy; danger: They faced the peril of falling rocks.
2.something that causes or may cause injury, loss, or destruction.


Herr Doktor
We've discussed this a bit in my group and decided that the intent is for saves to be made only for situations that are potentially instant death.

So just pushing someone down a 10' hill doesn't qualify. Nor does sliding someone into a zone that will hurt but not be instantly fatal.

My GM starts with this logic:

1. The DMG tells you not to have falls that are deadly in an encounter. So we can immediately dismiss whether you only get a save when you would die, because the encounter design guidelines explicitly state that you should never have a hazard that is instant death.

2. Therefore, you get a save whenever you'd be pushed someplace that can hurt you at all.

It appears that the designers figured forced movement is most useful for setting up tactical positions, not for directly killing bad guys.


First Post
Also look at the DMG page 44, in the Hindering Terrain section: "Targets forced into hindering terrain receive a saving throw immediately before entering the unsafe square they are forced into. Success leaves the target prone at the edge of the square before entering the unsafe square."

later on the page, in the clarifying text, it says, "Targets of forced movement in hindering terrain (pits, precipices, fire) can avoid plunging into a pit or over the edge of a cliff or being pushed into a raging fire."

Looking at the definition for Hindering Terrain (page 61) gives us:
"Hindering Terrain prevents movement (or severely punishes it) or damages creatures that enter it, but allows line of sight."

So, yes you get a save for a Pool of acid, a River of lava, or Just a regular river.

Technically, a wall of fire and cloud of daggers are not terrain at all, so no.

When I DM, I ignore the 'But allows line of sight' phrase, because many things that should be considered hindering terrain (like Walls of fire) are not technically hindering terrain only because they do not allow line of sight. Actually, I consider that phrase to be 'but allows line of effect'. So I allow saves for any thing that could damage a creature or hinder thier movement 'severly' (ie. more than difficult terrain)...including spell effects that are not technically terrain (but IMO, should be treated as terrain)

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