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5E Why is there a limit to falling damage?


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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
He falls a lot further than 20' (6 metres) and Kirks Redshirt had a parachute as well.

Plot armor is Hit points. Hit points are [among other things) Luck, with high level PCs having tons of it. Absurd levels of it in fact.

So much luck that high level PCs can fall into active volcanoes, or off mountains, and survive on account of some lucky contrivance.

The trick is in the narration of that lucky contrivance. Did they land on a rocky outcrop and avoid the magma (taking 100 points of 'luck damage' from the magma as they do so) or did they land on the back of a friendly Giant Eagle as they lept off a giant tower (taking 100 points of damage from the fall) as they did so.

If you want to run it that way, feel free. I'll continue to run my game trying to avoid obvious refrigerator moments.
 




I will admit, I was glad he was unhurt....but lowkey disappointed he did not get up and yell "Khaaan!"

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Gammadoodler

Explorer
To be fair, Batman does have infinite plot armor as his super power. Because Batman.
C'mon man.. We're all rogues here Indy's got the plot armor to pull off refrigerator-based evasion.

It's a distinction without a difference. They're both doing unbelievable things and that's the point. What makes those things acceptable but barbarians toughness things egregious somehow?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
C'mon man.. We're all rogues here Indy's got the plot armor to pull off refrigerator-based evasion.

It's a distinction without a difference. They're both doing unbelievable things and that's the point. What makes those things acceptable but barbarians toughness things egregious somehow?

What can I say? I accept some silliness, just like I accepted Indie jumping from a plane and tobogganing down a mountain in a life raft. Some things just go too far and it's a matter of personal taste.

I don't see a reason to limit falling damage to 20d6 so I don't in my home campaign.
 

Undrave

Hero
But that's basically a white room competition. I'd be curious to see how accurate they were with other people shooting lethal arrows back at them. ;)

How different is it from being on foot when you don't have the bonus of higher ground? It's a challenge to hit anyone while moving, regardless if its under your own power or on a horse. It's why we roll dice in the first place and don't insta-hit!

Besides, the Mongols were known for their horseback archery. It's just not that exceptional to be inconcievable.
 

For most PCs to survive a 20d6 fall would be 8-9+ level typically to average over 70 hp. When we talk about the extremely rare occurrences IRL of people who have fallen incredible distances and survived, how common are they? Then ask yourself, how common are PCs or whoever with 70+ hp? In my games, not common at all. So, for them to be one of those rare lucky individuals to survive such a fall is not a big deal really.

I agree with the others of course about the player metagaming it to a point, but if the barbarian has a history of making leaps and falling for any reason, maybe in character he just thought "I think I can make it." Smart? No. Possible? Sure.
Yes. In the case of the OP, I believe the behaviour of the character was more disruptive that the actual rules, not because it was wrong, but because it broke suspension of disbelief for that particular DM (and other players?).

But otherwise, IRL references are hard to translate in D&D, as stated before. I very much doubt that the person surviving the 1500 ft. fall kept on fighting or running afterward, let alone being conscious. They probably broke every single bone in their body and spent many months healing and learning to walk again. In D&D's terms, that's more like being reduced to 0hp, not dying outright, and succeeding on all three death saves.

That case, IRL, is a statistical anomaly. Not unlike rolling all 1s on 20d6 for 20 damage. For all we know, again translating into D&D logic, that person had 11hp, took 20 damage (just shy of being killed outright), had the PC "privilege" of rolling death saves, succeeding all three. In D&D, that's any 1st level PC with d8 HD and 16 Con, or any d10 HD with 12 CON, or a barbarian with 8 Con (or going really meta, a raging barbarian with 3 Con). It's highly improbable, to the point of being negligible, but technically possible. In more likelyhood where the fall causes 70 damage, a 36hp character could survive, providing that all three death saves are succeeded. That's more like a 4-5 level character, or a 2nd level raging barbarian.
 

That case, IRL, is a statistical anomaly. Not unlike rolling all 1s on 20d6 for 20 damage. For all we know, again translating into D&D logic, that person had 11hp, took 20 damage (just shy of being killed outright), had the PC "privilege" of rolling death saves, succeeding all three. In D&D, that's any 1st level PC with d8 HD and 16 Con, or any d10 HD with 12 CON, or a barbarian with 8 Con (or going really meta, a raging barbarian with 3 Con).

Falling makes him angry.
 


FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
What can I say? I accept some silliness, just like I accepted Indie jumping from a plane and tobogganing down a mountain in a life raft. Some things just go too far and it's a matter of personal taste.

I don't see a reason to limit falling damage to 20d6 so I don't in my home campaign.

Then maybe the best course of action is to lead with that. "I accept many silly things but this one bugs me too much so I don't". But when you phrase it as or imply it as "this one particular thing is just objectively too silly" that's where the issues start.

Falling damage is silly in D&D as are alot of mechanics. I actually applaud the barbarian for using his non-magical abilities to do something significant in exploration.
 

Gammadoodler

Explorer
Yes. In the case of the OP, I believe the behaviour of the character was more disruptive that the actual rules, not because it was wrong, but because it broke suspension of disbelief for that particular DM (and other players?

Barbarian, looks to the left at the Cleric with a sphere of swirling faeries around him and a heavenly flyswatter floating 30 feet away...then looks to the right at the Warlock chatting amiably with his invisible fiendish familiar...and then into the middle distance where a 20 ft tall winged lizard breathes fire onto a local village...

And thinks to himself..'better not break suspension of disbelief here by surviving'..too disruptive.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Hey, lets punish martials some more!
  • Fumble rules
  • Insta death from lava/ falling
  • Insta death from being stabbed while sleeping
All three of those apply equally well to non-matrials as to martials.

Wizards can fumble with aimed spells in my game and anyone can fumble in combat; and if you step into lava or get assassinated in your sleep it doesn't matter what class you are, you're gonna die.

Not seeing any specific anti-martial things there.

People, we cant fall from such a height because we are Commoners with 5 HP.

Achillies, Hercules, CuCulain, Odysseus, James T Kirk and so forth can fall from mountains, from orbit, into volcanoes and survive, protected by plot armor, luck (which is what hit points expressly represent), and sheer awesomeoness.

We cant; they can. So can high level PCs, particularly the ones with an insane amount of luck (HP) that is afforded to martials as a class feature.
This is where a wound-vitality or body-fatigue hit point system comes in handy: with falls, simply rule that a certain percentage of the damage goes straight to wound or body points.

Wizards can featherfall (cast spells as a class feature). Fighters can survive because they're experienced, lucky, resolute and awesome (have more HP as a class feature).
Anyone can featherfall (or fly, even)if they've a magic device that gives the ability. Wizards can cast the spell if a) they have it in their book, which IME many do; and b) they've prepared it, which IME many don't.

That all said, to me the overarching problem is PC (and monster) hit point inflation as the editions go by while commoners more or less remain the same, leading to an ever-increasing disconnect.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
That's how its supposed to be run. Hit Points are defined in the game as 'Health, resolve, the will to live, and luck'

You get more of them as you level up in experience, moreso if you belong to a martial class that fights a lot, so they also represent skill and experience, and parrying/ dodging/ fighting ability.

When a 20th level fighter gets 'hit' by a Fire giants sword on an attack roll, the blow actually luckily misses him, thundering into the ground next to him, as he twists out of the way, and readies for a devastating counter attack.
Last I checked it's pretty hard to dodge a planet when it's approaching you at your terminal falling velocity. :)
 

Barbarian, looks to the left at the Cleric with a sphere of swirling faeries around him and a heavenly flyswatter floating 30 feet away...then looks to the right at the Warlock chatting amiably with his invisible fiendish familiar...and then into the middle distance where a 20 ft tall winged lizard breathes fire onto a local village...

And thinks to himself..'better not break suspension of disbelief here by surviving'..too disruptive.
ah yes; because dragon.

See, I don't disagree with you - in a world where magic exist, everything can happen. But I dislike your argument, in all due respect, because it assumes that the existence of magic necessarily negates physical laws, or at least, the internal D&D physical logic, like falling damage. Magic is by definition something that breaks or affects the "mundane" physical laws. If I knew more about magic myself, I could judge how the cleric and the warlock's mechanics convey a believable portrait of magic. But I don't. I do however know about falling.

Suspension of disbelief is much easier when we can imagine something that isn't real, and more difficult when it contradicts something we experience, or have experience of. Clearly this does not bother you, which is cool, but one can accept magic and yet reject mechanics they don't find relatable, and that should be cool too. One does not necessarily implies the other.

[edit] What I mean to say is (and perhaps requires clarification):
  • Magic exist in D&D
  • Falls are not very lethal in D&D

You can be bothered by the first and not the second, or the other way around, and it doesn't make you unworthy of playing D&D. Again, I'm not confronting your opinion; just the argument.
 
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