How much time does it take to take a move and immediate action when falling out of combat?

I've read the linked-to thread three times now, and I still am not clear on the answer to my question. There are at least four distinct possibilities:

  1. The rules are clear - no, this cannot be done no matter the height.
  2. The rules are clear - yes, this can be done (from at least height X).
  3. The rules are not clear, but there is an easy answer. A wise DM would rule that this can be done in such-and-such a way.
  4. The rules are not clear and there is no easy answer, so this is subject to DM ruling on a case-by-case or campaign-by-campaign basis, and here is some useful information from the rulebooks to provide a context for that ruling.

Having read the thread, I have only been able to rule out #1 as a possibility. 2, 3, and 4 all seem like possibilities (although #2 seems less likely).

My point is -- the linked-to thread doesn't answer the question in a satisfying way. It appears to have answered that question to the satisfaction of the poster there, but I'm still at a loss on how to rule my question regarding a move action and a swift action.

Perhaps I am just dense -- is it clear to you guys how to rule my question?

If not, how do I go about skillfully using this question-and-answer site to get the answer to my question?


  • \$\begingroup\$ You're dissatisfied with the answers, and that's fine. But it's not really the issue here - the issue is whether the question is the same. I recommend focusing this meta on that if you want to have your question reopened. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 20:44
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman: I'm not looking for skillful means to achieve a predetermined end. I'm identifying a problem I ran into trying to use this site, and I'm highlighting that problem to the meta community for help. Perhaps the questions are "same enough" to justify the duplicate tag -- I don't know the standards of this site well enough to say. All I know is that I came looking for an answer that is of the sort that this site answers, asked it clearly, and I didn't get a usable response. That should be an alarming issue for the community. \$\endgroup\$
    – JoshuaD
    Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 20:50

2 Answers 2


I agree, there's no clear answer present in the duplicate target.

Your questions are substantially the same: "when during a fall do I get to do stuff? How soon?". On that basis the duplicate closure is more or less the right decision. (It wasn't closed as already answered, it was closed as being substantially the same question that should get the same answers. The dialog does say something like “your question may already have an answer here”... but it might not; this seems to be one of the cases of Not.)

To address the lack of a proper answer arriving in the duplicate target, I've posted a 250-point bounty on it with the following message:

Current answers lack a clear answer to the core question being asked: When, during a fall, does one get to act? Does one get to ensure they act at the very start of the fall? Note the example scenario, where the querent needs to teleport very soon -- within the first second, preferably -- in order to have any desirable effect at all; any teleport taken once they're falling too fast is just a faster way to hit the ground and die. So, what kind of timing is allowed during falls?

I've pinged the authors of the two answers inviting them to add detail to their answers to provide this information clearly.

Anyone else is welcome to post an answer if they think they have evidence of what the solution is. If you believe there is no clear answer at all, that is also a valid response, though you should make us have confidence you're right.

I caution potential answerers to also check out our policy on Is homebrew an acceptable answer to a question?: tl;dr being well-justified homebrew solutions must come with cited experience of how it works out in practice. (We're not interested in collecting "here's something I just made up, maybe it'll work" suggestions; we need tried-and-tested solutions that we know for sure will work and where we can judge based on your cited experience how it works.)

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ We might also consider a merge, or a flipping it around to a forward duplication. The old question is the same but less concrete, and its answers do explain the answer, but not nice and clear. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 0:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1, but it could be worth expanding on how "question closed as already answered" isn't accurate - the reasoning behind a bounty being the right action here might not be obvious to all. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 0:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman Good call, I've added something to that effect. If you can think of improvements to expressing it and feel so inclined, you have my blessing to revise this answer -- I'm about to sleep, so you're probably in a better position to process how to articulate it than I am. :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 0:44

As the author of the question... er... in question, I thought I'd weigh in.

I asked this question after a scenario that ame up in a game, but in that game the issue became moot (because another character was able to help mine out) so I wasn't particularly concerned at not getting an answer. That D&D 3.5 game ended shorty thereafter, and since then I've been playing other editions where the rules for this sort of scenario are different, so I still haven't been all that concerned at not getting an answer. Had I known that the answer was being used to close others as duplicates, I would have come back and tried to make sure it got a decent answer.

As it stands, I think the answers are very slightly tangential to the thing I was asking. KRyan's answer is probably closest, but ideally I'd like to see something that combines the referenced info from DMG2 with an understanding of the action timings to say something more concrete.

To restate (and I'll go make sure the question says this clearly enough), the main thing I was looking for in an answer is:

If I've just fallen from somewhere and I do have time to act, how do I work out how far I've fallen by the time my action happens?

Other useful information would be:

  • How far do I have to fall in order to be falling long enough to take any kind of action during it?
  • How far do I fall during each kind of action?
  • What's a fair, reliable, and preferably rulebook-supported way to determine how much time passes between an instantaneous trigger and a character starting to react to it?

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