Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Not Falling for Falling Damage

Over at Grognardia there is an article about the falling damage articles from Dragon magazine. Falling damage was one of a few things that never made sense. It just didn't mesh with our expectations. Back then we were trying to make everything "realistic". But the relationship between hit points, weapons damage, healing and falling damage was always difficult to understand. Much effort was put towards this end with (IMHO) little results. Usually adding more rules to a growing list.
But I am not falling for it anymore. I my future games (as I'm not currently running any now) hit points are considered a measure of fighting capacity and are only used in stand up fights where you can defend yourself. Falling down isn't a fight so it doesn't do hit point damage. I might use a saving throw to escape unharmed or assign arbitrary damage like half your hit point total. That might seem harsh to some. However I did create the world and populate it. So why can't I decide how much damage someone takes from falling down?

P.S. In my world if its not a monster or NPC attacking you, then its not hit point damage. This includes traps.


  1. Might want to let your players know though. After all, if they're used to a 10' pit doing 1d6 damage, it's a shock to find the rules changed.

    I know going from a 60' pit causing 6d6 to the same pit causing 20d6 is an unpleasant surprise.

    1. All the players will be fully informed of the changes before hand. It will be understood that the rules will be superceded by plot and story.