Casting Time: 1 reaction, which you take when you or a creature within 60 feet of you falls
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, M (a small feather or piece of down)
Duration: 1 minute
School: 1st-level transmutation
Player’s Handbook, pg. 239
Feather Fall 5e
Feather Fall is the clutch, “oh-sh*t we’re falling to our deaths” spell that players almost never get to use — until it literally saves the group from a total party kill.
For an ability that essentially just says “fall slower,” players have plenty of questions and misunderstandings about how Feather Fall works. The spell also has more uses than you might think at first glance, which we’ll be going over as well.
Who Can Cast Feather Fall in 5e?
The following classes have Feather Fall on their spell list:
No subclasses get Feather Fall for free.
What Does Feather Fall Do in 5e?
Feather Fall instantly reduces the falling speed of up to five falling creatures within 60 feet to 60 feet per round. It also ensures that affected creatures take no fall damage and land on their feet as opposed to prone.
Importantly, Feather Fall can only be used in reaction to a creature falling within 60 feet of the caster — it cannot be cast preemptively to affect creatures that are not yet falling.
How far can you fall with Feather Fall? You can fall for a total of 600 feet with Feather Fall. One round of combat is 6 seconds long, during which time an affected player falls 60 feet (10 feet per second). Since Feather Fall lasts for 1 minute, this adds up to a total of 600 feet.
Whether players can wait until the end of a <600-foot fall to cast Feather Fall, we'll save for the rules section.
What Are the Rules for Feather Fall in 5e?
The rules for Feather Fall in DnD 5e are as follows:
Feather Fall is always castable as a reaction when falling, despite Xanathar’s clarifications on fall speed. So don’t worry that you have to fall 500 feet per round (83.3 ft/sec) before being able to slow down to 10 feet per second. Here’s Sage Advice clarification that the specific rules of Feather Fall trump the general “Rate of Falling” rules (XGtE 77).
Casting a spell on your turn does not prevent you from casting Feather Fall as a reaction later that round. Because actions and reactions are separate. Here’s Sage Advice confirmation for this specific context.
Of course, if you’ve already used your reaction (to cast Shield, make an opportunity attack, etc.), then you won’t be able to cast Feather Fall during that round.
You cannot preemptively cast Feather Fall. Rules as written, Feather Fall can only target falling creatures and be used in reaction to a creature falling. In other words, you can’t cast Feather Fall on you and your group and then jump off a ledge together; you have to jump first.
“Falling” means what it means in standard English. To fall means “to move downward, typically rapidly and freely without control, from a higher to a lower level.”
So if a creature is flung, tossed, tripped, or experiencing the effects of gravity, they’re an eligible target for Feather Fall. Don’t let your DM tell you that being thrown by a Giant means that you’re not technically “falling.”
You can target enemies with Feather Fall. The spell’s description makes no mention of “willing” targets, so any falling creature in range is an eligible target, including enemies who’d rather not fall slowly.
Feather Fall can be used for minor falls. Going back to the definition of “fall” earlier, note that even minor slips, like losing your balance on ball bearings, counts as a fall. This can prevent an ally from falling prone.
Note that most DMs won’t extend this to things like shoves or shove-like abilities that force a creature prone. It’s not really “falling” anymore once a force other than gravity (e.g., a barbarian’s shoulder) enters the equation.
Feather Fall ends on a creature once it lands. So you can’t use it to do multiple landings. For instance, if you jumped down 250 feet with Feather Fall and then tried to jump another 250 feet down, you’d have to cast Feather Fall again.
Feather Fall can be used to prevent fall damage from tripping ball bearings, down stairs, etc. These are all examples that meet the criteria of the definition of “fall.”
However, note that Feather Fall will only prevent one instance of fall damage per casting, and ends upon landing on your feet successfully thanks to the spell.
It is unclear whether you can cast Feather Fall at any point during a fall or only at the fall’s beginning. So the spell’s casting time states that Feather Fall can be cast only when a creature “falls” — our definition doesn’t help us as much here.
Eligible targets are certainly any creature that’s currently falling, but the exact trigger for when this spell can be cast is up to your DM. Note that if a DM rules that Feather Fall can only be used at the precise moment when a fall begins, then its utility is severely reduced, making it only usable for falls of 600 feet or less.
It is unclear what happens if you grab onto a creature under the effects of Feather Fall. The spell says nothing about carry weight per se, but it does explicitly limit the spell’s effects to 5 creatures. This one’s up to your DM.
How Do I Use Feather Fall in 5e?
Feather Fall’s primary use is fairly obvious, but here are some other creative ideas for your next session:
As a party, use the Ready action to prepare a jump in combat. Rules as written, the only way to successfully jump away from combat as a group with Feather Fall is to use the Ready action to prepare to jump when the caster jumps and casts Feather Fall.
Otherwise, you’ll need multiple castings of the spell since either A) people will jump before the caster and be out of range by the time the caster jumps or B) the caster will cast it too early because they’ve jumped but their allies haven’t, or C) the caster will jump first but not cast it, but then be out of range of their allies by the time they jump.
Pick it up if you have the Fly spell. Having the Fly spell is fantastic for so many things, but it’s also a huge risk, what with it requiring concentration and all. At any moment, a flying creature can be brought down by a well-placed projectile.
With Feather Fall prepared, this situation won’t be an absolute disaster.
Prevent trap damage. Feather Fall is great for pit traps and the like, where either spikes at the bottom or the fall itself is the source of damage. A quick casting of Feather Fall can allow you to climb out of the pit without a scratch on you — no saving throws required.
Stop your buddy from falling prone. Feather Fall’s non-obvious application is preventing a minor slip or fall from bringing a creature prone. You can make anyone (even yourself) look like a smooth operator who isn’t phased at all by a floor full of ball bearings.
Do note that after “landing” once, the effects of Feather Fall end on a creature, so you can’t continuously do this with a single casting.
Bring it to high places. This tip’s fairly straightforward — if you know you’ll be doing a lot of airborne, cliffside, deep cave, etc. type exploration where big-time falls are a big-time concern, bring Feather Fall with you. Preventing random deaths is totally worth the spell slot.
Who Can I Target With Feather Fall 5e?
You can target any creature that is currently in the act of falling with Feather Fall. Whether a creature needs to have just fallen or can be an eligible target after falling for a few seconds before casting Feather Fall is unclear based on the spell’s text and is ultimately up to DM discretion.
Is Feather Fall 5e a Good Spell?
Yes, Feather Fall is a good spell and can be a great spell depending on your campaign setting and your DM. Falling can be a devastating source of damage — 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet, to a maximum of 20d6 (PHB 183).
Having a spell in your pocket that protects not only yourself, but up to five total party members, can literally be a lifesaver. Not to mention that minor slips and falls along with the occasional pit trap ensures that Feather Fall remains useful even if you’re not climbing high very often.
On the flip side, some DMs don’t factor in the potential for falls and other environmental effects into their gameplay very often. For these situations, Feather Fall might feel utterly useless.
Even still, if you’ve got the bandwidth to afford picking it up/keeping it prepared, it’s one of those spells that you’ll be glad for, even if you only cast it once per campaign.
Feather Fall 5e DM Tips
We left DMs with two unresolved rules questions above:
Can players cast Feather Fall at any point in a fall? My opinion is yes, let players cast Feather Fall at any point during a fall. Don’t limit it to the exact moment when a fall begins, even though a strict reading of the spell’s casting time does sort of suggest that.
Ultimately, letting players use Feather Fall more often is never a bad thing, and allowing for it to be used on falls of greater than 600 feet makes it useable much more often.
Can non-targeted creatures hold onto a creature affected by Feather Fall? My opinion is no, since the spell clearly lays out that it can only affect up to 5 creatures. The spirit of the spell would suggest it cannot affect twice this by just doing some piggyback action.
However, if you have a party of 6+, this can feel like an annoying little problem of the spell. In this case, I suggest allowing for Feather Fall to be upcast to affect +1 creature per spell slot above the first. There’s absolutely no harm in allowing this.
Other than that, we suggest allowing players to simultaneously jump off a cliff mid-combat if they coordinate it. Don’t force them to follow the strict RAW version of events where they all Ready their actions to jump and wait for the caster to jump.
Mechanics like this bog the game down and don’t serve the narrative. If the party knows they want to jump and cast Feather Fall, let that happen when the caster’s turn comes up.
Simple Feather Fall 5e Spell Text
Feather Fall: (1st-level transmutation, 1 reaction, which you take when you or a creature within 60 feet of you falls, 60 feet, 1 minute, V/M (a small feather or piece of down)) The fall speed of five falling creatures in range slows to 60 feet per round until the spell ends. Affected creatures take no fall damage and land on their feet. The spell ends for creature upon landing.