[RPG] If a character falls off a flying mount (e.g. a pegasus), can the mount fly down to catch them before they hit the ground


Say a paladin is riding on a pegasus mount from the find greater steed spell (XGtE, p. 156). The pegasus is flying 100 feet in the air, but something or someone knocks the paladin off.

Can the Pegasus fly down to the paladin and catch them before they hit the ground to prevent fall damage?

And would the paladin still need to use half their movement to mount? Or would they count as mounted when the Pegasus catches them?

Best Answer

There are no rules that allow for this.

The Player's Handbook/basic rules for falling provide no guidance whatsoever:

A fall from a great height is one of the most common hazards facing an adventurer. At the end of a fall, a creature takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it fell, to a maximum of 20d6. The creature lands prone, unless it avoids taking damage from the fall.

Xanathar's Guide to Everything (p. 77) provides further guidance on falling, but nothing that would allow a pegasus to catch you:

When you fall from a great height, you instantly descend up to 500 feet. If you’re still falling on your next turn, you descend up to 500 feet at the end of that turn. This process continues until the fall ends, either because you hit the ground or the fall is otherwise halted.

Using these optional rules, you instantly fall up to 500 feet, which does not allow for your pegasus to swoop down and catch you.

I have used a house rule for this.

I played a bard that used find greater steed, and the first time I got knocked off, my DM and I agreed that there should be some chance for my pegasus to do this. Here is the rule we used:

When knocked off of a flying mount from a height greater than 30 feet, if both you and your mount have a reaction available, you may both expend your reactions to try to remount. First, the rider makes a Dexterity saving throw. Then, the mount must succeed on a Dexterity check with DC equal to 30 minus the result of the rider's saving throw. If successful, you are mounted upon your mount 30 feet below the location you were knocked off.

The idea here is that both the rider's skill (Dex save) and the mount's agility (Dex check) are taken into account, and it costs you some altitude to remount. For falls under 30 feet, there isn't enough altitude for your mount to catch you. For us, this didn't happen often enough for it to slow down the game, and we settled on (30 minus Dex save) as a good DC; you can adjust that 30 to be higher or lower if you want it to be more or less difficult.