[RPG] What happens when you use the Telekinetic shove from Tasha’s when flying directly above your target?

dnd-5efeatsflightforced-movement

The feat says that "the target must succeed on a Strength saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus + the ability modifier of the score increased by this feat) or be moved 5 feet toward or away from you."

Case 1: The Push

"But they can't move 5 feet downward from you if they are standing on the ground," you say.

"Ah," I say. "But they can move 5 feet downward from you if they become Prone."

I would contend that this actually fits the RAW as a satisfaction of the requirement "the target must…be moved 5 feet…away from you" as going Prone is a valid form of 5 feet of movement (albeit one that doesn't usually consume any of your Speed). But I can see someone arguing against this reading. Either way, it's a niche enough usage that I think many DMs might choose to allow it.

Extra benefit: If you have the movement available, you could fly down and attack with advantage.

Case 2: The Pull

This is just funny. Let's say you're flying 15 feet off the ground (10 feet above your target). You pull the target 5 feet up with your bonus action, then hit them with an attack. I can't think of a RAW reason this would confer advantage, unless maybe through flanking (if you have an ally who is in one of the 9 squares below your target). But I might rule it granted advantage regardless, because the target would have a hard time defending in midair.

Extra benefit: When the target falls back down, they might re-trigger certain persistent AoE spells or environmental hazards.

Thoughts? Particularly on the application of RAW to force going Prone in Case 1, or to create flanking conditions (or some other form of advantage, if you can think of one) in Case 2?

Best Answer

You'll never know if you don't try

Everyone plays D&D a bit differently, sometimes more than a bit. The books certainly aren't going to define every single detail. It's the exact thing why we do need a DM. Only your DM knows for sure, how does magic work in their world.

The rules are intentionally silent regarding many corner cases:

"The rules don’t account for every possible situation that might arise during a typical D&D session. For example, a player might want his or her character to hurl a brazier full of hot coals into a monster’s face. How you determine the outcome of this action is up to you"

DMG Part 3, "Master of Rules"

That doesn't mean players can't do such things. It's the DM's job to adjudicate the outcome, including any possible magic side effect. The DM also decides if any side effect does take place at all. The rules only describe the basics a.k.a. "the only thing the spell does":

A spell's text details the spell's effects—the only thing the spell does. Any additional effects are up to the DM.

RAW the target "is moved 5 feet"

The basic effect of Telekinetic feat is just moving the target:

be moved 5 feet toward or away from you

And by "moving" rules imply changing position (like, a grid square you're in), not applying a condition (being prone). In other words, dropping prone is not movement, neither is standing up.

It worth mentioning that the feat allows you to "shove one creature":

As a bonus action, you can try to telekinetically shove one creature you can see within 30 feet of you.

It probably should work similar to the Shield Master feat from the PHB:

If you take the Attack action on your turn, you can use a bonus action to try to shove a creature within 5 feet of you with your shield

So it basically allows you to telekinetically shove the target. Someone can argue that "shoving" implies horizontal movement (when you launch something up in the air you do not "shove" it, but "throw" or "toss"). The rules are very scarce regarding 3d movement unfortunately, so DMs have to improvise. Usually they allow vertical forced movement, so probably you can "shove up" with the Telekinetic feat.

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