5E Can Beholders fly in an Anti-Magic field?
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  1. #1
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    Can Beholders fly in an Anti-Magic field?

    This seems like a good way to take out a beholder to me, as long as they can't fly out of it. Beholders seem to me to be a bit underconned at CR13, considering they have such a versatile array of spells at their disposal, can cast at least 4-6 per round, and have a solid DC of 16 to them. All this combined has me thinking of ways to overcome them without a) killing the party or b) having to fudge to include one in my campaign to avoid A.

    But naturally, if they can't fly in it, and you can get one around it, they are would probably be pretty helpless, rolling around on the ground trying to bite you

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    I don't have my book handy, but I do not think it is directly addressed. If not addressed,, it might be a natural boyance that they proper directionally with magic, or it might be permanent magical flight.

    Assuming the rules are not explicit, the answer should be: What makes the game more interesting? DM rulings when rules are vague should be aimed at making the game better, not at applying their personal view on what should happen. If a big bad enemy can be outsmarted by a simple trap, the game is often diminished.... but not always. Sometimes that clever solution makes the party feel really good and the game moves forward with higher spirits. It is a subjective assessment that the DM needs to make and the players need to not only accept, but buy into with all their hearts.

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    Beholder flight is not described as being magical flight in their monster entry (at least, it shouldn't be - it's never been before, and that would mean one beholder could never look at another without making that beholder sit on the ground), so it isn't magical.

    There was a book published in the 3.5 era that showed they have an air bladder that provides their lift, and the same information is likely present somewhere in the Monstrous Arcana series of books from the 2nd edition era.

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    I think beholders are filled with helium, which is why I always have them speak in hilariously high-pitched voices.
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    If you are the DM and you want it to work, but also want some written material to justify it, I would point to SCAG page 18. Under the heading "The weave" it states that "[s]ome creatures, objects, and locations have deep, intrinisc ties to the Weave and can perform extraordinary feats that come naturally to them (a beholder's flight, a vampire's charming gaze, a dragon's breath weapon, and so forth)."

    Even if the antimagic field does not work on the flight, it does work on the eyestalks if I recall correctly. So do the thing first intended (at least if you can make sure the field follows the beholder), then let it fly around trying to bite things (or run away).

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    Quote Originally Posted by AaronOfBarbaria View Post
    that would mean one beholder could never look at another without making that beholder sit on the ground
    That right there made my decision. Imagining the absurdity of beholders fighting each other by rolling on the ground trying to bite the other to death, while an immensely amusing mental image, is not one I wish to make reality in my campaign. Thank you for the feedback, and our party wizard will need something a bit less absurd to restrain them. Telekinesis would seem a good way to go, since they have a pretty feeble STR score, that should work as well, as long as you aren't standing in front of the central eye. Which of course you wouldn't be if you can turn it which ever way you wish.
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    Well, they can turn off (or turn away) the antimagic cone they have, so if antimagic turns them down on the ground, it is a question of who is Han Solo of the Beholders. And even if it does not send them to the ground I guess they are forced to use bites, since the antimagic thing they have will protect them from the other's beams.

    Also: spells can be really annoying to rely on to take down a beholder. My group did a level 20 oneshot where we started out against a beholder. I played a paladin, and we ended up mostly with my auras removing any damage etc from the beholder, and the antimagic field taking out the spells we wanted to use. The fighter with a bow and the warlock were charmed, so in the end it was a druid and the paladin running around, the druid setting upp walls to do some damage to the beholder, and the paladin eventually climbing up a stalagmite in the room to jump and take it out with a last blow. The antimagic field of the beholder, the save bonuses from the paladin and the lack of ranged weapons in the group thus made the whole affair mostly tedious. If you have a non-spell way to deal with the beholder I guess things become different.

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    I just want to take a moment to say regardless of your interpretation of the questions I asked AI203, I think that fight you described with your party v. Beholder sounds really effing cool. Kudos to your DM, or you if you're the DM

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    It was a fun one-shot (Christmas session, we ended up taking out Santa Claus and Rudolph the Ancient Red Dragon), but with so many successful saves and yet the main ranged damage dealers charmed for much of the fight it dragged out a bit too much. The "walls of fire, thorns etc everywhere" part and the paladin-in-full-armor-as-monk part were real fun.

    And regarding how I interpreted the question: since there were so many ways of "antimagic does not work against hovering" I wanted to find ways it could work if you wanted it to. I also wanted to use the anecdote to point out that if the party relies a lot on spells, then the beholder can be a pain to fight (even in cases where it does not deal a lot of damage).

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    I was about to reply with "of course it's magical", but then I saw:
    Quote Originally Posted by AaronOfBarbaria View Post
    that would mean one beholder could never look at another without making that beholder sit on the ground), so it isn't magical.
    Yeah... that would be ridiculous.

    What about a combination? They float by natural air bladders but navigate through innate magic?
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