D&D 5E Can an unseen servant fly?

ECMO3

Hero
The spell doesn';t say it has a speed but says "you can mentally command the servant to move up to 15 feet" can it use this to move into the air. If not can it climb or swim?
 

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ECMO3

Hero
No it can't. It can move 15 if you command it, giving it a move speed similar to a human or an orc. For it to fly it must have a fly speed specified.

But it is not a creature and does not have a move speed at all. In terms of movement it is more similar to a Flaming Sphere or Spritual Weapon than it is to an Orc or Human.

Flaming Sphere is very specific on how it moves across surfaces (i.e doesn't fly).

Spiritual weapon uses wording almost identical to Unseen Servant and it is generally assumed the SW can can move in any direction (i.e. it can fly):

SW: As a bonus action on your turn, you can move the weapon up to 20 feet .....

US: Once on each of your turns as a bonus action, you can mentally command the servant to move up to 15 feet ....


This is almost identical wording.

The main argument that it can't fly comes from the fact it "springs into place on the ground" which implies it has to rest on the ground, but then it has no discussion on how it moves over barriers or across surfaces like Flaming Sphere does. If this is the intent it is poorly worded IMO and leaves a lot to interpretation.
 
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Milieu

Explorer
Spiritual weapon uses wording almost identical to Unseen Servant and it is generally assumed the SW can can move in any direction (i.e. it can fly):

SW: As a bonus action on your turn, you can move the weapon up to 20 feet .....

US: Once on each of your turns as a bonus action, you can mentally command the servant to move up to 15 feet ....

Yes, but both Spiritual Weapon and (even more relevantly) Mage Hand specify the thing created is "floating" and "spectral", whereas the Unseen Servant is summoned "on the ground". Starting on the ground doesn't necessarily mean it can't leave the ground, and "floating" doesn't necessarily mean it can float an arbitrary distance off the ground, but that language does at least lend itself to those interpretations.

I don't think it's unreasonable to say that Spiritual Weapon and Mage Hand float only at heights a (Medium-sized) person on the ground could reasonably hold them. But if you decide a cantrip Mage Hand can fly, I don't think it's unreasonable or broken to allow a 1st-level spell Unseen Servant to fly also.

FWIW, Pathfinder has explicitly specified that an Unseen Servant cannot fly (but can walk on water), whereas Sage Advice in the 3e days said "Though an unseen servant does not have a fly speed, the caster can nevertheless direct the servant go anywhere within the spell’s range (including up or down), provided that the servant does not pass through a solid barrier to get there and that the caster has line of effect to the servant at the beginning of its movement for the turn."
 

But it is not a creature and does not have a move speed at all. In terms of movement it is more similar to a Flaming Sphere or Spritual Weapon than it is to an Orc or Human.

This spell creates an invisible, mindless, shapeless force that performs simple tasks at your command until the spell ends. The servant springs into existence in an unoccupied space on the ground within range. It has AC 10, 1 hit point, and a Strength of 2, and it can't attack. If it drops to 0 hit points, the spell ends.

Once on each of your turns as a bonus action, you can mentally command the servant to move up to 15 feet and interact with an object. The servant can perform simple tasks that a human servant could do, such as fetching things, cleaning, mending, folding clothes, lighting fires, serving food, and pouring wine. Once you give the command, the servant performs the task to the best of its ability until it completes the task, then waits for your next command.

The servant may not technically be a creature, but in terms of movement it should perform the same way that a human servant would, not a Flaming Sphere or Spiritual weapon.

I say no flying allowed. Flying is not a simple task a human servant can perform.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
But it is not a creature and does not have a move speed at all. In terms of movement it is more similar to a Flaming Sphere or Spritual Weapon than it is to an Orc or Human.
It moves 15 if commanded. That's a 15 foot move speed. In any case in 5e if something isn't explicitly granted, it doesn't have it.
Flaming Sphere is very specific on how it moves across surfaces (i.e doesn't fly).

Spiritual weapon uses wording almost identical to Unseen Servant and it is generally assumed the SW can can move in any direction (i.e. it can fly):
Flaming Sphere uses identical wording to Unseen Servant. You can move it X feet.

"As a bonus action, you can move the sphere up to 30 feet."

The barrier language just explains how it works if it hit a barrier. It's not what puts the movement on the ground. The move speed does that.
SW: As a bonus action on your turn, you can move the weapon up to 20 feet .....
Yes, the explicitly flying weapon can fly. :)

"You create a floating, spectral weapon within range that lasts for the duration or until you cast this spell again."
US: Once on each of your turns as a bonus action, you can mentally command the servant to move up to 15 feet ....

This is almost identical wording.
Except for the failure to include explicit flight like Spiritual Weapon does.
The main argument that it can't fly comes from the fact it "springs into place on the ground" which implies it has to rest on the ground, but then it has no discussion on how it moves over barriers or across surfaces like Flaming Sphere does. If this is the intent it is poorly worded IMO and leaves a lot to interpretation.
The main argument is that it does not say that it flies, so it doesn't.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
This spell creates an invisible, mindless, shapeless force that performs simple tasks at your command until the spell ends. The servant springs into existence in an unoccupied space on the ground within range. It has AC 10, 1 hit point, and a Strength of 2, and it can't attack. If it drops to 0 hit points, the spell ends.

Once on each of your turns as a bonus action, you can mentally command the servant to move up to 15 feet and interact with an object. The servant can perform simple tasks that a human servant could do, such as fetching things, cleaning, mending, folding clothes, lighting fires, serving food, and pouring wine. Once you give the command, the servant performs the task to the best of its ability until it completes the task, then waits for your next command.


One thing glaringly missing from this write-up is the servant's weight, if any; which is a highly relevant property.

If the servant is weightless then it could in theory float uncontrolled, though not fly in the usual sense, and be towed or pushed like a balloon. I could think of all kinds of uses for this.

If the servant has weight it can be used as a trap finder by having it "walk" ahead of the party to set off pressure plates, trip wires, etc.

Also, "shapeless" isn't very helpful if someone can see invisible and can thus see the servant - what does the bloody thing look like?
 



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