D&D 5E Can an unseen servant fly?

Oofta

Legend
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.

Spiritual weapon: "You create a floating ..." is not the same at all as something that shows up on the ground and otherwise has the same capabilities as a human servant.
 

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Stalker0

Legend
The “floating” aspect of spiritual weapon is flavor text, and even if do use it for mechanics, floating is not the same thing as a fly speed.

Spiritual weapon does not have a fly speed. I would say if you allow a spiritual weapon to “fly up”, it’s reasonable to do the same for unseen servant
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I appreciated you, veteran as you are, asking the question. =D
Set off trip wires? I'd say that was achievable with a Strength of 2.
set off pressure plates? I'd say that fits in with performing "simple tasks that a human servant could do".
Looking at my own write-up for the spell, I see I've got to do some work on it as none of these things - weight, fly/not fly, etc. - are mentioned there. I do note that it is roughly Hobbit-sized.

In my mind I've always imagined it as floating just off the ground but only being able to go higher if required to fulfill a task that a Human could do, e.g. to reach a high shelf that a Human could reach. But my spell write-up doesn't say that, and it should. :)

A few sessions ago I had to rule on how an unseen servant interacted with open water; I ruled it floated above the water and didn't have enough strength/mass to dive in (the PCs were trying to assess the water's depth and had the US carrying a light source)
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
Interesting discussion. Explicitly calling out the unseen servant having to appear on the ground suggests lack of ability to fly or float. So, no lighting chandeliers without use of a ladder (and no cutting down chandeliers on top of Evil Despot as he monologues before the banquet or flying a rope up out of a pit and tying it to something solid to help me climb out).

Explicitly calling out the spiritual weapon as floating, however, implies it isn't tied to the ground, so moving it across the pit blocking the corridor to attack one enemy on the pit's far side after dispatching the one on the near side seems like something it should be able to do.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
It doesn't. It hasn't.

But it really should. This spell has consistently felt lacking to me over the years. It should feel like a magic batman (small b), but it genuinely feels less useful than just hiring a guy.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The “floating” aspect of spiritual weapon is flavor text, and even if do use it for mechanics, floating is not the same thing as a fly speed.

Spiritual weapon does not have a fly speed. I would say if you allow a spiritual weapon to “fly up”, it’s reasonable to do the same for unseen servant
A spiritual weapon is explicitly flying, though. It is floating and can move, which is...................flight. The unseen servant on the other hand has no ability to float and can only do things that normal human servants can, so no flight.
 



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