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D&D 5E Dashing with flying magic items, yea or nay?

Is there any reason beyond strict RAW not to allow dashing on a broom? I'm not convinced it shouldn't be allowed, but if there were a balance issue I might reconsider.

Without some other reason, RAW alone isn't enough to convince me to tell a player "no" on this one.
Well yeah; the item is considered by a lot of folks to be overpowered. It doesn't require attunement, and it's only Uncommon.

I think the information Sword of Spirit has put together about the different flying items, their relative rarities and requirements for attunement or not is pretty interesting. I could get behind the idea that they'd be better balanced if the Broom and Carpet were ruled as having set max speeds like vehicles, as opposed to giving the user a speed they can Dash with.

Obviously you can fluff-justify it either way (Oofta's invocation of Harry Potter putting his head down and "gunning" his broom like a motorcycle is pretty vivid), and Sage Advice has ruled that you CAN Dash with it, but I'm not above a minor house rule for balance purposes and to make the four flying items more distinct in their capabilities.
 

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Minigiant

Legend
I assume that movement in combat is not commiting your whole attention to movement. You can move x while doing y. You slash the orc for 3 seconds and move 30 feet for 3 seconds.

Dash is turning Y into X. You move X then move X.

To me you can only not dash on an item if it requires your action to just move. Meaning you need to put attention into movement just to move and you must commit to full speed doing so. Something like bicycling.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Brooms and carpets of flying may be vehicles in the sense that they don't impart a movement rate directly to the user (at least not as described) but they're not vehicles in the sense that a user can move about on them independently with their own movement in any significant sense - they're not like moving around on the deck of a ship or even like moving around on a wagon. They have a flying speed that is analogous to the character's movement rate and effectively replace their movement when in use. And if you can fit a broom's 50 foot flying speed within a character's normal movement capacity in a round, then you can darn well fit in another 50 feet if the user takes the Dash action, forgoing any other action.
 

NotAYakk

Legend

A reading of the Broom of Flying is that you can speak a command word, and it hovers. There is nothing in the description about how you control it.

A fun way to make the Broom of Flying an uncommon no-attunement item that doesn't make other magic items obsolete is to require you to use an action to send it to a destination. It then proceeds to move 50' per round (on your turn; you can act before, after, or during the movement) towards that destination, navigating as it sees fit.

Changing the destination or stopping the Broom requires another action.

In effect, the Broom acts like the "alone" version of the broom when you ride it.

This makes it awkward to use in combat.

Similarly, the carpet of flying requires an action and a command word every time you tell it to do something. It independently works out how to do the thing you ask it to, and moves on your turn. Unlike the broom there is no ability to recall it if it is more than 30' away.

That reading ensures that the Broom and Carpet are useful items, but not as good as the attuned ones. The attuned ones grant you a flying speed and you control them mentally, like you are walking.

Also, with every use being "speak command word", people who overhear those command words can ... also use them.

Broom of Flying: Uncommon, no attunement. 50' speed up to 200 lbs, 30' up to 400 lbs. Requires actions to redirect to new destinations, and speaking command word publicly, cannot dash.

Winged Boots: Uncommon, attunement. flying speed equal to walking (30'ish default). 240 minutes of charge, regains 120 minutes / 12 hours you don't use them.

Wings of Flying: Attunement. Rare. 60' flying speed. 1 hour charge, recharges in 1d12 hours.

Carpet of Flying: No attunement, Very Rare. 30-80' flying speed, 800-200 lb capacity. Requires actions to redirect to new destinations, and speaking command word publicly, cannot dash.

With that strict interpretation of the non-attunement items, the rarity aligns better with quality. It does value the higher speed of the Wings of Flying over the Winged Boots, maybe too much.
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Oofta man, you're literally just wrong, RAW. Like re-read what the item says. It's vague as hell but your interpretation is not viable even with that. I like the conclusion you're coming to but it ain't even close to RAW, wheres @Paul Farquhar is.

I think that in general, DMs should really want these items to give people a speed and let them dash, because every other option is way more open to problems, but it isn't basic RAW with the broom.

The rules don't really state how you control a broom, other than that it "can be ridden in the air". Seems pretty clear to me that it's handled following the mounted combat rules. If it wasn't, there would be specific rules such as those for ships in Ghosts of Saltmarsh.

Put another way, presumably it's not an action or bonus action every round to control the broom. If it's not then it's replacing your movement. If it's replacing your movement, the brooms speed becomes your movement speed for the round. If it doesn't modify your movement then you could fly, land, and then move. Therefore the broom modifies a creatures movement, the creatures movement after all modifications have been applied is what you use for dashing.

Now, you may disagree with my line of reasoning. That's fine. If you're the DM you make the ruling. But just saying "you're wrong because that's not how I interpret RAW" doesn't really mean much. Personally I don't like brooms of flying and for all practical purposes they don't exist in my campaign world. That doesn't change my reasoning or my ruling.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I'm talking RAW, not logic. And RAW, the broom does it's own thing completely separate to what the PC does. It does not require driving.
Sure it does. The PC decides where it goes, so the PC is driving it.

Either the PC can dash on the broom, or the PC can using Steady Aim, can move and use the brooms movement, and can effectively ignore effects that reduce their speed to 0.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend

A reading of the Broom of Flying is that you can speak a command word, and it hovers. There is nothing in the description about how you control it.

A fun way to make the Broom of Flying an uncommon no-attunement item that doesn't make other magic items obsolete is to require you to use an action to send it to a destination. It then proceeds to move 50' per round (on your turn; you can act before, after, or during the movement) towards that destination, navigating as it sees fit.

Changing the destination or stopping the Broom requires another action.

In effect, the Broom acts like the "alone" version of the broom when you ride it.

This makes it awkward to use in combat.

Similarly, the carpet of flying requires an action and a command word every time you tell it to do something. It independently works out how to do the thing you ask it to, and moves on your turn. Unlike the broom there is no ability to recall it if it is more than 30' away.

That reading ensures that the Broom and Carpet are useful items, but not as good as the attuned ones. The attuned ones grant you a flying speed and you control them mentally, like you are walking.

Also, with every use being "speak command word", people who overhear those command words can ... also use them.

Broom of Flying: Uncommon, no attunement. 50' speed up to 200 lbs, 30' up to 400 lbs. Requires actions to redirect to new destinations, and speaking command word publicly, cannot dash.

Winged Boots: Uncommon, attunement. flying speed equal to walking (30'ish default). 240 minutes of charge, regains 120 minutes / 12 hours you don't use them.

Wings of Flying: Attunement. Rare. 60' flying speed. 1 hour charge, recharges in 1d12 hours.

Carpet of Flying: No attunement, Very Rare. 30-80' flying speed, 800-200 lb capacity. Requires actions to redirect to new destinations, and speaking command word publicly, cannot dash.

With that strict interpretation of the non-attunement items, the rarity aligns better with quality. It does value the higher speed of the Wings of Flying over the Winged Boots, maybe too much.
This is about as strictly RAW as you can get, other than that there's no "Action" mentioned anywhere in the Broom's description, so it's not quite right either. (Though a perfectly reasonable ruling - and one that nerfs the broom, which is a bit OP compared to the others, depending on how one rules them). It's not gonna be popular with players who want one, though!
 

NotAYakk

Legend
This is about as strictly RAW as you can get, other than that there's no "Action" mentioned anywhere in the Broom's description, so it's not quite right either. (Though a perfectly reasonable ruling - and one that nerfs the broom, which is a bit OP compared to the others, depending on how one rules them). It's not gonna be popular with players who want one, though!
Sure; my goal was to make the items have plus and minuses.

The non attunement items require manual control.

Note that you don't have to give orders each round. Say "go over there". Just fine grained control in combat sucks.

"Broom, go to the top of the tower" is an action, even if it takes 10 minutes.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Sure; my goal was to make the items have plus and minuses.

The non attunement items require manual control.

Note that you don't have to give orders each round. Say "go over there". Just fine grained control in combat sucks.

"Broom, go to the top of the tower" is an action, even if it takes 10 minutes.
Yeah, I understand what you're getting at. It works! You just had to add "it takes an action" to the description to make it work, which is fine.
 

The rules don't really state how you control a broom, other than that it "can be ridden in the air". Seems pretty clear to me that it's handled following the mounted combat rules. If it wasn't, there would be specific rules such as those for ships in Ghosts of Saltmarsh.

Put another way, presumably it's not an action or bonus action every round to control the broom. If it's not then it's replacing your movement. If it's replacing your movement, the brooms speed becomes your movement speed for the round. If it doesn't modify your movement then you could fly, land, and then move. Therefore the broom modifies a creatures movement, the creatures movement after all modifications have been applied is what you use for dashing.

Now, you may disagree with my line of reasoning. That's fine. If you're the DM you make the ruling. But just saying "you're wrong because that's not how I interpret RAW" doesn't really mean much. Personally I don't like brooms of flying and for all practical purposes they don't exist in my campaign world. That doesn't change my reasoning or my ruling.
This is inductive reasoning, not RAW. A lot of things in D&D fall into the gaps. I like your reasoning, I don't really disagree with it, I just don't agree that it's RAW, because it's inductive reasoning. This is a fine ruling, the issue was that you were presenting it as RAW, not a ruling.
 

So I did some research into the history of the flying items. The carpets of flying have traditionally been the most powerful, and the winged boots and broom of flying have traditionally been similar in power level. The wings of flying varied drastically in function and relative power level over the editions.

One factor that I noticed that is highly relevant is that of maneuverability class/rating. Those new to 5e might be unfamiliar with it. Basically, different flying creatures/items could maneuver better than others in prior editions. This included how sharply they could turn/dive/climb, how hard it was to gain altitude, and whether or not they had to maintain forward motion to stay aloft. 5e has none of that. Anything with a fly speed can move in 3-dimensions as easily as in 2. This was a huge balancing factor in previous editions that is completely absent.

For example, the carpet of flying could hover, while the broom of flying could not (and had to keep moving forward or crash). Both carpet and broom had low maneuverability--making them difficult to employ in combat, while wings and boots had high maneuverability and were more or less designed for combat.

Adding those factors back into 5e is not of interest to me, but tweaking the broom of flying to make it play well with the others is. Basically, it should be a primarily Exploration Pillar item, not a Combat Pillar item. If players are choosing it over the same rarity winged boots in combat, something is very broken.

Before we really talk about how to do that, we need to look at the ramifications of different interpretations of the broom's features. I've made some tables comparing the various items. The first table is by the book (with question marks on the broom), the next is giving the broom a generous interpretation, and the last is giving the broom a weaker interpretation.

FlyingItems.PNG


Looking at the charts, the generous interpretation really should make it a Very Rare item, without or without the capability to Dash, and whether or not the carpet can Dash. It's just that good.

The weakest interpretation that I can easily extract from the text still should have it sitting at Rare. Sure, you have to put some thought into using it effectively, but it's clearly better the boots (with a light enough character), given that it lacks attunement and is almost as fast without Dashing as the boots are with Dashing. One might say (as I might myself) that that weaker interpretation doesn't look that much better than the boots. This is true, but it's at least as much better than the boots as the wings are! We see from the wings that the higher top speed is considered very heavily in the power assessment, since that's literally the only thing the Rare wings have over the Uncommon boots (unless you factor in that one might possible layer two cloaks but not wear two pairs of boots). In every other way the boots are superior to the wings, yet the wings are considered more powerful. Because the power level of the wings has varied significantly from edition to edition, and they could therefore have placed them wherever they wanted, I'm going to assume that the relative ranking was an intentional design consideration rather than an oversight (though it may have been). The broom of flying with the weak interpretation is roughly comparable to the wings of flying and clearly as much better than the winged boots as the wings of flying are, justifying it being given a minimum rarity of Rare.

On the issue of Dashing, I think it's important to remember that you can't Dash all day--only for short periods of time. The DMG Chase rules make this explicit in the case of chases. You can also determine that by looking at the daily travel rates the game gives for characters. The vehicles that the game has published do not have the capability to Dash. If they did, they would move twice as fast as they are described moving daily, because they don't get Exhausted like creatures and could just Dash all day long. Given than the carpet and the broom are independent devices described with their own movement speed (as opposed to worn items), it seems reasonable to treat them as vehicles and disallow Dashing. (I'd personally have mounting the broom take half your movement just like mounting a steed, but let you walk onto the carpet normally if it's low enough. That's in addition to using an action to activate them.)

So I could just go for the weak interpretation of the broom of flying and up its rarity to Rare. But I'd rather not. That messes up the random magic item tables I so love, and makes the broom a super-star in the Combat Pillar as well as the Exploration Pillar, rather than maintaining the intended balance of broom as entry level Exploration item, boots as entry level Combat item, wings as superior Combat item and carpet as superior Exploration item.

I'm kind of stuck.
 

Sure it does. The PC decides where it goes, so the PC is driving it.
It doesn't actually say "the PC decides where it goes" when they are riding it. It says that when it's not being ridden you can tell it where to go and it travels there by itself. So it doesn't need steering.

It would certainly be a lot better balanced if it did need steering, requiring a "use an object" action.
Brooms can't take actions.
It says it can be ridden. Which would make it a mount. Mounts have actions.
 


So I could just go for the weak interpretation of the broom of flying and up its rarity to Rare. But I'd rather not. That messes up the random magic item tables I so love, and makes the broom a super-star in the Combat Pillar as well as the Exploration Pillar, rather than maintaining the intended balance of broom as entry level Exploration item, boots as entry level Combat item, wings as superior Combat item and carpet as superior Exploration item.

I'm kind of stuck.
Have you considered bringing up the power of the other items so the broom isn't ahead of them? It seems like the issue is that the broom is basically a bit more powerful than it should be, and sure, you could solve that by making it weaker, but you could also give the other items other advantages that made them more viable. I think it's also worth noting that having an item grant you a movement type (and thus Dash) isn't purely beneficial - in some cases it would be more useful to a PC for the item to move independently and without using their Move at all.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
This is inductive reasoning, not RAW. A lot of things in D&D fall into the gaps. I like your reasoning, I don't really disagree with it, I just don't agree that it's RAW, because it's inductive reasoning. This is a fine ruling, the issue was that you were presenting it as RAW, not a ruling.
It doesn't actually say "the PC decides where it goes" when they are riding it. It says that when it's not being ridden you can tell it where to go and it travels there by itself. So it doesn't need steering.

It would certainly be a lot better balanced if it did need steering, requiring a "use an object" action.

It says it can be ridden. Which would make it a mount. Mounts have actions.

Either the broom is considered a mount or it's not. If it's a mount (I interpret it that way because you are riding it), use the mounted combat rules. If it's not a mount then it's modifying the user's movement by replacing it, just like the Fly spell. It's vague enough you could also say that it's not covered by the rules at all, but I disagree with that.

IMHO don't think it really matters if my ruling is RAW or not because I don't really believe in RAW as a phrase being particularly useful in many cases. The 5E rules are often open to interpretation, it's not a technical document.

I also think the broom of flying is completely overpowered for it's rarity unless as a DM you rule that you have to use two hands to maintain control which is also probably overkill. When I did have it in my games I required one hand be on the broom at all times which limits it a little bit.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Let's all remember something here: "RAW" means RULED as Written. That means you take what is written and you interpret it (using whatever language composition you have) as the rule you are using.

If the way something is written can be interpreted two different ways... it means it wasn't written clearly enough with only one way evident.

THEREFORE IT'S POINTLESS TO KEEP WAGGING YOUR FINGERS BACK AND FORTH AT EACH OTHER, BECAUSE YOU ARE BOTH RIGHT! YOU'RE BOTH RULING IT BASED ON HOW YOU ARE UNDERSTANDING HOW IT'S WRITTEN!

For pete's sake... 🙄
 

For the record, Defcon, I've traditionally seen the first word of that acronym be "Rules", rather than "Ruled". The intended meaning is that "this is just what the rules say, without any judgement or alteration required". Obviously not all situations are that cut-and-dried and sometimes folks misrepresent their own interpretation as being simply the written rules AKA RAW.

That being said, I know it's a bit of a semantic fine point and I generally agree with the thrust of your post.
 

THEREFORE IT'S POINTLESS TO KEEP WAGGING YOUR FINGERS BACK AND FORTH AT EACH OTHER, BECAUSE YOU ARE BOTH RIGHT! YOU'RE BOTH RULING IT BASED ON HOW YOU ARE UNDERSTANDING HOW IT'S WRITTEN!

For pete's sake... 🙄
My point isn't what is a correct or not interpretation of the rules. My point is that in this case the rule is not written. It simply doesn't say how the broom works (and there is no general rule to fall back on). The DM has to rule however they think best, because there is no RAW.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
For the record, Defcon, I've traditionally seen the first word of that acronym be "Rules", rather than "Ruled". The intended meaning is that "this is just what the rules say, without any judgement or alteration required". Obviously not all situations are that cut-and-dried and sometimes folks misrepresent their own interpretation as being simply the written rules AKA RAW.

That being said, I know it's a bit of a semantic fine point and I generally agree with the thrust of your post.
Fair enough. But this exactly highlights why "RAW" is stupid. Because some rules actually aren't written. As @Paul Farquhar points out... they don't think there actually is a rule written in this case for the Boom. Which makes it doubly pointless to care about it, let along spend multiple posts arguing about it.

Everything in this game is RAI-- Rules As Interpreted. Yes, I know that the common phrasing of RAI is "Rules As Intended"... but seeing as how most of the time the writer of said rules is not there to tell you what they intended... what RAI actually represents is you interpreting the language you see and deciding how you use them to rule situations in your game. And when you have that, it doesn't matter at all whether a rule is clear or not. Everything written in the game is interpreted BY YOU in how it's meant to be used. And telling someone else they are wrong makes absolutely zero sense.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
So I could just go for the weak interpretation of the broom of flying and up its rarity to Rare. But I'd rather not. That messes up the random magic item tables I so love, and makes the broom a super-star in the Combat Pillar as well as the Exploration Pillar, rather than maintaining the intended balance of broom as entry level Exploration item, boots as entry level Combat item, wings as superior Combat item and carpet as superior Exploration item.
I'm kind of stuck.
Sure, so my solution above was that you can sit on the Broom, but the only way you can give it instructions to go somewhere is by using an action and a command word.

In combat, this is akin to a really crappy maneuverability in previous editions. Dashing in-and-out isn't going to work, and even basic stuff (beyond "hover in place") is going to cost actions that will prevent you from attacking.

Out of combat, the action cost is much less important. And you are probably doing less tactical positioning as well. "go right above that tree" every few minutes isn't going to burn your action economy.
 

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