How has flying affected your games?

Coroc

Adventurer
I find flying familiars to be more of an irritation to me than flying characters. The whole thing about flying is that it just allows certain obstacles to be passed over by the character for whom the obstacle was not designed for.
...
My oh my, accidents happen, like an ogre suddenly clapping his hands as tweety flies by ...
Or some sudden drop or rise in temperature, depending on the color of the dragon sneezing...
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I just find that 600ft straight up makes for an extremely vulnerable creature.

A permastealth rogue on the ground or in a tree is much safer, and IME, just as deadly.
 

Eltab

Explorer
I went through Lost Mines of Phandelver, along with an aaracockra PC played by somebody with little sense of tactics or creating diversions. I assiduously enlightened him. :devilish:
The DM and I had an away-from-table chat and agreed that the aaracockra could scout (which provided us with the ability to search open terrain much faster for landmarks) and 1/fight could drop things on enemies.
We got alchemists fire from somewhere and tried to drop it on the dragon via the 'bolt hole' in his ceiling. (We missed ! But it was a highlight moment.)
 

Eltab

Explorer
As DM:
One of the Red Wizards in HotDQ has a Ring of Feather Fall. So when the PCs came to hunt him down on the flying castle, he could climb out the window, say "See you later," and calmly jump. ( I never did explain that to my players.)
 

uzirath

Explorer
When I run games with relatively common flight, whether due to naturally flying races or magic, I adjust the game world accordingly. Cities may have strict laws about flight with No Fly Zones. These may be be magically enforced and there will certainly be aerial guards or troops available. Architecture would presume the possibility of flying thieves, so you might see bars on the windows all the way up. Dungeon designers or denizens would never imagine that a pit or chasm would be a significant barrier. They might, however, get tricky with gusts of wind or anti-magic fields placed over the center of the abyss. In such a world, flight has advantages, to be sure, but PCs will understand that it comes with risks, too. (Their opposition will also, of course, contain opponents who take advantage of the Z-axis.)
 

Celebrim

Legend
It's a problem mostly if you as a DM aren't ready for it.

Some considerations:

a) Winged flight (which is not stable and requires a lot of space) is not as problematic as magical flight (which is stable and generally only requires the sames space as a body).
b) Low maneuverability flight is not as problematic as high maneuverability flight that allows hovering and other maneuvers.
c) Flight available to one party member is not as problematic as flight available to all party members.
d) Flight available at will is less problematic than flight available for short durations.
e) Beware rule sets that simplify all flight to its least problematic sort. A more complex rule set that limits how you can fly and what you can do while flying, at least for anything short of a flying carpet can let you introduce flying more easily.
f) Beware rule sets that reduce all the risk of flight. Flight ought to come with inherent challenges related to the fact that you are moving at a high rate of speed at height. Flight is dangerous. Losing flight ability while you are 100' off the ground is or ought to be a problem.
g) Be aware that by some tier, flight will be available and will be increasingly available at higher tiers. Prepare and plan accordingly. In particular, most encounters should involve foes with ranged attacks, or which can fly, or in enclosed spaces where foe is maneuverable enough to dominate the space. And if on occasion they do kite a less maneuverable foe, don't get upset about it. Congratulate them on their tactical acumen and success and move on. One of the worst impulses that can inflict a GM in my opinion is the need to impress players with their encounters, and fantasies about how successful your monsters or traps are going to be are to be avoided.
h) Be aware that your society is one that has experienced flight being available to some extent and will have planned accordingly. In a world of fey flying boys, upstairs windows will in fact be shut and barred at night, for example. Parapets will be routinely built with enclosing hoardings, and not just as an emergency measure when preparing for a siege. And so forth. Society ought not be surprised by low level flying magic.

You'll note that rule sets like 3.5 tended to multiply the problems attendant with flying PCs and from an earlier point. For example, one of the earliest forms of flying available was fast, magical, stable, highly maneuverable, had a usefully long duration, and had a built in magical safety device that floated the character gently to the ground if the spell's duration suddenly ended. I put it too you that fast, magical, stable, highly maneuverable flight, with a usefully long duration, and a magical parachute built in is useful enough that if it was a higher level spell than 3rd, casters would still take it. Further, I note that that is a huge jump in usability compared to Levitation at 2nd level. So in short, if you are worried about the impact of flight on your game there are ways to make flight useful without making it game breaking.

To a certain extent I like having some amount of flight available in that it becomes a useful problem solving resource. There is always someone in the party who is about as agile as a rock, and while you can punish that with scenario design what you don't want to do is punish that so severely that certain scenarios are effectively dead ends because part or all of the party can't overcome the obstacle. Having someone able to play taxi for the less mobile characters is more useful to the DM really than it is to the party.
 
Flying PCs have rarely created any kind of major issue, in experience, because they're just one PC, and in most cases all the PCs need to get somewhere. Any obstacle they can trivialise is an obstacle a few climb checks or a Dimension Door, or even a flying familiar could have trivialized. They often have low fly speeds too. In combat as they have no cover if flying (typically), they tend to actually get into as much trouble as they avoid.

I find that 95% of concerns with them are more aesthetic than actually due to real problems. People worry unnecessarily about them. Even I did before I had an actual Avariel in the party in 2E. It is worth checking their encumbrance limit if they start trying to fly other PCs around - flying PCs are often quite weak.
 

DM Dave1

Adventurer
Let flight be fun for the players. Sometimes it helps them overcome an obstacle or gain the upper hand in a combat and that feels awesome.

That said, don't let flight be an insta-win button, either. In other words, be sure to make the environment a key factor in encounter building some/most of the time:
  • Low ceilings are an easy solution
  • Outside, low hanging clouds or fog might result in disadvantage on attacks from a flying PC
  • Puzzles which require contact with the floor by multiple creatures to solve
  • Traps which fire posion bolts only above 7' in a cavern (to keep the resident goblinoids safe from those pesky marauding giants)
  • Etc...
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
I let my two melee-oriented PCs get boots of flying when I ran Tyranny of Dragons, and I regretted it. It made the dragons a lot harder to run effectively, because their flight ability was a complete non-factor in combat after that. In fact, I stopped even bothering with making them fly because it just led to the headache of three-dimensional combat.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Not much. I just have to remember the height for each room for the flying fool. They do get upset when the height is only 15 feet. Which means the monsters can nibble on their toes.
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
I've had some flying PCs, and yeah, the "I'll just ferry the other PCs over this obstacle, one at a time" is a thing. I generally required strength checks for that, which made for a few interesting failures. But after a while when it's the same solution for everything, that stops being interesting.

My current PCs have an airship, but they've been pretty good about not abusing it, and it's opened up more adventuring possibilities than it's closed off.

We had an aarocroka barbarian in Tomb. I didn't like it, mostly because he was always shuttling other PCs around like a lyft driver. I found it annoying and often difficult to gauge what he could reasonably lift and carry.
 

Nebulous

Adventurer
I've had some flying PCs, and yeah, the "I'll just ferry the other PCs over this obstacle, one at a time" is a thing. I generally required strength checks for that, which made for a few interesting failures. But after a while when it's the same solution for everything, that stops being interesting.

My current PCs have an airship, but they've been pretty good about not abusing it, and it's opened up more adventuring possibilities than it's closed off.
I don't think I would allow a birdman again, it created more weird (or repetitive) situations than fun ones. And he was strong too. I did enforce "you're encumbered and slow carrying this 250lb ally with gear". Generally it was just used to skip low level obstacles or hit enemies from a place they could never reach.
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
I don't think I'd outright ban them, but I probably would just outright rule that they can't carry someone else while flying.

I don't think I would allow a birdman again, it created more weird (or repetitive) situations than fun ones. And he was strong too. I did enforce "you're encumbered and slow carrying this 250lb ally with gear". Generally it was just used to skip low level obstacles or hit enemies from a place they could never reach.
 
Hi everyone. How has having flying PCs affected your game?
PitA.

Flyers take a lot of grittier heroic tropes, Indiana-Jonesing/Erol-Flynnery, and general parkour fun and toss it out the window. They also take less gritty fantasy tropes, like, oh, castles, and invalidate them w/o furious handwaving.

Even 4e pixies with their mildly ludicrous altitude 1 limit (are you a fairy, or a G.E.V.?) were annoying that way, at times.

Flight, Teleportation, Invisibility, and significant shape-shifting should all be pushed to significantly higher level, IMHO.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I don't think I'd outright ban them, but I probably would just outright rule that they can't carry someone else while flying.
I understand why you would do that from a meta-game standpoint but personally I would want an in world justification. If a PC can pick up an object that happens to weigh the exact same amount as a PC and carry it around while they fly, why can't they carry a PC?

I like to keep my rulings as consistent and logical as possible without falling back on "because magic".
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
Sigh, been there.

When I tried to do that it caused such an argument at the table it wasn't worth it. So i compromised with the player.
Yeah, getting a good consistent ruling here is a tough needle to thread. An aarakocra could carry presumably 12 pounds and fly, but that same 12 pounds, if it's hide armor, makes flying impossible.

I understand why you would do that from a meta-game standpoint but personally I would want an in world justification. If a PC can pick up an object that happens to weigh the exact same amount as a PC and carry it around while they fly, why can't they carry a PC?

I like to keep my rulings as consistent and logical as possible without falling back on "because magic".
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Yeah, getting a good consistent ruling here is a tough needle to thread. An aarakocra could carry presumably 12 pounds and fly, but that same 12 pounds, if it's hide armor, makes flying impossible.
I've always assumed that was because of the difficulty of creating heavier armor that didn't interfere with flight. Then again I don't allow Aarakocra in my campaign so it's never come up. Boots of flying and similar are what I have to deal with.

Another option is to say that when you are flying you need to consider your own weight in your carrying capacity. Should work most of the time if using the base rules (strength X 15).
 

Nebulous

Adventurer
And then, since I will let them carry PCs around, within reason, and we don't normally track encumbrance, and PCs carry a TON of crap, we're trying to quickly calculate how much so and so weighs as he's hoisted over the lava lake or whatever. In the future I would rather just not allow a constantly flying character with no resource management.
 

Nebulous

Adventurer
PitA.

Flyers take a lot of grittier heroic tropes, Indiana-Jonesing/Erol-Flynnery, and general parkour fun and toss it out the window. They also take less gritty fantasy tropes, like, oh, castles, and invalidate them w/o furious handwaving.

Even 4e pixies with their mildly ludicrous altitude 1 limit (are you a fairy, or a G.E.V.?) were annoying that way, at times.

Flight, Teleportation, Invisibility, and significant shape-shifting should all be pushed to significantly higher level, IMHO.
Ugh. We had a 2e pixie one time as a PC. The sleep arrows were even worse than the flying. But yes, I think flight and teleport and invisible and shape changing should be higher level too.
 

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