How has flying affected your games?

Xeviat

Explorer
Thanks for all your input. I'm going to be allowing aarakocra in my game, but I've been thinking of busting out the 3E flight maneuverability rules. I'm not sure if albatross can fly in one spot like smaller songbirds can, for instance. I'm definitely enforcing size limits, needing to spread those wings, and a few other things.

Been watching a lot of Gargoyles. Thanks new streaming service!
 

Coroc

Adventurer
Thanks for all your input. I'm going to be allowing aarakocra in my game, but I've been thinking of busting out the 3E flight maneuverability rules. I'm not sure if albatross can fly in one spot like smaller songbirds can, for instance. I'm definitely enforcing size limits, needing to spread those wings, and a few other things.

Been watching a lot of Gargoyles. Thanks new streaming service!
Enforce encumbrance rules, so it is not handwaved to use the aarakocra PC as the parties one man helicopter/jetpack easily, especially if under fire.
 

pogre

Adventurer
No one has played an aarakocra in my game yet. Fly spells occasionally make an appearance. PCs fly a lot more in my epic game, but that is to be expected and is a non-factor given everything else that's usually happening.

Flight was a much bigger issue in 3.x with my group.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
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.
I once did an analysis of the potential tactical benefits of flight. I did so by showing what abilities you could give to a land bound hero that would be analogous to flight but inverted. It was a pretty extensive list of things that were required. One item included virtual invulnerability to ranged attacks beyond a certain range.
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.
Disney movie had fairies who bounced from thing to thing as they flew if you visualize faerie flight as being earth energy driven they get too far away and they stall. LOL.
Flight, Teleportation, Invisibility, and significant shape-shifting should all be pushed to significantly higher level, IMHO.
I want these to be on a well defined slider actually. With other things adjusted in sync.
 
I once did an analysis of the potential tactical benefits of flight. I did so by showing what abilities you could give to a land bound hero that would be analogous to flight but inverted. It was a pretty extensive list of things that were required. One item included virtual invulnerability to ranged attacks beyond a certain range.
"We're gonna need a lotta rope..."

That sounds interesting, actually, is that kicking around here somewhere?

I want these to be on a well defined slider actually. With other things adjusted in sync.
That sounds potentially complex, though not necessarily in a bad way... what were you thinking?
 

Nebulous

Adventurer
Enforce encumbrance rules, so it is not handwaved to use the aarakocra PC as the parties one man helicopter/jetpack easily, especially if under fire.
Yes, players will abuse this if you are not very careful. It's an unlimited fly spell, without the normal constraints of spell slots and duration.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Tony Vargas said:
Flight, Teleportation, Invisibility, and significant shape-shifting should all be pushed to significantly higher level, IMHO.
I want these to be on a well defined slider actually. With other things adjusted in sync.
That sounds potentially complex, though not necessarily in a bad way... what were you thinking?
To be honest not sure At ALL.
Something akin to having things level gated with modifiers depending on how common another ability is considered in game world. An ability like Melee Combatants - Missile Deflection has its level defined as N + flying mod. Where flying mod is derived from how low of level flying is commonly available .
 

Todd Roybark

Explorer
I had a 3E game with races that could fly by 3rd level (Asamiar with Racial feat to give wings, and a race from Arcana Unearthed/Evolved).....it never felt unbalanced. I even ran it where everything had Perfect Flight for ease of use.....if I want complicated flight rules I will play AeroTech 🛫

Of course in 3e a single Flyby Attack (Spring Attack) with Improved Crit was preferable to me as the DM than a Full Attack, and if flight is more common in a campaign so are Flying Baddies.
 
Flying hasn't really effected my games much at all, despite me having several player characters who have acquired the ability though multiple means, though I should perhaps clarify that this is due to two reasons:
1) I have always planned my games with 3d space in mind. Monsters have flight already, and they do use it. To not think three dimensionally is to limit yourself from playing like half the monsters in the game poorly, and I dont mean from an optimal sense, I mean from the perspective of how monsters who act given their abilities and personalities.

2) Give my players flight, it's inevitable past level 5 anyway due to spells, and downright lethal at low levels for the players. I simply just remind them that tripping a flying creature without hover causes it to fall, and falling damage hurts...a lot. They might cheese an encounter once or twice but word travels about flying creatures quickly.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
...

2) Give my players flight, it's inevitable past level 5 anyway due to spells, and downright lethal at low levels for the players. I simply just remind them that tripping a flying creature without hover causes it to fall, and falling damage hurts...a lot. They might cheese an encounter once or twice but word travels about flying creatures quickly.

...
OMG, tripping a flying creature? Really? Some one came up at my table with that, no matter if Perkins tweeted it to be possible or what ever, ... , that is like jump movement ending in mid air due to distance.

And nowhere it is guaranteed that the fly spell is available. If you as the DM rule it isn't then it isn't, so that is a thing you easy can avoid if you want/need to.


Edit: Do players at your table also have to make wing flapping movements with their arms when flying?

Sorry, but tripping a flying creature that is ... just to much for me.
 
OMG, tripping a flying creature? Really? Some one came up at my table with that, no matter if Perkins tweeted it to be possible or what ever, ... , that is like jump movement ending in mid air due to distance.

And nowhere it is guaranteed that the fly spell is available. If you as the DM rule it isn't then it isn't, so that is a thing you easy can avoid if you want/need to.


Edit: Do players at your table also have to make wing flapping movements with their arms when flying?

Sorry, but tripping a flying creature that is ... just to much for me.
Whether they'd have to make checks depends on the method of flight. By default a fly speed of any kind does not require checks to fly, albeit it might require an ability check to do a trick maneuver, fly in poor weather, or overlong distances, etc.

Crawford's tweets arent even needed here, according to the basic rules on page 74 (dont have a phb at hand but it is the same rules):

If a flying creature is knocked prone, has its speed reduced to 0, or is otherwise deprived of the ability to move, the creature falls, unless it has the ability to hover or it is being held aloft by magic, such as the fly spell.
So yeah, trips, restraining effects, grapples, etc. all cause most creatures to fall prone. If it helps you rationalize it, typically I rule it as the person going for a creature's wings. Said creature is welcome to the typical opposed athletics/acrobatics check or save to avoid such stuff. Flying is risky. Fortunately monsters are well aware of this, it's no different than a dragon picking up a player and dropping them hundreds of feet up.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
Whether they'd have to make checks depends on the method of flight. By default a fly speed of any kind does not require checks to fly, albeit it might require an ability check to do a trick maneuver, fly in poor weather, or overlong distances, etc.

Crawford's tweets arent even needed here, according to the basic rules on page 74 (dont have a phb at hand but it is the same rules):



So yeah, trips, restraining effects, grapples, etc. all cause most creatures to fall prone. If it helps you rationalize it, typically I rule it as the person going for a creature's wings. Said creature is welcome to the typical opposed athletics/acrobatics check or save to avoid such stuff. Flying is risky. Fortunately monsters are well aware of this, it's no different than a dragon picking up a player and dropping them hundreds of feet up.
Falling prone is something different while walking or flying, especially by a trip maneuver. When you walk and stumble than gravity itself makes you fall prone - after that you try to stand up again.
When you intercept a winged creatures wing movement then yes, as long as you intercept its means to keep itself in the air then it falls, but to keep that up while e.g. grappling it you fall along.
Simply delivering a midair leg swipe maneuver will not cause the wings to stop working.
But if you are subject to a fly spell, as long as your concentration on the spell is not broken you will not fall. Your magic is working whether your position is horizontal vertical or in any direction also a forced change of that position in the air does not change the fact that a fly spell is the source of you flying.
So what is a trip in midflight to you if you are under the effect of a fly spell? I would say the best "trip"
in the case of a fly spell is to deliver so much damage that the concentration is broken, or for a winged creature to paralyze his wing movement somehow.
So never ever would a e.g. battlemasters special maneuver trip aka a leg swipe or a tackle cause somebody even to fall over like on ground if he is flying by spell and if winged it still is arguable, since even if brought out of balance as soon as falling a few meters the fall can be easily caught.
Every other ruling is Rulius Magistrarius like dual-wielding-lance-charge on a horse using two attack rolls or similar silly stuff by interpreting a loose wording in RAW to justify totally irrational things.


Edit official citing of you "If a flying creature is knocked prone.."
What I am debating is not even the official rule but this statement, I debate that it is possible to knock a flying creature "prone" at all unless you paralyse it or make it fall unconscious or similar things, a trip maneuver surely can be applied but with every human rationale it will have not the same effect as on ground.
 
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Nebulous

Adventurer
OMG, tripping a flying creature? Really? Some one came up at my table with that, no matter if Perkins tweeted it to be possible or what ever, ... , that is like jump movement ending in mid air due to distance.

And nowhere it is guaranteed that the fly spell is available. If you as the DM rule it isn't then it isn't, so that is a thing you easy can avoid if you want/need to.


Edit: Do players at your table also have to make wing flapping movements with their arms when flying?

Sorry, but tripping a flying creature that is ... just to much for me.
You could visualize it that instead of kicking the legs out from beneath you are clipping a wing. The end result would be the same. Although tripping a "magically" flying person, that's a little tougher. Maybe they get caught into a spin loop and it takes a moment to realign themselves.
 
Falling prone is something different while walking or flying, especially by a trip maneuver. When you walk and stumble than gravity itself makes you fall prone - after that you try to stand up again.
When you intercept a winged creatures wing movement then yes, as long as you intercept its means to keep itself in the air then it falls, but to keep that up while e.g. grappling it you fall along.
Simply delivering a midair leg swipe maneuver will not cause the wings to stop working.
But if you are subject to a fly spell, as long as your concentration on the spell is not broken you will not fall. Your magic is working whether your position is horizontal vertical or in any direction also a forced change of that position in the air does not change the fact that a fly spell is the source of you flying.
So what is a trip in midflight to you if you are under the effect of a fly spell? I would say the best "trip"
in the case of a fly spell is to deliver so much damage that the concentration is broken, or for a winged creature to paralyze his wing movement somehow.
So never ever would a e.g. battlemasters special maneuver trip aka a leg swipe or a tackle cause somebody even to fall over like on ground if he is flying by spell and if winged it still is arguable, since even if brought out of balance as soon as falling a few meters the fall can be easily caught.
Every other ruling is Rulius Magistrarius like dual-wielding-lance-charge on a horse using two attack rolls or similar silly stuff by interpreting a loose wording in RAW to justify totally irrational things.


Edit official citing of you "If a flying creature is knocked prone.."
What I am debating is not even the official rule but this statement, I debate that it is possible to knock a flying creature "prone" at all unless you paralyse it or make it fall unconscious or similar things, a trip maneuver surely can be applied but with every human rationale it will have not the same effect as on ground.
And I am telling you that RAW there is no differentiation between different types of trip effects, nor is there a "prone wings" difference. The battle master ability (likely the main one someone would try to cheese here) does work with ranged weapons, and could therefore be a well placed arrow on a wing. Grappling a creature would also cause you to fall as well, so by RAW you would definitely take falling damage. Both only work on large or smaller creatures, albeit spells like ensnaring strike dont have a size restriction. And yes, fly and creatures with the hover trait are unaffected, other than halving their speed drone being prone (though many hover creatures are also immune to prone). Fly is a concentration, so could be lost, but immunity to being knocked out of the sky is literally THE POINT of the hover trait.

And yes, falling the dragon is a fun and valid tactic, one my players have used before. But a) it requires the dragon to be in spell/weapon range, and b) creatures tend to be QUITE angry at the poor sap who just caused them such embarrassment. Fire breath to the face and a round of focused attacks a downed player makes, which is more than fair trade for the falling damage and bada** moment of downing a dragon as a player.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
And I am telling you that RAW there is no differentiation between different types of trip effects, nor is there a "prone wings" difference. The battle master ability (likely the main one someone would try to cheese here) does work with ranged weapons, and could therefore be a well placed arrow on a wing. Grappling a creature would also cause you to fall as well, so by RAW you would definitely take falling damage. Both only work on large or smaller creatures, albeit spells like ensnaring strike dont have a size restriction. And yes, fly and creatures with the hover trait are unaffected, other than halving their speed drone being prone (though many hover creatures are also immune to prone). Fly is a concentration, so could be lost, but immunity to being knocked out of the sky is literally THE POINT of the hover trait.

And yes, falling the dragon is a fun and valid tactic, one my players have used before. But a) it requires the dragon to be in spell/weapon range, and b) creatures tend to be QUITE angry at the poor sap who just caused them such embarrassment. Fire breath to the face and a round of focused attacks a downed player makes, which is more than fair trade for the falling damage and bada** moment of downing a dragon as a player.
Arrow to the wing is at least some rational explanation, but a grappling a winged opponent in the standard sense, while it has the desired effect, I would rule that you fall along in this case, and the moment you hit the ground you take the same falling damage. If you opt to stay in your position after the grapple then one of two things happen: You let go and the creature catches itself or you carry the creature which requires a strength check or you let go. If you carry the creature then it canot fall and take damage from it.
Ok let us do dragon grappling Coroc style:
Player has got the ability to fly somehow and is no wussie and decides to impair the dragons wings by a grapple.
1. Acrobatic check to get into position - it is no simple attack but a targeted attack so either that or disadvantage.
2. Opposed str check
3. You impair the dragon
4. the dragon falls x feet / per round
5. as part of his attack the dragon either toasts you on his back (he is immune vs his breath) or tries to get loose, each round in the air so again saving throw with disadvantage, because you grapple you cannot move out of the way of the breath or opposed str check
6. You manage to survive 1.-5. somehow the dragon hits the ground. you have to clinge on to the dragon until the impact else the dragon recovers. The dragon takes falling damage. The dragons body is hard as steel due to scales and reptile muscles. You take falling damage.

7. Unless you are a 800 HP bear totem barbarian we got 1 very angry dragon and a hero who starts making deathsaves, ah no forget about that, the dragon takes it personal and breathes again and does his full attack

:p

Edit: I forgot, each ranged attack or spell by your buddies airborne or not, has the chance to hit you instead of the dragon, but you get advantage on that one because the drago nis much bigger and more likely to be hit :)
 
Arrow to the wing is at least some rational explanation, but a grappling a winged opponent in the standard sense, while it has the desired effect, I would rule that you fall along in this case, and the moment you hit the ground you take the same falling damage. If you opt to stay in your position after the grapple then one of two things happen: You let go and the creature catches itself or you carry the creature which requires a strength check or you let go. If you carry the creature then it canot fall and take damage from it.
Ok let us do dragon grappling Coroc style:
Player has got the ability to fly somehow and is no wussie and decides to impair the dragons wings by a grapple.
1. Acrobatic check to get into position - it is no simple attack but a targeted attack so either that or disadvantage.
2. Opposed str check
3. You impair the dragon
4. the dragon falls x feet / per round
5. as part of his attack the dragon either toasts you on his back (he is immune vs his breath) or tries to get loose, each round in the air so again saving throw with disadvantage, because you grapple you cannot move out of the way of the breath or opposed str check
6. You manage to survive 1.-5. somehow the dragon hits the ground. you have to clinge on to the dragon until the impact else the dragon recovers. The dragon takes falling damage. The dragons body is hard as steel due to scales and reptile muscles. You take falling damage.

7. Unless you are a 800 HP bear totem barbarian we got 1 very angry dragon and a hero who starts making deathsaves, ah no forget about that, the dragon takes it personal and breathes again and does his full attack

:p

Edit: I forgot, each ranged attack or spell by your buddies airborne or not, has the chance to hit you instead of the dragon, but you get advantage on that one because the drago nis much bigger and more likely to be hit :)
Oh, without a doubt a grappling barbarian would fall to the ground alongside the dragon (as I said earlier). I'd probably just skip the acrobatics check for the sake of speed and make it the single opposed athletics roll (which typically favors the dragon, though might differ in the case of the raging barbarian), albeit you are welcome to require the multiple checks it makes sense. Alternatively, what I'd likely to do is use the rules listed in the DMG for climbing on creatures (they make it function like a grapple, so the same check) and then allow them to use their action to try to grapple and wing and do the same. So a 5th level barbarian could do it in a round due to extra attack.

Assuming he succeeds, they both fall (500ft / round if you use the Xanathar's guide ruleset), and either way, the barbarian has a story the skalds and his descendants shall sing of for the ages! Honestly it's how he'd want to go. 😉
 

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