4E Martial Flight - Making the Melee Warrior Fly - sort of.

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
This was written a while ago and I think originally posted on the WOTC community site before they destroyed it and a lot of 4e resources in the process I managed to rescue it. I thought of it partially because of the pixie was coming out and later because 5e seemed set to make flying a low level effect.

How can a Warrior Fly?
Well obviously this isn't about actually giving martial characters flying abilities. But there is a tendency for people to underestimate the potency of spells. a classic case is that of the fly spell.

In order for my mobile "melee" fighter to have something analogous to a flying spell caster he probably needs a healthy amount of the following
  • Missile Deflection/Protection : Nigh immunity to ranged attacks perhaps because I can deflect them perfectly or perhaps because the divine protects me - Paladins want to be mobile too (like flying somewhat high makes me immune to melee attacks) Note while using focus to gain better ranged defense you are a slightly better target than normal to attacks from adjacent enemies. Similarly its possible to fly in low and be no better target than someone on ground ... you dont have to engage in ranged focus constantly. (requires focus)
    OR
  • Long Arm: Improved range for thrown/hurled objects and weapons, extends the range of thrown weapons (using str) to be more comparable to what is achievable with launched ones (and longer distance spells) - for some purposes having Long Arm implies a certain level of functioning at range yourself and is rather an alternative to missile deflection.
    AND
  • Penetrate The Line : Able to move across the battlefield through adversary spaces safely. (requires focus), for some this is nimble movement for some it is smashing through its a matter of style
  • Fast Climb : Climb or descend walls at near running speed Parkour style.
  • Free Running : Unimpaired movement through types* of difficult terrain, but may take greater damage when its not navigated well (its possible to have difficult terrain in the air too just sufficiently less common that this is worth giving a bonus on additionally the implications for a flier are higher). *The terrain types might be built up via learned martial practices.
  • Greater Jumping : Enhanced jumping distances (remember to add in a 2x factor for pole vaulting with spear or staff).
  • Perfected Balance : Enhanced tight rope walking used to navigate where jumping distance is still too short (because you know it will be) attaching a cord to a rope and firing it on an arrow across a chasm.
  • Far Sight: Improved range of perception (like flying high straight up) - dependent on spending time achieving the effect this requires you to be stationary and is directional.
  • Cat Fall : Always land on your feet if conscious, useful for truly minimizing fall damage (true fliers do not worry about falling unless they are unconcious).

Abilities which require focus are basically incompatible functions.

Getting successfully attacked causes you to lose focus possibly with implications (if it occurs while moving through enemy spaces the individual whose space you are moving through not only stops you but gains a free attack)

Some of these ideas are basically oriented for melee specialists who forego ranged capability... in theory giving up most of the capabilities that would make them deadly or properly capable of responding at range. (Though there is more to it - as ranged ability obviously doesn't match the abilities of flight)

Examples of archetypes might range from the Strongman who sometimes hurls miscellaneous pieces of scenery out of frustration but very much lacks the precision to exploit ranged weaponry to Honorable Knights and Paladins bound by oaths against use of ranged weaponry. From Battleraging Berserks / Barbarians who really aren't effective unless they smell the blood of enemies to Specialists who scoff at lack of elegance in the ranged attack forms some Martial Artists of course call them Kensei.

It is obvious that the abilities can or should be broken up into individual components just as levitation/feather fall and jump etc are available as distinct abilities for a spell caster.

More possibilities include Missile Reflection: you may not be really deadly at range and don't initiate ranged combat - but you can reflect ranged attacks back on those who attack you (yes this may include spells) sure Jedi/Swordmages might be on the list.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
One of my motivations for this line of thought is that I would like certain game/genre parameters to be more flexible in 4e and its future descendants. What level flying becomes du jour is one of those. Frequent teleportation short distances ie blinking was made workable can the same be done for flight?

In 4e currently flight in combat is a mid paragon achievement appropriate for LOTR since Gandalf the white is very appropriate for early paragon eh. But in a fair number of story lines for instance in the Golden Compass or Harry Potter books flight is fairly early achieved capability.

How would people go about adjusting the games assumptions in this fashion? Can we give a paladin a Divine Providence protection DR to attacks which occur from beyond 10? Could we halve the level of flight magics (and those which transform you in to birds) ?

This seems to be an area where adjusting the game is less straightforward than many.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Juggernauts Aura Of Light. (sort of an all in one flight that isn't)

This divine magic makes you immune to ranged magic and missiles (to stop you they have to have the bravery and actually attack with melee ability which isn't going to be easy) and causes difficult terrain to bend aside you can also press aside enemies to allow you to pass with relative safety through their location as you charge through it and might sometimes (saving throws based) crumble walls (insert height/thickness limit for how long it takes for one you confront to crumble) before you. (the latter is a bit like the caster flying up a wall or flying the fighter up the wall and having him tie off a rope to enable others egress - it enables the rest of the party to get through... but doesn't ALWAYS work so it doesn't always enable this paladin to simply fly over AND the crumbled wall leaves big obvious route in plain view the which the rope wouldnt and its lack of subtlety and team play element seems paladin like. Perhaps it might be stopped if an opportunity attack stops them though limitations like that depends on what spell/ability you are paralel to if any attack that hits a flier knocks them out of the sky then the Paladin should take extra damage from a melee combatant who penetrates)

As I said paladins want to fly too...
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
This is of course not just Martial, Arcane and Primal and Divine melee combatants are completely appropriate too of course. I just think naming the post Martial Flight a bit of fun snark.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Perhaps ironically the martial technique I mentioned in this thread called Bradleys barrier of steel is NOT raw numbers good enough to match the full immunity of a flying ranged combatant can fairly naturally achieve against a melee combatant ( Although I think good enough against minion class damage )
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Since @Tony Vargas mentioned multiple powers of overwhelming nature. This now has me thinking of Invisibility that isn't "invisibility" but rather Faster than the Eye can Follow - the character moves fast enough that you cannot target them stylistically appropriate for many martial types.
OR even defender style Perfected Defense - might be able to parry attacks against adjacent allies so thoroughly there is no opening except the defender themselves, but close and area effects are not as completely inhibited. The enemy could still need a check to target them (or maybe know how to time the area attack?) And combat advantage on the first attack when the stance is lost/dropped ie when you attack (since you are dropping out of this full defense mode).
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Since @Tony Vargas mentioned multiple powers of overwhelming nature. This now has me thinking of Invisibility that isn't "invisibility" but rather Faster than the Eye can Follow - the character moves fast enough that you cannot target them stylistically appropriate for many martial types.
OR even defender style Perfected Defense - might be able to parry attacks against adjacent allies so thoroughly there is no opening except the defender themselves, but close and area effects are not as completely inhibited. The enemy could still need a check to target them (or maybe know how to time the area attack?) And combat advantage on the first attack when the stance is lost/dropped ie when you attack (since you are dropping out of this full defense mode).
Unlike the flight stuff above this is more Invisibility/Absolute Defense for those who do not stealth/cast invisibility spells. It might be too close in D&D land to exactly the same mechanic.

The non-combat context effects for invisibility enable evasion of encounters and so have big implications in skill challenge arenas. Where the above rather does not.

In other words it might need more?
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Another not quite invisibility from skill power. What about a Domination or Diplomacy or even Hobbit Meekness style Skill Power that induces the enemy to not target a character. Sure maybe collateral damage can hurt them just not targeting Or attacking a location that only contains them.
 
or even Hobbit Meekness style Skill Power that induces the enemy to not target a character. Sure maybe collateral damage can hurt them just not targeting Or attacking a location that only contains them.
That sounds very familiar. I think there may have been a feat or something, maybe in 3e, along those lines. "Contemptible...." "Target?" "Foe?" "Threat?" ...it's eluding me.
 

NotAYakk

Adventurer
Focusing on only "you are a melee character and the enemy can fly, how not be useless":

"See it Coming" -- mostly nullify long range attacks, mixed with "Olympic Leaps" -- jump extra far and "Ride'm Cowboy" -- grab a hostile creature, and if it is larger than you you "ride on it".

The three of them together (a) forces the foe to close, then (b) lets the hero engage if they do come close.

Being vulnerable, or less invulnerable, to close range ranged attacks can help make the defence from being over-strong.

"Bring it Down" would be ability to knock flying foes out of the sky, paired with either "Long Arm" or non-incompetent bow abilities.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Being vulnerable, or less invulnerable, to close range ranged attacks can help make the defense from being over-strong.
Yes there can be a gradient upwards you might even make the amount of defense or damage reduction be based on the distance they are in effect you create exaggerated range penalties, but what about if they arent targeted you might be able to move in order to provide the effective immunity to an area effect ("Get out of there" a triggered move in response to a ranged area attack, to be like flight that needs something that keeps on working or can be repeated even so all part of a stance or the nigh invulnerability thing .

Also yes get them close enough that other things make more sense is on the list. "Come and get it" is ridiculously too realistic AND innadequate in this case.

Like the Olympic Leap/Athletic Ride Em Cowboy.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
teleportation.
Perfected Escape ability for the team like the Engineers trick. And others you and I have been discussing.
Evasive Travel practices with reliable and without encounters (or selectable danger) or all basically optional this might have as a component danger sensing.
Short cuts ( never going to be fast enough without Schrodingers destination)
Oops We Got Lost... but we are where we really wanted to be.
I suppose I could add forced rest-enablement, like Rope Trick.
That might be associated with Warlords ability to get the whole party a full rest in very short time period
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Shape Shifting really can be a super versatile can do most everything, this is 4e which is rather reserved although this was in HotFL so they are up for Wizard Upgrades

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TiwazTyrsfist

Adventurer
Counterpoint:
Hold two swords out at arms length to each side
Tilt blades counter to each other at roughly 30 degrees to the horizontal
Spin REALLY REALLY FAST
Fighter-copter!
 

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