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D&D 5E On fairies and flying


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Bolares

Hero
I don't see the big problem with flight. The benefits in low level are outwheigthed by the risks of fall damage when you hit 0 HP IMO
 

Laurefindel

Legend
PCs are the heroes of the story. They're supposed to do cool things that separate them from the crowds. Flight is one of those things for some PCs. Celebrate, don't hate. Use the flight to help the player, and PC, feel cool and special.
I'm a bit torn about that; flight makes one feel cool and special, but overcoming an obstacle that would have been trivialized with flight makes one feel competent and heroic.

Cool can kill the extraordinary, so in the case of flight, the DM has to make enough of that cool flight achieve extraordinary performances. It's not that hard, but it's an extra layer of planing and consideration.
 

the Jester

Legend
These are all tactics enemies can and do use. Anyone too dumb to come up with ways of countering them isn't worth fighting.
Only enemies that can fly. And there are lots of monsters that are simply incapable of being a challenge against flyers. Flight as an always-available pc option is terrible if you ever want to use e.g. dinosaurs, wolves, leucrotta, trolls sans ranged weapons, etc, in a way that's meaningful. Or a canyon as an obstacle. Or limited lines of sight because of obstructions. Or...

It's not about coming up with ways to counter flight; it's about all the types of challenges that flight simple invalidates. That's fine if that's the game you want to play, but not all of us do.
 




Dausuul

Legend
In my experience, flight breaks down into three tiers:
  1. The party has no flight capacity at all.
  2. The party is mostly ground-bound, but some portion of it can fly.
  3. The entire party can fly.
Each tier dramatically expands the PCs' capabilities, which in turn closes off a bunch of options for the DM in adventure design. Going to tier 2 opens up room for aerial scouting, sending a flyer to tie a rope or retrieve an object, and "air support" in combat. Going to tier 3 allows the party to soar merrily over all manner of obstacles and threats, and demolish melee enemies at no risk to themselves.

BUT: The find familiar spell means tier 2 is already available from the start. It doesn't actually make much difference whether the flying thing is a PC. An owl or hawk familiar allows the party to reap most of the benefits of tier 2 right there. When you hit third level, warlocks get Pact of the Chain, beast master rangers can call flying companions, and so forth.

If it weren't so easy for a low-level party to push into tier 2 already, I would object strongly to "flight at level 1" races. However, that ship has sailed. Aarakocra and fairies are just another way to get to the same place as a wizard with an owl or a beast master with an eagle.
 


billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
It's not about coming up with ways to counter flight; it's about all the types of challenges that flight simple invalidates. That's fine if that's the game you want to play, but not all of us do.
The simple solution to that is - don't allow flying PC races. At all.
Most of the effort that WotC designers go into to limit it by duration or other weird limitations just ends up being a waste of time. DMs who find flight 'much ado about nothing' don't need those limitations, and those who don't want flyers should just exclude them.
 





the Jester

Legend
The simple solution to that is - don't allow flying PC races. At all.
Most of the effort that WotC designers go into to limit it by duration or other weird limitations just ends up being a waste of time. DMs who find flight 'much ado about nothing' don't need those limitations, and those who don't want flyers should just exclude them.
I agree- flyers are off the table in my game, because I want to be able to use things like crossing a river as a meaningful challenge. Like I said, some people are fine with the difference unlimited, resource-free, always-on flight makes; some people don't even seem to see the difference it makes at all. I see it, don't like it, and don't go for it.
 


Dausuul

Legend
As I think about it, flying races at level 1 do open up one new option: If every single player picks a flying race, they can go straight to tier 3 (the whole party can fly).

In practice, however, this is not something I would expect to happen often. It requires not just one player but all the players to get on board with this plan and pick a concept that fits. And if the entire party cares that much about being able to fly, I'd be inclined as DM to just roll with it.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I actually posed this very concern in the Levelup forum as they now have a Dragonborn that has limited fly. I immediately got replies from several parties that say they have flight in their game and its no big deal.

I think it probably depends on the type of campaign. If your doing mostly dungeons, flight is nice but it gets limited by the constraints of the dungeon and so is naturally hindered.

However in a more outdoor game, I can't see how flight isn't a win button in many circumstances:

1) Fly up for super scouting
2) Crossing natural hazards
3) Avoiding melee heavy combats (animals are a good example)
4) Unstoppable ranged assaults in open ground.

Sure, DMs can craft encounters to thwart flight, but that does put a continuous onus on the DM....so its about whether they want to deal with that or not.
My games are mostly outdoors, and flight definitely is not a win button.
A fairy flapping around on insect wings in full plate just looks dumb.
Not at all. It’s a fairy, it should absolutely be able to fly in plate.
Only enemies that can fly. And there are lots of monsters that are simply incapable of being a challenge against flyers. Flight as an always-available pc option is terrible if you ever want to use e.g. dinosaurs, wolves, leucrotta, trolls sans ranged weapons, etc, in a way that's meaningful. Or a canyon as an obstacle. Or limited lines of sight because of obstructions. Or...

It's not about coming up with ways to counter flight; it's about all the types of challenges that flight simple invalidates. That's fine if that's the game you want to play, but not all of us do.
None of those are invalidated by flight unless the whole party can fly.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I think it's totally fine and legitimate to tell your group at Session 0, "As a DM, I just don't have fun planning adventures for flying characters."

At the same time, in practice, I've found that challenges that flying characters surpass easily are usually either trivial for other characters, or still a challenge for other characters.

For example: the river crossing. The flying character can pass right over the river. How do the other characters get over? The flying character can pull a rope across, but the other characters will still have to ford the river, maybe making Athletics checks to keep their heads above water or Constitution Saves vs taking cold damage. The flying character hasn't made the river trivial, they have just helped everyone else.
 

the Jester

Legend
For example: the river crossing. The flying character can pass right over the river. How do the other characters get over? The flying character can pull a rope across, but the other characters will still have to ford the river, maybe making Athletics checks to keep their heads above water or Constitution Saves vs taking cold damage. The flying character hasn't made the river trivial, they have just helped everyone else.
"I carry everyone over one by one" is a real possibility, assuming a decent strength score. Ten minutes work in game, and poof, you're done.
 

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