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D&D 5E On fairies and flying

jgsugden

Legend
In combat, I don't see a huge difference between a flying ranged character and a ranged character who hangs out at the back of the room.
That does depend on the size and shape of the room.
I still prefer zero to hero. Not superhero to god. There are dedicated superhero games for that.
And flight, by itself, is not making a character a superhero or otherwise off the power scale. Often you can achieve the same thing with climbing, walking back a decent distance, etc... It sets you apart - but it isn't ridiculous.

PCs have been flying for a loooooooooooooooong time. In 3E and before, it was pretty perfunctory as you passed 5th level to have airborne PCs - often at 3rd level with levitate.
Is that what D&D is for now? To make the players feel cool and special?
.... Yes? The PC, and thus the player behind them in a very real sense, are the heroes of the story. They're supposed to be cool and special in a good story. How is this possibly a surprise?
 

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BookTenTiger

He / Him
So, you’re a player. When you go to make your character you want the full range of options available to you so that you can make whatever you want to play. That’s freedom of choice that you enjoy. And when the DM says no flying races, no multiclassing, no variant humans, no outlander background, no feats, or bans certain feats...it feels like your choices are restricted. Like you’ve lost some freedom of choice. Even if you weren’t going to use the stuff the DM banned, it still feels like less choice. Because it is.

But now try to use a tad bit of empathy and recognize that the DM feels exactly the same way when their choices are limited by PC choices.

And when the players object to choices being removed, I imagine the DM could make much the same argument as you have. “The players’ precious character choices.” But that’s not a great argument.

Unfortunately, this aspect of the game really is zero sum. The more choices the players have, the fewer choices the DM has. The more choices the DM has, the fewer choices the players have.

I get that, as a player, you want infinite choices and all the skip buttons, but that means exponentially more work for the DM to prepare something that will actually challenge the party. I guess you could simply not care how much work that is. But then it’s having fun at the expense of the DM rather than in collaboration with the DM. “I get to do whatever I want and the DM just has to deal with it.”
Is this something that's actually happened to you?
 

The loss is that no one is fighting a goat... or go deer hunting. They are fighting a pack of were-goats or more likely, an hydra, or a T-rex, or a shambling mound, or whatever.

There's no need for being dismissive
Then why not make them fire breathing were-goats/hydra/T-Rex? It's the DM's choice not to give them ranged attacks. If all they can do is bite they are going to be boring to fight, no matter how big and scaly they are.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
Fairies are small, which means carry weight is halved, so even a strong one won't be able to carry another full size PC until they get enlarge at level 5.

They could carry a rope across, like a familiar.

Just for the record, I believe Small creatures are treated same as Medium for purposes of carrying capacity. The half-capacity rule is for Tiny and smaller creatures.

 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
The loss is that no one is fighting a goat... or go deer hunting. They are fighting a pack of were-goats or hunting the mystical giant elk, or more likely, facing an hydra, or a T-rex, or a shambling mound, or whatever.

There's no need for being dismissive
Can't all those things be routed by a group with good perception and stealth? Or a ranger scouting ahead? Or a wizard using Rope Trick until the monsters leave?

I just don't see flying as any more of a "Get Out of Jail Free" Card than any other power.
 


Dausuul

Legend
Except all the things a PC can do that a familiar cannot. Use of hands, thumbs, fingers, arms, self-direction, decision making, full range of action economy, class abilities, and weapon use. Familiars who fly are nowhere near on par with PCs who fly.
In a tactical sense, all that is true. But in terms of the impact on adventure design--which is to say, the obstacles that can or cannot be bypassed entirely by flight--I have found little difference in practice.

When some party members can fly, but not all of them, the main obstacles the flyers can bypass are a) defenses against reconnaissance on land, b) needing to get something to an inaccessible place, and c) needing to retrieve something from an inaccessible place. A flying PC is better at these jobs than a flying familiar; but most of the time the flying familiar is good enough for the need at hand, and that's all that matters. And players are generally very clever about finding ways around the familiar's limitations.

Conversely, the big limitation of the "some flight" party--being shackled to its ground-bound members--remains in force either way. (If the winged PC is strong enough to carry all other party members, then the party has edged into "all flight." That does pose a problem, and I'd favor rules that make this hard to achieve, such as a drastically lower encumbrance limit while airborne.)
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
I know quite well the cost of setting up challenges for a group of creative players.
Making a choice in character creation that removes the challenge from a sizeable patch of encounters is not "creative players". Creative players are the ones who overcome obstacles despite limitations and setbacks. Players who pick skip buttons in character creation are avoiding those limitations and setbacks.
The difference is I recognize that the DM always has and will have functionally unlimited choices no matter what their PCs throw at them if they want to challenge them.
The PC that flies is never challenged by ground-based obstacles. That removes that as an effective challenge for that PC. It's still a challenge for the other PCs...maybe...if the flying PC doesn't obviate the challenge for the whole party. The DM certainly can use other things to challenge the PCs, but ground-based obstacles are literally no longer an option to challenge the party. It's gone as an option.
The balance of power in this relationship is still in the DM's hands.
It's not about a balance of power, it's about options. Flight removes options from the DM's bag of tricks.
Worried that flying PCs will trivialize an obstacle? Add things/creatures to the area that can complicate the situation. Got an underground chasm you are worried that flyers may trivialize? Add cave fishers or darkmantles who can keep the situation hazardous. Lots of scouting about in the wilderness? Flyers draw attention and are relatively easy to spot. And if they do trivialize a potential encounter? So what? There are a lot of encounters in a D&D world that can be expected to be trivial - easily avoided, easily defeated, or dealt with via interaction. That I may tailor a few in a different way than I would if there were no flyers in the group isn't that big a deal.
Right. But you do see what's happening there, right? Escalation. The PC now has this new toy they can use to make all those challenges not challenging...so you have to escalate the situation to compensate for it. You have to artificially make things harder to keep them challenging. What would otherwise be a challenge for a tier 2 party with regular access to the fly spell and magic items that allow flight is now used against a tier 1 party because of permanent PC flight. Because instead of zero to hero, it's superhero to god.
Chances are the players will do something completely unexpected anyway!
It is to be hoped. Lately, most of the new to me players I deal with seem to just call out a skill, throw a d20, and expect to win.
 




jgsugden

Legend
Read the rest of my post. I mention that.
It was in a separate post that you mentioned it - I was responding to your response to my post and had not seen your other post. Regardless - the notion that people's expectations have changed does not really impact whether flying does or does not work at low levels without ruining the game.

That is like saying, "I think it won't work, thus it can't."

There are a lot of us that have run really fun games with flight at low level in this edition (as well as prior editions). Inherently, that proves that it can be done with everyone having fun.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Have you actually experienced as a DM or a player a DM feeling like they lose freedom because of a character creation choice, or is it something you made up for this conversation?
Whenever I talk about limiting multiclassing, using harsher resting rules, variant encumbrance, limiting race choices, and/or banning any particular feats, spells, or options I have had players that go apoplectic. I've had players rage quit in the middle of a game because they were presented with an encounter that wasn't meant to be a fight...that they fought anyway...and lost. Badly. My favorite so far is the guy who thought mold earth made him an earthbender. The text of the spell indicates you can move a quantity of earth or stone 5ft as an action...he rage quit because I limited his kewl superpower to only moving a quantity of earth or stone 5ft as an action. You know...the actual text of the spell he took.
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
It was in a separate post that you mentioned it - I was responding to your response to my post and had not seen your other post.
So despite knowing that I am aware that flight has been a thing for ages, you decided to pretend I didn't. Okay. That makes sense.
Regardless - the notion that people's expectations have changed does not really impact whether flying does or does not work at low levels without ruining the game.
But it's related. Players expect all options on the table. They expect multiclassing...despite it being optional. They expect feats...despite them being optional. They expect to start as superheroes and become gods, not to start as zeros and become heroes. So when DMs who are adverse to allowing flying PCs at 1st level speak up, the players freak out.
That is like saying, "I think it won't work, thus it can't."
Not at all. As per the opening post in the thread, I'm kind of on the fence about flying. I can see how it's cool for the player but also a nightmare for the DM. That's because I'm a player who wants to run a flying character and a DM who's run for flying characters...where it was a nightmare.
There are a lot of us that have run really fun games with flight at low level in this edition (as well as prior editions). Inherently, that proves that it can be done with everyone having fun.
Not really, no. It proves that you had fun with flying. The next obvious question is: what did you do in the game? What was the focus? Where and what were the adventures? What was changed to accommodate for flight? The escalation I mentioned up thread.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Right. But you do see what's happening there, right? Escalation. The PC now has this new toy they can use to make all those challenges not challenging...so you have to escalate the situation to compensate for it. You have to artificially make things harder to keep them challenging. What would otherwise be a challenge for a tier 2 party with regular access to the fly spell and magic items that allow flight is now used against a tier 1 party because of permanent PC flight. Because instead of zero to hero, it's superhero to god.
Is it really any different from designing challenges for any particular oddball combination of PCs the players throw at you? Challenges will be different depending on the class powers PCs have at their disposal too - I don't see how flight is all that different. Your gripe is just about the specific details. Sure, you can curate the list of choices available to the players in order to avoid having to make certain choices on your side. But if you feel the need to see the issue as a zero sum game where you're losing if the players are winning, maybe you're not approaching the issue with a healthy attitude.

It is to be hoped. Lately, most of the new to me players I deal with seem to just call out a skill, throw a d20, and expect to win.
Maybe you better hitch your pants up to your armpits and tell the kids to "Get outta yer yard!" After all ,the senior dinner at the supper club doesn't run all afternoon...
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Maybe you better hitch your pants up to your armpits and tell the kids to "Get outta yer yard!" After all ,the senior dinner at the supper club doesn't run all afternoon...

Mod Note:
You were doing great until you got here, and apparently decided to make it personally insulting.

Be respectful. Be kind. Don't act like a jerk. Please and thanks.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
It is to be hoped. Lately, most of the new to me players I deal with seem to just call out a skill, throw a d20, and expect to win.

That's odd. I encountered that at the beginning of 5e when I learned the game with 3e players and that was what they were used to. Any player I've introduced to 5e fresh hasn't been like that for me.

Whenever I talk about limiting multiclassing, using harsher resting rules, variant encumbrance, limiting race choices, and/or banning any particular feats, spells, or options I have had players that go apoplectic. I've had players rage quit in the middle of a game because they were presented with an encounter that wasn't meant to be a fight...that they fought anyway...and lost. Badly. My favorite so far is the guy who thought mold earth made him an earthbender. The text of the spell indicates you can move a quantity of earth or stone 5ft as an action...he rage quit because I limited his kewl superpower to only moving a quantity of earth or stone 5ft as an action. You know...the actual text of the spell he took.

Yikes. I'm sorry you need to deal with that. I pretty much only play with friends and we have the attitude that we're all at the table to help each other have fun.

I did run into one player like that though when I made an open invite to the game to find a new player. They had a similar sort of attitude and had entitlement and selfishness issues. Needless to say they weren't invited back after the session (and they sent me a huge long rant on Facebook about how unfair the session was for them to boot).
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
It is to be hoped. Lately, most of the new to me players I deal with seem to just call out a skill, throw a d20, and expect to win.
This way of playing was more or less the expectation set forth by the rules in the two editions prior to D&D 5e. It's a common mode of play on actual play streams (saying you want to make a check, I mean). So people have simply carried on with that tradition even though it's not supported in D&D 5e.

As for flying PCs, it's never been an issue in any game I've run. Dungeons have ceilings. Dragons can fly. Strong winds are on the weather table. And most of the time the rest of the party can't fly so the party can't just skip over ground-based obstacles.
 

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