Does anyone think there was a need for a Fly skill before Pathfinder?


Skills & Feats

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Lantern Lodge

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I have two Raptorans PCs (winged elves from Races of the Wild) playing in my RotRL campaign.

I like this Skill a *LOT* It means a lot to winged races, both in flavour and mechanics.

Flavour, because it's a skill that they'll likely pump points into, because it's their schtick, it makes them feel special.

Mechanics, because you can specify in-game situations where a Fly skill check is required. Not everyone of the same race (or using the same spell), will have the same chance of success - some will be better than others, and something they can improve over time, just like any other skill - players take pride in that kind of thing.

Also, winged races such as Raptorans already have a (perceived) advantage over standard races, by mere fact that they can fly (although they're limited to Gliding until gaining access to true Flight at 5th level, around the same time wizards gain access to the Fly spell, and even then it's limited to rounds per day). However, pumping skill points into Fly, means they have less points to spend on their other skills, which is another trade-off for players of winged races vs standard races.

I haven't used the new Fly skill in playtest yet, they spent the last session underground, but I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when it comes up.

Also, I'd like to see the wording of the Fly skill altered to include how it applies to creatures with a Glide speed - eg:

  • "You are skilled at flying" might become "You are skilled at flying or gliding";
  • "Creatures with a fly speed receive this skill for free as a class skill" might become "Creatures with a fly or glide speed receive this skill for free as a class skill" etc.

Dark Archive

Gnome Ninja wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:

Requiring a feat to use potions of fly would be fine with me; a feat or a skill, either way is OK. It could be a bonus feat for natural flyers.

I know a lot of people advocate rolling it into acrobatics, but that just doesn't sit well with me. Realistically-speaking, I can tumble and jump, and have very good balance, but I also get airsick. Game mechanically, acrobatics is already verging on "too good," to my mind. I'd just like flying characters to somehow be an exception, rather than the default.

Realistically, the skill is silly. 1st-level characters with a rank in Fly would imply they have practiced the skill. How? a Fighter could invest a rank in Fly...but how did he train? I can't imagine he can go around flying before even 1st level. Its' more plausible for a Wiz or Drd or Sor, but still, they can't even cast it when they can start "training." The whole idea of Fly as a skill is unrealistic.

As a feat that gives you more abilities, it would both be a bigger decision to be really good with flight and it would imply extensive training, not just investing in something so you'll be good with it later. It would be a one-time deal. I think that fly should still be decent without it, but with this, it becomes very good.

Incorrect. You have to have a regular access to the ability to fly every day to be able to take ranks in fly. Look up the special for fly.

Alpha 3 wrote:

You cannot take this skill without a natural means

of flight or a reliable means of flying every day (either
through a spell or other magical manner, such as a druid’s
wild shape ability).

That means no ranks in fly for the average level 1 PC. This also means that a wizard that gets the fly spell is going to suck for a level or 2 unless he dumps every skill point from the level up into it.

As for the feat idea, they did it that way in 3.5 and it sucks. Unless you happen to have a lot of HD it just sucks for winged PCs and Low HD monsters alike. Feats are too rare and far inbetween to be burned pointlessly for a relatively mundane ability that Wizards get at level 5. Assuming that the PC flying race gives average maneuverability (like most do) it sucks to have to burn 3 feats(hover, wingover and fly-by attack) to do what a wizard does with a single spell.


Gnome Ninja wrote:
Realistically, the skill is silly. 1st-level characters with a rank in Fly would imply they have practiced the skill. How? a Fighter could invest a rank in Fly...but how did he train? I can't imagine he can go around flying before even 1st level. Its' more plausible for a Wiz or Drd or Sor, but still, they can't even cast it when they can start "training." The whole idea of Fly as a skill is unrealistic.

"You cannot take this skill without a natural means

of f light or a reliable means of flying every day (either
through a spell or other magical manner, such as a druid’s
wild shape ability)."

That is from the skill description. This here indicates that the skill cannot have a rank put in, until this requirement is met.


No, and still don't. It should be removed/subsumed under Acrobatics.


BM wrote:
Incorrect. You have to have a regular access to the ability to fly every day to be able to take ranks in fly. Look up the special for fly.

I didn't notice that. But is this supposed to be convincing for keeping Fly a skill, 'cause it isn't for me.

Dark Archive

Gnome Ninja wrote:
BM wrote:
Incorrect. You have to have a regular access to the ability to fly every day to be able to take ranks in fly. Look up the special for fly.
I didn't notice that. But is this supposed to be convincing for keeping Fly a skill, 'cause it isn't for me.

Meh, I argued back in Alpha 1 for the skill and I really don't feel like arguing over it again really. See here: here.

Dark Archive

Ernest Mueller wrote:
No, and still don't. It should be removed/subsumed under Acrobatics.

Not a good idea because monsters are affected by the new rule. To make it under acrobatics, you get tumbling dragons and like.


OK.. where are the new posts... I can see they have been made in the forum headings, but not here in the thread.

*shakes fist at the thread eating monster*

Oh-Smurf-it...

EDIT: There they are... *rolls eyes*


Requiring feats to be good at flying is a much better balancing mechanic than skills. Skills are easier to spend, but on such a corner-case as flying, it will rarely, if ever happen in the case of PCs. This is sad for the game because it means flying will become the sole domain of monsters, much like grappling became in 3.5. It removes an interesting tactical element from player options. A fighter with his limited skill points is certainly never going to put ranks in it, especially with ACP applying. The only classes I can imagine doing it are the druid, sorcerer, and wizard. Even then, they will probably only take enough to hover reliably as fly typically only works as an improved levitate in combat.

Incidentally, there is a bug in the Fly skill (p. 58). Under "Being attacked while flying" it states "You are not considered flat-footed while flying." I am certain they didn't mean this as a blanket statement. Being able to take to the sky and give rogues the finger seems a bit like an unintended consequence.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

When I first read the title of the thread, I was like "WTF? Fly skill?"

After reading the various arguments for and against it, I have decided I'm on the fence about the issue (Yeah, I know...this is the equivalent of those people who call into phone polls to tell the poller that they are "undecided").

I do not like the confusing way that the flight system works now is laid out. I'm running a campaign that has our next session pitting the PCs against a dragon and I'm trying to figure out how the dragon's maneuverability and movement costs for turning, etc. It's a nightmare.

However, do we REALLY need to add logic to a spell? I mean, adding skill checks to a spell seems really "unmagic" like. There needs to be a way to decide how maneuverability works in the air (or, actually to be more specific, any 3-dimensional environment; i.e. water, earth, etc.) but I don't think skill points are the way to go. I almost want to say that the designers of the 3.x system thought of this too and said "Skill checks to use a spell correctly? Lame!"

I'm also of the opinion that this should not be a skill because of the usefulness of it at the beginning of a character's career. Skills, to me, imply things you can do without the aid of magic. They are the lowest form of "ability measuring" mechanics in the game, next to the actual ability scores. They are not feats and definitely not spells, which are the ultimate power in the game.

Then, I'm not sure who said it, but it IS like taking a nerf bat to the PCs. Races who have wings would automatically get racial bonuses to Fly would not be as affected as characters who needed it to take flight with any skill. Ok, so it's not realistic that a character who's never flown can automatically know the ins and outs of flying. But seriously, who needs (or wants) this level of realism to their fantasy D&D games? How about pretend that the fly spell, while active, acts like a "matrix cartridge" and tells us everything we need to know about flying without having to be trained in it first? I mean, do we need to squeeze all the fantasy and wonder out of a system before we call it fixed?

So, bottom line is... contrary to my earlier statement, I think I'd rather scour over the maneuverability rules than I would to take the wonder out of a magic spell that let's you fly.


Well said, Arknath.

Incidentally, if you do have trouble figuring out maneuverability for the dragon in your next session, just wing it (no pun intended). Have the creature move about based on what you consider reasonable relative to its maneuverability rating. Your players will never know the difference unless they are rules lawyers. If they are, just smile when they bring it up, as if you know something they don't know, then let them puzzle it out as they dig through books looking for ways a dragon could maneuver so much better than they thought. It's a dragon for gods' sake. It should strike them with wonder and amazement and be hard as f* to kill.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'd like to address a few points raised against the skill.

Please realize/remember that the spell and potions are not the only ways for a wingless character to be able to fly.

Training: a 1st level character could put a point into fly. The fighter school / master / etc.. has a ring of fly and all of their students who desired so, were taught the basics of flying.

Skill points: With the condensing of skills, a mage can easily now have fly and spellcraft (as opposed to concentration and spellcraft). End result, no real change for mages. For most of the rest of the Iconics, it is the same. Even if it were not so, it is a choice that the player has to make. Skill point choices add variety to the the game. Having fly as a skill (as opposed to feats), IMO, makes it better, as you have to decide each level, where you are going to spend your points. Get better at flying, or learn something else.

For a fighter and Action Check Penalty, well, they disappear as the fighter progresses in levels. For everyone else, well, tis a problem for any flying creature to wear armor.

Rolling Fly into Acrobatics: As has been mentioned, I think it is a bad idea. You will end up with any flying creature being able to expertly tumble. Seagulls are usually graceful/agile in the air, but waddle on the ground.

I am all in favor of streamlining the process a bit. Have one skill check, with the highest DC as the target for the roll.
And for having a flying DC table in the DM's Screen.

Sovereign Court

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Mistwalker wrote:
Rolling Fly into Acrobatics: As has been mentioned, I think it is a bad idea. You will end up with any flying creature being able to expertly tumble. Seagulls are usually graceful/agile in the air, but waddle on the ground.

I generally agree with you that Fly is better separate than merged with Acrobatics, BUT couldn't you handle a merged Acrobatics/Fly skill kinda' like they way they do Perception, with conditional penalties and bonuses? Winged creatures get +5 (or whatever) to Acrobatics when flying?

And you're right that seagulls are clumsy when walking on the ground, but after watching my son chase them at the beach, I'd say all their running, hopping and fly-land-fly-again behavior is equivalent to a pretty high Tumble score. He sure as hell can't catch them!


Well said, Arknath. I agree.

Liberty's Edge

I don't think its quite as big of a nerf-bat to PC's as soon folks think. The baseline of things you can do without a fly skill check is roughly equal to the existing Poor maneuverability category. We haven't seen the updated spells, but I'm betting that they will provide racial bonuses to Fly skill (as the Flight power from the Travel domain). With most spells, you don't have to worry about plummeting if you fail a skill check (as you don't rely on wings), although they do need to have some consequence of failure if you don't succeed on a check (what happens to a character who tries to climb too fast and fails? Does he lose altitude? Fail to move at all and hover?)

Dark Archive

Robert Little wrote:
I don't think its quite as big of a nerf-bat to PC's as soon folks think. The baseline of things you can do without a fly skill check is roughly equal to the existing Poor maneuverability category. We haven't seen the updated spells, but I'm betting that they will provide racial bonuses to Fly skill (as the Flight power from the Travel domain). With most spells, you don't have to worry about plummeting if you fail a skill check (as you don't rely on wings), although they do need to have some consequence of failure if you don't succeed on a check (what happens to a character who tries to climb too fast and fails? Does he lose altitude? Fail to move at all and hover?)

Modified Average maneuverability unless I mistaken (the single mod is the check for flying up at an angle greater than 45 degrees). If you fail on a check, you must follow the rules for flying. Its not in the alpha [again] but Jason said that else where the failing a maneuver check means you must follow the rules for the rest of the round. The only other thing to take into account is this:

Alpha 3 wrote:

Try Again: Varies. You can attempt a Fly check to

perform the same maneuver on subsequent rounds. If you
are using wings and you fail this check by 5 or more, you
plummet to the ground, taking the appropriate falling
damage.

Just take easy and you won't have any problems. (Why wouldn't you be flying in a mostly straight line if you're taking it easy?)

As for the racial mods, that exists as the mod for maneuverability bonus. Clumsy maneuverability gives a -8 mod, Poor a -4, Average -/+0, Good a +4, Perfect +8.

And I agree on that this is less of a nerf than people are thinking. I nerfs perfect and good maneuverability, while boosting average, poor, and clumsy maneuverability. Previously, the latter 3 would burn feats to do what good and perfect did for free, hurting any character or NPC that was relying on flight. As a whole, under 3.5, you need 3 feats. Hover, Wingover, and Fly-by-Attack. Even under PRPG, with it accelerated feat gain, 3 feats are 30% of a players total feats at level 20. Thats a high price to pay given that your making a class ability/racial trait not suck. I seen first hand as a player tried to make her character able to fight on wing, and spend feats to try to make it work, while a jackass wizard could just blow a spell and be better at flying than her character who had focused on it. It just doesn't work.

Skill points are better because skill points are much less of an important resource than feats are. The only time that the skill is worse for a player is when the character gets less than 3 skill points per level. Otherwise its less a percentage of your resources than the 3.5 system is. And give how easy it is to get more skill points in PRPG, (remember, skill points are gained retroactively for permanent gains in int) its even less of a burden. And not to mention how many different ways you get bonuses to skills, whether it be feats, items, or class abilities.

Heck, a wizard simply putting a single point into the fly skill and casts fly gets +8, not including his dex mod to all fly checks. (1 rank+3 Class skill bonus+4 for good maneuverability.) Not bad, given the highest DC is a 25.

The system is much kinder to those who want to fly.

Scarab Sages

I think this skill is a waste of space. It can be better implemented with Ability Checks of power Checks.

There is no need to create a skill only for a kind of spell. It's similar to the Scry Skill of 3.0 that was adressed in 3.5. It's a return to the exclusive skills and I don't like it.


Well, I consulted my group and a therapist. We have come to the conclusion that the fly skill is ok. But it has limitations. Dagons, birds, and flying squirels dont get skill points in flying. They already got flight ability built in. They get no better, no worse. But, them thar wizard dudes they got them fly spells. Until they get their sea legs....er....air legs, they are mighty clumsey see? So non-flying critters need to use skill points in fly to be able to maneuver about. That makes sense. So I am changing my vote once't agi'n fer flying skill.


seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Fly skills has been in my game for well over a year now. I like the way its done in pathfinder.It always bugged me one little spell or cap and you became the red baron of D&D.

Ummm, the Red Baron was shot down. By some Australian--or possibly Canadian--at that (not, as previously has been reported by the press, Snoopy).


BM wrote:
I seen first hand as a player tried to make her character able to fight on wing, and spend feats to try to make it work, while a jackass wizard could just blow a spell and be better at flying than her character who had focused on it. It just doesn't work.

And you don't think this is balanced by the fact that the player could fly AT WILL whereas the wizard was limited to casting a spell? The fly spell only has a 1 minute/level duration. It doesn't let a wizard fly anywhere all the time. Overland flight, which has a better duration, has a lower maneuverability rating, which seriously limits its utility in combat, though it is better than nothing. On a personal note, I never liked the overland flight spell and never supported its addition to 3.5.

BM wrote:
The system is much kinder to those who want to fly.

That's the point. Flying should be limited. It should require a major investment to do awesome maneuvers because flying is already awesome.


Arknath wrote:
Then, I'm not sure who said it, but it IS like taking a nerf bat to the PCs. Races who have wings would automatically get racial bonuses to Fly would not be as affected as characters who needed it to take flight with any skill. Ok, so it's not realistic that a character who's never flown can automatically know the ins and outs of flying. But seriously, who needs (or wants) this level of realism to their fantasy D&D games? How about pretend that the fly spell, while active, acts like a "matrix cartridge" and tells us everything we need to know about flying without having to be...

I would counter with the knowledge that characters with magical flight, still have it better than winged creatures. All the skill is intended to do is provide a basis for what one can accomplish while airborne.

As far as it being a nerf to PC's, magical flight still is "king" over winged creatures.

Lose altitude when attacked? NO. Only if you have wings.
Being attacked while flying: If you are flying using wings and you take damage while flying, you must make a DC 10 Flycheck to avoid losing 10 feet of altitude.

Plummet to the ground because of a collision? NO. Only if you have wings.
Collision while flying: If you are using wings to fly and you collide with an object equal to your size or larger you must immediately make a DC 25 Fly check to avoid plummeting to the ground, taking the appropriate falling damage.

Now, admittedly the DC's to avoid the above really are not that high, and quite easily made. Of course, I could see them to be modified by damage, like with Concentration/Spellcraft, to be DC 10 + damage dealt. But that's for a different discussion, I'd think.

Think of it this way... Did the students at Hogwarts automatically know the "ins and outs" of flight, the minute they jumped onto their brooms for the first time? Are the players of Quidditch chosen from those who are untrained and clumsy in the air? Or, are they chosen from those with real skill at flight?


I've had a house rule for the Fly Skill for the last few years and have found it to be really handy, especially when combined with other checks to perform various stunts or maneuvers.
Like I've told my players, just because you acquire a magic carpet/ broomstick/ jetpack/ helicopter, it doesn't follow that it comes with a free skill set to use it competently.


Another way of thinking about the skill, comes back to some of the old arguments of being knocked prone while flying, or tumbling while flying.

What we have now, is a skill that can somewhat quantify these types of situations.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Pathos wrote:
Think of it this way... Did the students at Hogwarts automatically know the "ins and outs" of flight, the minute they jumped onto their brooms for the first time? Are the players of Quidditch chosen from those who are untrained and clumsy in the air? Or, are they chosen from those with real skill at flight?

Ah...now you hit on my weakness. Harry Potter. :)

I guess this is a matter of personal taste. I feel I have enough tricks up my sleeve as a DM to make sure PCs don't feel invincible during combat when they are flying. I'm ok with spellcasters having that sort of maneuverability even if it's for a little while (even an entire combat). Harry Potter I think tried to fit into some sort of "if this really existed, how would this happen?". I prefer a bit more...mystery as to how things work. Just because Harry Potter wizards are helpless without their wands, doesn't mean that's a part of their lore I want to adopt in my 3.5 games (that implement stuff is for 4E :) ).

For me, I'm probably going to keep the maneuverability rules from 3.5 in my game unless the Fly skill just overwhelms me at final print time.

Lantern Lodge

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Pathos wrote:
Think of it this way... Did the students at Hogwarts automatically know the "ins and outs" of flight, the minute they jumped onto their brooms for the first time? Are the players of Quidditch chosen from those who are untrained and clumsy in the air? Or, are they chosen from those with real skill at flight?

A popular story device in Covention games is the town carnival where some form of competitive bouts occur - jousting, archery etc - where the characters need to use their skills to win some competition.

With the Fly skill, I can imagine some Quidditch-inspired scene to appear in a Pathfinder Society adventure. While ranks in the Fly skill may be rare among PCs, it's no worse than when the GM asks to add your ranks in Profession (Sailor) - occurs a lot in convention games located in coastal regeions. It always frustrates players who haven't invested in that skill, but when someone at the table has max ranks in the required skill, you definitely feel rewarded for taking that choice.


I like "Fly", keep it


Pathos wrote:
Think of it this way... Did the students at Hogwarts automatically know the "ins and outs" of flight, the minute they jumped onto their brooms for the first time? Are the players of Quidditch chosen from those who are untrained and clumsy in the air? Or, are they chosen from those with real skill at flight?

My love of the books aside, analogies like this bug me. The magic of D&D and the magic of Harry Potter are not miscible. I doubt you would insist all mages be forced to use wands to cast spells. No? Then stop assuming magical flight works the same way.


airwalkrr wrote:
Pathos wrote:
Think of it this way... Did the students at Hogwarts automatically know the "ins and outs" of flight, the minute they jumped onto their brooms for the first time? Are the players of Quidditch chosen from those who are untrained and clumsy in the air? Or, are they chosen from those with real skill at flight?
My love of the books aside, analogies like this bug me. The magic of D&D and the magic of Harry Potter are not miscible. I doubt you would insist all mages be forced to use wands to cast spells. No? Then stop assuming magical flight works the same way.

Have you concidered it was an attempt to create a framework from which to build a level of understanding on how the skill would be applied?

Perhaps you would have preferred an analogy of tossing a young bird out of the nest before it was ready, or had a chance to learn it's skills of flight. Or how about a birds ability to recover from hitting a plate glass window? Some die, Other hit the ground, while some even continue to fly away.

Airplane pilots... Who are you going to trust behind the stick, with the safety of your family? Some jockey who has had very little flight time? Or one with hard earned experience?

Now apply that to a D&D game... very few fly spells available. Who would you trust to carry your halfling behind across the chasm? Joe fighter lumbering through the air? Or a practiced flyer?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Everyone! Be at peace! I think I have a solution.

Keep the fly skill but make these few accomodations:

1) DCs are fine how they are, but add penalties for weather, wounds, and if they've just been hit count the damage as a penalty (like concentration used to be)

2) Make a single skill check per round using the highest DC. (DMs can decide if a series of manuevers is hard enough for seperate rolls if he wants)

3) Modifiers to the roll based on maneuverability!!!

Yes! That's my solution! We have perfect, good, average, and all the others but what do they mean? They mean I have varying control of my movements while flying, so if I can a perfect maneuverability I can make almost any move. Make perfect maneuverability a +20 or +30 modifier and average a +0 and the others all worse and we've got a good resemblance of what we all desire.

PS. NO RACIAL BONUSES. good flyers should be counted as better manueverability, not the obligatory +20 like spiders and such get for their climb speeds.

Lantern Lodge

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BM wrote:
Gnome Ninja wrote:
Realistically, the skill is silly. 1st-level characters with a rank in Fly would imply they have practiced the skill. How? a Fighter could invest a rank in Fly...but how did he train? I can't imagine he can go around flying before even 1st level. Its' more plausible for a Wiz or Drd or Sor, but still, they can't even cast it when they can start "training." The whole idea of Fly as a skill is unrealistic.

Incorrect. You have to have a regular access to the ability to fly every day to be able to take ranks in fly. Look up the special for fly.

Alpha 3 wrote:

You cannot take this skill without a natural means

of flight or a reliable means of flying every day (either
through a spell or other magical manner, such as a druid’s
wild shape ability).
That means no ranks in fly for the average level 1 PC. This also means that a wizard that gets the fly spell is going to suck for a level or 2 unless he dumps every skill point from the level up into it.

I think you should be able to qualify to take ranks in Fly with daily access to "lesser" versions of flight, such as a Glide speed, Levitation spell, etc. These should each qualify you to have practiced to some degree skills associated with true flight - balance, depth perception, vertigo, gyrometrics, distances in 3D, whatever.


Nope. Still don't. I mean, we don't have a walking skill either so why wouldn't the normal movement related skills apply to Fly?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Pathos wrote:

Now apply that to a D&D game... very few fly spells available. Who would you trust to carry your halfling behind across the chasm? Joe fighter lumbering through the air? Or a practiced flyer?

I don't think you can make that mental leap from real life to D&D, for obvious reasons. Every time I (or someone in my group tries) it just ends up looking silly.

Your suggestions might work for those creatures who fly naturally, but as I said before, magic is magic. For those of us who need everything splayed out in front of us, an explanation or an analogy might be necessary, but there are those of us who prefer to just let magic be unexplainable. Paizo just needs to figure out which is the bigger group and go with that.

To make my point, I counter with an analogy of my own:

How did you feel when, in the Phantom Menace, you saw Qui Gon Jinn explaining what the Force was to young Anakin Skywalker? I prefer Yoda's explanation of it in Empire. And that may be where our differences lay. :)


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Dean Kimes wrote:
Nope. Still don't. I mean, we don't have a walking skill either so why wouldn't the normal movement related skills apply to Fly?

I hate to bring this up, but in a way we do. It's not literally a skill on "walking" but a skill on ground movement in difficult situations. Acrobatics help to determine balance and the ability to remain on one's feet. Ride helps us determine the ability to stay on the back of a mount, regardless of where the mount makes it's path.

In all fairness, b/c I'm against fly as a skill on the whole, Fly is more akin to the Acrobatics skill than it is a skill based on whether you can fly or not. Everyone can walk, but not everyone has good balance so that's where Acrobatics comes in. Those that can fly can do everything that others who can fly do: move forward, backward, up, down, hover, etc. Some do those things (and special movements like diving or wingovers) better than others, and that's the issue the Fly skill is trying to deal with.

Ok...I'm back on the side of "no Fly". Just crossed over to make a point because there's a lot of that (no "walking" skill) going around as an argument, and I just don't see it as valid. :)

Dark Archive

I'm a *huge* fan of Fly. We had a half-dragon fighter/ranger/dervish in our group that went up to 17th level, and his average maneuverability made my brain bleed ... especially when he did his dervish dance.

The fly skill is a huge benefit to the game -- not for good or perfect maneuverability creatures, but for the average and clumsy fliers. No more remembering who can hover, or what turn ratio you can do ... just roll the dice, and voila!

As well, it nerfs flying characters a little bit, and gives natural fliers an advantage, which is only right and fair ...


I'm okay with the fly skill. I think it's a useful addition to the rules.

As a player with a wizard, I know that I probably abused the fly spell a bit when I played my gnome wizard, because I was usually able to ignore any maneuverability restrictions.

Once I was high enough level, I usually had overland flight running all day and added fly during combats. It was very helpful to increase my speed and offset my stubby little gnome legs. Especially since the other party members often threatened to stuff me into a backpack to improve my mobility.

I don't think I got away with a ton of abusive tactics, but I'm sure that I occsionally made tighter turns and faster climbs and dives than I was supposed to. The maneuverability rules are just far enough towards the "edge" that a DM trying to run a party of six players didn't have a lot of time to worrry about it.

I think promoting fly to a skill gives it a bit more prominence in the rules without making it an undue hardship to understand and use the mechanics.


I like it as well. This skill gives flight more use than just airborn movement. The Dragonlance setting had a similar system of DCs tied to the Ride skill (due to the prevelance of.... well..... dragons, go figure).


I added fly to acrobatics on my Skill List!


My $0.02...

Dump the Fly skill. Bring back the old manuvering table, and overhaul it if necessary. Nerf PC flight if it's really that big a deal... Then allow accrobatics checks to EXCEED your manuverability limitations, with a seperate check per manuver.

Each row in the chart represents some manuver or movement ability, so anytime someone wants to fly better than their manuverability class (tighter turn, hover, whatever), they roll a acrobatics check. Something like DC 15 for one category improvement, +5 for each additional category. So something with Poor can't hover naturally, but might be able to cover it for a round with a DC 20 check; or they could get the ability of an Average flyer to turn in place with a DC 15 check. Add a +2 penalty for each previous check in the same round to keep things from getting obnoxious...

This would give everyone who takes an item some natural ability to use it, and provide an avenue for people to exceed those limitations. Monsters never need to worry about it, checks are limited to people trying to do more with their flight abilities than was intended (who still get to feel special about it), and that sounds fine to me. Acrobatics works since it's a skill about balance and contortion, and thus not a bad call to help you aim your thrust when trying for something above and beyond...


ACROBATICS. Just wanted to cast my vote. Thank you deeply for starting this thread, as I was really going to do so myself--but I'd much rather sit back and go "yeah! what he said!". Awesome, thanks.

I really concider a lot of the arguments about folks not understanding air currents and whatnot a bit beside the point. Certainly if it's a big deal, just set high difficulties, or impose a nonfamiliarity -4 modifier. I'd even consider a feat that lets people get a bonus on flying manuvers--doing more or less what the skill does but accounting for the fact that it's a bit oddball and unlikely to see much play.

Certainly if the goal here is to consolodate skills, to make a shorter list and less chorey point spending at levelup, then adding a Fly skill seems to be the opposite of progress here.


When I got my copy of Alpha 2 and saw Fly as a skill, I was thrilled. I always hated the maneuverability of flying creatures and having to keep track of what they could do in a round. I started hearing the outcry for it on the forums, and how it should be rolled into Acrobatics, and I started to agree.

Having fully and consciously read the skill last night, I'm all for keeping it as a separate skill. I *LIKE* how it works in Pathfinder. I like that rogues aren't automatically natural-born flyers like they would be if it was rolled into Acrobatics. I like that the old maneuverability categories provide modifiers to the skill, carrying over the mechanic but still making it more dynamic.

In 3.5, I found a way to work the Improved Flight feat into every flying monster's build I ever threw at the party, so I could have less to worry about while the monster was on the wing. Now, I have skills to deal with, but I'd rather have that than constantly be looking for ways to get a monster up to at least Good maneuverability.

Silver Crusade

I always found the game lacking in rules for flying, since... Well... My players FLY more than they SWIM, during a session (especially since third level and levitate). :-D

As Kirth Gersen pointed out, in many published adventures flying is vital. Since I'll play Age of Worms with PFRPG rules (as soon as my Ravenloft campaign ends), the Fly skill will be quite useful.

Liberty's Edge

I found the addition of the fly skill to be a very good thing. The maneuvering tables were always aggravating, and there was a movement based skill for everything but flying in the past. It filled a small but existing gap in the rules, and I bloody well hope it stays.


airwalkrr wrote:
So you are implying that fireball is not used to incredible effect in every single game of D&D your group has ever played? Fireball clears the battlefield of your enemies. I can't imagine a more incredible effect than that.

Really? In most of the games I've played, fireball singes a few but not nearly all of the enemies on the battlefield and only kills the ones that have already been weakened by the classes that are supposed to be doing damage. Cloudkill and wail of the banshee and weird can "clear the battlefield" but only in controlled circumstances - and they're much higher level. Frankly, fireball is a very poor spell choice most of the time. I can't recall a spellcaster I've made since 3.5 that's taken it.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Mosaic wrote:
I generally agree with you that Fly is better separate than merged with Acrobatics, BUT couldn't you handle a merged Acrobatics/Fly skill kinda' like the way they do Perception, with conditional penalties and bonuses? Winged creatures get +5 (or whatever) to Acrobatics when flying?

I have two skill lists in my head - one condensed and one with most of the sub-skills broken out into separate skills. The Pathfinder list is about halfway in between. On the long list Fly is certainly separate, but on the short list I'm increasingly convinced that Fly as a part of Acrobatics as described above would work just fine.


There's always that struggle to balance the fantasy aspects of the game with real life mechanics to the point where trying to inject reality into the rules starts to take away too much of the former. I feel that the 'fly' skill crosses this line.

I agree with airwalkrr in that this skill will only discourage players from utilizing flight at all in a tactical sense. Perhaps some of you are thinking 'yay', believing the fly spell to be nothing but a big pain in the you-know-what anyway, but I feel that sentiment--like this skill--is just the path of least resistance, to avoid having to sit down and attempt to address underlying problems, such as maneuverability. Instead we offer up this skill as a quick fix, suggesting that characters without access to readily available means of flight to put precious points into something that's going to be useless most of time until the party wizard/sorcerer decides to target them with a fly spell, or they happen to pick up a magic item that grants them flight. And all this (in additon to creating a precedent where you now have the one skill you need a prerequsite to even pick up) just so a character doesn't bob around like a soap bubble on the off chance that one of the above conditions comes to pass?

Why not just assume that the spell itself provides the neccesary knowledge and skill to keep casters from careening into objects and sudden crash landings, as one poster suggested? It's how I've always handled it. I suppose one could make the argument that any number of spells should require a specific skill to properly use--especially if they bug us. Take invisibility for example: If you read the spell description, not once--from the 1st Edition on--does it mention that the person under the effects of the spell can see themselves. I'm guessing though, that many of you just assumed the subject could, of course, see themselves or perhaps just glossed over that detail entirely. Still you have to wonder how an individual who cannot see the equipment that he or she is carrying can use them properly without penalties, such as a thief trying to pick a lock with invisible tools. Yes...I can definitely see where an individual would need an invisiblity skill to function properly while invisible. Let's go ahead and throw that in, shall we?

A number of posters have asked the general question: doesn't bother you that a person, upon casting a fly spell, automatically gains the ability to maneuver and grasp the basic concepts of aerodynamics? My answer? No...and this from someone who ran 1st and 2nd Edition campaigns for years where players, as a matter of course, would combine fly with permanency, thus giving their characters the ability to fly at will. It was just never that big an issue with me, when you consider that flying characters make excellent, easier-to-hit targets, or that their opponents also had fliers to match them tit for tat. Flying PCs were far less of a headache in my games than those with improved invisiblity and teleport without error, and I had answers for those as well. If I were to try and introduce this skill to my players, I sure they would look at me as though I'd lost my mind. Again I'm with airwalkrr in that I've never found this spell, or the ability for characters to fly for that matter, to be at all unbalancing.

Needless to say, this skill isn't going to come within a mile of my campaign whether they decide to keep it or not...but to each his own. Still, you could make a better argument for Rope Use--and that was removed for supposedly being useless and redundant.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My big problem with fly is that it's completely unnecessary as a skill.

For people who want swift and furious aerial combat - use acrobatics.

For people who want to fight through gale-force winds - make a strength check.

I'm all for Paizo making changes to the game to give it some juice. And I'm VERY MUCH for condensing the quagmire of skills. But I've been opposed to fly from the beginning.

It's just not necessary.


Saurstalk wrote:

My big problem with fly is that it's completely unnecessary as a skill.

For people who want swift and furious aerial combat - use acrobatics.

For people who want to fight through gale-force winds - make a strength check.

I'm all for Paizo making changes to the game to give it some juice. And I'm VERY MUCH for condensing the quagmire of skills. But I've been opposed to fly from the beginning.

It's just not necessary.

The problem with putting fly under acrobatics is that you will suddenly get characters that are amazing a tumbling that should not be great at it.

I have no problem with fly as a separate skill for a couple reasons.

1. Fly is used in one form or another very often by PC's. And there used to be either a lack of rules for airborne creatures or those rule were ridiculously complicated. The new skill fixes this problem.

2. As stated previously folding it under another skill doesn't make sense in terms of game mechanics.

3. Feats for flying won't cut it. I can't see any way to cover the vast variety of mechanics available to a flying character under one or two feats.

4. Many argue that Fly is too eclectic and specific for a skill. I see this skill as being no more specific than the old Open lock skill that very few characters had access to. No one complained though because it was an absolutely necessary skill. I would argue that fly is common enough to be necessary.

5. I have playtested Fly thouroughly for about 5 game sessions now. It has really helped curtail party casters that thought they could simply fly above battles casting from a distance while pulling off lots of varied move actions in midair without a second thought. Now they need to think twice. And they don't have to spend ridiculous amounts of feats just to be able to fly reasonably well.

Grand Lodge

Never considered it before. Always figured if you had the spell on you you could fly. Sort of like a underwater breathing and freedom of movement combo. But makes sense. I suppose Fly and Freedom of Movement might negate the need for the skill.

My biggest complaint is that it is just one more skill to not be able to put points in cause I only get 2 freakin' skill points per level. Means I know how to tie my shoes and comb my beard, other than that I just hit it with me axe.


I'm undecided over the Fly skill. I'm afraid it may end up like several 3.0 skills that only were useful for the first 5 ranks and then you forgot about them (Read Lips, Intuit Direction) or skills that were so specific in scope that almost nobody used them (the infamous Scry, the nonsensical Control Shape for lycanthropes). I you can make Fly work like Swim (having the player make a check against unfavorable conditions), this skill can be saved from the irrelevance those others have fallen into.


mindgamez wrote:
Give fly by thought magic a bonus to flight skill and treat flier as trained while spell is in effect?

If the designers are intent on keeping this skill, the above suggestion makes more sense to me.

Applying a fly skill to those born with the capacity for flight, or those who desire or need to learn how to fly (such as learning how to use a hanglider for example...hey, they had 'em in the Dark Sun setting), or even to carpets of flying, DOES make some sense. But the idea that a spellcaster has to already know how to fly in order to use his fly spell makes us much sense as saying he also needs the proper weapon feat in order to use a mordenkainen's sword spell.

Characters shouldn't have invest in this skill just on the off chance they might come into possession of a ring of flying. Mindgamez idea (if I'm reading it correctly) that magic items grant ranks in fly as though trained as part of their general abilites would is a more practical approach.

Still, I think it would be less work to just revamp the maneuverability rules for those who seem to have a problem with them.

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