Help flying PC


Advice


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Hi I have a PC who is a sorcerer with dragon disciple he has the robes of arcane heritage and is 14 th lvl. How how do I deal with this player who always says "I'm flying 2 inches off the ground. And every combat I fly 30 feet up so I can't be attacked exept by ranged attackers and spell, or I take a 5 foot step stright up. It's getting frustrating! I also have a player that says I cast overland flight and do the same thing, but during a game he was parylised and said that overland flight is a purely mental ability so I fly away. Can he???

How do you deal with stuff like that???


It's not uncommon for an entire party to be flying around way before level 14. Throwing in some flying monsters or setting up some conflicts in cramped conditions (the average dungeon) will negate some of the benefits of flying constantly.

That being said, players should not be punished for using their abilities. If they find something that works, let them have fun w/ it, but put in some situations that require some creativity on their part. If they do the exact same thing every combat, you may need to consider why they find themselves in such consistent battles. Change things up and it will require them to do the same.

I'm unaware of an official ruling about flying when paralyzed, but I can understand an argument either way. I think that's purely a GM call, unless there's some errata somewhere I missed.


At 14th level, your foes should really have substantial ranged capability of their own, and/or the ability to fly. An NPC archer with improved invisibility -- or 10 of them with a bard and a buffbot cleric!, a flying dragon with some grappling feats -- and a howdah on his back with four half-dragon NPCs buffing and helping him!, a giant throwing really big flaming rocks -- that explode in sight-blocking clouds of acid!, a charging barbarian on a flying mount wielding a lance -- and his mount has pounce and maybe smite!... The list goes on,and on, and on.

Flight is mental, so yes, the overland flight guy can fly away. Of course, overland flight is a spell that can be dispelled. And your villains can use the same technique. Anything the PCs do, their enemies can do as well.

Above 10th level, the world has changed. You're not doing Conan/Tolkien fantasy, or even Achilles slaughtering his way through the Trojan army. You're in a world where pretty much everything is superhuman and superheroic, and stuff like "everybody flies, except the ones who routinely teleport" is perfectly normal. Look at all the abilities of an ice devil, or a CR 14 dragon, and reflect that a party of 14th level PCs should be able to EASILY overcome one of these!

Foes without flight or ranged attacks at this point aren't even speed bumps, and I wouldn't even give the PCs XP for overcoming them. The best they can do is hide underground in labyrinths with 10' high ceilings so the flying foes have to come within reach of them.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My favorite situation was the one where the floor was a 'trapped' grate. Everyone on the ground who failed their save simply dropped harmlessly below to the next dungeon corridor. The grate closed and locked. Those above got to face the dragon and his caster associates alone. Of course, they were all able to come help after a couple of rounds, but our 'my feet never touch the ground' PCs were ***tting their pants for about 10 minutes of OOG time as favorite spells all got countered.

(The players had already figured out that the BBEG was aware they'd arrived in town and was having them watched - they caught one of the spies - so it was no surprise that she knew well which spells they cast every time they went into combat. However, as happens so often, they hadn't put that knowledge to use to develop a Plan B!)


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
gordbond wrote:

Hi I have a PC who is a sorcerer with dragon disciple he has the robes of arcane heritage and is 14 th lvl. How how do I deal with this player who always says "I'm flying 2 inches off the ground. And every combat I fly 30 feet up so I can't be attacked exept by ranged attackers and spell, or I take a 5 foot step stright up. It's getting frustrating! I also have a player that says I cast overland flight and do the same thing, but during a game he was parylised and said that overland flight is a purely mental ability so I fly away. Can he???

How do you deal with stuff like that???

I would count a character that was constantly flying at all times as hustling, thus if they do so, they'd start to take non lethal damage and be fatigued.

Edit: Given the fact that overland flight has somatic components, and the fly skill is dex based (even when flying magically) I'd call bull on the purely mental thing. Not to mention, paralyzed specifically mentions movement, flying is a kind of movement.

A paralyzed character cannot move, speak, or take any physical action. He is rooted to the spot, frozen and helpless. Not even friends can move his limbs. He may take purely mental actions, such as casting a spell with no components.

The Exchange

The overland flight situation is probably a good FAQ candidate if it hasn't already been put in one: 'is magical flight a purely mental action'.

Make sure the character with wings has at least 'good' maneuverability - "hovering two inches off the ground" is something that hummingbirds can consistently do and helicopter pilots cannot, so feel free to require Fly checks to see if he 'bumps' the floor.

That said, you do have to allow for all these options at high-level play, which is one of the reasons that the high-teens levels are the most common time for DM or player burnout. My best advice is to flip through your books slowly, making a note of every spell, creature or item that would help to confound the flight capacity of your PCs and/or require them to close to ground level in order to engage. There are even a few non-magical options: nets, tanglefoot bags (vs. physical rather than magical flight), and anything that knocks an opponent prone (flying foes with Improved Trip can be an unpleasant surprise). Once you have a list of these options, use them sparingly - for unimportant fights, don't use any at all. Your players are using their high-level powers intelligently and shouldn't necessarily be punished for that - but they want the game to remain challenging, so you do need to take what measures you can to provide a challenge.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

So is overland flight, fly purely mental ability? What about channel energy ? Can you do these ability while paralysed?


gordbond wrote:
Hi I have a PC who is a sorcerer with dragon disciple he has the robes of arcane heritage and is 14 th lvl. How how do I deal with this player who always says "I'm flying 2 inches off the ground. And every combat I fly 30 feet up so I can't be attacked exept by ranged attackers and spell, or I take a 5 foot step stright up.

It shouldn't be an issue. By 14th level all the major enemies should be able to fly too or have good ranged capability, and even the minor enemies should have decent ranged capability.

However:

Fly wrote:
The subject can fly at a speed of 60 feet (or 40 feet if it wears medium or heavy armor, or if it carries a medium or heavy load). It can ascend at half speed and descend at double speed, and its maneuverability is good.

You can't 5 foot step straight up.

gordbond wrote:

It's getting frustrating! I also have a player that says I cast overland flight and do the same thing, but during a game he was parylised and said that overland flight is a purely mental ability so I fly away. Can he???

How do you deal with stuff like that???

I call shenanigans on this part too. It works as Fly, which says takes as much concentration as walking and yadda yadda. It's probably not a "purely mental action".

And you're the GM. Whether it is or not "Not at my table, that's stupid." is always an option.


You can easily rule that a winged creature can not move along a 5 ft corridor while flying since his wingspan prevents that. (though he might be able to fly up by turning to the walls), you might also want to reread the fly skill to make sure they make the proper fly checks.

I'd not allow a creature that is magically held to fly, though perhaps more mundane means of paralysis might allow flight though fly checks would suffer as effective dexterity would be 0. Personally I'd simply rule it's not possible since it is frankly a bit dumb.

Constantly hovering some distance of the ground would require a significant effort, just set a reasonable limit.

5 feet steps upwards are not possible and changes of direction cost additional movement.

you will simply have to write adventures taking into account their abilities, as frustrating as it might seem a dragon disciple is not nearly as versatile as a 14th lvl wizard in their capability to bypass challenges and a druid would have been able to fly much of the time by level 4.


Magical flight isn't a mental ability. If it was, Fly would be an Int check, or you wouldn't get bonuses to Fly by casting Fly or Overland Flight.


In the D&D 3.5 Spell Compendium there is a 2nd level arcane spell called Earth Bind, which turns off all means of flight and brings the subject to the ground.

Dispel Magic can take care of spell-based flight. All sorts of spells can halt a target: Hold Person, Dazing Metamagic, Solid Fog, Acid Fog, Wall of Force... the list is pretty long.

Then there's grappling and stunning from monsters or NPCs.

Dealing with a flying PC in combat shouldn't be a problem (though you shouldn't view it as such either, just as a challenge to overcome occasionally): it's out of combat that it is really a hassle, because it forces you to have to start designing challenges in 3 dimensions.


@Rynjin
How do you get from the ascend at half speed to no 5 foot?

@Lincoln Hills
Having good maneuverability isn't required for hovering, all that maneuverability does (in this case) is affect you fly skill, and at that levels it is most likely that the PCs can make the hover check automatically.

@OP
No if you are paralyzed you can't fly even with overland flight, you don't fall on your death either though.


leo1925 wrote:

@Rynjin

How do you get from the ascend at half speed to no 5 foot?

The reason you can't take 5 foot steps in difficult terrain is because it has doubled movement cost. I.e. if you want to move 5 feet you have to spend 10 movement, making 5 foot shifts as a free action impossible. You have to actually use your move action for that.


When the paralyzed guy is flying with overland flight, which is purely mental in my games, take away his dex bonus from fly, give him the huge penalty to fly checks as if he had clumsy maneuverability. He can't move well after all.

Liberty's Edge

gordbond wrote:
So is overland flight, fly purely mental ability? What about channel energy ? Can you do these ability while paralysed?

For the Channel, you have to be able to present your holy symbol. Whether that means actually doing it or just being able to do it, someone who is paralyzed cannot Channel.

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