What penalties for a paralyzed creature using a fly spell?


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I'm of the opinion that a paralyzed creature that is under the effects of a fly spell can still fly around (since a paralyzed creature "can take purely mental actions" and "using a fly spell requires only as much concentration as walking"). Assuming that's the case, what penalties would you assign to such a creature? It seems to me that the creature wouldn't count as helpless (since it isn't "completely at an opponent's mercy"), nor is it fully paralyzed (since it isn't "unable to move"), so I wouldn't treat it as having a Dexterity of 0. On the other hand, it can't fully use its Dexterity to avoid attacks (or dodge spells), so some sort of penalty seems in order. What do you think?


Paralyzed

A paralyzed character is frozen in place and unable to move or act. A paralyzed character has effective Dexterity and Strength scores of 0 and is helpless, but can take purely mental actions. A winged creature flying in the air at the time that it becomes paralyzed cannot flap its wings and falls. A paralyzed swimmer can't swim and may drown. A creature can move through a space occupied by a paralyzed creature—ally or not. Each square occupied by a paralyzed creature, however, counts as 2 squares to move through.

I would apply the penalties as written.

It explicitly states they can't move or act, has DEX and STR of 0.
Being able to take 'purely mental actions' seems to override the "can't move or act" limitation...

So they can move using Fly, and take 'purely mental actions' but still don't have DEX or STR score, essentially.


I would judge that a paralyzed person under the effects of a fly spell hangs motionless in the air where he was paralyzed. He wouldn't fall because he's not using wings, until the spell expired.


Shaun wrote:
I would judge that a paralyzed person under the effects of a fly spell hangs motionless in the air where he was paralyzed. He wouldn't fall because he's not using wings, until the spell expired.

That's an interesting viewpoint, do you then think that controlling the Fly spell is an action other than "purely mental"?

Sczarni

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The problem is also that in order to "hover" you need to succeed on DC 15 Fly check and paralyzed character cannot attempt such a check. Entire Fly skill explains in it's own way that flying creatures cannot hold still at a single space without being expert flyers (Hover feat) or simply having a good Fly skill.

It would make most sense to me that subject slowly starts to descends at the ground because subject cannot float on the spot without it requiring some physical effort. The fly spell has built in feather fall effect among other things and it wouldn't cease to exist if the time for the spell hasn't expired.

Adam


Malag wrote:

The problem is also that in order to "hover" you need to succeed on DC 15 Fly check and paralyzed character cannot attempt such a check. Entire Fly skill explains in it's own way that flying creatures cannot hold still at a single space without being expert flyers (Hover feat) or simply having a good Fly skill.

It would make most sense to me that subject slowly starts to descends at the ground because subject cannot float on the spot without it requiring some physical effort. The fly spell has built in feather fall effect among other things and it wouldn't cease to exist if the time for the spell hasn't expired.

Adam

I see your point, but do not agree with it.

This reading implies that you are flapping your arms or performing some other physically obvious action to use the spell...

Sczarni

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alexd1976 wrote:
Malag wrote:

The problem is also that in order to "hover" you need to succeed on DC 15 Fly check and paralyzed character cannot attempt such a check. Entire Fly skill explains in it's own way that flying creatures cannot hold still at a single space without being expert flyers (Hover feat) or simply having a good Fly skill.

It would make most sense to me that subject slowly starts to descends at the ground because subject cannot float on the spot without it requiring some physical effort. The fly spell has built in feather fall effect among other things and it wouldn't cease to exist if the time for the spell hasn't expired.

Adam

I see your point, but do not agree with it.

This reading implies that you are flapping your arms or performing some other physically obvious action to use the spell...

That's not true. Read the above text of the Fly skill. With a Dex of 0, you literally cannot fly and you cannot float on the spot. The only conclusion to me is that you descend or drop.


I don't see any mention of paralyzation limiting the fly skill.

Having a DEX of 0 would give a penalty to the check, but wouldn't prevent it.

"Check

You generally need only make a Fly check when you are attempting a complex maneuver. Without making a check, a flying creature can remain flying at the end of its turn so long as it moves a distance greater than half its speed."

Again, nothing saying that being paralyzed prevents making the check.

With wings, I would agree with you.

Magic spell-different story.


I'm thinking in 3.5 it was explicitly stated that creatures flying with magic did not need to make hover checks or checks to turn because they had perfect maneuverability. If I recall correctly perfect maneuverability entry was edited and doesn't mention it anymore, only a bonus to fly checks.

Frankly, it doesn't sense for a demilich which is only a magical floating skull to do anything physical to stay flying. But he does have perfect maneuverability flight speed.

I think mistakes were made it editing that removed the proper functionality.


I don't see anything that would prevent someone from staying in the air using Fly, even if paralyzed.

If there is something printed saying you have to be capable of physical actions to control spells, please reference it.

Likewise for the Fly skill.

To me, it looks like (assuming you control spells mentally, not by waving hands/flapping arms) you could stay in the air.

If you had to make rolls, DEX 0 would give a penalty, but not prevent it...

Please cite references if I am wrong.

Sczarni

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@alex1976

This is from Dexterity Ability Score description:

"A character with a Dexterity score of 0 is incapable of moving and is effectively immobile (but not unconscious)."

You cannot perform any Dexterity check. You do not have a penalty, you simply cannot perform such a check. Fly skill, is a Dexterity based skill check in such case and you cannot perform it. Fly spell says nothing about giving a free floating service in the air so whatever happens is GM's call. This pure RAW reading unless I missed something. RAI might be another story.


Malag wrote:

@alex1976

This is from Dexterity Ability Score description:

"A character with a Dexterity score of 0 is incapable of moving and is effectively immobile (but not unconscious)."

You cannot perform any Dexterity check. You do not have a penalty, you simply cannot perform such a check. Fly skill, is a Dexterity based skill check in such case and you cannot perform it. Fly spell says nothing about giving a free floating service in the air so whatever happens is GM's call. This pure RAW reading unless I missed something. RAI might be another story.

Fair enough. So hovering is out then.

They could still keep moving... unless controlling your spell requires physical components.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Callum wrote:
I'm of the opinion that a paralyzed creature that is under the effects of a fly spell can still fly around (since a paralyzed creature "can take purely mental actions" and "using a fly spell requires only as much concentration as walking"). Assuming that's the case, what penalties would you assign to such a creature? It seems to me that the creature wouldn't count as helpless (since it isn't "completely at an opponent's mercy"), nor is it fully paralyzed (since it isn't "unable to move"), so I wouldn't treat it as having a Dexterity of 0. On the other hand, it can't fully use its Dexterity to avoid attacks (or dodge spells), so some sort of penalty seems in order. What do you think?

Your premise states that flying is of the same kind of action and concentration as walking. Since paralyzed creatures can't walk, it also follows, that they can't fly either. So no matter what the means of flight, the paralyzed creature now has all of the aerodynamics of an average brick.


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A brick that levitates through magic nonetheless

Sczarni

alexd1976 wrote:
Malag wrote:

@alex1976

This is from Dexterity Ability Score description:

"A character with a Dexterity score of 0 is incapable of moving and is effectively immobile (but not unconscious)."

You cannot perform any Dexterity check. You do not have a penalty, you simply cannot perform such a check. Fly skill, is a Dexterity based skill check in such case and you cannot perform it. Fly spell says nothing about giving a free floating service in the air so whatever happens is GM's call. This pure RAW reading unless I missed something. RAI might be another story.

Fair enough. So hovering is out then.

They could still keep moving... unless controlling your spell requires physical components.

It specifies in the spell description S,V,F components, so I am assuming it does. How else can we identify term "purely mental actions"?


Malag wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:
Malag wrote:

@alex1976

This is from Dexterity Ability Score description:

"A character with a Dexterity score of 0 is incapable of moving and is effectively immobile (but not unconscious)."

You cannot perform any Dexterity check. You do not have a penalty, you simply cannot perform such a check. Fly skill, is a Dexterity based skill check in such case and you cannot perform it. Fly spell says nothing about giving a free floating service in the air so whatever happens is GM's call. This pure RAW reading unless I missed something. RAI might be another story.

Fair enough. So hovering is out then.

They could still keep moving... unless controlling your spell requires physical components.

It specifies in the spell description S,V,F components, so I am assuming it does. How else can we identify term "purely mental actions"?

That's to cast the spell, not to use it.

Do you have to wave your hands around or stand on one leg to use 'Sense Evil', AFTER you have cast it?

I sure hope not. That seems silly.

Obviously being paralyzed would prevent the CASTING of fly, in no insane scenario would I argue against that...

Dark Archive

Note that if you have perfect flight, you don't need a minimum forward speed or to make a check to hover. All the others do and you won't be able to make such a check.


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*Paladin begins flapping his arms and standing on one leg*

Cleric: "What in the name of Abadar are you doing???"
Paladin: "Detecting Evil"

hrm...

Sczarni

alexd1976 wrote:


That's to cast the spell, not to use it.

Do you have to wave your hands around or stand on one leg to use 'Sense Evil', AFTER you have cast it?

I sure hope not. That seems silly.

Obviously being paralyzed would prevent the CASTING of fly, in no insane scenario would I argue against that...

I understand what you mean, but still, how can you differentiate between spells that require mental actions or not. Besides, the Lazarx mentioned above, "Using a fly spell requires only as much concentration as walking". Is walking a physical activity? If yes, then you can't walk anymore. If you can't walk, you can't fly.


It requires as much concentration as walking. That isn't the same as physical effort.


Malag wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:


That's to cast the spell, not to use it.

Do you have to wave your hands around or stand on one leg to use 'Sense Evil', AFTER you have cast it?

I sure hope not. That seems silly.

Obviously being paralyzed would prevent the CASTING of fly, in no insane scenario would I argue against that...

I understand what you mean, but still, how can you differentiate between spells that require mental actions or not. Besides, the Lazarx mentioned above, "Using a fly spell requires only as much concentration as walking". Is walking a physical activity? If yes, then you can't walk anymore. If you can't walk, you can't fly.

Concentrating isn't a physical action.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Renata Maclean wrote:
It requires as much concentration as walking. That isn't the same as physical effort.

It's a volountary movement action. Using a fly spell is no different than commanding a limb as far as your brain is concerned. Paralyzation does not attack the limbs, it disables the motor functions of the brain.

Pretty much the only thing you can do while paralyzed is communicate through a telepathic bond, or something simmilar.


LazarX wrote:
Renata Maclean wrote:
It requires as much concentration as walking. That isn't the same as physical effort.

It's a volountary movement action. Using a fly spell is no different than commanding a limb as far as your brain is concerned. Paralyzation does not attack the limbs, it disables the motor functions of the brain.

Pretty much the only thing you can do while paralyzed is communicate through a telepathic bond, or something simmilar.

What book/page is that?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
alexd1976 wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Renata Maclean wrote:
It requires as much concentration as walking. That isn't the same as physical effort.

It's a volountary movement action. Using a fly spell is no different than commanding a limb as far as your brain is concerned. Paralyzation does not attack the limbs, it disables the motor functions of the brain.

Pretty much the only thing you can do while paralyzed is communicate through a telepathic bond, or something simmilar.

What book/page is that?

There isn't one. It's a natural consequence of the fact that the rules dont' cover every fiddly bit. It's also a logical conclusion of the paralyzed condition.

To put it simply, I don't consider flying even by magical means as a purely mental act. So paralyzed means you drop like a stone.. period.


LazarX wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Renata Maclean wrote:
It requires as much concentration as walking. That isn't the same as physical effort.

It's a volountary movement action. Using a fly spell is no different than commanding a limb as far as your brain is concerned. Paralyzation does not attack the limbs, it disables the motor functions of the brain.

Pretty much the only thing you can do while paralyzed is communicate through a telepathic bond, or something simmilar.

What book/page is that?

There isn't one. It's a natural consequence of the fact that the rules dont' cover every fiddly bit. It's also a logical conclusion of the paralyzed condition.

To put it simply, I don't consider flying even by magical means as a purely mental act. So paralyzed means you drop like a stone.. period.

It isn't the 'logical' conclusion at all, you are attributing more effects to Paralyzed than you should.

It lists what it does.

Apply that.

Nowhere does it say it affects the mind of the person. So it doesn't.

There are spells/effects that have effects on the mind, like Charm Person, Alter memory etc etc... The Paralyzed effect isn't one.

Free mind=able to take mental actions.

Unless controlling/using a spell requires physical effort, you can continue to fly.


"A winged creature flying in the air at the time that it becomes paralyzed cannot flap its wings and falls."

There would be no reason to specify winged creature if paralysis caused the victim to fall regardless.

So RAW, you are heavily implied to be incorrect, even if there is no explicit rule on the matter


LazarX wrote:
Renata Maclean wrote:
It requires as much concentration as walking. That isn't the same as physical effort.

It's a volountary movement action. Using a fly spell is no different than commanding a limb as far as your brain is concerned. Paralyzation does not attack the limbs, it disables the motor functions of the brain.

Pretty much the only thing you can do while paralyzed is communicate through a telepathic bond, or something simmilar.

Do you even know how a phantom limb works?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Entryhazard wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Renata Maclean wrote:
It requires as much concentration as walking. That isn't the same as physical effort.

It's a volountary movement action. Using a fly spell is no different than commanding a limb as far as your brain is concerned. Paralyzation does not attack the limbs, it disables the motor functions of the brain.

Pretty much the only thing you can do while paralyzed is communicate through a telepathic bond, or something simmilar.

Do you even know how a phantom limb works?

I fail to see the relevance to the question.


LazarX wrote:
I fail to see the relevance to the question.

That the brain can try to send motion signals even when the limb cannot move or doesn't even exist. By the magic the fact that you can still conceive movements should let you fly. The concentration snip is there in order to squash any doubt about how much "concentration" is needed to maintain flight and how it matters in action economy.

"You can't cast fireball while flying because you're too busy trying to keep afloat" nope, because the effort is the same as walking and cast Fireball. But the movement of magical flight happens by pure will.

Sczarni

Renata Maclean wrote:

"A winged creature flying in the air at the time that it becomes paralyzed cannot flap its wings and falls."

There would be no reason to specify winged creature if paralysis caused the victim to fall regardless.

So RAW, you are heavily implied to be incorrect, even if there is no explicit rule on the matter

That's just an example in the description. The book cannot list every possible description there is. A paralyzed creature walking over a pole would lose balance and fall likewise.

@alex
The "It lists what it does" and "Nowhere does it say" aren't answers. Every forum user can fight with those words. You have to assume some common RAW logic and connect the dots.

Sczarni

Entryhazard wrote:


"You can't cast fireball while flying because you're too busy trying to keep afloat" nope, because the effort is the same as walking and cast Fireball. But the movement of magical flight happens by pure will.

Fly spell doesn't say anything about user being free from making Fly checks to hover. Can you make such a check with Dex of 0? Does that even make any sense at all?


Malag wrote:
Renata Maclean wrote:

"A winged creature flying in the air at the time that it becomes paralyzed cannot flap its wings and falls."

There would be no reason to specify winged creature if paralysis caused the victim to fall regardless.

So RAW, you are heavily implied to be incorrect, even if there is no explicit rule on the matter

That's just an example in the description. The book cannot list every possible description there is. A paralyzed creature walking over a pole would lose balance and fall likewise.

@alex
The "It lists what it does" and "Nowhere does it say" aren't answers. Every forum user can fight with those words. You have to assume some common RAW logic and connect the dots.

Agreed 100%

Sleep (the spell) doesn't say it makes you Prone and Disarmed, so it doesn't.

Paralyzed also doesn't control your mind. So you can still fly.

Saying that Paralyzed affects your brain is an arbitrary rule introduced by someone, not something that is published.

If we add effects to already published material, we are wandering away from RAW and making house rules.

Just because you don't AGREE with what is written doesn't mean you are correct.

Everything I have mentioned in this thread is published material.

Paralyzed characters could continue to fly at half to full speed, which does not require Fly checks.

I don't see anything that contradicts this.

They WOULD have a DEX and STR of effectively 0, so their armor class would suck...

Nothing mentioned here convinces me that a)Using Fly requires physical actions or b)Paralyze affects your mind.

I'm not saying I'm right, I'm saying the book is. Maybe I missed something.


Malag wrote:
Renata Maclean wrote:

"A winged creature flying in the air at the time that it becomes paralyzed cannot flap its wings and falls."

There would be no reason to specify winged creature if paralysis caused the victim to fall regardless.

So RAW, you are heavily implied to be incorrect, even if there is no explicit rule on the matter

That's just an example in the description. The book cannot list every possible description there is. A paralyzed creature walking over a pole would lose balance and fall likewise.

@alex
The "It lists what it does" and "Nowhere does it say" aren't answers. Every forum user can fight with those words. You have to assume some common RAW logic and connect the dots.

Except that the example would not only be shorter, but more comprehensive if it stated "A creature flying in the air at the time that it becomes paralyzed cannot continue flying and falls"

Sczarni

@alex

Alex, I quoted RAW quite well. The only comment so far that I have heard from you and several other topic members is the following:

"It's magic! Everyone knows that all mental actions require 0 physical control!" to which I can respond only, give me quote of the ruling. Sadly, you won't find it. The best you can dig up is the rulings about spells which require concentration, which probably should have been written under "mental actions".

I think I quoted enough rules around this topic. Hopefully, someone else can prove that I am right or wrong.


...I think a lot of the issue here is that Pathfinder has a fly skill to hover and do other flying stuff, whereas 3.5 was based purely on maneuverability rating, so anyone with good or perfect maneuverability could hover with Dex 0, no skill check required.


Malag wrote:

@alex

Alex, I quoted RAW quite well. The only comment so far that I have heard from you and several other topic members is the following:

"It's magic! Everyone knows that all mental actions require 0 physical control!" to which I can respond only, give me quote of the ruling. Sadly, you won't find it. The best you can dig up is the rulings about spells which require concentration, which probably should have been written under "mental actions".

I think I quoted enough rules around this topic. Hopefully, someone else can prove that I am right or wrong.

Um... I'm not adding or changing rules. You are.

I can't find anything to support my ideas? All I have done is quote the book. I have done that!

Paralyze has penalties. I applied them. After that, you can still fly (you can't hover, granted, because using the Fly skill requires having a DEX of greater than 0).

I'm sorry you don't agree with the rules, or with me.

Don't add extra effects to conditions that already list what they do, it opens a big can of worms.

Example: Paralyze.

"A paralyzed character is frozen in place and unable to move or act. A paralyzed character has effective Dexterity and Strength scores of 0 and is helpless, but can take purely mental actions. A winged creature flying in the air at the time that it becomes paralyzed cannot flap its wings and falls. A paralyzed swimmer can't swim and may drown. A creature can move through a space occupied by a paralyzed creature—ally or not. Each square occupied by a paralyzed creature, however, counts as 2 squares to move through."

It doesn't say they are subjected to mind controlling effects. It also doesn't say they are plane-shifted to the positive energy plane. It additionally doesn't say they are disintegrated.

You are convinced that one of these isn't true. If not one, why not all three? What convinced you of one, and not the others?

Trying to tell me that we have to find a rule explicitly saying you can use Fly while paralyzed is silly.

I have already shown that you can. If you want to ignore the rules and add effects to existing conditions, that is something you are gonna do.

Me... I use the book.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Me, I use the search feature with the terms "paralyzed flying" and come up with 1,446 items. Surely, all of the arguments one way or the other are contained within ?

So far, This one is my favorite.


SlimGauge wrote:
Me, I use the search feature with the terms "paralyzed flying" and come up with 1,446 items. Surely, all of the arguments one way or the other are contained within ?

Oh likely they are.

But what fun is that?


If you parse the text by strict reading, the "being able to take mental action" is an exception to "being helpless". Everything else instead is applyed fully, so no moving even if flying with a spell ecc.


Dekalinder wrote:
If you parse the text by strict reading, the "being able to take mental action" is an exception to "being helpless". Everything else instead is applyed fully, so no moving even if flying with a spell ecc.

Being able to take a mental action IS right there in the condition...

If controlling a fly spell requires a physical action, no flight.

If controlling a fly spell is an act of will/mental action, then nothing written prevents you from continuing to fly.

You can't hover, but you can keep moving (doesn't require a Fly check to just move around).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Flying of any sort is not a purely mental action because it involves physical movement, the exact same way that walking does.


LazarX wrote:
Flying of any sort is not a purely mental action because it involves physical movement

So does falling.


LazarX wrote:
Flying of any sort is not a purely mental action because it involves physical movement, the exact same way that walking does.

So... flapping your arms? I don't think we are going to sway each other on this.

I firmly believe magical flight is controlled by sheer willpower alone, not flapping of arms.

Sorry.

Alternatively, we can nitpick and I will still be (in my opinion) correct:

Sure, you can't move. No problem.
I will locomote.

Movement is not a change in position, though it can be. Locomotion is explicitly changing your position in space from one place to another.

Either way...


The rules for paralyze say you can't move so you can't move take any actions that would actively move you. Also - the spell flight requires the use of a dex based skill so it likely has some physical component.


Matthew Downie wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Flying of any sort is not a purely mental action because it involves physical movement
So does falling.

"You can't move" is not the same as "You can't be moved."


alexd1976 wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Flying of any sort is not a purely mental action because it involves physical movement, the exact same way that walking does.

So... flapping your arms? I don't think we are going to sway each other on this.

Superman, Iron Man, Thor, Storm all use various supernatural means of flight that require bodily movement to control but don't flap their arms.


MeanMutton wrote:
The rules for paralyze say you can't move so you can't move take any actions that would actively move you. Also - the spell flight requires the use of a dex based skill so it likely has some physical component.

What about a silenced, stilled teleport?


MeanMutton wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Flying of any sort is not a purely mental action because it involves physical movement
So does falling.
"You can't move" is not the same as "You can't be moved."

So since you are being moved by the Fly spell, and not your own power, no conflict here.


LazarX wrote:
Flying of any sort is not a purely mental action because it involves physical movement, the exact same way that walking does.
MeanMutton wrote:
"You can't move" is not the same as "You can't be moved."

Please don't confuse spacial movement with physical movement


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
alexd1976 wrote:

I would apply the penalties as written.

It explicitly states they can't move or act, has DEX and STR of 0.
Being able to take 'purely mental actions' seems to override the "can't move or act" limitation...

So they can move using Fly, and take 'purely mental actions' but still don't have DEX or STR score, essentially.

Thanks, alexd, for actually answering my original question! (And also for a robust defence of my position that you can fly while paralyzed - I'd tried to word my question to preclude starting a discussion about that.) I'm inclined to agree with you, although applying a Dex of 0 seems a little harsh, as I feel that the creature could "fly" out of the way of attacks to some extent - and shouldn't have exactly the same penalties as non-flying paralyzed creature. Perhaps I'll keep the Dex of 0 but give a +2 circumstance bonus to AC and Reflex saves.

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