RPGBOT.Podcast S2E8 – Flight

Show Notes

In this episode of the RPGBOT.Podcast, we discuss flight. We examine the state of flight rules in DnD 5e and PF2 and take a peek at DnD 3.x and PF1 for comparison, then we explore how to handle flying enemies from a player’s perspective and how to handle flying players from a GM/DM perspective. We also take a brief aside into how cool airships are.

Tyler has already been corrected: Pathfinder 2e includes several ancestries which provide flight, including Automaton, Kobold, Poppet, Sprite, Strix, and Tengu, as well as several versatile heritages including Aasimar, Beastkin, Dhampir, Sylph, and Tiefling. Every one of them requires an ancestry feat to do so, and those feats are 9th level or higher in every case.

Special thanks to @SenChatterton on Twitter for the question of the week this week.

If you’ve enjoyed the show, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, and rate us on Spotify or your favorite podcast app. It’s a quick, free way to support the podcast, and helps us reach new listeners.

Materials Referenced in this Episode

Transcript

Randall 

Welcome to the RPGBOT.Podcast. I’m Randall James and I believe I can fly. With me is Tyler Kamstra.

Tyler 

Hi, everybody,

Randall 

and Random Powell.

Random 

And there we have it. Our first copyright strike.

Randall 

I only did like three seconds. I think it’s fine. Yeah, Tyler, what are we going to do today?

Tyler 

We’re going to talk about flight. We’re going to look at why flight is important, why it’s complicated, how it actually works, and how to fix it. Well, not necessarily how to fix it because it’s mostly not broken, but basically how to deal with it both as a player and as a DM.

Randall 

Yeah, I thought this was a really interesting topic when we first started talking about it because a lot of times when we talk about mechanics, we want to talk about the rough edges and it felt like really here just most folks don’t include flight in their games.

Tyler 

It’s not really a conscious decision in a lot of cases. Not everything flies. Like, clearly not everything flies. Most things in fact don’t. You can go a huge amount of time without encountering something that flies you might you go your entire career in D&D, never once play a character that flies. So since it’s not a constantly used portion of the rules, a lot of times people just don’t understand how it works and when it comes up, it’s like, uh… it’s like walking but up?

Random 

Yeah, longtime holdovers from 3.x will remember the real struggle that flight was in in in those editions and different flight categories. Pathfinder one, bless them, they fixed a lot of things. Flight was not one of them. Turning it into a skill was a really bizarre choice.

Randall 

It was like, I, did I roll for flight?

Random 

Yes.

Randall 

Oh…

Tyler 

Yeah.

Randall 

What happens if I’m flying and then I fail a roll for flight?

Tyler 

You fall.

Random 

You fall.

Randall 

Okay. keep going.

Random 

That brings us to, you know, fifth edition. There’s a lot of ways to fly. Some races can naturally fly more or less effectively and depending on which version you have more or less effectively. You’ve got your Aarakocra, you’ve got fairies, Owlin… you’ve got a particular flavor of Tiefling you’ve got-

Tyler 

it’s the diet flavor.

Random 

Yeah, exactly.

Randall 

Does that make them lighter so they they fly better? Is that…

Random 

Yeah, yes, that’s exactly it.

Randall 

That was the joke. I nailed it. All right.

Random 

And then you got all of your various magical ways. You know, you’ve got at the most basic, boom of flying, which is utterly under-costed. Then you know, some more typical things like winged boots, you’ve got the spell, Fly, which is how a lot of things are gonna fly for the vast majority of their career if they’re going to do it at all.

Randall 

We have magic carpets.

Random 

We have magic carpets. We have put yourself into a bag of holding and get strapped to someone else who can fly. We have winged mounts, particularly if you have gone and read my recent post about what Bard should take. You should be a Bard, a level 10 Bard on a Pegasus, because you should be a level 10 Bard on a Pegasus.

Randall 

I like the Mitch Hedberg method for flying. It’s like, Hey, man, can you fly? Great. I’m coming with you.

Random 

Exactly. Right. So there’s a lot of things that actually can fly. And most people just sort of don’t think about it and don’t choose to.

Tyler 

Yeah, which is really a shame because flight is a massive tactical advantage. Like we did an episode on the Tarrasque early in the podcast where we talked about how a level one Aarakocra with a cantrip can kill the Tarrasque. And if that doesn’t sell you on how good flight is, I don’t know what we’re doing here. The monster creation rules in 5e increased the creatures defensive CR by I think half a step or full step I’m forgetting off the top of my head if they can attack it range and fly below CR 10. 5th edition assumes that by about level 10 players have some way to counter flying enemies. And honestly, if you’ve gone that far and can’t handle flying enemies somehow, you’re probably dead. You got to figure that out. And fortunately, we can do this whole episode and we’re going to tell you some things about how to handle things that fly. We’re going to talk about D&D today. We’re going to talk about Pathfinder. If you’re playing other games, anything that’s more like futuristic technology-wise like your Shadowrun, your Star Wars, whatever, those are going to have flight that’s probably a little easier to deal with because there’s more shooting involved. But D&D inherent… D&D, Pathfinder, dungeon fantasy games inherently there’s a lot of running around trying to hit each other with swords. And if you’re a sword guy, and you’re trying to fight a flying thing, being a sword guy can kind of suck if you don’t know what you’re doing,

Randall 

When your best option is throwing your sword at the enemy.

Tyler 

It’s more likely than you’d think. So let’s start with fifth edition, because we’ve already hit on that a whole bunch. So there’s an important distinction between non-magical flight and magical flight. Now it feels pretty similar. They both work basically the same way when you’re just flying around. But there are a few rules that specifically care about how you’re flying. And it’s mostly the rules around when you stop flying. Regardless of how you fly, if your speed is reduced to zero, you fall. If you have the hover ability, which if you look at monsters, some monsters will have a fly speed and in parentheses hover. If you have that hover feature, usually you don’t fall. Most things can’t hover, fortunately. So if you’re the if your sword guy on the ground, all you have to do is reduce the flying thing’s speed to zero or otherwise remove its ability to move. There are certain things that remove a creatures ability to move such as Otto’s Irresistible Dance. They spend all of their movement dancing, and cannot move. And since they have lost the, since they have lost the ability to move, they fall. Unless, again, unless they’re flying magically, or can hover. Basically, flying, keep going. You don’t actually have to move anywhere. Like you can have all the speed in the world, you can have five foot move, speed and just kind of hang out in one place. There’s nothing that prevents you from hovering in fifth edition, even if you don’t actually have the hover trait, which is weird. Yeah, if you’re flying, just keep moving. And keep in mind how the falling rules work in fifth edition.

Randall 

Actually, I want to be clear on the movement first. So you have to have a speed of nonzero, but do I actually have to use my speed in order to maintain my flight? Or in other words, can I just stay in place? Knowing that I wasted some of my movement?

Tyler 

Yeah, pretty much. It’s effectively the same as just flying in circles. So forcing them… like the game forcing you to move some distance is kind of silly, especially considering how forgiving D&D is in terms of movement. Even if you’re in melee in the air, safety donut. Just fly around in a circle around whatever you’re fighting and you’re fine.

Randall 

That’s right, cause even if you’re flying, there would be an opportunity cost. Does the safety donut become a safety sphere?

Random 

Yes. And boy, thinking in three dimensions is a thing that I’m going to get to down here in a bit because that is one of the things that makes flying the hardest to deal with.

Randall 

roll20 doesn’t give me voxels.

Tyler 

That is absolutely true. And honestly, it’s kind of a pain. Alright, so let’s talk about falling real quick before we go on. So how much damage do you take when you fall? Not as much as you think. So you take 1d6 damage for every 10 feet, you fall up to a maximum of 20d7 damage, which averages to 70. Very unimpressive. By about level five, many characters can survive a maximum distance fall, as long as their full hit points. When you hit level 20, like, if your party’s in a flying city and you need to escape the flying city, just jump. You’ll be fine. I see the look of wrath on Random’s face. I did that once in one of his games and three, five it was great. We based jumped off of a flying city to circumvent a bossfight. Anyway. D&D’s falling damage is very, very gentle. It’s also bludgeoning damage, so if you’re Barbarian and you’re raging, you only take half of it. It’s very gentle. But at the same time, if you do fall and take damage, you land prone and if you’re fighting flying enemies, or if you’re a flying creature, if you are knocked prone, fall, you’re going to take some damage, you’re going to be prone, and then a bunch of people are going to jump on you. So if you are flying, don’t get knocked prone.

Random 

This is a place where I need to interject. First off when you fall, amd a quick note for clarity here, when Tyler was talking about my max height, there is actually an important thing in the… I think it might be Xanathar’s you fall 500 feet a turn. You’re guaranteed to be possible to hit terminal velocity in six seconds, which I would have to work on the physics of that but regardless. Technically speaking, knocking something prone in midair forces it to fall even if it can hover, even if it is flying magically. One of my few fixes for realism sake is that doesn’t make any sense to me. And I just like a thing which we brought up in a some previous conversation is that that doesn’t happen at my table. That is a thing that I would strongly suggest. If something can hover If it’s flying, magically, knocking it prone, should not cause it to fall out of the air. Because like, what is prone look like in three dimensions, you just you rotate 90 degrees on tilt. I mean, Superman flies prone. Yes or… or he can stand up. And that’s…

Randall 

What’s even the point then?

Tyler 

Look, if you’re going to be fast enough to fly through space backwards to rotate the planet, you have to fly prone so that you’re aerodynamic in space.

Randall 

It’s basic physics, really.

Tyler 

Superman!

Randall 

I do… this 500 feet per turn, I’d actually never heard that. And that’s interesting to me. So could I theoretically, let’s say I’m in that flying City, and I’m 3000 feet above the ground. If I were to be knocked prone, or if I were to lose my ability to fly for a turn. On the next turn, can I potentially recover and not smush into the earth?

Tyler 

Yes. Xanathar’s clarified that one, you can spend half of your movement, like after the first round of falling, you can spend half of your movement to arrest the fall, and then you’re no longer prone and you can continue flapping about however you Please

Randall 

Arrest the fall. You can you can spend half your movement to stop that.

Tyler 

Yeah, yeah.

Randall 

Okay. All right. That’s fair. That’s interesting. Like there’s a real frame of reference problems happening here that like your velocity is high enough that, like, you actually need to decelerate, but we don’t… no second order derivatives and 5e?

Random 

Yeah. As a reminder for Tyler, which has never come up on this podcast yet. So welcome, everyone to the in joke. In D&D physics are so broken that spheres don’t roll.

Tyler 

Yes. Someday we’ll explain that joke to the Patreon folks.

Random 

D&D has very little actual material. And there’s a problematic amount of ways that it can go wrong. Thinking three dimensionally, immediately creates problems, you know… to start off, just some real basic, like, Okay, how do I do this logistically? If you’re on a map, are you going to indicate that something’s flying? Like in a real space map? You know, do you stick it on an empty dice box? Do you stick it on something else? Do you try and like, have a I mean, I’ve seen people do like little twist tie rings for concentration, maybe you do that for flying? As soon as things get three dimensional, one of the immediate problems is distance. Because suddenly you have to do trig every single time you want to think about how far something away something is.

Randall 

Right. Pythagorean theorem, right? A squared plus B squared equals C squared.  Yes, as long as… That doesn’t make it any better.

Random 

There’s not like things in the way. Cover becomes a really preposterous thing to try and figure out when you have to start thinking like, okay, like, how high is this? does it intersect with this line? This is one of the things where roll20 actually helps a lot. Towards the end of the long-running Rise of the Runelords game I imported a new player. And god bless them, they came in and said, Oh, we’re flying a lot because we’re high level (spoilers for an upcoming episode). I’m just gonna write a function into roll20. So that you can click on this and it will give me the the high pot news that made it great because like, Oh, yes, now Now I actually can target my spells that 240 feet or whatever. Because another thing about once you start getting airborne distances start to become a lot bigger, because it’s not like there’s a lot of stuff in the way so you can clearly see people from the heck over there.

Tyler 

Can we get that equation and stick it in the show notes? Because…

Random 

Probably.

Tyler 

I like alright, we should ask we should. Yeah, people will use that.

Random 

That is the sort of thing that D&D casually says yeah, you can fly, and also doesn’t tell you at all the things you have to think about when you do.

Tyler 

Yeah, D&D kind of just assumes that everyone’s still going to be in, like, a combat box essentially. Like, you’ve got your 30 foot by 30 foot by 30 foot cube. And everybody’s gonna fight inside that and the first person you cast fireball is a jerk.

Randall 

A real standoff. I’m thinking about this, like, even thinking about using, like, ranged weaponry. In the real world, there is an advantage to having the higher ground, I believe we’re all familiar with this, that D&D ignores, right? Like if it’s 40 foot from you, to me, it doesn’t matter if I’m flying above you. I can shoot down to you, you can shoot up to me. And it’s effectively equivalent, right?

Random 

Well, fifth edition, actually, I mean, calls out that would be a decent reason to grant advantage or disadvantage.

Randall 

Okay. Yeah, that’s fair. And that’s not gamebreaking either, right?

Tyler 

Probably not.

Random 

It’s not and it’s in fact, one of the easier ways to get yourself advantage if you are trying to, you know, do something like be a bow Rogue is just yeet yourself up a tree. Congratulations. Boy, you talk about range weapons. I hesitate to jump ahead here a bit, but yeah, when you’re like a couple 100 feet out of the way, gravity is still gravity and previous editions didn’t handle things nearly so well as just advantage or disadvantage.

Tyler 

So we’ve talked about the rules for how flight works in fifth edition, so I want to jump over to Pathfinder second edition. There are a lot of similarities, but there are some very important differences. Paizo chose to balance flight very differently from both fifth edition and from even for first edition Pathfinder. There are some overlapping things between 5e and PF2, like if your speed is reduced to zero, so you can’t fly, you fall, things like that. So so let’s start with Pathfinder second edition’s three action system. So every creature on its turn gets three actions unless it’s a minion, in which case like the spend action command it and it gets two. So if you were flying, in order to stay aloft, you must spend one action on your turn to take an action with the fly trait. Now there are two specific actions in the core rules, one of them is just called Fly. One of them is called maneuver in flight. So you’re going to take one of those two actions in order to stay in the air. So if you are flying, no matter how, unless you’ve got some specific thing that says you don’t need to spend an action to fly and you can just hang out, you are going to spend one of your three actions on your turn to stay in air. So being flying costs you a third of your action economy, which is huge. So that alone is a huge balance point that can bring a lot of creatures down onto the ground when they’re attacking, because they want that action to do stuff. So like big creatures like dragons, they have to decide like, do I stay in the area where it might be relatively safe? Or do I get down on the ground and do 50% more things with my turn? Yeah, just spending that action, very important. That also means if you have flying minions, they’re spending half of their actions just to stay in the air. So you might want to land them and have your, like, pet hawk or whatever wander around on the ground and attack people

Randall 

Well, and to double down, right? If you have that minion you’re spending one action to give two actions to your minion, and that minion is potentially forced to turn those two actions back into one action. Another question is, is that one action your minion just spent honestly better than what you might have done? What that action?

Tyler 

Yeah, you you have to weigh that opportunity cost basically every turn. Sometimes it will be because, like, multiple attack penalties and things like that. But yeah, it definitely adds a cost to flying minions that otherwise have a huge edge over everything else because flight is so useful. So just like in fifth edition, like I said, if you’re dropped to zero speed, if you can’t move or if you’re knocked prone, you fall. Now, let’s jump ahead real quick and talk about Pathfinder’s falling rules because they are way more brutal than fifth edition. So in fifth edition, it’s 1d6 per 10 feet fallen, maximum of 20d6. Pathfinder, it’s one, one damage just no dice one damage for every two feet fallen starting at six feet. So you can fall five feet and be fine. You fall six feet and you take three damage. And it maxes out at 750, damage which will kill you dead. So you do not want to hit terminal velocity and Pathfinder. The fall speed is also considerably faster. You still fall 500 feet the first round just like in fifth edition, but every round after that it’s 1500 feet

Randall 

Acceleration. Alright, I like this.

Tyler 

Yeah.

Randall 

With these numbers. It almost feels like maybe they did the math. I also liked that Pathfinder too. They added the terminal back the terminal velocity.

Tyler 

Yes. So if you’re going to convert from fifth edition to Pathfinder second edition, do it after you go bade jumping.

Randall 

Good.

Tyler 

Call back to earlier in the episode random brought up 3.5 and Pathfinder first edition where you had to make checks to fly. So in third edition there was a skill fly. In Pathfinder first edition it got rolled into the acrobatic skill and you had to make acrobatics check to hover and do certain other things in the air, like make sharp turns which, boy, making a skill check to turn while flying in a game that doesn’t have facing. Great. Pathfinder first edition you would get a skill bonus to acrobatics check depending on how good your fly speed was. So there’s like poor, average, good, perfect, and you got a scaling skill bonus. So if you’re really good at flying, you could make basically any check on a natural one. So it wasn’t a huge problem. So acrobatics has remained in Pathfinder, Second Edition, acrobatics has remained that skill that you use to do things that are hard while flying. So unfortunately, none of that is explained. What those difficult things are is not explained. There is the maneuver in flight action which is part of the acrobatic skill that you can use to do difficult things. And the description of the action says things like, make a sharp turn, fly directly upward, fly into a strong wind, except for none of those things require checks. Those are just things you can do. If you fly into a strong wind, you just do it at half speed. If you fly straight up, you just do it at half speed. If you hover, you just spend the fly action and don’t move. The maneuver in flight action. Just pretend it doesn’t exist. It is completely useless. I don’t understand why they wrote it. It doesn’t make any damn sense.

Randall 

I’m trying to think of the things I would actually consider difficult while flying while flying, right? Like pulling out a spell component and using it without fumbling and dropping, it feels like something would be very difficult to do while flying. Luckily, I could not find in the PF2 book what the material spell components are. So I suppose this is fine.

Tyler 

Yeah, we still haven’t figured that one out, have we?

Randall 

Yeah, mystery, mystery still sitting around?

Tyler 

Yeah, just just stick your hand in your pocket and just do your somatic components in your pockets. It’s fine.

Randall 

So I want to make sure that I understand what you’re saying correctly. So they, they say you might use maneuver in flight as an action to do these difficult things that we’ve already explained to how you do with a regular fly action.

Tyler 

Yeah.

Randall 

Such as flying in the wind taking half speed. Okay, so that’s, that’s interesting. That feels like a minor oversight. And I’m really curious about this. I want to go back further. You said flying straight upwards you might fly at half speed.

Tyler 

Yeah, it… It’s basically difficult terrain if you fly straight up because it’s hard.

Randall 

Yeah. Gravity is hard. That makes sense. So once again, 5e has no acceleration. There is no gravity. So this isn’t a thing and 5e, yeah?

Tyler 

Correct.

Random 

Which is weird, because this is another place where they I think they maybe went a little too far into simplicity, because where Pathfinder, one got those flight descriptors was from 3.0, 3.5. And there was like a table that anyone who did a lot of flying had very well memorized because it I mean, it really was things like… there were poor, clumsy, average, good, perfect. And on those tables, it would tell you, like, only good and perfect can hover. Only perfect can fly up with no speed penalty. But where it got really weird was anything below good, you started having things like minimum forward distance to turn 90 degrees. A classic example of how this would hose DMs was dragons. Dragons had enormous like 200, 300-foot fly speeds at clumsy maneuverability. If you wanted to try and fly a dragon and you didn’t give it a feat which you could find in… savage species, maybe? To improve your flight category, which later got reprinted in Races of the Wild because Raptorans. We’ll get to them in a second. You would have to like you would have to actually do the math for Okay, I need to like advance 30 feet so that I can turn so that I can do this. And you you would have to do this stuff during your combat with a dragon. And it was a mess.

Randall 

I’m already convinced, my dragon walks. That’s that’s what he does.

Random 

Yeah, exactly.

Tyler 

A lot of times that was actually the best idea for flying creatures was you essentially hop. Like, you’d fly some distance, land, because it was way faster than turning in the air and then just turn and fly back the other direction. But again, these games didn’t have facing rules. So, like, what?

Randall 

What does it even mean to turn like my, my direction? Like, my momentum is carrying me in a particular direction. And I would like to change the vector of my momentum. And that is turning.

Tyler 

Yep.

Randall 

In a game with no turning. Okay. Well, that’s fine. It makes sense. It seems silly. But I by that, right? But yeah, when you’re running full speed, it is actually super easy to be going like at your full speed and then while you’re running, cut 90 degrees. People do that every day.

Random 

Yeah, absolutely.

Randall 

Okay. Good. We’re all on the same page.

Tyler 

Yes. So if I can take one more pot shot and maneuver in flight, I have a thing written into the show notes that I… just drives me nuts. It has descriptions for success failure, critical failure, like many things have on our second edition. Success, you succeed. Failure, you fail. Critical failure, as failure but more dire. That’s all it gives you. Thanks!

Random 

On failure, you turn into a dire character.

Randall 

The DM just looks you in the eyes and, like, holds the contact for a second. Just, you’re failure.

Tyler 

Jeese!

Randall 

It’ll hurt!

Tyler 

Man. Let’s save that one for the episode on critical failure.

Random 

On, uh, on that note, this this horrifically un-chill DM. What are they going to do about flight? We’ve kind of covered how a flight can be used really problematically. Well, we touched on it a bit. So a lovely example that I need to do. Tyler, as he is wont to do, decided that I need to be a dinosaur that flies around magically and carries the entire party on my back. And thus was the stegosaurus bus. And the stegosaurus bus drives itself over an invading army of orcs 200 feet off the ground. So the orcs can’t really effectively shoot bows at them. And then the Wizard sitting on top just drops fireballs to his heart’s content. So…

Randall 

Yeah, this checks out. Okay.

Random 

Right.

Randall 

If you’re an orc, are you really going to shoot a flying stegosaurus above you? Like, that’s a marvel.

Tyler 

When it starts dropping fireballs on you, you might.

Randall 

I mean, that’s fair.

Random 

So functionally, the problem here is distance. The problem was the, you know, these orcs, you know, I’m reading like generic orc stat block, and they’re like, Okay, well they have swords and javelins. Javelins only go 80 feet.

Tyler 

Yep.

Random 

One of the things that I needed to really quickly add into my game was one of the possible fixes for how to make it so that flight is still technically strong, without immediately causing a stegosaurus bus. A flight ceiling. And thus that it was that in my game, nothing, not player characters, not NPCs, could fly more than 100 feet off the ground. When you put something like that into the game, it still gives meaningful value to flight. You can still get a decent amount out of the way, but it’s not so far that javelins, bows, spells aren’t going to be able to reach the target from the ground, which is really going to be the the best thing, you know, it means that you need to have some cost to attack things up in the air. Without it being just literally impossible. One thing to think about.

Randall 

I have to say, I really don’t like that as a fix. Now, the problem is, I don’t know if I can do better. Like, I feel like if if those are the shenanigans that your players want to bring into the game, you’ve just got to bring counter shenanigans, right? Like, oh, these orcs happen to have like an orc wizard and this orc wizard has fireballs of its own. Like, is that…?

Random 

It’s absolutely a valid fix. I… this was my, I can’t improvise something for an army right now.

Randall 

Just no, no, you can’t do that. Absolutely not. Right. In my head, it’s like I’m writing the stegosaurus boss. And I’m casting my fireballs. And I look in front of me. And I see a bunch of orcs writing, riding towards me on a triceratops. And it’s like, Ah!

Random 

Right. 100% this was definitely a a failure of imagination on my part. There are definitely some better ways. Well, that’s the, you know, kind of top end of the scale. I mean, I think that, as in, he was like a 13th, 14th level Druid at that point, which, once again, I will bring up this ridiculous line that Pathfinder, er that Paizo wrote into their book. “Players may have exotic forms of movement.” They wrote that into the start of this chapter. It was never addressed again, and they just expected that you would walk anyway.

Randall 

No, that’s a pretty exotic form of movement. I’m gonna say, right?

Random 

Taking a look back through 3.x, another thing that I touched on recently, Raptorans. Races having flight is kind of a problem in fifth edition, because there’s four or five of them that just have flight. They can just fly. At level one, you can kill a Tarrasque. Great. That’s kind of nutty, from a balanced perspective. Because if you’re a level one character with a bow or a cantrip, and you’re fighting a lot of standard level one enemies, almost none of which fly, they can’t do anything to you. Some of them can maybe like do some ability or something like that. But the vast majority of low level things, they’re just dudes with swords, or, you know, some monstrous equivalent. If you’re running into this problem a lot, particularly if there’s like somebody who is making this a real problem. I do recommend actually going and looking back at how Raptorans got their flight. It was a really interesting progressive mechanic up until level five, which is hit dice five because 3.x cared more about hit dice, especially because multiclassing was a much bigger thing. But basically, up until fifth Level, you could just glide. You couldn’t fly. You could glide and like 10 feet forward for one feet down off of things. From fifth hit dice to tenth hit dice you could fly at a, like a 30 foot fly speed for minutes per day. And it was five minutes, split up into one-minute increments that you can choose. And then at level 10, then you just you have a fly speed. Great. Go nuts.

Randall 

Well in with that 30 foot fly speed post-glide. Could you actually climb for that minute?

Random 

Yeah.

Randall 

Like you had full flight speed? Okay, cool.

Random 

Yeah, exactly. So like so you could, you know, you could fly, they had average maneuverability, but you couldn’t take the feat to make it up to good, which you needed to do unless you got it from some other source because the jump from average to good was enormous. That is a way to introduce something like this if you do find flying characters being an enormous thorn in your side at low levels is just say, you know, this is very strong. I am running into problems providing you a challenge while not making this so hard for the rest of the party. Let’s tone down your wings a little bit and see how that brings you back into line.

Randall 

It’s not you, it’s me, I can’t. I do want to say like, and I want to go all the way back to the mounted combat episode. Part of what’s interesting to me is that this is really only an issue in large, open volumes of space. Big chambers in a dungeon, outdoors. This is an issue, you know, under like a forest or jungle canopy, in a dungeon in buildings, this is less of an issue.

Tyler 

Usually, yes. A lot of times you’re going to be medium creatures fighting other medium creatures. So if the ceiling is 15 feet high, that’s when flight becomes a problem. Like, it’s… the bar is that low. Because if you have five foot tall, medium creature, five feet of danger doughnut/safety doughnut, and then you’re flying Aarakocra in that next five feet. That is enough for flight to matter. Because most melee creatures aren’t using reach weapons, they won’t have reach greater than five feet. Like, even in house with really high ceilings, your ceilings gonna be like 10 feet high. So in, in a place where humanoids live, that’s probably not going to be a thing. So you’re not going to have any big protracted flying battles inside most people’s houses, but inside, like, big structures, like castles or a banquet hall or some fancy temple or something like that, you’ve got the big sweeping ceilings. So even though you’re inside, you might have Aarakocra and Owlin hanging out near the ceiling being problems.

Randall 

Yeah, as more of what I’m thinking though, is that like most of the range weapons that you are carrying. Like, if you’re carrying javelins, you know, you’re not even gonna roll with disadvantage to hit this creature.

Tyler 

Hopefully.

Randall 

Most of your ranged weapons kind of, er, ranged magic spells, it’s going to be the same game, right? You should be able to hit them with most things, even cantrips. So it’s not debilitating as long as some of these option options are available to you. Where it really becomes debilitating is when we start thinking about like, Okay, well you have 100 foot fly height or 200 foot fly flight, that’s when things start to get really sad, right?

Tyler 

So that definitely tips things in the player’s balance because players are much better-equipped to switch to a ranged weapon even if you’re not super great with it like your, your greatsword wielding Fighter should still carry around some javelins to throw at things, but most of those melee monsters, they don’t have options. Like, what’s a lion gonna do? Polar Bear, CRy like two, three. Enormous apex predator. Hunts humans for food. Someone is 10 feet above me. I guess all die.

Randall 

Runs away from Wizard with broom. Yeah, that makes sense.

Random 

I’m just thinking about that meme about like lions jumping 30 feet and the…

Randall 

Good.

Tyler 

We’ll come back to jumping 30 feet in the air a little bit because let me…. Randall our Tuesday game. The next time we play we’re going to be fighting a dragon. And this episode is going to come out like a week and a half after we have that fight and our poor DM doesn’t realize that I can now jump like 30 feet in the air.

Randall 

Yeah. So… but can you grapple creatures larger than yourself?

Tyler 

I sure can.

Randall 

Well, this is gonna work out great.

Tyler 

Yeah.

Random 

Bear hug grylls.

Tyler 

Yes. It occurred to me, I can have our Monk aid me on the athletics check to jump work. And I can grow claws. We’re literally doing a fastball special.

Random 

I love this.

Tyler 

Yep. That’s right. We snuck in X-Men reference in here.

Randall 

And while we’re at it, pay attention to RPGBOT.net’s Twitter live feed on Tuesday. Er, Wednesday. Uh, no… Tuesday.

Tyler 

We’ll figure it out. Okay. I mean, this episode’s coming out like a week and a half after the game, so…

Randall 

Okay. Fair enough.

Random 

So this game by the way, since you know none of you live in the same place or not many of you, I think. You’re playing on some virtual tabletop right?

Tyler 

Roll20, yeah.

Random 

How are you tracking flight there? Like, do you do symbols on a thing? Do you do, like, do you just write it on in notes that everyone looks at? This is, this is one of those things that I was touching on earlier. Like, you know, in real space, you have some like physical options that you can just set a model on stuff. But in a virtual tabletop, there are just not good ways.

Randall 

We declare it post-facto when it’s to our advantage.

Tyler 

Or, alternatively, if it gets off the ground, we just kill it first. So it’s not a problem. The best solution I’ve seen in Roll 20. If you click on a token, it’ll give you those little, the little three circles, like you can use them for health bars, things like that. Just make one of them their altitude. It’s, it’s not great. No one can see it except the DM, but it’s written down somewhere. And that’s… I feel like that’s an improvement. And you can always just ask your DM like, hey, how high off the ground is this one? Wait 30 seconds and then ask, Hey, remind me? And then eventually the DM gets so angry. all the enemies will land and you’ve solved your flight problem.

Random 

Perfect.

Tyler 

It’s a social fix.  Yeah.

Random 

Boy.

Tyler 

So, so going briefly… going back to fixes for flying races in fifth edition. And we could theoretically talk about fixes for flying races in Pathfinder, too. I don’t think there aren’t yet. I looked, I haven’t been able to find any. My knowledge of Pathfinder second edition is not universal. So please correct me somewhere if I’m wrong. In fifth edition, there were several flying races, not even counting lineages. So you’re gonna have flight right from level one. And if you as a DM have allowed a flying character into your game and weren’t prepared to handle it, allow me to introduce you to the Blood Hawk. It is a CR 1/8 creature. It’s essentially a hawk with Pack Tactics. And oh, yeah, I see the faces. Yep. So roughly three or four of these things is an appropriate challenge for one level one character. So throw four of them at your your level one aarakocra cleric, and say “fight this Tarrasque” and just lay down the law. Level one.

Random 

And so there we have it. First off, I provided your attempted social fix, you know, try and like say, Okay, we need to tone you down. And you know, lets give you some, like, additional flight over time. And then if that fails, there’s your mechanical fix. Oh, no.

Tyler 

Yeah, blood Hawks. I do. I don’t understand how they’re that low CR. How are hyenas CR 0? Question for another day. They also have pack tactics. Okay. We’ve talked about flying players, handling them as a DM. Real quick, I want to talk about airships.

Randall 

Yeah!

Tyler 

Because who doesn’t want to talk about airships? There’s, the concept is so cool. There are airships in fifth edition. You may not have seen them, they appear in two places. One, they appear in Eberron. Because canonically and Eberron, airships are a thing. They’ve been there since everyone was a setting. They’re very cool. They’re powered by Elementals. They look neat. And they’re made by air that is, er, they’re made with wood that is neutrally buoyant in the air. It’s really cool. And then there’s an airship in Storm King’s Thunder for some reason.

Random 

The Eberron ones are actually really cool. I mean, it’s… they fit really neatly into the lore, it’s clear that they put a lot of thought into this. So Eberron has this whole thing of dragonmarks where like, long ago in a distant land, there were, like, 12 houses that formed and, you know, these were as a result of dragon pacts, and they get special abilities based on, like, magic tattoos that show up when they hit puberty. I promise this isn’t My Little Pony. But one of the houses is very thunder and lightning related. And they’re the only ones who can pilot these ships, period. If you don’t have that particular dragonmark, you just can’t. And so there’s one of those like, really interesting things that features into the lore of that world that they have a monopoly on them. And for now, they’re being pretty chill about it. But they could very easily just say “nah.”

Randall 

I’m imagining building a character for a campaign in the setting and just being be like, yeah, so I took this background. Why did you take that background? No reason. No reason. I don’t have dreams.

Tyler 

Yeah, mark up the storm as as a race option, not super great. But they can drive lightning trains and airships and elemental galleons. And that’s pretty sweet as a racial, as a racial trait.

Randall 

I’m going to feel like that’s actually how you make money on the weekend, right? Like hey, I will Captain your airship for you during our downtime. And then how come back and I’ll I’ll go do my adventuring.

Random 

There you go.

Randall 

Until one day I save up enough money to get my own charter.

Random 

All right, well, let me tell you a story about saving up money to buy yourself an airship. So there… alright, a long-term player in the game that Tyler and I used to be in for many years found this 3.5 OGL published thing that was like the anime handbook. I mean, it had, like a dozen classes that you could play as, I mean, all of the tropes. It had, you know, a different… Like, it’s basically attempted to balance the fact that spellcasters were overpowered by like introducing character point options. And so like your classes didn’t really have a lot of features, they just gave you, like, more or less points to go by abilities. And then tacked on to the back, they said, Okay, well, if we’re going to be talking about anime, we would be remiss to not talk about mechs. And so there was this whole section about piloting mecha and how to, like, have chase sequences and how to, you know, do upkeep and and all this cool stuff. And then a whole nice section about how to build one. And they said, you know, like, Okay, we’ve we’ve got these, like build point costs, and you know, it was very whatever. And then tucked into one little tiny paragraph was Oh, and by the way, if you want to import this into your standard fantasy world, just take the mech point cost, square it, double it, that’s the gold point cost. So you could just throw money into making a mech, if your DM would allow it. And that was a thing that I did, because, and we will link this in the show notes. It’s still available on Drive Thru RPG. You could definitely just say, alright, I want a magic flying rock that’s invisible, and has a portal to a Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion on it. And that was the same character that figured out that he could suddenly make all of the magic items his friends wanted for 35% the cost and the same character that figured out that he could run an evil organization and that by far, the most effective thing for them to do was just legitimate business. Here I was running the mafia as a… the best Italian restaurant in town. And then using that money to build a spaceship. It was a weird game.

Tyler 

It sure was. And I thought I was cool because I could ride a dinosaur in that game. And so I think, if I remember correctly, that supplement was Big Eyes, Small Mouth, which…

Random 

That makes sense for what BESM stands for, yes.

Tyler 

Yeah. BESM. Big eyes, small mouth. It’s still in print. I saw when we went to PAX West last year. I imagine it has probably changed some sense the 3.x OGL days, but yeah, it’s still around. Big eyes, small mouth. Yeah. So airships, flying space rocks, anime mechs in your D&D game.

Randall 

Yeah, I feel like we have everything we need to do to create a Final Fantasy 6, like, campaign. Right? We started the mechs, we go, we go, we go. Eventually, we get an airship.

Random 

There you go.

Tyler 

Absolutely. Okay, now, I’m gonna jump over to PF2 again real quick. So here’s somewhere that Paizo was way braver than Wizards of the Coast. Airships are in the court rules. They’re in the Gamemastery Guide. It’s like galleons, rowboats, airships, like it’s just right in there. Like, yeah, of course, there are airships! One of these is not like the other, but… Yeah, yeah. So yeah, airships. They exist in both fifth edition, and Pathfinder second edition. So if you have dreams of being on an airship, don’t let your memes be dreams.

Randall 

I’m looking at the Gold Cost for an airship and 5e. So 20,000 gold… In a world where gold is worthless. You could just save it up.

Random 

This is why it made much more sense in 3.x where like the the monetary thing was a very strict… a very regimented and exponential progression throughout your character’s life. They gave three examples. So, like, if you wanted to just like build an Abrams in you know, in your your D&D game, it would be a couple million gold, which is insane. Like you’re, you know, you’re not going to get there. You know, they offer things like if you wanted like, like a loader. Basically an exoskeleton like from the original Alien. You could get that for like 10,000 Gold, which you could pretty reasonably buy as, like, like an 8th level character. There was some really neat stuff you could do if if your DM was willing to allow that in. It was, it was a good day.

Randall 

The entire campaign is just a heist to get the million gold.

Tyler 

Build yourself an Abrams tank to solve all of your other problems correct.

Randall 

Correct. What are the other problems? I don’t remember anymore. We have a tank!

Random 

Name the tank Elminster. Problems solved.

Tyler 

Elminster rolls into town. Oh, no, we’ve got an Elminster problem.

Randall 

You do, now! Okay. All right. So battle maps in flight.

Tyler 

Yeah. Random’s hit on this couple of times and we’ve talked about in our game, the short answer is I don’t think anybody has come up with a perfect solution. Your best case scenario is either using a virtual table top that just has that built in as a feature. Like, I know, there are some 3d virtual tabletops where instead of roll20, where it’s like a top down 2d view. You’ve got a rotatable 3d map of the world. So you could reasonably move tokens up and down to indicate elevation. If you’re playing in physical space, yeah, maybe you’ve got something to prop things up on. Random called this out earlier: the jewel cases that sets of dice come in. Those like rectangular clear plastic things. Both convenient miniature storage and a convenient thing to stand your miniature on when they’re flying. But problem is they only come in one height. So there are people who sell flight stands that you… that are essentially like a column that you sit on the table. And then you can precariously balance your miniature on top of it. And I’m sure that’s probably fine. As long as everyone’s very gentle about touching the table. There just isn’t a perfect solution. So just try to be patient with everybody.

Randall 

Yeah, I feel like if you told me to solve that problem on a table, I would take an extra d20. And just assume like five flips, like intervals, which is only going to get me to 100 feet.

Tyler 

That’s still really good.

Random 

Yeah. Well, we’ve touched on some of these earlier. I do want to just say we’ve talked a lot about like what to do from the DM side. But if you’re a player and your DM is throwing a lot of flying things at you, you know, grapple. Like bugbear is going to do here shortly. We talked about that.

Randall 

Well, so what happens, right? So we’re, let’s actually plan this out. Okay, so our Monk pabu is going to aid you in you leaping to extend your claws and grab a hold of said dragon. And then you are going to successfully grapple the dragon. Then what happens? Like, you’ve caught it. Now what?

Tyler 

I am the dog who’s caught the bus. Nobody knows. Callback to earlier in the episode, we talked about if if a flying creature’s speed is reduced to zero, if it’s not held aloft, if it’s not held aloft by magic quote unquote, it falls. And having the grappled condition reduces your speed to zero. So if something grapples you in flight you fall. Similarly, if you fall prone you also fall or flying so grapple or shove. Either option works.

Randall 

Okay, so instead of grappling it, you could actually just get up there into its safety doughnut and shove it.

Random 

Yes, I absolutely could. The reason I’m going to opt for flying in my specific case is flying happens immediately in 5th edition.

Randall 

Grappling. Er, falling.

Tyler 

Falling.

Randall 

Okay.

Tyler 

We got there. Go team. My Path of the Beast Barbarian, who is level six, can choose the the leap option, which lets me roll on athletics check, add the result to my jump distance, which applies vertically so I can jump hilarious distances into the sky, grapple things, and then their speed becomes zero, so they fall. I also fall because I’m not flying, I’m falling with style. So we both fall to the ground simultaneously and since I have not exited the range of the grapple, we both hit the ground prone and I am still grappling them.

Randall 

Okay. And you, you would take fall damage.

Tyler 

Yes.

Randall 

Because you’ve fallen over. Okay. So this makes sense.

Tyler 

Yeah. So we both land prone, but I will have… I will have successfully leapt into the air and suplexed a Dragon.

Randall 

I’m looking forward to this. I think this is gonna be fantastic.

Tyler 

I just have to hope it’s not more than like 25 feet in the air. Otherwise, I’m screwed.

Randall 

I’m also imagining the the awkward thing of if you if you were to jump in, you failed with the grapple, then you would be entering and leaving, therefore giving an opportunity attack.

Tyler 

Fortunately, falling isn’t considered movement under your own power. Forced movements such as falling, being shoved, being thrown, whatever. Yeah.

Randall 

Okay. So hypothetically, if you can leap 30 feet, and the creature was at 15 feet and you lept past them on the way up, you would… Okay, I just want to make sure I get this right.

Tyler 

Yeah, absolutely.

Randall 

One more ridiculous thing. If you were to instead of grappling, if you were to get up there and you were to shove…

Tyler 

Yes.

Randall 

Would you fall and then on their turn, they would fall?

Tyler 

So falling always happens immediately.

Randall 

Okay, okay, cool. That makes sense.

Tyler 

It gets a little fuzzy when you start falling for multiple rounds because, like a creature can fall 500 feet, pause, everybody gets a turn and then it goes right back to falling.

Randall 

Which makes sense.

Tyler 

It’s especially confusing if it starts falling not on its turn. So like the, the rules there are admittedly fuzzy.

Randall 

Yeah.

Tyler 

So just work it out with your DM as best you can.

Randall 

Because this is ridiculous. Okay, yeah. Good. Yes. All right. I think I think I follow that, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing Bugbear Grylls suplex a dragon. Yeah.

Random 

And in case he fails, not that you’re going to have access to one of these, but there are a couple magical things too at your disposal. There’s the very standard Earthbind, which you know, a Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard, probably more on the Druid side of that because or the Wizard side… It’s just strength save, something falls out of the air, which, very useful. There’s also Control Winds that you can do at a much higher level, which will let you since that is a self buff instead of a targeted thing. You get multiple tries at it, which makes good sense. Those are kind of it. You can try net things, but don’t.

Tyler 

It’s hard.

Random 

Yeah, in general, don’t.

Randall 

Wait, say that, again, though?

Tyler 

Net. Like, you can throw a net at things. So in fifth edition, the difficulty with nets is they have a five– they have a five foot short range, which means you’re always within the other creature’s reached so you’re attacking a disadvantage. And if you attack at long range, you’re also attacking disadvantage. So you’re almost always attacking at disadvantage with a net unless you go to incredibly dumb lengths to not do that. Like you can take crossbow expert and then use a net from five feet away without disadvantage. Like, ah, gosh, this is so hard.

Randall 

Agaoin, don’t use nets. Let’s let’s not use nets. Okay.

Tyler 

And the 15 foot maximum range, like, you’re not going to use that on anything flying because it’s just not gonna happen.

Randall 

Well, they’re not a problem for other reasons at that point, right?

Tyler 

Yeah, it’s probably easier to throw your party members at that point.

Randall 

Pick up a rock, whatever. Improvised weapon, go. Okay, cool.

Tyler 

Pathfinder second edition, the solutions to enemies that are flying are surprisingly similar. So PF2 calls the shove equivalent “trip,” which is what it was called in both Pathfinder first edition and 3.x. Instead of, like, I am, I am pushing someone I’m going to do something to make them fall down, therefore trip. If you trip something, they fall prone. If the flying thing is prone, it falls harmlessly to the ground. Very important. It’s specifically called out in the prone condition if a flying creature is knocked prone, they fall harmlessly. So like, unlike fifth edition, where you can knock stuff out of the air, make it fall and take a little bit of damage. If you’re going to knock stuff out of the air in Pathfinder it’s, it’s not going to hurt them but they’ll be on the ground

Randall 

If you trip a thing in the air.

Tyler 

Yes.

Randall 

Just… Yep. Wanted to say it.

Tyler 

Thank you. Yeah, you tie their shoelaces together and they fall down while flying. So getting into the air to trick things is kind of difficult. The jumping rules in PF2 let you jump way further than in fifth edition, like the just standard… I’m going to make a slight running jump, most characters can jump like 10, 15 feet super easily. Yes. Difficult terrain’ss a little silly, but it does take an entire action to jump. So you have to, like, I’m going to get into position spend one of my three actions to jump. Anyway, you can jump super high, you can trip while you’re in the air and then you can fall. But more likely, if you’re on the ground facing something that’s flying you want to use something with the ranged trip trait. Now Pathfinder second edition doesn’t have nets as a weapon. I looked really hard, could not find them. Again, if I’m wrong, someone can correct me. If you’re listening to this in the far distant future and Pathfinder second edition has introduced nets, come and tell me anyway. But there are two weapons that have the ranged trip trait: the aklys and the bola. If you’ve played Pathfinder first edition, you might recognize the aklys from from vital strike abuse, because you could use it to throw your vital strike, and then as a move action, reel it in with the attached rope and do like mountains of d8’s of damage with this monstrosity. I still don’t have a good picture in my head of what an aklys is. It’s described as a club with a fishhook on the end, which… more likely you’re going to use a bola. It’s a common martial weapon, and basically, you throw it and you just make an athletics check at range with a minus two penalty. Which is, I mean, it’s a decent penalty, but it’s not so huge that you’re going to fail constantly, so if you’re a martial character, you’re stuck in Melee, carry some bolas to handle flying enemies. If you’ve got some cash laying around, get a plus one Bulla and throw the returning rune on it so you can just throw it over and over again until you get it right. Even if you’re not a spellcaster, you have options to handle flying, flying enemies from very early levels. There’s also Tanglefoot bags, which have existed in previous editions. You just, it… it’s like a bag of exploding glue. Unclear. You throw them at people, they fall down. There’s the spell Tanglefoot, which does pretty much the same thing.

Randall 

I do want to say, that sounds like a really complicated net, right?

Tyler 

It really does.

Randall 

I throw this thing and it explodes and it sticks to you and then you fall out of the ground. Great. We did it. Okay.

Tyler 

Yeah. What’s weird is the rules as written, the creature is fixed in place and can’t move. Is it glued to the sky?

Randall 

Correct.

Tyler 

Unclear. There’s a few of those weird cases in PF2, like fog cloud doesn’t specify that it creates a cloud of fog. Creatures within it are concealed, but you can see through the fog cloud completely unobscured. No idea. Let’s see, so there’s the spell Tanglefoot which does basically the same thing as the Tanglefoot bag and then, Gust of Wind is a first level spell which is a wonderful counter to flying creatures. You hit them with it, they make a save. If they fail, they take some damage, fall prone, and fall out of the sky. Perfect. First level spell,.wWdely available. If you’re a spell caster, that is your go-to counter to flying enemies. And that is that. That is how you handle flying enemies.

Randall 

Alright, so next campaign, every roll up… the entire player character party, we’re going to have flying creatures and it’s going to be wonderful. Alright, party on. Alright, I think that’s it. Let’s move into the question of the week. This week, our question of the week comes to us from Twitter @SenChatterton. I’m assuming that Senator Chatterton. Welcome, senator Chatterton. “Why Monk, so bad?”

Random 

Oh boy. Monks, in every edition, have suffered from MAD. And if you haven’t read a lot of the website content, that’s maybe a bizarre phrase to you. Multi ability dependency is a trait shared by basically every melee character to some degree, and some have it worse than others. As a Monk, you need your Dex to be high, because that’s probably how you’re going to punch and how you’re going to get your armor class high enough that you don’t die. But then you also need your Wisdom to be high to power, like a lot of your class features and to get you that additional bonus to your AC to not die. And then you also need your Constitution to be high because you’re in melee combat, so you’re inevitably going to be hit by monsters. And so then you want to have hit points and not die and you only get like a d8 hit dice, which is pretty standard. Certainly not as good as your your actual martial characters like your your Fighter, your Barbarian. So that’s already three, which is a lot. And then you know, if you want to be good at any of the other things, like, there’s a lot of places that monks can do… a lot of things that monks can do, which means that there’s a lot of places that you want to put things, and there’s just not enough to go around. I mean, if you ignored most feats, you still wouldn’t cap your your dexterity and wisdom until 16, like, level 16. And that means that you haven’t done a lot of other fun stuff. There are some things that monks do really well. And, you know, if you go and read through the the Monk handbook, you will see that there are some Monk subclasses that are listed blue, because they can do cool things like shoot lasers or heal people. You know, especially as you get higher level, the the amount of Ki means that you can do a lot of cool stuff, but especially at low levels, which is where a lot of people play this stuff, a lot of your stuff is based around short rest. And the problem is a lot of other stronger classes are based around what they can do per long rest, which means that they don’t often short rest. You know, particularly at low levels, you’ve got your your clerics, your wizards, your druids, they’re all getting their spells back on long rest. Maybe you’ve got your friendly warlock who is, you know, entreating people to sit down for a snack every once in a while, which is awesome. But a lot of these, your main feature is based around having these breaks that a lot of low-level groups just don’t take at third level, you’re gonna maybe… I mean, you get what, like, two Ki points or something like that when you first pick up your thing. So you get like two cool uses of your stuff per day if you’re not taking the appropriate breaks. It’s sort of half a social problem around taking enough short rests and half a big multi ability dependency problem.

Randall 

So I do want to ask the question right quick. So you said MAD, multi ability dependency. What do we call all the other folks?

Tyler 

SAD.

Random 

SAD?

Randall 

Okay, so we have MAD and SAD.

Tyler 

Yeah. Single ability dependent.

Randall 

Okay. All right. I guess I should have… I walked into that. That’s fine. Tyler, why monks be bad?

Tyler 

Why monks be bad. So, so, Random hit on a lot of the biggest pain points with the Monk. They do also have some subclasses that are just really difficult to play well or just fundamentally don’t work. Like, way of four elements. Very, very cool. somatically not a good cause subclass like, eats your Ki immediately and doesn’t do anything great with it. Also, in a lot of cases, people… hot take here, people are using their Ki wrong. Randall we’re in a game with a Monk right now. What is the number one thing he uses his Ki for?

Randall 

That’s a great question. I guess he doesn’t have to burn Ki for unarmed strikes, right?

Tyler 

Not for his regular unarmed strikes, but for Flurry of Blows, he does.

Randall 

There we go. Yeah yeah yeah.

Tyler 

Yes. So that is the classic problem with the way people play monks. They think “I have a bonus action. I’m going to spend some Ki and I’m going to do flurry of blows.” Flurry of blows is fine, but not great. People need to use Stunning Fst more. Because if you can stun somebody, that… it’s an off switch for an entire turn for the thing you hit with it. They do get a Constitution save, Constitution states tend to be high, which is a problem. But you’re, you’re rolling those dice with one Ki point. And if it works, ho boy, it works. They lose a turn, you and your entire party get Advantage on attacks to hit them until the stunned condition wears off. So, like, the benefit of stunning someone that you hit with Stunning Strike is so much better than one extra attack that you get from Flurry of Blows. So, like, flurry of blows is the floor. If whatever you’re looking at is worse than flurry of blows, just never do it because it’s just, it’s not worth it. But stunning strike, like use that more. And then have your team focus their fire. Like if you have a party that relies heavily on attacks, other martial characters, warlocks, rogues, anyone except like blaster wizards, basically. Stun stuff, pile on the damage. It works really, really well. But as a monkey, you do also have to, like, you do have to manage that precious resource because at low levels, you’ve got like two or three Ki points between short rests. At high levels, you’re going to have like 15 Ki per short rest. And if you’re doing two or three encounters per short rest, you can spend like two or three Ki points per turn and be perfectly fine. But yeah, at low levels, it’s definitely hard. I’m hoping with with the new evolution of D&D, 5.5, or 6e, or whatever it ends up being called, I’m really hoping that they’ll, like, rebalance the Ki progression for monks so that they get more at low levels. Yeah, stunning fist, guys. Also, pick a good subclass, because unfortunately, some of them are just bad.

Random 

One particular thing I want to call out with what I was just mentioning, and correct me if I’m wrong, because it’s been a minute since I’ve thought about the the exact wording, you can use stunning fist, it’s not an action.

Tyler 

Yeah. Yes.

Random 

You just use it when you hit. And why this is important is because monks get extra attack, which means that you can do it on your first attack. And if they fail the save, you get advantage on your second attack. It’s that good. Like, it starts immediately. And then on top of that, you can then just walk away because of standard prevents reactions, which means that they won’t be able to attack you as you leave the safety doughnut. It’s really good. Stunning Fist in 3.x, I think I literally never used it. It wasn’t good because the Save DC was so low compared to how saves scaled. It’s way better in this edition. If you are an import from 3.x and you think oh god Stunning Fist, why would I ever use this? It’s useless. No. No, in this edition is very good.  Yeah. So I want to question the premise. Right? Do you do you rank the Monk as being a significantly lower class than other classes? Is the Monk on your bottom?

Tyler 

It’s extremely hard to play. To be diplomatic, monks have a very high ceiling, but a very, very low floor. Like if, if you can’t figure out how to capitalize on stunning fist, if you can’t figure out how to capitalize on like your subclass features and stuff, it’s gonna feel really lackluster.

Randall 

Okay, so it’s more of a mandolin than a bass. That’s really what you’re getting at.

Tyler 

Yeah, that’s a good comparison.

Randall 

Good. Okay. So @SenChatterton, yhank you very much for your question. Yeah, next episode, we’re going to be talking about setting up session zero for your campaign. I’m Randall James you’ll find me at amateurjack.com and @JackAmateur on Twitter and Instagram.

Tyler 

I’m Tyler Kamstra. You’ll find me at RPGBOT.net. Facebook and Twitter RPGBOTDOTNET and patreon.com/rpgbot.

Random 

and I’m Random Powell. You will find me prone in the air where I’ll be contributing to RPGBOT here on the podcast and also writing some articles and also in places or even play games, you may find me Hartlequin or Hartlequint.

Randall 

All hail the Leisure Illuminati.

All 

*Sound effects*

Randall 

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Tyler 

I had dumb jokes that I’m just gonna slip in and forgot all of them. Like, I was going to start off by making a joke about manners while flying on a plane. When we got to the airship section, I was gonna have a brief aside about like, hey, how do you handle fighting flying enemies from an airship? And I was gonna lead with the example of hey, on Aarakocra flies alongside your airship, flips you the bird person, and your DM asks you to roll initiative.

Randall 

…That’s solid.

Tyler 

Yeah, forgot every single one of them.

Randall 

Bird person, right. Like, you can’t… there’s no direction, so…

Random 

Well no, I flip the brid person, and now the aarakocra is prone, and apparently falls into the sky.

Randall 

It’s good. I’m going to shove the bird… Okay, that’s it. Here’s a here’s a question. If you’re flying above the deck of my airship, and I shove you prone. Do you fall to the deck of the airship? And I guess the answer is yes. Certainly.

Tyler 

Yeah. And then you just hope that like…

Randall 

Okay, alright, here’s another question. Like, if you’re, if you’re not hanging over the deck of my ship. We have to argue that you have to use your flight speed to keep up with my ship.

Tyler 

Yeah.

Randall 

Okay, if you’re flying over the deck of my ship, do you still have to use your flight speed to match my velocity?

Random 

I’m gonna say yes.

Randall 

I’m gonna show you… Okay.

Random 

As long as you’re not touching, right? Because I mean, that’s… Basically, normal force is what makes it so that you stay like okay, airship as it flies.

Randall 

Alright, I’ve got a standard two-tier airship, and you decide to stay stationary in front of my my airship. Do you take falling damage when my airship runs. rams into you?

Random 

Probably.

Tyler 

PF2 has specific rules for collisions with vehicles. There’s even to avoid it! For an airship, it’s like a DC 30 reflex and take like a mountain of d6s if it hits.

Randall 

Rammed by airship. A nice option.

One Response

  1. Keovar February 25, 2022

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