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View Full Version : Swift Fly - how far do you fall?



Quietus
2010-06-12, 10:59 AM
In trying to get an answer on this, I've sparked a discussion in the "Simple answers by RAW" thread - which is not the place for that. So, here we are!

Swift fly - second level spell for my duskblade. Swift action to cast, and the duration is one round, so remaining airborne while waiting for my next turn is no issue. The problem is, the duration ends at "the start of my turn", when I am then capable of casting the spell again. So, my point of discussion : Can I use this spell to remain airborne, hemorrhaging a spell slot every turn? Or do I fall at the beginning of my turn, and become forced to start my flight again? Answers in the Q&A by RAW thread ranged from "Yes you fall" to "You can stay aloft" to "You'd fall X amount given physics discussion Y".. I figured that this could provide some interesting discussion here.

AstralFire
2010-06-12, 11:01 AM
I'd say you could stay as long as you can burn spell slots.

ShadowsGrnEyes
2010-06-12, 11:04 AM
I belive you would maintain flight, but the flavor of it would be described as a bumpy ride. . . By RAW(i think) as long as you can cast the spell as a swift action you can maintain the flight but technnically you would begin to feel gravity as the spell was renewed. . . so. . . it would be nauseating but i think you could do it.

Re'ozul
2010-06-12, 11:05 AM
I'd say you could stay as long as you can burn spell slots.

I'd agree.
While a turn is 6 seconds, the actions follow no rational guideline on how long they take, especially as its a swift action and therefore is like twitching your hand.
Unless your GM has something against it, I'd go with keep on flying.

Shhalahr Windrider
2010-06-12, 11:11 AM
Iíll simply restate my assertion here that since you start to fall before you can take any actions, there will be some loss of height (assuming no upward inertia). A swift action is not so negligible that there are no limits on them, so I tend to assume between 0.5 and 1 second. In conditions of Earth-like gravity and zero upward inertia, that results in a fall of between 4-16 ft.

So, yeah, Iíd allow it. But in most cases you fall 1d3 x 5 ft. at the start of each turn.

Ryuuk
2010-06-12, 11:48 AM
Iíll simply restate my assertion here that since you start to fall before you can take any actions, there will be some loss of height (assuming no upward inertia). A swift action is not so negligible that there are no limits on them, so I tend to assume between 0.5 and 1 second. In conditions of Earth-like gravity and zero upward inertia, that results in a fall of between 4-16 ft.

So, yeah, Iíd allow it. But in most cases you fall 1d3 x 5 ft. at the start of each turn.

Hmm, in this case, couldn't you just end your turn while you fly upward? Creatures with a low maneuverability have to move a certain speed each round or start plummeting, which points to each round flowing seamlessly with the next, no coming to a stop in mid air so that everyone else can move on their initiative.

If you fly upwards as your last bit of movement then at the beginning of your next turn, when the swift flight fades, you're momentum still carries you upward. Gravity's acceleration has to first lower your speed on the vertical axis to zero before it can start making you fall.

With my logic, you're flight would be something like this:

___.-^-.___..-^-.___

Blue's the caster's flight and duration of swift flight, red's gravity's effect once its gone. As long as you don't end your turn by moving straight in the horizontal axis, you should be able to free fall and stay level under Shhalahr ruling.

Dragonmuncher
2010-06-12, 11:52 AM
If the duration ends at the start of your turn, and you can CAST it at the start of your turn, then I don't see a problem.

Flavor-wise, it should be described as being a bit bumpy or jerky, but mechanics-wise, I'm not seeing a reason for you to fall

Shhalahr Windrider
2010-06-12, 12:02 PM
With my logic, you're flight would be something like this:

___.-^-.___..-^-.___

Blue's the caster's flight and duration of swift flight, red's gravity's effect once its gone. As long as you don't end your turn by moving straight in the horizontal axis, you should be able to free fall and stay level under Shhalahr ruling.
Yeah, pretty much. If you didnít want to calculate heights and all that, and itís not important exactly how high you are in between turns, you could probably just move at half to three-quarter speed (not really doing the math here) horizontally, and Iíd assume the vertical crap works itself out.

AstralFire
2010-06-12, 12:12 PM
I'm not sure what it adds to either realism (when you consider that this is not an issue for characters that need to maintain a minimum forward speed) or gameplay to get so detailed with the movement.

Sliver
2010-06-12, 12:28 PM
If the physics and numbers aren't obvious from simple reeding then such a thing shouldn't have a mechanical effect, simply a descriptive one.

Lapak
2010-06-12, 01:01 PM
Yeah, I agree with the folks saying you're aloft as long as you have spell slots to burn. The only circumstance I can see it mattering is if you were flying down the middle of a cramped tunnel with traps waiting to go off if you touched any of the surface. Otherwise, the inch or three you lose while you briefly refocus your mind to trigger a swift-action spell isn't worth tracking.

Shhalahr Windrider
2010-06-12, 01:16 PM
If the physics and numbers aren't obvious from simple reeding then such a thing shouldn't have a mechanical effect, simply a descriptive one.
Yeh, well there are a lot of things obvious from a simple reading of the rules, but just because the rules donít cover the situation doesnít mean there should be no mechanical effect. Thatís why you have a DM to make rulings.

Example: There arenít any rules for doing anything with a Profession check other than making money over a week of work. But now and then, people realize that they should figure out what exactly a given profession entails and how it may mechanically effect the game. Profession (sailor) is probably the most commonly used, since a lot of adventures like to set adventures at sea. But if you only have the PHB or SRD, you kinda gotta figure these things out for yourself.


Otherwise, the inch or three you lose while you briefly refocus your mind to trigger a swift-action spell isn't worth tracking.
Iím pretty sure youíre gonna loose at least a few feet rather than inches.

Rothen
2010-06-12, 01:22 PM
Iím pretty sure youíre gonna loose at least a few feet rather than inches.

How can you tell or be sure about that?

Because of the vague wording of the spell and turn/action mechanics, I don't think there's a RAW answer here. Although most of us seem to agree that you won't fall completely to the ground before you can cast it again.

IdleMuse
2010-06-12, 01:36 PM
Maybe a good way to do this would be to add a necessary Concentration roll; it's gotta be difficult to concentrate on casting a spell while semi-falling, so maybe the Vigorous Motion DC of 10, or the Violent Motion DC of 15 are appropriate. Going into house-rule territory, I'd probably say that beat 15 and it's fine, you cast it just as the last spell wears off, you can keep on flying. If you beat 10 but not 15, then you drop a bit, a it takes a couple of seconds for you to get the spell off. Less than 10 and well, fail.

Person_Man
2010-06-12, 02:19 PM
As a side note, I gently discourage flying in my games. Once a non-melee build decides to start flying, it basically makes them mostly "immune" to threats all non-flying melee builds, who can't reach them. It's not that big of a deal - just lump in more casters and ranged builds into my encounters, or add templates to whatever I was planning to give my melee builds wings. It's just annoying, and tabletop combat doesn't handle 3 dimensions very well.

Sliver
2010-06-12, 02:34 PM
How can you tell or be sure about that?

+1. You seem to assume a swift action taking around a second. As a single round is 6 seconds, 1/6 of a round is not a relatively small amount of time. Your assumption is baseless and contradicts the only thing that is written about the time takes to use a swift action.


A swift action consumes a very small amount of time

So your up to 15ft of falling to use a swift action is entirely baseless.

Greenish
2010-06-12, 02:44 PM
Rounds are a metagame construct. A Duskblade wanting to fly for more than 6 seconds will be renewing the spell as soon as it's about to expire.

Quietus
2010-06-12, 03:26 PM
As a side note, I gently discourage flying in my games. Once a non-melee build decides to start flying, it basically makes them mostly "immune" to threats all non-flying melee builds, who can't reach them. It's not that big of a deal - just lump in more casters and ranged builds into my encounters, or add templates to whatever I was planning to give my melee builds wings. It's just annoying, and tabletop combat doesn't handle 3 dimensions very well.

Well, my goal here is to have a half-fix to the problem of my duskblade having no ranged weapons, outside of Kelgore's Fire Bolt. Is it perfect? Hell no. But if I can get up there and drop a Ghoul Touch on a flying target, I might be able to make them unable to escape. I don't want to be flying constantly, I just want to be able to harry an escaping flyer for a couple rounds.