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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    dauphinous's Avatar

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    Default Aerial Combat Questions

    I am looking for opinions on aerial combat rules. What I can find seems sparse in comparison with what is available for ground-based combat.

    Situation 1:
    Two flying creatures who do not have perfect maneuverability are fighting with multiple natural weapons each. The example I have in mind is a pair of dragons. Under what circumstances are they able to get full attack actions against each other? By the ground-based rules, they would have to either stop flying (fall) or hover, but what about the theoretical possibility of gliding? Or, for that matter, the MM specifically states that dragons can use their wing attacks in flight, but not while while hovering, which suggests that perhaps the rules are (or should be) different for flying and movement. Should some amount of flight speed count as effectively standing still for this purpose?

    Situation 2:
    Flying creature X can hover. Flying creature Y cannot. X and Y are engaged in melee while flying. X stops to hover. Do either/both of them get AoO's (which?)?

    Thanks for the help.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    1. Creatures with average or worse manuverability have a minimum forward movement speed. If they fail to move this speed in a given round, they will start to fall, unless they have the ability to hover somehow. So long as a creature moves this far in a turn, he won't fall.

    Therefore, Dragon A can attack Dragon B if he moves X0 feet before or after doing so. He only gets one attack, since he moved, or is going to move, obviously. On Dragon B's turn, he can attack Dragon A (who moved in range to attack on his turn) and then must move X0 feet in order to maintain flight.

    This situation puts Dragon B at a disadvantage, because he provokes an attack of opportunity when he moves away, while Dragon A, who is then in position to fly up to Dragon B again on his next turn, provokes no AoO.

    2. Y must move on his turn to attack X. If he starts away from X, he moves up to X. If Y starts his turn next to X, he moves away after attacking. X has an advantage, since he always gets attacks of opportunity, while depriving Y of any chance at doing so. If Y had Fly-By attack, he wouldn't have to worry about this.

    Edit: Just checked rules for Flyby Attack, and I'm wrong. Flyby attack allows you to attack at any point during flying movement, but doesn't remove attacks of opportunity. Y would need Spring Attack to avoid the attack of opportunity. Or possibly tumble, if you think tumble can be made to apply to fancy flying.
    Last edited by Lemur; 2007-04-07 at 07:25 PM.

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    Kel_Arath's Avatar

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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    they could glide alongside eachother and do some killer

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    Pretty sure the most important passage on this is 'use the movement rules to apply to any sort of movement, not just when traveling across a flat surface'.

    The 'all about movement' articles (parts 4 and 5) on the WoTC website includes patches for the enormous missing portions of the flight rules, but they're really just suggested house rules, or maybe interpretations.
    Last edited by Ulzgoroth; 2007-04-07 at 08:34 PM. Reason: fixing quote

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    I think that the MotP had rules about this tuff at the beginning of the book.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    There's improved flyby attack, in the epic feats of the SRD. Specifically says it's non-epic.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Shhalahr Windrider's Avatar

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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    2:
    Hovering, whether through good or perfect maneuverability or the Hover feat, does not provoke any attacks of opportunity.

    However, since Y cannot hover, he or she must keep moving, which may provoke Attacks of Opportunity from X. If Y has greater reach than X, however, it is possible for Y to enter a flight pattern that prevents X from making any such attacks while Y gets to attack.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur View Post
    This situation puts Dragon B at a disadvantage, because he provokes an attack of opportunity when he moves away, while Dragon A, who is then in position to fly up to Dragon B again on his next turn, provokes no AoO.
    If Dragon B has sufficient speed and maneuverability, however, he could use his turn to attack Dragon A, then fly away, provoking that attack of opportunity, and then circle back, ending movement next to Dragon A. This would put Dragon A in the position Dragon B was earlier, forcing Dragon A to provoke an Attack of Opportunity itself, as Dragon A must also keep moving.

    Basically, if you have two smart dragons with comprable speed and maneuverability, the dragon that gets the Attack of Opportunity should alternate with each round as they both circle each other in a deadly dance of death.
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Shhalahr Windrider View Post
    If Dragon B has sufficient speed and maneuverability, however, he could use his turn to attack Dragon A, then fly away, provoking that attack of opportunity, and then circle back, ending movement next to Dragon A. This would put Dragon A in the position Dragon B was earlier, forcing Dragon A to provoke an Attack of Opportunity itself, as Dragon A must also keep moving.
    I'm not sure. Depends on their altitude. Couldn't Dragon A make a Full Attack, and then start to fall (provoking an AoO)? Presumably he can catch himself next round, if they're far enough up (Quick back-of-the-envelope... falls about 600' in the first 6 seconds of falling... so say 1000' altitude let's the dragon get away with a full attack...
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Shhalahr Windrider's Avatar

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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    Well, falling should really happen next to instantaneously. Once you start falling, you really shouldn't have the time for a full attack. Though the RAW probably does allow it in some form.

    Still, you would only be able to manage that tactic at sufficiently high altitudes, and each time you use it, you lose about 600 ft. Eventually, the fight will reach a point where the tactic is no longer adviseable (i.e. the ground is closer than 600 ft. away).
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    If Dragon B has sufficient speed and maneuverability, however, he could use his turn to attack Dragon A, then fly away, provoking that attack of opportunity, and then circle back, ending movement next to Dragon A. This would put Dragon A in the position Dragon B was earlier, forcing Dragon A to provoke an Attack of Opportunity itself, as Dragon A must also keep moving.

    Basically, if you have two smart dragons with comprable speed and maneuverability, the dragon that gets the Attack of Opportunity should alternate with each round as they both circle each other in a deadly dance of death.
    Good point. Obviously, I didn't think through the most practical tactics, and this strikes me as a much more likely scenario than the one I envisioned.

    If they're dragons, they can probably do other things as well, such as trading breath weapons (assuming they're not mutually immune to each other's energy type) and casting spells. It also occurs to me that if a dragon had Stand Still, he'd have a definite edge in the fight.
    Quote Originally Posted by Variable Arcana View Post
    I'm not sure. Depends on their altitude. Couldn't Dragon A make a Full Attack, and then start to fall (provoking an AoO)? Presumably he can catch himself next round, if they're far enough up (Quick back-of-the-envelope... falls about 600' in the first 6 seconds of falling... so say 1000' altitude let's the dragon get away with a full attack...
    This doesn't strike me as a very good idea. You need a DC 20 reflex save to recover from a fall back into flight. Also, you fall 150 ft. the first round, and 300 ft. all subsequent rounds. That probably doesn't make sense from a physics standpoint, but it's what the DMG says. Whether or not you can make a full attack before falling or not isn't explicitly clear with the rules I have available, but it might be possible, since determining whether or not you fall is probably decided at the end of the creature's turn.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur View Post
    This doesn't strike me as a very good idea. You need a DC 20 reflex save to recover from a fall back into flight. Also, you fall 150 ft. the first round, and 300 ft. all subsequent rounds. That probably doesn't make sense from a physics standpoint, but it's what the DMG says.
    The movement articles suggest that that fall rate is specific to stalling due to low flight speed, incidentally...is there any other falling speed information for, say, a human stepping off a cliff?

    EDIT: Math (with no air resistance) says close to 576 feet in the first round if I'm doing it right, round as you will. The movement articles offer 500 first round 1000 subsequent for 'freefalling', either as a non-flier or as a flier voluntarily not restraining the fall.
    Last edited by Ulzgoroth; 2007-04-08 at 12:02 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    I don't know where it is, but I want to say normal falling speed it 300' the first round and 600' per round after that. Maybe from the rules for subjective directional gravity, I'll go look.

    Edit: nope, subjective directional gravity says 150'->300". Maybe it'll say in feather fall...

    Edit2: nope, not there either, falling damage rules?

    Edit3: okay...where are the falling damage rules?
    Last edited by Fizban; 2007-04-08 at 12:25 AM.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    While I don't have the book I happen to know that the Dragonlance Campaign setting has fairly detailed information on combat while flying.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    DMG p303 has falling damage, but doesn't give a time scale for it.
    Last edited by Ulzgoroth; 2007-04-08 at 12:34 AM.

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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    That's where geometry comes in handy. You just have to measure it according to speed, time, and angle, and then measure that against distance traveled.
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  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    Or look up that rules of the game article Ulzgoroth mentioned, which agrees with his figures. They suggest 500' the first round and 1000' every round after for a creature in complete free fall.

    In fact, I'll just copy/paste for anyone too lazy to follow the link:

    Stalling and Freefalling
    Stalling represents the failure of a flying creature's wings (or other motive agent) to keep the creature aloft. The rules are a little sketchy when it comes to what happened during a stall, so here are some unofficial suggestions.
    A stalling creature falls, but it wings provide considerable drag and tend to slow the creature's fall. As noted earlier, a creature falls 150 feet during the first round spent stalling, and it falls 300 feet each round thereafter. Wingless flyers that stall still have some residual lift and fall more slowly than non-flyers.
    A flying creature that cannot maintain its minimum forward speed because it has been rendered unconscious, has become paralyzed, has become magically held, or becomes unable to move for some other reason stalls at the beginning of its first turn after the debilitating effect occurs.
    A stalling creature can take no actions, except to recover from the stall. It loses its Dexterity bonus to Armor Class (if any) while stalling. As noted earlier, recovering from a stall requires a Reflex save (DC 20).
    A stalling creature falls more or less straight down, but it also tumbles and spins erratically. Melee or ranged attacks made against a stalling creature have a 20% miss chance.
    A nonflyer (or flyer falling through the air) freefalls rather than stalls. A creature in freefall drops 500 feet the first round and 1,000 feet each round thereafter. While in freefall, a creature can attempt a single action each round. It must make a Dexterity or Strength check (creature's choice, DC 15) to avoid dropping any item it tries to use. Spellcasting is possible, but doing so requires a Concentration check (DC 15 + spell level) and if the spell has a material component, the creature must first check to see if it drops the component.
    Deliberately Freefalling: A flying creature can simply stop flying and allow itself to drop like a stone. Exiting a freefall requires a full-round action (during which the creature falls 500 or 1,000 feet). A creature with Perfect maneuverability exits a freefall automatically, less maneuverable creatures require a Reflex save (DC 20). If the check fails, the creature stalls (even if it does not have a minimum forward speed), though during its next turn it can attempt to recover from the stall after falling 300 feet.
    A creature with average, poor, or clumsy maneuverability suffers 3d6 points of nonlethal damage when it exits a freefall (or when it stalls from a failed attempt to leave freefall) due to the stress on its body. A freefalling creature with a fly speed can automatically recover from a freefall if it receives a feather fall spell, but only after falling 60 feet; the creature suffers no damage from the recovery.
    Fast Freefalls: A creature with a fly speed can propel itself downward as a move action, adding up to twice its flying speed to the distance it freefalls. A creature with Perfect maneuverability can make a fast freefall automatically, while less maneuverable creatures require a Reflex save (DC 15). If the save fails, the creature stalls. On a successful check the creature fast freefalls for a full round.
    Catching: As a full-round action, a flyer can catch a freefalling creature or object, or a stalling creature, provided that the falling creature or object is at least one size category smaller than the creature attempting the catch.
    To make the catch, the creature must make a successful melee touch attack to grab the falling creature or object (a creature can voluntarily forego any Dexterity bonus to AC if desired). If the grab succeeds, the catching creature must make a Reflex save (DC 25) to keep flying. If the save fails by 4 or less, the catcher drops the falling creature or object. If the save fails by 5 or more, the catcher drops the falling creature or object and stalls if it has a minimum forward speed. If the catcher does not have a minimum forward speed, it falls 1d4x10 feet.
    Last edited by Fizban; 2007-04-08 at 12:55 AM.
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    A collection of over 200 pages of individually small bans, tweaks, brews, and rule changes, usable piecemeal or nearly altogether, and even some convenient lists. Everything I've done that I'd call done enough to use in one place (plus a number of things I'm working on that aren't quite done, of course).
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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Viscount Einstrauss's Avatar

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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    Well where's the fun in that?

    Oh, right. Geometry isn't fun at all.
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  18. - Top - End - #18
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    Um, could you explain what you mean by this 'geometry'? I'm curious...any added way to apply math is surely a good thing...

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Viscount Einstrauss's Avatar

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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    A triangle. If you know the angle of something as it went into the air and the total vertical distance it traveled, you can determine how high up it is via the geometrical rules of a triangle.

    But that's a lot of work, so using a pre-built system is probably for the better.
    Do not meddle in the affairs of adventurers, for you are expendable and full of EXP.


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  20. - Top - End - #20
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Aerial Combat Questions

    Just a little trig, but I'm not seeing where we need that here. What are you using this to figure out?

    As soon as you start changing altitude and moving horizontally at the same time you'd better at least have Pythagoras available, of course...

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