Flying movement: does minimum forward speed still apply when ascending?

I’ve worded the question in two ways, before and after context, both bolded text below.

Let’s say you have some fly speed with average maneuverability. Speed is not important. You have a minimum forward speed (MFS) of half, an up angle of 60 degrees, and an up speed of half. Imagine you begin ascending. Aside from beginning your ascent (where you have to fly steady for half maximum distance before ascending), does MFS still apply if you continue ascending the next round? If minimum forward speed applies when ascending (moving at your “up speed”), then implicitly you need a full double move to ascend at the full 60 degrees, and in general you cannot ascend at 60 degrees (math below).

For 60 degrees, the standard trig triangle has a hypotenuse of 2 and a base of 1. In D&D terms, however far you fly at 60 degrees, you fly half that distance forward. Therefore, if your up speed is half, flying half your speed at 60 degrees means you fly only one-quarter your speed forward, which doesn’t meet the minimum forward speed of half requirement.

It’s not hard to see that flying at 60 degrees under this logic requires a double move, and you must use all your movement to achieve the minimum forward speed (a double move at half speed is full speed along 60 degrees, which means you moved half speed forward).

Otherwise for a single move action, you’re capped at much smaller angles of ascension, if that’s even technically possible within the rules. For example, with a fly speed of 60 and average maneuverability, you could still move foward 30 and up 15. Again, it doesn’t really say whether or not you can ascend at lower angles, but I wouldn’t see why not.

So, is this implicit logic correct, or is ascension supposed to be a different mode of movement whereby minimum forward speed shouldn’t apply?

How does a perception check while flying work? Is there a min/max height to fly when scouting?

As a flying character I’m trying to do some aerial recon/scouting and wanted to know how a perception check works (passive and active) while flying.

Aside from lightly/heavily obscured (PHB p. 183), what other penalties/factors are there?

For example:

  • Does height play a factor? (See note 2)

  • Does speed play a factor? (See note 1. If yes, assume moving at base fly speed (50ft)).

I’m planning on doing daytime scouting for mobs (aka targets/enemy units), both hidden and wandering (seeing if the group’s path is clear or not), and anything out of the ordinary (campsites, lairs, caves, huts, anything that might require further investigation).

At night I plan to sky patrol (using ground level light spell, dancing lights spell). Also looking for other light sources (campfires, torches) that may be in the area/on approach.

If height makes a difference/you need a number, assume aerial scouting at just over 600 ft (say 625 ft). This is the magical number where long bows (all normal ranged weapons) cannot hit during the day.
For night patrols, assume just over 120ft (say 125ft), which is outside most night vision sight.

If possible please include any RAW that relates to this question.


Note 1: On PHB p. 182 there are penalties to passive perception checks for traveling at a “fast” pace (see table below). However this is for ground not flying (and I believe only passive checks not active checks).

Travel Pace

Pace      Distance Traveled per...      Effect           Minute   Hour      Day          Fast      400 ft   4 miles   30 miles   -5 penalty to passive Wisdom (Perception)   Normal    300 ft   3 miles   24 miles   —  Slow      200 ft   2 miles   18 miles   Able to use stealth 

Note 2: My understanding (and would like input/confirmation of this) of RAW is that only lightly obscured (disadvantage on perception checks), heavily obscured (blocks vision), and possibly travel pace are the only factors in perception checks (both ground and air). Only LOS matters, thus the higher up I go the farther I can see/get perception (passive or active) checks on any items of interest (mobs, structures, etc.) not heavily obscured. Any limitation on this would be a DM house rule.

How does the UA Variant Class Feature “Cunning Action: Aim” affect flying?

Cunning Action: Aim contains the following:

You can use this bonus action only if you haven’t moved during this turn, and after you use the bonus action, your speed is 0 until the end of the current turn.

Class Feature Variants Unearthed Arcana (page 9) Site PDF

Would a rogue under the effect of the fly spell be able to use this feature while in the air? If so, would he fall to the ground after using it? Does something change if they naturally have a fly speed and it isn’t from the fly spell?

Do flying creatures count as anchor points for the Web spell?

Several size Large flying creatures are attacking my party. I’d like to cast Web to prevent their escape and limit their ranged advantage. Relevant parts of the Web spell description say

The webs fill a 20- foot cube from that point for the duration.

If the webs aren’t anchored between two solid masses…the conjured web collapses on itself

I can get at least two of these creatures to be affected by the spell’s area of effect. Would they count as the ‘two solid masses’ the description requires?

If a creature was flying via the Fly spell and dies, does it continue flying?

The Fly spell states:

You touch a willing creature. The target gains a flying speed of 60 feet for the duration. When the spell ends, the target falls if it is still aloft, unless it can stop the fall.

Since the spell does not say that it ends if the creature dies, would the spell continue to hold the deceased creature aloft for the duration of the spell, as long as the caster maintains concentration?

What’s the flying speed of someone under the Fly spell with two levels of exhaustion?

Recently, our party barbarian gained two levels of Exhaustion. As per the rules of that condition (PHB, p. 291), the effect of level 2 Exhaustion is:

Speed halved

The fly spell (PHB, p. 243) has the following effect:

You touch a willing creature. The target gains a flying speed of 60 feet for the duration.

We wondered what the barbarian’s speed would have been if fly was cast on him. Which of the above rules would be considered more specific? Would the barbarian be able to fly for 60 feet, or only 30 feet, per turn?

What is the wingspan of Wings of Flying?

So, this is a bit of a nitpicky thing to be discussing, but I wanted some input before I give the final verdict in my game.

A very rotund halfling in my campaign recently received the “Wings of Flying” – which for our visualization purposes was described as being hawk-like in shape, coloration and plumage.

Now here’s the crux. The wings will change shape to fit it’s wearer proportionally – but our halfling player expressed a strong desire to have these wings take on a tiny, almost cherub-like appearance. Do I go along with this?

I’m usually all for rolling with player ideas, but for an item that’s already this powerful, I’m a bit more hesitant to flex the rules, even if it’s seemingly “only cosmetic”. I don’t give a crap about the physics of it all – it can be explained with magic. I’m moreso concerned with what if the wings themselves were targeted by an offensive spell or similar scenarios – accidentally overpowering these wings just by having them made smaller so suddenly a bunch of new exploitable possibilities and scenarios “just makes sense”.

What are the consequences, or pros and cons, in modifying the size of the Wings of Flying? Had any previous experiences with resized items like this?