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If someone has the feat Spring Attack and he has the capacity to fly, does he still need to learn Flyby Attack, since it's almost the same thing?

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2 Answers 2

Yes, that is correct. Although the two feats are thematically similar, they are not the same and so must each be taken individually. Pretty much all WotC-era D&D has a high focus on mechanics and the flavour of each ability is not really important from a mechanics standpoint.

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This is explicitly wrong. –  KRyan May 26 '14 at 23:48
@KRyan Do you disagree that the two feats are different? or that you must take each individually? Because otherwise, I can't see why you think it wrong. –  Dakeyras May 27 '14 at 12:50
He can just use Spring Attack for Spring Attack’s purpose. It is a different feat, and would have to be taken separately in order to get the better benefit of Fly-by Attack, but the primary question is “If someone has the feat Spring Attack and he has the capacity to fly, does he still need to learn Flyby Attack,” and the answer to that is no, he doesn’t “need” to learn Fly-by Attack because Spring Attack allows him to use it while flying. –  KRyan May 27 '14 at 12:53
@KRyan I see what the matter is - the question does not explicitly state what OP wants Flyby attack for. I interpreted it as using one feat to essentially get another's effect, while you interpreted it as whether Spring Attack could be used in the air. –  Dakeyras May 27 '14 at 13:08

Spring Attack does not specify movement mode

Unlike Ride-by Attack and Fly-by Attack, Spring Attack is generic and works for any movement mode, including flight. It says only that you may move before and after the attack. So if your goal is to move, attack, and move again, while flying, you do not need Fly-by Attack; Spring Attack will let you do that.

On the other hand, Spring Attack is not, and does not count as, Fly-by Attack for prerequisites and the like. If your goal is to get something that requires Fly-by Attack, you have to take it separately. For that matter...

Note that Fly-by Attack and Spring Attack do not do exactly the same thing

Fly-by Attack allows you to take any standard action in the middle of your movement, while Spring Attack allows only a single attack, but Spring Attack protects you against attacks of opportunity made by the target of that attack, while Fly-by Attack does not. Generally, the Fly-by version is much better. So if you wanted to take advantage of its superior benefit, you would have to take Fly-by Attack separately from Spring Attack.

That said, just houserule this mess

I do strongly recommend a houserule here:

If you have any one of these feats, you can take any standard action in the middle of a move, or take your charge attack(s) at any point in the middle of a charge. If your standard action or charge attacks involve melee attacks, you may choose one of your targets; that target cannot take attacks of opportunity your movement during this maneuver might provoke from that target.

If you have any one of these feats, you count as having any of the others for the purpose of prerequisites so long as you meet the requirements for taking them.

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While I agree to the grouping of Spring and Fly-by, I'd say there's still a difference between Spring and Ride-by, though, in that riding is not moving under your own power. –  Nigralbus May 27 '14 at 13:08
@Nigralbus OK, what I meant was more "if you have 1 rank in Ride, the Mounted Combat feat, and the Spring Attack feat, you should be able to use the maneuver described in Ride-by Attack," and "if you have the Ride-by Attack feat, but you aren't riding, you should be able to use the maneuver described in Spring Attack," and that all of the above should count as each other for requirements. –  KRyan May 27 '14 at 13:53

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