While under the fly spell, if you are paralyzed for whatever reason, are you still able to fly around?


A paralyzed character is frozen in place and unable to move or act. A paralyzed character has effective Dexterity and Strength scores of 0 and is helpless, but can take purely mental actions. A winged creature flying in the air at the time that it becomes paralyzed cannot flap its wings and falls. A paralyzed swimmer can’t swim and may drown.


Using a fly spell requires only as much concentration as walking, so the subject can attack or cast spells normally.

The condition clearly calls out non-magical flight, and fly indicates that its more mental than physical. So by these definitions, could someone still move around under the fly spell while paralyzed even if they cant do much else?


2 Answers 2


While a creature's paralyzed, it can't opt to fly from place to place even if its flight is magical and wingless

The Pathfinder Core Rulebook FAQ includes this exchange:


Can a paralyzed or stunned creature keep flying with magical flight? Does a creature with magical flight not apply bonuses or penalties to Fly checks because it doesn’t have a “natural” fly speed? Does flying make a creature immune to being flat-footed?


No, any creature that loses all actions can’t take an action to attempt a Fly check to hover in place and thus automatically falls. That includes a paralyzed, stunned, or dazed creature. Magical flight doesn’t act any differently [from nonmagical flight], even for paralysis, as it [magical flight] isn’t a purely mental action. A creature with 0 Dexterity can’t fly, and paralysis sets a creature’s Dexterity to 0. Despite the fact that the Fly skill mentions that bonuses and penalties from maneuverability apply to creatures with natural fly speeds, they apply for any fly speed. If they didn’t apply to creatures that gained flight artificially or through magic, then those maneuverabilities (like the listed good maneuverability for the fly spell) would have no game effect. Finally, the statement “You are not considered flat-footed while flying” means that flying (unlike balancing using Acrobatics or climbing) doesn’t automatically make you flat-footed or force you to lose your Dexterity bonus to AC; it doesn’t mean that flying makes you immune to being caught flat-footed.

(Emphasis, link, and editorializing mine.) You can read a multpage thread that predates this 2015 ruling that debates this topic here.

Were the GM to make a house rule saying that the spell fly and other methods of magical wingless flight do allow a creature to jet from place to place by taking purely mental actions, the campaign would have to deal with the subsequent fallout from such a ruling. That is, any wingless creature that the DM rules flies by mental effort alone—and that'd probably be all the DM's applicable monsters—can now fly away despite being affected by a hold person effect, for example. For this GM, that would be bridge too far, and, while this player wouldn't abandon a campaign in which such a house rule was made, this player would urge the GM reconsider as—seriously—casters are already powerful enough! If unable to get the GM to reconsider, this player would find for his PC a means of such flight posthaste.


My interpretation would be:

If casting the a spell to fly is a purely mental action, meaning if no physical action is needed, then you could cast the spell to fly.

If you need to activate an item to fly, generally I would say that requires the ability to move and would not be allowed in this instance.

Will update this soon after I look up spells in the reference material.


To cast a spell, you must be able to speak (if the spell has a verbal component), gesture (if it has a somatic component), and manipulate the material components or focus (if any). Additionally, you must concentrate to cast a spell.

From this link.

Sounds like if a fly spell doesn't need to be spoken, gestured, or manipulating anything around you, you should be okay to cast a spell to fly.

Of course, all of this is moot if there is no spell to fly.

Will continue to update with research.

Update 2:

According to the spells Fly and the Fly skill given that you only need as much concentration as walking and if flying via magic there is no inclination that you need to move physically to fly, you'll be fine.

Might be worth it to talk it over with your GM if it comes up. It may work out to do a Fly check each turn while Paralyzed. Who knows.

Update 3:

More reference material

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I am assuming the spell is already cast. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Sep 9, 2017 at 21:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Fering see my update, \$\endgroup\$ Sep 9, 2017 at 21:42

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