As an example, I'm considering a Demilich.

Will my PC ever encounter a Demilich on the ground (for example, running up and surprising one that is sleeping on the ground)?

In general, though, do creatures with a listed speed of "0 ft., fly 30 ft. (hover)" ever touch the ground?

  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch: for my future reference, how did you manage to format the stat block that I had up? That's the format I was looking to put up but it did not turn out that way \$\endgroup\$ – Greg0141 Apr 2 '19 at 13:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ I put line breaks between each line and started each line with >. If you look at the edit history, you can see what I did. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Apr 2 '19 at 13:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Out of curiosity, why does a demilich touching the ground matter to your character? Is this part of some plan or strategy? Or just curiosity? Also, you are asking as a player/PC correct? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Apr 2 '19 at 13:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose: was wondering if someone would ask; this is purely academic and for the future (may become a part of a plan). I'm so new to this and my questions will often reflect that. This could be either for dm creation purposes or for the pc; all learning for me at this point. \$\endgroup\$ – Greg0141 Apr 2 '19 at 13:56

Speeds don’t determine this

That something has only a fly-hover speed and zero ground speed just means that it can’t move on the ground. It doesn’t say anything about whether it can or can’t stand still on the ground.

Speeds just aren’t there to give information on what media the creature is allowed to touch. If something is incapable of landing and never rests on the ground, that’s more the sort of detail that would appear in a creature’s detailed description of its behaviour and habits.

The demilich in particular lacks this kind of detail saying it only flies. Its description instead implies (but only implies) that it sometimes rests on the ground, when it says

if it is disturbed, these remains rise into the air and assume a wraithlike form.

Its history in D&D more explicitly includes it laying on the ground, including in one of its earliest illustrations in the AD&D Monster Manual II (and its accompanying description):

A classic demilich setup (as in the adventure

Tomb of Horrors

) is to have it laying on the ground until disturbed. To naive adventurers, it looks like a jeweled skull: treasure! Then it “wakes up” (it doesn’t actually sleep, though) and attacks, taking the poor adventurers off guard.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Greatly appreciate the “classic demilich setup “ and spoiler you’ve provided. If I may ask here, how did you manage that blind effect for the spoiler? \$\endgroup\$ – Greg0141 Apr 2 '19 at 15:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Greg0141 You can use this spoiler markup method to add that effect to any Q or A post (it doesn’t work in comments). \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 2 '19 at 15:50

Only if it wants to - The demilich doesn't require being grounded

As you've noted a demilich has no movement on land, but can fly and hover. There is also nothing in their stat block or description that mentions ever needing to be touch the ground.

Because of that, there is no mechanical requirement that a lich, who is a flying creature who has hover, needs to come back to the ground. But just because there is no requirement for it doesn't mean that you don't have to have it always off the ground. It just doesn't need to ever be on the ground.

In fact (thanks sdjz!). the combat rules cover the case for when a flying creature with hover (or is magically flying) is knocked prone:

If a flying creature is knocked prone, has its speed reduced to 0, or is otherwise deprived of the ability to move, the creature falls, unless it has the ability to hover.

The rules here do cover the case for a creature prone and reduced to speed zero still being allowed to stay aloft if their flying is magical or if they have hover.


Just as a flying creature can land or stay aloft at the end of their turn, I imagine a creature with a floating speed could just float to the ground and take off when they please. Although it is up for interpretation perhaps.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Could you support your answer by citing evidence or experience? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 3 '19 at 0:38

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