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What is the maximum sustainable (not time-limited) flight speed attainable by a PC in Dungeons and Dragons 5e without the use of spells or speed-enhancing items? This would come from a combination of race/class features.

But to clarify, Aasimar flight would not work for this since it's limited to 1 minute per day. It shouldn't matter whether it's in combat or not.

I do not want to include UA options in this, but other supplements are fine.

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closed as unclear what you're asking by David Coffron, GreySage, KorvinStarmast, Oblivious Sage, NathanS May 6 at 21:03

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    \$\begingroup\$ You say it shouldn't matter if the character is in combat, but it does matter. The Chase rules in the DMG and the Travel Pace rules in the PHB imply that you can't just use the Dash action non stop outside of the ~30 second time frame for combat. Do you want the character that can keep up the fastest pace even out of combat, or the character that is fastest specifically in combat? And does the character need to be able to keep up that pace during travel? \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron May 6 at 17:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ You mentioned in a comment about using this info for a 'chase through a city." If that's the case, we need to know as there are different rules about Chase. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 6 at 19:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ This isn't unclear. Like at all. I even picked an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – user47897 May 14 at 16:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Simply adding the chase clarification would probably get people to un-hold this. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk May 15 at 23:24
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270 feet per turn

Aarokocra race: 50 flying speed

Feat Mobile: +10 feet

Monk 18: Unarmored move speed +30

This gives a total single movement of 90

Take the Dash action

This gives you a total action+movement of 180

Rogue 2: Gain Rogue Cunning Action to Dash again as a Bonus Action

Travel Pace for flight is calculated

This gives a total turn movement of 270

Travel Pace of 96 miles/day

Travel Pace by flight provides a different calculation per the DMG (242):

When a creature is traveling with a flying speed or with a speed granted by magic, an engine, or a natural force (such as wind or a water current), translate that speed into travel rates using the following rules:

  • In 1 hour, you can move a number of miles equal to your speed divided by 10.
  • For daily travel, multiply your hourly rate of travel by the number of hours traveled (typically 8 hours).
  • For a fast pace, increase the rate of travel by one-third.

That gives us, for fast pace, 12 miles/hour or 96 miles/day.

Chasing changes things

The DMG Chapter 8 covers Chase mechanics/complications and it adds a twist:

During the chase, a participant can freely use the Dash action a number of times equal to 3 + its Constitution modifier. Each additional Dash action it takes during the chase requires the creature to succeed on a DC 10 Constitution check at the end of its turn or gain one level of exhaustion.

This limits the amount of times they can use Dash, which affects the total per turn distance.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk May 15 at 23:22
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Either 360 or 270 feet, depending on what you mean by "not-time limited"

All movement is limited by time somehow. Note the rules on movement over long distances in the Players Handbook (PHB, p. 181):

Forced March. The Travel Pace table assumes that characters travel for 8 hours in day. They can push on beyond that limit, at the risk of exhaustion.

For each additional hour of travel beyond 8 hours, the characters cover the distance shown in the Hour column for their pace, and each character must make a Constitution saving throw at the end of the hour. The DC is 10 + 1 for each hour past 8 hours. On a failed saving throw, a character suffers one level of exhaustion (see appendix A).

So for example, if your character was to attempt to travel for 24 hours straight, they would need to make a 16 Constitution saving throws (with DCs of 11 through 26, increasing by 1 each hour). The probability of making all of these saving throws is very low (about one in 323 assuming you have a +11 on each save), and once you fail two of them your speed halves (see "exhaustion" PHB, p. 291).

This consideration makes me conclude that you may only be interested in travel methods that can be done for up to 8 hours in a day. However, if this is not the case and you want ones which can be done for more than 8 hours (in spite of the perils of exhaustion), I've included an "unlimited" option (or you could just see Nautarch's excellent answer.)

If you only need 8 hours in a day (in 5 hour increments with a one hour break in between): 360 feet per turn

This could be achieved with the following level 20 character. Level 10 Moon Druid (with the Mobile Feat), Level 5 Barbarian, Level 2 Monk, Level 2 Rogue

  1. Level 10 Moon Druid uses two uses of Wild Shape to transform in to an Air Elemental (MM. p. 125).

Fly speed of 90 feet.

  1. Level 5 Barbarian gives Fast Movement, and Level 2 Monk gives Unarmored Movement. +10 movement each.

Fly speed of 110 feet

  1. Take the Mobile Feat. +10 feet of speed

Fly speed of 120 feet

  1. Dash every round

240 feet of flying movement per turn

  1. Use the Rogue's Cunning Action to Dash again each round with a bonus action.

360 feet of flying movement per turn.

The Druid will be able to remain Wild Shaped for 5 hours (half their Druid level) before reverting into their normal form. At that point, they can take a short rest (1 hour) and transform back for another 5 hours. This would mean they could easily travel for 8 hours in the day.

If you don't want to be limited by 8 hours of travel, 270 feet per turn

You could use the exact same build described above, but instead transform into an Eagle. This would result in a flying speed 30 feet slower than the Air elemental, meaning a total of 90 feet less movement per round (270 per turn). Unlike the Air elemental, this method would permit you to fly for about 10 hours straight by expending one use of wild shape every 5 hours. If you took a short rest (which you'd probably need at least to eat), you'd then be able to fly for another 10 hours straight.

However, if you want to have the full capabilities of your class while transformed (as opposed to those actions only performable by an Eagle), you could use Nautarch's build and have the same movement speed while still being a completely capable Monk/Rogue.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Since you asked for no magic items or spells, I didn't include any in my answer. But I feel I should point out that both of my proposed methods are dwarfed quite quickly by such options. The 6th level spell Wind Walk, for example, would permit you to move at 600 feet per round for 8 hours (possibly 900 if Cunning Action is permitted). And I also have to point out that outside of combat, often movement is assumed to follow the standard rules on travel pace, regardless of your in-combat movement speed: so these builds may not be effective at traveling far distances (e.g. miles) quickly. \$\endgroup\$ – Gandalfmeansme May 6 at 18:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a good point. I wasn't trying to exceed the long-travel rules for exploration pillar travel times. I'm thinking chasing mounted NPCs through a city (not necesarily in combat rounds) or quickly getting from one place to another on a city or smaller scale. \$\endgroup\$ – user47897 May 6 at 19:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkTO If you are wanting this to fall under the CHase mechanics, we need to have known that. THere are different rules there. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch May 6 at 19:44