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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?

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It depends on whether your GM considers a corpse to be a creature

There are already (at least) four other questions which delve into whether or not a corpse is considered a creature and/or an object:

There are answers going both ways on many of them with no clear consensus, so let's see how that effects the results. We can see from the following Q/A that if a creature stops being a valid target for a spell, then the spell is suppressed:

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.

If we assume that a corpse is not a creature, then the target dying will turn them into a corpse, and thus no longer be a creature. The fly spell will be suppressed. This means that they will no longer benefit from the spell and will fall.


If we assume that a corpse is a creature, then the target dying will turn them into a corpse, and nothing will change. The fly spell will continue to exist. This means that they will continue to hover/float/fly due to the the rules on "Flying Movement":

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 or it is being held aloft by magic, such as by the fly spell.

According to the Rules As Intended from Jeremy Crawford, a corpse in an object, so a creature would fall when it dies

Jeremy Crawford has made an unofficial ruling (a tweet) regarding corpses:

Is a dead or unconscious creature officially an object?

A corpse is an object. An unconscious creature is a creature.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Does this mean that JC considers spells like Revivify (which targets "a creature") or Resurrection (which targets "a dead creature") to... do nothing? This is a confusing ruling that raises a lot of questions. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Jan 10 at 6:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jgn Yes it is confusing, I suggest you read the linked questions up top which have plenty of comments and link to other arguments. It's something that's been discussed enough elsewhere that I don't want to dredge it all back up \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Jan 10 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel like this answer could possibly be improved by going into the part where it says "You touch a willing creature." If we assume the corpse also counts as a creature, is it even a valid target then? Can a dead person be willing? \$\endgroup\$ – Himitsu_no_Yami Jan 14 at 22:58
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A creature held aloft with fly will continue to fly magically even when dead, until the spell expires.

For a creature to die it is knocked unconcious and falls prone, a common houserule is for NPCs to instantly die after falling unconcious from their hp falling to 0. Normally a dying creature will fall. However the flying rules state that the fly spell will hold you aloft even when you would usually fall, including falling 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 or it is being held aloft by magic, such as by the fly spell.

Spells in 5e do as they say

The Fly spell states that:

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

It does not say "if they die the spell ends" nor "if the target stops being willing or stops being a creature then the spell ends". There are no general rules to that effect either.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ There's an explicit example of this happening in one of the old Drizz't books. (Sojourn, IIRC.) If you'd like the reference I'll look it up when I get home. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jan 10 at 2:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 Target validity is assessed once at spell casting. Dead creatures are creatures. If corpses are objects then Resurrection would fail since it has to target "a dead creature" not "a dead object that was once a creature" - and probably likewise with other spells intended to work on dead creatures (I'm not going to look them up because I don't see any basis for the idea that when you die you become an object). \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Jan 10 at 2:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 While interesting, I don't think FR sets precedence for 5e rules in any meaningful way. If you have time to find it then by all means, but please don't feel pressured. \$\endgroup\$ – gszavae Jan 10 at 2:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've provided my own answer, so earlier comment removed \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Jan 10 at 4:07
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Since the spell states that the creature gains a movement speed, by them dying they are no longer to move using that flying speed, as a dead creature can't move of their own will. Since they would no longer be flying at that point, they would naturally begin to fall as they can do nothing to remain in the air.

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