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In RAW, Mage Hand is "A spectral, floating hand appears at a point you choose within range".

But what is it "floating"? Can hand fly up to 10-20 feet over the floor? With payload (like small stone)? Can it fly up or down by command?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour here if you haven't already: rpg.stackexchange.com/tour; and you check out the help center too more guidance: rpg.stackexchange.com/help. This is a pure linguistic point but "to float" is both a transitive and intransitive verb, i.e. you can use it with or without an object. You can float, or you can float something. I don't know if this adds anything to the answer already here, but hope it clarifies that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Thank-Glob
    May 2, 2021 at 19:03

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To float generally means stay in place while not touching the ground, being supported, or suspended. As the spell describes the ability for the hand to move between two points and remain floating, that implies that the hand can also fly.

In past editions there was a distinction between float/hover and flying, as to hover while flying required a skill check, or there were abilities that let you float but not fly.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you back this up? \$\endgroup\$ May 1, 2021 at 8:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Akixkisu I guess not, because there's no distinction of floating in the rules. You can't back up, what doesn't exist. Floating just means floating. You can find the distinction in a dictionary. Sorry, if that comment sounded salty, I didn't mean to. \$\endgroup\$ May 1, 2021 at 9:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheKhileyan that seems easy to do - you would acknowledge that the rules do not make a distinction and that you, therefore, use a dictionary/plain English definition. Then you could back up the distinction between float/hover and flying via the passage in the former edition that you are addressing. \$\endgroup\$ May 1, 2021 at 10:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Fering I remember distinctions in flying too. In AD&D 2e there are different "Maneuverability Classes" for flying ranging from class A to E. (DMG, pp. 77-78). For instance classes A and B are able "to hover in place". In the MM for AD&D 2e it says the flying class. Spells do too: Fly grants class B. You are right, this is a distinction. It also distinguishes "levitation" as moving only up or down. You are welcome to incorporate this into your answer if you want. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Senmurv
    May 2, 2021 at 9:26

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