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Context

There are potentially conflicting rules about ending the prone condition. I have encountered arguments holding a general assumption that the rules specify, a creature must spend half of its movement to stand up and counter the prone condition. But, I haven’t found any rules to corroborate this assumption.

The prone condition says:

A prone creature’s only movement option is to crawl, unless it stands up and thereby ends the condition.

And the combat rules for prone say:

To move while prone, you must crawl or use magic such as teleportation.

But, both of these rules address movement, and not ending the condition per se.

Additionally, the Condition Rules exemplify

the prone condition is countered by standing up

Importantly, all of these rules say that standing up does end the condition, but none of them assert that the act of standing is strictly necessary to end the condition.


Ending the prone condition

I have not found any rules that clarify if a prone, flying creature can actually move, but it seems generally accepted that "crawling" can have different flavors in different media. And, teleportation might allow you to end the prone condition.

The research I’ve done suggests that there are few other scenarios that allow you to end the prone condition.

  1. Uncontroversially, a creature may spend half of it's movement to stand and counter the condition

You can drop prone without using any of your speed. Standing up takes more effort; doing so costs an amount of Movement equal to half your speed.

  1. RAI, a creature may be subject to the prone condition unless it is

affixed to something that keeps [it] upright.

and

If it's physically impossible for you to be prone, you're not subject to the prone condition.

So, being affixed to chains on a wall or otherwise forcing a creature out of prone with grapple counters the condition.

  1. RAW falling without taking damage seems to counter the prone condition:

At the end of a fall, a creature takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it fell, The creature lands prone, unless it avoids taking damage from the fall.

  1. A Creature may counter the prone condition by flying as if it were standing

A falling creature

can halt the fall on its turn by spending half its flying speed to counter the prone condition (as if it were standing up in midair). (XGtE)

(The subjunctive here clearly indicating that the flyer does not actually stand)


Inquiry

Tempestuous Magic

allows you to fly up to 10 feet...

Without technically granting a flying speed or adding to your total movement. So, it appears to qualify as legal, prone movement (at least in combat). Because the combat rules specify:

To move while prone, you must crawl or use magic such as teleportation.

(Notably, it does not say "teleportation magic".)

So, does gaining magical flight from features like Tempestuous Magic qualify as "magic such as teleportation" and enable you to end the prone condition? Or can you simply use the 10 ft of to use this trick.

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No. You must stand up before you can fly.

The prone condition states:

A prone creature's only movement option is to crawl, unless it stands up and thereby ends the condition.

So while prone, crawling is your only movement option, even if you have a flying speed. You must stand up to end the condition, and only then can you begin flying. This is also explained in Chapter 9 in the rules for "Being Prone":

To move while prone, you must crawl or use magic such as teleportation.

Since teleportation spells don't care if you are standing or prone, you can use them to teleport (and even to stand up), but without such magic, your only option is to crawl. And no, a spell granting a flying speed is not "magic such as teleportation", but I could see a DM ruling that the phrase is a blanket statement about magic that just gives teleportation as an example (though that would have a comma, "magic, such as teleportation"), so double check with your DM.

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Yes


Prone is a condition to which a creature may be subject.

Conditions alter a creature's capabilities in a variety of ways ... Most conditions ... are impairments, but a few ... can be advantageous.

A creature subjected to the prone condition gets a defense bonus against ranged attacks:

An attack roll against the creature has advantage if the attacker is within 5 feet of the creature. Otherwise, the attack roll has disadvantage.

at the cost of its own

disadvantage on Attack rolls.

and half of it's speed.


Now,

Combatants ... lying on the ground ... are prone.

The rules never specify that lying on the ground is a necessary condition. On the contrary, the designers have clarified that

You can almost always be knocked prone. About the only time it's physically impossible for you to be knocked prone is when you're affixed to something that keeps you upright.

and

If you're knocked prone underwater, you're subjected to the effects of the prone condition as normal. One way to visualize it is that you're floundering.

And even, specifically with regard to hovering

Q: If a creature is swimming, hovering or is otherwise unable to fall (e.g. chained to a wall), does knocking them prone actually inflict the prone condition?

A: If it's physically impossible for you to be prone, you're not subject to the prone condition.

Certainly, the ground couldn't be a necessary condition, as that would imply that you would be immune to the prone condition so long as you lie on a table or bed--or ad absurdum, a bedroll. It seems like we must conclude that the Prone condition is not literally an orientation to the ground, but rather is a mechanical game condition that takes on different flavors in different media.

Furthermore, it appears that, both RAW and RAI, you can be subject to the prone condition, regardless of the medium, be it suspended in a hammock, on top of a table, lying underground, floundering in water, hovering in the air, or the drifting through the void of space. And you can elect do this voluntarily--at no cost to your movement.


Specifically, with respect to flying, the rules address scenarios where a flying creature may be subject to the prone condition.

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 the fly spell.

Allowing for a flying creature to remain magically aloft or hover while prone.

XGTE further specifies that a creature,

by spending half its flying speed

may

counter the prone condition (as if it were standing up in midair). (XGtE)

But, the rules on prone movement are contradictory:

A prone creature’s only Movement option is to crawl, unless it stands up and thereby ends the condition.

But, leaves unclear how to resolve this for e.g. swimming or flying creatures. However, the Combat rules for being prone specifically clarifying that in combat

To move while prone, you must crawl or use magic such as teleportation ...

This is also a little ambiguous, and on a strict reading you might conclude that any movement is impossible for someone who cannot literally crawl. But, reasonably magic, at least, seems like a viable an alternative crawling, and RAI "crawling" is a flavor of ungraceful locomotion.

Most importantly, the rules stipulate that "magic" not "teleportation magic" can let you move while prone. Therefore, either way, you may use the Flight from Tempestuous Magic to fly, RAW.


RAW, falling without taking damage negates the prone condition

The rules for falling say,

At the end of a fall, a creature takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it fell, The creature lands prone, unless it avoids Taking Damage from the fall.

Situations that might satisfy this "unless" condition include effects of

  1. Feather Fall
  2. Enhance Ability (Dex)
  3. Falling less than 10 ft.

And, this is corroborated by previous discussions on teleportation


So, it's possible to use Tempestuous Magic to fly 5ft vertically and then fall without taking damage, thereby ending the condition.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "crawl through the air" - is that what crawl means to you? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 23 at 19:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you can crawl through water in the prone position, sure, why not? \$\endgroup\$
    – nonymous
    Sep 23 at 19:09

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