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Relevant quotes:

Animating Performance. By 6th level, as an action, you can animate one Large or smaller nonmagical item within 30 feet of you that isn’t being worn or carried.

By this quote from the relevant feature, would you be able to, say, take off your shoes before an expected combat, animate them, then put them on, without nullifying the existing animation? Let's assume my player is a standard medium Human, weighing 155 pounds.

From my previous question, the answer seems to be, "DM's discretion." That would lead to follow-up questions to clarify that are separate from the question, but relevant to it:

  1. Would that impose the "allies occupying the same space" rule?
  2. Is it considered mounted combat, despite being a Tiny creature (Construct)?

If necessary, I can put the 2 sub-questions in another question for the sake of following the rules and guidelines.

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2 Answers 2

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Check with your DM

In general, the rules do not cover how to treat a target becoming illegal for an ongoing spell or effect, so this will be up to the DM. There is unofficial guidance that the effect would be suppressed while the target is illegal, but unofficial guidance is no rule, just a hint to help your DM deciding.

I think that because the item that you target with of Animating Performance is transformed into a creature1 and creatures other than objects cannot be "worn or carried", they only can be carried, you probably should check only at the beginning, when the item is an object.

The phrase "worn or carried" is used in many places in the rules to limit effects on objects in control of another creature, because otherwise many spells or abilities could act as a cheap trick to remove an opponents magic items or weapons. For example, it is used for the animate objects spell, that likewise turns creatures into objects. If you could suppress the effect by carrying, you just could grab an animated flying sword to stop the animation. That at least to me would be a very unexpected result. On the other hand, if you could just animate a sword your opponent is holding, it would be a cheap way to disarm them (and worse, directly use the weapon against them).

As a counterexample, telekinesis allows you to move only an object that is not being "worn or carried" automatically, and this limitation means you cannot just snatch their weapon out of their hands automatically. Instead, you need to make a contested Strength check to move it. Here I think it makes sense to always apply this, even if another creature later grabs an object you are moving, because the other creature now can counteract your movement.

So, when deciding to handle this phrase for ongoing effects, it makes sense to have the DM make a call that fits the specific context and situation.


1 The item, once animated by Animating Performance is not an object, it is a creature of type Construct. Enlarge works on both creatures and objects, so it will still work.

you can animate one Large or smaller nonmagical item within 30 feet of you that isn’t being worn or carried. The animate item uses the Dancing Item stat block

Dancing Item

Large or smaller construct [...]

It probably would have been a bit clearer, had they said "object" instead of item, because that is a defined game term, but clearly they mean object by item here: "that isn't being worn" really would not apply to creatures.

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So you think you can dance?

Nobody gives a good rules analysis in their answer.

But what if it worked?

The subtext of your question is that you want to animate your shoes, and then in combat ride them like a flying mount, with a kick attack.

I've got to applaud the idea. That is magnificent.

But just because you're wearing the animated shoes (assuming the DM allowed it), that doesn't mean you get to be a flying bard-ninja, with a fly speed and a force-empowered kick.

The animated shoes aren't over the top

Even if they're high-tops.

The idea that you can animate an item, and then wear it isn't completely over the top. Surely you could animate a chair, sit in it, and command it to fly. You could add straps, and strap yourself in. That doesn't seem a stretch. Sure, the DM could say, at some point you're "wearing" something, and the animation ends.

I don't think that's the problem, though. The problem isn't animating the shoes, it's what you want to do with them afterwards that's playing fast and footloose with the rules.

Just because you're wearing flying shoes, that doesn't give you a mount, or even give you, yourself, a fly speed.

Or to put it another way, no matter how you cram your foot into that glass slipper, it just doesn't fit.

Let's assume the DM lets you put on your dancing shoes

For the sake of argument, let's assume the DM rules that putting them on and keeping the animation is allowable.

You have to command the shoes. Let's start simple. "Shoes, fly me to the top of that house."

If I'm the DM, I gotta give it to you. The shoes will fly you to the top of that house.

But can you stay on top of them?

Roller-skating, ice skating, skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, surfing and many other sports demonstrate the difficulty of staying on top of moving shoes. Wile E. Coyote demonstrates potential pitfalls well.

The shoes can fly, but you can't

I mean . . . they have a fly speed . . . you don't.

Even if they're wing-tips, animating them didn't turn them into winged boots.

So the shoes take off flying, and you're now balanced on top of a flying platform (sorry, two flying platforms). I think that's a dex check of some kind. If you fail it, and they're flip-flops, you fall right out. If you're strapped in, and you fail it, you've now tipped over backwards at the knees, and hilarity ensues . . . .

Maybe dancing lessons would help

A generous DM might allow that with practice you could learn to stay upright in your flying shoes. After all, even mundanes can learn to roller skate.

How much practice? I don't know, but there are rules for training, so that might be a reasonable question in and of itself.

But that's just to fly in the shoes, that's not combat.

These shoes weren't made for fighting

Even if they're combat boots, there's nothing in the rules that suggest that the shoes know how to be a mount in combat. Especially since you just get to give them verbal commands. A warhorse, for instance, needs to be trained, and responds to an infinity of inputs, not just verbal commands.1

So, riding them like a mount, in combat? Up to the DM, but I think that would be a generous DM indeed.

What about other items of apparel?

You asked about shoes as an example of apparel in general. But the same is true of any apparel. Animate your wristwatch, put it back on, and tell it to fly you to the top of the house. You're now hanging by one arm from a flying watch. Animate your vest . . . it's carrying you like a mother cat and a kitten. Etc.

But back to the shoes.

Can you train the shoes?

No, not even if they're trainers.

They're a creature for an hour. Whatever they learn (and they're only 4 smart), at the end of that hour, they're shoes again, dumb and inanimate as . . . well, a pair of shoes. Again, that would take a very generous DM who would allow you to train your shoes to be a mount.

How generous would your DM have to be?

Basically, they would have to allow you to not only fly as if you yourself had a flying speed, you would have to be able to command the shoes as if they were a fighting mount. Basically, they'd have allow you to turn your mundane footwear into magic items somewhat akin to winged boots. The parallel is not exactly the same, but close enough for comparison.

That's pretty generous.


1 -- If I'm the DM, at this point, I'm thinking oh please, oh please, oh please animate the horse's saddle, and then put it on the horse. Hint, that does not give you a pegasus, that gives you a pretty startled horse, hanging from a flying saddle.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's even more difficult as you „target a Large or smaller non­ magical item you can see within 30 feet of you and animate it", so single shoe acrobatics ensue \$\endgroup\$ May 1 at 20:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're right, although I was being generous and mentally calling a pair of shoes an "item". A way to go might be a board with shoes nailed to it, like a flying snowboard or Green Goblin's sled; with years of practice you might be able to fly without using up all your slots on cure wounds. Or maybe you wear a harness with a ring on the front and animate a hook, which can catch the ring and fly you. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    May 1 at 20:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I had not realized the implications of the dancing item. It can be really small and still be really strong. If you were 3 millimeters tall (for instance) you could get a bard to animate a thimble for you and fly you places. I don't why you'd want to do that, it would be cumbersome as heck, but it would be cool. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    May 1 at 20:29

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