Focus of my question is given in the title.

More generally, which movement options a prone creature has? I am aware of the 5-ft. crawl and the stand up (both move actions that provoke an attack of opportunity).

Example given to further clarify.

A gargolye standing on the ground has been tripped (thus falling prone). On his subsequent turn may he use his fly speed to move away and gain altitude directly from the prone condition? Must he stand up before taking flight?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you mean, can a prone character with the ability to fly use his flying ability to do something similar to a 5-ft crawl? \$\endgroup\$
    – Inbar Rose
    Sep 2, 2013 at 14:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm interested in the possibility for a flying creature (a creature with a fly speed) that has been rendered prone, to fly away using its fly speed without first standing up. I noticed a bit of side-trekking on the answers, so I'm going to refine the question. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 2, 2013 at 14:56

3 Answers 3


This is not defined within the game rules.

As far as I know, there is no explicit rule on this exact issue within the 3.5 core rules.

How exactly a Prone creature's land movement is hampered is not even defined. Using a legalistic definition, I can not see anything that, say, prevents Running while Prone, nor anything about a Prone creature needing to (or being able to) crawl. As far as I can tell, people just assume this due to the names of the conditions (and rightly so, in my opinion). There's a limit to how defined we can demand the 3.5 rules to be.


Here's what I can infer on the subject of Prone creatures flying.

I'd say no, a creature that has the ability to fly but has been tripped can not fly away without first standing up.

This is because the following is a part of the description of a character being Prone: "The character is on the ground". I'd argue that a character that is "on the ground" can not make use of special options relating to flight.

However, it is not so easy getting a creature that can fly to be Prone to begin with, as Tripping has a special effect on flyers rather than rendering them Prone. See page 145 of the Rules Compendium:

Tripping a Flying Defender

A winged creature can be tripped, and if it is, it falls as if it didn't maintain its minimum forward speed.

As for whether Prone creatures have special uses for their move action other than crawling and standing up - no. Once again, nothing is defined.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not interested in tripping a flying creature: more on knowing which options a prone creature has. I've read those articles before posting the question, but I didn't find anything that explicitly prevents a prone creature to use its flying speed. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 2, 2013 at 14:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm pretty sure there isn't anything explicit to be had here. I'm just presenting an argument for it not being possible for a Prone creature to fly away, the one that a flying creature is "on the ground". There are some special abilities (skill tricks, probably a Feat or two) that aid Prone creatures in getting up again, would you be interested in learning about those? \$\endgroup\$
    – Ernir
    Sep 2, 2013 at 15:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've altered/refocused the answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ernir
    Sep 2, 2013 at 15:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I think that you are probably right (I've +1'd it). I'll leave the question open for a couple of days, though. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 2, 2013 at 15:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would also deem "standing up" as in getting wings in the right order or concentration back to initiate other flying. \$\endgroup\$
    – DoStuffZ
    Sep 3, 2013 at 7:23

No, it must surely first use a move action to stand up (thus provoking attacks of opportunity) and then try to fly away by using his remaining standar action as a move (actually fly) action. The only restriction I see to exist is that a creature with a flying manuverability of Average or worse, must still fly his "Between down and up" flying distance before flying away. Check this: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/movement.htm

  • \$\begingroup\$ I can't find an actual rule or FAQ in the link you provided that prevents a prone creature to use its flying speed before standing up. Could you please point it out to me? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 2, 2013 at 15:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's more or less a personal assumption, but based on the Prone and flying manuverability rules. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 2, 2013 at 15:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ I posted the link to show the differences that occur on flying speed based on creature's manuverability. Imagine that something with above average manuverability can easily get up and fly away, while something with average or less would need some distance to build a fly-away speed before taking off. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 4, 2013 at 8:06

There was a similar question here, the conclusion of which is:

Page 52 of the Faq explaines that its possible to trip a flying creature and that the result of succsessfully tripping said airborne target is that they stall.

After some research into flying, and some movement, it seems that flying creatures do not go prone. But these rules always assume the creature which is "flying" is currently flying.

I suppose if a creature (or character) is already prone and wants to initiate flight then it would need to first get up, depending on if it has wings or not.

Having wings which grant flight requires a move action, as flight is the method of movement, and prone characters can only crawl or get up for their movement action.

Magical flight is different than physical flight because it is a free action. And so can be performed while prone. This might still provoke an attack of opportunity.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It does not seem an actual rule, but more a personal modeling of the situation. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 2, 2013 at 15:02

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