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I have spent some time looking into the various methods of flying and there are many and they are varied. So I'm asking others for their opinions on this matter. A comrade and myself are both considering getting flight for our characters for various reasons, and we both have vastly different circumstances around our characters. Here are some things to consider when weighing the options.

  • Non-Magical flight is always superior
  • Supernatural comes second
  • Persistence is useful, especially to my chara
  • Cost effective. Gold is easier to come by than feats, feats are cheaper than levels, so on. Perhaps rate them on usefulness and on cost separately?
  • Do not factor in circumstances such as required race or alignment, please include any options you know.
  • Don't bother including the various uses of the Fly spell (and other flight spells) unless they are granted outside of spellcasting (SLA's are fine, Fly granted as a supernatural ability is fine, Fly on existing magic items is fine)
  • Materials allowed: 3.0/3.5, PF, FR, Eberron, WotC web
  • Materials banned: Dragon/Dungeon Magazines, Dragon Annual/Compendium, 3rd Party, Homebrew
  • Deity specific features might be able to be changed.
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Dragonborn and raptorans (Races of the Dragon and of the Wild, respectively) gain flight as racial features. They do not gain it until 5th-6th level, but it costs nothing more than your choice of race.

Dragon and dragonblood characters can take Draconic Wings at first and Improved Draconic Wings at sixth for flight; you are limited in how long you can fly at a time, but with brief landings you can fly all day. Both feats are from Races of the Dragon.

For other races, the most cost-effective answer is the feathered wings graft from Fiend Folio. They cost 10,000 gp for permanent, nonmagical flight. They also will drive you mad if you are not Evil.

For more options, see Ernir's Lists of Necessary Magical Items.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think a 5th level druid's Wild Shape into a Dire Raven (Small) for example, deserves an honorable mention. Not only is it free, non-magical, but completely inline with being an overtly overpowered druid - as dire ravens can also pluck out eyes on a critical hit. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruut Oct 2 '14 at 3:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ruut That’s too specific to a single class; lots of classes get flight one way or another, and I’d be here all day if I tried to list them all. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 2 '14 at 3:25
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I suggest the feat Outsider Wings from Races of Faerûn, p. 167

Prerequisites
Celestial Bloodline or Fiendish Bloodline, Aasimar or Tiefling, Fortitude, Reflex, and Will Saves +2
Benefit
You gain wings (feathered if an aasimar, batlike if a tiefling), allowing you to fly at your land speed (average maneuverability). A medium or heavy load that would reduce your land speed reduces your fly speed a proportionate amount.

Aasimar and Tiefling are very popular races, especially for a CoDZilla Aasimar - that can fly.

Yes it costs two feats, but the prerequisite feats grant Spell-Like Abilities that are actually pretty good (Protection from Evil/Good 3/day, Bless/Bane 1/day).

You can save a lot of gold for not having to use grafts. Games I play I don't seem to be able to get that kind of gold for quite a while. Thousands of gold is nothing to shake a stick at, that could be used for other magical items, if your DM is kind of stingy.

The roleplaying aspect is pretty cool (in my opinion). You could in theory sprout your wings and start flying at 3rd or 6th level depending on your class. Since this mode of flight is based on your land speed, anything that increases your land speed will increase your flight.

This won't be for everyone, but it won't require you to look like a dragon - which can have implications depending on your DM. And since it isn't magical it can't be dispelled. It isn't as feat intensive as some other modes of flight in some of the Dragon books.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Planetouched are very unpopular, in my experience, because of their utterly debilitating LA. The "lesser" variants, I'll give you, bit those are wisely seem as overpowered and banned. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 1 '14 at 12:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ I just trimmed down your answer substantially to make it more legible. I especially removed the full quotes for the prerequisite feats as they are not too important here. I added their benefits to the text instead. If you don't like it, feel free to roll back. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Oct 1 '14 at 12:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan If level adjustment buy off isn't allowed, I could see that as a huge problem. But my Aasimar Radiant Servant of Pelor, with wings, is one of my favorite to roleplay characters I have. To each his own. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruut Oct 2 '14 at 1:23
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Cloak of the Bat -

Usefulness - 50/100, Cost- 6/10, Very cheap, can only be used at night, in caves, or in magical darkness.

Cloak of the bat is a magic item which can be purchased for 26,000gp. It gives a +5 Competence Bonus to Hide checks, can allow the flier to fly for 7 straight minutes as per the spell fly and can also allow the user to polymorph into a bat and fly as well. However, the cloak has downsides, as it can only be used in dark places ( Magical darkness can be used to circumvent this ) such as caves or under the night sky.

Flying Carpet, Small

Usefulness - 60/100, Cost- 10/10, Cheapest way to gain flight, limited to flight by speech commands

A small 5ftx5ft flying carpet will run you 20,000gp. It can carry up to 200lbs and moves at 40ft per round as per the spell overland flight. It has average maneuverability, and can hover in place. The only downside is that the carpet is flown by spoken directions, which can be circumvented by the silence spell.

Wings of Flying

Usefulness - 100/100, Cost 3/10, Best flight option, for unlimited time per day.

A cloak which on command transforms into a pair of bat or bird wings which allow the character to fly with good maneuverability at a speed of 60ft/round. The only downside is the price, which is 54,000gp.

Feathered Wings Graft / Membranous Wings Graft

Usefulness - 30/100, Cost 10/10, Best flight option, limited to high will save characters or evil PCs.

A graft from the fiend folio which costs 10,000gp. A fiend is required for its creation. The wings are from an Erinyes or a Vrock. The upsides? Your flying speed is twice your land speed with Average maneuverability. The badsides? If you are of a Good alignment, the wings will drive you insane, slowly doing wisdom damage as the graft drives you mad. If you're non-evil you are forced to take will saves daily or perform evil acts. Which eventually will change your alignment.

Also on that page are Buffeting wings, which cost 100,000gp. ( Cost 1/10, Usefulness 70/100 ) As well as Membranous wings, which also have the same drawbacks as Feathered wings, but with increased resistances. The price of Membranous wings is 50,000gp.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Changed formatting to include usefulness and cost attributes based on questions criteria. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Oct 2 '14 at 3:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not sure I agree that 26,000 gp is "very cheap"... \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 2 '14 at 4:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ The cheap rating was more in comparison to other methods of gaining flight, not in reference to GPL values. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Oct 2 '14 at 4:07

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