(related to Prison break with an Aarakocra)

The title pretty much says it all. Are the rules for flying creatures the same as for anyone else, using the Strength * 15 = weight in pounds formula ?

Some additional information about the Aarakocra's own weight (from the PotA Player's Companion):

Size. Aarakocra are about 5 feet tall. They have thin, lightweight bodies that weigh between 80 and 100 pounds. Your size is Medium.

With a Strength of 10, the Aarakocra should be able to carry 150 pounds, which is already a lot, even without flying.

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    \$\begingroup\$ An African or European Aarakocra? \$\endgroup\$ – eimyr Mar 8 '16 at 9:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't know that.. WAAAAAHHHHH !! \$\endgroup\$ – Yotus Mar 8 '16 at 9:41

Nowhere in the books does it say that there are any special rules for a flying creature's carrying capacity so it's calculated the same as every other PC; Strength score multiplied by 15.

This is also unofficially backed by Jeremy Crawford, one of the lead designers for 5e, in a pair of tweets from May 2016:

Q: What are the rules for creatures carrying friendly PCs? e.g mage polymorphed into giant eagle carrying allies? (5e)

A: See "Lifting and Carrying" in the Player's Handbook (p. 176) for rules on carrying capacity.

Q: Are we to assume no adjustment for flying vs walking?

A: The carrying capacity rules make no distinction between walking and flying creatures.


You ask, are the carrying capacity rules for flying creatures the rules the same as for anyone else.

Good question. The book doesn't say.

What you're really asking is are the carrying capacity rules for flying the same as for not flying? The carrying capacity rules are perhaps intended for carrying while walking, and even so, as you pointed out, they're not necessarily perfectly reasonable.

So, yes, the carrying capacity rules for flying characters are the same as for other characters. When they're walking, they can carry their strength times 15.

But what about when they're flying? There's no rule for that.

To come up with any answer to the question in your title, "How much weight can an Aarakocra carry when flying?" would require substantial speculation.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I feel like your answer doesn't really say anything at all. \$\endgroup\$ – Javelin Mar 8 '16 at 15:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Javelin - Thanks for the feedback. It says: 1) carrying capacity is probably not carrying capacity while flying, 2) guessing at carrying capacity while flying would be speculation. \$\endgroup\$ – Jack Mar 8 '16 at 15:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Were I houseruling this, I'd look to the variant encumbrance rules on page 176 of the Player's Handbook. Disallowing nonmagical flight while encumbered (i.e. carrying in excess of Strength ⨉ 5 lbs) seems reasonable. \$\endgroup\$ – Sebkha Mar 9 '16 at 2:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sebkha, that'd be a great answer with a bit of citation and fleshing out. \$\endgroup\$ – cr0m Jan 25 '17 at 0:33

They can't fly with heavy armor so maybe take the weight of heavy armor and assume that is beyond their capacity to carry.

Ringmail is the lightest of the heavy armors at 40lb.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A rules citation would improve this answer, to support the point you are making. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 20 '18 at 0:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ We don't know that the restriction on flying in armor is due to the weight, however. It could be that wearing heavy armor interferes with the mobility of the wings. Or that in order to fly, the wings must be unarmored, thereby leaving a lot more vulnerable points such that an aarakocra in heavy armor with wings free counts as equivalent protection to a non-aarakocra in medium armor (which can include parts of a set of plate mail, such as a breastplate). \$\endgroup\$ – Ettina Kitten Jun 4 at 15:48

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