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One of players is a Witch with the prehensile hair hex, and during a recent session she used the flight spell in conjunction with this hex to rescue the party from a flash flood in a deep ravine. When asked how much she could carry she said that her hair had a strength of 20 (Based off of her intelligence modifier) and could carry enough to lift the members of the party from the ravine two at a time.

The members of our party are fairly light, the heaviest sitting at around 180 base with leather armor.

My question is would the flight spell be based off of her own carrying capacity (She has a strength of 8) or the carrying strength of her hair for the purposes of her maximum flying speed.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site. Take the tour. This is a really interesting question which might be hampered by the rules-as-written tag. Answers to questions bearing the rules-as-written tag must adhere strictly to the printed word or available canon above all other considerations (including common sense and playability says a user with a badge in the tag). It's okay if it is, but be sure that's really the kind of answers you're looking for here, and edit out the tag if they're not. Anyway, thank you for participating and have fun. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 11 '16 at 9:05
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I answer this with two rule sources.

From the description of the Fly Spell...

Using a fly spell requires only as much concentration as walking, so the subject can attack or cast spells normally. The subject of a fly spell can charge but not run, and it cannot carry aloft more weight than its maximum load, plus any armor it wears. The subject gains a bonus on Fly skill checks equal to 1/2 your caster level.

From the description of the Witch's Prehensile Hair Hex...

Effect: The witch can instantly cause her hair (or even her eyebrows) to grow up to 10 feet long or to shrink to its normal length, and can manipulate her hair as if it were a limb with a Strength score equal to her Intelligence score. Her hair has reach 10 feet, and she can use it as a secondary natural attack that deals 1d3 points of damage (1d2 for a Small witch). Her hair can manipulate objects (but not weapons) as dexterously as a human hand.

The hair cannot be sundered or attacked as a separate creature. Pieces cut from the witch’s elongated hair shrink away to nothing. Using her hair does not harm the witch’s head or neck, even if she lifts something heavy with it. The witch can manipulate her hair a number of minutes each day equal to her level; these minutes do not need to be consecutive, but must be spent in 1-minute increments. A typical male witch with this hex can also manipulate his beard, mustache, or eyebrows.

With this, we can use RAW to determine that the hair functions on a completely different set of rules then the PC does. Because of the line that says that carrying something very heavy still does not strain her neck or head, we can ascertain that the hair is given it's own frame of reference to carrying things. At that point, when she's flying, the hair is also considered to be 'flying' on it's own, as if piggybacking onto her Fly spell.

But then we have to look at maximum load of the hair.

Since she has a 20 Int score, the hair's Str is 20. Maximum load for a 20 Str is 400 lbs from this source. With this, and your information that says that your party members are no more then 180 pounds (including full gear and everything) then this seems very plausible that you'd get everyone across. Though, speed may be a factor, simply because you'd be at a full load like that and would have trouble moving and flying, requiring constant Fly checks. But that's a different question.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I read the details in the question as saying the heaviest is 180 lbs plus armor? \$\endgroup\$ – Javelin Jul 11 '16 at 20:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm... By this logic, a witch could carry all her stuff in her hair and enjoy all the benefits and comfort of her body being unencumbered, even while on the ground. Which is kinda cool, actually. I suspect there's probably a counter-argument I'm not thinking of, though. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Jul 12 '16 at 0:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ This seems incredibly stupid to me and like there's clearly something missing here. It makes no sense for this to be the case. And yet, I can't find a single issue with your argument. \$\endgroup\$ – Cyberspark Jul 12 '16 at 9:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Javelin Leather armor is only around 15 pounds, so that's still under the 200. I might have misspoke in my post, of course. \$\endgroup\$ – CrystalBlue Jul 12 '16 at 16:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, the counter argument is that a witch can only do that for Level minutes a day, in one minute increments. Doesn't work for long term (unless you're a white-haired witch variant, which allows it as an all the time thing). Also, this is the problem about RAW vs RAI. I'm sure it was never intended to be used this way, but RAW doesn't make a specific enough point away from it to warrant NOT letting it happen. That's why a GM has to make a call. \$\endgroup\$ – CrystalBlue Jul 12 '16 at 16:18

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