4
\$\begingroup\$

I've looked through the Monster Manual for clues but I can't seem to find anything concrete about how much a pteranodon (or any other flying creature for that matter) can lift while flying. They have a fifteen- to twenty-foot wing span, and are medium beasts (MM, pp. 79–80) so it seems reasonable to me that they could carry a medium-sized PC. But that seems like it might be a bit overpowered. Is there any rule for how much a flying creature can lift in 5E?

\$\endgroup\$
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Is there any reason not to use standard encumbrance rules for this? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jul 18 '16 at 18:44
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Do encumbrance rules apply to flying speeds? \$\endgroup\$ – UrsineFavor Jul 18 '16 at 18:44
  • 11
    \$\begingroup\$ African or European? \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Brown Jul 18 '16 at 18:56
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Michael Brown In the context of this game, I'm going to say Faerûnian \$\endgroup\$ – UrsineFavor Jul 18 '16 at 19:01
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelBrown - whut? Oi don't know tha'...ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!! \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Jarvis - Reinstate Monica Nov 16 '17 at 17:55
12
\$\begingroup\$

There is no rule that applies any stricter carrying capacity for flying creatures, so you'd default to the standard carrying capacity on p.176 of the PHB.

Picking up and carrying a character would fall under push, drag or lift, so it would be 30 times the pteradon's Strength score, or 360 lbs. At that weight, the creature's speed is reduced to 5 ft. Below 180 lbs., it can move at its full speed.

According to the rules for flying creatures on p.191, a flying creature drops if its speed is reduced to 0 or if it's knocked prone. Since the pteradon in this case has a speed of at least 5 ft., it can still fly until it's carrying more than 360 lbs.

You can also apply the optional Encumbrance rules from p.176, which will reduce the pteradon's speed more incrementally, but the general rule remains that as long as it has Speed, it can fly.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ What about push drag or lift? Since you can push, drag, or lift up to twice your carrying capacity, does that mean a pteradon could fly with 360 pounds of weight? (albeit with restricted speed) \$\endgroup\$ – UrsineFavor Jul 18 '16 at 18:53
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I was mid-edit to account for that when you posted that comment :) \$\endgroup\$ – Polisurgist Jul 18 '16 at 18:58
3
\$\begingroup\$

There is no rule.

The "push, drag or lift" phrase assumes that the creature is standing on solid ground. There is nothing in the text to suggest that it was intended to apply to flying movement, and the physics of lifting a heavy object while standing is entirely different than the physics of flight. A locomotive engine, for example, can easily pull a train up a hill but would be utterly incapable of powering an airplane with a fraction of the weight.

The proof is in the calculation. The strength-based response suggests that a Pteranodon can lift roughly four times his weight. To compare - we know that eagles can carry roughly one third their weight. Unless we assume that Pteranodons, like dragons, fly with magic, the result is absurd. If you desire a quick-and-dirty house rule that gives a reasonable answer, I suggest simply taking the earth-bound answer and dividing by ten.

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.