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I'm quite curious what would happen in the scenario on a successful incapacitation of a flying mount and its rider mid flight. The spell specifically I'm considering using to to do this is Hypnotic Pattern who's exact description is bellow:

You create a twisting pattern of colors that weaves through the air inside a 30-foot cube within range. The pattern appears for a moment and vanishes. Each creature in the area who sees the pattern must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature becomes charmed for the duration. While charmed by this spell, the creature is incapacitated and has a speed of 0.

The spell ends for an affected creature if it takes any damage or if someone else uses an action to shake the creature out of its stupor.

The three outcomes I see possible are:

  • Only the mount is charmed.
  • Only the rider is charmed.
  • Both the rider and mount is charmed.

How exactly do each of these scenarios play out? Can the mount/rider actually do anything if the other is incapacitated? I'd imagine when the mount is incapacitated it won't be able to stay in the air and I'd imagine the rider is incapacitated they can't really control the mount.

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Scenario 1: The mount is charmed.

If the mount is charmed, then it will probably fall. From the section on Flying Movement in the Combat chapter (PHB 191):

If a flying creature is knocked prone, has its speed reduced to 0, or is otherwise deprived of the ability to move, the creature falls, unless it has the ability to hover or it is being held aloft by magic, such as by the fly spell.

Hypnotic Pattern sets affected creatures' movement to 0, so unless the mount can hover or is being held aloft by magic, it will fall.

It's unclear how long falling takes, so depending on your DM, the rider may or may not get a turn before they hit the ground. If they do, they can use their action to shake their mount out of its stupor as described in the spell. If not, their mount will fall and hit the ground.

If the mount can hover, or is held up by magic, then they still won't be able to do anything, but they won't fall, either.

Scenario 2: The rider is charmed.

If the rider is charmed, things get a little ambiguous. I won't post the entire text of the Controlling a Mount section here for copyright reasons, but suffice to say, it doesn't actually mention under what circumstances a rider can or can't control their mount.

If your DM decides that the rider can control their mount while incapacitated (seems unlikely, but you never know), then the rider will still lose their own turn but can (somehow) direct their mount on its turn.

If your DM decides that the rider can't control their mount while incapacitated, then the mount will act independently as described in the Controlling a Mount section. In this case, the rider will either be sitting there while the mount does whatever it wants, or possibly be thrown off. This is all pretty much up to your DM to decide.

Scenario 3: Both rider and mount are charmed.

As in scenario 1, if the mount can hover or is held up by magic, it won't fall, so rider and mount will stay exactly where they are. But if not, there's nothing either of them can do except fall helplessly to the ground.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I would suggest replacing "unconscious" with "incapacitated", a semantic difference but it goes directly to the wording of the original question. Also, it seems intended to me that the mount's movement replaces your own and although it does not specifically use the old "move-action" from 3.X this seems to allude to it, in its ambiguity. \$\endgroup\$ – Slagmoth Feb 6 '17 at 14:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Slagmoth Good point - unconscious and incapacitated are different, and it was a mistake to have switched them. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Feb 6 '17 at 14:24

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