At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, you can target one additional creature for each slot level above 3rd.
Casting Time: 1 action
Components: V, S, M (a wing feather from any bird)
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes
School: 3rd-level transmutation
Player’s Handbook, pg. 243
Ah, Fly — the magical power that everyone has daydreamed about. Well in Dungeons and Dragons, all it takes is a bit of wizardry to get your character in the air in no time.
While basically intuitive, Fly does garner a few common rules questions that we’ll cover. And in case you need help dreaming of uses for flight, we’ll go over that as well.
And we didn’t forget about you, sad DMs, wondering how to prepare stimulating gameplay for an adventurer who’s discovered the z-axis. We’ve got advice and tips for you as well.
Who Can Cast Fly in 5e?
The following classes have Fly on their spell list:
No subclasses get Fly for free.
What Does Fly Do in 5e?
Fly grants a willing creature you touch a flying speed of 60 feet for up 10 minutes (concentration permitting). The creature falls when the spell ends, unless it can stop the fall.
Fly can also be upcast to target +1 creature per spell slot level above 3rd.
What Are the Rules for Fly in 5e?
The rules for Fly in DnD 5e are as follows:
You can use Fly on yourself. As long as you’re willing and able to touch yourself.
You hover if your speed is brought to 0 while under the effects of the Fly spell. Same holds for the prone, unconscious, paralyzed, and petrified conditions.
While a creature with a regular flying speed does fall in any of the listed circumstances, these rules don’t apply to a creature “being held aloft by magic, such as by the fly spell” (PHB 191).
You don’t need to move each round to remain aloft. From the Sage Advice Compendium, “a flyer that lacks the hover trait can stay aloft without moving each round” (SAC 12).
There’s no limit on how far or high you can fly. Besides the soft cap of a 10-minute timer, there’s no height or distance limit on your use of the Fly spell.
The 60-foot fly speed isn’t additive with a character’s regular flying speed. In other words, if your character has a 50-foot flying speed, Fly doesn’t increase that to 110 feet.
But if you lose the Fly spell, you don’t have to worry about falling; your 60-foot flying speed just reverts back to your regular 50-foot flying speed.
How Do I Use Fly in 5e?
Here are a few ways to use Fly in DnD 5e:
Protect your concentration very, very carefully. Losing concentration on important spells is a real bummer. But losing concentration on Fly when the target doesn’t have a flying speed can be outright deadly.
Even if you’re not trying to get to an insanely high point, falling from any height greater than 10 feet will cause 1d6 bludgeoning damage per 10 feet, and you’ll be prone (PHB 183). Stick the landing instead by keeping your concentration up and your eye on the timer.
Get to difficult-to-reach places. Whether there’s a MacGuffin that’s out of your reach, a mechanism that needs to be activated, or a window that needs breaking into, Fly opens up a whole extra dimension.
Get a better view of the battlefield. Remember that Obi-Wan only won that fight with Anakin because he had the high ground. Unless you’re in a low-ceilinged dungeon or cave network, having Fly will seriously increase your positioning potential.
And with that bird’s eye view, no enemy will be able to get cover from you.
Avoid hazardous terrain. Lava, spikes, pits, choppy waters, alligator-ridden moats — there are plenty of things you’d rather fly over than traverse laterally.
Prepare Feather Fall. If someone in your party has Fly prepared, someone should also have the spell Feather Fall prepared. It can be used in reaction to up to 5 players falling within 60 feet of the caster, and makes sure that the targets take no fall damage and land on their feet.
Kind of an essential preparation if you plan on using the Fly spell a lot.
Mess with/damage someone who trusts you. This is a very niche tip, but I think it’s neat so I included it. If you can convince a willing creature to fly to a great height, and then end your concentration on the spell, they’ll take up to 20d6 (70 average) bludgeoning damage from the fall and also be prone (PHB 183).
It’s a rarely applicable but always memorable way to finish off an NPC.
Is Fly 5e a Good Spell?
Yes, Fly is a fantastic spell. Something like 2/3 of the creatures in DnD 5e have no way of countering a flying creature (they can’t fly and don’t have a ranged attack option). So as long as you have the space to fly up, Fly makes you basically untargettable from the majority on the game’s enemies.
Beyond that, the utility offered by flight is already well-known to humans and birds everywhere. I listed a few uses for Fly above, but there’s no way I could cover the million ways that the ability to Fly will come in handy during your adventure.
That being said, Fly isn’t able to grant flight to your whole party until you reach a much higher level. So unless the task at hand can be completed solo (or at non-full strength), Fly’s utility does get minimized.
And being untargettable in combat is great, but that’s just one fewer choice for the DM to make. There are still plenty of groundbound players for them to rack up hits against.
The Fly Spell Compared to Regular Flying in DnD
If your character’s race has a regular flying speed, it’s superior to the Fly spell in the two most important ways: it doesn’t require concentration or resources.
That being said, the Fly spell does offer some advantages over regular flying speed. For starters, you hover rather than fall if you’re knocked prone, unconscious, etc. mid-flight.
And a 60-foot flying speed is a big speed boost for most flying race/class combos.
Fly 5e DM Tips
DMs are often troubled by flying players and their seemingly “overpowered” tactics. Here are a few quick tips for handling Fly-happy parties:
Throw them challenges that Fly can’t help with. Low ceilings — the ultimate boss for Fly-dependent characters. Other good options include archers who can snipe flyers like bugs, spell casters who fry them out of the sky, and dangerous air conditions (flying debris, wind, etc.).
Go for the caster’s concentration. If the flyer is the caster and you can’t hit them, this won’t work. But if the caster puts Fly on their buddy, then breaking the caster’s concentration will cause their pal to plummet from the sky.
Good times for you, and a little lesson in gravity and concentration for your players.
Make the rest of the party pay. All right, so you can’t attack the flyer — big whoop. There are still plenty of players stuck on the ground, just waiting to get smacked around by whatever the bad guy du jour is.
There’s a good chance that Fly is being used on a caster or ranged character anyway; someone that would have likely been made a suboptimal target through positioning even if Fly didn’t exist.
The point is that, from a certain perspective, Fly actually makes your life easier — one less target to consider in combat.
Talk to annoying players out of game. Fly can be a real headache to run. A certain type of player might always fly to the top of something just to see what’s there.
This basically forces you to procedurally generate more stuff every session, and it’s usually stuff that doesn’t move the plot forward or advance fun gameplay for the other players.
Or there’s the player who always uses Fly to go on solo missions that his party can’t follow along on, hogging the scene for longer than other players.
If you’ve got someone who’s being annoying with Fly (or anything), be sure to talk to them outside of the game. Explain that, while this gameplay is fun for them, it’s making your gaming time less enjoyable.
DMs deserve to have fun sessions as well, so you should never feel bad about bringing something like this up with your players.