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    Default Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    I've seen several threads about using the druid wild shape to transform into a spider (or other small insect) to sneak around a dungeon undetected, and I love that idea.

    I have a human variant druid with the magic initiate feat (wizard), who has chosen the spell Find Familiar. If the druid has a familiar that can fly (hawk, owl, raven, etc.), is there any RAW reason why the druid couldn't wild shape into a spider/flea/etc., and ride on the familiar's back? Or, if holding on is a concern, could the druid crawl into a small pouch around the familiar's neck and look through the familiar's eyes to travel to a high location?

    It seems like this would be a viable way to cross caverns, get to high places, etc., even at 2nd level.

    What do you all think of this approach?

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasbushong View Post
    I've seen several threads about using the druid wild shape to transform into a spider (or other small insect) to sneak around a dungeon undetected, and I love that idea.

    I have a human variant druid with the magic initiate feat (wizard), who has chosen the spell Find Familiar. If the druid has a familiar that can fly (hawk, owl, raven, etc.), is there any RAW reason why the druid couldn't wild shape into a spider/flea/etc., and ride on the familiar's back? Or, if holding on is a concern, could the druid crawl into a small pouch around the familiar's neck and look through the familiar's eyes to travel to a high location?

    It seems like this would be a viable way to cross caverns, get to high places, etc., even at 2nd level.

    What do you all think of this approach?
    I really like this approach. It works perfectly, as long as the Familiar doesn't die, and is very creative. I can't think of any reason why this wouldn't work, and its a far cry better then my old method of Reducing myself and then using Mage Hand to fly me around.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasbushong View Post
    I've seen several threads about using the druid wild shape to transform into a spider (or other small insect) to sneak around a dungeon undetected, and I love that idea.

    I have a human variant druid with the magic initiate feat (wizard), who has chosen the spell Find Familiar. If the druid has a familiar that can fly (hawk, owl, raven, etc.), is there any RAW reason why the druid couldn't wild shape into a spider/flea/etc., and ride on the familiar's back? Or, if holding on is a concern, could the druid crawl into a small pouch around the familiar's neck and look through the familiar's eyes to travel to a high location?

    It seems like this would be a viable way to cross caverns, get to high places, etc., even at 2nd level.

    What do you all think of this approach?
    It works.

    You can use a normal tamed (and trained) animal for this too (or use Animal Messenger to 'point' the animal, provided there's a creature near your destination that can receive the message [it doesn't need to understand it]), but it is far less reliable.

    Quote Originally Posted by sithlordnergal View Post
    I really like this approach. It works perfectly, as long as the Familiar doesn't die, and is very creative. I can't think of any reason why this wouldn't work, and its a far cry better then my old method of Reducing myself and then using Mage Hand to fly me around.
    Mage Hand doesn't work that way. It only interacts with objects.
    Last edited by NNescio; 2019-09-16 at 12:36 AM.
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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    I don't see any rule that would prevent this either. And I agree it's very clever.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    RAW, you must be one size smaller than your mount. Your Familiar is Tiny. You cannot be smaller than Tiny. Therefore, you cannot ride your familiar.

    However, your familiar can probably carry you.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by NNescio View Post
    Mage Hand doesn't work that way. It only interacts with objects.
    Here's how it works: Be a Small creature like a Halfling or Goblin, drop your backpack as a free action, cast Enlarge/Reduce to shrink yourself to Tiny while halving all of your proportions and cutting your total weight to 1/8th of your original size, climb in the backpack, have Mage Hand carry the backpack. The backpack is an object.

    Now, as a Halfling, your average size is about 3 feet tall and 40 pounds. Meaning you can be shorter and lighter then that if you wish. As long as you weigh 80 pounds or less, Mage Hand can carry you with Enlarge/Reduce. The only downside is that both spells only last 1 minute. So if you're an Arcane Trickster, you can only go about 540 feet using your action and bonus action to move the Hand

    EDIT: If the backpack doesn't work for you, just tie rope around yourself, cast Reduce, and have it carry the rope and, by extension, you.

    Also, Mage Hand isn't concentration, so you can 100% have both spells going at once
    Last edited by sithlordnergal; 2019-09-16 at 03:08 AM.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by BarneyBent View Post
    RAW, you must be one size smaller than your mount. Your Familiar is Tiny. You cannot be smaller than Tiny. Therefore, you cannot ride your familiar.

    However, your familiar can probably carry you.
    It's a fair point, and clearly I confused the issue with the term "ride." To be clear, I wasn't referring to using it as a mount; I was referring to the familiar carrying my character. Whether it carries the spider by having the spider hold into its back or by wearing pouch around its neck is a tactical decision. As long as they are not brushed off, spiders are often good at holding on to much larger creatures as they move.

    The pouch is probably better, as it would likely avoid me needing to make any kind of strength of dexterity checks to hold on if the owl needs to dodge an arrow.

    Also, Maelynn, I love the reference to the Rescuers Down Under. I hadn't thought of that one.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Seems legit to me, I would allow it in a campaign I were DMing. Although I would also have monsters wondering why there was an owl or a hawk flying around an underground dungeon and have some of them see the familiar as a tasty snack.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by BarneyBent View Post
    RAW, you must be one size smaller than your mount. Your Familiar is Tiny. You cannot be smaller than Tiny. Therefore, you cannot ride your familiar.

    However, your familiar can probably carry you.
    IIRC, the Wildshape rules don't limit you to a Tiny shape, it's just that the spider stat block gives them a Tiny size.
    But i can see a player arguing that can turn into a beetle or a centipede of Diminutive size.
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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasbushong View Post
    I've seen several threads about using the druid wild shape to transform into a spider (or other small insect) to sneak around a dungeon undetected, and I love that idea.

    I have a human variant druid with the magic initiate feat (wizard), who has chosen the spell Find Familiar. If the druid has a familiar that can fly (hawk, owl, raven, etc.), is there any RAW reason why the druid couldn't wild shape into a spider/flea/etc., and ride on the familiar's back? Or, if holding on is a concern, could the druid crawl into a small pouch around the familiar's neck and look through the familiar's eyes to travel to a high location?

    It seems like this would be a viable way to cross caverns, get to high places, etc., even at 2nd level.

    What do you all think of this approach?
    What about Animal Friendship, instead of Find Familiar? It saves you the feat.
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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    What about Animal Friendship, instead of Find Familiar? It saves you the feat.
    I suspect you could use Animal Friendship, and could possibly even use Animal Messenger if you just need to travel.

    The difficulty is probably in the need to overcome the animal's natural tendencies. Your DM might say the animal messenger attempts to remove the pouch from around its neck, or the friendly creature even tries to eat your character in its Wild Shape form. The animal is friendly, but has natural tendencies. Animals groom themselves to remove ticks, spiders, etc.

    Find Familiar would ensure that your familiar and you work in sync with no misunderstandings.

    Beyond that, I think you're spot on.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    What about Animal Friendship, instead of Find Familiar? It saves you the feat.
    It would work as long as you could find a beast to cast it on, and they aren't always available in dungeons. Also, there is a DM call on whether a beast with intelligence of 4 still recognizes you as you after you have wildshaped, or does it recognize you as food at that point?

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    What about Animal Friendship, instead of Find Familiar? It saves you the feat.
    I actually feel bad that I haven't made this connection earlier.

    However, a Familiar picked up with a feat (either RC or MI) you can communicate with telepathically. So Animal Friend Airlines could take you to that spot over there, while you can actively direct a familiar.
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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by Vogie View Post
    I actually feel bad that I haven't made this connection earlier.

    However, a Familiar picked up with a feat (either RC or MI) you can communicate with telepathically. So Animal Friend Airlines could take you to that spot over there, while you can actively direct a familiar.
    Good point. Though, a Shepherd Druid might be able to overcome that.
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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    I don't think you can bypass the mount rules by waving your hand and saying "it's not a mount, it's a creature carrying another creature". That's a mount. That's what a mount is. And a mount has to be one size bigger than it's rider or larger. 5e has no size smaller than tiny. So this doesn't work by RAW. It's reasonable and I would allow it, but it isn't RAW.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Now that i think about it, Tiny is pretty big for a spider, it's the same category that cats and hawks. Certainly not the normal spider.

    Is there any monster in the MM with a Diminutive size? Or in any book?
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by Petrocorus View Post
    Now that i think about it, Tiny is pretty big for a spider, it's the same category that cats and hawks. Certainly not the normal spider.

    Is there any monster in the MM with a Diminutive size? Or in any book?
    Diminutive no longer exists as a size category in 5e. Smallest is Tiny, no matter how small the creature is.
    Last edited by NNescio; 2019-09-19 at 01:54 PM.
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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    I don't think you can bypass the mount rules by waving your hand and saying "it's not a mount, it's a creature carrying another creature". That's a mount. That's what a mount is. And a mount has to be one size bigger than it's rider or larger. 5e has no size smaller than tiny. So this doesn't work by RAW. It's reasonable and I would allow it, but it isn't RAW.
    You deciding that a creature carrying another creature is a mount is not RAW, it is a ruling. It is entirely possible that RAW leaves a situation unclear, and a ruling is required, but then declaring that ruling to be RAW (and/or that other interpretations aren't RAW) is pretty nebulous.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    I don't think you can bypass the mount rules by waving your hand and saying "it's not a mount, it's a creature carrying another creature". That's a mount. That's what a mount is. And a mount has to be one size bigger than it's rider or larger. 5e has no size smaller than tiny. So this doesn't work by RAW. It's reasonable and I would allow it, but it isn't RAW.
    So if you grapple then shove a creature larger than you, is it now your mount? It's a creature carrying another creature.
    If you pick up a creature smaller than you, are you its mount? It's a creature carrying another creature.
    If you're an small sized Chainlock with at-will Levitate being pushed around by your familiar, which of you is the mount?
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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    You deciding that a creature carrying another creature is a mount is not RAW, it is a ruling. It is entirely possible that RAW leaves a situation unclear, and a ruling is required, but then declaring that ruling to be RAW (and/or that other interpretations aren't RAW) is pretty nebulous.
    I do rulings > rules at my table, and all good DMs should.

    The OP asked, specifically, for any RAW reasons why his tactic wouldn't work. He didn't ask if it should work, or if I would allow it at my table (though I said it should and I would) he asked:

    is there any RAW reason why the druid couldn't wild shape into a spider/flea/etc., and ride on the familiar's back?
    That was the question I was answering.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vogie View Post
    So if you grapple then shove a creature larger than you, is it now your mount? It's a creature carrying another creature.
    If you pick up a creature smaller than you, are you its mount? It's a creature carrying another creature.
    If you're an small sized Chainlock with at-will Levitate being pushed around by your familiar, which of you is the mount?
    Grapple rules are explicit and have nothing to do with mount rules. Levitate spells out exactly what it does and no mount rules are required. Your second situation could be an application of the mount rules, yes.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    I don't think you can bypass the mount rules by waving your hand and saying "it's not a mount, it's a creature carrying another creature". That's a mount. That's what a mount is. And a mount has to be one size bigger than it's rider or larger. 5e has no size smaller than tiny. So this doesn't work by RAW. It's reasonable and I would allow it, but it isn't RAW.
    There seems to be a self-contradiction here. The fact that it's one creature carrying another is not what makes it a mount. To be a mount (and gain all of the benefits of a mount, such as Cavalier benefits), it must be one size larger. If it's not one size larger, it's not a mount, it's one creature carrying another.

    A tiny creature can carry another tiny creature, provided it has enough strength to carry the weight. The same for a medium or large creature.

    It seems to get squirrelly is when something happens that would potentially cause the druid to fall off (say, someone shoots at the familiar with an arrow). For a mount, you have mount rules. For this scenario, you would probably need to either have the familiar make a strength check to hold onto the druid (say, if carrying in its claws), or the druid make a strength check to hold onto the familiar (say, if it's riding on its back).

    It's analogous to someone being attacked while carrying their fallen comrade. Clearly the person carrying the body isn't a mount, but holding on during the attack would be difficult.

    That's why I figured crawling into a pouch around the familiar's neck would be a better approach, as it would eliminate all of these "mount" questions.

    EDIT: Also, one other point...

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post

    Quote Originally Posted by Vogie View Post

    If you pick up a creature smaller than you, are you its mount? It's a creature carrying another creature.
    ... Your second situation could be an application of the mount rules....
    I would love to see a sage advice ruling on that one. It seems like someone could make a pretty nasty Master Blaster (from Thunderdome) character if that's true. I would love to hear more about how a halfling cavalier can do mounted combat whilst riding on a human's back. Such opportunities.
    Last edited by douglasbushong; 2019-09-22 at 11:47 PM. Reason: There were two messages to respond to; consolidating into one.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasbushong View Post
    That's why I figured crawling into a pouch around the familiar's neck would be a better approach, as it would eliminate all of these "mount" questions.
    It's situations like this that always reaffirm my stance of "rule as favorably as you can with your players intent in mind".

    Is it really beneficial for anyone to try and force the mounting rules into this situation when all it takes to make it "functional" is to have them stowed in a carried object instead? I would say no myself. Any benefits they would be afforded by being on the creatures back rather than in some sort of pouch are minimal and I don't personally see an issue with being lenient in this case.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    So.. if a dragon swoops down and picks me up, i have mounted the dragon?

    Mounting isn't just about carriage, its also about level of control.

    The villagers that live on the back of an island size dragon turtle can hardly be considered as 'mounted'.
    Last edited by Capac Amaru; 2019-09-23 at 12:20 AM.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    I don't think you can bypass the mount rules by waving your hand and saying "it's not a mount, it's a creature carrying another creature". That's a mount. That's what a mount is. And a mount has to be one size bigger than it's rider or larger. 5e has no size smaller than tiny. So this doesn't work by RAW. It's reasonable and I would allow it, but it isn't RAW.
    Mounts have specific rules that are more than carrying. Carrying does have rules described in PHB. I would allow it in AL which is pretty rules bound.

    *Specifically your ruling would prohibit players carrying or dragging their unconscious teammates around.
    Last edited by Tharkun; 2019-09-23 at 10:38 AM.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by Capac Amaru View Post
    So.. if a dragon swoops down and picks me up, i have mounted the dragon?
    He's grappling you. If you're being carried willingly, then yes, he is acting as your mount.

    Quote Originally Posted by Capac Amaru View Post
    Mounting isn't just about carriage, its also about level of control.
    The mounted rules account for controlled and uncontrolled mounts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Capac Amaru View Post
    The villagers that live on the back of an island size dragon turtle can hardly be considered as 'mounted'.
    They absolutely can.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    The villagers that live on the back of an island size dragon turtle can hardly be considered as 'mounted'.
    They absolutely can.
    Think very carefully about how strict you want to be with this, it's all fun and games until a group of kids get into a wrestling match, one of them is knocked prone and he's magically jettisoned off of their dragon turtle because he has to land on a square beside the turtle.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by ProsecutorGodot View Post
    Think very carefully about how strict you want to be with this, it's all fun and games until a group of kids get into a wrestling match, one of them is knocked prone and he's magically jettisoned off of their dragon turtle because he has to land on a square beside the turtle.
    And again I'll remind everyone that the OP specifically requested a discussion of RAW. Anything I'm saying should be read through that filter. Situations not handled by RAW, (or which would break the believability of the simulation if ruled as RAW) are irrelevant.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon_Tor View Post
    And again I'll remind everyone that the OP specifically requested a discussion of RAW. Anything I'm saying should be read through that filter. Situations not handled by RAW, (or which would break the believability of the simulation if ruled as RAW) are irrelevant.
    And again, RAW what you are saying makes no sense.

    One creature carrying another doesn't constitute a rider/mount situation, its fairly obvious, but if you want "an explanation within the rules", then the easiest is this:

    On the example the dragon dive grabbing someone, that someone doesn't contest the grab, therefore is willing, according to you the dragon becomes the mount, then the grabbed creature can choose to "control its mount" and therefore control the dragons movement, kek

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    You are conflating carrying and mounted rules. In chapter 7 of the PHB you will find the carry rules.

    You are making a ruling that any creature carrying another creature is a mount. That is not RAW.

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    Default Re: Level 2 Druid bypass Wild Shape flight restriction with Magic Initiate

    Quote Originally Posted by Rukelnikov View Post
    On the example the dragon dive grabbing someone, that someone doesn't contest the grab, therefore is willing, according to you the dragon becomes the mount, then the grabbed creature can choose to "control its mount" and therefore control the dragons movement, kek


    "Not contesting" a grapple doesn't make it not a grapple. And intelligent mounts cannot be controlled unless there's a specific exception to the general rule.

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