I Like to Move It… (Rapid Shot: Flyby Attack)

With all the talk of warlocks and at-will flight I think it is a good idea to point out:

Flyby Attack (Monster)

This creature can make an attack before and after it moves while flying.

Prerequisite: Fly speed.

Benefit: When flying, the creature can take a move action and another standard action at any point during the move. The creature cannot take a second move action during a round when it makes a flyby attack.

Normal: Without this feat, the creature takes a standard action either before or after its move.

Why this matters to players:

Despite the (Monster) feat tag, this feat may be available to you as a player in many games. It does call into a question your GMs opinions about a few things.  Let’s run this down quickly:

  • Why it is a good feat: Since I recommend warlocks and other “simple” classes to new players I am going to assume you may not have the best understanding of the feat mechanically, if you do move on down. Simply put, this feat interjects a action (spell, attack, grab etc…) inside a movement. Other abilities in the game that grant similar abilities are often times multi-feat investments. Combined with the other advantages of flight this feat is amazing and depending on your game you might be able to take it at first level.
  • What do you need from your GM: GMs have a lot of opinions about this feat and some aren’t too nice.  Some GMs feel that “Monster” subtype feats are just not available to players. Even the Bestiary says that that is not the case (its just a feat that references a universal monster ability) but if they are unyielding on the point the you probably should wave good-bye (either to the game or the GM, your choice).  If however they are allowing monster feats by PCs you need to clarify the Prerequisite.
    • Fly Speed: Ask you GM for his definition of fly speed with regards to this feat. Some GMs feel you have to have a persistent fly speed to qualify.  Some indicate that the feat is simply inert when you don’t have a fly speed.  This is important because spells exist that grant fly speeds at very low-levels, especially among third party sources.  If your GM is that permissive you may be fly-shoot-flying while drying behind the ears.
    • Persistent Fly: If your GM rules against temporary fly speeds qualifying looking into what DOES qualify (24 hour duration flight magic? Magic item derived flight? Sorcerer bloodline wings or elemental air flight?).  Once you are clear on this you should be good to go.  The “strictest” persistent flight is available at 11th-level to sorcerers with the right magic items.  There also may be race options in your game that allow it as early as 1st-level.
  • What it means for your character: Flyby attack can mean a lot of things but mostly it means more safety and tactical advantage to your character.  You ability to exploit terrain, remain out of melee and temporarily reposition for ranged and spell attacks will be phenomenal.  You will likely be able to invest in less protective ability selections and items and be able to focus your primary roles. Fly-heal-retreat anyone?

Regardless of your group, find out your GMs opinions of this amazing feat and consider the implications for your airborne character, you won’t regret it if you get it.

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