Question about presentation of familiar speed

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Good evening,

I was looking through different familiars and while it's not the most powerful/useful one out there the idea of a blackspawn darkling fits with the sort of character I'm playing so I was going to go for it.  However, its movement confuses me and it's listed two different ways between the original Dragon 374 article and the Compendium entry.

Usually when a creature's speed is listed it might say "Speed 5, fly 6", or "Speed 4, fly 3 (hover), climb 4", or whatever.  My issue is that in the entry for the blackspawn darkling its speed is given as "Speed 8 (hover)" in the Dragon article, and in the Compendium as "Speed 8, (hover)".

I know the purpose of the hover keyword for when a creature is in flight, but it just seems very strange to me to include it in these two cases above.  Could it be a case that it can actually fly and that keyword has just been omitted twice for some reason, or is there a type of movement that I have been unaware of up to this point...?  I'd quite like to employ the Familiar Mount ritual on it should it be able to fly, but I wouldn't want to get into an argument with my group over the strange presentation of its move actions.

I had also considered the fact that a dragonspawn is related in a way to its chromatic counterpart, and the blackspawn presented in the Monster Manual can climb while black dragons have walking, swimming and flying abilities.  The blackspawn darkling hardly has "Speed 8" in general does it...?

Any comments or advice would be much appreciated!
Good evening,

I was looking through different familiars and while it's not the most powerful/useful one out there the idea of a blackspawn darkling fits with the sort of character I'm playing so I was going to go for it.  However, its movement confuses me and it's listed two different ways between the original Dragon 374 article and the Compendium entry.

Usually when a creature's speed is listed it might say "Speed 5, fly 6", or "Speed 4, fly 3 (hover), climb 4", or whatever.  My issue is that in the entry for the blackspawn darkling its speed is given as "Speed 8 (hover)" in the Dragon article, and in the Compendium as "Speed 8, (hover)".

I know the purpose of the hover keyword for when a creature is in flight, but it just seems very strange to me to include it in these two cases above.  Could it be a case that it can actually fly and that keyword has just been omitted twice for some reason, or is there a type of movement that I have been unaware of up to this point...?  I'd quite like to employ the Familiar Mount ritual on it should it be able to fly, but I wouldn't want to get into an argument with my group over the strange presentation of its move actions.

I had also considered the fact that a dragonspawn is related in a way to its chromatic counterpart, and the blackspawn presented in the Monster Manual can climb while black dragons have walking, swimming and flying abilities.  The blackspawn darkling hardly has "Speed 8" in general does it...?

Any comments or advice would be much appreciated!

You may get a better response in the 4E rules Q&A forum than in general discussion.

My sense is that the blackspawn darkling entry is an error, and as far as I can tell the rules as written don't allow for creatures that can hover without flying.

Thus, I'd recommend just asking your DM for a ruling on how the familiar behaves before you decide whether to use it.  In my own case, I'd probably rule that it cannot fly, but that it can always hover at ground level, so that difficult terrain on the ground doesn't affect it.

I hope this helps.  Good luck.
It's not an error, there are many creatures that can hover and not fly, like the pixie race for example or many many other monsters.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

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It's not an error, there are many creatures that can hover and not fly, like the pixie race for example or many many other monsters.



I don't know about other monsters, but the pixie has a fly speed, with an altitude limit of 1.  That's not the same as having the 'hover' property, and in fact the pixie cannot hover.  Thus a stunned pixie falls to the ground, for example.
that's so weird, I could have sworn...  meh my bad then.  I really could have sworn that pixie's had a hover speed.  I think I was confusing the whole riding a mount with hover or fly as a pixie or something.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

You may get a better response in the 4E rules Q&A forum than in general discussion.

My sense is that the blackspawn darkling entry is an error, and as far as I can tell the rules as written don't allow for creatures that can hover without flying.

Thus, I'd recommend just asking your DM for a ruling on how the familiar behaves before you decide whether to use it.  In my own case, I'd probably rule that it cannot fly, but that it can always hover at ground level, so that difficult terrain on the ground doesn't affect it.

I hope this helps.  Good luck.



It's not an error, there are many creatures that can hover and not fly, like the pixie race for example or many many other monsters.



Thanks for your replies, the confusing part for me was that I assumed hovering was something which would be exclusively used for creatures with a fly speed, given that the benefit of being able to hover is staying airborne when stunned.  Are there creatures which do not have a fly speed but have hover...?

In this thread community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758... from December 2010 the poster is talking about using familiars as mounts, and while most of the part which relates to the blackspawn darkling relates to stealth they say "Best of all our flying familiars make us immune to tremorsense, which is the largest bane of the high-Stealth character", so could they be operating under in having "fly 8 (hover)"...? None of the following comments reference it.

It's not the end of the world of course, there are plenty of familiars to choose from, but hopefully I might be able to convince them to allow the hover part to play some role even if they deem flight to be out of the question...
You may get a better response in the 4E rules Q&A forum than in general discussion.

My sense is that the blackspawn darkling entry is an error, and as far as I can tell the rules as written don't allow for creatures that can hover without flying.

Thus, I'd recommend just asking your DM for a ruling on how the familiar behaves before you decide whether to use it.  In my own case, I'd probably rule that it cannot fly, but that it can always hover at ground level, so that difficult terrain on the ground doesn't affect it.

I hope this helps.  Good luck.



It's not an error, there are many creatures that can hover and not fly, like the pixie race for example or many many other monsters.



Thanks for your replies, the confusing part for me was that I assumed hovering was something which would be exclusively used for creatures with a fly speed, given that the benefit of being able to hover is staying airborne when stunned.  Are there creatures which do not have a fly speed but have hover...?

In this thread community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758... from December 2010 the poster is talking about using familiars as mounts, and while most of the part which relates to the blackspawn darkling relates to stealth they say "Best of all our flying familiars make us immune to tremorsense, which is the largest bane of the high-Stealth character", so could they be operating under in having "fly 8 (hover)"...? None of the following comments reference it.

It's not the end of the world of course, there are plenty of familiars to choose from, but hopefully I might be able to convince them to allow the hover part to play some role even if they deem flight to be out of the question...

Its a weird one. Unfortunately they don't go into a lot of detail on each familiar, so it is hard to say exactly what it is supposed to look like. They certainly don't mention flying. OTOH altitude limit wasn't used a whole lot and the author may have meant the hover to mean "can hover in place but not fly", but it was a bad way to do that. I'd be pretty tempted to just ignore the hovering. Up to your DM though. In general familiars are meant to be pretty customizable IMHO.
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