Not all the creatures of the ocean depths are restricted to dark, watery lairs. A few are found in the most unexpected of places—high mountain caverns, deep forest grottos, and languorously soaring amongst the clouds in the sky.
An airborne creature is a creature that has, either through the natural forces of evolution or via permanent magical change, gained the ability to breathe air and to “swim” through the air as their cousins do in the seas, lakes and rivers. Indeed, it controls air itself, allowing it to move freely, and buffet those that dare oppose its mastery of the skies. Airborne creatures have goals, motivations, and instincts not unlike those of their aquatic cousins—an airborne shark is a top tier predator, swimming between trees as it chases a deer through the forest, and an airborne dragon turtle vies with its red and gold dragon cousins for the best lairs and choicest treasure.
“Airborne” is an inherited or acquired template that can be added to any aquatic-dwelling aberration, animal, dragon, or magical beast (referred to hereafter as the base creature). An airborne creature uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +1.
Type: If the base creature has the aquatic subtype the creature loses it.
Senses: An airborne creature gains the following:
An airborne creature can see through fog, clouds, and similar obscuring effects with perfect clarity, including magical or supernatural fogs and clouds. Creatures and objects do not gain concealment from an airborne creature due to such conditions. An airborne creature may use this ability while in cloud form (see below).
Speed: An airborne creature loses its swim speed but gains a fly speed at the same rate as the swim speed. If the creature is Small or smaller it has a maneuverability of Perfect. If it is Medium or Large it has a maneuverability of Good, if it is Huge or larger it has a maneuverability of Average.
- Levitate (self only). This ability functions at will and at the base creature’s existing caster level (if it already has a caster level) or at a caster level equal to its hit dice, but is always powerful enough to keep the creature aloft, no matter its weight.
- Control winds. This ability can be used once per day for airborne creatures of 8 or fewer HD, 3/day for airborne creatures of 9-16 HD, and at will for airborne creatures of 17 or more hit dice.
Abilities: Dex +2.
Feats: Airborne creatures gain Flyby Attack as a bonus feat.
Skills: Airborne creatures lose Swim as a class skill and gain Fly as a class skill. Skill points in Swim are redistributed to Fly. As per the Fly skill, an airborne creature receives a bonus (or penalty) on Fly skill checks depending on its maneuverability: Average +0, Good +4, Perfect +8. Airborne creatures also gain a +4 racial bonus on Fly checks.
Special Qualities: An airborne creature gains the fly special quality as an extraordinary ability. If the base creature has the amphibious special quality, it exchanges it for the water breathing special quality. If the base creature did not have the amphibious quality, it gains the hold breath special quality as an extraordinary ability.
Additionally, an airborne creature loses any special abilities it had that are specific to being aquatic (such as an aboleth’s mucus cloud or a sea serpent’s capsize or elusive). If it loses one or more special abilities an airborne creature gains the following.
An airborne creature can change itself into a cloudy vapor as a swift action for a number of rounds per day equal to its Hit Dice. These rounds do not have to be consecutive and can be spread out throughout the day. This ability functions as gaseous form except the airborne creature’s fly speed is unchanged.
Environment: An airborne creature’s environment changes to Any.