Rules Lawyering

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Of course, the wizard could probably just use a gust of wind, or the other chracter could fire an arrow with a rope or some other means of pulling and so move the pair that way instead.

That's the thing, the "flycycle" ruling in the article means that either levitate is useless in strong winds, because the wizard will be blown about, or that levitate can be used in strong winds to mimic fly, a higher level spell. While I encourage creative use of spells in my games, especially low-level spells, I'm a bit more cautious about using them to render higher-level spells redundant.

While I do think it's a good rule to be cautious in allowing a low-level mechanic to trump a higher-level one. I think the levitate/fly one is pretty safe from that.

Does a hot air balloon make an airplane redundant?

Despite only being a single spell level higher, fly is clearly and will always be much better than say a gliding levitate. The differences are freedom of movement, speed and target versatility(you can only cast levitate on yourself [1]).

[1] In B/X Edition which the ruling stems from.

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