My level 15 Dreadnought Fighter recently found a Shield of Deflection, which has "Property: Gain resist 5 to damage from all ranged attacks." I know that a crossbow attack or magic missile would be a ranged attack, but what about area bursts? What about damage that comes off of creature that is hit by a ranged attack, such as Erupting Flare or Force Orb?
A ranged attack is any power which has a ranged keyword.
First: The shield of deflection*:
As per the ruling on magic missile, there is a headache inducing thread** as to what constitutes an attack, or attack power.
For purposes of the shield, if it has "ranged" or "area" in its range line, it should count.
To re-articulate the conclusions of the thread, I'll be ignoring it and going to the PHB FAQ which states:
Therefore, because if something has a ranged or area ranged line it must, perforce, have a target lines, for purposes of this question it is the only necessary criterion to determine resistance.
The force orb secondary attack may qualify for the resist
Force orb, ultimately comes down to the DM's call. While the secondary target does not have ranged nor area in the target line, it is producing the effect equivalent to an area from a ranged attack. One argument in favour could be that it inherets the "ranged" range from the primary attack, as it has not overriden that range. One argument against is that the use of "adjacent creatures" indeed overrides that range with the functional equivalent to a close range. Offer your DM asprin and a link to the above thread. Bribery may be useful here.
The erupting flare non-attack damage does not qualify for the resist
This taken from PHB FAQ as above, given that the power neither targeted the character nor was an attack against the character with ranged or area keywords, the character would suffer the full effects of erupting flare.
Area attacks do qualify for the resist if you are using the normal item
Being targeted by a normal area attack does qualify you for the resist so long as you are using the item as printed, rather than the item you paraphrased.
*One of my most favourite common items to builds that don't need IAoP. Just love it. Looking at the paragon version, it has indeed benefited from errata making it more generally useful.
**Warning, over 500 posts long. It really is painful.
A Ranged attack is any attack with a range such as ranged weapon, or ranged X squares. Area and close attacks are thus not ranged attacks, and melee obviously isn't.
Damage from an effect like Force Orb is not an Attack against you: It is a separate damaging effect. A Ranged Attack must include an attack and damage roll.
From the Compendium: