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I've been thinking of adding a power to DnD4e as a basic maneuver that all players can do. I'm not certain yet if this power should be regulated to only BRA (Basic ranged attack) or if it's ok for it to work on all attack powers. The basic intention here is Move Attack Move given to Ranged characters to compliment the Charge ability that Melee characters get.

The details of the power I'm thinking of is as follows:

Run for Cover

Standard Action
Effect: You may move but not shift up to 1/3rd your normal move rate and then make a Basic Ranged Attack. After your attack, you may then again move but not shift up to 1/3rd of your normal move rate. After using Run for Cover, you may not do any other action other than free actions.

Do other powers or feats already allow you to do this? (and thus would be unbalancing a feat choice)
Does it break any other combat mechanic by allowing this sort of action?

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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Rangers have an at-will named 'Nimble Strike' that effectively allows them to shift out of cover, fire, and then move back. The attack itself is a standard action that includes a shift that can be used before or after the attack. Combined with a move action, you can effectively dodge in and out of combat, provided you are one square away from being able to engage from combat and returning to cover.

Rangers also have 'Evasive Strike', an encounter power similar to Nimble Strike but which lets you move more squares (i.e. shift number of squares equal to 1+your WIS modifier before or after)

By giving a similar power to all characters, you effectively nullify the value of Ranger abilities. You could probably just have your characters take these powers as multiclass powers (i.e. at-will becomes encounter, encounter becomes daily) if they are not already a ranger.

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Shame they didn't put those powers in the essentials builds. It was the ranger in the party that I was thinking of when the idea came to me. –  GMNoob Nov 1 '11 at 15:28
    
@GMNoob this would be way over powered as a basic attack. The rogue has something that allows I think 2 squares of free movement (not shifting) with an attack as an at-will –  wax eagle Nov 1 '11 at 17:29
    
I meant that they didn't give nimble or evasive strike to Essential rangers, not that it's not a basic attack :) –  GMNoob Nov 3 '11 at 12:10
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I can see two issues with this:

It effectively allows a ranged attacker to fight from full cover.

Ranged characters can now move out of cover, attack, and then move back into cover. This allows them to break line of sight and have full cover for all but a tiny window of time, which their opponent must ready an action to take advantage of. As readied actions must be announced in advance, this allows the ranged character to negate all ranged attacks against them by simply not moving out of cover.

It makes kiting dramatically more effective.

Under the normal D&D rules, a melee character closing on a ranged character gets 2x movement (move, move or move, charge) against the ranged character's 1x movement (move, attack). With this change, the ranged character goes up to 1.66~x movement (move, Run for Cover), prolonging safe kiting.

Depending on what you see as the purpose of charge, it may not be necessary

I have always viewed charge as a means of closing distance to attack. From this interpretation, ranged attackers already have an equivalent... Their attack range :)

Disclaimer: This is armchair analysis. Play-experience should always trump this.

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Can you explain Kiting? I assume it's not flying a kite. Btw, the "issues" you see, (if I understand kiting correctly) is the purpose of the proposed power : ) –  GMNoob Nov 1 '11 at 14:33
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@GMNoob Kiting is the practice of moving away from a target while you attack it. It's generally frowned on when a game makes it too effective, because it makes melee characters entirely obsolete on both sides. At its extreme it becomes a case where giving players more options ironically decreases combat variety... Once melee characters have died out from the game, combat devolves to ranged characters trading blows. –  AceCalhoon Nov 1 '11 at 14:39
    
Acha, I see I did not understand kiting correctly. Thought it meant 'suppression fire' (like hiding behind a kite shield). Would changing 1/3 movement to move 2, fire, move 1, fix the kiting issue or no? –  GMNoob Nov 1 '11 at 14:46
    
@GMNoob I can't really say where the kiting issue gets fixed without testing. That's still an extra three squares/round that a melee character has to close. My recommendation is to run some test combats trying to exploit it, and see what happens (this will also help you factor in the kiting and anti-kiting abilities most classes have). Some kiting is good, too much is bad. IMO, the more pressing concern is the ability to become immune to all targeted powers. –  AceCalhoon Nov 1 '11 at 14:56
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In addition to the few good points made above, another consideration is that there are things which trigger off of having moved some distance as part of the attack action or from the start of your turn. For example, one of the Ranger builds has the following class feature:

RUNNING ATTACK

This class feature replaces the Prime Shot class feature.

If you use a standard action that lets you move (such as a charge or the skirmish shot power), and you end that movement at least 2 squares away from where you began that move, you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls made as part of that standard action.

I'm sure there are multiple other class features, feats and powers which would interact with this house rule.

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That doesn't seem like a game-breaking maneuver. You may want to change the wording to make it more clear that the +1 to defenses against opportunity attacks applies before the move and the shot. You might also include an attack penalty to the shot, since it is kind of done in the middle of a movement. Alternatively, you could make this a feat, so that there is still a cost for this added ability.

I've never seen kiting in a DnD game, since there's usually a melee character nearby for the monster to switch to.

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