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The 2nd level Wizard Utility 'Simple Animation' has the following specification:

Target: One Medium or smaller object that is not fastened in place or held by a creature

Effect: The target animates until the end of your next turn, and you slide it up to 5 squares. While the target is animated by this power, you can move it farther by sliding it up to 5 squares as a move action.

Unlike several other object-targeting powers (such as the special for Disintegrate) that specify the object must be unattended, this spell only says it must not be held. What would happen if you cast it on a rug beneath a creature's feet? On someone's hat? Are these considered 'held'?

What counts as a target for the purposes of Simple Animation?

Secondarily, if those are not valid targets, does the spell have any combat applications beyond moving a single piece of cover?

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This of course is completely up to DM fiat as there are no hard and fast definitions here. However, we can look at the text and intent of the power and try to get somewhere.

I'd suggest that a hat (provided it was not a helmet and thus strapped on in some way) could be moved with this power. Not sure how this is a combat application, but hey it might get you CA depending on your DM.

The rug however a more difficult case, I would maintain that the power would not work on a rug that is being stood upon. My rationale is that a rug with a person on it is fairly immovable, and could for the purpose of this exercise be considered fastened by the creature's fee.

Now to address the actual purpose of the spell. You named one, it can be used to move something into place to use as cover (or in certain cases superior cover). Another use would be to move something in order to disrupt line of site or line of effect, thus hindering your opponent from attacking you.

The power is there to foster creativity on the part of the player, obviously it excludes some very creative uses you have already thought up, but there are others, although not every application you think of may be a combat one. Remember there are other facets of the game where this power might be quite useful.

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Aren't placing cover and disrupting line of sight/effect essentially the same thing, at least in terms of how this power would achieve it? So, basically, it's a slightly souped-up Mage Hand usable once an encounter....that can't actually be used to manipulate an object, only move it. –  Ananisapta Mar 28 '12 at 13:07
    
@Ananisapta in a sense yes they are the same thing, mostly just differing in size and type of object moved :). Yes this is all this is. Remember its a Utility 2, sounds like about the right power level. –  wax eagle Mar 28 '12 at 19:27
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Since it also works with objects up to Medium size (assuming by that it means Medium Creature size) you could use it to move a vanity to block a door, or cause that (not too large) bookshelf to take a swan dive off the second floor balcony onto some unsuspecting schmuck. Some DM fiat will be involved of course but combat applications would be largely dependent on how many targets valid for use are in the setting and in what positions. –  Lunin Mar 28 '12 at 20:51
    
@Lunin I must admit that reenacting the Wardrobe cannonball scene from Disney's Beauty and the Beast does have some appeal. Medium object size includes doors and statues....which is a quite unhelpful description that leaves it open to interpretation. –  Ananisapta Mar 29 '12 at 6:36

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