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Below I will present two similar scenarios in which I would like to use a readied action to interrupt an enemy's movement, with the specific goal of provoking an opportunity attack from that enemy should it continue its movement. Scenario 1 may have an admitted flaw that I will point out, but I could not find a potential flaw in Scenario 2.

I play Berend, a dwarven bear shaman, with the protector spirit boon and features. The following apply to both scenarios below:

  1. I have the call spirit companion (abbreviated SC) class feature, which can be used as a minor to call or dismiss the SC within a burst 20 of me. The power entry says that "when you take a move action, you can also move the spirit a number of squares equal to your speed."
  2. I have the at-will "spirit's shield" opportunity action (not technically an opportunity attack). This is triggered when an enemy moves from an square adjacent to my SC without shifting. The power allows me both an melee spirit 1 attack vs Reflex on the target, and an effect that allows me to heal an ally within 5 squares, regardless of hit or miss on the attack.
  3. I have a walk speed of 5, as I am a dwarf.
  4. I have no effects or penalties that would prevent me from taking any stated actions (dazed, stunned, restrained, etc) when I ready my action and when the triggering enemy's turn occurs.

Scenario 1: Readying a move action

1) I begin my turn with my spirit companion in play, having been cast the previous turn. I decide to spend a standard action to ready a move action.

  • Trigger: "when any enemy creature uses a move action, for any move other than a shift, to enter a square within 5 squares of my SC's current position."

  • Response: I specify to the DM the situationally-specific move that I want my dwarf to make in response to the trigger. However, when I use the readied action to move, I choose to move my SC as well. If the DM presses, I might say, "I also move the SC into a square adjacent to the trigerring enemy."

2) At worst, no enemy has triggered my readied action by the time the initiative returns to my position, and I effectively lose a standard action from the prior round.

3) However, I suspect that the trigger as phrased will actually happen many times, potentially many times on each enemy's turn. I choose to use my readied move action on one of the valid triggers.

4) My delayed action interrupts the enemy's movement because a delayed action is an immediate reaction, which can interrupt an enemy's movment. My new initiative is set to just before the enemy.

5) I move the dwarf somewhere (who cares), and the SC to a square adjacent to the enemy.

6) Per the rules for immediate reactions, the creature's movement continues under the assumption that it had already taken at least one square of movement already.

7) If the creature continues moving (not sure if it gets a choice of what to do in reaction to my interrupt), it would provoke the "spirit's shield" opportunity action, as I originally planned, granting healing to an ally, assuming the ally is in range of the opportunity action.

The above scenario may indeed be faulty in premise for the following reasons:

  • According to the compendium, a move action cannot normally be taken on another players turn.

  • According the compendium, a "readied action is an immediate reaction." Thus a move action readied into a readied action may in fact no longer be a move action when the action is taken, but rather an immediate reaction, assuming the two are mutually exclusive.

--> By both reasonings, I may not be able to move my SC on any turn but my own because I am not taking a move action at that time.

Scenario 2: Readying a minor action - very similar to Scenario 1.

1) I begin my turn. I make sure that the SC is no longer in play (either it wasn't yet, or I use a minor to dismiss him). I decide to spend a standard action to ready a minor action, specifically my "Call Spirit Companion."

  • Trigger: "when any enemy creature uses a move action, for any move other than a shift, to enter a square within 19 squares of my SC's current position."

  • Response: I call my spirit companion into a valid square that is adjacent to the triggering enemy.

2) At worst, no enemy has triggered my readied action by the time the initiative returns to my position, and I effectively lose a standard action from the prior round.

3) However, I suspect that the trigger as phrased will actually happen many times, as 19 squares will encompass the entire battefield in most encounters. Therefore, my trigger may occur on every enemy's turn each time it moves a square! Let's say I choose to use my readied action on one of the valid triggers.

4) My delayed action interrupts the enemy's movement because a delayed action is an immediate reaction, which can interrupt an enemy's movment. My new initiative is set to just before the enemy.

5) My readied action occurs and I conjure the spirit companion into a square adjacent to the triggering enemy.

6) Per the rules for immediate reactions, the creature's movement continues (under the assumption that it had already taken at least one square of movement already, which I will take into consideration when I choose which trigger to take in the first place).

7) If the creature continues moving (not sure if it gets a choice of what to do in reaction to my interrupt), it would provoke the "spirit's shield" opportunity action, as I originally planned, granting healing to an ally assuming the ally is in range of the opportunity action. Otherwise, the creature must stay still, and I may have partially foiled that enemy's plan that turn.

Of particular note, this scenario may be quite advantageous for a few reasons. First, I might be able to choose to position my SC pretty much anywhere adjacent to the path of a moving enemy in such a way that I can maximize defensive bonuses before the creature attacks, even without provoking an opportunity attack. Second I could intelligently choose a position that would potentially either grant an opportunity attack, or funnel an enemy's movement into a favorable direction, assuming the creature could react to my readied action. Other advantages elude me at this moment.

Also of note, the longer I wait to take my readied action before the next turn, the more turns I will be without a full complement of actions, thus potentially balancing any advantage I may get from readying. (For an explanation of why this is true, see Sustaining a power and readied actions: what happens?).

Questions to be answered:

1) For both scenarios, is my reasoning sound, and do they work as planned?

2) Specifically, does my own counterargument to Scenario 1 make it not work as desired?

3) When a movement is interupted by an immediate reaction, such as proposed in both scenarios in the case of my readied action, it is my understanding (according to a similar discussion on this forum here Can a character in the middle of a move action alter his movement based on a change in his surroundings? ), that the jury is out as to whether the creature could change its movement in response to my readied action, say for example to change direction or stop moving entirely so as to avoid taking an opportunity attack. Does anyone have a new insight to this situation as it applies to my example, or do you say "DM preference?"

4) Would you allow either scenario from a player in your game, assuming you were DM and the rules at least didn't refute the scenario's validity?

**As a disclaimer, I use the DnD Compendium for recent rule updates, and consult the relevant passages when applicable. I tried to research the question on this forum before asking my question.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

1) For both scenarios, is my reasoning sound, and do they work as planned?

No - Scenario 1 does not work, but scenario 2 does.

2) Specifically, does my own counterargument to Scenario 1 make it not work as desired?

Your second counter argument looks correct. Your first is moot because of the second.

You are using your move action to do the walk (or run, or shift) action (or activity if you want to overload words a little less).

3) When a movement is interupted by an immediate reaction ... [could the] creature change its movement in response to my readied action

Yes.

Brian's edit to his answer in the linked question seems compelling enough to me.

4) Would you allow either scenario from a player in your game

Yes.

Sometimes players in my game can be rules-lawyery and other times they can be very "do what seems right/cool" - I try to let them police their own behaviours in terms of things like this, though if the nuances of the 1st scenario occurred to me, or more likely, they presented all the nuance to me and asked if it was allowed, I would not allow it.

Essentially, as the DM, I'll have fun however it plays out. As the players, when they are in a "do what's cool mode", doing what seems cool will be fun for them. When they are in a rules-lawyery mode, my assumption is that they are having fun with that aspect of system mastery, and so am happy to go with that flow.

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Thanks, I'd like to think of myself as a mix of the two. It would be exhausting to do this too often. –  pipboyDND May 23 '12 at 2:34
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to answer your questions:

  1. yes your reasoning is sound, but the enemy can choose not to continue his movement after your reaction.

  2. the caveat does not apply as you are taking a move action, even if it's a readied one.

  3. the character can definitely change his move in response to a changed battle field (IMO). So you can't force and opportunity attack here, although it's likely to happen often enough.

  4. I'd allow it in my game for the following reasons

    • Its kinda gimmicky, but perfectly legal from where I sit.

    • its expensive. trading a standard down for a possible move, just so you can get an opportunity attack is kind of a lousy trade and one that favors the DM most of the time.

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I recently tried making an inventory of all possible healing options for my shaman. I realized that if I could find better ways to set up this opportunity attack, I could use it better for some at-will healing. I thought that this might be helpful when I am out of other options (daily heals, encounter heals, healing spirits, First aid checks on allies who have already spend their second winds), especially in a bind (e.g. a dying character and no other healing options). –  pipboyDND May 23 '12 at 2:34
    
@pipboyDND maybe, but I have to say that DM depending this is a rather unreliable way to get that acomplished. –  wax eagle May 23 '12 at 11:48
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2nd scenario seems more sound to me going by what I believe I understand is going on from both scenarios.

That said, its entirely up to DM Preference as stated. If its a dumb npc, maybe it won't notice or care.

Also, I'd allow it even though in all aspects, if you did it off of that trigger type every time, you're hurting yourself more since the standard action could be used for something else. I've used Readied Actions more in situations where its needed because of something stopping me from normally dealing with whatever I'm doing. Like a flying creature constantly attacking me with a fly-by attack, readying an action to both attack, if I hit with the power, shift out of the way thus making it either waste more movement to get to me or just fail its attack. Given that you are using an immediate and an opportunity, while it is on the same monster's turn, it is 2 different actions you are using which both are triggered by separate events.

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Thanks, very true in many cases. This is a good setup, IMO to get at will healing in a bind, though, when no better options are obvious. –  pipboyDND May 23 '12 at 2:36
    
The problem is there are VERY few situations unless the DM likes to present them more often or the players fall for the trap often. As you go higher level, you find yourself presented with so many options that when you really measure it out, you find you actually have the right choices ready on any given situation unless stunned and sometimes dazed. –  zapoqx May 23 '12 at 3:30
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