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Flurry of Blows powers are features, not attack powers, with a range of Melee 1 or 2. Although it's clear melee attacks can target squares rather than creatures, I've been ruling that Flurry doesn't have that option and so a monk cannot use Flurry without a valid target in range.

This seemed very straightforward until a monk in my group took the Skipping Stone Flurry feat, which has the following benefit:

When you use your Flurry of Blows power and you have a sling in hand, you can replace one normal target of that power with one creature within 10 squares of you. This does not provoke opportunity attacks.

To my reading, this feat (nor any of the other similar feats including Starblade Flurry and Pointed Step Style) does not change the range requirement to activate Flurry of Blows. That is, if you have no creatures adjacent to you and you hit with a ranged attack, your Flurry has no valid targets and thus cannot be triggered, even if you could then use Flurry to damage a ranged enemy.

Am I entirely misunderstanding Flurry of Blows or the non-attack-power targeting rules? Am I interpreting the relevant feats correctly? Should I break this into multiple questions? Can a monk with Skipping Stone Flurry, Starblade Flurry, or Pointed Step Style use Flurry of Blows if the only potential targets are outside the range of a non-feat-enhanced Flurry power?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think that is clearly against the intention of the rule. The wording

[...] you can replace one normal target of that power with one creature within 10 squares of you [...]

seems to me a shortened form for replacing both the target line and the range line of a Flurry of Blows power with something not overly convoluted.

No-Action * Melee 1 or Ranged 10
Special: This ranged attack does not provoke opportunity attacks.
Trigger: You hit with an attack during your turn
Target: One creature within 10 squares of you
Level 11: One adjacent creature and/or one creature within 10 squares of you
Level 21: Each enemy adjacent to you; or each enemy adjacent to you but one and one creature within 10 squares of you.


I also admit that I'd let Flurry of Blow hit objects also. It's quite a monk thing to destroy many wooden boards in a matter of seconds; and I suspect designers often write "a creature" instead of "a creature or object" for brevity only.

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To add more fuel to this fire. A melee basic attack has the target line "creature" but can definitely be used against both inanimate objects (doors?) and empty spaces (target last known location of hidden creature) –  wax eagle Nov 23 '12 at 22:28
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Martial artists attack air all the time, this is how they practice; logically then they should be able to perform all the actions associated with the attack to include the ranged portion, and simply not hit anything around them.

Only something in the rules that explicitly prevents this should override common sense. And I have been unable to find anything.

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I agree, but 4e so enthusiastically discards simulation for mechanical balance that I really don't feel I can use common sense as justification for a ruling in this particular system. –  BESW Nov 23 '12 at 21:21
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