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Dominated: The creature can’t take actions voluntarily. Instead, the dominator chooses a single action for the creature to take on the creature’s turn: a standard, a move, a minor, or a free action. The only powers and other game features that the dominator can make the creature use are ones that can be used at will, such as at-will powers. For example, anything that is limited to being used only once per encounter or once per day does not qualify.

Situation: a dominated creature is forced to attack itself with an attack that also has a Push effect. Can the creature be pushed in any direction, or can a push originated from the target's square not go in any direction?

The compendium provides two different definitions for Push:

Push: When you push a creature, each square you move it must place it farther away from you. (from the entry on Push)

Push: Pushing a target means that each square of the forced movement must move the target farther away from the creature or effect that is pushing it. (from the entry on Forced Movement)

This seems to suggest that the push can go in any direction, because any direction is farther away from the origin square; then again, if the target is the creature that is pushing it, then it cannot move farther away from itself.

Here's some examples of monsters with push powers:

Spell Weaver Collector

Repulsing Touch (minor, at-will) Force

+11 vs Reflex; 2d6+4 force damage, and push the target 5 squares.

Grovald

Longsword (standard, at-will) Force, Weapon

+13 vs Fortitude; 1d6+5 damage, plus 1d6 force damage and push 3.

Exalted Brightmage

Forceful Dagger (standard, at-will) Force, Weapon

+33 vs AC; 4d4+10 force damage, and push the target 1 square.

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up vote 19 down vote accepted

A creature pushing themselves goes nowhere.

Firstly, to move past concerns about whether this situation can happen: a monster can usually hit itself with its own attacks, by MM1 or 3 rules. They're inside their own range, and their powers usually target "one creature", which includes themselves. Let's assume a creature has successfully targeted itself with an ability saying "push the target X squares."

The quotes you've provided come from various sources including the PHB1 and Rules Compendium. We'll examine the Rules Compendium rule, since it's the most definitive source. We'll find a result that's also consistent with the PHB1 rule.

Push: Pushing a target means that each square of the forced movement must move the target farther away from the creature or effect that is pushing it. — Rules Compendium on Forced Movement

The other rules for forced movement don't have anything to add here.

There's two conflicting interpretations of this:

  • You must move yourself farther away from where you're standing right now.
  • You must move yourself farther away from yourself.

The first permits you to move yourself arbitrarily, the second not at all. The second is most accurate though: the rules don't say you must move yourself farther away from your position. They say you must move yourself further away from yourself, and that's impossible: you are always a constant distance from yourself (roughly zero), and no amount of moving will change that — unless you go back in time to meet yourself, but let's avoid philosophical conundrums and inquiries into technicalities.

Just to be thorough: pulling doesn't work either, but sliding does.

Pulling fails for a similar reason: you can't move yourself closer to yourself. (Actually, it'd fail under the other interpretation too.) However, you can slide yourself just fine.

The exception is if the monster ability creates an effect that does the pushing.

If a monster's power creates a blast that pushes all creatures away from it, then that can push the monster itself too, since it's being pushed away from the effect. That isn't the wording we're working with here, though.

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