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Deft Strike:

Requirement: You must be wielding a crossbow, a light blade, or a sling.
Effect: Before the attack, you can move up to 2 squares.

Ghostwalker Style, from Dragon Magazine 373, adds this to your Deft Strike power:

Deft Strike: If you didn't move before the attack, you can shift 1 square as a free action after the attack

Question:

One of my players thinks that because these two options are in the same attack, it means that you can only shift 1 square after the attack if you didn't move as part of the attack. I think that adding Ghostwalker Style to Deft Strike gives you an individual option, so you can't benefit from Ghostwalker Style if you take a move action before the attack action.

He is thinking that you can take a move action, moving a few squares, take standard action (deft strike), and then shift 1 square.

I think he can't benefit from Ghostwalker Style if he:

  • moves one or two squares as part of Deft Strike
  • uses a move action on his turn before using Deft Strike

Who is right?

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2 Answers 2

The movement restriction applies solely to the movement from the power

D&D 4e always takes the narrowest possible interpretation of text. Otherwise, how would you bound "didn't move before the attack"? You didn't move since the start of your turn? Since the start of the encounter? Since your last extended rest? Or maybe it only works if you never moved your entire life, and the movement from the shift 1 means you can never use it again?

Texts will generally specify the bounds if they are beyond the bounds of the current power; consider, for example, Steady Shooter: "You gain a +3 bonus to damage rolls with crossbow attacks if you haven’t moved since the end of your last turn." In this case, the since the end of your last turn is the boundary condition.

Thus, the rogue in question could take a move action to move into position, use Deft Strike without using the 2 movement granted by the power and, as a result of Ghostwalker Style, shift one square after the attack.

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I would say your player is correct. The keyword in the first effect is that you "can" move before the attack. This would mean that you have the choice to move or not. The new effect takes advantage if this choice and gives you another option. If it were using your interpretation then it would have used the terminology "move action" instead of simply saying move. I also doubt WotC would do this anyway as it would allow for both the move and shift with one attack which would be slightly overpowered and unbalanced.

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