# Is it necessary to maintain Line of Effect for the Dominated condition?

The dominatedDDI condition states that the controller can chose one action for the dominated creature to take each turn.

Is there anything that can prevent that control from taking place other than removing the dominated condition? Examples:

• lack of Line of Effect
• lack of Line of Sight
• The dominator leaves the encounter
-

It looks to me like this is one of those things that stretches into the realm of "DM's Discretion".

As with most other effects applied by powers, the dominated status is always accompanied by specific details as to what ends the condition. Typically, this is in the form of "save ends", "end of your next turn", or "end of the encounter", but occasionally other situations may be called out.

Aside from that, I have not found any restriction in the general rules for the dominated condition (pages 230-231 of the Essentials Rules Compendium) that allow for premature termination. Even if the dominator tries to force the subjected creature to cross into hindering terrain, the creature only gets a save against entering the terrain - not the domination.

For loss of line of sight or line of effect, this leaves the field of rulings wide open. One could say that per RAW, this does not end the condition. However, general logic could be argued based on the function (flavor text, not game mechanics) of the power in use to say that it should or should not be ended in such scenarios. It could also be argued that, depending on the function, a dominator may or may not be able to use the subject creature to attack squares or creatures that the dominator does not have line of sight to, or that such attacks would suffer roll penalties.

As for the dominator leaving the encounter, this would have to raise some additional questions:

Firstly, has the encounter ended? Any powers' effects that last until the end of the encounter (typically, the longest duration for a condition) are either terminated at the encounter's conclusion or after five minutes, whichever is first. If the encounter in whole has not ended, is it considered ended for the dominator and should effects applied by that creature therefore be ended? One could logically consider a character's premature departure from a live encounter as being "removed from play". This condition (page 233, Essentials Rules Compendium) still includes the creature in the encounter, while still keeping them far separated from it.

Secondly, does the dominator require the ability to take actions in the encounter? If we're logically applying "removed from play" to the dominator, the rules for that condition specify that the subject creature cannot take actions. However, the rules for the "dominated" effect state "...the dominator chooses a single action for the creature to take on the creatures turn...". This seems to indicate that the dominator does not require any ability to act, as all actions are at the dominated creature's expense and are taken on the dominated creature's turn.

Third, one may also question whether a dominator requires a turn in the initiative order. The first argument against this can be found in the "dominated" condition's rules as mentioned above - all actions are on the subject creature's turn, not the dominator's. The second argument against this would apply if it is agreed that the dominator is subjected to the "removed from play" condition. In such case, the rule specifies that the removed "...creature's turns start and end as normal" thus making this a moot point.

Fourth and final for this post, one would have to question whether line of sight and/or line of effect are maintained, and then perhaps return to the question of whether they are required. This could go a couple different ways. Depending on the landscape of the battlefield and its surrounding areas, it could be physically possible that a departed dominator can indeed maintain line of sight and effect while at the same time being out of range of the general combat. However, if it is ruled that the dominator is indeed "removed from play", then they by RAW have neither line of sight nor line of effect to anything.

Again, as always, the DM is the final arbiter at the game table. So, in cases like these where the rules are fairly ambiguous (and technically, even in cases where they are very explicit) it's their call as to how those rules will be interpreted and applied - or not - in the game at hand.

-
Wow! A great answer that cast light on many aspects. In order to justify (in flavour) all these wierd situations I'm going to rule that the dominator leaves a part of its own mind in the dominated target (much like a possession). This way LOE and LOS, and even the "removed from play" condition could be managed in a clearer way. – Erik Burigo Dec 1 '10 at 9:20
That's a good idea. However, by "flavor" I was meaning to direct you toward the "flavor text" that is included with each power's description. The information there, while not strictly relevant to game mechanics, can offer some insights as to how the power functions and therefore how certain situations surrounding the power could be handled. Still, your method is a good exercise of DM's Discretion - which is exactly what this situation has called for! – Iszi Dec 1 '10 at 22:30

Since Dominated is a condition (PHB p277), it does not require line of effect to exist and breaking line of effect does not end the condition (same as dazed or slowed, etc). It's also listed as a condition that can be removed by the Remove Affliction ritual so it can be quite permanent. The question then becomes: Is line of effect required from the dominating creature to the dominated creature for it to command which action to take?

The simplest understanding is that Dominated is an ongoing compulsion to do the dominating creature's will. The dominating creature's choice of the Dominated creature's action is an expression of will and not an action and does not require line of effect. It would not even require the presence of the dominating creature in the encounter.

An alternate reading (the one I attempted to justify when I began writing this post which would be much, much weaker) is that Dominated is a condition that allows the dominating creature to affect the Dominated creature and choose the action on their turn. The choice of action is implicitly understood as a free action that targets the Dominated creature, possibly as a shout or a wink or a nod, which would require line of effect. In this case, if the dominating creature doesn't have line of effect (or has left combat), the Dominated creature could choose their own action, though they are still dazed.

The "ongoing compulsion" is the way I read the rules as written. But I've included the alternate because it could be a DM choice for certain situations. Actually, a DM could rule Dominated anywhere along the spectrum (adding a range, requiring line of sight, etc.) depending on the situation, such as requiring the dominating creature's presence or if the use of verbal coercion makes sense. Or just if a weaker version is needed.

Also see the discussion around Is the effect of a power limited by the power's range? which is where I started for the alternate reading.

-