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Trigger: You make an attack roll and dislike the result.

Effect: Reroll the attack roll. Use the second roll, even if it’s lower.

Specifically, is the player entitled to know if the attack hit or missed before deciding to use Elven Accuracy DDI? Why or why not?

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As far as I can tell, it's GM convention. But this isn't really an answer. – Brian Ballsun-Stanton May 19 '11 at 12:57
up vote 7 down vote accepted

At the table, I ruled that the 'result' is the total value of the roll and not the resolution of the action. Later reading of the Rules Compendium led me to the following:

p.22 -- Making Checks, [make roll, add modifiers] "3. Compare the result to a target number. If the result equals or exceeds the target number, the check is a success."

p. 24 -- Attack Rolls, "If the result of the attack roll is equal to or higher than the target's defense, the attack hits."

Based on this, it's clear to me that action resolution is not the same as the attack roll result and thus confirmation of a hit or a miss happens after the decision to use Elven Accuracy is made.

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Wording seems a bit confused (but maybe I wasn't be able to find a specific glossary entry).

What I have inferred is this: is important to notice the difference between make and roll wording.

In my opinion, if the trigger states something like:

Trigger: You make a [attack roll|ability check|skill check|saving throw|...] and dislike the result.

Then the trigger happens after having resolved the entire operation, thus having determined if it was a success or failure.

At the opposite, if the trigger states something like:

Trigger: You roll a [attack roll|ability check|skill check|saving throw|...] and dislike the result.

Then the trigger happens just after having cast the die, thus knowing the total number (d20 + modifiers) but not yet determined if it was a success or failure.

Assuming these guidelines as correct, Elven AccuracyDDI would let you reroll the attack after the having determined success or failure of the original roll. The same could be applied to the Deva's Memory of a Thousand LifetimesDDI.

There are powers that explicitly point out whether a reroll they allow must be made before knowing the outcome of the original attack/check (Master DiplomatDDI, Boundless EnduranceDDI, Master of DeceitDDI, for example).

Among these three two adopt the make wording in the trigger, and one uses the roll word. The one using the make word (Master Diplomat) would be an exception in the set of guidelines I posted above, even if - being explicitly stated - it could be considered a "specific beats general" rule.

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I think the thing to focus on here is what does the result mean?

If it means the numerical result of the roll plus attack modifiers, then that's all you have to go on for the reroll. You don't know if you hit or miss yet.

If it means the game result of whether you hit or miss, then that pretty clearly means that you know if you hit or miss before using the power.

Let's look at the usage of the term result in other powers:

Divine Fate

Trigger: You or an ally fails a skill or ability check, or a saving throw

Effect: The target rerolls the check or saving throw, and takes the higher result.

The use of the word higher here implies we are dealing with the numerical result. Searching the compendium for the keywords "Higher Result" yields 20 powers and 17 feats that use this language.

Destructive Power

Trigger: You roll a 1 on any damage die when you hit with an area or close attack power

Effect: You reroll any result of 1 or 2 on a damage die until the die roll is something other than 1 or 2.

Again, the result language here is referring to the numerical result of a die roll.

Spellseer Familiar

Trigger: You miss a target with an arcane encounter attack power

Effect: Reroll the attack roll and use the new result, even if it is lower

This is probably the best example. It is for an attack roll and still uses numerical language when referring to the result.

This leads me to believe that Elven Accuracy must be used before knowing whether the attack hit or missed.

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