My level 15 Dreadnought Fighter recently found a Shield of Deflection, which has "Property: Gain resist 5 to damage from all ranged attacks." I know that a crossbow attack or magic missile would be a ranged attack, but what about area bursts? What about damage that comes off of creature that is hit by a ranged attack, such as Erupting Flare or Force Orb?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a special shield of deflection that does not provide protection against area attacks? \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Sep 17 '11 at 21:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Commented on that below. \$\endgroup\$ – Jason White Sep 17 '11 at 21:23

A ranged attack is any power which has a ranged keyword.

First: The shield of deflection*:

Property: You gain resist 2 to all damage from ranged attacks and area attacks.

As per the ruling on magic missile, there is a headache inducing thread** as to what constitutes an attack, or attack power.

For purposes of the shield, if it has "ranged" or "area" in its range line, it should count.

To re-articulate the conclusions of the thread, I'll be ignoring it and going to the PHB FAQ which states:

What happens if I use magic missile while benefiting from a power like greater invisibility? Does it count as an attack and would my invisibility end?

Yes, it does, and yes, it would. The initial use of any attack power that has a target line, an attack line, or both counts as making an attack. Because of this fact, using an attack power like the fighter's rain of steel does not count as making an attack, since the power has neither a target line nor an attack line.

Therefore, because if something has a ranged or area ranged line it must, perforce, have a target lines, for purposes of this question it is the only necessary criterion to determine resistance.

The force orb secondary attack may qualify for the resist

Force orb, ultimately comes down to the DM's call. While the secondary target does not have ranged nor area in the target line, it is producing the effect equivalent to an area from a ranged attack. One argument in favour could be that it inherets the "ranged" range from the primary attack, as it has not overriden that range. One argument against is that the use of "adjacent creatures" indeed overrides that range with the functional equivalent to a close range. Offer your DM asprin and a link to the above thread. Bribery may be useful here.

The erupting flare non-attack damage does not qualify for the resist

This taken from PHB FAQ as above, given that the power neither targeted the character nor was an attack against the character with ranged or area keywords, the character would suffer the full effects of erupting flare.

Area attacks do qualify for the resist if you are using the normal item

Being targeted by a normal area attack does qualify you for the resist so long as you are using the item as printed, rather than the item you paraphrased.


*One of my most favourite common items to builds that don't need IAoP. Just love it. Looking at the paragon version, it has indeed benefited from errata making it more generally useful.

**Warning, over 500 posts long. It really is painful.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I knew I shouldn't have used Magic Missile in my example, but that was the first single-target spell attack that came to mind. I mostly just wanted to know if area burst attacks get reduced, since they don't actually have the "ranged" word in their range line. So far it looks like I've got mixed answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Jason White Sep 17 '11 at 21:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I'm using the old offline character builder, and the only Shield of Deflection on there is the paragon tier one with the wording in my question. Has it been changed to state that it resists area attacks too? \$\endgroup\$ – Jason White Sep 17 '11 at 21:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it has. Property: You gain resist 5 to all damage from ranged attacks and area attacks. Update (8/5/2010) Item updated to match Essentials data. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Sep 17 '11 at 21:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you have a current DDI subscription, I recommend enhancing the functionality of old Char builder with the CBLoader. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Sep 17 '11 at 21:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ My pleasure, mate. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Sep 17 '11 at 22:01

A Ranged attack is any attack with a range such as ranged weapon, or ranged X squares. Area and close attacks are thus not ranged attacks, and melee obviously isn't.

Damage from an effect like Force Orb is not an Attack against you: It is a separate damaging effect. A Ranged Attack must include an attack and damage roll.

From the Compendium:

Ranged Attack
Targeted: Ranged attacks target individuals. A ranged attack against multiple
enemies consists of separate attacks, each with its own attack roll and damage
roll. Ranged attacks don’t create areas of effect.
If you’re using a projectile weapon to make a ranged attack against multiple
targets, you need one piece of ammunition for each target, and if you’re using
thrown weapons, you need one for each target. 
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the quick reply and the explicit definition. I'm wondering though, since the shield doesn't actually say the attack has to be against me, why wouldn't I resist 5 from the Force Orb example? \$\endgroup\$ – Jason White Sep 17 '11 at 21:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not ... quite. There's some debate over what constitutes an attack. Articulated in my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Sep 17 '11 at 21:12

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