I just started getting into forced movement in D&D 4e, and I have a couple of questions:

  1. Is forced movement required to take place? IE As the attacker can you opt not to enact the forced movement.
  2. Is there a difference for #1 between push/pull and slides?
  3. Is there a difference between ongoing effect, attack effect, and on hit for #1?
  4. Can you take part of a forced movement? Ie The power says you push 3, but you choose to only push 1.
  5. Can you selectively choose extent in AoEs? Ie allies stay put, but enemies get slid away.
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE. Good First question, if you haven't already have a look at our FAQ. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Mar 28, 2012 at 12:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ You should get yourself a copy of the Rules Compendium. A must-have for any D&D 4e player. Otherwise, cracking open the PHB once in awhile wouldn't hurt either. \$\endgroup\$
    – Iszi
    Commented Mar 28, 2012 at 21:00

1 Answer 1


No, forced movement is not required to take place. It is also allowable to cause the creature to move less than the indicated number of squares, so long as a destination is not specified.

Pg 212 of the Rules Compendium reads as follows:

When a distance is specified, it is a maximum; the creature or effect producing the forced movement can move its target up to that number of squares (or none at all). For instance, a character's power might say, "You slide the target 4 squares (or "up to 4 squares"); both mean the character can move the target up to 4 squares or not move it at all. When a destination is specified, it is absolute; the creature or effect must either move the target to that destination or not move it at all.

To put it another way, you could think of it as causing forced movement, but simply using that movement to move the target 0 squares.

There is no difference between pulls, pushes and slides in regards to not enacting forced movement, though obviously you cannot push or slide someone into blocking terrain such as a wall.

There is no difference in regards to source or type of the effect - again, think of it as moving them 0 squares.

You can choose to move the target less than the amount specified, so long as the description does not specify destination the target must reach. If the target cannot reach that destination with the distance specified, the forced movement fails altogether.

Yes, you can choose which targets you wish to move and which you do not in an area effect.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So, when you are pushing a dwarf or someone who can resist a push, you need better specify a destination that is within n-1 squares, or the movement doesn't happen at all? \$\endgroup\$
    – Snowbody
    Commented Mar 28, 2012 at 21:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Snowbody the dwarf question has come up before and as far as I'm concerned is still unresolved rpg.stackexchange.com/q/8894/1084 \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Mar 28, 2012 at 22:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Snowbody - I would be inclined to think that in the case of forced movement resistance, it would result in the target moving to a space 1 space away from the target destination, the specific dwarf resistance trumping the general rule for destination-specific forced movement. Much as damage resistance doesn't negate the attack, but simply subtracts from the damage. But that is pure speculation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ananisapta
    Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 6:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, pulling, sliding or pushing a creature into difficult terrain costs only 1 square of forced movement (not 2). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 8:03

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