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What is the difference between "each creature in blast" and "each creature in area"?

I noticed that the dragon breath power said "all creatures in area", and was curious what the difference was.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Out of curiosity, what powers are you seeing that target "each creature in area"? I've gone through my books casually and haven't found any - usually the language is pretty consistent with "each creature in burst" or "each creature in blast". \$\endgroup\$ – Glazius Jul 26 at 18:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ The power is dragon breath, and I just saw that it said "all creatures in area" \$\endgroup\$ – Elite Star Jul 27 at 20:59
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It makes Dragon Breath forward-compatible.

Most attack powers in 4e will use the more specific nomenclature of their Close or Area targeting type to describe their targets. A close blast that targets all creatures in the blast, or an area burst that targets all creatures in the burst.

However, Dragon Breath is a racial power, and one of the more common uses for feats in 4E is to manipulate racial powers somehow. So, "all creatures in the area" is a generic targeting statement that applies no matter what shape or shapes your Dragon Breath takes. (It's a little confusing because Area is also a power type, but it should be read as shorthand for "area of effect", a generic term for the squares affected by a power.) If you can take feats to let you use your Dragon Breath as a Close burst 1 or an Area burst 2 within 10 or an Area wall 9 within 3, the targeting statement doesn't need to be updated as part of the feat.

This is important because if the targeting statement stays the same, other feats can independently update the targeting statement - you could make your breath target all enemies in the area and gain an effect that helps all allies in the area.

As a result, all of the feats that affect your Dragon Breath stack - you can, for example, cough out an area burst that only hurts enemies and helps your allies, and there isn't the possibility that you create contradictory rules text by doing so.

(Some of these feats are in the Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn mini-supplement - Bolstering Breath lets your breath help allies and harm enemies, Focused Breath lets you turn your breath into a close burst, and Hurl Breath lets you use it as an area burst. As far as I know there isn't one that lets you use it as an area wall.)

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There are 3 types of areas for abilities in 4e.

Close Burst/Aura, Close Blast, and Area Burst. If X is the area of the ability, and O is the caster (and * is an unaffected square),

Close Burst or Aura abilities center on the caster and radiate outward in a square; auras move with the caster for the duration but bursts do not.

XXX
XOX
XXX

Close Blast abilities are adjacent to the caster's square, but go out in one direction (forming a square

*XXX
OXXX
*XXX

Area Burst abilities are like close bursts, but come from a selected point at some range from the caster.

O***XXX
****XXX
****XXX

So "each creature in blast" or "each creature in area" are both the same, but for different abilities. You could summarize as "each creature in the affected squares".

Close [Burst/Blast/Aura], Personal, and melee abilities do not provoke, only ranged and area burst ones do. At least without a feat or ability that stops them from provoking.

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