In the DND 4E Campaign I'm playing in, my Warlock has just reached 7th level. I've been wandering through the char builder options for his new Encounter power, and came across one called "Pain to Pleasure".

The rules for this in Char Builder look broken. I don't think the Insider rules allow me a copy-pasta here, but the way it's written in both the Character Builder and in the Compendium, it looks like I get to make 4 attack rolls, two against a primary target, and two against a secondary target.

The Dragon article which is referenced for introducing the power includes a condition however. I only get to attack a secondary target if I miss the primary and take damage equal to my level for doing so. However, this detail has gone missing in Char Builder, and in Compendium, where instead the Miss: on the primary simply grants me my Charisma modifier in restored hit points.

What's the right thing to do here folks?

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    \$\begingroup\$ The most recent rules in any situation are usually preferred because those rules contain the most recent fixes for game-play problems. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 18, 2012 at 20:53

2 Answers 2


I don’t know the feature in question, and @waxeagle seems to have covered that well anyway.

But I do want to address the question in the title, since wax eagle didn’t quite (though he did follow the advice I’m about to give).

Use the Source That Works Best For Your Game

Which is to say, ignore anything that doesn’t work for you, change stuff around, make it work for your table. Source and precedence rules are only important for theoretical optimization games. I can’t speak well on 4e, but in 3.5 there are plenty of things that have been errata'd, overwritten, or seem pretty likely to be errors, that I still prefer over the “actual” rule.

So in the future, I think the more useful question is “how does one interpretation versus another affect the rest of the game?” or “which way is more balanced?”

And in answering those questions, many people will more than likely make at least some case supporting their position as being based on the rules – that’s not for nothing. Particularly in 4e, which seems to be a much more intentional system than 3.5, the actual rules/designer intent should count for something.

But it also should not be everything.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This answer only applies to a non-shared game. In a shared environment (like Living Forgotten Realms), you can't just pick and choose, you have to use the most up-to-date source. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Dec 18, 2012 at 21:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClarke: Actually, it exactly because of that that I consider those sorts of things pretty much awful. If I wanted a game where the rules were standardized, regulated, and carved in stone, I'd play a computer game. They run a lot faster. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Dec 18, 2012 at 23:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ We're talking two different issues here - one is the source of updates to rules, and the other is the interpretation of the rules. Interpretation will always vary somewhat, even in a shared environment. It's unavoidable. But, what is being interpreted in a shared environment should always be the same. That means that people playing the game in an unfamilliar place will at least have a common ground for discussing the rules, even if they arrive at a different conclusion. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Dec 19, 2012 at 3:32

There is a subtle indent in the compendium (at least on mobile) that puts the secondary attack under the miss line, without that cue it's unclear when the secondary attack happens. Usually if a secondary attack always happens it's under the effect line, not the miss or hit line (which then require those conditions).

In dragon magazine the indent is much less subtle so it's clear that the secondary attack happens on the miss.

Powers flow naturally, they have Target, hit, miss and effect lines, every aspect of a power belongs under one of those lines the secondary attack follows the miss line without an effect line. This makes it's a miss condition.

With the dragon article clarifying that the attack happens on the miss it's clear that the secondary attack only happens under the miss condition.

As far as the conflict goes. I'd say that Dragon magazine is correct as it's pretty clear the compendium contains a typo, copying the text from the Infernal pact into the miss line instead of the miss line from Dragon magazine. This should be reported to Wizards.


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