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So in D&D 4e, Monster Manual 3, there's the Pact Hag (p.108).

One of their attacks is the Compelling staff. The description says this: "Hit: 1d6 + 5 damage, and the target makes a melee basic attack as a free action against a creature of the hag's choice."

Now, my question is: can the target perform a move action to move towards the second target, before doing their melee basic attack?

The description doesn't seem to imply so. But it seems to me that, if the target cannot move at all and HAS to attack someone that's adjacent to them, then it seems to me that this Hag power is not really that great at all. Because I don't really see a lot of situations in a combat encounter in whihc two PCs will be directly adjacent one to another. It can happen sure, but it probably won't happen that often.

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No, the target cannot move.

The ability doesn't say that the target moves, so the target doesn't move.

However, this does not make the ability useless! A melee basic attack targets one creature within melee range, and there is always at least one valid target within melee range: the creature making the melee attack. While the best case is obviously to have a target with a good MBA whale on its squishy allies, the hag can always just have the target attack itself.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Now this is something I have never thought about! That a creature could attack themselves. Good idea, thanks! Also, what is a "MBA whale"? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 16:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KrisSciHist "MBA = melee basic attack", "whale on" = "beat on" \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 17:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's also nothing stopping the Hag from trying to 'motivate' her own allies, since creature stat blocks often have interesting Melee Basic Attacks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Frezak
    Commented Oct 24, 2022 at 14:44

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