Do powers and effects that grant allies basic melee attacks allow those allies to take the attacks regardless of their positioning? In other words, if I attack with a Warlord's Commander's Strike:

Commander's Strike
Melee weapon
Target: One creature
Attack: An ally of your choice makes a melee basic attack against the target
Hit: Ally's basic attack damage + your Intelligence modifier

And let my ally Rufus make a melee basic attack against the Zombie, does Rufus need to be within normal melee range of the Zombie? Or can Rufus make the attack from anywhere, since the power does not specify?

One of the player's in our group thinks that Rufus should get the attack regardless of positioning. The way I read this power is that I need to be within melee striking distance of the Zombie and Rufus needs to be within melee striking distance of the Zombie.

A followup question is on powers that redirect or force attacks. Can a power that forces a monster to switch targets choose a new target that is outside of the original range? For example, if the Zombie attacks me with a melee attack and I redirect it to a Skeleton behind me, the Skeleton is beyond melee striking distance of the Zombie. What happens? Does the attack fizzle and nothing happens? Was it an illegal redirect? Does the attack still go through?


2 Answers 2


Yep, Rufus needs to be within normal melee range. He's getting a free basic melee attack, which obeys all the normal rules -- he doesn't get more range because Commander's Strike doesn't say he gets more range.

Similarly, for your second example, the attack generally simply fizzles. However, pay attention to the wording. If your power said, say, "The attack must be redirected to an adjacent enemy," you wouldn't be able to redirect it to the Skeleton.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you link to anything to support this? \$\endgroup\$
    – C. Ross
    Sep 3, 2010 at 18:09
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ See the definition of melee attack (PHB1 270) and basic attack (PHB1 287). If the target of a power is not valid, then nothing happens. \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    Sep 3, 2010 at 19:18
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Not specific wording, but in general the exception-based design (as per page 11 of the PHB) means that exceptions are always explicitly spelled out. When specific always beats general, you have to assume general applies unless there's a specific contradiction. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bryant
    Sep 3, 2010 at 19:21
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Its not the wording of the Commander's Strike so much as the oft forgotten verbiage in the Basic Melee Attack. All Basic Melee Attacks have a little attack power card and a big old keyword of weapon, which is where the weapon range gets sorted. \$\endgroup\$
    – Logos7
    Sep 4, 2010 at 3:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also important distinction: if the attack of the Zombie "targets" the Skeleton instead, then it fizzles. But if the attack of the Zombie "hits" the Skeleton instead, then range becomes irrelevant and the Skeleton will take the damage. Both types of powers exist. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Apr 17, 2015 at 11:38

Commander's Strike grant grants a melee basic attack, which means range is important. If you could not do a melee basic attack than Commander's Strike is useless.

As an aside, when my daughter was playing a warlord she loved this, it didn't hurt that her mom was playing the fighter.


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