I've seen/heard quite a lot about Wizards in the Paragon tier effectively 'Rocket Jumping' with use of the Thunderwave power and the Arcane Reach feat. How would this work? Both mechanically and realistically?

A clear explanation of the rules as well as a brief example in terms of imagining the action would be ideal.

Could this be used to travel vertically as well?

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Attempting to explain anything in 4e in a way that makes sense in real world physics is probably not good for the brain...or the soul (and I like 4e). \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Feb 28, 2013 at 21:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually this one makes quite a bit of sense. You create a huge shockwave behind you that flings you forward. That's thunderwave rocket jumping in a nutshell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Feb 28, 2013 at 21:46

1 Answer 1



close blast 3, each creature in the blast

Hit: 1d6 + Int mod thunder damage, and you push the target a number of squares up to your wisdom modifier

Piece 1: Thunderwave is a close blast 3, and targets every creature in the blast.

Note: A close blast X is an X-by-X box that does not include the origin square but has at least one of its squares adjacent to the origin square.

Piece 2: Thunderwave pushes creatures it hits a number of squares equal to the caster's wisdom; with a good wisdom and feats/items to boost it, the push distance begins to exceed the typical character movement speed (6) around mid paragon tier.

Arcane Reach

Benefit: When using a close arcane attack power, you can choose a square within 2 squares of yours as the origin square. The power still follows the rules for close attacks.

Piece 3: Arcane Reach allows you to choose a nearby square as the origin square instead of using your square.

Putting It All Together

  1. Pick the direction you want to move
  2. Cast Thunderwave
  3. Using Arcane Reach, pick an origin square 1-2 squares away from you in the opposite direction from the direction you want to move
  4. Choose the area for Thunderwave such that it includes you
  5. Hit yourself with Thunderwave
  6. Push yourself away from the origin square, and thus in the desired direction

Example Setup

crude example setup made in OpenOffice Calc

Here's a crude image I threw together in OpenOffice Calc. Hopefully it makes sense (if not, let me know in the comments and I'll try to make something a bit nicer).

How to Get the Most Out of It

  1. Increase push distance; if you're not getting at least speed+2, it's probably not worth the trouble
  2. Get some thunder resistance, ideally enough to completely negate the damage from hitting yourself (you still get the push even if you don't take any damage)
  3. Improve your attack roll; if you don't hit yourself, you don't get the push
  4. Reduce your fortitude score; if you don't hit yourself, you don't get the push

Cost/Benefit Analysis

This trick usually isn't worth it.

Getting the forced movement boosts isn't particularly bad, since they make the power better for its normal use, and improve quite a few other wizard powers as well. Increasing your attack roll is always helpful, so resources spent on that aren't wasted at all.

Reducing your fortitude is generally a bad idea (unless it's already awful anyway). Wizards tend to have pretty crummy fortitude defense in the first place, and if you make it worse you stand a good chance of monsters being able to hit you on a natural 7 or even lower. Thunder resistance, particularly thunder resistance good enough to completely negate the hit, is not easy to come by, and is likely to eat up your neck slot magic item (that being the easiest way to get it).

The real waste is the use of the standard action. You could put the same distance between yourself and foes by pushing them away from you instead of pushing yourself away from them, thus doing damage, repositioning foes to help the rest of the party (your actual job, since you're a controller), and completely avoiding the investment in thunder resistance and the risks associated with reduced fortitude.

TLDR: It's an amusing trick and simple but still moderately interesting theoretical optimization, but in actual play you're usually better off just using the run action.

Addendum: Vertical Movement

The relevant rules text is on page 213 of the Rules Compendium:

Two-Dimensional: Forced movement is normally two-dimensional; all the squares of the movement must be on the same horizontal plane. Forced movement can become three-dimensional when the target is flying, is moved through a substance such as water, or is on a non-horizontal surface, such as an incline, that supports it. This means an earthbound target cannot normally be pushed to a square in the air, but a hovering target can be. Similarly, a target can be pulled down a flight of stairs, and it can be slid in any direction underwater.

Thunderwave won't get you airborne, but if you're in the air already then you can gain altitude with it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, this makes it much clearer. The diagram makes sense, even if a bit crude. Thank you for the answer, I won't accept it yet as I'll see what anyone else has to offer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Archwillow
    Feb 28, 2013 at 22:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @F.RandallFarmer: Honestly, unless someone in your group is abusing Thunderwave to rocket jump like this, I wouldn't make it knock people prone. It's already a very good at-will power on its own plus it has a lot of optimization potential. Allowing it to knock its targets prone basically turns it into the ultimate "Get Out of Melee Free" card for wizards. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Feb 28, 2013 at 23:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Keep in mind that this can only be done with close blasts, not close bursts. Unless a power description notes otherwise, a close burst you create does not affect you. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpatchery
    Mar 1, 2013 at 13:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @F.RandallFarmer Then wizards will just start pushing themselves diagonally upward and use acrobatics to land on their feet :) \$\endgroup\$
    – dpatchery
    Mar 1, 2013 at 13:30
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @F.RandallFarmer: The risk of failure is that you might miss yourself and waste the standard action entirely. Attack boosters being hard to come by, the best way to increase your odds of hitting yourself is to reduce your own fortitude, and if you happen to get it low enough that you're hitting yourself on a 5 then monsters are probably hitting you on a 7. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Mar 1, 2013 at 16:19

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