Dread Carapace is the L6 utility in the Misshapen theme from Dragon Mag 416. Part of the power states:

In addition, when any enemy ends its turn adjacent to you, it must use a free action to move up to its speed away from you.

Where I am getting tripped up is the phrase "move up to its speed". Since the power says "move up to its speed", rather than "move its speed" would the following moves be legal:

  • A creature with a speed of 6 moves 0 squares away
  • A creature with a speed of 6 shifts 1 square away
  • A creature with a teleport speed of 4 teleports 4 squares away
  • A prone creature with a speed of 8 crawls 1 square away

1 Answer 1


No errata and little hard rules: my interpretations of similar powers and the existing rules that may affect it.

First, let's define the power:

Misshapen Utility 6 Dread Carapace

Effect: Until the end of the encounter, you gain a +2 power bonus to AC and Fortitude. In addition, when any enemy ends its turn adjacent to you, it must use a free action to move up to its speed away from you.

Published in Dragon Magazine 416.

Second let's define a move:

Move Action

Move actions involve movement from one place to another.

Action Description

  • Crawl - While prone, move up to half speed
  • Escape - Escape a grab and shift 1 square
  • Run - Move up to speed + 2; grant combat advantage until next turn and take a -5 penalty to attack rolls
  • Stand up - Stand up from prone
  • Shift - Move 1 square without provoking opportunity attacks
  • Squeeze - Reduce size by one category, move up to half speed, and grant combat advantage
  • Walk - Move up to walking speed

How it works out

1. Since the power says they must move away, moving zero squares as part of the free action is not valid. Likewise while standing up or going prone are move actions, they do not move the monster any further away and are also invalid for the free action move.

2. Shifting is a move action and it moves the creature away from you. Shifting is valid.

3. IF the creature has a defined teleport speed, they may teleport, however they can not teleport as part of a power.

4. Crawling is a valid move. In the example you give the monster could crawl up to 4 squares away. Crawling is defined as 1/2 your move speed. There is a feat that lets you shift while prone (Low Crawl) but that is only available to PCs, not monsters.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I am actually more inclined to think that a shift would not be possible, primarily due to the fear response you mentioned above and a shift being a thought out, tactical action. But I also completely agree that some of the magazine articles (and even printed books) have horribly worded powers which could be discussed for hours over their specific scope without coming to a resolution. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 7:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ One thing I would like to add is that on p200 of the Rules Compendium "move" is defined as "Any instance of movement, whether it is done willingly or unwillingly. Whenever a creature, an object, or an effect leaves a square to enter another, it is moving. Shifting, teleporting, and being pushed are all examples of moves." So while it isn't on the moves list it is used as an example with in the definition of move. I doubt that changes the fact that it is a result of a power and therefore disqualified in the scope of the question, but perhaps something to consider. How would you handle Fey Step? \$\endgroup\$
    – MC_Hambone
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 7:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MC_Hambone After reviewing it and talking with the esteemed waxeagle I agree that a teleport speed should be allowed. I've edited my answer to reflect this. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 18:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @winterblood 4e doesn't really care about simulating stuff on that level. Powers do what they do, flavour is just flavour, and the concept of fear has no mechanical meaning anyway. Mechanically shifting is fine. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 22:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the thorough response, it will help for our next game. Glad I stumbled on this site. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sean
    Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 18:39

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