Spirit of the Hawk's WindDDI is an interesting power. It is a close burst 5 that targets one creature. Further, as an effect, it creates a zone in a burst 3 centered on the target. My question - How big is the resulting zone if the target is a large creature?

Personally, I think is different from Close burst from a large creature — one square origin or all of them due to the zone, and the difference between the original caster and the target; but if this gets closed, I'll know what the community thinks :)


This question is different than the subject line of the post you reference, but the intent is still the same I think. (The subject line specifies a "close burst" when the actual question is in regards to a "zone" effect.)

In any case, WotC's rules on zones are somewhat ambiguous on this point. There is no strict definition of what constitutes a zone's "origin square" in those particular rules. So, we must defer to the rules on close attacks.

For a close attack, the origin square of a burst is the creature's space. The rules further specify that the origin square of a blast is one square within the creature's space. So, one can easily surmise (though this is not spelled out in RAW) that a close burst originates in all squares of the creature's space.

Since there are no specific rules written to cover this situation for zones, we're left to presume the same applies. So, a zone of burst 3 centered on a 2x2 target would fill a total area of 8x8.

Since RAW gives us no clear definition, I went ahead and submitted the question to Wizards of the Coast customer support. They agree that the rules are ambiguous, and the query will be forwarded to the development team. Meanwhile, their suggested interpretation follows with what is posted above while of course leaving it up to the DM in the end.

The response is quoted below:

After closer review of your specific Spirit of the Hawk's Wind example, it becomes apparent that the rules as written do not clarify exactly what is intended for that issue. For the time being, I would interpret that the effect of that zone still follows the "Close" rules, where the origin space is dependent on whoever the zone is centered on. This is less confusing, and helps the party fight the bad guy better. Good times!

However because it is not clear, I’ve passed along this conversation to the game’s developers. Hopefully, we’ll see an update or FAQ entry covering it soon, but until then it’s up to the campaign’s Dungeon Master to decide. The DM is always the final arbiter on how they want their campaign to run.

Have fun!

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  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I submitted this question to WotC, and received the usual quick and friendly response that I've come to expect from them! This answer has been updated to include their input. \$\endgroup\$ – Iszi Oct 15 '10 at 2:57

I disagree with both Iszi and Mr Ice as per my answer in close bursts.

We start with the effect line of the power as linked in the question:

Effect: The attack creates a zone of uplifting winds in a burst 3 centered on the target. The zone lasts until the end of the encounter. While within the zone, any ally can use a move action to shift 4 squares and ignore difficult terrain during the shift. As a move action, you can move the zone 5 squares.

Attack creates a zone indicates that the caster is creating a zone, not the target. Thus, we now need to look at area burst and (curiously) the mount and rider glossary for definition.

First we look in area attack:

Origin Square: You choose a square within an area attack’s range as the attack’s origin square, which is where you center or start the area of effect. You need line of effect from a square in your space to the origin square. For a target to be affected by an area attack, there needs to be line of effect from the origin square to the target. You don’t have to be able to see the origin square or the target, and concealment between the origin square and the target doesn’t apply.

Here it strongly suggests that area bursts have an origin square, unlike close bursts which originate from all squares of the monster.

For clarification, we look at Mount and Rider:

Space: The rider and mount both occupy the mount’s space. However, the origin squares of the rider’s powers and other effects do not change to the mount’s size. Whenever the rider uses an effect that has an origin square (such as a melee, a ranged, an area, or a close power), the rider first picks where that square is located in the mount’s space, and the effect uses that origin square. For example, if a Medium rider uses a close burst attack power, the rider chooses a single square within the mount’s space, and the burst emanates from that square. This rule means that if the burst targets each creature within it, rather than each enemy, it can hit the mount.

Thus, origin comes from caster, origin square is 1 square, thus the caster must choose a "central" square on the target to center it on, providing that LoS and LoE are met.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting point, that the power is essentially an "area burst" instead of a "remote close burst" as we've been translating it. However, I think the specification in the power's description of "centered on the target" more clearly describes the action as being the latter. Further, I'm not quite sure I understand why the Mount & Rider rule keeps being brought into this. It's not as if the PC is jumping on top of the creature and creating the zone centered on himself. This is definitely one worth submitting to WotC, I think. \$\endgroup\$ – Iszi Oct 14 '10 at 2:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ I bring mount and rider in because it clearly indicates that the origin is caster's size. I'd contest that centered is a targeting problem and not a size problem. But I'm happy to pose the question to cust serv if we can format it in a way that lays out all of the relevant rules. (Maybe make this a community wiki to do those edits?) \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Oct 14 '10 at 2:33

A corollary might be: does the zone take the shape of a donut with a hole as most bursts seem to do (they don't affect the target square)? This might be interesting for Spirit of the Hawk's Wind because it would create a hole where presumably the power would not function. There could be a whole other discussion about whether that hole exists, or whether it effects creatures starting there or passing through. For that matter, does Spirit of the Hawk's wind let you shift and ignore difficult terrain starting in the zone but passing outside it at any time? It would seem the answers would be yes, the hole exists and no, the shift and ignore difficult terrain must be carried out wholly within the zone.

For what it's worth, I believe that the burst 3 centered on the target should be exactly the same shape as a close burst 3 as if the target were the caster. Thus I believe that when the target is a large crature it is exactly like Close burst from a large creature — one square origin or all of them where the consensus seems to be 7 square with a 2x2 hole in the middle.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Rules Compendium p121 on zones notes that "The Zone fills each square in the target area, which is usually a burst or blast" I take that to mean that they avoid the doughnut. \$\endgroup\$ – Pat Ludwig Oct 14 '10 at 0:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Bursts do not in fact form a donut. They just do not affect their creator unless otherwise specified. \$\endgroup\$ – Iszi Jan 9 '11 at 5:57

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