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the wizard specialist ability from PHB2...

-- Abrupt Jaunt (conjuration): You teleport up to 10 feet.

-- Activating this ability is an immediate action...

-- You can’t activate this ability in response to an attack that you aren’t aware of.

and this tidbit on the introduction of immediate actions could be added to provide a little context ...

You also cannot use an immediate action if you are currently flat-footed.

I am trying to avoid excessive RAW, as my DM is already a bit weary of the ability being abused. I think the RAW is slightly misleading because most of the different abilities have specific triggers, or have lasting effects, whereas the abrupt jaunt is instantaneous and seems castable with godlike precision. The primary concern from my DM is when I want to jaunt in response to some event (both in combat and out).

Example might be when an archer wants to shoot an arrow at me.

  • If I jaunt in response to him targetting me, that might mean he has not actually shot yet, and could re-target me at my new location (perhaps with a penalty on attack roll)

  • If I jaunt in response to him actually shooting the arrow (meaning release of the bow-string, or the moment after he has completed targetting), does my character actually succeed in activation in time (argument being that although jaunt is immediate, a flying arrow is also moving very quickly, so which occurs first)

Another example I came across in some forum argument: using jaunt while falling, in order to avoid any damage from the fall.

  • Assume a fall from 100ft, and using real-world physics from earth

  • If you jaunt too soon, then you are still in a falling position (and could still take damage, even if reduced damage, still damage none-the-less). Jaunt too late, and you hit before the teleport.

  • Ideally, you might want to jaunt in the last 10ft of the fall, but at that moment in time, you are moving roughly 60mph, and you will pass through the "10ft window of opportunity" in roughly 1/10 of a second. I know immediate actions are fast, but 1/10 of a second is pretty fast as well.


What are some reasonable interpretations on how to deal with these split-second triggers/timings?

We seem to have come up with a decent solution where I need to roll a Reflex save in order to teleport as intended (otherwise we assume the teleport fails or executes with non-optimal outcome).

Does our solution get close to the spirit of things? Should we do a concentration check instead? Should it be a near "godlike" activation when you are fully aware and fully focused on the single task at hand?

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The immediate action rules do not really specify limitations on when you can activate them; you can activate them at any time that you are not flat-footed and have the appropriate actions available.

If I jaunt in response to him actually shooting the arrow (meaning release of the bow-string, or the moment after he has completed targetting), does my character actually succeed in activation in time (argument being that although jaunt is immediate, a flying arrow is also moving very quickly, so which occurs first)

RAW, yes.

An arrow being shot and an arrow actually hitting are separate events in time. For that matter, a sword being swung and it connecting are also separate. RAW, you can Abrupt Jaunt in response to an attack being declared, but not in between attack roll and damage being dealt.

If your [attack roll] result equals or beats the target's Armor Class, you hit and deal damage.

There’s no separation between the two events: a high enough attack roll means damage is dealt.

So you can Abrupt Jaunt after an attacker is committed to making that attack, and teleport out of position for that attack, but you can’t wait and see if he’d miss.

Even so, this is obviously stupidly powerful.

Assume a fall from 100ft,

OK...

and using real-world physics from earth

No. This is a RAW-question, so far as I can tell, and real-world physics don’t interact with the rules. Moreover, real-world physics just don’t apply well at all. There is no way to comply with this condition.

If you jaunt too soon, then you are still in a falling position (and could still take damage, even if reduced damage, still damage none-the-less). Jaunt too late, and you hit before the teleport.

Ideally, you might want to jaunt in the last 10ft of the fall, but at that moment in time, you are moving roughly 60mph, and you will pass through the "10ft window of opportunity" in roughly 1/10 of a second. I know immediate actions are fast, but 1/10 of a second is pretty fast as well.

RAW, immediate actions are basically instantaneous (take as long as a free action). The DM is given license to limit the number of free actions taken during a turn, which you might interpret as license (beyond the usual Rule 0) to decide that taking an immediate action takes a certain amount of time, but beyond that, the rules are silent. The game ignores issues like your ability to time things as you want to, beyond being flat-footed or whatever.

What are some reasonable interpretations on how to deal with these split-second triggers/timings?

I’m not sure there is any one, single interpretation that makes sense with all immediate actions. I’d be extremely leery of setting any hard-and-fast rule, myself. I’d rather adjudicate each immediate-action option on its own merits, case by case.

For Abrupt Jaunt, my opinion is that the “reasonable” thing to do is to ban it altogether. It is absurdly powerful, on a class that is already the most powerful in the game. It’s not an even remotely appropriate thing to get at 1st level.

We seem to have come up with a decent solution where I need to roll a Reflex save in order to teleport as intended (otherwise we assume the teleport fails or executes with non-optimal outcome).

Does our solution get close to the spirit of things?

No one here can authoritatively state what the spirit is; certainly, the rules themselves give absolutely no indication that a Reflex save could or should be used this way.

That said, it does have merit as a houserule, whether it is in keeping with the spirit or intent of the rules or not. It certainly provides a much-needed balancing factor. Reflex is the statistic associated with reaction times, which makes it appropriate.

That said, it doesn’t handle anticipation well. In a fight, you cannot be purely reactive; you have to anticipate your opponent’s moves. I.e. you start Abrupt Jaunt early, as he’s starting to draw. In other words, you try to make him make a Reflex save to avoid shooting the arrow. Or you try to time your Jaunt for just before hitting the ground.

Human reaction times are typically in the ⅓-½ second range, but our ability to time things when we can anticipate our window of opportunity is more precise than that.

There’s no stat that really captures that. Reflex seems to be about the best you’re going to get, but it’s not a perfect match.

Should we do a concentration check instead?

Definitely not; Reflex at least does deal with time, but Concentration is all about taking one’s time. You might need to concentrate to time things perfectly, but it’s not the meditative concentration the skill typically handles. After all, a warrior has to put a lot of concentration on his opponents as well, anticipating where to block and parry and when to strike. This is more like that, and that doesn’t use Concentration.

Should it be a near "godlike" activation when you are fully aware and fully focused on the single task at hand?

No, it very definitely shouldn’t, even if it is by RAW.

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Don't let people use immediate actions during some one else's action. It can be used on the enemy turn before, between, or after the enemy actions. When an action is taken, it is resolved immediately, there is no "time between" during an action, 5 stepping is part of a full attack action, attacks of opportunity trigger during the action and resolve as the action occurs. The concept of interrupting an action is foreign to the game mechanics and shouldn't be allowed because it has no precedence or rules supporting it other than..."uh..it says ~any~ time DM...

When an archer fires an arrow at the wizard, the wizard must call his use of AJ before the attack, meaning, if he is still in line of sight, it does not protect him. If he can go behind cover or out of range, good for him. If the mage got away, the archer could change their mind and target some one else, or take a different action all together.

Examples: Archer full attacks wizard, wizard teleports behind some crates before archer shoots, archer decides to move to get LoS back on the wizard and fires a single arrow with his standard action.

Also, with this interpretation melee attackers could still quick draw and use a ranged attack if the wizard used AJ after the warrior moved in for a melee attack. (angry ogre throws his giant club after getting pissed at mage AJ'ing away)

I would also say that the 10ft teleport only prevents 10ft of fall damage...but why not use it right after you fall to go back to steady ground?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi Wrym, welcome. We're a bit different from other sites, so the kinds of posts that work on discussion forums aren't what's expected from Answer Posts here. The basic idea is that instead of people just offering their 2¢ like in a forum, our Answers are fully-explained solutions to the problem in the Question. Apart from the tour you've taken, you might find the article Good Subjective, Bad Subjective helpful for understanding what makes for a complete Answer here, especially the part about the “Back It Up! Principle.” \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 19 '15 at 22:43
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I completely disagree with these answers.

An AJ ability is an immediate action using teleportation rules but only in a distance restriction of 10ft in any direction at any time. This is a blink of an eye ruling in my opinion. Meaning no time passes before, during or after any other action by anyone. This ability can therefore be activated at anytime.

This is a useful ability for short term defense but not all powerful. It is a limited resource based on intelligence modifier for one. Also you are giving up on a familiar animal companion which can be handy in their own right if you're clever enough especially at high levels. But I digress.

In regards to an archer targeting a wizard with AJ ability the situation would dictate the use effect.

Situation 1: If the wizard is actively paying attention to the archer using a readied action response rule then yes he can AJ after the arrow is fired but before it hits him. This would result in an auto miss. If the archer has the ability to multi-shot the same result would be in play if the wizard was still in line of sight. Meaning the wizard could choose to exhaust a 2nd AJ immediate action resulting in a second auto miss. Essentially the wizard may have bought himself 1 round by exhausting all or nearly all of his/her AJ ability daily allotment.

Situation 2: Wizard is not aware of or is not concentrating on archer activities directly. I.E engaged in a spell, attacking a different monster, looking or facing the other way. You base the situational awareness on the wizard's previous round actions and results. If distraction is the case than the archer fires and no AJ response is warranted in response to the bow string release. Roll to hit as normal. The AJ ability is not ESP or "Spidey Sense" it's a controlled short term blink ability.

In regards to falling and AJ teleporting in my opinion the AJ disrupts normal physics. Once again if used and timed properly this would negate falling damage to max 10ft or perhaps 0 damage if a reflex save is volunteered by PC and passed. Failure could mean death however.

Some other fictional examples for reference see Night Crawler from Xmen comics or Star Trek beaming tech from recent movie releases. There is literally a falling/teleporting example in those movies with Captain Kirk. The DM depending on situation could ask for a concentration reflex check based on how close the wizard wants to cut it from falling impact. It's another situational judgement call.

I have used the AJ many times to save my wizard's ass. But the flip side is equally true. I couldn't save other party members. I could not escape area of effect spells. I have teleported to the other side of a gate and got stuck because I had already exhausted the rest of my daily allotment dodging a troll.

The list goes on and on. AJ is helpful and handy at low levels considering wizard's have only 4 hit points but not as beneficial at high levels the way an actual familiar can be.

Just my two cents.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Two immediate actions per round? Yeah, that's not going to happen unless you're shapechanged into a Chronotyryn. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Jul 30 '16 at 3:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Same as a free action. Which allows multiple options based on DM discretion. \$\endgroup\$ – Dirk Jul 30 '16 at 19:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, no. Immediate actions consume your next (or current) swift action, and you only get one of those per round. With shapechange shenanigans or similar, you can get two. Max. I have never heard of anyone getting more than that in a single character. (Of course, you can use one immediate action, end your turn, then use another. But you then have to wait until after your next turn before using any more.) \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Jul 30 '16 at 21:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TuggyNE The ruby knight vindicator prestige class from Tome of Battle can turn uses of turn undead into swift actions, and there are various abuses to get absurd numbers of those. It’s a corner-case not particularly relevant here, but just for the sake of providing that example you didn’t think existed. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Aug 2 '16 at 5:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan: I had entirely forgotten about the Windicator, for some reason. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Aug 2 '16 at 5:12

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