I have a question about a situation happened in our last D&D 4th edition session.

A gelatinous cube managed to swallow one of us and put us into troubles because almost all of our powers have as target (except an encounter power): CREATURE and not ENEMY CREATURE, so the dungeon master said if we hit the creature with our powers, we would hit our friend too.

How should we manage this situation?

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    \$\begingroup\$ If there is a CR rating I have to assume that this isn't 4e because 4e monsters do not have CRs. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith Jul 7 '14 at 12:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, well, I'm not so used to 4ed rules, I asked to DM what CR was the monster and he told me 1. We are playing 4th ed for sure. \$\endgroup\$ – IssamTP Jul 7 '14 at 13:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ If your GM insists on keeping the house rule it should be a move action (DC set by the monster) to break the grab (the mechanical condition of the affected player) with either acrobatics or atheletics. Other players could also try to pull said player out of the Cube. \$\endgroup\$ – Joshua Aslan Smith Jul 7 '14 at 13:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually the GM read this post and agree with kviiri version, anyway the fight has finished two days ago, it was just curiosity. \$\endgroup\$ – IssamTP Jul 7 '14 at 15:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Last time I recall reading the rules for 4e gelatinous cube, wasn't the ability called "engulf" but the mechanics all said "grabbed"? The grabbed rules should be clear. (I don't know what they are though) \$\endgroup\$ – Mooing Duck Jul 7 '14 at 16:36

Rules as written: When an attack targets "one creature", it targets one creature.

The engulf ability of the cube (as detailed in Monster Manual) says nothing about the creatures engulfed being damaged by attacks against the cube. Therefore, you are able to use single-target attacks against the cube without damaging your engulfed friends.

Area attacks, though, are a different matter. If your friend is inside the area of effect, they are targets unless the attack explicitly limits the targets to enemies, whether engulfed or not.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, hopefuly we have a kind master.... \$\endgroup\$ – IssamTP Jul 7 '14 at 8:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Line-of-effect matters for blast/burst attacks. In the case of a Gelatinous Cube, line-of-effect is still present, but compare to the Devour ability of the Behir, which specifically says that the swallowed creature only has LOS/LOE to the Behir('s stomach lining, I suppose...), and nobody gets LOS/LOE to the swallowed creature. A PC in a Behir's stomach would be perfectly safe from all unfriendly AoEs. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian S Jul 7 '14 at 15:10

As kviiri pointed out, the rules as written do not say that an engulfed creature is affected by whatever affects the creature which engulfed it. However, when your DM insists to house-rule that they do, you have to live with that.

However, house-rules should usually be open for negotiation.

When your abilities require an attack roll, you could agree that trying to hit the cube without hurting its engulfed victim might be tricky, but not impossible, especially considering that a gelatinous cube is transparent and your characters can see where the victim is so they can try to hit other areas. This could be represented by first rolling to hit the cube and when the cube was hit successfully rolling a second time to not also hit the player (where a successful role means no damage and an unsuccessful role means an unintentional hit).

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for the decent RP alternative. Not sure why this answer was downvoted. \$\endgroup\$ – oliver-clare Jul 7 '14 at 12:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed, although I think it's best to play 4e by the rules in these cases. The GM's judgment could in this case reflect a deeper misunderstanding of the rules which could be problematic later on, and even if there isn't one a house-rule tends to complicate things beyond necessary. It's still the GM's call, though. \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri Jul 7 '14 at 13:04

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