The wizard class of dnd 4e has a lv6 spell called levitate, see below for excerpt from the ddi compendium:


You rise off the ground a short distance.

Daily Arcane

Move Action Personal

Effect: You move up to 4 squares vertically and hover there until the end of your next turn. While aloft, you are unsteady, taking a -2 penalty to AC and Reflex. If some effect, such as a pit opening below you, causes you to be more than 4 squares above the ground, you drop down to 4 squares above the ground. You do not take damage from such a fall. When the levitation ends, you descend to the ground without taking falling damage.

Sustain Move: You move up to 3 squares up or down or 1 square horizontally, and you hover there until the end of your next turn. You cannot go higher than 4 squares above the ground.

Player's Handbook, page 162, and Class Compendium.

Now, the issue with this is that my group of players want to attach a rope around the levitating wizard and have one PC (Barbarian) pull the wizard around the battlefield, this would allow them, battlefield permitting, to nuke/AoE over obstacles. This is their intended effect.

  1. Would I be correct as to keep to the 'half move speed when pulling/pushing a grabbed character' - and because it is a conscious, and cooperating, ally in a premeditated action, require a lower check to execute the initial forced movement. The 'grab' is the rope which is connecting the puller to the pulled character - conveying the weight.

  2. Momentum: to move said wizard beyond the pullers square I would say a strength check to 'throw' the wizard an X number of squares. - would the running jump (Athletics) be an adequate mechanic?


3 Answers 3


It's a Grab

If you're physically taking control of another creature and moving them around the battlefield, I'd say that that's exactly what a grab is.

The only difference is that you're using a rope instead of your hands so that you don't necessarily need to be adjacent. It's up to you as DM to decide whether that's different enough to disqualify it. If your play group uses a fairly simulationist style, like mine, then that seems plenty close enough to me.


From the Rules Compendium:

Grab, Attack
Standard Action, Melee touch
Requirement: You must have a hand free.
Target: One creature that is no more than one size category larger than you.
Attack: Strength vs. Reflex
Hit: you grab the target until the end of your next turn. You can end the grab as a free action.
Sustain Minor: The grab persists until the end of your next turn.

I don't see any reason to change any of that, except perhaps changing the attack from strength to dexterity or intelligence to represent the different challenge of tying a rope. Require that the rope be tied to the wizard by someone adjacent to them to satisfy the "Melee touch" requirement. Require that the person holding the rope have a free hand for the rope.

Move a Grabbed Target
Action: Standard action
Strength Check: The creature makes a Strength check opposed by the Fortitude of a target it is grabbing. The check automatically succeeds if the target is a helpless ally of the creature.
Success: The creature can move up to half its speed and pull the target with it. The creature's movement doesn't provoke an opportunity attack from the grabbed target, but the movement otherwise provokes opportunity attacks as normal.

Once again, don't see any reason to change any of this. This assumes that you're adjacent to the target the whole time, so you'll have to impose a range on it to account for the rope. It says that the attack automatically succeeds against a helpless ally. I would be comfortable considering an ally who is cooperating as being helpless for this purpose, since they won't resist at all.


Far from being unbalanced, 4E's action economy makes this seem not even worth it.

The initial grab is a standard action, so someone has to give up an attack to make it. It might not succeed, although you can rule whatever penalties or bonuses for the attack you deem reasonable. Keep in mind that tying a rope in the middle of battle is not necessarily trivial.

After the initial grab, whoever has the rope has to give up a minor action every turn to sustain it.

Furthermore, moving a grabbed target is a standard action, so whoever has the rope isn't making any attacks.

Also, if your PCs are doing clever stuff like this, and you feel like it's too powerful, have them fight some clever enemies. It's not that hard to cut, burn, or otherwise damage a rope. They might not even want to sever it though. Perhaps instead they can use it to their advantage. Maybe an enemy could make a strength check to grab the rope away from the party member, and drag the Wizard off a cliff. Not a lethal cliff, of course. Not the first time.


I would suggest you not even go here for the same reasons as Wax Eagle. If you apply it here, you're going to have to start applying it other places, and it's going to be a nightmare.

That being said, if you want to pursue the idea of one of your characters 'throwing' the wizard, this question about throwing a halfling might be helpful.


4e is not built to handle this kind of simulationist play.

While inventive, this kind of approach goes against the balance, and design intent of 4e's combat and class systems. Levitate gives you a big advantage by moving you out of melee range, but its at the cost of your ability to move horizontally. Your player's idea is something that would fundamentally make this spell overpowered and a win button in most fights.

If you were looking for a class that literally jumped in and did AOE damage, Monk is actually the best choice

I'm not entirely sure how close to Destiny your players are actually trying to hew, but if they are looking to replicate that kind of fast and aggressive playstyle than just playing a monk instead might make more sense. Their a striker with a strong secondary as a AOE controller.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The players goal is to use levitate to negate an obstacle (a wall etc) and have the wizard AoE upon the enemies. Indeed an OP tactic but as DM to just say no without explanation feels wrong. In relation to the video link: The titan jump is the wizards levitate, the forward momentum being the PC pulling the wizard and the Titan Smash being the wizards AoE of choice. I would, as DM, state before hand that the wizard spend a minor to adjust for the attack - ending levitate upon execution - or have him land automatically after the AoE attack. This would prevent a death from above scenario. \$\endgroup\$
    – Exo Waltz
    Oct 30, 2014 at 13:24

If you want to push your friends, the appropriate mechanic to model it after is the Bull rush. Whether or not the character is levitating is completely irrelevant.

Bull rush only allows one square of movement without additional feat support and is a standard action.

If you want additional functionality with this kind of mechanic, I would still charge a standard, but possibly allow the character half movement with an athletics check. There is no real mechanic for conservation of momentum in 4e and I would not apply it to a game situation as you'd be in a heap of trouble trying to figure out the other places it would apply.

To be honest though, Josh is right, what you're trying to do here is probably better served with a different class choice.


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