I am referring here to the Sustain Standard of the Witch Bolt power (Wizard).

Sustain Standard: Reroll the damage and deal it to the target again. Once the target is out of range, you can't sustain this power.

Does this mean that I have to be within 5 squares (which is the range of the power) of the target when I use the sustain standard? Or does it mean that if the target is moves farther than 5 squares from me the connection is broken, even if I use a move action to get back within 5 squares of the target before using the Sustain Standard?

  • \$\begingroup\$ What is the range of Witch Bolt in 4e; don't have rule books for that edition. \$\endgroup\$ – Drunk Cynic Jan 2 '16 at 5:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @DrunkCynic I said in the question that the range is 5. "...within 5 squares (which is the range of the power)..." \$\endgroup\$ – Patrick vD Jan 2 '16 at 5:04
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @DrunkCynic a common unofficial stance here is "if you don't have the rulebooks to look up the material yourself, you probably shouldn't be the one to answer" \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Jan 2 '16 at 5:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleMonkey Thank you, I'll keep that in mind from now on. \$\endgroup\$ – Patrick vD Jan 4 '16 at 20:36

The target is out of range as soon as they are beyond 5 squares

The language is precise and unambiguous.

First, what a sustain entry means is that the duration of a power can be extended by taking a certain kind of action, and the sustain line will include any modifications to the effect that occur when the action is taken. Witch Bolt's sustain entry is a Standard action, but it has the proviso that it cannot be sustained “once the target is out of range”.

That could be thought of as ambiguous, but it really isn't: once's literal meaning is to indicate a one-time change. Another way to write the exact same meaning with different words is “If the target has been out of range…” The alternative interpretation — that it could be sustained if you get back into range — is unsupportable because it would require a different wording on the sustain action's conditions: “If the target is out of range, you can't sustain this power,” or “When the target is out of range…”

Since it doesn't say “if” or “when”, it doesn't work as if it said “if” or “when”. Instead it says “once”, which means that as soon as the condition occurs, the “can't sustain” proviso activates (and stays active, because there is no provision for ending it for that casting).

  • \$\begingroup\$ It is also akin to Conjuration rules: If the caster move (or is moved) beyond the range of the effect, it instantly expires. Since Witch Bolt isn't a Conjuration, they had to rephrase the already-existent rules to fit the power. \$\endgroup\$ – Nibelung Jan 4 '16 at 11:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.