Understanding Charge

Switchback

First Post
I'm having a hard time interpreting what "move directly to the nearest square" means in the definition of a charge action.

I have read answers that supposedly you do not have to go in a straight line during a charge. The problem I have with this is that it allows characters to make wildly erratic charges when there are obstacles in their way, when for some reason if those obstacles were not there, they could not charge along the same path. This does not make sense to me.

Here is a diagram to illustrate a few points.

The black boxes on the hex grid represent slabs of stone, 4 feet tall, that completely fill the squares they sit on. They do not block LoS. Let's assume for these examples the attackers have just one action left or that they have used their move action.

• Figure ‘A’ wants to Charge figure ‘B’. If the slab of stone was not there, the attacker would incur an opportunity attack from Figure ‘C’ if he were to follow the normal charge rules. Fortunately for him, since a slab of stone is in his way, he has two ‘nearest direct’ paths to choose from and can now charge around the slab and avoid an opportunity attack. If he can do this when an obstacle is in his way, why wouldn’t he just charge in this fashion if the slab *was not* there?

• Figure ‘D’ wants to charge figure ‘E’. In a situation where the slab north of him did not exist he could not charge, because he can’t move 2 squares first. But using the ruling advised in some places, he can suddenly now charge figure E because he is forced to move 2 squares to reach his target. The supposed cover is actually making the defending character move vulnerable!

This interpretation of charge makes little sense and is not logically consistent with what the Charge action seems to be representing. If such wildly erratic moves were possible during a charge, an attacker would choose to use them whether obstacles were in his path or not. He would also likely be granted the ability to hit a target from a square that was not the nearest to him, such as on a targets side or even moving behind them.

We had a similar situation to these occur in our last session. A monster who was behind a low line of impassable rocks charged up and around them to hit someone several squares off beyond the other side. The non straight line rule really seems to trivialize terrain and obstacles. If the charged player had instead had a few friendly players in front of him occupying the 'nearest squares' instead of a piece of terrain, he would not have been able to have been charged.

It makes little sense to me how the presence of obstacles opens up or not, new options for paths a character can take on a charge. If you use a more basic straight line approach (and you already usually have a Move Action to set this up), Charges become much more straightforward and consistent.

Victim

First Post
My interpretation is that each square of a charge move must reduce the distance to the target. So those charges lines are illegal since they include

However, (4,2), (5,2), (6,2) in (x,y) from bottom left corner are an equal distance from A. So B could charge into (4,2) then (4,3) or (5,3) to avoid C's attack. Assuming that the block wasn't there or that he could scramble/jump over it.

The manueverability of charging comes from using the diagonal properties of 4e. Consider the grid clear of obstacles with a character X in (4,1) trying to charge a character in (4,7). There's the obvious straight line charge along the 4 column. However, all the way out to (1,4) and (7,4), diagonal moves are also bringing the character just as close to the target as the straight line. So there's basically a diamond of possible charge routes bounded by those points.

Switchback

First Post
That makes more sense to me. I think a requirement of the charging character moving closer each square gets the job done much better than the examples in the first post.

That way if you have an attacker 5 squares in a straight line (same row) from another character that is behind a pillar, that attacker can charge more or less in a straight line to one of the squares on his targets side, and he simply has to make one diagonal movement along the route to get to the nearest square.

It's not like he is substantially changing his momentum once he gets going and you don't have to deal with so many inconsistencies such as 'Z' shaped moves, when you otherwise would never be allowed to make them.

Last edited:

tmatk

Explorer
...

The black boxes on the hex grid represent slabs of stone, 4 feet tall, that completely fill the squares they sit on. They do not block LoS. Let's assume for these examples the attackers have just one action left or that they have used their move action.

...

By RAW, does LoS or LoE have any bearing on a PCs ability to charge?

Switchback

First Post
By RAW, does LoS or LoE have any bearing on a PCs ability to charge?

Charge does not have any special additional rules listed about these things, but as a charge is a attack you have to be able to target the creature to attack (and charge) it. Which you can't do if you can't see it, don't know its there, or don't have line of effect.

If for instance the DM has just laid out a map with two hallways in a 'L' shape, you could not just charge around the corner because he laid some Orcs in the adjacent hall that your characters don't know are there. You could of course, move to the corner, see them, then charge.

Similarly if you were following a creature and he went into a pitch black room, you wouldn't be able to charge them directly.

Though you could use the "Targeting what you can't see" rules to blindly charge into the room and pick a square that you hope the creature is in to attack. There would be a good chance you end up wasting your turn though. I would expect the DM to make you pick a square as well where you would end up making your attack against, and not letting you have an entire row of squares to hope that the creature is somewhere along.

RAW would suggest you still must pick a square as well. Nor does it seem realistic that your character could bump into something in the dark running full speed and be ready to attack at any point along that path.

This is assuming you have failed your checks to determine its location or exact square.

Last edited:

eriktheguy

First Post
Movement Requirements: You must move at least
2 squares from your starting position, and you must
move directly to the nearest square from which you
can attack the enemy. You can’t charge if the nearest
square is occupied. Moving over difficult terrain
costs extra squares of movement as normal. (PHB1, 287)

You must move directly to the nearest square from which you can attack the enemy. You may not move around objects to charge, since this would not be moving directly. Moving directly could be interpreted to mean that a straight line passes through each square between your starting square and the destination square. Good question though, your suggested paradox had me puzzled for awhile!

GorTeX

First Post
Similarly if you were following a creature and he went into a pitch black room, you wouldn't be able to charge them directly.

Though you could use the "Targeting what you can't see" rules to blindly charge into the room and pick a square that you hope the creature is in to attack. There would be a good chance you end up wasting your turn though. I would expect the DM to make you pick a square as well where you would end up making your attack against, and not letting you have an entire row of squares to hope that the creature is somewhere along.

RAW would suggest you still must pick a square as well. Nor does it seem realistic that your character could bump into something in the dark running full speed and be ready to attack at any point along that path.

This is assuming you have failed your checks to determine its location or exact square.

RAW (with updates included), you know exactly where the creature is unless they made a successful stealth check.

On Puget Sound

First Post
IMC I allow a short 1-square charge (I call it a lunge). It follows all the rules of a charge but grants no bonus to the attacker. It just seems too weird to me that you can attack someone 10 feet away in a single action, but it takes 2 actions to attack them if they are 5 feet away.

eamon

Explorer
IMC I allow a short 1-square charge (I call it a lunge). It follows all the rules of a charge but grants no bonus to the attacker. It just seems too weird to me that you can attack someone 10 feet away in a single action, but it takes 2 actions to attack them if they are 5 feet away.

Doing so nerf's the already weak prone condition however - I wouldn't. Think of it as too short a run to successfully build up speed for a charge attack without which your lunge is trivially deflected.

Especially monsters tend to have quite decent basic attacks, meaning that charging is very good option anyhow.

eamon

Explorer
Charge does not have any special additional rules listed about these things, but as a charge is a attack you have to be able to target the creature to attack (and charge) it. Which you can't do if you can't see it, don't know its there, or don't have line of effect.

Watch out; there's two different terms "Attack" being used in D&D. One attack means "attack power", and the other means "attack roll". Attack power's don't automatically have target's, but they do contain attack rolls which do. In short, you must be able to target the creature once you make an attack roll, not necessarily before you start your attack power.

After all, some attack powers don't even directly target creatures at all!

So, I'm not sure whether or not you need to see the creature before charging - you certainly don't need to roll to hit before moving, and if it turns out that your target is invalid, you've just made a move as a standard action...

Of course, requiring LoS would make some sense; but that could go either way, I suppose.

In any case, WRT moving directly, I once asked CS about this, and they interpreted directly to mean "along a shortest path" - so you've got some flexibility in how to move, but you must move closer with each square you move. This interpretation also has the advantage of permitting adjudication of readied actions or other interruptions easily: If the battlefield changes half-way through the charge, you're still bound by the limitation that each square of movement must bring you closer (so if that's no longer possible, you lose the charge).

Last edited:

Switchback

First Post
RAW (with updates included), you know exactly where the creature is unless they made a successful stealth check.

No, I was describing a non combat situation. You certainly wouldn't know where the creature was exactly once it left your line of sight around a corner or into a room of total darkness (and had new turns totally out of LoS). If could have went entirely into another part of the dungeon, exited the room, etc.

It's no different than trailing someone, 50 feet back, through a crowded street who then ducks into a tavern. You obviously no longer know the exact square that creature is in if you are still on the street, unless you have x-ray vision like superman.

All you know is your characters had a foe in sight at one point, but lost him. Just because you saw a creature at one point, certainly does not mean that you know where it is forever in the game world until it makes a stealth check.

Now if a combat had already started, then sure you go through the normal stealth check routine if they try to hide somewhere in the battle scene. I noted that you would only have to pick a square if you had failed all your appropriate checks (including passive perception), if the creature was actually still in the dark room when you got to it.

Last edited:

GorTeX

First Post
There was no mention at all of time passing in the situation I was replying to:

imilarly if you were following a creature and he went into a pitch black room, you wouldn't be able to charge them directly.

If you were following a creature and he went in to a pitch black room, unless the creature made a successful stealth check, you would know exactly which square they were in..with or without LOS.

Give the creature a few turns, he may well make the stealth check or leave the room (and depending on how close you were behind them, you may even know what path the creature took if it did not make or succeed on a stealth check).

Unless the creature makes the stealth roll, there is no need for a perception check by the PC's as they automatically know where he is...just because you do not have LOS does not automatically make the enemy hidden.

Switchback

First Post
Clearly there was a misunderstanding with my example. If the PC's were in combat, or *right behind* the creature and could get up to the doorway in 6 seconds or less, then your answer is fine.

But that is not what I was attempting to convey. Which was rather a non-combat situation in which the character are a ways back trying not to be seen. If it takes them 2 to 4 rounds to reach that room, there is no reason and no way the should know where or what that creature is doing in there in those intervening rounds.

If the characters decide to just stop and make camp for the night in the hall, they obviously don't keep knowing a creature's location who has gone out of LoS.

Once they get up to that doorway though then the creature can make its stealth check. Or maybe, if it didn't know it was being followed (say it just went to sleep), then it isn't even trying to hide. But that still wouldn't mean the PC's can see in the dark. They have to have a means to target something there (even if they can't see it), unless they are shooting indiscriminate area attacks. At that point, if they couldn't light the room, they would have to use the "targeting what you can't see" rules to pick a square, which would entail rolling a stealth check again for the creature vs their passive perception to determine its direction and so on with the normal process.

Last edited:

Infiniti2000

First Post
Doing so nerf's the already weak prone condition however - I wouldn't.
Not really. What the two-square caveat means is that knocking a monster prone and shifting 1 square is better than knocking it prone and shifting two squares. Why is staying closer the monster when he's prone better than getting further away? That makes no logical sense. Think of it this way, "Aw, man, he's too close now I can't reach him!" Wtf?

eriktheguy

First Post
Not really. What the two-square caveat means is that knocking a monster prone and shifting 1 square is better than knocking it prone and shifting two squares. Why is staying closer the monster when he's prone better than getting further away? That makes no logical sense. Think of it this way, "Aw, man, he's too close now I can't reach him!" Wtf?

I agree. Knocking someone prone may not prevent them from attacking you, but if it forces them to charge then they are restricted to a single melee basic attack. Using the 'charge one square, no +1' rule seems sensible.
If you think prone is too weak you could make standing up require a standard action, or provoke opportunity attacks, though I won't be doing either.

Mistwell

The biggest problem I have with charge is:

1) It is usually restricted to a basic melee attack for player characters,
2) Monster often have one of their best abilities as their basic melee attack.

This means monsters can freely charge player characters and have a significant effect on player characters, while player characters cannot freely charge monsters and expect to have a significant effect on monsters (unless they build specifically to charge).

I wouldn't mind if some monsters have good powers to be used with a charge...but it does bug me that it seems like all or almost all of them do.

Bayuer

First Post
What happens when monster charges and then comes an readied action, for instance the Swordmage Lighting Lure?

1) Can monster conitune charge to his target?
2) Can he attack the swordmage then as a charge?
3) What if i use charge, monster have power that grants him shifting? My charge is lost? Can i move along if I have movement left?

tmatk

Explorer
What happens when monster charges and then comes an readied action, for instance the Swordmage Lighting Lure?

1) Can monster conitune charge to his target?
2) Can he attack the swordmage then as a charge?
3) What if i use charge, monster have power that grants him shifting? My charge is lost? Can i move along if I have movement left?

I'm not 100% sure, but I think a charge is considered one action. The move and the attack are resolved before another's readied action can kick in.

cdrcjsn

First Post
Once they get up to that doorway though then the creature can make its stealth check. Or maybe, if it didn't know it was being followed (say it just went to sleep), then it isn't even trying to hide. But that still wouldn't mean the PC's can see in the dark. They have to have a means to target something there (even if they can't see it), unless they are shooting indiscriminate area attacks. At that point, if they couldn't light the room, they would have to use the "targeting what you can't see" rules to pick a square, which would entail rolling a stealth check again for the creature vs their passive perception to determine its direction and so on with the normal process.

Not according to the errata on stealth/perception.

Just because you can't see a target, it doesn't mean that you don't know it's exact square...unless that creature makes a stealth check (which is against your passive perception). The only advantage a creature that is invisible or in full darkness has is that it doesn't need to find full cover or total concealment to make a stealth check.

Stealth is keeping quiet in addition to keeping out of sight, so it involves more than just vision. The lack of vision is already taken into account by the -5 to hit with ranged/melee attacks.

cdrcjsn

First Post
What happens when monster charges and then comes an readied action, for instance the Swordmage Lighting Lure?

1) Can monster conitune charge to his target?
2) Can he attack the swordmage then as a charge?
3) What if i use charge, monster have power that grants him shifting? My charge is lost? Can i move along if I have movement left?

Movement can be interrupted, but you should be able to finish the rest of your movement.

If the teleport or shift invalidates the "move in a direct line" portion of charge, then I suppose your charge fails.

But the wording for charge relies on common english rather than any keywords, so your best bet is to ask your DM to make a ruling and just stick with it.

Replies
6
Views
6K
Replies
30
Views
2K
Replies
50
Views
3K
Replies
1
Views
3K
Replies
112
Views
4K