Instinctive Darkness/Shadowslip

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Quick question:

If I am a Drow and have both the Instinctive Darkness (may use Cloud of Darkness racial power as an immediate reaction when you are the target of a close or melee attack) and Shadowslip (when you use Cloud of Darkness you may shift 2 squares as a free action), can I shift away from a melee attack and thus negate the attack as I am no longer a legal target?
No, it's an immediate reaction, not an immediate interrupt.
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.
As per PHB 269, targeting (step 2) is distinct from the other steps in an attack, including attack roll (3), comparison vs defense (4) and application of damage and effects (5). It's an atomic step and the reaction applies to it, not the attack as a whole. Think about it this way: if it was a reaction to the attack roll or comparison vs defense, you'd invoke the action before applying damage - and nothing in the rules indicates that any step is more distinct than another in the attack sequence.

Also, check out PHB 272-273, they expound at great length on the subject of targeting in its own right in the greater context of the attack. This should further underscore that an "attack" could be considered a sort of "container" for the attack choice, targeting, attack roll, comparison vs defence and application of damage and effects.

Can someone rule on this definitively? This is killing me; depending on the group I play with, this is OK or not OK.
As per PHB 269, targeting (step 2) is distinct from the other steps in an attack, including attack roll (3), comparison vs defense (4) and application of damage and effects (5). It's an atomic step and the reaction applies to it, not the attack as a whole.

I think you're misinterpreting that one. The box on page 269 is mostly describing rule system mechanics which aren't visible from within the game world.

When you declare a ready action, the triggering "action, event, or condition" needs to be something that occurs in the fantasy world. For example your character can act "when the orc moves into range", but he cannot act "the next time the DM rolls a die" because the DM doesn't roll dice within the game world. In other words, your character doesn't see dice being rolled or numbers being compared; he just sees the orc swinging the greataxe.

Many of the steps on page 269 are rule steps that occur at the gaming table, not in the fantasy world. Your character cannot trigger an action when the enemy chooses his attack power, calculates his range, or compares his die rolls to your defense score. He must trigger his action when the enemy moves, or attacks, or casts a spell -- things he can reasonably see.

an "attack" could be considered a sort of "container" for the attack choice, targeting, attack roll, comparison vs defence and application of damage and effects.

I wouldn't say it was a container. I would say that the attack is the action while the other stuff (attack choice, targeting, attack roll, comparison vs. defense, and damage roll) are the rules and rolls that we use to adjudicate the action. Your character sees the attack, but not the implementation details.

Can someone rule on this definitively?

Definitively? No, because we aren't WotC employees. We're just friendly people with opinions!

- Alane -
I think you're misinterpreting that one. The box on page 269 is mostly describing rule system mechanics which aren't visible from within the game world.

I'd be happy with that if it said as much anywhere, but that body of text was as deliberately written and intended as "rules" as any of the other passages in the same "boxed text" format. I suppose one could single out the passage for being numerically organized vs bullet points, but for two points: 1) none of the other passages deal with a sequential set of steps, and are rather lists and 2) the other numbered list in the chapter is the combat sequence on 266, and that's pretty much definitely an ordered set of distinct, atomic steps.

When you declare a ready action, the triggering "action, event, or condition" needs to be something that occurs in the fantasy world. For example your character can act "when the orc moves into range", but he cannot act "the next time the DM rolls a die" because the DM doesn't roll dice within the game world. In other words, your character doesn't see dice being rolled or numbers being compared; he just sees the orc swinging the greataxe.

There's a reason you put the "action, event, or condition" part in quotes: because its in the rules. The rest is not in there, and I would add, you are allowed to affect die rolls with a variety of powers (Dark One's Own Luck comes to mind). You can ready actions when someone enters a square, right? What does a grid look like in a "real" dungeon? After a certain player acts in initiative order? What the heck is initiative order in the fantasy world? Fact of the matter, we rely on an imperfect model for us to allow ourselves to immerse ourselves in an RPG, so I can't imagine predicating rules on what transpires in the "fantasy world" makes sense. It just doesn't say that anywhere.
And just one other thing: I can tell when I'm about to get slugged generally, so I think as far as a common sense basis for this rule, being targeted is a real world phenomenon. It may happen quickly, but there is the intention and the action, and they are separate.
I'd be happy with that if it said as much anywhere, but that body of text was as deliberately written and intended as "rules" as any of the other passages in the same "boxed text" format. I suppose one could single out the passage for being numerically organized vs bullet points

Huh? I never said it wasn't "rules". I said it wasn't visible to the fantasy characters within the game world. Thog Bloodyaxe doesn't see the DM rolling a d20 and comparing the result to the AC listed on his character sheet. He just knows that the Orc hit him, and it hurt.

I suppose you could play a game in which the characters themselves are fully aware of all the game rules (kind of like The Order of the Stick) but it seems a little weird and comedic. Still, I'm sure there are people somewhere who play D&D that way, and I hope they're having fun!

we rely on an imperfect model for us to allow ourselves to immerse ourselves in an RPG, so I can't imagine predicating rules on what transpires in the "fantasy world" makes sense. It just doesn't say that anywhere.

Certainly the rulebook doesn't say anywhere that the fantasy characters aren't aware of rule implementations, but most people seem to play that way. Say that your adventuring party has camped for the night...

[INDENT]DM: Everybody make a Perception roll, please.

Fred: I got a 4, guess I missed it.

Sally: I got a 1! I definitely missed it.

Bob: Geez, a 3. Looks like we're all blind tonight. Hey, how about if we set up some traps around camp to catch whatever's coming at us? And we should all sleep in our armor.

Sally: Sleep? I'm not sleeping. I'm staying awake until the attack comes!

DM: Hold it. You guys never set traps around your camp, and you never stay up all night.

Bob: Well we're doing it tonight, because something nasty is coming.

DM: But your characters don't know that!

Fred: Sure we do. We all missed a Perception check, so we should get ready for whatever we failed to perceive!
[/INDENT]
Now as you say, the rulebook does not specifically prohibit this behavior. Does it seem like good roleplay to you? If not, then why not?

That's all I'm saying. Players are aware of die rolls and defense checks. Characters aren't. If a character readies an action, the trigger should be something the character can reasonably perceive.

- Alane -
I'm just trying to stick to canon here, but I do appreciate where you're coming from.

My thing is, as written, the rules allow the tactic above. If they meant it to be an immediate reaction to an attack they would have said "as an immediate reaction to a melee or close attack on you" vs "as an immediate reaction when you are the target of a melee or close attack".

I'd be OK if this was not legal, but as written it is, and if they intended otherwise there needs to be an errata. In the absence of such an errata, I''d argue this is 100% legal... by the rules of course.
The important thing is that reactions occur after the action that caused them is resolved. The exceptions are (1) each square of movement and (2) you can react between attacks if a power grants multiple (distinct) attacks as a standard action.

So yes, you can react to being targeted, but the entire attack occurs before your reaction triggers. If it were an interrupt, then as soon as they said "I'm attacking you" you could jump in and rewrite the battlefield.

Note that "targeted by an attack" is not really a special or unique event, just a shorthand way of saying "attacked by something, whether it hits, misses, or doesn't require a roll".
When you declare a ready action, the triggering "action, event, or condition" needs to be something that occurs in the fantasy world. For example your character can act "when the orc moves into range", but he cannot act "the next time the DM rolls a die" because the DM doesn't roll dice within the game world. In other words, your character doesn't see dice being rolled or numbers being compared; he just sees the orc swinging the greataxe.

There are several powers that are keyed of being targeted, which shift the target of the attack before the attack roll is made. So targeting must be separate step from the actual attack.

That may not be what they intended with this power but I would say RAW it works.

Jay
The important thing is that reactions occur after the action that caused them is resolved. The exceptions are (1) each square of movement and (2) you can react between attacks if a power grants multiple (distinct) attacks as a standard action.

The resolution is the fact that the target of the attack has been established.

So yes, you can react to being targeted, but the entire attack occurs before your reaction triggers. If it were an interrupt, then as soon as they said "I'm attacking you" you could jump in and rewrite the battlefield.

If it is a reaction to being targeted, then once you have been targeted, you can invoke this (encounter) power. That precedes the attack roll in the rules, explicit as anything. Consider it the "event", unless you can find a different definition of event anywhere in the PHB or DMG. If there's no alternate definition, then I guess it would be OK to use standard usage in a somewhat general sense, no? Also, not sure you're going to rewrite the battlefield with this power that can be used once per encounter at the cost of 2 feat slots.

Note that "targeted by an attack" is not really a special or unique event, just a shorthand way of saying "attacked by something, whether it hits, misses, or doesn't require a roll".

It might not be special or unique, but it is an event. It reflects a change in the state of the entire battlefield; in programming terms (which is appropriate given that these rules read like a spec sometimes) if you were to wire up an event handler to the "Targeted" event, you would execute the event handler thread before anything else (no multithreaded comments here, the D&D battle map is synchronous...).

Basically, if you agree that what is written in the PHB is how you conduct combat, then targeting is an atomic step which can therefore generate a reaction. As far as the rules are concerned, the targeting step is as distinct from the attack roll as the damage roll. I think most people who don't agree are looking past the texts.
targeting is an atomic step which can therefore generate a reaction. As far as the rules are concerned, the targeting step is as distinct from the attack roll as the damage roll. I think most people who don't agree are looking past the texts.

Or perhaps they are just reading the rules as they're written.

I'm not sure where you got the idea that reactions could apply to any "atomic step", but that's definitely not what the rulebook says. Per page 291, an immediate reaction "takes place after your enemy completes the action that triggers it."

What's an action? If you look on pages 267 ("Action Types") and 268 ("Substituting Actions") you will find that actions are indeed defined: standard, move, minor, free, opportunity, and immediate.

An immediate reaction takes place after your enemy completes the action that triggers it; and the triggering action in this case is probably a standard action (because most attacks are). Your reaction takes place after the enemy's standard action has been completed.

If you decide that the enemy's standard action is composed of numerous "atomic steps" which can independently trigger immediate reactions, that's certainly your prerogative; but it's a house rule. The rulebook says the other thing.

While we're on the topic: the whole difference between an immediate reaction and an immediate interrupt is that the interrupt fires before the triggering action resolves, while the reaction fires afterward. If you split the triggering action into "atomic steps" and use reactions against those steps before the whole action completes, then interrupts are really no better/different than reactions.

- Alane -


I took the WotC "what class are you" test and it told me I'm a...
IMAGE(http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u105/alanzeke/WotCPeasant.jpg)
Or perhaps they are just reading the rules as they're written.

Perhaps. And perhaps it's that they've lived their whole lives with D&D and that most of their preconceived notions as to how 4e D&D should work is from 1, 2, 3 and 3.5 eds. They've always rolled their attack and damage at the same time, breezing through combats instinctively without paying attention to changes in the rules like this one. Not that it's terribly clear to begin with...

I'm not sure where you got the idea that reactions could apply to any "atomic step", but that's definitely not what the rulebook says. Per page 291, an immediate reaction "takes place after your enemy completes the action that triggers it."

The section on PHB 291 is specifically for Readied Actions. Immediate reactions have that troublesome "event" trigger that no one on your side of the argument can seem to find a specific definition for. If you could, we might be able to end this thread right now, but I've looked and its not in there. Happy hunting.

Also I'd like to refer back to the excellent point that JayM made earlier in that there are powers that take effect immediately after targeting has been declared, which then switch the target. I remember the Goblin King in ADAP1-1(?) did stuff along those lines, so there is precedent.

There are several powers that are keyed of being targeted, which shift the target of the attack before the attack roll is made. So targeting must be separate step from the actual attack.

That may not be what they intended with this power but I would say RAW it works.

Jay

Would you at least agree that there's a sequence clearly spelled out in the PHB whereby targeting precedes the attack roll? 3 is still bigger than 2 and not equal to 2 right? It's been a while since college ;)
(1) Reactions are not interrupts. Interrupts can do all sorts of funky things to rewrite the normal action sequence. Reactions can't.

(2) You can react to any "event" you feel like*, but the reaction will still occur after the current "action" is resolved. With the explicit exceptions of powers granting multiple attacks (you react after the first power is resolved) or movement (you react after each square).

Indeed, the exception for acting after each attack sets a clear precedent that you do need to wait for the entire resolution sequence to finish; if you could jump in at any point (like, say, interrupts) then the exception would be inane.

* "any event": for example, it's legitimate (if somewhat bizarre) to ready an action "if the half-elf sorceress winks at me". Half way through casting scorching burst, she winks at you (a free action inserted into the middle of a standard action). Your readied action - which triggers as an immediate reaction - still must wait for the casting action to resolve before the readied action is resolved.

Heck, the sorceress might wink during someone else's action (free actions can arguably do that), and you'd still have to wait until that character finished their action (or completed a square of movement or completed an attack) before you could apply your readied action.

There is one rules oddity, which is that some monster attacks grant a secondary poison attack or the like, and there's a legitimate argument that the readied action can trigger between when the target takes the initial hit and when they're attacked by the poison. I'd expect most DMs to rule that one away, however.
Please keep your posts polite, respectful, and on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks.
(2) You can react to any "event" you feel like*, but the reaction will still occur after the current "action" is resolved. With the explicit exceptions of powers granting multiple attacks (you react after the first power is resolved) or movement (you react after each square).

Indeed, the exception for acting after each attack sets a clear precedent that you do need to wait for the entire resolution sequence to finish; if you could jump in at any point (like, say, interrupts) then the exception would be inane.

The text on PHB 268: "An immediate reaction lets you act in response to a trigger. The triggering action, event or condition occurs and is completely resolved before you take your reaction, except that you can interrupt a creature's movement." The trigger in this instance isn't the action itself, as I pointed out above; it's not a condition in the sense of PHB 277; it is an event - the event of being targeted. Once that event has been resolved, the reaction takes place. The event is the act of targeting, 2 in a discrete 5 part process as per PHB 269.

Trying to base this all on what's in the rules, so if you've got page numbers and such, that'd help resolve this more effectively. And I thought this thread was completely above board, what happened?
The trigger in this instance isn't the action itself, as I pointed out above; it's not a condition in the sense of PHB 277; it is an event - the event of being targeted. Once that event has been resolved, the reaction takes place.

I understand your point, and it's sort of clever but you're still trying to wipe out the difference between immediate reactions and immediate interrupts.

If the rule designers had intended it that way, reactions wouldn't be in the rulebook at all.

- Alane -
I understand your point, and it's sort of clever but you're still trying to wipe out the difference between immediate reactions and immediate interrupts.

If the rule designers had intended it that way, reactions wouldn't be in the rulebook at all.

- Alane -

You had me at "clever" ;)

OK, I'm done. I think this is just a point where gamers of good conscience can have differing views, BUT a common rule set shouldn't be this open to interpretation. They need to issue an errata or clarification or something on the Instinctive Darkness feat. Thanks for humoring me guys.
Trying to base this all on what's in the rules, so if you've got page numbers and such, that'd help resolve this more effectively. And I thought this thread was completely above board, what happened?

Variety of examples:

(1) Alane has already pointed out that interrupts and reactions are deliberately spelled out as being different, and a reading that minises the difference isn't really consistent.

(2) PH pg 268: "completely resolved". The natural interpretation of that is "finishes what it is doing". This is consistent with the following paragraph, which says "an immediate reaction might interrupt other actions a combatant takes after its triggering action" (emphasis mine).

It goes on to say "For example, if a power lets you attack as an immediate reaction when an attack hits you, your action happens before the monster that hit you can take any other action". Note that it does not say "before the monster that hit you gets to deal damage", which would be consistent with an "event = resolution step" interpretation (compare with the example for immediate interrupts).

(3) Also note the "readied action" example on pg 291, where it explicitly states that if you ready an action to be triggered by an attack, you don't get to resolve the action until after the attack is resolved.

#3 is completely analogous to instinctive darkness + shadowslip. It triggers on the attack (or part thereof), which means that it occurs immediately after the attack is completely resolved.
Variety of examples:

(1) Alane has already pointed out that interrupts and reactions are deliberately spelled out as being different, and a reading that minises the difference isn't really consistent.

(2) PH pg 268: "completely resolved". The natural interpretation of that is "finishes what it is doing". This is consistent with the following paragraph, which says "an immediate reaction might interrupt other actions a combatant takes after its triggering action" (emphasis mine).

I'm not claiming this is an interrupt. My reading is that the trigger is an event, not an action. The crux of our contention is that I consider the targeting to have been explicitly referenced as the trigger in the description of the feat and that I see it as a valid trigger in the context of the numeric list on PHB 269. The feat doesn't say the attack action is the trigger; if it had all your aguments would have merit on the basis that the action was the trigger, not an "event".

It goes on to say "For example, if a power lets you attack as an immediate reaction when an attack hits you, your action happens before the monster that hit you can take any other action". Note that it does not say "before the monster that hit you gets to deal damage", which would be consistent with an "event = resolution step" interpretation (compare with the example for immediate interrupts).

No it doesn't, but by the book, one would theoretically do things in that very order; it would have no materiel effect on the state of the battlemap, so doing things out of order would be inconsequential, but the hit or miss status of the attack is determined after step 4, and therefore before application of damage and effects on step 5. There is nothing in that passage that is inconsistent with my position.

In any case, it all comes down to how you feel about the numeric list on PHB 269. If you believe it was to be taken "literally" then you feel as I do, if you believe it to be "enrichment" targeted at newer players of the game, than you feel as you do.

I really would love for there to be something official on this and then come back to this thread...
I'm not claiming this is an interrupt.

If your reaction can be triggered by the incoming attack's "targeting step", and then resolves before the incoming attack actually hits you, how is that any different functionally from an immediate interrupt?

- Alane -
If your reaction can be triggered by the incoming attack's "targeting step", and then resolves before the incoming attack actually hits you, how is that any different functionally from an immediate interrupt?

- Alane -

It depends.

If it was an immediate interrupt of the attack action, then the attacker could theoretically choose a different attack type and target than had been his original intent.

As far as being an interrupt of the targeting step, I'm not sure there's an "insertion point" that one would define in those terms. Here's what I would think makes the most sense in terms of meaning and aesthetic (but this is mad subjective obviously):
Trigger Fires/Terms
Before entire attack/Immediate Interrupt - Attack Action
After initial selection of attack type/Immediate Reaction - Attack Selection
After target selection/Immediate Reaction - Target Selection
After attack die is rolled/Immediate Reaction - Attack Roll
After hit|miss determination/Immediate Interrupt - Damage Roll
After entire attack/Immediate Reaction - Attack Action

Some of these would get more use than others obviously, but they are all "well-formed" members of the set of possible "insertion points" in an attack action as per PHB 269. And I'm sorry to keep flogging that 7 character sequence, but I am curious, where do you guys fall on that "literal" vs "enrichment" axis?

Also apologies for the abuse of the quotes...
One other thing I want to mention: Completely, totally hypothetically if I was right, this isn't as broken as you guys think.

It has dramatic value and a viable projection onto the "fantasy world" that you mention above. "Right as the snarling orc begins the downward arc of his axe glaring murderously at you, you disappear into a huge inky blackness." And if invoking Shadowslip, "his mask of rage morphs into one of befuddlement as his strike that should have rung true disappears and returns from the darkness unbloodied."

And its not at all destabilizing; once per encounter, you can avoid an attack, but at the cost of a proactive CoD or Df use. There are powers that do the same thing. We are talking about 2 feats. If you only use 1 slot, you can't even avoid the attack automatically, but you do impose a -5 penalty (unless it's a close attack, doesn't even work vs ranged or area attacks).
Before entire attack/Immediate Interrupt - Attack Action
After initial selection of attack type/Immediate Reaction - Attack Selection
After target selection/Immediate Reaction - Target Selection
After attack die is rolled/Immediate Reaction - Attack Roll
After hit|miss determination/Immediate Interrupt - Damage Roll
After entire attack/Immediate Reaction - Attack Action

So in practical terms, you can do all the same stuff with a reaction that you can do with an interrupt. Your interpretation does indeed make them functionally equivalent.

I think we must agree to disagree. I firmly believe that the D&D designers intend for reactions to work differently (in practical terms, not merely in the technical details!) from interrupts. I also believe the game is more interesting that way.

- Alane -
So in practical terms, you can do all the same stuff with a reaction that you can do with an interrupt. Your interpretation does indeed make them functionally equivalent.

I think we must agree to disagree. I firmly believe that the D&D designers intend for reactions to work differently (in practical terms, not merely in the technical details!) from interrupts. I also believe the game is more interesting that way.

- Alane -

Instinctive reactions/interrupts are just hooks to invoke event handlers as far as game mechanics. One man's ceiling is another man's floor and all that. There seems to be a demographic that holds the idea of interrupts in a sort of esteem relative to reactions, which is strange to me, because at the heart of things they are just modifiers which are interpreted relative to their trigger - they're synonyms for before and after.

Absolutely, let's agree to disagree then.
... attack as an immediate reaction ...

No it doesn't, but by the book, one would theoretically do things in that very order; it would have no materiel effect on the state of the battlemap, so doing things out of order would be inconsequential, but the hit or miss status of the attack is determined after step 4, and therefore before application of damage and effects on step 5. There is nothing in that passage that is inconsistent with my position.

Except that it could have a very serious effect on the state of the battlemap. If you "react" before the dealing damage step and kill the foe or otherwise invalidate the attack, then you've actually negated part of the attack, and thus the difference between "after the resolution step is completed" and "after the action is completed" is quite significant.

Perhaps the "demographic that holds the idea of interrupts in a sort of esteem relative to reactions" just finds it odd that the book would consistently use nonsensical and uninformative examples? If the examples don't seem to be illustrating the rule, it's entirely possible that the examples are incorrect. But when this occurs consistently across multiple examples, perhaps it's wiser to re-read the rule in the light of the examples?
Except that it could have a very serious effect on the state of the battlemap. If you "react" before the dealing damage step and kill the foe or otherwise invalidate the attack, then you've actually negated part of the attack, and thus the difference between "after the resolution step is completed" and "after the action is completed" is quite significant.

Very true, Nom. Another funky side effect of TJ's interpretation: you can now avoid any single melee attacker indefinitely. Chase-the-archer scenes for example now last forever because no melee pursuer can ever actually hit his fleeing quarry. Check it out:

Archer's Turn:
  • Ready a move action that "reacts to his targeting step", so that you can move six squares just before the blow lands.

Swordsman's Turn:
  • He attacks, but your ready "reaction" allows you to move away before he can hit.
  • He gets no OA because he cannot take opportunity actions on his own turn.
  • Your movement invalidates his attack, so his standard action is lost.
  • With his remaining move action, he can advance to catch you again, but he has no standard action left to attack with.

Archer's Turn:
  • Ready *another* move action, just like the last one.

Lather, rinse, repeat! Swordsman never even gets to make an attack roll.

- Alane -


"I know! I'll chase the archer until he collapses from repeated Endurance skill checks!" :lightbulb
-
Except that it could have a very serious effect on the state of the battlemap. If you "react" before the dealing damage step and kill the foe or otherwise invalidate the attack, then you've actually negated part of the attack, and thus the difference between "after the resolution step is completed" and "after the action is completed" is quite significant.

I think I was referring to the fact that an immediate reaction to the damage roll would generally have no difference from an immediate interrupt of the damage roll. With regards to the examples, I'd like to use them as a way to enrich the text, but I find them as sloppily written as a significant part of the rules. Nothing else new to say.
Quick question:

If I am a Drow and have both the Instinctive Darkness (may use Cloud of Darkness racial power as an immediate reaction when you are the target of a close or melee attack) and Shadowslip (when you use Cloud of Darkness you may shift 2 squares as a free action), can I shift away from a melee attack and thus negate the attack as I am no longer a legal target?

Wow, that's a lot of text dump. Let me boil it down for you, HttT: No.

-Lefty
Jim Crocker, Managing Partner Modern Myths, LLC Northampton, MA www.modern-myths.com
but I find them as sloppily written

As a whole, the rules aren't "sloppily written", they just use common language and assume that most people are cluey enough not to over-think them. Sometimes this leads to ambiguity. Mostly it's only a problem when people interact with the rules as a legal text rather than making the same assumptions as if someone spoke the same thing to their face.
Pardon the necromancy, but I'd like to offer my two cents (since one of my players just asked me about this feat):

To my thinking, there is a distinct difference between "when you are the target of a melee or close attack" (the syntax of the feat) and "when you are targeted by a melee or close attack". The former suggests that the enemy has committed to the attack and made his attack roll; the latter suggests that the enemy has simply chosen you as a target and made no rolls.

In the case of the former, the rules governing an immediate reaction are clear: the triggering action is resolved before the reaction takes place ergo, the attack is completed (hit or miss), and damage dealt if applicable, after which the power can be used as an immediate reaction.

In the case of the latter, we get into the murky water that has been churned into a froth above. If you can react to simply being targeted (leaving off how a character ingame would have any way of knowing an enemy had chosen to attack him before it made its attack roll, especially with a close attack), then you use Shadowslip to avoid being a target altogether, which almost seems to create a paradox (if you're not the target, and there was no attack, how did you react to it?).

I have opted to interpret Instinctive Darkness as operating under the written syntax of the feat, as I described above. This seems fair and in keeping with both the spirit and letter of the rules, and causes no conflict between "immediate reaction" and "immediate interrupt" rules.
“Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.” - Robert E. Howard

To my thinking, there is a distinct difference between "when you are the target of a melee or close attack" (the syntax of the feat) and "when you are targeted by a melee or close attack". The former suggests that the enemy has committed to the attack and made his attack roll; the latter suggests that the enemy has simply chosen you as a target and made no rolls.

In practice, it doesn't matter which reading you use. Shadowslip is an immediate reaction, and that means that it occurs after the triggering action (or attack, if there are multiple individual attacks) resolves. Any confusion caused by redefining 'immediate reaction' to something that it's obviously not is not the rules' problem.
In practice, it doesn't matter which reading you use. Shadowslip is an immediate reaction, and that means that it occurs after the triggering action (or attack, if there are multiple individual attacks) resolves. Any confusion caused by redefining 'immediate reaction' to something that it's obviously not is not the rules' problem.

Except that it's not always this way. Grounding Rebuke is an immediate reaction that triggers when "an enemy hits you with an attack" that reduces the damage taken from the attack. Caiphon's Leap is a similar power, as is Unbreakable. Fortuitous Dodge reacts to "a melee or ranged attack missing you" that adds an additional target to the attack. Unintended Feint is a reaction to an ally missing with an attack that allows the ally to reroll it. Deific Vengeance triggers on an attack against you, and hitting the enemy with the attack weakens them until the end of your next turn - which would only be very slightly useful if it didn't affect the triggering attack.

I could go on, but I think it's clear that immediate reactions aren't always resolved when you (or I) logically think they might be. Since reacting to an "enemy hitting you with an attack" can clearly reduce the damage done by that attack (there's several more examples of this, beyond the ones I listed above), it's not unreasonable to think that reacting to being the target of an attack can change the attack roll (IE, instinctive darkness by itself giving a -5 to the triggering attack seems, to me, to be a possible interpretation of the feat), or if the reaction involved movement, like the feat combo in this topic, negating the attack entirely.


Of course, right as I'm about to finish this post, I read Into the Fire, which is a reaction that responds to being targetted with an area attack that allows movement - and the flavor text clearly means that the intention of the power is that you get hit by the power, then move. (Of course, the flavor text of Commander's Strike seems to indicate it being usable from range. But still.)

Honestly, I think that the rules for exactly what can react to what (and what happens when they do) are just generally not quite as well defined as they could be, and different developers interpret them to work different ways when they write powers, especially in regards to intricacies of things that have many little tiny parts that happen at approximately the same time - like attacks. So I don't think that it's really possible to discern the intention behind Instinctive Darkness, much less Instinctive Darkness combined with another feat. Personally, I think that Instinctive Darkness was meant to be usable to give the attacker a -5 to his attack roll (and it's a reaction because if it was an interrupt, it could prevent the attacker from targeting you at all. It's supposed to slide in right after you're targeted, so as to not prevent the attack entirely, but before the attack is rolled, to give a penalty to it), and thus I'd rule that these two feats combine to negate an attack once per encounter if used together. But I can easily see how someone else could interpret it entirely differently.

On a side note, I've noticed that this seems to just occasionally be the case with Dragon Magazine - feat combos work out together in illogical and unclear ways. For example, Highborn Drow (gives access to a new lolthtouched power) + Master of Fire and Darkness (makes cloud of darkness and darkfire into two separate powers - and, very clearly, only cloud of darkness and darkfire) = ??? Another example is Fast Manifestation and Double Manifestation for genasi - the first says "you change your active manifestation" as a minor action and the second allows two manifestations at once. It's just a convoluted rules world out there, and in situations like this, I think you just have to ask your DM how he or she thinks it should work.
This all makes sense, and I agree about the reaction vs. interrupt mechanics.  But then why would the monk utility power "deflect arrow" be an immediate interrupt that has the trigger of being hit by a ranged weapon attack?  Do you think they meant immediate reaction instead?  Because it seems like that is how it behaves.  Oh, I got hit by an arrow.  I guess I should start trying to dodge arrows. hmmm.  What is that interrupting exactly?  I guess it would affect the second strike in a twin strike volley or the like, But didn't we already come to the conclusion that an immediate reaction would do the same thing?