Target of Twin Strike

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Hiya,

When a ranger uses the Twin Strike ability, does the target(s) have to be announced before attacking?

If a ranger is flanked by two foes, but one of them is on its last legs; could the ranger Twin Strike at the first one and, hiting with the first attack then choose to hit at the second; but if the first attack misses then choose to take the second attack against it?

Basically, do you have to state before swinging that you're focusing on a single target, potentially wasting the second attack, or can you change target along the way?

Cheers for any help!
Mike
You have to state before swinging what your primary targets are. So in the case of twin strike, both attacks' targets have to be chosen before you make any attacks.

In the case of something which grants secondary attacks, you don't have to choose the target for secondary attacks until you actually get them. So if you were using something like, say, blade cascade, you could choose to attack one foe, then switch to another.
Technically, both attacks happen simultaneously, so you have to declare both targets beforehand... but I would personally allow you to do one attack then the other. I don't see how it could unbalance things or be much of a problem...

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The rules are a little vague, but my rule as DM is that you have to declare all your primary targets simultaneously. So for Twin Strike you have to declare who your target or targets are before you roll.
You have to state before swinging what your primary targets are. So in the case of twin strike, both attacks' targets have to be chosen before you make any attacks.

In the case of something which grants secondary attacks, you don't have to choose the target for secondary attacks until you actually get them. So if you were using something like, say, blade cascade, you could choose to attack one foe, then switch to another.

Do you have a reference for this?

Also to the person that is saying it's simultaneous: in the case of a bow are you suggesting that he's firing 2 arrows at once against two different targets that could be in opposite directions of the archer???

-James
I find no place that this is specifically addressed in the rules. Both the inclusion of ranged weapons and the flavor text, "If the first attack doesn't kill it, the second one might" indicate the blows are not simultaneous. Also, although not specifically spelled out, the attack resolution sequence seems to imply that one attack is rolled and damage applied prior to a second attack.
...
Also to the person that is saying it's simultaneous: in the case of a bow are you suggesting that he's firing 2 arrows at once against two different targets that could be in opposite directions of the archer???

He's either fire two arrows at once or he's doing a highly trained, practice spinning move combination involving the bow. Either way, though, he is for all practical purposes picking the targets of both shots simultaneously.
Things like twin strike are meant to be instant. You are doing two attacks so quickly as to be unable to react to changes.

This isn't much different than if you are interupted by an immediate which invalidates your action. A character using charge to attack a mob that moves in range of a fighter's OA and gets stopped it 1 square out of range cannot quickly change his mind and change his target to the fighter. The action has been determined before actingand it is not changable.
Although many, including myself, have given their opinion, I have yet to see a rules reference.
Although many, including myself, have given their opinion, I have yet to see a rules reference.

I don't think there's a rule to reference here. It seems to be an ambiguous spot in the rules.
I agree. Yet some are talking as if it is cast in stone, albeit without any references.
I agree. Yet some are talking as if it is cast in stone, albeit without any references.

Although it's not set in stone in the rules, I can give some rationale for why I run Twin Strike as having the targets chosen simultaneously.

The PHB powers seem to come in two flavors: ones with multiple targets for the primary attack, like area effect attacks and Twin Strike, and ones where they list a primary attack followed by a secondary attack or sometimes third attack, like Acid Arrow and Passing Strike and Chain Lightning.

Although it's not explicity laid out in the rules, my philosophy is that at each step of the attack process all the targets for that step are chosen simultaneously. All the primary targets are chosen at the same time, then after those primary attacks are resolved all the secondary targets are chosen, and so on. Thus I put Twin Strike in the same category as other powers which have only primary attacks such as area effect bursts and blasts, as well as powers like Icy Rays.


Anyway, like we said, none of that is specifically laid out in the rules as written. But it seems to me like a good, consistent way to run the powers.
There is the box on action resolution in the PH, which specifies that choosing targets is done before resolving the attacks. But it's not clear from the immediate rules whether this applies to "single attack" powers only or all multi-target powers.
Well, I would allow the player to resolve the first attack before deciding on the target of the second attack. The reason I would do this is that it gives the player the benefit of not having to waste an attack if the first attack would kill the target. The reason I would do it is that it would be consisten with the Sneak Attack ability of the rogue. The rogue can choose to decide whether or not to deal the extra damage after regular damage is rolled. If the rogue can hold off on using sneak attack (and instead use it later in the round when it is more useful) then the ranger should get a similar benefit with Twin Strike.
<\ \>tuntman
Technically, both attacks happen simultaneously, so you have to declare both targets beforehand... but I would personally allow you to do one attack then the other. I don't see how it could unbalance things or be much of a problem...

Here's an example of a problem. Two minions are standing in a row, one providing cover for the other. If you can attack separately, then you could kill the first one, and then shoot the second one who no longer has cover.
Here's an example of a problem. Two minions are standing in a row, one providing cover for the other. If you can attack separately, then you could kill the first one, and then shoot the second one who no longer has cover.

I don't see the problem. Sounds like a good strategy to me.
It is good tactics. But I think slaughterj was responding that the "problem" with insisting on simultaneous attacks is the scenario he described.
I would feel that it is more fun for the player if you allow the first attack to resolve before making the second. I cannot see how it would be less fun for anyone (even the DM) this way.
<\ \>tuntman
It isn't very clear, but the impression I get from some of the powers with secondary targets is that primary targets are declared first and dealt with effectively simultaneously. If Twin Strike was meant to allow changing your target on the fly, I think it would have a secondary target similar to the fighter's Rain of Blows:

Standard Action Melee weapon
Primary Target: One creature
Attack: Strength vs. AC, two attacks
Hit: 1[W] + Strength modifier damage.
Weapon: If you're wielding a light blade, spear, or flail and Dexterity 15 or higher, make a second attack.
Secondary Target: The same or different target
Secondary Attack: Strength vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Strength modifier damage.

It is good tactics. But I think slaughterj was responding that the "problem" with insisting on simultaneous attacks is the scenario he described.

Exactly.

Note, if they are run as separate attacks, that means things can happen between them.

We hadn't really faced this issue before, and I had been attacking whoever, but started declaring them both simultaneously now. I suspect that will be the way it is ruled, should it get into a FAQ, regardless of various posters' preferences one way or the other.
I dunno...

The way I read it, as two seperate attacks and supported by the flavour text, I can't really see any reason why the PC couldn't choose to choose the second target after the first swing. Run each attack individually: target-roll to hit--roll for damage; and again for the second.

If it was a simultaneous attack, then using twin strike wouldn't incur any penalty if the Ranger was marked and attacked two targets; way I see it, one of those attacks would be fine, and the one against the target that didn't mark the ranger would get the usual -2.

It also seems more in the ethos of 4e: fun, quick and easy. Losing the second attack of a core at-will ability just isn't much fun, and it's probably going to happen often if you can't choose your target after the first swing.

-M.
Heya,

Just got a reply back from CustServ on the Twin Strike target topic:

"Yes, you can choose a different target for your second attack. Please let me know if you have any more questions!"

-M.
That's fine and dandy; except it doesn't indicate WHEN you can choose a second target - which is really the point of this thread.
I don't see it as losing the second attack if I put my second arrow into an unconscious opponent. If I didn't want him dead, I wouldn't be shooting him.

Also, I hate to inject realism into a rules discussion, but there isn't much stopping power in a longbow. Just because you happen to have shot somebody enough times that he's going to fall over doesn't mean he drops like the proverbial felled ox. It might take a few seconds (or minutes, if you're Boromir).
That's fine and dandy; except it doesn't indicate WHEN you can choose a second target - which is really the point of this thread.

There don't seem to be any explicit rules on this. Not that I can find anywhere, anyway. Which means it's a DM ruling.
I'm well aware of the point of this thread, seeing as how I started it. But my mistake; I forgot to include the questions I'd asked CustServ:

"When using the Twin Strike at-will ability, does a ranger have to declare the target(s) before beginning the attack? Could a ranger attack one target, kill it, and decide to use the second attack on a different enemy within range?"

To which the answer was:

"Yes, you can choose a different target for your second attack. Please let me know if you have any more questions!"

Which, for me, answers the question conclusively enough for me to allow the ranger to change targets half-way through the power. Though until it's picked up in the errata, I suppose it remains open to DM interpretation.

-M.
In the Twin Strike power description under Attack, it states "two attacks".

On pg. 269 of the PHB, under Making an Attack, it shows that:
1) you choose the target,
2) make an attack roll,
3) compare your attack roll to the target's defense,
4) and then, if you hit, you roll damage and apply other effects.

By my reading, you would follow the Making an Attack process for each of the attacks allowed by Twin Strike. Thus you could choose a different target for each attack (if the first attack felled the initial target) or attack the same target twice.

As a house rule, you could require the players to declare the conditions of their power use first (e.g. "I'm going to attack this goblin in front of my character with Twin Strike, but if the goblin is reduced to 0 or less hit points by the first attack, I will attack the other goblin adjacent to me with the second attack.") I wouldn't be that much of a hard***** about it, but it's not necessarily unfair as long as it applies to everyone (the monsters too!).
I'm subjective as I have a ranger, so I like the answer/implication from CS. I guess the ruling could have gone either way, but when in doubt over the rules, I will generally try stick to the CS answers. (Of course even the CS answers can be changed sometimes, but until that happen I find it good to go by their ruling to prevent squabbling in the gaming group.)

Again I think the text on page 269 is shown to be a vital key how to interpret attack-powers.

On pg. 269 of the PHB, under Making an Attack, it shows that:
1) you choose the target,
2) make an attack roll,
3) compare your attack roll to the target's defense,
4) and then, if you hit, you roll damage and apply other effects.

I'm in the "one after another" camp, but I can easily see how it goes both ways. Here's the advocate for simultaneous attacks.

A problem that seems to come up is Wizard's continued and repeated ambiguity with the difference between "attacks" and "powers." They constantly interchange the two words, when there should be a clear distinction (powers let you make attacks).

This creates some problems with abilities such as Nimble Strike, which lets you shift 1 before or 1 after the attack--presumably letting you escape an OA from an adjacent creature by Nimble Strike-shifting away and shooting, and then being able to safely move your speed. Right?

The caveat is that Opportunity Attacks trigger off ranged powers, not ranged attacks.

Provoke Opportunity Attacks: If you use a ranged
power while adjacent to an enemy, that enemy can
make an opportunity attack against you.

Which means that using Nimble Strike adjacent to a creature actually still provokes an OA, RAW, regardless of the shift. Rather silly, if you ask me. It also allows some other bizarre maneuvers, such as using Nimble Strike to shift ADJACENT to an enemy before making the attack, which lets you make a point-blank ranged attack without triggering an OA, RAW. Considering it's supposed to be the ranged counterpart to Hit and Run, I'm really not sure this was the intention of the ability, and I choose to interpret it as the former rather than the latter.

Anyways, back on topic.

MAKING AN ATTACK
All attacks follow the same basic process:
1. Choose the attack you’ll use. Each attack has an attack type.
2. Choose targets for the attack (page 272). Each target must be within range (page 273). Check whether you can see and target your enemies (page 273).
3. Make an attack roll (page 273).
4. Compare your attack roll to the target’s defense (page 274) to determine whether you hit or miss.
5. Deal damage and apply other effects (page 276).

It is extremely unclear whether you follow this list when using Twin Strike, or when making each attack using Twin Strike. What makes it even more confusing is the text right above that MAKING AN ATTACK box:

Each character has a number of attacks to choose from, including a basic attack (page 287). The exact attacks you have available depend on which powers you select for your character (see Chapter 4).

And on the next page:

A ranged attack against multiple enemies consists of separate attacks, each with its own attack roll and damage roll.

The bold is mine.

So the bottom line is, even despite the CS ruling, it can go either way. I personally concur with CS, simply because it seems more intuitive that way.
PH2 218:
Sequence: The order of information in a power
description is a general guide to the sequence in
which the power’s various effects occur.
For example,
an “Effect” entry might appear above attack information
in a power description to indicate that something
happens before you make the attack.
I firmly believe that the attacks should be resolved sequentially.

The reason comes from the rules text for immediate reactions:
Reaction: 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. If a creature triggers your immediate reaction while moving (by coming into range, for example), you take your action before the creature finishes moving but after it has moved at least 1 square.
An immediate reaction might interrupt other actions a combatant takes after its triggering action. For example, if a monster has a power that lets it make two attack rolls against you as a standard action, and the first one hits, you can use an immediate reaction before the next attack roll

This implies that if a power grants multiple attacks, they are resolved sequentially. If immediate reactions can be used in response to the first attack, the second attack must be resolved afterwards, regardless of whether an reaction was used or not.
It does seem to me that the general intent of the rules is that powers which have multiple "parts" treat each part independently. For example you would definitely provoke OAs twice (though only from different opponents) when using something like Twin Strike. Admittedly this particular case doesn't really mean much, but the general principle seems to hold. Likewise the above mentioned Nimble Strike where the shift portion could be taken first before the attack portion and you don't provoke an OA before the shift, or likewise you WOULD provoke an OA if you shifted adjacent and then fired.

Directing this observation to the initial question then it would seem likewise you would go through the attack procedure twice.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
So, I'm surprised no one brought this up as relevant:

Exotic Fighting Style [Arena Fighting]
...
Twin Strike (ranger, PH 105): If you are wielding
a double weapon, you can shift 1 square after the
first attack.

This implies that the attacks do happen in order.
I don't see the implication. Even with Exotic Fighting Style, it may be that you are still obliged to specify both attacks at the beginning, and it may not.

I firmly believe that the attacks should be resolved sequentially. The reason comes from the rules text for immediate reactions:
Reaction: 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. If a creature triggers your immediate reaction while moving (by coming into range, for example), you take your action before the creature finishes moving but after it has moved at least 1 square. An immediate reaction might interrupt other actions a combatant takes after its triggering action. For example, if a monster has a power that lets it make two attack rolls against you as a standard action, and the first one hits, you can use an immediate reaction before the next attack roll

This implies that if a power grants multiple attacks, they are resolved sequentially. If immediate reactions can be used in response to the first attack, the second attack must be resolved afterwards, regardless of whether an reaction was used or not.


I don't see the implication. Even with Exotic Fighting Style, it may be that you are still obliged to specify both attacks at the beginning, and it may not.


Because under the 'Making an Attack' entry it specifies that the first step is choosing the target.  If you are making 2 separate attacks you have to go through these steps 2 separate times.  And as the Exotic Fighting entry suggests - those attacks happen sequentially. 


In the Twin Strike power description under Attack, it states "two attacks". On pg. 269 of the PHB, under Making an Attack, it shows that: 1) you choose the target, 2) make an attack roll, 3) compare your attack roll to the target's defense, 4) and then, if you hit, you roll damage and apply other effects. By my reading, you would follow the Making an Attack process for each of the attacks allowed by Twin Strike. Thus you could choose a different target for each attack (if the first attack felled the initial target) or attack the same target twice. As a house rule, you could require the players to declare the conditions of their power use first (e.g. "I'm going to attack this goblin in front of my character with Twin Strike, but if the goblin is reduced to 0 or less hit points by the first attack, I will attack the other goblin adjacent to me with the second attack.") I wouldn't be that much of a hard***** about it, but it's not necessarily unfair as long as it applies to everyone (the monsters too!).

Regardless of when you do the attacks for twin strike with respect to any other ability, reactions, etc, you still select targets earlier in the process. Working through the power, in order, you select targets, _then_ make attacks. See the earlier PH2 quote if you need it. See a variety of powers that have 'Effect: Make another attack' to see how Twin Strike would look like if you were able to make the attack, see the result, then make a decision on who to target for the second attack.


Now... since they got that idea for 'Make another attack' later on in the design process, maybe they'll change Twin Strike to work like that eventually.

Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director

Ok - I see what you are saying and I just found this quote from another thread on the topic:


 


This page is not wholly consistent. For example, the Effect: line is listed after the Attack: line, when on many powers the Effect: takes place before the attack.

... "Here are explanations of the various entries, presented in their typical order."
I think we both agree that you choose the target for an attack before you make the attack. However, Twin Strike is two separate attacks. Even this list you quoted makes reference to only making one attack roll (#3). That implies that this process must be repeated for each attack, which is again strengthened by...

It is two separate attacks... that happen simultaneously. If the "making an attack" process has to be repeated for every power that makes multiple attack rolls (since it only mentions a single attack roll) what is stopping a player with an area attack from targeting different creatures on opposites sides of the battle grid? Also, as you mentioned previously, some powers have "Effect" lines that happen prior to an "Attack," but only step 5 (after resolving an attack) mentions applying "other effects." Would you have to wait until step 5 to benefit from those effects? Perhaps the real way the "making an attack" steps should work would be to repeat each step as you go, when necessary, conforming to the attack power used. 1. Choose attack (Twin Strike, melee or ranged) 2. Choose targets (1 or 2 targets) 3. Make an attack roll for each attack. 4. Determine if you hit with either attack roll. 5. Roll damage for each attack roll that hit. Compare this to the steps you would use for Dual Strike 1. Choose attack (Dual Strike) 2. Choose primary target 3. Make attack roll against primary target. 4. Determine if you hit primary target. 5. Roll damage for primary target if you hit. 6. (2-2) Choose secondary target 7. (2-3) Make attack roll against secondary target 8. (2-4) Determine if you hit secondary target. 9. (2-5) Roll damage for secondary target if you hit.

Hi, mldemoss.


You spliced my message together with one that I was not questioning. It was the argument in RCanine's message that I doubted, not TDarien's. Note that RCanine's message was immediately before mine and quoted Exotic Fighting Style.


For the time being, I am satisfied with the Customer Service reply quoted by noakes_m a year ago, which holds that the second target can indeed be chosen after seeing the result against the first target.

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