A 4e D&D Rules Question: Teleporting What You Can’t See

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on June 11, 2010

DMs are encouraged to say yes whenever possible in 4e D&D. But in a recent game we experienced a situation that was very unusual and saying yes didn’t seem appropriate. As the DM I said no at the time but agreed that we should do some investigation before the situation happens again. I’ve been scouring the boards to see if anyone else has encounter the same problem and after two weeks of searching I haven’t found a definitive answer. So for the first time since we started Dungeon’s Master I’m asking our readers for their thoughts and interpretation on the correct way to interpret this ruling. I suspect that there won’t be a clear-cut right or wrong answer, but I’d like to get some input from the online 4e D&D community before my next home game.

Our problem stems from teleportation. Here are the facts about teleportation, none of which are in dispute. If a creature or PC wants to teleport himself he has to be able to see his intended target square. He can’t teleport behind a closed door and he can’t teleport if he’s blind. Yes, I know there are powers and items that let you bend these rules, but in our case we’ll go with the rules as written.

Here’s the situation. The party’s Wizard, Cruven, used his power Hammerfall Step. It’s a level 11 power granted from his Arcane Wayfarer paragon path. It’s a close blast 5 and targets each enemy in blast. If it hits, each enemy takes damage and the caster can teleport the target 3 squares. In most circumstances this is a very straightforward and incredibly useful power. The problem we faced was that Cruven couldn’t see the targets in the blast. Knowing how sight-dependent teleportation is in 4e D&D I ruled that creatures in the blast still took the appropriate damage if hit, but they couldn’t be teleported since Cruven couldn’t see them.

So the question I’m asking at its most basic level is this: Can you teleport a target if you cannot see him or if you cannot see his origin square?

Before we get into the actual debate, let me describe two similar situations where this ruling becomes tricky.

Situation 1

Luk the Rogue rushes through the door. Before anyone else in the party can act, Luk cries out in pain. “Help, I’m getting attacked.” Cruven is next to act and has no intention of following Luk into the room. Instead he decided to use Hammerfall Step to bring his unsuspecting opponents out to the party and give Luk some breathing room.

From Cruven’s position he can probably see Enemy 1 at least a little bit. Even if he can’t Luk tells him that Enemy 1 is directly in front of him. Cruven hits both Enemies in the blast. Enemy 1 is teleported 3 squares between Grumbar the Fighter and Are’zo the Assassin – both gain combat advantage from the flank and intend to put it to good use since they’re up next.

But what about Enemy 2. Cruven absolutely cannot see him from his current position. But Enemy 2 was hit and took damage. Is Cruven aware of how many targets he hit and their location within the blast? Even if he doesn’t, it’s magic so does it work despite Cruven’s ignorance? If he doesn’t know that Enemy 2 was hit how can he determine where his final destination of the teleport should be?

Situation 2

Luk the Rogue rushes ahead of the party seeing that the room is empty. Or is it? There are four invisible enemies in the room, none of which have been detected yet. Enemy 4 moves next to Luk and attacks him, becoming visible. Luk cries out in pain. “Help, I’m getting attacked.” Cruven is next to act. He moves up to the most strategic position and blasts the room using Hammerfall Step.

Cruven has no idea that Enemies 1, 2 or 3 are even in the room. He can only see Enemy 4. But experience has taught him that where there’s one foe there are often more, he decided to err on the side of caution and blasts everything. He successfully hits all four Enemies. Enemy 4 is teleported 2 squares between Josey the Rogue and Luk. Both gain combat advantage from the flank. Josey intends to put it to good use since he’s up next.

The other three Enemies take damage. But as in the previous example Cruven cannot see them. The player can see the minis on the map so he indicates where he’d like them to move, but the character doesn’t have a clue. Does the teleport happen anyway? Does the effect of the blast create a silhouette around the Enemies making them visible for a split second so that Cruven can determine where to teleport them?

As I said above, my initial ruling was no. If the character cannot see the target he cannot teleport him. But the more I’ve thought about it the more I’m leaning towards letting Cruven do exactly what he wants in both examples above. If the power was a push effect it would work. But then again push isn’t a sight-dependent power.

I’ve asked a few DMs how they would handle this scenario and none had a definite answer. One DM suggested that Cruven be able to teleport the unseen Enemies, but have some restrictions. Cruven can only determine distance and direction of targets in the blast. “I move all unseen enemies in the blast 3 squares away from me to the right.” If the target square isn’t a legal teleport destination (inside of a wall, for example) then that Enemy doesn’t go anywhere. Everyone else is moved 3 squares away as intended. But Cruven still wouldn’t know how many Enemies were hit, where they started or where they finished.

So again I’ll ask: Can you teleport a target if you cannot see him or if you cannot see his origin square?

I’m sure I’m opening up a can of worms, but I want to get this right. The player came up with a creative use of a power I don’t want to deny him the opportunity to use it to its fullest potential. In this case it’s a level 11 power which I think should let him do extraordinary things. So calling all rules lawyers and know-it-all DMs and players, please weigh in and let me know what you think. How would you handle the situations described above? Would you handle either case differently or do you have a ruling that works in all circumstances? I want your input.

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Can you teleport a target if you cannot see him?

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1 Snarls-at-Fleas June 11, 2010 at 9:33 am

I guess more players read blogs than DMs, so more ppl will vote Yes 🙂

2 AlphaAnt June 11, 2010 at 9:43 am

In both situations, the caster has line of effect, so he should get the benefit of it.

I would argue that in situation 1, he should be able to see that both targets are there from around the corner. If they were in a position where no part of his square can see any part of a monster, he wouldn’t have line of effect, therefore they would be invalid targets by a blast.

Situation 2 is weird, because the enemies are hidden/invisible, so the caster doesn’t even know they exist. I would still teleport them, but have it be random: 1d3 squares in a random direction, rerolling if that makes it an invalid destination (inside a wall or something). That way, you’re likely to expose enemies hidden behind cover/concealment, but if they’re all out invisible that is still a factor.

3 Kenneth McNay June 11, 2010 at 9:52 am

i’d love to simply say, “it magically happens,” but this would be the mentality of an earlier game. The mechanics of 4e are built to place magic users and non-magic users into more level positions. even so, the knowledge of seeing the target and being aware of the target are different. I’ve always told players whether the PC is aware of an invisible target even if it cannot be seen.

Some powers stipulate whether the enemy must be seen or not, such as monk’s five storms.

If the wizard in question were attempting to attack creatures that were invisible, yet he were aware of their presence (actually aware, not meta-game based on, “one enemy means probably more enemies”) then he could target them for the power and fulfill the effects; however, if he rushed in to make the attack assuming there are more enemies, without gaining awareness of them, he cannot target those enemies.

Though they may still be included in the blast or burst, and be hit, is true, yet they cannot be targetted actively by the character that is not aware of their presence. thus, it becomes circumstantial, but generally speaking, “no, you can’t target what you are not aware of.”

The awareness becomes the difference between circumstances. If the rogue finds total concealment during combat and makes a stealth check, the enemy may not be able to target the rogue, yet he may remain aware that the rogue is nearby and hidden. If he wizard walks into a room under a cloak of invisibility, and using float, then that wizard may be able to completely avoid detection even if his party begins to attack in full view. The enemies would not become aware o fthe wizard and could not target the wizard, even if he happens to be within a blast or burst. That blast or burst ignores the concealment, but the enemy cannot ignore it.

4 Kenneth McNay June 11, 2010 at 9:54 am

ooohh. random directions…. i like that. that trumps me.

5 carolinacharlie June 11, 2010 at 9:59 am

I can see why this is so tricky. Let’s see…

Well, from PHB p. 57:

If a hit grants you the ability to compel the target
to move, whether through forced movement or teleportation,
you can move it any number of squares up
to the number specified (or not move it at all, if you
so choose).

That’s interesting as far as it goes, but I’d think you’d need to read that section along with the section on teleportation in Chapter 9: Combat, found at PHB p. 286. Except that section explicitly deals with teleporting yourself and assumes that you can see the origin square of the teleport (since you’re standing there).

So I’d say that, using RAW, the teleport part of hammerfall step would work just fine on unseen targets, since there’s nothing in the bit at PHB p. 57 limiting the application of forced movement only to those targets which the player can see, and there’s nothing in the teleportation section at PHB p. 286 limiting a player’s ability to teleport an unseen target. Of course, the following caveats apply:

1) The proper penalties for hitting an unseen target must be applied and the attack must still hit;
2) The player must have line of sight to the target square (per PHB p. 286);
3) New errata re: teleporting to hindering (or mid-air) terrain should be used to give the target a saving throw to negate the teleportation.

Now, as to whether or not RAW makes sense in this context, I think there are good arguments on either side, and I think that a DM would be justified in ruling either way. Personally, without a compelling reason, I’d stick to RAW and rule that the magic of the spell tells you that you’ve hit a target and can teleport it accordingly. You just better hope you haven’t just teleported a beholder to a square adjacent to you… 🙂

As long as your applying the

6 JR June 11, 2010 at 10:02 am

I like AlphaAnt’s solution, and it’s probably what I would use at the table. My first reaction after looking up the power was a question, though: the player succeeded on his rolls to hit, and that should mean something. So when the player rolls to hit with this power, what is she rolling? Hammerfall Step attacks Fortitude, which is often a proxy for a creature’s resistance to being moved. Does an invisible creature’s teleport resistance increase when the caster can’t see them? For instance, does the caster have to “fix the target in her mind”, and would invisibility hamper that fixation?

I say give the caster a -2 to hit if their existence is known but there’s no LoS; give the caster a -5 for not even knowing the target is there.

Another approach is to notify the caster: “You feel more than one target in your teleportation spell – several unexpected targets. If you take your time casting — make an Arcana check (vs each creature’s Stealth roll) as a minor action — you might be able to find those additional targets and get a chance to declare where you want to move them.” On a success, remove the penalty to hit for the target being invisible; the caster can feel their presence by arcane means.

7 carolinacharlie June 11, 2010 at 10:08 am

Oh yes, random directions, I like that too. I think that would be an interesting way to handle the situation, although (slipping rules lawyer hat back on) there’s nothing in RAW that would justify that. Going strictly by RAW, I think the teleportation works as written as long as the target is hit. Also, AlphaAnt’s reminder about having line of effect is important when considering situation #1.

8 Chris June 11, 2010 at 10:10 am

I also like AlphaAnt’s random suggestion. Time to break out the Scatter Dice from other miniature-based games. 😉

Having said that, depending on how the power is written, I may ask for a roll of some type that would indicate their ability to recognize the hidden enemies being affected by the power while it’s executing and therefore being able to “grab onto them” and use the teleportation effect. (Which is essentially what JR wrote above, when I reread it.) The DC, if I were in the DM’s seat, would be based on how distracted the player is (combat going around them, environmental effects, etc.), distance from the player and other factors that make sense. For example, if the invisible creature hit is trained in Stealth, I might give him an opposed roll against the player’s roll since the creature is naturally better at being Stealthy, or if the encounter is complex enough, I may go on simplicity and let the trained-in-Stealth creature remain hidden or use the random roll.

Really, whatever makes the combat more interesting and unique and fun for the players and myself works for me. 🙂

9 AceDrummer June 11, 2010 at 10:12 am

I would say yes.

Teleportation is primarily concerned with the line-of-sight to the destination hex. Magic powers let you teleport/summon things that the character cannot see so, why wouldn’t this be the same. The magic that affected a target would also have include teleportation effect so I would rule that the character could use the teleport as long as they have line-of-sight to the destination.

Since there is an unknown number of targets, this could have interesting and unintended results. Running out of room to move combatants, creating large groups of monsters with group powers, etc.

10 Jason June 11, 2010 at 10:13 am

Teleportation requires sight to the destination square. The glossary entry makes no mention of the origin square. Unless there is another entry I have missed there is no requirement to be able to see the target to be able to teleport it. The fact that you hit it is enough (unless you have to see the target to attack it).

I would say that in the first situation both enemies can be teleported, but only to squares the wizard can see.

The second question is a little harder. The one he can see is surely affected by the power normally, but I would say not knowing about the presence of other enemies, by say a Perception check, I am inclined to prevent him from teleporting them since he doesn’t know they are there.

However, his magic does hit them so in this case I would drop the invisibility instead of allowing them to teleport.

If he knows where they are, again by Perception or by another appropriate means, then the power works normally since he only needs to have line of sight to the destination and not the origin.

So using this power through an arrow slit when you know there are three guys hiding just out of sight would be able to pull them outside of the wall if they were close enough.

11 Geneome June 11, 2010 at 10:35 am

I vote for the “maybe” option. In this case, the power Hammerfall Step is a close blast, which isn’t really targeting specific individuals but rather hitting an area and anything in it. So all unseen creatures take damage and are teleported. So as was mentioned above, Cruven is able to teleport the unseen Enemies, but it has some restrictions (Cruven can only determine distance and direction of targets in the blast).

If the power was something that targets a single creature (rather than an area effect), then you would have a situation where you would need to see the creature in order to teleport them.

12 ThePlaneswalker June 11, 2010 at 11:37 am

I am partially with jason. He should be able to teleport on a hit as long as he can see the square he wishes to teleport the targets, even if he cant see the target its a magical effect that resolves with a hit, but teleportation does require for you to see the square where you are teleporting.

13 Neuroglyph June 11, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I think carolinacharlie’s rule check hit the nail on the head – my vote is that if the monster is hit, it can be teleported, whether the caster can see the target or not – but it can only be teleported to squares which the caster can see.

In essence, it’s like a fisherman and a fishing net – he throws the net out and knows there are fish in the net, but cant see them (under the water), but he can sure pull the net onto the deck or the shore and dump the fish. The caster is doing the same thing, and dumping all his targets (even ones he can’t see) into squares that he can see.

14 mildewey June 11, 2010 at 12:50 pm

carolinacharlie has the best grasp on the RAW rules here. If it doesn’t sit well with you, then house-rule away for whatever you think is fun, interesting or setting appropriate. I think the arcana check (as a substitution for perception to identify their position) on the invisible targets is quite flavorful and appropriate. However, from a strict reading of the rules, there is no penalty to attack the invisible targets (invisibility only grants total concealment, which is mitigated by this attack being a burst or blast), the effect grants the wizard the ability to teleport them three squares to a destination of his choice (he doesn’t know if they have the ability to move in response to this, so he can’t be sure they stay there).

However, there does seem to be confusion about how line of sight and line of effect work for blasts, so I’ll put in my two cents on the first situation. For a close attack, the caster does not need line of sight! “For a target to be affected by a close attack, there must be line of effect from the origin square to the target.” (271 PHB) Which is why you find close burst descriptions that specifically require you can see the targets. To establish line of effect, you only need “…an unblocked path between it and you” (273 PHB). Which essentially means that if your character could move to the targets square (ignoring difficult terrain), then you have line of effect. That means that even if targets 1 and 2 in the first example were two squares north, they still could be valid targets of the attack (assuming the wizard had chosen a different area of effect).

If you _want_ a justification, then here’s a flavorful way of describing what happens.

Situation 1:
Cruven pokes his head around the corner to line up his spell and “bam” the thump from which hammerfall step gets its name echoes through the room as the magic of the spell comes down, teleporting all in its blast according to his will, painfully for his enemies, sympathetically for his allies.

Situation 2:
Cruven casts the net of his spell into the whole alcove, “just in case”. As he does, he feels the characteristic disturbance in the magic of his spell of two creatures at the far end of the net. He pulls on the net, dragging the invisible targets closer.

15 NthDegree256 June 11, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Just to be accurate – in situation 1, Cruven can most definitely see enemy 2. You have line of sight to an enemy if you can draw a line from any one corner of your square to any one corner of their square – for example, a line from Cruven’s bottom-left corner to the bottom-left corner of enemy 2.

Now, a ranged attack from Cruven’s spot (Magic Missile, for example) would take a cover penalty, because you can’t draw that line from Cruven’s corner to EVERY corner of 2’s spot. (The doorframe gets in the way of hitting the top 2 corners.)

The assumption, basically, is that you can lean around to anywhere in your square to get a good angle of attack, and Cruven only needs to lean towards the south a bit to see enemy 2.

16 Shimmer June 11, 2010 at 1:18 pm

The movement should not be random; there’s nothing random about the power. The player hit the enemies, whether he was trying to or not. The power dictates that they are teleported when they are hit, so the player gets that option. Where they teleport them is up to the player too, but the player should only be allowed to teleport them to spaces he can see, or take chances teleporting them in a direction or in a space they cannot see, and if they cannot occupy that space the teleport fails.

If you actually encounter a problem with the player where the character cannot see an area in a room, but strategically teleports them there, I’d just call them on it maybe, or next time they do it, put in a stone column in that space (they couldn’t see in there, remember?) and the teleport fails. I would just remind the players of what kind of vantage point the character has, and ask them to stay in character. But hopefully it won’t come to that. Hopefully the player would be safe enough to see that teleporting them to a space they could see would be just as advantageous.

I can see that this power would be troublesome when blinded. Hopefully at at least 11th level they have something else in their arsenal to use before they can see again.

17 Scott June 11, 2010 at 1:21 pm

The REAL question is did the enemies roll their Stealth checks, and were they higher than the wizard’s passive Perception score? Remember, being invisible doesn’t make you hidden automatically; you still give away your presence through sounds of movement, footsteps in the dust, etc. If you want to actually be hidden, the monster also needs to make a Stealth check at the end of any of its movement, and that check has to beat the character’s passive Perception score.

You might have already rolled this check for them, so this may not be an issue, but a great number of DMs forget to roll Stealth checks for their invisible monsters, but still force the party to roll Perception checks to find them. That’s not how it works.

18 Thorynn June 11, 2010 at 2:01 pm

While I agree with NthDegree256 about line of site, he would at least have partial cover and be at a -2 to hit because you can’t draw a line from every corner of the monsters square to one of the casters corners. This is quite a healthy debate. I wonder what WotC would have to say on it?


19 kevrock June 11, 2010 at 3:57 pm

This is actually a lot easier than everyone is making it out to be. All the answers are in the original Player’s Handbook:

PHB1 p273, “Fog, darkness, and other types of obscured squares block vision, but they don’t block line of effect. If you hurl a fireball into a pitch-black room, you don’t have to see your enemies for the fireball to hit them.”

PHB1 p281, “Targeting what you can’t see: Close or Area Attacks: You can make a close attack or an area attack that includes the square you think (or know) the concealed creature is in. Your attack roll doesn’t take a penalty from the target’s concealment.”

PHB1 p286, “Teleportation: Line of Sight: You have to be able to see your
destination. No Line of Effect: You can teleport to a place you can see even if you don’t have line of effect to it.”

So it doesn’t actually matter what state of visibility the enemies have because it doesn’t matter if the Wiz has LoS to them. The enemies being invisible is a moot point; its completely irrelevant to the resolution of the power’s effect.

The only 2 things that limit the effect are if the Wiz has LoE to the targets (i.e., Are they caught in the blast?) and LoS to their destination spaces (i.e., Can he see where they will appear?”)

20 mildewey June 11, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Right on kevrock!

21 Brian Engard June 11, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Interesting situation. On the one hand, teleportation requires line of sight (to the destination), but not line of effect. On the other hand, a burst it blast requires line of effect, but not line of sight.

In your first scenario, I would allow the damage and teleportation of the the enemy that the caster can see, while the second target would be safe. In the example with invisible targets, I’d allow the caster to affect all targets, but would grant them total concealment.

Overall, I think you ruled correctly. In general, though, I’d allow the player to bend those rules somewhat if it made for a cool mental image and made the game more fun for everyone.

22 Swordgleam June 11, 2010 at 4:40 pm

The reason I wouldn’t just say “yes” is that it would give teleport the (likely unintentional) sideaffect of temporarily negating invisibility. I’d rule he could teleport them in general terms, as you suggested – three squares to the right, as close to the party fighter as he can get them, over the pit, etc.

23 kevrock June 11, 2010 at 5:22 pm

This is exactly what I mean by over-thinking the scenario.

Its the indiscriminate nature of a blast/burst that is negating the invisibility. The effect (i.e., teleporting) has nothing to do with the visibility of the target. Its the textbook “fireball into a dark room”; LoS is irrelevant.

Don’t fall into the trap of separating the effect from the attack and thinking about them as independent things. The order of operations is crucial because if the attack doesn’t land, there’s no effect, not the other way around.

In this scenario:
1. Does the Wiz have LoE to the target? Yes, then goto 2.
2. Make the attack roll. Goto 3.
3. Does the attack hit? Yes, then goto 4.
4. Roll damage and apply effect (teleportation). Goto 5.
5. Does the Wiz have LoS to the destination square? Yes, then goto 6.
6. Teleport the target to destination square.

It doesn’t work the other way around. You can’t say the effect won’t work; therefore, the attack can’t happen. Ex: You can throw fire all day at a monster with fire immunity; it will only negate the damage, not the attack.

24 andurion June 11, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Here’s my really rulesy, minis-and-grid explanation based on my understanding of the RAW.

Hammerfall Step is a close blast 5. Blasts do not need line of sight – they only need line of effect. Thus, if the enemies are invisible- as in situation 2 – Cruven can still attack them. By RAW he could attack them even if they were hidden and he had no clue they were even there! Furthermore, because the enemies only have concealment, Cruven does not suffer any attack penalties. Cruven would only suffers attack penalties if the enemies had cover (if this were a ranged attack, enemy 4 would give cover to enemy 1, but creatures do not give cover against close attacks – PH1 280).

In your first example, according to the line of effect rules (PH1 273) Cruven can effect both enemy 1 and enemy 2. Cruven has line of effect because he can trace one imaginary line from a corner in his square to a corner in enemy 2’s square without touching a solid obstacle. The line I’m thinking about goes from Cruven’s lower left corner to 2’s lower left corner. Because Hammerfall Step is a close attack, enemy 1 does not give cover to enemy 2. Lastly, according to the line of sight rules (also on PH1 273) Cruven can in fact see enemy 2.

As a final note, while Cruven doesn’t need line of sight to use Hammerfall Step because it’s a close blast, according to the teleport updates in PH3 he does need to have line of sight to the destination square. So he couldn’t teleport enemies into a zone of absolute darkness, around a corner he can’t see behind, and so on. But he can teleport them straight up into the air or off a cliff (provided the monsters fail their save of course).

25 Luk Vandersuun June 11, 2010 at 6:36 pm

I find it disappointing, that as Luk, I got blasted by Cruven with AoE spells by several orders of magnitude more than I ever got saved by him… 😛

26 Geek Ken June 11, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Tricky set of questions there, but I am with carolinacharlie and kevrock on how to resolve this.

One suggestion, how about shooting this post as an email to the D&D podcast? They take questions in their mailbag. It’d be nice to put them in the hotseat and let them argue it out.

27 Mrmike2 June 12, 2010 at 11:22 am

I say that he can deal the damage but the movement of the creatures that he can’t see is straight back from the origin.

28 Ameron June 12, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I knew this would create a lively debate and it certainly has. Thanks to everyone who’s weighed in so far and thanks to everyone who’s voted. After reading all the feedback I felt it was time for me to jump back in and share my thoughts.

Before I get into it, I wanted to clear up a few peripheral details. In scenario 1 Cruven would indeed have line of sight to both Enemies (thanks mildewey). In scenario 2 lets assume that the invisible Enemies have already made incredibly high Stealth checks and that none of the PCs have high enough passive Perception checks to immediately notice anything.

I have to say that the examples about the fisherman’s net (thanks Neuroglyph) and the fireball in the dark (thanks kevrock) were really the ones that won me over. As I mentioned in the article above, I never had any doubt about the attack part of the power. A blast is a blast, concealment offers no additional defense or penalty for blasts. So invisible or not, if you’re in the blast you’re going to get hit (assuming Cruven rolls high enough). I’m now solidly in the camp that if one aspect of the power works (the blast attack) then the secondary part (the teleport) should also work. Kevrock’s attack flowchart look 100% correct to me and this is how I’m going to do things moving forward.

Where I’m still not completely on board is in a situation like scenario 2. If Cruven hits an opponent he can’t see I agree he can teleport the Enemies, but I’m still not sure how he knows which squares he can teleport the Enemies into. How does using this power not in essence give Cruven a free “locate the invisible targets” ability? The only way he can accurately get to teleport his enemies is if he knows how many there are and where they are. I acknowledge that this circumstance is unlikely to happen very often, but since we’re already in the middle of this discussion I’ll play devil’s advocate.

The options I think are best include a) Cruven indicates direction and distance, or b) the DM simply tells the player where the monsters are, let him decide where to teleport them, and then assume that he’ll role-play what his character knows and not what the player knows. Does anyone have any different ideas on how to handle this situation?

29 andurion June 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm

“How does using this power not in essence give Cruven a free ‘locate the invisible targets’ ability? The only way he can accurately get to teleport his enemies is if he knows how many there are and where they are. How does using this power not in essence give Cruven a free ‘locate the invisible targets’ ability?”

Well, if the enemies are invisible and not hidden, Cruven (and everyone else) knows what square they are in and where they end up. Somehow – a shimmer in the air, scraping a foot on the ground, or whatever – the enemies broadcast their location to the PCs. So that’s straightforward.

If the enemies are invisible and hidden, I’d say the power does indeed grant a “free” locate hidden target ability. That’s okay by me – it dovetails well with the fluff of an arcane wayfarer as master of space manipulation. Perhaps Cruven can detect the gravity wells of hidden creatures. I don’t think it’s a big deal, because all the enemy needs to do is, on its turn, move 1 square and it’s hidden again (the PCs don’t know which square it’s in anymore).

30 Dan June 12, 2010 at 9:58 pm

No. House-rule aside, the spell should function as a sight-dependant ability… like a fireball centered on origin: walls create cover from effect… the caster should expose him/herself to be able to cast damage on an opponent and only hits targets he/she can see, if of course, the notion that the primary target is the first creature-target of the spell a burst from that target sould affect the other enemies, but if the caster is the target, then the aoe is dependant on obstructions related to the caster for teleportations. IMO…

31 mildewey June 12, 2010 at 10:41 pm

The real crux of this question is, do the targets remain hidden from the caster? Here are some pertinent entries regarding invisibility, stealth, and remaining hidden.

On a successful stealth check “you are hidden, which means you are silent and invisible to the enemy (see “Concealment” and “Targeting What You Can’t See” PHB1 281)” (PHB2 222)

“Targeting What You Can’t See” says “If an invisible creature is hidden from you, you can neither hear nor see it, and you have to guess what space it occupies. If an invisible creature is not hidden from you, you can hear it or sense some other sign of its presence and therefore know what space it occupies, although you still can’t see it.” (PHB2 223)

“Make a Perception Check” says “On your turn, you can make a Perception check as a minor action to determine the location of an invisible creature that is hidden from you.” (PHB2 223)

“Enemy Activity” says “if an enemy tries to enter your space, you don’t remain hidden from that enemy.” (PHB2 222)
The effects of invisibility are (PHB1 281):
1) “You can’t be seen by normal vision.”
2) “You have combat advantage against enemies that can’t see you.”
3) “You don’t provoke OA from enemies that can’t see you.”

Personally, I’ve given up on answering the question by RAW (but wouldn’t mind seeing it settled one way or another). To me it makes sense that the targets are no longer hidden to the wizard either because the blast is like he tried entering their space, or because the blast provides him some kind of non-normal vision to detect their presence. But that’s MY call, and only my call. I’d respect any GM that disagrees. I wouldn’t even put it past myself to rule otherwise if I had designed a setting specific reason that didn’t work. I might even go for a middle ground (that’s obviously house-ruled) and allow a free action perception or arcana check to allow the wizard to locate them. And as long as I’m offering opinions, if they’re still hidden, I’d let the wizard describe where he wants them in vague terms like “far away” or “off to the left”. And if I was really toying with them, I’d let them give me vague explanations every time they cast the spell (on second thought, that would just get annoying for me _and_ them).

32 Kevrock June 14, 2010 at 10:29 am


The answer comes down to how comfortable and mature your players are with meta-gaming. Are they the kind of players who can say, “Well, I know this but my character doesn’t, so he’s going to act this way instead…” Or are they the kind that say, “Oh I failed my nature check but I read this monster before; its a so-and-so that resists…”

Yes, the monsters location is now knowledge of the player, but is it knowledge of the characters? That’s the non-rules point you need to stress to them. Yes, you may have a power that grants you a +2 to initiative, but your character doesn’t know WTF initiative is! 🙂

I see two solutions to this:

1. The easy way: You play RAW, it works as described, and as the DM you then fluff it in some way, like the suggestions here (targets shimmer, Wiz gets a magic sense, etc). That’s what we do all the time – we provide a “story” for why these mechanical things happen.

How do you explain in narrative terms how Combat Advantage works? How do you explain Marking? Those are mechanics we as storytellers must find a way to translate into a narrative. Yes, sometimes we just have to say, “OK, I’m not sure how to explain this, but the monster has an Aura 2 that causes you to take a -2 to hit. I dunno, I guess he stinks. Whatever, let’s move on.”

2. The hard way: You come up with some system that allows the power to work RAW but maintains the lack of monster location knowledge. You could tell the Wiz, “OK, you unleash the blast and hit the monster in front of your ally. You can also tell that 2 other creatures – ones you apparently can’t see – were in the blast. Makes 2 more attack rolls. OK, both hit, good. Now tell me -ideally- where you would like the 2 hidden monsters to be teleported to? OK, your keen arcane sense tells you one of them has been teleported to the first square you requested. But the 2nd one seems to be too far away. Would you like to try for a different square?”

Something like the above dialogue maintains that storytelling veil, but it just takes a lot longer and more patience form everyone involved.

To answer Mildeway’s rules question, IMHO, yes I believe the monster would still have invisibility + hidden under RAW:

1. The invisible monster make their stealth checks and beat the PCs passive perception. The monsters are hidden.
2. A monster attacks the lead ally, so they now know enemies are present.
3. The Wiz sets off his blast, hits multiple creatures, and teleports them around. The Wiz now has some knowledge of the creatures numbers and locations – the quality and quantity of that knowledge is dependent on how the DM rules it.
4. At this point the monster have taken no actions to break hidden, and the PCs have taken no actions to detect monsters.

But I would also argue that in the hands of any good party it wouldn’t last long:

5. The Wiz just has to yell, “Hey ally 1 and 2, I -think- I just teleported an invisible creature between you two!”
6. The allies then either; a. attack where they think the monster is, b. try to step into the square running into it, or c. make an active perception check. Any of those will break hidden; the monsters would still invisible but their location would be confirmed.

33 pdunwin June 14, 2010 at 3:45 pm

It has nothing to do with whether or not he can teleport creatures he can’t see. What matters is whether or not he has line of sight to the destination of the teleportation. If he’s blind he has no line of sight so he can’t teleport anyone.

Sorry if this has been pointed out already, but I suppose another vote doesn’t hurt.

34 Sam June 16, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Why would you want to restrict your players abilities to use cool powers?
Your job as a dm is to provide an exciting, challenging experiences that is centered on the players. I think ruling no in this situation is simply bad dming.
The attack hit within the confines of a burst spell, negating one of the powers is just going to make the game less fun for your pcs.

35 pdunwin June 16, 2010 at 4:19 pm

It’s always good to know what one is allowing and what the actual rules are for when the players try something that isn’t cool anymore and is just tiresome.

I checked the books and confirmed for myself that visibility of the target doesn’t necessarily matter, but line of sight (though not effect) to the destination does. Of course a DM is free to waive this, especially if the lack of LOS was just due to (correctable) placement.

36 DerekDyer July 8, 2010 at 6:18 pm

I would turn the teleport effectively into either a Pull or Push situation, based upon the intent of the caster. Sorry for both coming late to the party, and not reading the comments until after I’d formed my own.

37 Chris January 24, 2011 at 4:27 am

Sorry for joining this conversation VERY late, but I had a question to pose to those who both wrote this and weighed in on it: Does teleportation work when you can’t see the enemy, not because they are invisible, but because they are unable to be seen for some other reason?

A little bit of background will probably help.

I play a Battlemind in our campaign. We were going up against a solo lurker, and I had decided to try out my new daily power Psionic Anchor. The power’s text reads:

Hit: As a free action at the end of the target’s turn, you can teleport the target to a square adjacent to you (save ends).
Miss: Half damage. As a free action at the end of the target’s next turn, you can teleport the target to a square adjacent to you.

Now, I interpreted that as my character creates a kind of psionic link with the target, which allows me to continually teleport them next to me at the end of their turn, whether they want me to or not. The enemy that we were fighting would consistently burrow, pop up and hit everyone, then burrow, pop up and hit everyone, burrow, etc. I planned to make it so that it would just end up next to me, so that the rest of my party could try and get some damage in.

I used the power and missed. However, I figured that I could at least teleport the target next to me at the end of it’s turn, as the power says. At the end of the it’s turn, it burrowed, as usual. I said that I teleport it next to me, and our DM said that I couldn’t, as I couldn’t see the target. I felt that this kind of defeated the purpose of this power and just didn’t seem like a good way of handling the situation.

I know that people probably will think that since I’m a player I probably just want things to go my way. However, I plan to DM a different campaign in a few months and I do honestly want to know what kind of ruling should be made here.

Was my Battlemind in the right? Or should I not be able to teleport a burrowed enemy?

38 Mark January 24, 2011 at 9:16 am

Hi Chris, I think kevrock answered your question pretty effectively:

“PHB1 p286, ‘Teleportation: Line of Sight: You have to be able to see your
destination. No Line of Effect: You can teleport to a place you can see even if you don’t have line of effect to it.’

“So it doesn’t actually matter what state of visibility the enemies have because it doesn’t matter if the Wiz has LoS to them. The enemies being invisible is a moot point; its completely irrelevant to the resolution of the power’s effect.”

In other words, you were right and your DM was wrong. You didn’t have to have LoS to the target, only to the destination. It’s an easy one for a DM to confuse in-game, especially since it would have absolutely _destroyed_ the fun/challenge of the monster.

39 Lex November 1, 2013 at 11:26 am

The answer was in the rules as written, actually.

“Here are the facts about teleportation, none of which are in dispute. If a creature or PC wants to teleport himself he has to be able to see his intended target square. He can’t teleport behind a closed door and he can’t teleport if he’s blind. ”

So, if the Cruven hit the targets with Hammerfall Step, he can the teleport them to any square he can see. Simple. He does NOT need to see them to teleport them, only their destination is ever in question.

I didn’t read all the replies, and I know this was posited a long time agao, but I couldn’t help but weigh in.

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