Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Marked Confusion

I am taking a brief break from Horror Month to talk about marking.  Fourth Edition D&D has simplified a lot of rules. However, one subject that has caused a lot of confusion in our group recently is the concept of marking. It’s not that marking is an especially hard concept, but every class that uses marking uses it slightly differently. I am hoping that in this post I can clear up the confusion surrounding the situation.

The first (and easiest) thing to get out of the way is what it means to be marked. Quite simply, the only effect of being marked is:

“You take a –2 penalty to attack rolls for any attack that doesn’t target the creature that marked you.”

The other constant of marking is that a creature can be subject to only one mark at a time. A new mark supersedes a mark that was already in place.

Seriously, these are the only consistent effects of marking. How you mark and what someone can do with a mark vary greatly by class. So let’s take a look at how the different classes mark their targets and what they can do to them once they are marked.

Clerics

As leaders, clerics are more likely to buff or heal than mark. However they do have a few methods to do so.

How do they mark?

Clerics can mark with a power. In the Player’s Handbook, the only power that marks is Healing Strike. Healing Strike marks until the end of the cleric’s next turn.

Warpriest Challenge allows clerics of that paragon path to mark when they hit an enemy with an at-will melee attack. They remain marked until the end of the encounter or until the Warpriest marks another enemy with their Warpriest Challenge.

What can they do with a mark?

Normally clerics only get the standard benefit of marking listed above.

Warpriests are able to gain extra advantage against enemies who are marked with their Warpriest Challenge. The next time that enemy shifts or attacks a creature other than the Warpriest, he or she can make an opportunity attack against that enemy.

Fighters

The poster child for marking, fighters can mark easily and get a number of advantages for doing so.

How do they mark?

Because of their Combat Challenge class feature, every time a fighter attacks an enemy, whether the attack hits or misses, they can choose to mark that target. The mark lasts until the end of his or her next turn.

Fighters also have a few powers that mark. In the Player’s Handbook these include Warrior’s Challenge, Reign of Terror, and Indomitable Battle Strike. All of these only last until the end of the fighter’s next turn but generally mark a large number of enemies.

Swordmasters can also mark with the power Fantastic Flourish. This marks one opponent other than the one they just hit, and lasts until the end of the swordmaster’s next turn.

What can they do with a mark?

Because of their Combat Challenge class feature, fighters get a number of advantages over marked opponents. Whenever a marked enemy that is adjacent to the fighter shifts or makes an attack that does not include the fighter, he or she can make a melee basic attack against that enemy as an immediate interrupt.

Paladins

Like any good defender, the paladin makes frequent use of the ability to mark their enemies.

How do they mark?

Paladins primarily mark by using the Divine Challenge power. Divine Challenge is an At-Will power that requires a Minor Action to use. It can be used against one creature in a close burst 5. Divine Challenge may only be used once per turn. Divine Challenge cannot be used on a creature already subjected to the paladin’s or another paladin’s divine challenge.

On the paladin’s turn, the paladin must engage the target he or she challenged or challenge a different target. To engage the target, the paladin must either attack it or end your turn adjacent to it.

If none of these events occur by the end of your turn, the marked condition ends and the paladin can’t use divine challenge on his or her next turn.

In addition to Divine Challenge, several paladin powers mark. In the Player’s Handbook, these include Piercing Smite, Arcing Smite, Thunder Smite, Radiant Charge, Whirlwind Smite, Hand of the Gods, To the Nine Hells with You, and Restricting Smite. Unlike Divine Challenge, these only mark the enemy until the end of the paladin’s next turn.

The Astral Judgment class feature of Astral Weapon paragon path makes enemies currently marked by the Astral Weapon that attack his or her allies without attacking the Astral Weapon take a –2 penalty to all defenses until they are no longer marked by the Astral Weapon.

The Challenge the Unjust justicar paragon path power grants the ability to mark on a hit or a miss. The target is marked until the end of the justicar’s next turn.

What can they do with a mark?

In addition to standard marking benefits, a creature marked by a paladin’s Divine Challenge takes radiant damage equal to 3 + the paladin’s Charisma modifier the first time it makes an attack that doesn’t include the paladin as a target before the start of the paladin’s next turn. The damage increases to 6 + your Charisma modifier at 11th level, and to 9 + your Charisma modifier at 21st level.

The Paladin At-Will powers Enfeebling Strike and Holy Strike also have additional effects against targets marked by the paladin.

The Certain Judgment, Warding Blow, and Just Radiance paragon path powers all have extra effects when used against marked enemies.

Rangers

As strikers, you would think Rangers would never want to mark. But some can!

How do they mark?

The Slasher’s Mark power of the Pathfinder Paragon Path will mark both the primary and secondary targets on a hit or a miss. The target remains marked until the end of the encounter.

What can they do with a mark?

A ranger only gets the standard benefits of a mark.

Swordmage

Arcane defenders like to mark as much as their martial and divine counterparts.

How do they mark?

Swordmages mark using the Aegis of Assault or the Aegis of Shielding powers. The Aegis powers affect one creature within a burst 2. Using them is a minor action. The target remains marked until you use this power against another target. If you mark other creatures using other powers, the target is still marked.

What can they do with a mark?

A Swordmage gets the standard benefits of a mark.

If a target marked with Aegis of Assault makes an attack that does not include the Swordmage and if that attack hits while the marked target is within 10 squares of the Swordmage, he or she can use an immediate reaction to teleport to a square adjacent to the target and make a melee basic attack against it. If no unoccupied space exists adjacent to the target, you can’t use this immediate reaction.

If a target is marked with Aegis of Defense makes an attack that does not include the Swordmage and if that attack hits while the marked target is within 10 squares of the Swordmage, he or she can use an immediate interrupt to reduce the damage dealt by that attack to any one creature by an amount equal to 5 + the Swordmage’s Constitution modifier. At 11th level, reduce the damage dealt by 10 + the Swordmage’s Constitution modifier. At 21st level, reduce the damage dealt by 15 + the Swordmage’s Constitution modifier.

The Thunder Riposte power grants extra benefits when used against enemies marked by the Aegis of Defense power.

Warlords

Warlords have a couple of methods to mark their opponents.

How do they mark?

The Break Their Nerve and Control the Field paragon path powers of the Knight Commander can be used to mark. This both of these marks last until the end of the Knight Commander’s next turn.

What can they do with a mark?

A Warlord only gets the standard benefits of a mark. A warlord who marks using the Control the Field power causes ongoing Charisma damage to their enemies while the mark lasts.

Student of the Sword (Fighter Multiclass Feat)

How do they mark?

Once per encounter as a free action they can choose to mark with an attack. They mark on either a hit or a miss. The mark lasts until the end of their next turn.

What can the do with this mark?

A Student of the Sword only gets the standard benefits of a mark.

7 comments:

rook103 said...

For record, The Idiot's Guide to 4th Ed state's “You take a –2 penalty to attack rolls for any attack that doesn’t target the creature that marked you.”

Also, if a fighter marks a target and then a paladin marks the same target the fighter's mark goes away.

bobstuff said...

Seriously.... WTF? I'm not even going to let on any more that I'm trying to swallow this new horseshit...

When I do make it back, I'm hoping that the games are at least 50/50 3.5 and 4.0...

The latest rant in the latest KODT pretty much mirrored my opinion of the current state of things.

Todd said...

My concerns as someone who has played a swordmage is that each defender's mark power has distinct advantages and disadvantages when compared to the others. For a power which is essentially just a fancy way to say 'come get some', it seems to be overly complex.

Additionally, I feel strongly that marks should stack. If I am dangerous enough that you have to pay attention to me in battle or suffer the consequences, when my friend comes over and makes the same threat to you, why am I suddenly unimportant? Clearly it was done for game balance, as someone with two marks would then be basicly SOL... but wait, SHOULDN'T that person be SOL? I mean he does have two beefy fighter types on either side of him after all...
Finally, to directly address Bobstuff, if it is any consolation, the temple game will convert to 4e about 3 and a half weeks after hell freezes over.

Questing GM said...

Interesting observation. I was pretty confused with all the different kinds of markings around. Thanks for clearing it up!

greywulf said...

Thanks for that summary, much needed. I reckon Marking is one of those parts of 4e that's going to cause the most confusion this Edition.

Anonymous said...

This is simply WoW aggro in PnP format.

Br0wN.Rj said...

Excellent post!

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