The level 3 battlemind discipline lodestone lure, an at-will attack power, has the following entry:
Hit: Constitution modifier damage, and you must pull the target 1 square. Until the end of your next turn, the target can move only to squares that are adjacent to you. (Psionic Power 37 and updated by errata; q.v. here)
I don’t know to what degree that second sentence should limit the target. I use should limit rather than just limits because my research shows that opinions on how the power works are varied, controversial, and sometimes heated. And, as Wizards of the Coast itself is unlikely to clarify or issue further errata for the lodestone lure power at this point, I look to experienced users for help in determining a balanced reading of the power. Here balanced means here that the power’s impact on the game approximately equals the impact of the class’s other powers of the same level.
On her turn a level 3 battlemind takes a standard action to use the at-will discipline lodestone lure on a target 2 squares away. The battlemind pulls the target adjacent to her (as the power’s erratum now says that she must). Then, by whatever means, the battlemind travels 2 or more squares away from the target. On the target’s turn, what’s a balanced way for the target to behave? Here are some options:
- Essentially immobilized. A typical target is immobilized in all but name. That is, no matter where the target’s movement would take it, its first square of movement won’t move it to a square adjacent to the battlemind so the target is stuck where it is unless either it can move without moving (e.g. by teleporting) or it is moved via forced movement. This reading is mentioned in a Penny Arcade forum thread here that contains strong language. Consensus there seems to be that this reading, while possibly being technically accurate, isn’t balanced (see above). Even as a new 4e player, I tend to agree, but I’m not 100% sure if that thread’s assessment is correct.
- Like a charge but not. A typical target can move normally except that each square of the target’s movement must bring the target closer to the battlemind, much like a creature making a charge. This reading is mentioned in a RPG.Net thread here that gets heated. Note that a user in that thread says that Wizards of the Coast customer service agrees with this reading. I absolutely believe that that’s what the user was told, but I don’t know how much weight an anonymous Wizards of the Coast customer service representative’s ruling carries in the Dungeons & Dragons, Fourth Edition community. (To be clear, I’m used to the Third Edition community where that weight is 0 lbs.) This seems balanced enough to this new 4e player, but that isn’t what the power actually says that it does, and the disconnect makes me wary.
Those were the options that I found, but I’m certain that other readings of the power are possible. Users should feel free to have their answers address alternatives. In sum, what reading of the lodestone lure power is balanced? Further, how can the lodestone lure power’s Hit entries be rephrased to reflect a new balanced reading?
Note: When assessing that second bullet’s reading, please also consider what happens if a target is affected by multiple characters’ lodestone lure powers simultaneously.