@JeremyECrawford Dear Mr. Crawford; I have recently witnessed a 10-year friendship end over a ruling on the Horizon Walker's 'Distant Strike' ability. Can a HW using Distant Strike without making an Attack, particularly while not in a combat situation? #BadReasonsToEndFriendships
— Gerald Von Kahr (@GVonKahr) October 15, 2018
Friendship is more important than a game's rules.
If you and a friend are having a disagreement about rules, please pause, go do something else, and remind yourselves why you love each other's company.
Human connection and love beat being correct any day. https://t.co/EzVfQ79kuX
— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) October 15, 2018
One thought on “I have recently witnessed a 10-year friendship end over a ruling on the Ranger Horizon Walker”
Crawford isn’t wrong, but he also isn’t answering the question – which is strange, since doing so would almost certainly help salvage the human connection and love he holds up as being so important.
An official ruling would make the correct interpretation clear cut, and remove the source of conflict – right now, both sides are certain they are right, but an official judgement would force one or the other individual to question their position as contrary to what the actual game designers intended. To leave the matter unclear is to leave the conflict unresolved – why do that?
Anywho, let’s take a loot at the ability in question.
~~~ “At 11th level, you gain the ability to pass between the planes in a blink of an eye. When you use the Attack action, you can teleport up to 10 feet before each attack to an unoccupied space you can see.” ~~~
This is actually incredibly clear cut. If you take the Attack action, you can teleport 10 feet before each attack you make.
So when can you take the Attack action? Well, that’s also clear cut. You can take the Attack action at any point when you wish to make an attack (without using some other action or ability, such as a bonus action, to do so).
Do you need to be in combat to make an attack? No! It’s quite common for combat to be initiated BECAUSE a character makes an attack OUT of combat.
So when can you make an attack? Whenever you want to, so long as you have an action to spend, and you have a valid target!
What’s a valid target? Well, the rules for Making An Attack tell us that you “Pick a target within your attack’s range: a creature, an object, or a location.”
So, let’s put that all together.
You are not in combat.
You want to teleport.
You need to take the Attack action to teleport.
You can take the Attack action outside of combat, so that’s not a problem.
You don’t need to target a creature – you can attack a location.
Before each attack you make, you can teleport 10 feet to a valid space.
You teleport, and then attack the chosen location.
If there’s nothing in that location, you don’t hit anything.
There’s absolutely no reason you couldn’t use this ability outside of combat. The rules as written wholly support that as a viable option. You do actually need to make attacks, but they don’t have to hit anything.
Basically, think of it like a martial artist practicing their forms – they aren’t hitting anything, but they’re going through the motions and performing the correct movements for if they were actually trying to do so.
So long as you make some kind of attack, even at empty air, you can teleport.