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"Oops, I forgot to..." moments

4E is a complicated game when it comes to remembering things. There are many, many things to remember - rolling saving throws at the end of your turn, taking ongoing damage, when an effect/buff/debuff ends, who's marked, a few extra damage here or adds up. And this always results in the somewhat-grey area debate of what happens when you forget.

For our group, it's simple. We break it down into categories:

Automatic events
If something was supposed to happen automatically and wasn't a matter of choice, we apply the forgotten effect no matter how long it's been (within reason). These are straightforward and rarely disputed, since we view these as things players (or monsters) are entitled to. Examples of automatic effects that we commonly allow after the fact:
  • forgetten saving throw(s)
  • forgotten ongoing damage or healing from regeneration
  • a battlerager fighter forgetting to gain the temporary hit points from making an attack and/or using an invigorating power
  • a fighter attacking someone and forgetting to mark it. Exception: if the target was already marked by someone else, then it is assumed the fighter chose not to overwrite the existing mark.
  • not realizing at the time that someone should have gotten an opportunity attack
  • forgetting to add a bonus to a damage or healing roll
  • forgetting to add a bonus to hit rolls. If this turns a miss into a hit, it can screw things up, so someone has only until the end of the next combatant's turn to remember a forgotten +hit bonus. That way, if the miss-turned-hit changes events (by killing the next combatant's target, or even the next combatant) we only have to redo one turn to fix things.
  • forgetting a bonus to defense that would have turned a hit into a miss. As above, someone only has until the end of the next combatant's turn to remember the mistake.
  • forgetting because there was multiple things happening at once. For instance, if a power lets a player shift, spend a healing surge, and make a saving throw, they are allowed pretty generously to do any of those things after the fact if they forgot because they were preoccupied doing the other actions.

"I would have done this" actions
The next step up are no-brainer actions, where the player would almost always have done something, but just forgot to actually say it. This is sometimes tricky, and we've had to firmly put our foot down a few times on things and deny players sometimes. Quite often these are the result of unused minor actions, but generally if it's something that a player has to consider and actually make a decision about, they CAN'T take it back. Examples would be:
  • a ranger hitting a target without declaring as his quarry, even though logically he should have (it qualified to be his quarry, he hadn't marked anyone else as his quarry previously, and he still had his minor action available)
  • someone forgetting to sustain an effect. If they ended their turn with the required action type still available, we assume they just sustained it. If it's still their turn when they realize their mistake, and they no longer have the required action available to sustain the effect, they can either end the effect or take back the action required to sustain the effect. If it's after their turn, and they ended their turn with the required action type not available, then they didn't sustain it and the effect ends.

Actions that required consideration and decision
These actions CANNOT be taken back, for various reasons. Often it is because the "forgotten" ability was one that has the potential to be wasted. A perfect example of such an ability is a paladin's Divine Strength, which adds a damage bonus to the paladin's next attack. A paladin can't make an attack roll, hit, and then "remember" to use Divine Strength since he already knows the result of his attack (a hit). The only way we would allow this (sometimes it is crucial) is if he re-rolls his attack roll as well. Some examples of things that cannot be "taken back":
  • forgetting to use a "bonus on next attack" ability until after the attack roll has already been made (though allowed if the attack is re-rolled)
  • forgetting to declare the attack until after the attack roll has already been made (though allowed if the attack is re-rolled). Not declaring the attack means the attack was an at-will attack.
  • essentially anything else that doesn't fit into the first two categories; anything that isn't automatic or near-automatic.


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