Reaction powers

Many powers in 4e are reactions triggered by “you are hit.” This means you can immediately perform an action outside of your turn and outside of the standard/move/minor action paradigm. Some of these powers include buffs to defenses, transference of damage, or special move such as shifting out of the way. Many of these only make sense in the context of getting hit (“you get a +1 to attack the guy who just hit you”), but some abilities have neither flavor nor effect that have anything to do with being hit by an opponent. Or at least not all of the reaction power directly affects the attacker.Ally taking an attack

One such power is my character’s Cape of the Mountebank [DDI] immediate teleport reaction. If you have the cape on and an available item daily, you can teleport 5 squares when you’re hit. My question is, why do you have to wait to get to use the ability?

In last week’s extended session we were in a fight with the big baddie about to get away with all the treasure. We were on the roof, but there was a 10′ guard wall around the top between the party and the escaping villain. In order to get a clear shot to use a power, I wanted to take advantage of my cape’s teleport. Since no enemies were handy, I had an ally bash in my skull so I could use the reaction power. I took 6 points of damage for my trouble but I was able to be on top of the wall for my turn and got off my attack. Unfortunately those six points came up to bite me later when I went down to 1 hp.

It seems silly to take a hit from a friend to use the ability. Either the character should be able to use the ability as an equivalent action without the trigger, or my preferred house rule that an ally can make a zero-damage attack to cause the trigger. This shouldn’t come up too often as most immediate reaction powers do something directly to the instigator. In 3e one had the ability to deal subdual damage, and that seems like it would be handy here.

Anyone use a similar type of house rule?