N18 Reaction attacks in multiple combat - can you hit someone else?


Dec 31, 2022
Had an interesting one come up today in a battle. One Delaque model was engaged with a Palanite and his pet Mastiff. The Mastiff missed with its attacks and the Delaque player wanted to use the reaction attacks to hit the Palanite not the pet Mastiff.

The rulebook (N18) says (p69), "If there are still enemies that are Standing and Engaged with the attacker, they may make Reaction Attacks, following steps 1-6". The question is, do those reaction attacks have to be against the attacker? Or can they be made against any enemy engaged with the model?
Attacker only.

Edit: Seems like reaction attacks can target anyone as long as the reactive fighter is engaging the attacker.
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My gut was just against the attacking model, these being ‘Reaction attacks’.

But rules for Reaction Attacks state ‘following steps 1-6”, and step 4 is:

When a fighter makes a close combat attack, it must be against an eligible target. An eligible target is an enemy model that is within the vision arc of the fighter, and that the fighter is Engaging, as described on page 64. If there is more than one eligible target, close combat attacks can be split between them as the player wishes”

So RAW, unless this is clarified somewhere else, looks like could react by splitting attacks against multiple engaged opponents.
The vision arc is an important bit... away from books but I believe the reaction attack only allows turning to the attacker, so the mastiff would have needed to be visible. Don't forget that turning imparts a negative to hit.
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That's quite a mix of answers. First says attacker only, second says anyone, and third points out anyone within vision arc (in this case the Mastiff had charged from the side so the Palanite the player wanted to hit was in the vision arc). It looks like:

RAW - can hit any attacker within vision arc with reaction attacks (can turn to face attacker first with -1 to hit)
RAI - probably they meant attacker only

I thank everyone equally for their contributions to the discussion!
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I agree with Vonvilkee also - specified in definition of being an eligible target for attacks in step 4 is being within vision arc.
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I feel like this depends on how much of a bar fight you're in. If you're a stuck-up by the book type ganger, you hit the geezer who hit you. If you're a drunken ass off your face on wildsnake, you'll hit whoever.

(I'd vote to houserule: reaction attacks not directed against your attacker gain the Reckless trait. As per bar fight situations. Sometimes your wildly swung bar stool hits your pal and not the goon who'd tried to glass you with half a wine bottle.)
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As written you can target Standing and engaged fighters. Which is both. However the rules also give penalties for for attacking outside the vision arc, facing, so turning to face someone may not be worth it.
We had this occur again the other day, in a slightly different way.

Model A was engaged with Model B, when Model C came and hit Model A with a Versatile weapon from 2" away.

Model A did not have Versatile weaponry so could not retaliate against Model C but could he hit Model B with his retaliation attack...
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Sorry I was mistaken earlier, in general you can target someone else with reaction attacks. With versatile however the reaction needs to be engaging the attacker.

"The enemy model is considered to be engaged, but may not in turn be Engaging the fighter armed with the Versatile weapon unless they too are armed with a Versatile weapon, and so may not be able to make Reaction attacks."

It feels very unintentional.
I may have been mistaken again :LOL: It is a bit unclear this one actually.


Reaction requirement: "Engaged with the attacker".


Reactive fighter is "condisered to be engaged", assume this means "engaged by the attacker" from older wording. But to be "Engaging the (attacker)", the reactive fighter also needs versatile.

For simplicity, I'd say if you are attacked by versatile, you can make reaction attacks B2B even if not having versatile.