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D&D 3E
Line of Sight 
28th-Feb-2006 09:14 am
Bitch Please - peanuts
This came up in my last game. What are the actual rules for drawing line of sight? Can I shoot at a bad guy from behind another character? I thought this was represented by the -4 for firing into melee, but the DM said (with some uncertainy, because he wasn't sure) that the character blocked line of sight. I flipped through the PHB and the SRD looking for the exact rules on drawing line of sight, but couldn't find what I was looking for.

28th-Feb-2006 05:35 pm (UTC)
yeah, trying to shoot at someone who has somebody in their way has soft cover, or partial cover, and is the -4 to hit. also remember this only applies if the two engaged in melee combat. poster above me has it on line of sight. also, don't forget that if the two are in a grapple, 50% chance to hit either one. ;]
28th-Feb-2006 06:10 pm (UTC)
Cover never applies a penalty to hit; it provides a bonus to Armor Class... And soft cover is not restricted only to when the target is in melee combat; that's the "firing into melee" -4 penalty. Firing into melee past soft cover gives the target a +4 AC bonus and applies a -4 penalty on the attack roll.
28th-Feb-2006 10:35 pm (UTC)
Strictly speaking, a bonus to Armor Class is a penalty to hit. I never understood why they did that, made two different kinds of modifiers. It has the same game effect (a lessened chance to hit). Is there a situation where a character's AC is important that doesn't involve a roll to-hit?
1st-Mar-2006 01:25 am (UTC)
There could be. More importantly, it's a matter of how the situation interacts with the rules. Situations that affect how you can do your task, regardless of target, modify your attack roll. Situations that affect your target's resistance or protection, independent of your attack roll, modify the target's Armor Class.

This is the same reason certain things provide skill penalties or bonuses, and other things provide DC modifiers. Doing all this on only one side leads to inevitable confusion and unnecessary complexity ("so, make sure you write down your attack bonus against targets with cover, and against targets with concealment, and against targets with plate mail, and against...", which is equivalent to going back to 1e days of having to reference an attack matrix).
1st-Mar-2006 01:47 am (UTC)
I guess I can see how that works. Using the original example, if A is shooting at B through a square occupied by C, he will get a penalty to hit, whereas D, who is not shooting through an occupied square, wouldn't get that penalty.
1st-Mar-2006 01:52 am (UTC)
Well, in this case, that affects the protection of the target, so B gets a cover bonus to AC against A, but not against D, or against anyone who ignores cover bonuses to AC (an arcane archer's Phase Arrow ability, for instance).

If, however, A was in the area of a bane spell (and had failed their saving throw), while D was not in the area, or had succeeded at their saving throw, A has a penalty to hit while D does not.

In the first case, the target's position is relevant, which makes it affect the target's AC. In the second, the ability of the attackers is relevant, which makes it affect their attack rolls.
1st-Mar-2006 03:42 am (UTC)
sorry, the post was missing a "there is the -4 to hit". however i thought the soft cover was only +2 AC? i guess i was wrong?
1st-Mar-2006 01:23 pm (UTC)
Soft cover is +4 AC, like any other form of (non-total) cover.

Total cover completely prevents direct attacks, and thus doesn't grant an AC bonus.

There is also a form of "improved cover" (basically equivalent to the 3.0 'nine-tenths cover'), but it's generally up to GM fiat: "In some cases, cover may provide a greater bonus to AC and Reflex saves. In such situations the normal cover bonuses to AC and Reflex saves can be doubled (to +8 and +4, respectively). A creature with this improved cover effectively gains improved evasion against any attack to which the Reflex save bonus applies. Furthermore, improved cover provides a +10 bonus on Hide checks." (SRD)

In any case, cover always grants at least a +4.
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