New and Improved Guide to Ranged Cover

Postby benrady » Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:16 pm

Cover is pretty easy to understand when it comes to melee attacks. If you're attacking around a corner, your target gets a +4 bonus to AC. For ranged attacks, the rules are a bit more complicated. If you're going to be doing a lot of ranged attacks, it's important to understand these rules.

(RAW as quoted text)

Total Cover

If you don't have line of effect to your target (that is, you cannot draw any line from your square to your target's square without crossing a solid barrier), he is considered to have total cover from you. You can't make an attack against a target that has total cover.

In this example, we have an archer who wants to attack a Zombie, but the Zombie has total cover from a square earthen column.



To determine whether your target has cover from your ranged attack, choose a corner of your square. If any line from this corner to any corner of the target's square passes through a square or border that blocks line of effect or provides cover, or through a square occupied by a creature, the target has cover (+4 to AC).

If the archer takes a 5 foot step to the southeast, he exposes two corners of the zombie's square. He can now attack, but the zombie gets a +4 bonus to AC due to the cover provided by the earthen column.


Partial Cover

If a creature has cover, but more than half the creature is visible, its cover bonus is reduced to a +2 to AC and a +1 bonus on Reflex saving throws. This partial cover is subject to the GM's discretion.

If the Archer moves 10 feet south, he can now see 3 of the 4 corners of the Zombie's square, meaning that more than half of the zombie is visible. Assuming the GM agrees, the zombie now has partial cover, reducing his AC bonus from +4 to +2.


And if the Archer moves 10 feet to the east, he now has a clear shot at the zombie (no cover bonus to AC).


The partial cover rule is interesting in that, unlike the other rules for cover, it doesn't make any assertions about squares, only how much of the creature is visible. This means it can also be applied in three dimensions.

Soft Cover

Creatures, even your enemies, can provide you with cover against ranged attacks, giving you a +4 bonus to AC. However, such soft cover provides no bonus on Reflex saves, nor does soft cover allow you to make a Stealth check.

In this example, the archer is joined by a Barbarian, who is also attacking the zombie.


The Total Cover rule states that it requires a solid barrier, so note that even though all four corners of the zombie are obscured by the barbarian, the archer can still make at attack. There is no difference in the AC bonus (+4 in both cases), whether the archer is firing straight on or at an angle.

Big Creatures and Cover

Given that you have to be able to see more than half of a creature to reduce that creature's cover bonus to partial, it's possible for two medium creatures to provide soft cover to a large creature.


Unlike previous the example with the zombie, if the archer makes a 5 foot step south, he exposes enough of the large creature to see more than 50% and reduce the cover bonus to partial.


Or, if only one medium creature is present, the archer can see more than 50% of the creature, and so only partial cover applies.

Billy The Killjoy
Spoiler: show

Billy the Killjoy
Male human (Shoanti) ranger 17
LN Medium humanoid (human)
Init +10; Senses Perception +28
AC 32, touch 21, flat-footed 24 (+9 armor, +2 deflection, +8 Dex, +1 luck, +2 shield)
hp 143 (17d10+37)
Fort +20, Ref +24, Will +15
Defensive Abilities fortification 50%, improved evasion
Speed 30 ft.
Melee bowstaff stats +21/+16/+11/+6 (1d6+4 plus 1d6 cold plus 2d6 vs. evil plus 1d6 acid) or
. . dagger +20/+15/+10/+5 (1d4+2/19-20) or
. . locked gauntlet +20/+15/+10/+5 (1d3+2)
Ranged billy's vengence +22/+22/+17/+12/+7 (1d8+14/19-20/×3 plus 1d6 cold plus 2d6 vs. evil plus 1d6 acid) or
. . mwk longbow +22/+22/+17/+12/+7 (1d8+11/19-20/×3)
Special Attacks combat style (archery), favored enemies (aberrations +2, constructs +2, humans +2, undead +8), quarry
Ranger Spells Prepared (CL 14th; concentration +17)
. . 4th—terrain bond[UC]
. . 3rd—instant enemy[APG] (2), life bubble[APG] (DC 16)
. . 2nd—barkskin (2), chameleon stride[APG], protection from energy
. . 1st—bowstaff[UC], feather step[APG] (DC 14), gravity bow[APG], liberating command[UC], longstrider
Str 15, Dex 26, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 16, Cha 8
Base Atk +17; CMB +20; CMD 40
Feats Blinding Critical, Boon Companion, Clustered Shots[UC], Critical Focus, Deadly Aim, Divine Interference[UM], Endurance, Improved Critical (longbow), Improved Precise Shot, Manyshot, Point Blank Master[APG], Point-blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus (longbow)
Traits indomitable faith, reactionary
Skills Acrobatics +21, Climb +4, Escape Artist +18, Handle Animal +15 (+19 to force this mount into an Unnatural Aura.), Heal +7, Knowledge (arcana) +2, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +15, Knowledge (geography) +5, Knowledge (local) +7, Knowledge (nature) +25, Knowledge (planes) +2, Knowledge (religion) +2, Perception +28, Perform (wind instruments) +0, Ride +20 (+24 to force this mount into an Unnatural Aura.), Sense Motive +7, Spellcraft +5, Stealth +26, Survival +23 (+25 to avoid becoming lost, +25 to avoid becoming lost), Swim +4
Languages Common, Elven, Shoanti
SQ camouflage, favored terrains (hell +2, underground +2, urban +6), hide in plain sight, hunter's bond (wolf named commerce), swift tracker, track +8, wild empathy +16, woodland stride
Special Abilities
Animal Companion Link (Ex) You have a link with your Animal Companion.
Blinding Critical (DC 27) Critical hit blinds or dazzles target.
Blood reservoir of physical prowess (4 charges) Use 1 to physical ability dam or use all for 2x charges bonus to ability score for 1 rd.
Boon Companion (Animal Companion) +4 levels to calc familiar/animal comp abilities (max of your HD).
Camouflage (Ex) Can use the Stealth skill in favored terrain, even without cover/concealment.
Clustered Shots Total damage from full-round ranged attacks before applying DR
Critical Focus +4 to confirm critical hits.
Deadly Aim -5/+10 Trade a penalty to ranged attacks for a bonus to ranged damage.
Divine Interference Sacrifice a spell to force an enemy to reroll a successful attack against your ally
Earplugs +2 save vs. hearing effects, -5 hearing-based Perception.
Endurance +4 to a variety of fort saves, skill and ability checks. Sleep in L/M armor with no fatigue.
Favored Enemy (Aberrations +2) (Ex) +2 to rolls vs. Favored Enemy (Aberrations) foes.
Favored Enemy (Constructs +2) (Ex) +2 to rolls vs. Favored Enemy (Constructs) foes.
Favored Enemy (Humans +2) (Ex) +2 to rolls vs. Favored Enemy (Humans) foes.
Favored Enemy (Undead +8) (Ex) +8 to rolls vs. Favored Enemy (Undead) foes.
Favored Terrain (Hell +2) (Ex) +2 to rolls when in Favored Terrain (Hell).
Favored Terrain (Underground +2) (Ex) +2 to rolls when in Favored Terrain (Underground).
Favored Terrain (Urban +6) (Ex) +6 to rolls when in Favored Terrain (Urban).
Fortification 50% You have a chance to negate critical hits on attacks.
Hide in Plain Sight (Su) You can use Stealth even while observed, as long as there is a shadow within 10'
Improved Evasion (Ex) If you succeed at a Reflex save for half damage, you take none instead. If you fail you take half damage.
Improved Precise Shot Ignore AC bonuses and miss chance from anything less than total cover/concealment.
Manyshot You can shoot two arrows as the first attack of a full attack action.
Point-Blank Shot +1 to attack and damage rolls with ranged weapons at up to 30 feet.
Precise Shot You don't get -4 to hit when shooting or throwing into melee.
Quarry (Ex) +2 to hit and other bonuses vs. designated quarry.
Rapid Shot You get an extra attack with ranged weapons. Each attack is at -2.
Share Spells with Companion (Ex) Can cast spells with a target of "you" on animal companion, as touch spells.
Swift Tracker (Ex) Tracking penalties when moving at normal speed or faster are reduced.
Track +8 Add the listed bonus to survival checks made to track.
Wild Empathy +16 (Ex) Improve the attitude of an animal, as if using Diplomacy.
Woodland Stride (Ex) Move through undergrowth at normal speed.

Rae Kwon
Spoiler: show
Rae Kwon
Male human (Tian-Shu) ninja 12 (Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Combat 13)
N Medium humanoid (human)
Init +10; Senses Perception +20
AC 23, touch 19, flat-footed 15 (+4 armor, +1 deflection, +8 Dex)
hp 96 (12d8+33)
Fort +8, Ref +18, Will +7
Defensive Abilities improved uncanny dodge
Speed 30 ft.
Melee +1 agile wakizashi +16/+11 (1d6+9/18-20) or
. . +1 agile wakizashi +16/+11 (1d6+9/18-20) or
. . dagger +17/+12 (1d4+1/19-20)
Ranged +1 composite shortbow +18/+13 (1d6+1/×3)
Special Attacks sneak attack +6d6
Ninja Spell-Like Abilities (CL 12th; concentration +13)
. . —invisible blade[UC]
. . —see the unseen[UC]
. . —vanishing trick[UC]
Str 12, Dex 26, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 12
Base Atk +9; CMB +10; CMD 29
Feats Double Slice, Extra Ki, Following Step[APG], Improved Two-weapon Fighting, Quick Draw, Step Up, Two-weapon Fighting, Weapon Finesse
Traits indomitable faith, reactionary
Skills Acrobatics +23, Bluff +16 (+18 to feint, +26 to lie, +21 to feint, 11 to pass a hidden message), Climb +10, Diplomacy +10, Disable Device +25, Disguise +9, Escape Artist +12, Intimidate +5, Knowledge (local) +6, Linguistics +7, Perception +20, Perform (sing) +5, Sense Motive +4, Sleight of Hand +14, Stealth +23, Survival +0 (+2 to avoid becoming lost), Swim +5, Use Magic Device +13
Languages Abyssal, Common, Hallit, Infernal, Kelish, Osiriani, Tien
SQ ki pool (9 points), light steps, ninja tricks (combat trick, invisible blade[UC], offensive defense[APG], see the unseen[UC], trap spotter, vanishing trick[UC]), no trace +4, poison use
Special Abilities
Antitoxin This substance counteracts a specific toxin. If you drink a vial of antitoxin, you gain a +5 alchemical bonus on Fortitude saving throws against poison for 1 hour.

Alchemical Power Component
Like antiplague, this substance can augment certain healing spells.
Neutralize Poison (M): Add +2 on your caster level check to neutralize poison on a target creature. Antitoxin has no effect when you cast the spell on an object.
Boots of speed (10 rounds/day) Affected by haste
Cold weather outfit +5 Fort save vs. cold weather.
Earplugs +2 save vs. hearing effects, -5 hearing-based Perception.
Following Step You may move 10' with Step Up, and still get a 5' step on your next turn.
Headband of ninjitsu (1/day) +2 to hit on sneak att, can sneak att concealed. Activate to feint/reposition as swift.
Improved Uncanny Dodge (Lv >=16) (Ex) Retain DEX bonus to AC when flat-footed. You cannot be flanked unless the attacker is Level 16+.
Invisible Blade (Su) Whenever a ninja uses the vanishing trick ninja trick, she is treated as if she were under the effects of greater invisibility. The ninja must have the vanishing trick ninja trick before selecting this ninja trick.
Ki Pool (9/day) (Su) You have a ki pool equal to 1/2 your monk level + your Charisma modifier.
Light Steps (Ex) When moving up to twice your normal movement, you may ignore difficult terrain and can move over any surface.
No Trace +4 (Ex) Survival DCs to track you are at +4, gain +4 to Stealth when you are stationary and not acting.
Offensive Defense (Ex) Sneak attack grants a +1 dodge bonus to AC for each die rolled vs. that foe.
Poison Use You do not risk poisoning yourself accidentally while poisoning a weapon.
Quick Draw Draw weapon as a free action (or move if hidden weapon). Throw at full rate of attacks.
Ring of feather falling Feather fall activates if you fall more than 5 ft.
See the Unseen (Su) A ninja with this trick learns how to see that which cannot be seen. As a swift action, the ninja can cast see invisibility, using her level as the caster level.

Each use of this ability uses up 1 ki point.
Sneak Attack +6d6 Attacks deal extra dam if flank foe or if foe is flat-footed.
Step Up When a foe makes a 5 ft step away from you, you can move 5 ft to follow them.
Trap Spotter (Ex) Whenever you come within 10' of a trap, the GM secretly rolls for you to find it.
Vanishing Trick (Su) As a swift action, the ninja can disappear for 1 round per level. This ability functions as invisibility. Using this ability uses up 1 ki point.
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