Archers shooting from cover.

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To help illistrate my question I made the quick above scenario on roll20 and print screened it. In this example our player character is the mighty kobold archer hero in the top left of the screen. He has somehow found his way into a room and is behind a pillar with three angry dwarves.

 

The scenario I'm always finding my players asking me is if they can stay hidden behind that pillar/wall and simply aim around it to let off an attack without moving out of the square. I have always said sure. It makes sense to me as a person that an archer should be able to just lean around a corner, let off an arrow, and lean back without standing in the open picking his nose after letting off his arrows. This has of course led to situations where archers would sit on ether end of a room never moving because neither one wanted to give away their total concealment bonus from the pillar/wall. So after it happening enough times I thought I would try looking into the offical ruling on this kind of thing and I couldn't find anything. 

 

This has nothing to do with stealth checks or anything of the sort, I'm just wondering if they can lean around a corner as a free action, let off their attack and end their turn in the same place. Or is the line of sight being blocked forcing them to move out into the open and then ending their turn there after they attack?

 

If he is allowed to stay behind the cover, then could the other archer ready his action so that the next time the Kobold archer leaned out to attack he got hit in the face?

 

 

 

The second scenario is like this. Our mighty Kobold archer hero is ducking behind waist high cover. Like above, can he simply lean over, let off a volley of arrows, and then duck back down into cover? Or would he need to use a move action to stand up, take an attack, then he would need a second move action to go prone again behind the cover? I find this one comes up in situations where people are imagining like when a bar fight breaks out in a cowboy movie and someone flips over a table and starts shooting their guns while staying behind the cover of the flipped table.

 

So that's my questions. Hope it makes sense, and thanks in advance.

 

 

 

1a: In your first scenario, the kobold is free to use ranged attacks against the dwarves in the middle, but not against the crossbowman behind the right pillar.

 

The only thing you need to make a ranged attack against a target is Line of Effect. You have LoE if you can draw at least one line between the origin square and the intended target square without touching blocking terrain. In this case, you can draw a line from the bottom left corner of the kobold's square to the bottom left corner of either of the two dwarf squares' corners.

 

1b: Your comments about leaning around the corner as a free action do not apply. There is no such action and it's not needed.

 

1c: The kobold and the crossbowman can not attack each other since neither has LoE. If one of them wants to attack the other, they will need to move out in the open and give up their cover. Readying an action to fire as soon as the other archer leaves cover works.

 

2a: In the book, it's specifically called out that "Targets behind a low wall /.../ enjoy some amount of cover". So choose either Partial or Superior cover depending on how much protection you want the wall to provide.

 

2b: If you desperately want a wall that blocks LoE to prone targets, the kobold will be able to attack and hide every turn, since dropping prone is actually a minor action

As soon as someone attacks they would lose the HIDDEN condition and the enemies would know where they were unless they have some feature or part of the power that allows them to remain HIDDEN after makeing an attack.

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Okie dokie. Sounds like I was doing it right all along then. I just wasn't sure on how to explain it in terms of game rules. Thank you very much.

Just to clarify a bit, when drawing imaginary LoS/LoE lines, you always draw them from corners of squares to corners of squares.  Yes, I HAVE seen folks use square to square as the basis for this, and that really opens up a can of worms because if you do that you just opened up an a virtually infinite number of possible lines.  With corner to corner there are only so many lines you can try.

 

For myself, if the line is uncertain, I don't whip out a straightedge ... I just let the players in question have it.  It moves the game along quicker.  The vast majority of the time, however, it's pretty easy to just eyeball it and you can tell right away.

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Unless this has changed since the Player's Handbook, Forehead is only partially correct.

 

The archer can target EVERYONE in that first image, but the crossbowman has Cover (-2).

 

Determining Cover: To determine if a target has

cover, choose a corner of a square you occupy (or

a corner of your attack’s origin square) and trace

imaginary lines from that corner to every corner

of any one square the target occupies. If one or

two of those lines are blocked by an obstacle or an

enemy, the target has cover. (A line isn’t blocked if it

runs along the edge of an obstacle’s or an enemy’s

square.) If three or four of those lines are blocked but

you have line of effect, the target has superior cover.

PHB pg 280

The posters above are wrong.

 

RC105 - Choosing Targets

"The target must be within line of effect of the power's origin square."

 

RC107 - Line of Effect

"If every imaginary line traced from the origin square to the target passes through or touches blocking terrain, there is no line of effect between the two." (emphasis mine)

Forehead is correct about the LoE, my mistake, so I will remove my other post to avoid confusion.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”