Reach Weapon / Soft Cover / Feat????


Rules Questions

Grand Lodge

Is there a Feat anywhere (or a Class Feature or Archtype or something) that eliminates (or even reduces from -2 to -1) the Soft Cover penalty incured when reaching into combat when allies are next to the monster?


I don't think so.

It's not even clear that the rule "Reach weapons use the rules for ranged weapon for cover" applies to the separate Soft Cover rules. I think there's a FAQ post about it somewhere. If there was a feat to eliminate the cover penalty, that would make it clear(er).

Also... am I confused or is it a +4 AC, not a -2 penalty?

Grand Lodge

See, I also read it as a -4 penalty (my Core is a first printing).

But our expert rules lawyer who follows errata religiously and just got the most recent printing of the Core (for X-mas)
.... AND our Venture Lieutenant
.... and a couple other PFS gamers all said it was considered Soft Cover (-2) so I, a gamer who can't stand Crunch and just goes with the flow, figured there was errata somewhere that declares it Soft Cover.


Mm... no? (But maybe based on the exact details?) PRD is updated with errata (99.5% of the time).

PRD wrote:
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.

There is...

PRD wrote:
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.

Could certainly apply to large creatures.

And just for completeness, from the beginning of the section:

PRD-Cover wrote:

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).

When making a melee attack against an adjacent target, your target has cover if any line from any corner of your square to the target's square goes through a wall (including a low wall). When making a melee attack against a target that isn't adjacent to you (such as with a reach weapon), use the rules for determining cover from ranged attacks.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Core Rulebook, Combat Chapter, Combat Modifiers, Cover wrote:
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.

If you were thinking it was a –4 attack penalty, you're probably thinking of the "firing into melee" penalty, which is actually separate from cover. This means that an archer firing across his buddy could be eating a –4 to hit against a target who also has +4 to AC. The Precise Shot feat eliminates the penalty, but cover stays.

As for reach weapons and cover, remember the heading/subheading structure of the rules (especially in the Combat chapter). There is a heading called "Cover" (which itself is a subheading of "Combat Modifiers", but that's not relevant to this topic).

Here's the very first rules under the "Cover" heading:

Core Rulebook, Combat Chapter, Combat Modifiers, Cover wrote:

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).

When making a melee attack against an adjacent target, your target has cover if any line from any corner of your square to the target's square goes through a wall (including a low wall). When making a melee attack against a target that isn't adjacent to you (such as with a reach weapon), use the rules for determining cover from ranged attacks.

Additional details about cover then follow, as subheadings (such as "Soft Cover") of the parent heading "Cover". That means that these rules are all part of the general cover rules. So in order to apply the ranged cover rules to reach weapons, you have to apply all the subheadings as well.

And just in case that still doesn't convince someone that soft cover applies to reach weapons, go back to the very first paragraph that defines what cover even means in the first place: the last sentence of that paragraph states—in a single sentence—that having the line pass through "a square or border that blocks line of effect or provides cover, or through a square occupied by a creature" will provide cover.

There's no way to define cover that doesn't include soft cover (i.e., cover from creatures), so that has to apply to reach weapons.

Grand Lodge

Majuba wrote:
But maybe based on the exact details?

Yeah it's wierd, this wasn't for a specific example, just general Thinking about making a Reach-Weapon fighter stuff.

And by coincidence our Venture Lieutenant was running a PFS last night and one of the other Players (neither gamers are in my regular Homebrew game) was built with a Reach Weapon and the Venture Lt confirmed it was -2 for the PC (the gamer's father told his son, the Player with the Reach Weapon, it was -2.).

For me, I just like reach weapons but well, since I also like medium BABs, that -2 (or -4) really makes for a weak PC -- and I had asked one of the rules lawyers in my homebrew game if there was any way out of that penalty. He is certain it's -2 (not -4) and like I said, I go with what the Crunch guys in my group say.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That partial cover rule mostly is for large or larger creatures.
Medium and small creatures are normally not counted there.
There is the Low Profile feat to mitigate that for small creatures.
Normal soft cover stills is +4.
Of course many will laywer there for the most favorable rules outcome for them, but that doesn´t necessarily mean they are right.
If there is a small or medium creature between the reach weapon user and his target, the target get´s +4 AC.

The "firing into melee" thing is a different discussion. I wouldn´t apply that, but i´m not sure if that is totally clear by RAW or not.

That is what makes the combat expertise, outflank and gang-up feat combo so attractive in a phalanx^^

Grand Lodge

Jiggy wrote:


"Core Rulebook wrote:
When making a melee attack against a target that isn't adjacent to you (such as with a reach weapon), use the rules for determining cover from ranged attacks.

.

This is the line of text I read from my first printing Core and when researching, thought it was -4.
So I guess I didn't research enough (probably because my eyes were glazing over with boredom looking at all the banal rules).

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

W E Ray wrote:
Majuba wrote:
But maybe based on the exact details?

Yeah it's wierd, this wasn't for a specific example, just general Thinking about making a Reach-Weapon fighter stuff.

And by coincidence our Venture Lieutenant was running a PFS last night and one of the other Players (neither gamers are in my regular Homebrew game) was built with a Reach Weapon and the Venture Lt confirmed it was -2 for the PC (the gamer's father told his son, the Player with the Reach Weapon, it was -2.).

For me, I just like reach weapons but well, since I also like medium BABs, that -2 (or -4) really makes for a weak PC -- and I had asked one of the rules lawyers in my homebrew game if there was any way out of that penalty. He is certain it's -2 (not -4) and like I said, I go with what the Crunch guys in my group say.

Uh, maybe you should ask them to show you in the book instead of going from memory (unless you're in the middle of a game, of course). Because missing the difference between +4 AC and –2 attack should be easy enough to correct.

Grand Lodge

It was moot for me because I wasn't using a Reach Weapon at the time. I was hoping to make a PC with a Reach Weapon (in the future) but wanted to know if there was any Feat I could take to eliminate or mitigate the penalty of reaching into combat.

Incidentally, that's what this Thread is looking for, also -- is there ANYTHING out there that can allow a Reach Weapon PC avoid the Cover penalty?
Please
Pretty Please!
With Whipped Cream and a cherry and sprinkles and a Cthulhu!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Nothing that I'm aware of, sorry. Your best bet is a high attack bonus, and/or extra attacks.

Or, you know, not attacking across an ally in the first place. ;)

You mentioned liking 3/4 BAB classes; depending on the class, I'd be happy to help you brainstorm ways to get your to-hit up enough to make cover less painful (or at least, acceptable when considering the benefits of not being in the monster's face).


Well, I mean it only really comes up if you are standing directly behind your ally. It's a pain when fighting in corridors but otherwise you are usually only a 5ft step away from avoiding the penalty.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If you are willing to invest 3 feats and a 13 intelligence, the combat expertise - outflank - gang-up combo is pretty good. Especially on a rogue or ninja^^ meaning classes with sneak attack.

Grand Lodge

Thanks Hayato Ken!
(for the first time you listed it)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Otm-Shank wrote:
Well, I mean it only really comes up if you are standing directly behind your ally. It's a pain when fighting in corridors but otherwise you are usually only a 5ft step away from avoiding the penalty.

I'm not seeing it. Consider the following, where E is the enemy, A is the ally, and J is me.

E
A
J

You're saying all I need to do is take a 5ft step, presumably (unless I'm misunderstanding you?) ending up like this, with X as an empty square:

E
A
XJ

To determine if the target has cover, the rules say I pick one corner of my square (I'll pick top-right, obviously), then draw a line to every corner of the enemy's square, and if any of those lines passes through a square containing a creature (in this case, ally A), then the target has cover. If nothing else, the line to the bottom-left corner of E's space passes through A's square, so he has cover.

What were you picturing?


Not to get too far off-topic, but the precise rules for cover work most of the time, but occasionally get very odd results. For instance - if your target is surrounded by four creatures (friend or foe) on the diagonals, you can get clear shots in, but if on the sides, you can't:

Charts:
o = open, C = Creature, T = Target

a)
CoC
oTo
CoC

vs.

b)
oCo
CTC
oCo


In a), absolutely anywhere up/down/left/right of that block of 9 cells, you can fire in at the target without cover (by choosing a corner "on the line" of the sides. In b), there is no way to avoid passing through a square of another creature.

Example of a), since it can be confusing:
Here's the 'line' of clear fire:

o = open, C = Creature, T = Target, L = line of fire, A = archer

a-1)
CoCoooooooooooA
oT<<<<<<<<<<<o
CoC

a-2)
CoC
oT<<<<<<<<<<<A
CoC

a-3)
CoC
oT<<<<<<<<<<<o
CoCoooooooooooA

The other extreme oddity is that you can be lined up like this w/out cover:

a-4)
CoCA
oTo
CoC

But even if you're 100 (or 1000) feet away, being just 5 more feet 'off' the line imposes that +4 cover bonus. This is where GM adjudication really needs to be applied.

Grand Lodge

Jiggy,

Your diagram is how I picture it as well.

.
I remember a couple weeks ago when I first went over this Reach Weapon stuff with my Group and was like, Man, this sucks -- how could anyone make a viable Reach-Weapon fighter?

Especially since the purpose of using a Reach Weapon (unless you're going Trip or some other CMB) is so that you have a chance to fight in a bottlekneck and also can be out of reach of the monster -- which loses its effectiveness when fighting large (and bigger) monsters anyway!

Incidentally -- why would anyone build a Reach-Weapon PC?!


Huh, that is decidedly disappointing. I'd never really noticed, my groups have always just played it like that. Does seem to be a serious problem with reach weapons. The benefit is still to get more AoO's but damn. Hard to get excited about taking a -4 on most attacks if you have other frontliners in your party...

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

W E Ray wrote:

Especially since the purpose of using a Reach Weapon (unless you're going Trip or some other CMB) is so that you have a chance to fight in a bottlekneck and also can be out of reach of the monster -- which loses its effectiveness when fighting large (and bigger) monsters anyway!

Incidentally -- why would anyone build a Reach-Weapon PC?!

I always figured the purpose was to be able to attack from a relatively safe place. Let the high-AC guy stand in front of you, while you attack "for free". Even if the monster is large, he's not the only one getting cover.

So basically, you're trading offense for defense.


You think that's bad? Just wait until you dig a little deeper and find out that reach weapons don't threaten diagonally.

Grand Lodge

Heh.

I don't dig deeper -- I wait 'till someone brings something up then suck it up and deal with it!

[Threadjack]
Incidentally, last night a PFS I learned that when you roll a one on your UMD to activate a wand you don't lose a charge from the wand BUT you do lose the ability to try to activate the Wand for 24 hours!

Two corrections on the same thing from how I thought the rules worked (not that UMD & wands comes up very often in my games!)
[/Threadjack]

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Otm-Shank wrote:
Huh, that is decidedly disappointing. I'd never really noticed, my groups have always just played it like that. Does seem to be a serious problem with reach weapons. The benefit is still to get more AoO's but damn. Hard to get excited about taking a -4 on most attacks if you have other frontliners in your party...

If the "other frontliner" is a halfling, or some other situation exists such that more than half your target is visible, then it's only partial cover (+2 AC, instead of +4). Also, this:

Cover wrote:
Big Creatures and Cover: Any creature with a space larger than 5 feet (1 square) determines cover against melee attacks slightly differently than smaller creatures do. Such a creature can choose any square that it occupies to determine if an opponent has cover against its melee attacks. Similarly, when making a melee attack against such a creature, you can pick any of the squares it occupies to determine if it has cover against you.

So...

LL
LL
A
J

If I pick the bottom-right square of the large creature's space for determining cover, then I can draw a line from the top-right corner of my square to all four corners of the selected square without passing through my ally's space, so there's no cover.

The large creature, on the other hand, is going to be facing cover when attacking me no matter which corner of which square he chooses, since he has to draw lines to all of my corners and can't do so without passing through A.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Jiggy, i think you are wrong there.
Why else would there be the low-profile feat for small creatures?
Small creatures essentially occupy the same space as medium creatures mechanically.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Hayato Ken wrote:

Jiggy, i think you are wrong there.

Why else would there be the low-profile feat for small creatures?

To do what it says it does? I don't see how +1 to AC against ranged attacks and the complete removal of soft cover implies that the partial cover rules don't normally apply to creatures.


Hayato Ken wrote:
Why else would there be the low-profile feat for small creatures?

There's no partial cover if friend and foe are both small size - Low Profile still removes a full +4 cover bonus there as well.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ah right, my mistake. I apologize^^


you might be remembering the "precise swing" feat from the old Eberron campaign setting. To my knowledge, it hasn't been ported into any Pathfinder material.


MC Templar wrote:
To my knowledge, it hasn't been ported into any Pathfinder material.

Hmm...

PRD wrote:
When making a melee attack against a target that isn't adjacent to you (such as with a reach weapon), use the rules for determining cover from ranged attacks.
PRD wrote:

Improved Precise Shot (Combat)

Your ranged attacks ignore anything but total concealment and cover.

Prerequisites: Dex 19, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, base attack bonus +11.

Benefit: Your ranged attacks ignore the AC bonus granted to targets by anything less than total cover, and the miss chance granted to targets by anything less than total concealment. Total cover and total concealment provide their normal benefits against your ranged attacks.

Normal: See the normal rules on the effects of cover and concealment in Combat.

... maybe?


I'd read about these rules, but in probably 5-6 different groups I've never actually seen soft cover in play for either ranged or reach weapons. Do most people play with these rules outside of PFS? It might be interesting to try them and see how it affects archers, who have seemed a little strong at times. I guess it could also put a bit of a damper on ranged touch attacks at least at earlier levels.


Home game? Archers yes, Reach weapons no.


Yes, actually playing with cover rules tends to hamper ranged touch casters, ranged weapon attackers, and folks with reach weapons.

In fact, your average acid splash will miss all over the place when firing through cover into melee with the +4 AC and -4 Penalty to hit.

Archer feats make this go away so it makes those feats more important.

Reach characters seem to have an easier time because they will reposition a lot with 5 foot steps. Also in cramped hallways, dealing with a +4 AC bonus and attacking is still better than just standing behind the guy with the longsword and shield and looking at your shiny axe. They also don't have to deal with the fire into melee penalty at all.

I'm still a little confused about the attacks of opportunity and flanking aspects of reach weapons and soft cover.


Devilkiller wrote:
I'd read about these rules, but in probably 5-6 different groups I've never actually seen soft cover in play for either ranged or reach weapons. Do most people play with these rules outside of PFS? It might be interesting to try them and see how it affects archers, who have seemed a little strong at times. I guess it could also put a bit of a damper on ranged touch attacks at least at earlier levels.

Precise Shot and Improved Precise Shot seem to be pretty standard Feats to take if you're an Archer specialist. No reason to take them if the relevant penalties aren't in play. Either taking some of those Feats or at least having a decent DEX really is suggested practice if you want to reliably use Ranged Touch effects against targets in melee (possibly also with Soft Cover) on a routine basis. Although the fact that Spells don't generally suffer Range Increment penalties, usually use Full BAB not Iterative penalties (e.g. Scorching Ray), and of course are targetting Touch AC, just doesn't leave Casters too poor off.

As mentioned, the Firing in Melee penalty just doesn't apply to Reach Weapons. Situations where Soft Cover is in play are ones where the Reach Weapon user basically has a meat shield between them and the enemy, an extra advantage (defensively), probably worth taking a -2 penalty, which ultimately is minor for a Reach Weapon user... They might not use Power Attack in those situations, but that's life. And not even all of those situations: as mentioned vs. Larger creatures (with clear line of effect OVER intervening characters) or with a slope in the terrain allowing similar line of effect, there is no Soft Cover.

Grand Lodge

Devilkiller wrote:
Do most people play with these rules outside of PFS?

Well I can't speak for "most" but my Homegame uses the rules -- however, I can see myself houseruling while DMing to make it a bit more fair. One of those cross-that-bridge-when-I-get-there situations.


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W E Ray wrote:

I remember a couple weeks ago when I first went over this Reach Weapon stuff with my Group and was like, Man, this sucks -- how could anyone make a viable Reach-Weapon fighter?

Especially since the purpose of using a Reach Weapon (unless you're going Trip or some other CMB) is so that you have a chance to fight in a bottlekneck and also can be out of reach of the monster -- which loses its effectiveness when fighting large (and bigger) monsters anyway!

Incidentally -- why would anyone build a Reach-Weapon PC?!

Are you kidding?

1) You don't have to 'go' Trip, i.e. specialize in it: Reach Weapons preclude the AoO, so Improved Trip is not needed for viable Tripping.

2) Being out of Reach of lesser Reach monsters is not "the" purpose. When the monster has parity with your Reach weapon, you have still achieved a benefit vs. a non-Reach weapon: The monster cannot easily attack you from outside of YOUR Reach. Otherwise, you may have to provoke an AoO to close and attack that monster. Even if the monster's Reach is larger than your Reach Weapon (unlikely if you are also Enlarged), you are highly likely to still be able to 5' step and Full Attack it in response. Enlarge is adding 2 square radius to Reach Weapons, while only 1 to non-Reach.

And while there is tactical situations, especially on a round-by-round basis, where Reach Weapons may not be preferred, it's very easy to have OTHER weapon options that you can switch to. Using Reach Weapons effectively does not really require any special Feats that don't apply to non-Reach Weapons, even if Reach Weapons tend to more efficiently leverage some (like Combat Reflexes). So most of your Feats, say Cleave, may be just as relevant to your non-Reach Weapon.


We used to have a Rogue in Second Darkness who would stand behind my mounted Summoner and eidolon using Gang Up to get practically free sneak attacks on stuff while I fought defensively, used Mounted Combat, and generally avoided being hit. If the soft cover rules were in effect I guess maybe he would have needed some extra attack bonuses or might have preferred life as a Barbarian. If 10 foot reach isn't enough (like when striking over a Large eidolon) there's always Lunge.


Following the rules means you don't get mega damage benefits for practically free? OK.

Lunge is interesting with Reach Weapons, for one, it lets your non-Reach Weapons (like Bite) overlap Theat Area with your Reach Weapon. I think that Reach Weapons can also make more use of it tactically, especially when considering non-Enlarge scenarios: without Reach, you're still within 5' step range.

Silver Crusade

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W E Ray wrote:
Incidentally -- why would anyone build a Reach-Weapon PC?!

Historically, reach weapons were routinely used on the battlefield. E.g. Pre-gunpowder, the only thing that could consistently stop a charge of Heavy Cavalry was a close-array Pike formation. Each charging horse-and-rider would receive ten or more attacks of opportunity (AoOs), most of them braced for double damage, before getting close enough to attack. The question ought to be, "why would anyone not build a reach weapon PC?"

In the Pathfinder game there are lots of excellent reasons to use a reach weapon. Here are ten reasons why reach weapons are a strong option:

1. They are two handed weapons, so you get additional bonus damage for high strength and for Power Attack. This is true even for the lowly longspear, which is a Simple Weapon.

2. You will often get free extra attacks. These extra attacks hit hard. If you take the Combat Reflexes feat then you may get multiple free extra attacks in a round. My reach fighters seem to average about one AoO per combat round, which amounts to inflicting double total damage at low level. Such a warrior typically inflicts 2x or even 3x more damage than a comparable sword-and-board warrior. Pathfinder strongly favors Offense over Defense.

3. You can protect your allies. The best defense is a good offense. A foe needs to get past you to attack the squishy allies hiding behind you. Either the foe gives up an AoO (win for you) or the foe refuses to give up the AoO and attacks someone else (win for you). You force foes to choose between bad options.

4. You exert more battlefield control than you would with a non-reach weapon. Foes must stay at least 15' away from you to avoid your AoOs.

5. You have an advantage versus Large foes, such as Ogres and Trolls. Such foes have reach, so they usually get an AoO against a warrior who tries to run up and attack. With a reach weapon you can attack such a foe without drawing an AoO.

6. Using a reach weapon usually requires no additional expenditure of resources. If the Rogue, the Bard, the Cleric, and the Sorcerer each carry a longspear the party will bristle like a porcupine. Any foe who tries to get close will receive multiple AoOs. Even though such characters don't usually hit as hard as a purpose-built reach warrior, the extra attacks are free. Nearly all classes are proficient with Simple Weapons.

7. You can attack from the second rank, where you remain mostly safe. You will have a penalty for soft cover, but you could not otherwise attack at all.

8. You give and get additional flanking opportunities. For example, you can sometimes position yourself to give long-range, funny-angle flank attacks to your allies.

9. Enlarge Person works exceptionally well with a reach weapon. An Enlarged reach weapon wielder threatens a 50' diameter doughnut-shaped zone.

10. You can safely attempt a trip attack with a reach weapon, secure in the knowledge that the foe can't possibly trip you back.

***********************************************
I frequently see inexperienced players worry about adjacent enemies and reach weapons. In my experience this is just not an issue. For one thing, if they are adjacent then you already got an AoO at them. For another, you can just 5' step away and whack them again. For yet another option, you can always draw another weapon and whack them with that, although it probably won't hurt them as much.


I'm not objecting to the strict use of the soft cover rules, just reflecting upon what they might be like since the groups I play with never used them for some reason.

Based on this discussion and my discussion of it with her, my girlfriend is planning to use the soft cover rules in an upcoming "goblin game". I think the deciding factor was figuring out that soft cover will make the Alchemist miss a lot at low levels. That means he'll hit PCs for splash damage a lot, and she really likes that idea. I'm playing the melee goon who will probably get splashed the most, so I'm amused in a sad but resigned kind of way. At least the Druid's animal companion will get it too.

On the subject of reach weapons, I've rarely seen PCs set a weapon for double damage against a charge. If you readied an action I figure you'd get the readied attack when the enemy enters your threatened square and then another as an AoO if he continues on and leaves it. At triple damage this could really help balance things out between those who can pounce and those who can't. What surprises me even more is that I've rarely seen DMs do it. I've heard many DMs over the years complain about big damage from charging PCs, but then they ignore the stuff that can help counter it.

Silver Crusade

Devilkiller wrote:
On the subject of reach weapons, I've rarely seen PCs set a weapon for double damage against a charge. If you readied an action I figure you'd get the readied attack when the enemy enters your threatened square and then another as an AoO if he continues on and leaves it. At triple damage this could really help balance things out between those who can pounce and those who can't. What surprises me even more is that I've rarely seen DMs do it. I've heard many DMs over the years complain about big damage from charging PCs, but then they ignore the stuff that can help counter it.

I sometimes do this when I GM. The first few times the players were shocked and sputtering. They knew it was legal, as they could do the same thing. They eventually grew accustomed to tactically savvy foes, and their own tactics improved. I'm strict about cover rules.

Four goblins, each with a longspear, stand on either side covering a doorway through which the PCs must pass. More goblins with shields are directly in front. All the goblins ready an action to 'attack the first foe to come within reach'. The party wizard volunteers to cast a spell, but the PC Barbarian says, "They're only goblins". The raging Barbarian charges through the doorway. The Barbarian receives four readied attacks upon crossing the threshold, and four AoOs upon leaving the square. Eight melee attacks, at -4 AC, before even closing with the foes! Ouch!


W E Ray wrote:

See, I also read it as a -4 penalty (my Core is a first printing).

But our expert rules lawyer who follows errata religiously and just got the most recent printing of the Core (for X-mas)
.... AND our Venture Lieutenant
.... and a couple other PFS gamers all said it was considered Soft Cover (-2) so I, a gamer who can't stand Crunch and just goes with the flow, figured there was errata somewhere that declares it Soft Cover.

This is interesting. Recently, the rumor went around my local PFS group that an errata had been made that negated the soft cover penalty for reach weapons and ranged attacks if the ally causing the enemy to receive soft cover was adjacent to the attacker. It was related to me by so many people with such confidence that I didn't even question it until somebody brought it to my attention specifically that they couldn't find this errata. I haven't seen it either. Does anyone know where this rumor started, or if there's anything to it at all? Probably it's just one of those things...

EDIT: Btw, WE Ray, if my understanding is correct, by Core rules the cover granted by allies IS soft cover. So your friends were correct on that, but not on the meaning of soft cover. Soft cover still provides +4 AC, it just doesn't give a bonus to Reflex saves or allow Stealth checks. The cover that gives +2 AC is called partial cover, not soft, and is pretty much a fiat rule (though I guess a creature could have partial, soft cover...).


Magda Luckbender wrote:
W E Ray wrote:
Incidentally -- why would anyone build a Reach-Weapon PC?!

Historically, reach weapons were routinely used on the battlefield. E.g. Pre-gunpowder, the only thing that could consistently stop a charge of Heavy Cavalry was a close-array Pike formation. Each charging horse-and-rider would receive ten or more attacks of opportunity (AoOs), most of them braced for double damage, before getting close enough to attack. The question ought to be, "why would anyone not build a reach weapon PC?"

In the Pathfinder game there are lots of excellent reasons to use a reach weapon. Here are ten reasons why reach weapons are a strong option:

1. They are two handed weapons, so you get additional bonus damage for high strength and for Power Attack. This is true even for the lowly longspear, which is a Simple Weapon.

2. You will often get free extra attacks. These extra attacks hit hard. If you take the Combat Reflexes feat then you may get multiple free extra attacks in a round. My reach fighters seem to average about one AoO per combat round, which amounts to inflicting double total damage at low level. Such a warrior typically inflicts 2x or even 3x more damage than a comparable sword-and-board warrior. Pathfinder strongly favors Offense over Defense.

3. You can protect your allies. The best defense is a good offense. A foe needs to get past you to attack the squishy allies hiding behind you. Either the foe gives up an AoO (win for you) or the foe refuses to give up the AoO and attacks someone else (win for you). You force foes to choose between bad options.

4. You exert more battlefield control than you would with a non-reach weapon. Foes must stay at least 15' away from you to avoid your AoOs.

5. You have an advantage versus Large foes, such as Ogres and Trolls. Such foes have reach, so they usually get an AoO against a warrior who tries to run up and attack. With a reach weapon you can attack such a foe without drawing an AoO.

6. Using a reach weapon usually requires no additional expenditure of resources. If the Rogue, the Bard, the Cleric, and the Sorcerer each carry a longspear the party will bristle like a porcupine. Any foe who tries to get close will receive multiple AoOs. Even though such characters don't usually hit as hard as a purpose-built reach warrior, the extra attacks are free. Nearly all classes are proficient with Simple Weapons.

7. You can attack from the second rank, where you remain mostly safe. You will have a penalty for soft cover, but you could not otherwise attack at all.

8. You give and get additional flanking opportunities. For example, you can sometimes position yourself to give long-range, funny-angle flank attacks to your allies.

9. Enlarge Person works exceptionally well with a reach weapon. An Enlarged reach weapon wielder threatens a 50' diameter doughnut-shaped zone.

10. You can safely attempt a trip attack with a reach weapon, secure in the knowledge that the foe can't possibly trip you back.

1. This is not an advantage of reach weapons. You can attack for 1.5x strength damage with everything from clubs to greatswords. It is, in fact, a disadvantage of reach weapons that you do not have the option to use other combat styles (that would mitigate a problem you'll ignore later)

2. Extra potential AoOs. You threaten just under 45% more squares. That's one.

3. You have a larger threat footprint. This is just #2 restated. You don't get to count it twice.

4. Oh, come on. This is just #3 again, which is #2 again. So far we're looking at only one advantage.

5. Large Foes. Now we're getting somewhere. This makes two.

6. Your non-martials get AoOs. Sorry, this is just #2 again with a change of who holds the spear.

7. If you can attack with a reach weapon you are a 5' step from being full attacked. Unless you have enough front liners to form close ranks you're safety is coming primarily from not being as dangerous as your friends. Or your GM playing your enemies dumb I suppose. Might be nice in 5' corridors until your GM asks how you're maneuvering a 10' weapon in 5' spaces.

8. Flanking doesn't care how far you stand from your opponent or what other squares you threaten so reach isn't adding anything.

9. This is flat out wrong. A large creature with a reach weapon cannot attack an adjacent medium or small opponent after a 5' step. Unless you use the withdraw action you will eat an AoO when you try to get out to 15' for your attack. There's no advantage for reach here and against a barbarian, druid, eidolon, or small mounted character you can wind up eating full attacks or lance charges while dealing standard and breaking even on AoOs. Wouldn't be such a problem if you could dual wield a longspear and longsword or longspear and spiked shield. Wouldn't even need to actually pay the feats and attack penalties for TWF since you'd only be able to apply one on any given round outside AoOs anyways. Sadly all reach weapons are two handed.

10. Nope. Sorry, but the trip rules don't require you to be within reach to be counter-tripped. You fail by 10 it doesn't matter if you're an archer archetype fighter tripping with a bow. Down you go. Unless you have a weapon with the trip property, which has no correlation with the reach property and you're disarmed instead of prone.

So 2 reasons. 3 if you count #7, which I myself find dubious.


Improved precise shot negates the cover penalty for reach weapons, try that!

Scarab Sages

CWheezy wrote:
Improved precise shot negates the cover penalty for reach weapons, try that!

Sorry for the necro, but Improved precise shot negates the cover penalty for ranged weapons. Reach weapons are melee and not affected by the feat.

Your ranged attacks ignore anything but total concealment and cover.

Prerequisites: Dex 19, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, base attack bonus +11.
Benefit: Your ranged attacks ignore the AC bonus granted to targets by anything less than total cover, and the miss chance granted to targets by anything less than total concealment. Total cover and total concealment provide their normal benefits against your ranged attacks.
Normal: See the normal rules on the effects of cover and concealment in Combat.

Sovereign Court

Since this thread's been necro'ed anyway, I'll use it to ask about some detail that popped up in my mind while reading it.

Suppose we're standing here:
.
.
E_
A_
_Y

With the characters denoting Enemy, Ally and You.

If you selected the top-left corner of your square to make a reach attack against the enemy, would he receive only partial soft cover, based on

PRD > CRB > Combat > Cover wrote:
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.

?

Sovereign Court

Maybe not. I guess it depends on what you consider "visible".

If we take it to mean the lines-from-corners-to-corners used for computing cover, this situation leaves you with exactly 50%, while you need 51%.

Dark Archive

Old thread, but never really answered. The Melee Tactics Toolbox provides your answer. Phalanx Formation (Combat).

Copied from 20pfsrd:

You are trained to use long weapons in tight formations.

Prerequisite(s): Base attack bonus +1.

Benefit: When you wield a reach weapon with which you are proficient, allies don't provide soft cover to opponents you attack with reach.

Normal: Attacking a target that is beyond another creature, even an ally, can result in the target having soft cover from you.

Hope this helps!

Edit: The ability to attack at diagonals has been errata-ed. Check the FAQ


Thanks for posting that feat, Alan Kaekel. There's a lot of misinformation earlier in this thread. As you've pointed out, creatures normally provide cover for melee reach attacks.

It took a while to convince my area's leadership (outside of a game, of course) that this was the case. Using this feat as a reference will make it easier in the future, should the need arise.

Note that this is particularly important when determining whether a creature with reach can make an Attack of Opportunity:

Quote:
You can't execute an attack of opportunity against an opponent with cover relative to you.

I see this run incorrectly quite often.


I think most groups ignore this rule(about reach and cover). IIRC the combat chapter says "reach", and not specifically reach weapons, so large creatures such as giants would suffer from this also. However, I am not 100% sure that was the intent, and maybe it was only meant for reach weapons.


wraithstrike wrote:
I think most groups ignore this rule(about reach and cover). IIRC the combat chapter says "reach", and not specifically reach weapons, so large creatures such as giants would suffer from this also. However, I am not 100% sure that was the intent, and maybe it was only meant for reach weapons.

I actually think it was intended originally, but has long been overlooked/ignored by many players/GMs.

Consider this rule:

Quote:
When you move through a square occupied by a friendly character, that character doesn't provide you with cover.

With the exception of the rare (and very oddly worded) readied action, the above rule really only comes up in exactly the situation we've been discussing - determining whether cover is being granted to determine whether an AoO is allowed.

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