Shooting at targets behind weak materials?


Rules Questions


Let's say you see an enemy behind a pane of glass and shoot at them with a ranged weapon. What happens?


I think everything would be fair game to shatter the glass and hit the enemy. Maybe at a -1 damage? Probably not.


You could make an attack against the pane of glass, but you wouldn't hit the target. Even if you managed to break the glass, a missile's course would be altered significantly during impact with the pane of glass, making it basically impossible to hit the target. mIf you had more attacks you could attack again, but you'd have to shoot through the hole, and I'm too lazy to look up what kind of cover that would be.


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Assuming the AC target was met on the to hit roll, I would assign a miss chance ranging from 5% for totally transparent glass to 50% miss chance for totally opaque. I would also assign the glass hit points depending on the thickness, these would be deducted from the total damage rolled if the miss chance roll resulted in a hit.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
Let's say you see an enemy behind a pane of glass and shoot at them with a ranged weapon. What happens?

Mechanically, you hit the glass and will probably/hopefully destroy the window allowing your next attack to strike the target.

The window blocks line of effect (which makes a difference for targeting) within the rule set. The glass is effectively complete/total cover.


Same thing that happens when a titan sunders a spiked gauntlet, while I was wearing it. Item is fragged, and I can still type 70 wpm, hand unscathed.

It doesn't make sense, but thems the rules.


Let's say you are shooting at a target behind an invisible paper screen, then.


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Umbral Reaver wrote:
Let's say you are shooting at a target behind an invisible paper screen, then.

Mechanically the result is the same.

Total cover. Destroy enough of the cover or if the cover has large enough holes, and it will allow you to hit the target.

This last example is more tricky as the cover is invisible and so you are unable to tell where said damage (missing portions) would be.

Edit:

Relevant rule wrote:

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.

Long story short, you cannot even attack the target.


Long story short, unless you have a class feature, feat, or ability that says you can shoot through materials and hit someone on the other side, assume you have to destroy the initial material first before attacking whatever else is there.


Oh well. I was hoping there might have been an obscure rule somewhere that I had missed.

The Exchange

It'll get caught in the paper screen if it's an arrow or sling bullet. They'll just tear straight through the screen until you can see your target.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Let's say you see an enemy behind a pane of glass and shoot at them with a ranged weapon. What happens?

Remember that "cover" and "concealment" are two different things.

Here's a good discussion about the difference


Umbral Reaver wrote:
Let's say you see an enemy behind a pane of glass and shoot at them with a ranged weapon. What happens?

By RAW, you shouldn't be able to even attack the target, because Line of Effect and Total Cover prevents attacking a target behind it.

Still, if (like me) you find that rule flawed, you should might houserule something else.

_ _ _ _ _

Here's a house rule we use that works well enough.

As long as you have line of sight or you can at least pinpoint the target's square (partial/total concealment will apply to the target in this case) if you have a suitable weapon or item able to breach a cover and attack a target behind, you can try to "punch through".

1-. Grant an AC bonus to the target. A value we tend to use is cover bonus (+4) plus cover material hardness. Depending on the weapon/item used, cover bonus may be reduced, with a minimum of +4 AC.

2-. You roll attack normally taking into account target and cover AC's. As long as you at least hit the cover, roll damage, deduct cover hardness and then deal damage to the cover HP, if it's not enough to drop cover HP to zero, then only cover is damaged; in case damage is enough to drop cover HP to zero, if the roll was enough to hit the cover but not the target excess damage is lost; if the roll was high enough to hit the target (roll concealment here if it's applicable) excess damage pierces the cover and is dealt to the target.

3-. Depending on the cover material, thickness, etc.. you may consider the cover either still standing, breached (you may even breach sections of a cover) or destroyed (for example, if you use an arrow, your glass pane might shatter, but a paper wall might stand there with a single hole on it).


Probably would have been more appropriate to start a post in the suggestion/homebrew/houserules and put in a link there saying 'hey look at this'.

When posting in the Rules Forum people are interested how things actually work, not how random people would run it in their game if rules weren't an issue because they don't like them.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Personally, for something like this, I'ld see about having the glass (or paper) grant concealment, rather than actual cover, though maybe the glass would act as DR for the attack.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

If a GM rules that the barrier doesn't block the attack then it isn't 'cover'.

Just because there is something between attacker and target does not mean that thing automatically grants cover. Otherwise, air or water would provide cover.


CBDunkerson wrote:
Just because there is something between attacker and target does not mean that thing automatically grants cover. Otherwise, air or water would provide cover.

But water explicitly provides cover when attacking thngsbthatbare submerged.


Depends on the material. Also is going to depend on the GM, this isn't covered anywhere in the rules.

I would rule a thin sheet of paper has no significant effect.

I would rule that a thin sheet of glass would block the shot unless you did enough damage to shatter it, in which case I would apply a heavy penalty to hit and a moderate penalty to damage due to the significant alteration in flight course and lowered momentum.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Blindmage wrote:
CBDunkerson wrote:
Just because there is something between attacker and target does not mean that thing automatically grants cover. Otherwise, air or water would provide cover.
But water explicitly provides cover when attacking thngsbthatbare submerged.

I knew someone was going to bring this up. However, it isn't that simple;

Attacker & Target both underwater: No cover
Attacker on land / Target underwater: Total cover
Attacker underwater / Target on land: No cover

Thus, to return to my point, water is a tangible 'barrier' between two submerged creatures. Yet it does not provide cover. The hypothetical thin screen would do even less to thwart an attack, and thus IMO is not cover either.

Liberty's Edge

I think the way I would house rule it, is that you have to destroy the material first but if you had enough momentum built up (like say the damage was # over the amount needed to destroy the material) you have a chance to hit the person behind the material (I don't know why, but I picture this better with a thrown hammer then with a bow and arrow). What I'm not sure about is if it's a malleable material, like say an enemy is standing behind a curtain.


Val'bryn2 wrote:
Personally, for something like this, I'ld see about having the glass (or paper) grant concealment, rather than actual cover, though maybe the glass would act as DR for the attack.

In the vast majority of cases it is largely irrelevant. The first attack will do enough damage to destroy 'fragile' cover. The second attack is going to be able to strike the opponent.


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CBDunkerson wrote:

If a GM rules that the barrier doesn't block the attack then it isn't 'cover'.

Just because there is something between attacker and target does not mean that thing automatically grants cover. Otherwise, air or water would provide cover.

If a material has hp/hardness in some book (just to cover splat books like Ult Equip etc), it is cover (by examples given - walls with large holes and the like). If it is a physical obstruction between you and the target, it is cover (as evidenced by water providing cover). It is pretty well defined in that way. Cover may be abstract, but it isn't that abstract.

If a GM wants to house rule / hand wave otherwise, that is what they are doing. That doesn't change what the rules actually state.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Skylancer4 wrote:
If it is a physical obstruction between you and the target, it is cover (as evidenced by water providing cover).

Again, in two out of three possible situations, water does not provide cover. It only provides cover when someone out of the water is targetting someone in the water. A character under water can attack a target (either also underwater or out of the water) with NO COVER.

Ergo, NO... 'a physical obstruction' like water DOES NOT always provide cover.


Skylancer4 wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Let's say you are shooting at a target behind an invisible paper screen, then.

Mechanically the result is the same.

Total cover.
...
Long story short, you cannot even attack the target.

Yeah. No. That's just stupid. Paper does not provide cover.

Umbral Reaver wrote:
Oh well. I was hoping there might have been an obscure rule somewhere that I had missed.

Invisible paper and glass does not obscure. That's the point of glass and invisibility.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
Let's say you see an enemy behind a pane of glass and shoot at them with a ranged weapon. What happens?

First, you should use the rules for breaking objects to determine if you can pierce the glass pane. The AC of a glass pane is 3 (10 -5 -2) + size modifier (assuming that it's medium sized, it's +/-0): this means that hitting attacks against the person behind the glass is probably enough to also hit the glass.

Notes:
-Some weapons are not suited to break certain objects (a crossbow and a bow could probably pierce glass, a small blow gun can probably not).
-Ranged weapons deal half damage to objects.
-Glass has a hardness of 1 and 1hp per inch (most glass panes are not 1 inch think). This means that a bolt needs to deal at least 4 damage to break the glass pane.
-Windows will probably proved some sort of cover or even concealment to the target behind, since most windows don't expose an entire medium creature.

After that, you need to improvise. Assuming the target stands right behind the glass pane: Appropriate would be to let any excessive damage rolled against the glass be dealt to the target instead (double in the case for a ranged weapon, since the damaged against objects are halved). Or: resolve damage as normal on a hit that also pierces the glass, reduced the damage by the number the glass took (which is 2 for any melee weapon if the glass pane isn't more than one inch think, and 4 for any ranged weapon).


MightyOwlet wrote:
I think the way I would house rule it, is that you have to destroy the material first but if you had enough momentum built up (like say the damage was # over the amount needed to destroy the material) you have a chance to hit the person behind the material (I don't know why, but I picture this better with a thrown hammer then with a bow and arrow). What I'm not sure about is if it's a malleable material, like say an enemy is standing behind a curtain.

I think you're basically saying it works like Lightning Bolt -- although for hitting a person specifically, I'd think that any cover could distort the attack enough to provide at least a 50% miss chance. I've been told that the police don't try to shoot someone through a car window; they shoot first to destroy the window, and then fire again to shoot the person.

As for a malleable material, I'm no physicist, and I can't explain why, but in wooden-ships-iron-men days, they didn't bother trying to knock holes in sails with cannon balls. They used grapeshot or, better yet, chainshot to get a shotgun effect against the sails & rigging (and let's not forget the non-malleable crew up in the rigging -- very important). So I'd personally assume that a single arrow or sling bullet wouldn't do much towards destroying a curtain. The picture in my mind is that the projectile would hit it, it would billow back, and then swing forward again, knocking the projectile to the ground. Effectively, total cover.

IF you're using guns, however, you might want to look at those lightning bolt rules, adding in a 50%-miss chance for concealment. The thing is, while a single bullet might tear a hole through the curtain, it wouldn't "destroy" the curtain, no matter how much damage it did. So the next shot goes up against the curtain's cover all over again. It would take a shotgun to knock a large enough hole in the curtain to render it ineffective as cover. (Assuming that the target obligingly stays behind the rather obvious hole!) I believe a modern shotgun firing buckshot can blow a hole through a modern (read: flimsy) wall and still exert lethal force on the other side.


bitter lily wrote:
As for a malleable material, I'm no physicist, and I can't explain why, but in wooden-ships-iron-men days, they didn't bother trying to knock holes in sails with cannon balls. They used grapeshot or, better yet, chainshot to get a shotgun effect against the sails & rigging (and let's not forget the non-malleable crew up in the rigging -- very important). So I'd personally assume that a single arrow or sling bullet wouldn't do much towards destroying a curtain. The picture in my mind is that the projectile would hit it, it would billow back, and then swing forward again, knocking the projectile to the ground. Effectively, total cover.

Could be any number of issues, but my guess would be that a cannonball would be likely to just punch a hole through the sail, which would leave a relatively functional sail.

Grapeshot or chain-shot would be more likely to shred the sail and rigging on the way up.


bitter lily wrote:
MightyOwlet wrote:
I think the way I would house rule it, is that you have to destroy the material first but if you had enough momentum built up (like say the damage was # over the amount needed to destroy the material) you have a chance to hit the person behind the material (I don't know why, but I picture this better with a thrown hammer then with a bow and arrow). What I'm not sure about is if it's a malleable material, like say an enemy is standing behind a curtain.

I think you're basically saying it works like Lightning Bolt -- although for hitting a person specifically, I'd think that any cover could distort the attack enough to provide at least a 50% miss chance. I've been told that the police don't try to shoot someone through a car window; they shoot first to destroy the window, and then fire again to shoot the person.

As for a malleable material, I'm no physicist, and I can't explain why, but in wooden-ships-iron-men days, they didn't bother trying to knock holes in sails with cannon balls. They used grapeshot or, better yet, chainshot to get a shotgun effect against the sails & rigging (and let's not forget the non-malleable crew up in the rigging -- very important). So I'd personally assume that a single arrow or sling bullet wouldn't do much towards destroying a curtain. The picture in my mind is that the projectile would hit it, it would billow back, and then swing forward again, knocking the projectile to the ground. Effectively, total cover.

IF you're using guns, however, you might want to look at those lightning bolt rules, adding in a 50%-miss chance for concealment. The thing is, while a single bullet might tear a hole through the curtain, it wouldn't "destroy" the curtain, no matter how much damage it did. So the next shot goes up against the curtain's cover all over again. It would take a shotgun to knock a large enough hole in the curtain to render it ineffective as cover. (Assuming that the target obligingly stays behind the rather obvious hole!) I believe a...

Tangent, but grapeshot is used primarily against small, living targets. You are correct that Chain (and bar) shot was used to destroy masts and the like.


Off-topic alert

The Sideromancer wrote:
Tangent, but grapeshot is used primarily against small, living targets. You are correct that Chain (and bar) shot was used to destroy masts and the like.

I believe you're correct, but wiki thinks it worked against rigging & sails, too. As I said, getting the non-malleable crew in the rigging was very important -- probably more important than destroying replaceable sails.

The on-topic part is that a shotgun effect (grapeshot) was effective against human targets up in rigging, even if they were somewhat protected by sails. Cannonballs were used against wooden hulls that couldn't dodge.

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