Are arrowslits utterly useless?


Rules Questions

Silver Crusade

Hi guys and gals,

I'm preparing to run a adventure and it features archers (well, they have slings, but let's say they are archers) hiding behind arrowslits.
The rules say this:

PRD wrote:


Improved Cover: In some cases, such as attacking a target hiding behind an arrowslit, 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 Stealth checks.

Okay, cool. So the PCs have to cross the room while they are being fired upon and have to figure out a way not to get hit...BUT.

Doesn't it work both ways? The PCs could argue that they as well are hidden by the arrowslits, thus gaining +8 AC and getting more or less unhittable (the enemies have a total attack bonus of +3).

Logically the arrowslits should be something that favors the defenders - they hide, shoot through them and are more or less safe.
While there is no rule saying "The target does not gain the AC bonus if the attacker is adjacent to the arrowslit" it seems logical that it works this way. But I like to have a rule written down and not just made up, so tell me:
Is this written down anywhere? Am I the only one reading the rule like this and can you tell my why your opinion differs?

Responses are appreciated!
Blackbot


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Cover is not transitive. Think of a corner. You can shoot a gun around a corner and only your head and one arm is exposed. You have cover. If you are shooting at somebody in the middle of the room, they have no cover. You could potentially hit any part of their body. They cannot hit most of your body because the wall is in the way.

When they are right on the other side of the wall, then each person is the same. But even 5' away they get no protection. For the archers, determine cover using the normal "corner to corners" rule. The rule for arrow slits is a specific exception that specifies the cover they get.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, PF Special Edition, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Basically, when firing through an arrow slit, the side which is wide (since they are sort or a triangle shape with a roughly 2-3ft gap narrowing into a 6" gap)allows the person using it to ignore its cover modifiers since from their point of view, they have a wide open field of fire. When you're on the other side of it, even if standing next to it, you lack the ability to ignore it because you're still dealing with a 6" gap only and can't move to gain a better angle. In my games I rule that anybody not standing directly in front of the arrow slit has 100% cover and cannot be targeted by those outside.


also for some cover you're able to ignore it if you are closer to it than the target is to the cover. So that might be applicable here.


No, arrow slits are not useless - common sense is required

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

RAW and no common sense? They work both ways.

With common sense they give full benefit (+8 AC etc.) only to those adjacent and on the right side of the arrowlit. I would give some level of cover to people hugging the wall on the wrong side as they somewhat limit the field of view and the ability to aim of the guy behind them.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

i mean, if the players were at the arrow slit and the archers were like 10-20 feet away then yes.

otherwise, just make it a 20 foot tall room and the arrowslits are above.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Since we're discussing cover, let's look at the cover rules (which should have been Step 1 when the question came up):

Core Rulebook, Combat chapter, 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).

Got that? Now let's zoom in on some key parts:

Core Rulebook, Combat chapter, 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).

See the asymmetry there? You use ONE corner of the attacker's square, and ALL corners of the target's square. That's going to make a difference. In fact, it's going to make exactly the difference you're looking for.

So the bad guy is behind the arrowslit and makes an attack. He picks one corner of his square: presumably, one where there's an arrow slit. Then, from that one point, you'll draw four lines: one to each corner of the target's square. If you actually draw this out, you'll notice something: none of the lines pass through the wall. Therefore, the unprotected target has no cover. Just like you thought should happen.

Meanwhile, if the PC wants to return fire, he's going to choose one corner of his own square, but then he has to draw lines to all four corners of the hiding slinger's square. If you draw this one out too, you'll see that although you might get a line or two in through the arrowslit, at least a couple of them are going to pass through the wall. And all it takes to turn on cover is a single blocked line, so the slinger easily qualifies.

Boom. The rules produce exactly the situation you were looking for.

Remember: best practice is to make sure you fully understand all the applicable rules before you decide to start changing things. There's plenty that's broken in Pathfinder, but even more will break if changes are made irresponsibly.

I know some folks are ready to jump straight to throwing rules out the window (in favor of "common sense") without fact-checking anything first, but that usually has more to do with a need to protect a philosophy of GM authority rather than it actually being the best solution to a rules issue. Avoid falling into that trap, and you'll be a better GM in the long run.

Best of luck!

Liberty's Edge

As someone pointed out to me in the other thread, the text say "square or border that blocks line of effect". How that square is depicted on the map don't matter. Even if your line pass in the area of the arrowslit you are still passing a square that block line of effect.

RAI and strict RAW are different.


Brb making traits and feats for arrowslits.


Ok arrowslits are ment to be used when an enemy is at range , if they can get right up to the wall then they can hide from view and not be targeted.
But if they are at a range of 10 foot or more then they work just as described so just use some common sense and tell your players if they want to gain the same cover bonuses as the attackers they need to get right up to the wall.
Which is why arrowslits are always located in places where the enemy can't close with just look on line for pictures of castles or visit one if that can be done .
And I mean a real one not disney style prop


4 people marked this as a favorite.

"I need these arrow slits 5 feet apart

"yes sir..

COmes back

"you IDIOT! you put the arrow lits in the middle of the squares! No one can shoot from there!@ I need them all moved 2.5 feet to the left!

Silver Crusade

Jiggy wrote:

Since we're discussing cover, let's look at the cover rules (which should have been Step 1 when the question came up):

Core Rulebook, Combat chapter, 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).

Got that? Now let's zoom in on some key parts:

Core Rulebook, Combat chapter, 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).

See the asymmetry there? You use ONE corner of the attacker's square, and ALL corners of the target's square. That's going to make a difference. In fact, it's going to make exactly the difference you're looking for.

So the bad guy is behind the arrowslit and makes an attack. He picks one corner of his square: presumably, one where there's an arrow slit. Then, from that one point, you'll draw four lines: one to each corner of the target's square. If you actually draw this out, you'll notice something: none of the lines pass through the wall. Therefore, the unprotected target has no cover. Just like you thought should happen.

Meanwhile, if the PC wants to return fire, he's going to choose one corner of his own square, but then he has to draw lines to all four corners of the hiding slinger's square. If you draw this one out too, you'll see that although you might get a line or two in through the arrowslit, at least a couple of them are going to pass through the wall. And all it takes to turn on cover is a single blocked line, so the slinger...

Perfect!

I am of course aware of this rule, but for some reason I just blanked on it in this instance and went into full "But they BOTH GOT COVER!"-mode.
So the only real house rule that MIGHT be necessary is "You may choose any point on border of your square, not just the corner", but even that is a stretch.
Thanks, everybody!

(@Chess Pwn: Occured to me, too, but that only applies to cover to a maximum heigth of half your size or something.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I just want to point at, as someone who loooooves visiting castles, that any mention of "the wide end" of arrow slit probably isn't entirely correct.

While the common belief is that arrow slits are narrow on the inside of the wall and wide on the outside, thus affording a better field of fire, the same effect can actually be achieved with an arrow slit which is wide on the inside and narrow on the outside (and yes, there are lots of examples of this). This design has an added advantage, in that arrows and bullets shot into the slit aren't channeled straight at the guy shooting out of it.

I'm sure there's some general rule regarding whether the ranged weapon you're using pivots best from the front or back end, but I've seen enough of both designs of slit to know that you cannot say one is "right".

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Are arrowslits utterly useless? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.