How much cover does kinetic cover really give?


Rules Questions


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

PLEASE LOOK AT THIS DIAGRAM CLOSELY BEFORE RESPONDING.

If my geokineticist uses kinetic cover, as shown, with the intent of giving himself total cover against his enemies, which of those enemies shown does he end up having total cover against?

I want to say 1, 2, 4, and 5, because kinetic cover is clear in its description: As a standard action, you can select one face of a square within 30 feet of you and move elemental matter to block that face, providing total cover from that direction.

However, my GM argues that my geokineticist would have only partial, or even no cover against all of the enemies, as shown.

If he is correct, then I fail to see how this ability, despite its description, would ever really be able to give someone total cover short of having two medium creatures back to back against the wall--which will pretty much never really happen.

So the question is simple: How much cover does kinetic cover really give? Does its description, "you get total cover from anyone from the chosen direction," being the more specific rule, trump those of the normal cover rules?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'ld rule as total cover for 1 and 4, 2 and 5 are far enough to the side to avoid the cover, at best getting partial cover.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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My opinion, based on the rules. First, quoting Cover.

PRD 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.

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.

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.

You don't have Total Cover against any of them, because all of them can get a line through your barrier to you. You do, however, have cover against all but number three.

I could go into more detail...but considering you and your rules threads, I'm going to give up there.

Personally, when I played a geokineticist, I didn't see it as a combat ability. I used it to make it a pain in the rear for enemies to open doors.


You're surrounded by 5 enemies, you dun goof'd. A little wall ain't gonna help.


Jader7777 wrote:
You're surrounded by 5 enemies, you dun goof'd. A little wall ain't gonna help.

If you build for it, a high level kineticist can have like 400 HP, DR 10/-, AC 40 and can make hugely damaging AoOs up to 30' away, right in the middle of everyone is precisely where they want to be.

IMO, total cover against 1 and 4 (because you cannot draw a line from any corner to any other without touching the wall), partial cover against 2 (because you can draw a line from one corner to one corner that intersects the wall), and no cover against 5 and 3 (b/c no lines intersect walls).

I don't think Kinetic Cover changes the rules for "cover generated by walls", that text is just to remind you that the wall blocks the entire face of the square you put it on (so it's not a chest-high wall people can shoot over or anything).


2 looks a little sketchy I'd have to draw a line and id probably end up giving partial cover. obviously 3 can get you and I would say 5 at that angle maybe even without partial cover none of the rest.


I think the crux of the issue is how you interpret the bit that says "select one face of a square within 30 feet of you and move elemental matter to block that face, providing total cover from that direction."
The important bit being the "providing total cover from that direction."

What is "that direction"?
It can be interpretted as per the cover rules, or it could literally mean total cover against anyone to the North of you for example.

Just my 2 cp


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I think using the Tower Shield rules would be a great reference to this ability as they are exceptionally similar.

Tower Shield wrote:
As a standard action, however, you can use a tower shield to grant you total cover until the beginning of your next turn. When using a tower shield in this way, you must choose one edge of your space. That edge is treated as a solid wall for attacks targeting you only. You gain total cover for attacks that pass through this edge and no cover for attacks that do not pass through this edge (see cover, Core Rulebook 195). The shield does not, however, provide cover against targeted spells; a spellcaster can cast a spell on you by targeting the shield you are holding. You cannot bash with a tower shield, nor can you use your shield hand for anything else.

Scarab Sages

Ravingdork wrote:

PLEASE LOOK AT THIS DIAGRAM CLOSELY BEFORE RESPONDING.

If my geokineticist uses kinetic cover, as shown, with the intent of giving himself total cover against his enemies, which of those enemies shown does he end up having total cover against?

I want to say 1, 2, 4, and 5, because kinetic cover is clear in its description: As a standard action, you can select one face of a square within 30 feet of you and move elemental matter to block that face, providing total cover from that direction.

However, my GM argues that my geokineticist would have only partial, or even no cover against all of the enemies, as shown.

If he is correct, then I fail to see how this ability, despite its description, would ever really be able to give someone total cover short of having two medium creatures back to back against the wall--which will pretty much never really happen.

So the question is simple: How much cover does kinetic cover really give? Does its description, "you get total cover from anyone from the chosen direction," being the more specific rule, trump those of the normal cover rules?

I can see it both ways, each from a RAW stance. I'd go with the GM on this one, just because they are the GM. If you plan to use it alot, I'd ask the GM ahead of time, to avoid the need for debate during play.

Grand Lodge

as per the cover rules quoted above I'd say
(and I'm interested 'cause I'll pay a Kineticist next week)
1/ no cover from 3
2/ NO total cover at all
3/ cover from 1/2/4/5

justification by the cover rules:
1/ everybody agrees.
2/ to have total cover :

Quote:
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

==> I can draw lines from 1/2/4/5 to your square without crossing the wall

3/ has cover (not total) because there's always one line from the opponent corner to your square that will cross the wall

so yeah, "total cover" is a bit a stretchy in the definition, as you would get it only in a back-to-back situation with 2 medium/small creatures.

or you have to use walls / corners / multiple kinetic covers.


You drew your wall too big, extending beyond the face of your square. I wonder if this was just a drawing error or if that sort of thinking has incorrectly colored your view of the power.

I'm not sure how your character's intent to gain total cover is relevant since the ability just has you choose a face of a square.

I don't see any cover from 1,2,3 or 5, and just normal cover from 4.

Here are some examples that involve total cover since you're having trouble imagining.

Red will provide total cover against 1,2,3,4,5,7

Blue will provide total cover from 4

Orange will provide total cover from 5

Green will provide total cover from 6

please excuse my low quality drawing, especially after my note regarding yours, it's the best I could come up with quickly.

Short Answer to final question: No.


If you're small or medium and in melee with another small or medium creature, using kinetic cover can give you total cover from that creature unless it moved to a side in which case you can still probably claim cover.

If 1 is a Huge creature with no reach (are there any ?) you can probably still claim partial cover from it.
If it has reach (which is likely) you're out of luck.

2. No cover

3. No cover

4. Cover or at least partial cover, seem he can see about half of your square

5. No cover


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Kinetic cover is seeming more and more like a useless a wild talent with every reply. Surely it wasn't intended to be so weak/circumstantial!

The text doesn't reference cover anywhere, just total cover. Seems like it would be an all or nothing proposition to me.

By many of your interpretations, it is strictly inferior to a tower shield, even though a tower shield isn't 5x5 feet--and that's not even accounting for its immobility and fragile nature--just how cover is determined.

I ask you this: Why shouldn't it work as advertised? It says it grants total cover, yet, by your interpretations, it would grant total cover virtually never.


Ravingdork wrote:

PLEASE LOOK AT THIS DIAGRAM CLOSELY BEFORE RESPONDING.

If my geokineticist uses kinetic cover, as shown, with the intent of giving himself total cover against his enemies, which of those enemies shown does he end up having total cover against?

I want to say 1, 2, 4, and 5, because kinetic cover is clear in its description: As a standard action, you can select one face of a square within 30 feet of you and move elemental matter to block that face, providing total cover from that direction.

However, my GM argues that my geokineticist would have only partial, or even no cover against all of the enemies, as shown.

If he is correct, then I fail to see how this ability, despite its description, would ever really be able to give someone total cover short of having two medium creatures back to back against the wall--which will pretty much never really happen.

So the question is simple: How much cover does kinetic cover really give? Does its description, "you get total cover from anyone from the chosen direction," being the more specific rule, trump those of the normal cover rules?

You don't have total cover against any of them. You have cover against 2, 4 and 5, and you would have total cover against 1, if he were medium sized. Being huge, he can choose 2 different squares that are adjacent to yours, and thus follow the "melee adjacent" rule, not ranged rule

The spell produces a wall high enough to provide total cover through that side. Thererfore, it gives you total cover, with the rules of total cover. Such rules state that Large creatures can select any square to check for cover, and adjacent melee attacks only need to reach 1 single corner of your square without touching the wall to attack without cover. Ranged attacks (or reach melee) need to touch all your corners to attack without cover.

For total cover, you need to have all your corners hidden behind the wall.

And I think this one is a clear cut case, both RAW and RAI


Ravingdork wrote:


I ask you this: Why shouldn't it work as advertised? It says it grants total cover, yet, by your interpretations, it would grant total cover virtually never.

It works exactly as advertised. Gives you 1 single square of total cover.

That happens only when another medium sized (or smaller) creature tries to attack you exactly from the opposite side. That's what a square of total cover does.
The spell gives you total cover from that direction. Every attack from other directions (including diagonal attacks, from behind, from a side, from slightly diagonal, etc) do not get total cover.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Ravingdork wrote:

Kinetic cover is seeming more and more like a useless a wild talent with every reply. Surely it wasn't intended to be so weak/circumstantial!

The text doesn't reference cover anywhere, just total cover. Seems like it would be an all or nothing proposition to me.

By many of your interpretations, it is strictly inferior to a tower shield, even though a tower shield isn't 5x5 feet--and that's not even accounting for its immobility and fragile nature--just how cover is determined.

I ask you this: Why shouldn't it work as advertised? It says it grants total cover, yet, by your interpretations, it would grant total cover virtually never.

It, in my opinion, grants total cover in an approximately cone-shaped direction that slowly expands the farther a creature gets from you. The farther away they are, the harder it'll be for them to get past your cover, thus it's ideal for blocking ranged attacks against an enemy a long distance away from you, but less useful against an adjacent opponent. And it's also almost useless against larger creatures because they can reach over a 5-foot x 5-foot wall.

It also would work well if you readied an action to put it up before an opponent attacked, which could block particular attacks (putting it up in front of a disintegrate, for instance).

But here's my thing, you're asking too much for a talent which you can use as often as you want, and allows the user to maintain half their level plus their Constitution modifier of barriers indefinitely. But hey, to each their own. *shrugs*

Grand Lodge

I would say partial cover against everything but 3. They can all pick a corner and trace to three corners (more than 50%) of the PC's square, but not the fourth, without going through/along the Kinetic Cover side. 1 is the only funky one, but you have to choose a single square and a single corner, even though all four corners of the PC's square have LoS from *some* corner in 1's spaces.

If 4 were one space higher or to the left, it would have regular cover.


Cydeth wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

Kinetic cover is seeming more and more like a useless a wild talent with every reply. Surely it wasn't intended to be so weak/circumstantial!

The text doesn't reference cover anywhere, just total cover. Seems like it would be an all or nothing proposition to me.

By many of your interpretations, it is strictly inferior to a tower shield, even though a tower shield isn't 5x5 feet--and that's not even accounting for its immobility and fragile nature--just how cover is determined.

I ask you this: Why shouldn't it work as advertised? It says it grants total cover, yet, by your interpretations, it would grant total cover virtually never.

It, in my opinion, grants total cover in an approximately cone-shaped direction that slowly expands the farther a creature gets from you. The farther away they are, the harder it'll be for them to get past your cover, thus it's ideal for blocking ranged attacks against an enemy a long distance away from you, but less useful against an adjacent opponent. And it's also almost useless against larger creatures because they can reach over a 5-foot x 5-foot wall.

It also would work well if you readied an action to put it up before an opponent attacked, which could block particular attacks (putting it up in front of a disintegrate, for instance).

This makes sense to me.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

I think if we go by the crb rules of "total cover" most people here have got it right.

But the interesting question (as Ravingdork already asks in post#1) is whether the "kinetic cover" ability gives you a specific additional way to obtain total cover beyond what the crb states (which is the general rule).
Maybe we'll get lucky and mark will chime in.

I also have a geokineticist who sometimes uses this ability in combat and am interested to know how this works.

The Concordance

As far as the usefulness, I use it most often in hallways and to mess with people who have advantageous positioning, like the guy shooting through the arrow slit right there!

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