Tower Shield cover VS tall creatures


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


When using the total cover from a tower shield, can a Huge or bigger creature hit from above the shield? And if you know the answer, I would like some reference to the books. Because I could not find anything precisely about that.


Quote:

Low Obstacles and Cover

A low obstacle (such as a wall no higher than half your height) provides cover, but only to creatures within 30 feet (6 squares) of it. The attacker can ignore the cover if he’s closer to the obstacle than his target.

So, a tower shield would be 'low cover' for a large creature, but it could only ignore the cover if the shield was closer to him compared to the person wielding the shield.

That said, if a large creature is adjacent to you, he can likely draw a line from one of his corners to one of your corners bypassing the edge with the shield barrier, so it wouldn't be total cover.

This is the cover rule:

Quote:
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).

So, you still have cover

Here is the total cover rule:

Quote:
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.

oox

oo

If o are the monster squares, and x is the PC with the tower shield, drawing a line from the bottom right corner to several of the PC corners do not go through the tower shield edge, so the PC doesn't have total cover, regardless of height considerations.


From the core rulebook description of a tower shield :
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 Combat).

From the core rulebook on cover :
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.

Between those two descriptions, I would argue that if a line from a corner of the huge creature's square does not cross the tower shield, the shield cannot grant total cover.


Not Rules As Written, but if you extend the concept of Squares (assuming that you are using these as normal) to Cubes, then a really tall creature gets to strike over a Tower Shield just like a really long creature with attack-worthy limbs along various parts of its length (or a really wide creature with limbs on both sides) gets to attack around it, in either case making an attack that goes from part of its occupied area without going through the Tower Shield, even though a 2-D projection from above would cause it to appear otherwise. Maybe we will get something like this when the underwater combat rules come out around the time of Ruins of Azlant, since underwater combat will necessarily involve 3-D combat.


You know you can lift a tower shield up to defend against attacks from above, right?
In RL shield formations (not possible in Pathfinder, shields in middle ranks were held horizontally giving full cover from above. The relationship of the size of the shield to the size of the shieldbearer is more germaine than to the size of the attacker. It is not an immobile barrier to be reached around.


Daw wrote:

You know you can lift a tower shield up to defend against attacks from above, right?

In RL shield formations (not possible in Pathfinder, shields in middle ranks were held horizontally giving full cover from above. The relationship of the size of the shield to the size of the shieldbearer is more germaine than to the size of the attacker. It is not an immobile barrier to be reached around.

You can, but the RAW calls for defining which square edge you are using to make total cover. In a classic shield wall formation, the shields in the middle are blocking the upper edge of their space. A single combatant using a tower shield to block multiple directions would be getting the standard AC bonus from the shield rather than total cover. +4 AC is nice, but not quite total cover.


RA,
Actually, since the Tower shield was designed specifically for formations, I would be inclined to have it not providing full cover when not part of a formation. This is scotched by the unfortunate situation that you cannot actually do tight formations within the strictly followed Pathfinder rules.

One would think that close formation combat would have been the first teamwork feat anybody would have come up with, and would have come free for soldiers. Militia and their ilk.


Maybe this applies, from core:

Low Obstacles and Cover: A low obstacle (such as a wall no higher than half your height) provides cover, but only to creatures within 30 feet (6 squares) of it. The attacker can ignore the cover if he’s closer to the obstacle than his target.

Scarab Sages

parsimony wrote:

Maybe this applies, from core:

Low Obstacles and Cover: A low obstacle (such as a wall no higher than half your height) provides cover, but only to creatures within 30 feet (6 squares) of it. The attacker can ignore the cover if he’s closer to the obstacle than his target.

It would apply if the situation came up, but it's hard to imagine the attacker being closer to the tower shield than the character hiding behind the tower shield is.

I don't know the answer to the question, but I think there are two options. Treat it like a 5 foot wall on one edge of the square and everything that would normally go with that, or take the description of the tower shield at its word, and if you spend the full round action, you have total cover, period.


Again, if the adjacent creature is large the defender doesn't have total cover according to how it is calculated.


Tower shields require such specialisation to use properly I would be tempted to give the player the most beneficial interpretation possible. They get full cover from any attack in the direction they chose.


This is also a case of two rules slightly contradicting each other.

Tower shields say they grant full cover. The cover rules say that in a bunch of cases they only give partial cover.

I am tempted to apply the specific vs general argument. Tower shields are a specific form of cover that provides full cover from any attack in that direction.


Tower shields say that they only grant cover for attacks that pass through that edge. Large creatures can direct attacks that do not pass through that edge.

There is no contradiction.

Actually, the contradiction is that tower shields say that they grant 'no cover' for attacks that do not pass through that edge, but the cover rules still suggest that the defender has cover against the large attacker, just not total cover.

The Exchange

_Ozy_ wrote:

Tower shields say that they only grant cover for attacks that pass through that edge. Large creatures can direct attacks that do not pass through that edge.

There is no contradiction.

Actually, the contradiction is that tower shields say that they grant 'no cover' for attacks that do not pass through that edge, but the cover rules still suggest that the defender has cover against the large attacker, just not total cover.

I feel the ultimate problem is too many rules are written with "standard" combat concepts in mind. This being Medium creatures in 2 dimensional combat, either with or without reach weapons. Under those circumstances it is easy to draw a line from the center square and determine if the attack would pass through the side in question.

In this case I would have to say the best answer is to follow the spirit of how the tower shield and cover rules work in general.

A medium creature attacking from the same side would be facing total cover. a medium creature attacking from a diagonal would have total cover on 1 side, and no cover on the other. So this would be attacking with cover +4 AC. A medium creature attacking from a non shield facing side would have no cover to deal with.

A large(tall) creature (first determines cover as if attacking from ranged because of reach) can select the corner of their space that they are attacking from to determine cover, but they must have clear line to all corners of the target to avoid cover.

So a large creature adjacent would be able to avoid the shield attacking almost straight down from the top front corners of his space. 5 feet away the same creature would only be able to hit half of the shielded target as the target lines hit the tower shield when aiming for the lower half. This would provide +4 AC. A large creature attacking at a diagonal would still have no cover adjacent, but would now be able to hit 3/4 of the creature at 5' This would be Partial cover +2 AC.

An argument could be made that a large creature always has 1 square that is ofset from that side that would allow it to see greater than 50% of the target, so it should only have partial cover even then. I'd personally feel that the larger creature has enough of a bonus to completely ignore the shield just by stepping adjacent I think it's only fair to allow the defender that bonus AC at distance.

=======================================================
As a house rule I'd probably allow a shield to be set at a higher angle so that it provides cover (+4) from a large target on that side, but does not provide total cover from anywhere. This would also offer normal cover from medium creatures, though I would say a small adjacent creature would be attacking under the shield for no penalty.


And what about THAT! XD
https://s15.postimg.org/r9pvujd97/tall.png


Yeah, unfortunately the way the total cover rules work, any 5' square to the side of the line that contains the shield edge bypasses total cover. No matter how far away that square is. For example:

oA
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
o
D

Defender (D) has a tower shield that blocks from the direction of the 'o's. Attacker (A) standing 5' to the side of that line can draw a line to the lower right corner that doesn't pass through the tower shield edge, even if the attack is 100 feet away.


Doppleman wrote:

And what about THAT! XD

https://s15.postimg.org/r9pvujd97/tall.png

You can't kneel or sit in Pathfinder combat. :D


Daw wrote:

You know you can lift a tower shield up to defend against attacks from above, right?

{. . .}

You can, but then you don't get full cover against the creature's low sweeping attacks (assuming that it is reasonably dextrous and can make such attacks as well as overhead attacks).


Since the tower shield ability to total cover cost is a stadard action, I expect the ability to be more than just "leave the shield in front of the character". Shouldn't the time spent on this ability be use to justify positioning in a way that would grant total cover in the direction you choose, like the description says?

Also, I agree with the side attacks on tower shield's cover. The rules are clear enough on that point.


Since your use of a Tower Shield to get Total Cover requires a Standard Action, a Huge or larger creature with multiple attacks (whether from multiple Natural Attacks, Two-Weapon Fighting or Multi-Weapon Fighting, or even just a high enough Base Attack Bonus with manufactured weapons) can spread the directions that the attacks come from to get most of them around it, no matter which way you face it. Tower Shields were considered usable in Ancient/Medieval times because soldiers on Earth DIDN'T have to go up against anything that big, and a Shield Wall put up by multiple soldiers could cover the assault from multiple enemy soldiers.

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