5 ft corridor, cover in plain sight?


Rules Questions


10 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

We just had our first play test of Starfinder, and overall we had a great time! Since our party is primarily ranged we made heavy use of cover, at times it felt like the XCOM tabletop game. Along the way we ran into a few different situations where we needed to figure out the rules, exactly the reason why we play test stuff before we really get into a campaign. Most of it was pretty clear-cut, but we ran into a strange situation I wanted to get the RQ's take on.

A Soldier is exploring a 5ft wide corridor, essentially a ventilation shaft. The corridor is spacious enough that there are no squeezing penalties. He turns a corner and spots an enemy guard searching the ventilation shaft for the cause of a triggered proximity alarm. The guard pulls his gun and takes a shot at the soldier. The battle grid looks like this. Does the soldier have partial cover from the attack? Initially I thought the answer was no, it's a clean shot. But one of my players pointed out there'd been a change in the cover rules from Pathfinder.

Quote:
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.

Furthermore, example #2 in the cover illustration seems to cover this.

Quote:
(...)lines from every corner of her square to all the corners of the ksarik’s square pass through or run along the border of a wall. The ksarik has cover(...)[

I don't see how you could draw a line from any corner without having it run along the border of a wall here, but... Logically it's a clear shot, there shouldn't be any cover penalties in play. Am I misinterpreting this, or is it just a quirk of the system and we should houserule it?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The ranged cover rules written and the caption in the graphic don't match up. I'd learn toward using the written rules and not the captioned rules until it gets clarified.


The example #2 is making up a stupid stupid stupid rule that doesn't otherwise exist. Ignore it.

Grand Lodge

its a no cover. they can match without running through anything. where it would matter if one was at the corner of the hall way ant the over next to the hallway with a corner wall taking 2-3 of the points to cover, even if they are standing right next to each over at a diagonal 5.5 feet.


Thanks Maezer and Whew, I think we're going to ignore example #2 and go back to using the old rules for designating ranged cover. I do think it would be nice if the FAQ team could take a look at the examples listed under cover down the line. :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Yeah, something is very wrong if "just ignore that part of the rules" is the best answer to a rules question.


Kudaku wrote:
Quote:
(...)lines from every corner of her square to all the corners of the ksarik’s square pass through or run along the border of a wall. The ksarik has cover(...)[

Since you're in a straight 5ft corridor, no lines pass through a wall and not all run along a wall. Not cover.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Rub-Eta wrote:
Since you're in a straight 5ft corridor, no lines pass through a wall and not all run along a wall. Not cover.

In the example picture #2 not all corner to corner lines run along a wall. Upper left of the Vesk to Upper left of the Ksarik doesn't run along or through a wall. So why would it have cover if all you need to do is have a single corner to corner line that doesn't run through or along a wall.

The term "run along the border of a wall" never appears in the actual cover rules (any where else in the rule book at all). I find it rather hard to believe the cover rules were meant to be different between the diagram and the plain text.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ah, so we're not actually quoting rules text. My bad.


No worries, I probably could have done a better job explaining what the contradiction seemed to be in the first post. I put together a second image link to better illustrate the problem. I borrowed the cover example from the Starfinder Core Book in the hope that having it on hand makes it easier to put out an errata, assuming we're right and this is indeed an editing mistake.

The second image can be found here.


I'm now picturing some kind of Golarian vs Metric system debate.

All corridors are in increments of 2m wide, because of scientific advancements. Because of the "Golarian system" everyone still stands in 5' squares.

No cover for corridors, because they'll never run down the border of a wall. :)


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The text in the example image is a bad copy-paste job from the nearly identical Pathfinder example image. It references every corner to every corner, which is the melee attack rule from Pathfinder. This rule does not exist in Starfinder. In Starfinder, the rule for all attacks is a direct copy-paste from the Pathfinder ranged attack rule.

As for the ranged rule, the original Pathfinder image example makes it very clear:

Quote:
...the rogue does not have cover from [the ogre], as the ogre has reach (so it figures attacks as if attacking with a ranged weapon).

So: In both images, by the Pathfinder ranged rule, (which is now the Starfinder rule for all attacks) the rogue/Obozaya does not have cover from the ogre/the ksarik.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Has his been cleared up officially?


Let's make thing worst.

Quote:

COVER

To determine whether
your target has cover from your 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. Cover grants you a +4 bonus to AC and a +2
bonus to Reflex saves against attacks that originate from a point
on the other side of the cover from you. Note that spread effects
can extend around corners and negate these bonuses.
Quote:

SOFT COVER

Creatures, even enemies, between you and the source of an effect
provide you with cover against ranged attacks, giving you a +4
bonus to AC. However, soft cover provides no bonus to Reflex
saves, nor does soft cover allow you to attempt a Stealth check.

Isn't that the same condition for both situations?

Or is cover for melee and soft cover for ranged?

That way it's written, it might be that cover is for NPCs and soft cover for PCs...


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I would like to get this "run along the border of a wall" language cleared up, as players invoked it tonight during SFS and it sounds so counter-intuitive.


The universal rule for resolving inconsistencies between rules text vs tables or diagrams has always been that the actual rules text takes priority. So lines along the border of a wall do not grant cover.


Ravingdork wrote:
Has his been cleared up officially?

As far as I know this problem is still unresolved. :-/

Dataphiles

We had a similar situation with the cover rules this past weekend. As written, it seems like the rules indicate that a medium size creature would provide cover for even a colossal size target which makes absolutely no sense.


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

I just wanted to chime in that the Archives of Nethys, which I believe is considered official, does not mention the rule about the length of a wall blocking cover.

https://www.aonsrd.com/Rules.aspx?Name=Cover&Category=Combat%20Modifier s


It says "or border that blocks line of effect." I would interpret that 5' wide hall situation as not blocking line of effect. Since you can effect all of the square.


AdamFox wrote:
It says "or border that blocks line of effect." I would interpret that 5' wide hall situation as not blocking line of effect. Since you can effect all of the square.

Looking again at the illustration in the book, it appears to be caused by how the map grid is drawn and where the corner is.


Ahhh.... Cover and Starfinder.

This has to be one of the most infamous and difficult things in Starfinder to rule.

Let's read the rules carefully as there is no updates in the FAQ and they can be, admittedly, confusing. We will break them down as instructional and then apply them to make a determination.

CRB 253-254.

Part 1). Determine whether your target has cover from your attack.
Step 1). Choose a corner of your square (any corner you wish).
Step 2). Draw a line from the corner you have chosen to every corner of the targets square (or possible rectangle).
Step 3). If any of these 4 lines 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.

Ok.. so this is confusing, very confusing, because we are defining cover and it says that if the square or border provides cover... OMG.. this is weird. But it's ok. We can overcome this. First of all we need to define some additional terms. What is 'line of effect?'

CRB 271: Line of Effect:
If a weapon, spell, ability, or item requires an attack roll and has a range measured in feet, it normally requires that you (or whoever or whatever is using the ability) have a line of effect to the target to be effective (subject to GM discretion). A line of effect is a straight, unblocked path that indicates what an attack or ability can affect. A line of effect is blocked by a solid barrier that can stop the effect in question (such as a wall, for most effects), but it is not blocked by purely visual restrictions (such as smoke or darkness). You cannot have line of effect that exceeds planetary range, unless otherwise indicated.
You must have a clear line of effect to any creature or object you wish to target or to any space in which you wish to create an effect without an area. For effects with an area, you must have a clear line of effect to the point of origin of the effect. An effect that is a burst, cone, cylinder, or emanation affects only an area, creature, or object within line of effect from its origin (a spherical burst’s center point, a cone-shaped burst’s starting point, the center point of a cylinder’s circle, or an emanation’s point of origin). For definitions of these specific terms, see Area on page 268.
If you have a line of effect to some of a target’s space but not all of it, the target has cover (see pages 253–254 for more information about cover). Additionally, an otherwise solid barrier with a hole of at least 1 square foot through it may grant cover rather than total cover against an effect, at the GM’s discretion.

Okie dokie.. That was long but had some important information in there especially as it relates to cover. Let me point to one sentence in particular that is very helpful. "If you have a line of effect to some of a target's space but not all of it, the target has cover."

This actually assists us in defining the previous discovery of what constitutes cover.

Back to the CRB description!
We have picked our square, and we have drawn our lines. Do any of the 4 lines have something that blocks them with a physical barrier? If any one of those 4 lines has something that blocks line of effect, then the target has cover.

Now looking at the examples offered there is obvious confusion with #2 due to the wording 'run along the border of a wall'. This phrase exists only in this example and nowhere else in the CRB. I would not use this example, as an example of what determines cover due to the fact that the determination of cover doesn't include the border of a wall in any text in the CRB.

As to your session. Neither soldier has cover from the other by these rules. No corner of either soldier passes through any solid object.

I hope this helps.

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