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Suppose Ezren is fighting a goblin near a bend in a dungeon passage like so:
If you are reluctant to click on links to strange pictures on the internet, know that it shows Ezren one square below and two squares to the right of a goblin with a wall that grants the goblin cover, but doesn't break their mutual line of sight.
My reading of the rules is that while Ezren can fire his crossbow at the goblin (who will get cover), he can not cast Charm on him because of the rock wall in the way. If you played PF1 that result might surprise you, but I do think it is what the PF2 rules say.
In describing spells page 196 says spells require line of effect:
You usually need an unblocked path to the target of a spell, the origin point of an area, or the place where you create something with a spell. For more on line of effect, see page 298.
Page 298 describes line of effect by reference to the rules for determining cover:
You usually need an unblocked path to the target of a spell, the origin point of an area, or the place where you create something with a spell or other ability. This is called the line of effect. If you need to check whether you have a line of effect, draw a line like you do when determining cover (see page 314). Only solid barriers break line of effect...
Page 314 defines the procedure for determining line of effect:
To determine whether a target has cover from an attack, the attacking creature or object draws a line from the center of its space to the center of the target’s space. If that line passes through any blocking terrain, the target has cover.
Question 1: Is this intentional?PF1 handled line of effect differently. In PF1 line of effect worked like line of sight, it required a line from any point on the attacker's square to any point on the defender's square (not just center to center). Ezren unambiguously could target the goblin with magic in PF1. It seems plausible that the change is not intentional.
Question 2: What spells don't use "usual" targeting?
Page 298 tells us that spells "usually" require line of effect. When don't they? Magic Missile (for example, page 236) defines its target as "one creature" but in the spell description says "You send a dart of force streaking toward a creature that you can see." Does that expand the available targets to include the goblin above, or is it still following the general rule that spells need line of effect? Charm was chosen for the example above since it doesn't include anything that suggests an alternate targetting set up, though lots and lots of spells do. Touch spells for example, could Ezren take one step to the left and touch the goblin with Shocking Grasp? Presumably not if it requires line of effect (which p.314 strongly implies is broken by corners).