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  1. #1
    Wraith's Avatar
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    Larger Creatures and Reach vs Cover

    Now I have ran into the same problem with two different DM's. I would like to know if my thinking is flawed or the rules are just that messed up.

    I have loaded three pictures with the grid turned sideways for 3D space. What I am looking at is since a large creature is said to take up as much space vertically as it does on the ground does said monster threaten spellcasters in the second rank and should he get an AoO against these casters while they cast spells. I say NO!

    1) In the first picture an Ogre tries to attack a cleric as the cleric casts a healing spell on the fighter. I see even taking the most optimum square to make the attack one corner is still blocked by the fighter, providing cover.

    2) Next is a Hydra (space 15 feet), since the cleric in this encounter is 5 ft. away from his meat shield like a bone head. He is subject to the Hydra's 15 foot reach and would in fact get AoO against him while casting. Even if the creature was only 10 feet high the rule for low cover would apply because the attacker is closer to the cover then the defender.

    3) Last the cleric finally gets smart and steps up behind his fighter and now again has cover, and can cast safely again. Under this logic it doesn't matter how tall the creature is as long as you are behind someone he will protect you. The rule for low cover wouldn't apply since the attacker and defender are the same distance from the cover. If you really look at it though the defender is closer then the square the creature is attacking from.

    Of course this has no effect on breath weapons, area effect spells, and normal attacks with reach weapons or natural reach. Nothing in the rules says that the Ogre or Hydra can't attack the cleric, but the cleric would have a +4 to AC. I have checked all of the FAQs and none of them say anything about 3D space and reaching over other creatures. I would just like a ruling from the community.

    This is just something that has bugged the heck out of me. I have been playing this game for 10 years and am just amazed at some of the stuff they have come up with in the past couple of years trying to read around the rules. I understand adjusting rules for game play, but making it were a cleric can't heal a party doesn't make sense.
    Last edited by Wraith; August 20th, 2008 at 18:35.
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  2. #2
    Honestly, I believe that whatever works for y'all is the best route to go. It stands to reason that the monster threatens a "reach" of area in the 2D plane, and it is implied as well in the 3D plane.

    If a DM was to pull this on me, I would calmly await the next time I was prone, and a monster with reach tried to attack me. Seems like the 3D space comes into effect there, no?

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  3. #3
    Wraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalmarjan
    If a DM was to pull this on me, I would calmly await the next time I was prone, and a monster with reach tried to attack me. Seems like the 3D space comes into effect there, no?

    Sandeman
    I don't see how this is even relevant to what I am talking about?

    If you mean that you were prone behind another character then yes you would be behind cover, but if you were prone out in the open how do you figure that it would apply?
    See you around the table.

  4. #4
    Looks like I misunderstood. (Something about a sleep deprived brain...)

    In the case of what you were speaking of, I think it is one of those questions that would be up to a DM's call. Rule on it, then move on.

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  5. #5

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    Keep in mind that it's poor form to pit DM against DM like this, even though I know that disgruntled players do it all the time. Whatever your DM says goes, and if you really don't like it and it's really that important, your option is to quit playing with them.

    That said, I would generally say that in scenario one, the second-rank character has cover from the ogre due to being behind his compatriot.

    In scenario two, the second-rank character is farther away from the obstacle than the hydra, and so he doesn't have cover from the hydra.

    In scenario three, I would be inclined to say that the second-rank character can duck sufficiently behind the first-rank character without going prone to gain cover against the hydra... However, this assumes that the hydra doesn't position itself so that there's an unobstructed line from its corner square (not adjacent to the first-rank character) to the square occupied by the second-rank character. That is, if the first-rank character is centered along one side of the hydra, the second-rank character gains cover. If it's in either square at the end of one side of the hydra (or on the corner, if the second-rank character isn't diagonally opposite), the second-rank character doesn't gain cover. (If the obstacle were the corner of a wall rather than another character, I would be inclined to allow cover, though - same goes for a gelatinous cube or some other object that occupies the entire space.)

    But if the concern here is whether or not you can cast a spell, you have other choices available to you if the DM rules against cover. You can cast defensively (if you're fighting hydras, you should have enough ranks in Concentration to cast defensively fairly reliably, and you did take Combat Casting, didn't you?). You can cast out of range, hold the spell, and move up to touch. You could even move in such a manner as to try to draw the attack of opportunity before you cast the spell (or wait until an ally already did this for you) and hope the opponent doesn't have Combat Reflexes.

    On a side note, I'm pretty sure that even if you have (non-total) cover against an opponent (and therefore, the opponent can't make attacks of opportunity against you), the opponent can still threaten the square you are in. This is important for things like flanking, where one's flanking partner must threaten the target in question.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dachannien
    Keep in mind that it's poor form to pit DM against DM like this, even though I know that disgruntled players do it all the time. Whatever your DM says goes, and if you really don't like it and it's really that important, your option is to quit playing with them.
    Just to get off on the right foot, I AM a DM and have been for going on ten years now I have DMed 2nd, 3.0e, and 3.5e. I also plan on DMing 4e. I put a question to you though is it better to pit DM against DM, or let may characters die from poor DMing?
    Quote Originally Posted by Dachannien
    But if the concern here is whether or not you can cast a spell, you have other choices available to you if the DM rules against cover. You can cast defensively (if you're fighting hydras, you should have enough ranks in Concentration to cast defensively fairly reliably, and you did take Combat Casting, didn't you?). You can cast out of range, hold the spell, and move up to touch. You could even move in such a manner as to try to draw the attack of opportunity before you cast the spell (or wait until an ally already did this for you) and hope the opponent doesn't have Combat Reflexes.
    OK, casting defensively, why should a character be force to miss fire a spell when he has a big brute up front taking all the damage and the DM just wants a hit on the second rank characters. Then the DM wonders why the fighters all fall when they can't get healing. It's also not very conducive to the health of a wizard to be taking AoO's from a hydra either through casting or moving regardless.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dachannien
    On a side note, I'm pretty sure that even if you have (non-total) cover against an opponent (and therefore, the opponent can't make attacks of opportunity against you), the opponent can still threaten the square you are in. This is important for things like flanking, where one's flanking partner must threaten the target in question.
    Lastly you don't need total cover to be free of AoO's it is only cover. Any type of cover keeps foes from making AoOs against you. Yes, I understand the creature still threatens the square for normal attacks and flanking, but the rule here is that the target doesn't Provoke an AoO. This is what I'm getting at and no one seems to listen. Yes, the monster(s) threaten the space, yes they can attack the space, but casting a spell while behind another person DOES NOT provoke an Attack of Opportunity.

    If I came across harsh or "snide" I don't intend to I am just passionate about D&D. I love this game and it has done a lot for me.
    See you around the table.

  7. #7
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    If I'm reading your question right, I'd agree. In DnD3 you needed 1/2 cover or better (pg 132) but in DnD3.5 that seems to have been relaxed to any cover (pg 151).

    And it seems to make sense from a gameplay point of view. The brave knight places his body between the monster and the caster and uses his weapons to fend off any attempts at interruption.

    What was the rationale used that the monster would get an AoO in situation 1 or 3?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith
    OK, casting defensively, why should a character be force to miss fire a spell when he has a big brute up front taking all the damage and the DM just wants a hit on the second rank characters. Then the DM wonders why the fighters all fall when they can't get healing. It's also not very conducive to the health of a wizard to be taking AoO's from a hydra either through casting or moving regardless.
    A wizard should never be in threatened range of a hydra. If that ever happens, there's a problem - and it's not with the DM. As for the cleric, they, more than any other class, should have their Concentration skill maxed out and take Combat Casting perhaps as early as first level. Casting defensively would then carry a 40% chance of failure at first level for casting first level spells, decreasing until it gets to 0% at 14th level for casting 7th level spells (less if you have a Con bonus). Of course, this is even more important if your DM is harsh in terms of AoO's.

    Yes, I understand the creature still threatens the square for normal attacks and flanking, but the rule here is that the target doesn't Provoke an AoO.
    Actually, I would say it does provoke the attack of opportunity, but an opponent against whom you have cover can't actually make the attack of opportunity. It's the same as if the opponent has already used up all his AoO's for the round - you still provoke it, but the opponent can't actually do it. (At this point this is more of a semantic argument, since I can't think of any situations where it actually matters, but there may be some weird item or spell in some sourcebook somewhere that triggers on AoO provocation.) But you missed my point anyway - I made that side note because you said this in your original post:

    does said monster threaten spellcasters in the second rank and should he get an AoO against these casters while they cast spells. I say NO!
    The Box ruleset modification:
    Lets your players make die rolls that only the DM can see!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by zgrose
    What was the rationale used that the monster would get an AoO in situation 1 or 3?
    The rationale behind this was that the monster was tall enough that it could reach over the defenders and attack into the second rank. Which I didn't have a problem with. I did have a problem with the monster attacking my cleric every time I wanted to heal someone.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dachannien
    But you missed my point anyway
    I did get your point and I had forgotten I had worded my original post that way. I also agree that a cleric as well as a wizard should have their concentration all the way maxed out, and whether the monster threatens or the action provokes is a non issue.

    I think I am just venting most of all. I remember a time when DMs knew the rules better then any player and that they had to or the game didn't work right. Now the game has changed and everyone says "I leave that out for game play." when what they are really saying is I don't know the rules so I am making them up as I go along. If your going to ignore the rules then let everyone know at the beginning of play cause if you say we are playing by 3.Xe rules then leave out concealment well then why would I pick improved precise shot for my character? (that ignores all miss chances except for total by the way)

    But again I am not trying to be rude, snide, or other wise uncouth. I am trying to see the reasoning behind someone else's thinking. This is just one DM's two coppers.
    See you around the table.

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