getting ready for my next session and one of my players brought up an interesting question....
Looking at the precise shot feat it states "You can shoot or throw ranged weapons at an opponent engaged in melee without taking the standard –4 penalty on your attack roll PHB 98.
On page 140 of the PHB it states "If you shoot or throw a ranged weapon at a target engaged in melee with a friendly character, you take a –4 penalty on your attack roll because you have to aim carefully to avoid hitting your friend."
Ok so so far all makes sense, if engaged in melee you can ignore the normal -4 with the precise shot feat.
Here is where things get tricky.
On page 151 PHB it states "Soft Cover: Creatures, even your enemies, can provide you with cover against ranged attacks, giving you a +4 bonus to AC. However, such soft cover provides no bonus on Reflex saves, nor does soft cover allow you to make a Hide check."
Herein lies the question. Let us take an example from the image attached. If We are using Lidda firing at the gnoll from her current position, does the gnoll have soft cover in addition to being engaged in melee? Meaning a +8 to it's AC if Lidda does not have precise shot and a +4 if she does? Or does the precise shot feat ignore this soft cover provided to the gnoll by Redgar as they are "engaged in melee"?
If soft cover is provided by Redgar then my understanding would be that if Lidda stood on the blue X and did not have precise shot the gnoll would have +4 while if she had precise shot the gnoll would get no bonus to AC.