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A pack of wolves are fleeing from the PCs, who are shooting at them with longbows from an entrenched position. One of the wolves is injured and has abandoned stealth in favor of a more rapid escape: it sprints 200 feet into the forest, drops some stolen food behind an adjacent tree, and drops prone. Hoping to protect their packmate and confident they can each take a single hit, the remaining wolves move so that they all occupy squares intersecting the line of sight from the PCs' entrenchment to the fleeing wolf. These squares, however, are sufficiently foliaged that the stealthily moving wolves can derive concealment from them and continue to make hide checks.

The PCs fail their Perception checks to see the hidden wolves. They fire at the visible wolf. Does the visible wolf have soft cover from the hidden wolves?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Invisibility and ranged attacks could make a far simpler example of this situation. Does an invisible enemy provide soft cover to their adjacent ally?. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Nov 13 '18 at 18:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras This is what happened in play, so I went with that. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Nov 13 '18 at 19:04
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Ofcourse they provide soft cover.

In this case, when you "draw the line" to check Line of effect and line of sight you as GM know that there are obstacles between the attacking character and the attacked wolf so, the wolf, has soft cover.

This does not means the character knows that the wolf has cover.

You (as GM) know that the wolf has cover.

The same is occurring for invisible enemy or object...if, for example, there is an invisible wall between the character and the wolf the arrow will still hit the wall and not the wolf. Unfortunally for your character the soft cover rules do not allow you to hit another enemy except the one you are attacking so, in this example, if the character misses because the attacked wolf has soft cover he will never hit the wolf that is providing that soft cover.

Example: A is attacking B with a bow. C is invisible between A and B so B has soft cover thanks to C.

In rule terms: B has soft cover (+4 AC) and until A is attacking B he will never hit C..since he is attacking B.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If an invisible wall provides cover, it provides total cover, which prevents you from targeting the wolf in the first place : "you can’t make an attack against a target that has total cover". So you can't hit the wall instead; you just can't attack the wolf outright in that case, because it has total cover, though you presumably (by your logic) don't know what is granting it that cover. Answer works well enough, though, so +1. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Nov 14 '18 at 8:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well that is up to GM on how much information give away. Since an invisible wall is invisible and you can probably see what lies behind the wall I think we can assume that a character that does not know there is a wall can say "I attack him/her"...and, as a GM, i will simply describe that the arrow hit "something" in between. In soft cover case (this case) anyway the rule, good or bad is not my point of argument, is pretty clear: the wolf has soft cover and the wolf providing that cover will never be hitted...until he becomes the direct target of the attacking character. \$\endgroup\$ – Mouza Nov 14 '18 at 9:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Soft (actually, Partial) Cover is only +2 AC. +4 is "regular" Cover, and Improved is +8. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Nov 14 '18 at 18:07

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