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For my next Pathfinder session, the group might encounter a rat which mind controlled a child into his speaking puppet. However, when the group decides to attack the rat with a ranged attack I want the child to block the attack with his own body. I have looked around the wiki and googled multiple things but I haven't found any system for this situation.

Are there any rules/systems for this situation or ways how I can make this happen?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mar 17 at 23:21
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There is a feat called In Harm's Way, which allows the user to take the damage for an attack for an adjacent ally.

Prerequisite: Bodyguard.

Benefit: While using the aid another action to improve an adjacent ally’s AC, you can intercept a successful attack against that ally as an immediate action, taking full damage from that attack and any associated effects (bleed, poison, etc.). A creature cannot benefit from this feat more than once per attack.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice, this was exactly I was looking for. I had found the bodyguard feat but not this one. \$\endgroup\$ – MLCroix Mar 17 at 15:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that In Harm's Way does require the child to already be using Aid Another to boost the rat's AC, and to be within 5 feet. You're probably better off playing off the first hit as GM fiat - "the kid was prepared for your attempt to kill his master, and dives between you! Your arrow buries itself in the child's back!" \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Mar 17 at 15:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Gatherer the prerequisite feat Bodyguard allows the child to use aid another immediately by consuming an attack of oppurtunity attempt. \$\endgroup\$ – Maiko Chikyu Mar 17 at 15:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Wow, it's been so long since I used Bodyguard. Thank you. I still don't think it's the best option for getting this done, but yeah, that concern is invalid. (Still, unless the kid is level 5 or has some fighter levels under his belt, he probably doesn't qualify for In Harm's Way, unless it's being granted to him magically.) \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Mar 17 at 15:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Rat will be standing on a hand of the child so the 5 feet range shouldn't be the problem and could even provide some cover for him. Also child is was taken hostage and will be prepared to block an attack. The only problem is thatthe child does not have the feat on his own, so I think I will give the rat the ability to give his "puppets" those two feats in order to protect their master. \$\endgroup\$ – MLCroix Mar 18 at 17:58
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Barring the child being trained in a specific feat or some specific magic being used, there's not a "the protecting creature is auto-hit instead of the targeted creature" by rules-as-written. However...

The cover rules include an automatic +4 to AC for another creature providing cover, giving a +4 to AC. Many GM's play this where a miss by 4 or less hits the cover, rather than the targeted creature, though again this isn't part of the rules-as-written. More importantly, the significant size difference between even a very young human and a tiny rat could allow you some room to declare the rat has either improved cover (+8 to AC, and you'd be in your rights to say misses by 8 or less hit the child) or even total cover and/or total concealment, making attacks against the rat impossible.

As a one-off effect, having the first shot hit the child as (s)he dives in the way is fine, although things like precision damage shouldn't apply (hopefully preventing the party from accidentally murdering the child in a single attack). If you can hint that this will happen ahead of time somehow, either generally or as the result of a skill check (Sense Motive or Perception, maybe), the players shouldn't feel they were cheated just because there's not a specific rule to cover it. That's the point in the GM after all - things can happen that aren't scripted like a computer RPG.

If they continue to attack despite the +4 or +8 penalty and kill the innocent child at that point, that's entirely their fault, and while I'm not usually a fan of "one-time" effects affecting alignment based classes, this could easily be an exception, in my opinion.

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    \$\begingroup\$ ^_^ glad I could help, although that still assumes that the rat spent 3 feats on a "protecting others" chain. I'm going to post another answer that might make more sense if you want to go the "In Harm's Way" route, though. I think treating the child as cover is best since they're at least not guaranteed to hit the kid at least once a round (and more if the kid's Dexterity bonus is +2 or higher). \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 Mar 18 at 18:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ I noticed they are multiple ways to solve this situation and everyone has given me plenty of good advice. Because I do not want to force my players a path I have already thought about multiple ways to win this encounter, but never about actually hitting the rat. I think I will go with giving the rat the ability to give his "puppets" the necessary feats in order to protect him, however, I will also give the players a chance to actually hit the rat and save the child on this way. Using the AC rule will work great for this. \$\endgroup\$ – MLCroix Mar 18 at 18:27

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