# Can multiple creatures completely block a ranged attack thus providing total cover?

I'm asking because we play on a grid and while DMG p.251 states that 3 or 4 lines blocked by an obstacle gives 3/4 cover if the attack can still reach the target, it doesn't state what happens if the attack can't reach the target. I assume total cover but I might be wrong. And, as in the question, what if more than one creature each blocking 3 or 4 lines to a target. Would it create a 1/2 cover (as per Sage Advice Compendium), 3/4 cover, total cover or something else? also considering that only the best degree of cover is applied when more than one source of cover is there, if multiple creatures can ever create total cover.

I find all this to be confusing.

thanks for clarifying.

• These may be helpful: "How to resolve multiple sources of cover when using a grid?" and "Is it mathematically possible to only have 3/4th cover?" Dec 9, 2020 at 6:15
• @Medix2 thanks for the reference. I looked at both before le posting and it does not answer my question for, in the OP question of multiple sources of cover, the T will always have 1/2 cover because they are 2 lines that do not cross (or are blocked by) the square that provides cover but will follow on the side. The reason I'm confused is that in my mind creatures can't provide full cover no matter the number (but exceptions maybe gelatinous cube) but if the DM decides the attack can't reach with 4 lines blocked, it means it has full cover right? I don't see anything else that can block it. Dec 9, 2020 at 14:48
• I had an answer, but I'm not sure it is correct, so I posted a question to verify my scenario: Playing on a grid, is this situation 1/2 or 3/4 cover? Dec 9, 2020 at 18:15
• Are the creatures all medium? Dec 9, 2020 at 18:38
• @Thomas Markov thanks. I will also wait for your answer. I think medium or large should not make a difference as they are creatures but will only get more lines blocked on the grid. If you have another reason why I can possibly add both scenarios in the question to see if the answer is different depending on size. Dec 9, 2020 at 18:55

### It will usually only be 1/2 cover.

See this illustration:

This arrangement only gives red half cover, since the two lines on the left are not blocked.

### There is an arrangement that may give 3/4 cover.

See this illustration:

I say this arrangement may give 3/4 cover, as opposed to half, because it is unclear how the general cover rules interact with the grid cover rules. I have asked the question here: Playing on a grid, is this situation 1/2 or 3/4 cover? I will update this answer if there is a definitive answer to this arrangement given on that Q&A.

• This second illustration is exactly what I had in mind by the way. What confuses me in the DMG rule is that the lines are used to determine cover, 3 or 4 lines blocked but the attack can still reach is 3/4 cover, but what it means if 3 or 4 lines are blocked and the DM decides the attack can't reach? And is a creature an obstacle? If a creature is an obstacle, doesn't it mean that when attack can't reach target, target has total cover? if it doesn't have total cover, then what mechanic is used to block the attack from reaching the target? so many questions, so little information 🤔 Dec 10, 2020 at 13:21
• @jonDraco To answer some of your sub-questions: If an attack can't reach the target it has total cover. From the cover rules (PHB page 196): "A target with total cover can't be targeted directly by an attack or a spell, although some spells can reach such a target by including it in an area of effect. A target has total cover if it is completely concealed by an obstacle." A creature can definitely be an obstacle, it is listed as an example in the half cover portion of the basic rules and listed as an obstacle in the DMG grid rules. Dec 10, 2020 at 21:18
• @smbailey so it is safe to assume a creature could never block an attack as a creature or many, other than some special cases like gelatinous cube, would never provide total cover. I will wait for confirmation from Thomas Markov but it looks like his answer is going to be marked. Dec 10, 2020 at 23:00
• @jonDraco As a GM I would generally agree with that, yes. The grid rules do say if 3 or 4 lines are blocked but the attack can still reach the target, the target has three-quarters cover. The bit about whether the attack can still reach the target seems completely up to GM discretion. For a few medium creatures like this I would pretty much always rule there is enough space to make a shot through them (with cover). If there was a large mob of people I would possibly rule it as total cover, though I've never had to make that decision so I'm not speaking from experience there. Dec 10, 2020 at 23:08