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If a Lancer weapon has both a line pattern and the Seeking tag, how does its attack work?

For example, suppose a pilot equips the Death's Head Railgun (which normally attacks in a 20 space line) and mods it with the Balor's Nanocomposite Adaptation (which makes it both Smart and Seeking, although the relevant part for this question is only the Seeking tag).

Because the Seeking weapon's attack can follow any path, can it ignore or bypass allies who would normally be in the line of effect?

Do the intended targets still need to be in a straight line (relative to the attacker), or can they be in any shaped path?

Does the total path have a maximum length of X spaces long, or can it weave to hit any targets within a X space radius? (Can it bypass cover and walls to hit targets within radius X, or would it need to traverse an unobstructed path no more than X spaces long?)

From the Lancer core rulebook (section 4 // compendium // gear and systems), the rules for line patterns are as follows:

These attacks affect all targets within a defined area and require a separate attack roll for each target.

Attacks made with this weapon affect characters in a straight line, X spaces long.

And the rules for Seeking weapons:

SEEKING : This weapon has a limited form of self-guidance and internal propulsion, allowing it to follow complicated paths to its targets. As long as it’s possible to draw a path to its target, this weapon ignores cover and doesn’t require line of sight.

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Seeking changes nothing about the nature of the line pattern.

You place the line pattern relative to your character as normal. A Seeking attack hits everything in the pattern, ignoring only those hexes which are somehow physically isolated from your character, not merely behind cover.

Yes, this means the Seeking attack could theoretically have presence outside the targeting pattern.

No, this doesn't mean you suddenly have a spray cone. Seeking attacks generally work with some kind of target acquisition, so regardless of the physical path the attack follows, the targets are still defined in the original pattern.

In this particular case the Balor Nanocomposite effectively uses the original attack's targeting and delivery mechanisms to define the area of operation for the grey goo scenario you're about to unleash, so that what you're creating is a straight 20-hex line bathed in a corrosive nanite swarm that cannot tell friend from foe.

It's alright, if you're into that sort of thing.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I removed your paragraph about the Smart tag. The initial question was maybe unclear because it mentioned the Smart tag, so I edited it to be more explicit. I was hoping for some rules citation for how these effects interact. Still, your reasoning here may be correct; Seeking determines how the attacks resolve, but the line-pattern determines who is targeted. \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeQ
    Commented Mar 28, 2022 at 18:20

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