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There are a number of feats that allow a ranged attack to ignore cover, most notably Improved Precise Shot.

However, ranged attacks aren’t the only ones that are subject to cover. Melee attacks with reach weapons can also be subject to cover. For that matter, so can non-reach melee weapons, if they’re attacking over a thin, low (but not low enough) wall.

Are there any feats, class features, spells, anything, that allow melee attacks to ignore cover? I can’t find any. Even limited versions, that ignore cover from certain situations but not others, don’t seem to be available; I’d take anything at this point. My primary use-case is for a character with reach to attack past allies without those allies providing cover to enemies.

All non-epic officially-licensed content may be considered.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think that you needed to specify "non-epic". I can't think of a way to do it even within Epic. \$\endgroup\$
    – J. Mini
    Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 20:06

4 Answers 4

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Feats

Three feat options exist for making melee attacks that avoid penalties for all but total cover.

  • The general feat Child of the Shadow (Savage Tide Player’s Guide 12 and a direct link to the PDF is here) mandates that the character be from the Shadowshore district of Sasserine. Among the benefits it grants is this: "Enemies cannot gain cover from you if they are in your reach; you can thus attack someone around a corner without penalty. A creature with total cover from you still recieves all benefits of his cover." This is awesome, it's the one you want, and it's incredibly obscure.
  • The general feat Precise Swing (Eberron Campaign Setting 58) has as its prerequisite base attack bonus +5 and has the following benefit: "You ignore all effects of cover (but not total cover) when making a melee attack, including a melee attack with a reach weapon." This is the boring option that you take if the DM says no to the Child of the Shadow feat.
  • The untyped feat Deft Fist (Dragon #319 71) has as its ridiculous prerequisites Dex 13, Wis 13, Improved Unarmed Strike, Weapon Finesse, and Weapon Focus (unarmed strike). Its benefit: "When making an unarmed melee attack against a foe with cover (except total cover), your target does not gain the normal cover bonus to Armor Class." I guess in the correct low-level monk build, this feat might be a thing?
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Even for a low-level monk build, the odds of an unarmed strike being subject to cover are rather low... \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 20:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan A Ftr1/Mnk1 (who takes fighter as his second level therefore — sigh or yay! depending on your view — maybe forevermore abandoning monk?) with Inhuman Reach can, I think, find a reason for it. I'm not sure it would be a good reason, but it'd be a reason. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 20:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I had a similar thought with Deformity (Tall) accessed via Elder Evil worship. Still, that’s... quite a specific scenario. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 20:53
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There is a feat called Precise Swing (Eberron Campaign Setting, p. 58)

Benefit: You ignore all effects of cover (but not total cover) when making a melee attack, including a melee attack with a reach weapon.

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Goggles of foefinding, on page 108 of the Magic Item Compendium, allow their wearer to ignore the AC bonus from cover except total cover. They cost 2,500 gp. At mid to high levels, this is probably cheaper than a feat.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh wow, yeah, that’s much cheaper than a feat. That is going to become part of my standard adventuring gear for anyone making attacks from now on. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 15:03
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A brilliant energy weapon would ignore cover if your target was living and the cover was nonliving since the ability of brilliant energy weapons is an exceptionally-broad "ignores nonliving matter." That said, for reach weapons, I would personally rule that feats affecting ranged weapons would also affect reach weapons.

When making a melee attack against a target that isn’t adjacent to you (such as with a reach weapon), use the rules for determining cover from ranged attacks.

Those rules would include feats. So even if your reach attack target was receiving cover from living beings or you weren't using a brilliant energy weapon, acquiring feats that ignored cover for ranged attacks should similarly aid a reach attack.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I tend to agree with you about using ranged-attack feats for this—except that pretty much all of them require a bunch of definitely-ranged-only feats to get, which makes that a pretty horrid approach. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 20:47

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