Evaluating the examples in the figure, what is the interaction between the huge creature and the respective target of each color (blue, green, red, orange, purple), without the interference of the others in the scene? The gray outlines are physical barriers.

Which targets have Lesser cover? Which targets have Standard cover? Which targets have Greater cover? Which targets have Full cover? Which targets do not have Line of sight? What targets do not have Line of effect?

Are the conditions reciprocal?

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1 Answer 1


These creatures have normal cover

The creature in the hole here has normal cover against violet blue and green, and either normal or (DM call) greater cover aginst red and orange. The DM might only give lesser cover to the green creature. All creatures here have line of effect and line of sight among each other, so none has "full cover" (which is not one of the formal types of cover in the rules). Cover in this situation is symmetrical, but it need not always be.

There is a very similiar image in the rules that states for equivalent positions that "green" has regular cover and "orange" has a mention that "The GM will likely rule this as greater cover" (thank you to brandon).

See below for detailed rules that lead to these conclusions, you can find them on page 477 of the Core Rules.

The rules for cover state:

When you're behind an obstacle that could block weapons, guard you against explosions, and make you harder to detect, you're behind cover. Standard cover gives you a +2 circumstance bonus to AC, to Reflex saves against area effects, and to Stealth checks to Hide, Sneak, or otherwise avoid detection. You can increase this to greater cover using the Take Cover basic action, increasing the circumstance bonus to +4. If cover is especially light, typically when it's provided by a creature, you have lesser cover, which grants a +1 circumstance bonus to AC. (...) Cover is relative, so you might simultaneously have cover against one creature and not another. Cover applies only if your path to the target is partially blocked. If a creature is entirely behind a wall or the like, you don't have line of effect and typically can't target it at all.

So by default, if cover is afforded by solid walls like here, it is always normal cover, grating +2 to AC. You have to actively use the Take Cover action to press yourself against the wall, duck down etc., to get greater cover.

To determine if someone has cover the rules advise this method:

If you're uncertain or need to be more precise, draw a line from the center of your space to the center of the target's space. If that line passes through any terrain or object that would block the effect, the target has standard cover (or greater cover if the obstruction is extreme or the target has Taken Cover). If the line passes through a creature instead, the target has lesser cover. When measuring cover against an area effect, draw the line from the effect's point of origin to the center of the creature's space.

In general there are no hard rules here, it is more left for the DM to judge each situation. For example, since the line between the green creature and the big creatures centers just barely passes through the obstacle, a DM might be willing to make this lesser cover.

Extrapolating from other systems, one reasonable approach can be to say that there is no line of effect if any line from any corner the square(s) that one of the creatures occupies to any of the corners the squares the other occupies is blocked.

Some examples for large creatures or special circumstances are given:

The GM might determine that a creature doesn’t gain cover from terrain that it’s significantly larger than. For example, a Huge dragon probably wouldn’t receive any benefit from being behind a 1-foot-wide pillar. (...) Your GM might allow you to overcome your target’s cover in some situations. If you’re right next to an arrow slit, you can shoot without penalty, but you have greater cover against someone shooting back at you from far away. Your GM might let you reduce or negate cover by leaning around a corner to shoot or the like. This usually takes an action to set up, and the GM might measure cover from an edge or corner of your space instead of your center.

The arrow slit is an example where cover is assymmetrical.

  • \$\begingroup\$ How far from the corner is there no line of sight ? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 14:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ You mean line of effect? Line of sight, I think that is an entirely different question (depending on vision, lighting etc.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 14:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also yes, after all if you don't have line of sight you probably won't have line of effect. Can the red and orange positions already visualize the creature on the corner of the hall? How far from the corner is there no line of sight ? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 14:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's worth mentioning that the rules you've linked to include a very similar picture to the OP's here, with 'green' having regular cover and 'orange' having a mention that "The GM will likely rule this as greater cover". \$\endgroup\$
    – brandon
    Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 15:18
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @brandon Excellent point, I added it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 22, 2022 at 15:22

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