I'm creating a game for my friends but was wondering if they would be able to shoot through the arrow slits at monsters, with ranged attacks, would they be able to do that, and have the defenders have improved cover, or would they just not be able to attack the defenders?


2 Answers 2


The question is: Can you see the target?

A person standing behind an arrow slit easily can see out, but generally, can't be seen that easily. But at worst (for the target), less than a quarter of the body is visible through the arrow slit. That means that at least three-quarters are covered, and that's the minimum of cover they get.

As a conclusion, the archer behind the arrow slit has most likely three-quarters cover which is outright called out in the description of that cover category. As a result, they get a bonus of 5 on their AC and Dexterity saves.

Oh, and should you fight against someone using matchlocks through gunports, that are about a palm's diameter? That's total cover, for you can't reasonably see anything from the arquebusier, but he can see you.

Or if you look up at the top of a proper castle wall, where the example is easier: If someone is standing behind a merlon that means you see nothing and that's Full Cover. When they are standing between the Crenelations at best you see the shoulders and head, so about three-quarters cover. When they are leaning forward to shove off a ladder, and you see between half and three quarter, then you go down to half cover. It takes the defender to get up on the wall between the crenelations to lose cover.

GM note

As someone who has run a game where siege combat played quite a role (though the PCs were besieged): smart players don't attack someone behind arrow slits. They attack the wall.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The shooter can use their movement to go in front of the slit, shoot, then move to the side behind the wall. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 14:23
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Mindwin if they have enough movement and their attack does not prevent movement, yes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 17:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have on occasion opined that, interpolating from the +2 AC from half cover, a target behind full cover that you can somehow get at would have a +8 to AC. That would reflect the difficulty of aiming at the arrow slit or the difficulty of driving your weapon through softer cover. \$\endgroup\$
    – Haem
    Commented Dec 11, 2022 at 18:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Haem under the rules full cover gives infinite AC. You can't attack someone in full cover. Also, the progression 0, 2, 5 would continue with 9, 14, 20. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Dec 11, 2022 at 21:14

An arrow slit is explicitly given as one of the examples of three-quarters cover.

Three-Quarters Cover

A target with three-quarters cover has a +5 bonus to AC and Dexterity saving throws. A target has three-quarters cover if about three-quarters of it is covered by an obstacle. The obstacle might be a portcullis, an arrow slit, or a thick tree trunk.


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