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I was playing a Togorian Elite Soldier wearing a Heavy Battle Armor. He was trying to protect a little girl that was about to get bursted by 3 mercenaries, so he put himself in front of her and kneel to the ground, trying to give her total cover and letting the enemies with no line of sight to shoot her.

The DM said that, since the burst attack is an area attack, my action was ineffective and the shots killed her and damaged me.

Is this really how it works? Could I have shielded her in some effective way?

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This is probably right by the rules, but I think focusing on the rules issue is missing the real problem, which is one of communication. Whether or not you knew whether the rules support this, a Togorian Elite Soldier almost certainly would know if this would be sufficient to protect the girl.

Without being there, it's a little hard to guess exactly how this went down, but I assume you made your intentions clear to the DM. The DM probably should have at least told you that that wasn't going to be enough — and maybe you could have talked about other possibilities.

Going out on a limb a bit, it sounds to me like the DM was planning for the girl to die in that scene with nothing you could do about it, and didn't adapt quickly when you had an idea to save her. Without time to think, the DM might have thought oh &#×*§+! I don't know how to handle the next bit if the girl survives... it's supposed to set this whole thing into motion and now it's going to be ruined!.

I know I've gotten into this situation before and made bad judgment calls. I had a scene where the big bad guy had complete advantage and the PCs were supposed to scope that out, learn weaknesses, retreat, think of a clever plan and get an advantage of their own. It was a whole setup for a showdown dual which was supposed to happen the next day. Didn't work out as I had thought in my mind; the players did something they thought was enough, I tried to warn that the situation was dangerous — right in the middle of the evil headquarters! — but they felt like it was time to act, so they attacked, and I had the bad guy pretty much insta-kill a PC. This was totally within the "rules", but also the wrong thing to do — I was just focusing on not having planned out where to go on that case, and on the whole session being ruined by my lack of planning. Instead, it was actually ruined even more.

It sounds to me like something similar might have happened here. Then, it got into an argument about the technicalities of the rules rather than about the story. It's probably a good idea to change that. Have a conversation that begins: Hey, I was really disappointed about how that worked out for my character and the NPC. Can we pull back the curtain a little bit and talk about this "meta-game"? I felt like my character didn't have any agency in that situation....

This shouldn't be "I think you made the wrong call", just expressing your own disappointment, and then listening to what the DM has to say — again, from a higher level than either the rules or the events of the game itself.

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As far as I know, and going strictly RAW, it doesn't matter if you have even total total cover, area attack (spread, cone, cylinder...) just go round corners. It's like you are hit with a flamethrower. Even if you are covering the other person, the flames will go around you and hit her. IMHO your DM could have given the girl a bonus on the save and a malus to your character, or let her benefit from Evasion, since it was for RP sake. It's such a pity if a rule prevents you from doing what you want to do with your character. Of course, going strictly by the books the possibility of someone protecting another one with his body is not covered.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm unfamiliar with Star Wars Saga Edition, but in most d20 systems like Pathfinder most areas stop at obstructions. That makes shielding another being with one's body less effective than pushing the being out of the way or shoving the kid behind an X-wing or whatever--still an unfortunate system quirk, though. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 7 '14 at 9:01

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