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I'm the GM in a game, and a player and I have been using a rule for a while now, and suddenly neither of us can remember where we found it.

The rough wording of it is something like "If a Tiny or smaller creature occupies the same square as a creature at least two size categories larger than itself, it can use this creature to gain cover against other creatures."

I can't for the life of me find where it's from! We thought it was from the Giant Hunter's Handbook, but I checked every instance of the word "Cover" there, and I found nothing.

As an example of what we've used this rule to do: The player is a Witch, and he's commanded his familiar to sit on top of one of the other players heads. Due to this rule, the familiar can't be targeted. Additionally, the familiar has been able to move from person to person (as long as they are adjacent to each other) by using each person as cover, and thus avoiding any AoOs (as you don't provoke AoOs if you're behind cover).

Is this possible, or have we severely misremembered a rule somewhere? Both of us remember reading it, but neither knows where.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ No house rule is required; Tiny, Diminutive and Fine creatures are allowed to share squares with Small or larger creatures. In fact, they have to if they wish to attack. (Though in my case, the Tiny creature is not attacking anything) \$\endgroup\$ – TheJack38 May 8 '16 at 0:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ (To clarify: My initial thought was that the Tiny creature would be expelled from the square after its attack, having (semi-)accidentally illegally ended its movement (and no one knowing it was done moving until its turn ended), but the specific rule allowing a Tiny or littler creature to enter a foe's square appears to override the general rule that creatures can't end their movements in another creature's square.) Anyway, I look forward to an answer saying the witch and familiar have cover. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 8 '16 at 12:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that "it can use this creature to gain cover" doesn't automatically mean that "sitting on another player's head" = "can't be targeted". It's still up to the DM to determine whether such a position grants cover or not. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan Henderson May 18 '16 at 17:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TheJack38 - only swarm rules allow for tiny or smaller creatures to end their turn in a square occupied by anything larger than Tiny. As an individual creature is not a swarm, it would be shunted off to the last square it occupied after it attacks. \$\endgroup\$ – Krista May 22 '16 at 19:53
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Per Pathfinder Core Rule Book:

Square Occupied by Creature Three Sizes Larger or Smaller (page 193): Any creature can move through a square occupied by a creature three size categories larger than itself. A big creature can move through a square occupied by a creature three size categories smaller than it is. Creatures moving through squares occupied by other creatures provoke attacks of opportunity.

Accidentally Ending Movement in an Illegal Square (page 194): Sometimes a character ends its movement while moving through a space where it is not allowed to stop.When that happens, put your miniature in the last legal position you occupied, or the closest legal position, if there's a legal position that's closer.

Big and Little Creatures in Combat - Tiny, Diminutive, Fine (pages 194-195): Very small creatures take up less than 1 square of space. This means that more than one such creature can fit into a single square. A Tiny creature typically occupies a space only 2 1/2 feet across, so four can fit into a single square. 25 Diminutive creature or 100 Fine creatures can fit in a single square. Creatures that take up less than 1 square typically have a natural reach of 0 feet, meaning they can't reach into adjacent squares. They must enter an opponent's square to attack in melee. This provokes an attack of opportunity from the opponent.You can attack into your own square if you need to, so you can attack such creatures normally.Since they have no natural reach, they do not threaten squares around them.You can move past them without provoking attacks of opportunity. They also can't flank an enemy. Note the differences from the swarm rules in the bestiary, where swarms of creatures can occupy a square of another creature. This rule only allows Tiny or smaller to share squares.

Cover (page 195): To determine whether your target has cover from your ranged attack, choose a corner of your square. If any line from this corner to any corner of the target's square passes through a square or border that blocks the line of effect or provides cover, or through a square occupied by a creature, the target has cover (+4 to AC). When making a melee attackagainst an adjacent target, your target has cover if any line from any corner of your square to the target's square goes through a wall (including a low wall). 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.

Cover and Attacks of Opportunity (page 195): You can't execute an attack of opportunity against an opponent with cover relative to you. This does not actually apply in this case, but the following will explain why.

Soft Cover (page 196): Creatures, even your enemies, can provide you with cover against ranged attacks, giving you a +4 bonus to AC. However, such soft cover provides no bonus on Reflex saves, nor does soft cover allow you to make a Stealth check.

Partial Cover (page 196): If a creature has cover, but more than half the creature is visible, it's cover bonus is reduced to +2 to AC and a +1 bonus on Reflex saving throws. This partial cover is subject to the DM's discretion.

Total Cover (page 196): If you don't have line of effect to your target (that is, you cannot draw a line from your square to your target's square without crossing a solid barrier), he is considered to have total cover from you. You can't make an attack against a target that has total cover.

Improved Cover (page 196): In some cases, such as attacking a target hiding behind an arrowslit, cover may provide a greater bonus to AC and Reflex saves. In such situations, the normal cover bonuses to AC and Reflex saves can be doubled (to +8 and +4 respectively). A creature with this improved cover effectively gains improved evasion against any attack to which the Reflex save bonus applies. Furthermore, improved cover provides a +10 bonus on Stealth checks.

Analysis While the rules provide for moving through friendly (and even enemy squares) at the Tiny size, with the exception of the Swarm rules, they do not appear to provide for ending a turn in a square with larger creatures (only smaller one's per the "Little Creatures in Combat" rules). As you are referencing a single Tiny cat, swarm rules do not apply.

While you can move through said ally squares with the Tiny creature (though not ending your movement on their square), they DO provoke attacks of opportunity per the "Square Occupied by Creature Three Sizes Larger or Smaller" rule.

While the amount of "cover" provided in any given instance is designated by the DM, if the cat is sitting on people's heads and jumping from person to person, it is obvious that it is Partial cover or less (versus the total cover which would not allow for it being attacked) as AT LEAST 50% is visible. If it is physically on a head and 100% out in the open, it may be denied any cover whatsoever, versus hiding behind characters or in their legs. For the creature to be afforded the "total cover" you are asking for it would have to be completely hidden from the enemy by a wall, or some other such solid barrier. People as cover only provide "soft cover".

However, as an alternative that would actually allow the familiar to travel in just the witch's square with total concealment, they could purchase a "familiar satchel" as the familiar is Tiny. However, movement in an out would still provoke attacks of opportunity.

Witch's familiars are the source of their power and therefor quite a vulnerability to the witch as a class.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Please note, the sharing a space with larger creatures and not provoking attacks of opportunity ability you referenced is called Titan's Bane. It is a mythic ability, so if you are playing in a non-mythic campaign then it certainly does not apply. If you are playing in a mythic campaign, it will change these rules as described for said Tiny creature as long as the witch takes it. \$\endgroup\$ – Krista May 22 '16 at 20:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ It should probably also be noted, the cat CAN be on people's heads, but would not be sharing the character's square, but the square above him (such as with flying we must think in 3D if dealing with a creature on another creature's head). \$\endgroup\$ – Krista May 27 '16 at 2:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ And, it might have to make Ride checks to stay there. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan Henderson May 27 '16 at 3:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Very true. Excellent point. Especially in combat. \$\endgroup\$ – Krista May 27 '16 at 3:27
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A tiny creature can stay in squares occupied by allies but still provokes when moving through some threatened squares:

PFSRD Cover Rules don't indicate that a creature provides cover against base range melee attacks, only ranged attacks and Reach attacks.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The difficulty of this position is in the opening of Cover and Attacks of Opportunity: "You can't execute an attack of opportunity against an opponent with cover relative to you." In theory, it doesn't matter what kind of attack the attacker's making, if the target has any cover relative to the attacker, the attacker can't make attacks of opportunity against it, preventing, for example, an adjacent creature from making melee attacks of opportunity against an adjacent Tiny creature sharing a Medium creature's square because the Tiny creature has cover against the attacker's ranged attacks. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 18 '16 at 17:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Correct, but the RAW is that you do NOT have cover against non-reach melee attacks by sharing a space. You would (RAW) avoid AoO from Reach weapons. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso May 18 '16 at 18:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ I know. The strict reading I'm going by (that, by the way, I know is terrible and legalistic) is that because the opponent has cover relative to you against your ranged attacks (even if you're not making ranged attacks), you can't make melee attacks of opportunity against it. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 18 '16 at 18:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ I understand what you're saying but the text actually specifies the AoO is relative to you Cover and Attacks of Opportunity You can't execute an attack of opportunity against an opponent with cover relative to you. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso May 18 '16 at 18:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is incorrect (sharing squares with allies of larger than Tiny) per the Big and Little Creatures in Combat rules on pages 194-195 of the Core rulebook. They can move through squares of any size, but can only "share a square" with creatures Tiny or smaller. (Unless a familiar satchel is purchased and the creature is inside). \$\endgroup\$ – Krista May 22 '16 at 19:35

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