I have recently come up against the problem that players want to fire ranged attackes through multiple enemies, or place AoE spells behind multiple enemies. The idea that one could fire an arrow past three or more other creatures (and yes, I understand that the creature does not occupy the whole 5ft square) seemed completely unrealistic to me. I consulted the rules, and found that (as I understand it), no matter how many creatures are between you and the target, they only get +2AC, and there is no restriction on AoE placement.
To solve this problem, I have come up with the following houserules (also includes some ruling clarifications for players, and rules from back section of DMG):
You can make a ranged attack against an enemy on the other side of an ally or enemy creature. However the following rules apply (based on how many creatures are between you and it):
One creature: Half-cover (+2 AC)
Two creatures: 3/4-cover (+5 AC)
Three creatures or more: Full cover (can’t target)
If you do not hit the AC of the creature you were trying to hit, but do hit the AC of one or more of the intervening creatures, then you hit the nearest one you hit the AC for instead. This includes allies.
For spells that specify targeting a location or creature ‘that you can see’, you can cast past one or two creatures, but not past three or more.
The above house-rules have not been playtested yet.
Does anyone have a better solution? Do the rules-as-written actually deal with the problem? Will these house-rules work?
I’m primarily looking for other people who have had a similar problem, and have play-tested house-rules (similar or different to these) to solve it.