Can archers bypass partial cover by arcing their shot?

There are two basic ways an archer fires at a target. In close quarters engagements, archers (and anyone using a projectile weapon) would likely use "direct fire", ie. fire at an angle nearly parallel to the ground. At longer distances and especially when targets are hiding behind terrain and walls, archers instead use "indirect fire", ie. firing at angle greater than 45 degrees, in order to lob arrows over and behind cover.

Imagine an archer firing at a range of 100 feet on a creature using 5-foot tall wall for cover.

The rules for cover on a grid state the following:

Choose a corner of the attacker’s space or the point of origin of an area of effect. Then trace imaginary lines from that corner to every corner of any one square the target occupies. If one or two of those lines are blocked by an obstacle (including another creature), the target has half cover. If three or four of those lines are blocked but the attack can still reach the target (such as when the target is behind an arrow slit), the target has three-quarters cover.

Using these rules, it’s easy to see how the wall could provide half or three-quarters cover against direct fire. The trajectory of the arrow will always intersect with the wall, and if enough lines from the archer intersect with the wall, then partial cover is granted. This is consistent with a physical understanding of the scenario, because the arrows will follow a nearly straight line from the archer to their target.

But what if the archer chooses to fire indirectly at their target? In the physical world a wall would provide no cover against an attack that falls from above. Drawing lines from the archer, however, results in the same result as direct fire, granting partial cover in a way which is inconsistent with reality.

Are there any rules that would allow the archer to use indirect fire to bypass partial cover?

Playing on a grid, is this situation 1/2 or 3/4 cover?

We have four medium creatures, blue (1), green (2), yellow (3), and red (4), positioned like so:

enter image description here

The rules for determining cover on a grid state:

To determine whether a target has cover against an attack or other effect on a grid, choose a corner of the attacker’s space or the point of origin of an area of effect. Then trace imaginary lines from that corner to every corner of any one square the target occupies. If one or two of those lines are blocked by an obstacle (including another creature), the target has half cover. If three or four of those lines are blocked but the attack can still reach the target (such as when the target is behind an arrow slit), the target has three-quarters cover.

Following the instructions here, I have this diagram:

enter image description here

This appears to be 3/4 cover: all four lines are blocked, yet the attack should still be able to reach the target since these creatures do not occupy their entire spaces.

But I am not so sure this is 3/4 cover. The general rules for cover state:

If a target is behind multiple sources of cover, only the most protective degree of cover applies; the degrees aren’t added together. For example, if a target is behind a creature that gives half cover and a tree trunk that gives three-quarters cover, the target has three-quarters cover.

Considering green and yellow as individual sources of cover, we see:

enter image description here

Each only individually provides half cover. Do green and yellow combine to provide 3/4 cover as in the first cover diagram, or do they together still only provide 1/2 cover since degrees of cover do not add together?

Can multiple creatures completely block a ranged attack thus providing total cover?

I’m asking because while DMG p.251 states that 3 or 4 lines blocked by an obstacle gives 3/4 cover if the attack can still reach the target, it doesn’t state what happens if the attack can’t reach the target. I assume total cover but I might be wrong. And, as in the question, what if more than one creature each blocking 3 or 4 lines to a target. Would it create a 1/2 cover (as per Sage Advice Compendium), 3/4 cover, total cover or something else? also considering that only the best degree of cover is applied when more than one source of cover is there, if multiple creatures can ever create total cover.

I find all this to be confusing.

thanks for clarifying.

Can I consider darkness and dim light as cover in combat?

In D&D 5E, dim light condition only affects perception (wisdom) checks. If I interpret the Player’s Handbook correctly, for combat rolls,

  • creatures that don’t have Darkvision, whose target is in dim light, and
  • creatures that have Darkvision, whose target is in dim light or in darkness (within range, so 60 feet for Elves, for instance),

have no disadvantage on attack rolls.

This makes it difficult to use darkness and dim light in combat. You could argue that in a poorly lit dungeon, it would be more difficult to succeed an attack roll, especially in ranged attacks. But the ruleset does not provide a way to do it with a disadvantaged roll, as stated above, so I’m trying to find an alternative way to use light and darkness as a strategic asset.

Considering this, here is my question: Would it be correct for the DM to interpret dim light as cover, if they wanted to use light and darkness as strategic asset for enemies when designing a particular map, such as a dungeon, ruins, tunnels, …? Or, if not strictly correct from a ruleset point of view, woult it be acceptable as "house-rule" (when taking care to warn the players about it, of course)?

If not, is there an alternative way to use light in combat strategy, considering a party may have many creatures with Darkvision?

Is a car really sufficient cover from any grenade?

A flash-bang grenade is thrown in a parking lot. Somewhere else, in another identical parking lot, a fragmentation grenade is thrown. Can someone use a car as cover to completely avoid the effects of either explosion?

How does cover works in the case of a car used as cover? The rules say that a grenade doesn’t affect someone in cover unless it breaks the cover, and I cannot imagine the flash-bang grenade breaking the car — but at the same time, can the car really protect you from it? Similarly, I can’t imagine a car being fully destroyed by just a fragmentation grenade, so is it safe cover in that case?

Does spirit guardians cover underground of the caster [duplicate]

Clerics can cast the following 3rd level spell:

You call forth spirits to protect you. They flit around you to a distance of 15 feet for the duration. If you are good or neutral, their spectral form appears angelic or fey (your choice). If you are evil, they appear fiendish. When you cast this spell, you can designate any number of creatures you can see to be unaffected by it. An affected creature’s speed is halved in the area, and when the creature enters the area for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there, it must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the creature takes 3d8 radiant damage (if you are good or neutral) or 3d8 necrotic damage (if you are evil). On a successful save, the creature takes half as much damage. At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, the damage

Let’s say the caster is in the second floor and he casts spirit guardians. He mentions his ally next to him to be unaffected by it. Now, directly below him, he has two other PCs waiting. Since he can’t seem them, he cannot say that they are unaffected by the spell. Moreover, the spell has a radius of 15ft, so they are within the range.

Will the players in the bottom floor be target by the spirit guardians, or it will be limited to 2nd floor creatures only ?

Does moving behind full cover count as “leaving the opponent’s reach” for purposes of Attack of Opportunity?

Suppose I am fighting an enemy with the usual 5-foot reach. He is standing next to a wall beside an open doorway. I am in next to him in the room. Without leaving his 5-foot range, I move to the other side of the wall. Does he get an attack of opportunity?

                                                 M --------  -----    to  --------M -----  to--------  -----            EM                     E                  E 

Assume that the wall is only a foot thick and is halfway in E’s square and halfway in mine, so that E(nemy) and M(e) are in adjacent squares in the final diagram. But the enemy cannot reach me through the wall, so have I “left his reach” taking an attack of opportunity while in the doorway?

If there was no wall there, I could move to that position without provoking any opportunity attack. Does the wall being there make it easier for the foe to attack me somehow?

Does your analysis change in the 3-dimensional case where the creature potentially leaving reach is an incorporeal creature moving from the square next to an enemy to the square (cube) next to and below the enemy?

An archer firing through an arrow slit has improved cover. Do his targets have cover?

I’m running a module that features a fort with arrow slits and murder holes, and I’m trying to figure out what the cover rules are for people on each side of them.

Under the Combat rules, the CRB states:

Improved Cover

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.

From this, it seems clear that the defending archers should have improved cover. This is reinforced by this section under Dungeon Environments:

Walls with Arrow Slits

Walls with arrow slits can be made of any durable material but are most commonly masonry, hewn stone, or wood. Such a wall allows defenders to fire arrows or crossbow bolts at intruders from behind the safety of the wall. Archers behind arrow slits have improved cover that gives them a +8 bonus to Armor Class, a +4 bonus on Reflex saves, and the benefits of the improved evasion class feature. (emphasis added)

The words "defenders" and "behind arrow slits" make me think that the cover is at least somewhat directional – the defending archers are meant to be at an advantage over the besiegers (which makes sense). However, the general cover rules seem to suggest that the besiegers might also have some cover:


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 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 attack against 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.

I think that the intent is that arrow slits would be at the corners of grid squares. RAW, I think that would give the besiegers no cover. However, on the map I’m using, the arrow slits are in the middle of the grid squares, which suggests that the besiegers also have at least cover, if not improved cover.

Distinct from this question (although related) in that this is about improved cover like arrow slits, whereas that was more a case of low cover.

Can an evil character cover there alignment?

Is there anyway for an evil NPC to cover up there alignment if a player attempts detect evil?

I am working on a Silver Dragon antagonist. This NPC will appear to the players as a number of human NPC’s setting tasks, missions, appearing as a friend. The dragons goal is to attempt to prevent an ancient doomsday prophecy coming to fruition. Each spell it learns will become branded to its scales in a series of runes which in human form will take the form of tattoos so over time the players may be able to work out these different humans are connected in some way.

The Dragon will determine the only way to stop this prophecy is to enact an ancient ritual involving it sacrificing itself to destroy all intelligent creatures with evil or chaotic alignment in all the planes of my world therefore becoming the very prophecy it was seeking to prevent. At first I thought the dragon would remain good as it believes its aims are good, but, I now see it will have to have its alignment shift as the campaign progresses and it becomes more convinced that mass genocide is the only way to save the world from lawful good at the start, to chaotic good and then chaotic evil.

Is there a current way for this dragon to hide its true alignment from any magical check or am I going to have to create a way for it to do this? Possibly one of the spells the party hunt out for it.