patransom wrote:Bolt of the North Marches (Bo) follows the bandit up the corridor, firing an arrow that manages to find a chink in Gerag's armor [9 hp damage].
Reminder: Bolt is firing through his ally... Even if he has Precise Shot to avoid the -4 penalty to attacks for firing into melle, he would still suffer a penalty for the soft cover provided by B3!! Actually, he's firing through TWO allies... giving Gerag a +8 AC bonus vs his attacks, no? (Since we can't see your rolls, we can't determine if you forgot or not this situation
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 Hide check.
In the specific case that you're discussing I did give Gerag a +4 to AC and Bolt still hit. I did not give Gerag +8 and for two reasons:Reason 1:
There actually was only one person in the way when Bolt took the shot. Hastor moved after Bolt in the initiative order. But, going forward, there might be two people in the way, so I need to bring up the second reason...Reason 2:
I do not apply an additional cover bonus determined by the number of people in the way (e.g., +8 for two, +12 for three, etc.). I generally apply greater than +4 for cover only in extreme circumstances (such as targeting someone who's behind an arrow slit). This interpretation is supported by the discussion of Varying Degrees of Cover (see here
SRD wrote:In some cases, 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 Hide checks.
Certainly, some DM's could interpret "in some cases" to mean "anytime there's more than one person in the way," but I don't. I reserve the "improved cover" scenario for special circumstances where cover is very great, but less than total (e.g., the aforementioned arrow slit).