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Are bursts affected by cover / obstacles?

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  • Are bursts affected by cover / obstacles?

    Page 98 details how cover and obstacles affect Blasts ...
    Solid obstacles like trees or brick walls protect
    against area effect attacks if they’re between
    the origin of the blast and the GM reasonably
    thinks they’d apply. Reduce the damage by
    the amount listed on the Cover Bonus table
    under Cover & Obstacles, page 99.


    But I can't find an equivalent for Burst ?

    So if someone/thing does a Burst, and the enemies are beneath the template, then they're hit no matter their cover ?
    Those beneath
    the template are hit, or may Evade (page
    100), if the attack allows it.


    Seem wrong !

    I even looked at the Cover & Obstacles on page 99, but it only applies to "melee and ranged"
    Melee and ranged attacks suffer a penalty
    when attempting to hit a target behind Cover,
    per the table below:


    I know I'm missing something ... just can't see what it is
    Last edited by steveculshaw; 01-19-2020, 11:44 AM.

  • #2
    Burst is an effect that finds a gap and then fills the space behind the barrier. The flamethrower is the quintessential burst weapon. Particularly if if gets to be deployed against a gap in the cover, all inside are almost certainly affected. At a short distance, it's effects might be limited by the opening available. In either case, Evasion is the game mechanic for the target to avoid the effects. Basically, burst is a means of simulating fluid dynamics versus expansion.

    Breaking it down
    Event Blast Burst
    Resolution roll Attacker, base TN 4 Defender, effective base TN 6
    Cover Penalty to hit No effect
    Success Damage roll No damage
    Failure No damage (or damage roll adding Cover to Toughness) Damage roll
    Looks pretty balanced to me.

    However, if you want to experiment with Cover vs Burst, your best bet is probably adding the Cover penalty as bonus to the Evasion roll. But I wouldn't consider allowing Cover to improve Toughness.
    Last edited by paladin2019; 01-19-2020, 12:24 PM.

    Comment


    • Deskepticon
      Deskepticon commented
      Editing a comment
      Interesting analysis... but it's incorrect. In almost every way.


      Area Effect attacks automatically deal damage to anything they touch. There is no distinction between a "blast" and a "burst" other than the template used. If an Evasion roll is allowed, the target is placed just outside of the affected area.

      The attack roll (be it Shooting, Spellcasting, whatever) is only meant to determine how "on point" the attack was, and uses a standard TN4. Failure means a Blast Template suffers deviation, while a Cone attack simply doesn't happen (see p.97).

      Cover does not provide any "to hit" penalties against AE, it only reduces the damage dealt.

  • #3
    steveculshaw There are a few clues that help shed some light on your conundrum. First, the heading on that paragraph is Cover and Area Effect Attacks, and second, "blast" is not italicised or capitalized. This indicates that "blast" is merely being used in a colloquial sense, not as a game term (i.e., not a Blast Template nor the blast power), and meant simply as a placeholder for "Area Effect attack."

    In short, Cover certainly works if it is between the target and the originating point of an Area Effect attack, whether it's a Blast Template or a Cone. Note that attacks can still "slip around" Cover, which is why it only reduces damage, not eliminates it.

    Hope this helped.

    Comment


    • steveculshaw
      steveculshaw commented
      Editing a comment
      Ah ha ... ta

      The italicisation was mine

    • Deskepticon
      Deskepticon commented
      Editing a comment
      steveculshaw I meant "blast" is not italicised in the book.

      Did my reply help you? Is there still something you're unsure of?

  • #4
    Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post
    Cover does not provide any "to hit" penalties against AE, it only reduces the damage dealt.
    Yeah, I can't buy that. Consider this:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	cover and blast 2.jpg Views:	0 Size:	20.0 KB ID:	34795

    If attacker A wants to drop his template at X, the cover is definitely going to add a modifier to his attack roll. If he fails, the GM determines the deviation, etc., especially if it falls short to the other side of the cover.

    Contrast with the following situation where the target point is in full view and so the cover doesn't affect the attack roll. The defender will have whatever benefit to his Toughness provided by the cover, if the GM determines that damage can transfer through it at all.


    Click image for larger version  Name:	image_793.jpg Views:	4 Size:	20.9 KB ID:	34793
    Attached Files
    Last edited by paladin2019; 01-20-2020, 08:23 PM. Reason: Hopefully the diagras show up now.

    Comment


    • #5
      paladin2019 Two things.
      First, your pictures are broken.

      Second, Cover attack penalties matter when determining the penalties to place the origin of a Burst Template. If your grenade is supposed to be centered in an area that has cover then the attack roll has a penalty to cover. However, armor from Cover is determined from the origin point of the Burst Template. You might take that penalty on your Athletics (throwing) roll to put your grenade behind the same obstacles the foes are cowering behind - negating any armor bonus from the cover since the obstacle is not between the explosion and the victims.
      For cone templates, the origin is almost always the attacker - flame throwers, dragon breath, burst, etc. Cover does not affect the attack roll, since the character is trying to hit "that adjacent volume" but the armor from obstacles does mitigate the damage victims suffer.
      Originally posted by Page 98
      Solid obstacles like trees or brick walls protect against area effect attacks if they’re between the origin of the blast and the GM reasonably thinks they’d apply.
      Now, that probably lines up with what you said, but I can't tell because your pictures are broken.
      Last edited by ValhallaGH; 01-20-2020, 03:50 PM.
      I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

      Comment


      • #6
        Originally posted by paladin2019 View Post

        Yeah, I can't buy that. Consider this:

        If attacker A wants to drop his template at X, the cover is definitely going to add a modifier to his attack roll. If he fails, the GM determines the deviation, etc., especially if it falls short to the other side of the cover.
        The images didn't load for me, but I can more-or-less imagine what they show.

        If a target was hundled behind a 15-foot high masonry wall, with pretty much Near Total Cover from most attacks, a grenade can be lobbed OVER the wall to catch him in the blast. However, the inherent protection the wall provides isn't the problem; distance/height and accuracy are the only things that matter.

        A GM should impose penalties to the throw because of how tricky it is (see Comprehensive Modifiers), and while those penalties may very well equal the target's Cover bonus, it would be erroneous to say that the Cover is providing them.

        In the case of the 15-foot concrete wall, the attacker is likely throwing blind (-6) AND trying to arc the grenade so it clears the wall but still lands near enough to affect the target just on the other side (-2 for trickiness). The total penalties to attack do indeed equal those of Near Total Cover (-8), but it's not the Cover providing them.
        Imagine another scenario... In a scifi game, the target is behind a semi-transparent forcefield 15-feet tall. The attacker can see him, but must still fire his pulse grenade over the barrier. The target still has Near Total Cover because of the impenetrable field, but the attacker only suffers a -2 for trickiness to place his shot.

        Again, Cover is not the factor, accuracy in the face of difficulty is.
        Last edited by Deskepticon; 01-20-2020, 06:27 PM.

        Comment


        • #7
          Originally posted by Deskepticon View Post
          Again, Cover is not the factor, accuracy in the face of difficulty is.
          I agree, it's a question of reduced accuracy due to target obscuration, which is exactly what the cover modifier to hit rolls represent.

          Regarding the specific grenade vs. "non-360 force field" example, I would only apply a cover modifier to hit based on how opaque it is. With about one exception, grenades are high angle weapons so lobbing them is normal employment and not worthy of an additional modifier (and the exception is designed specifically to counter defilade anyway).
          Last edited by paladin2019; 01-20-2020, 08:23 PM.

          Comment


          • #8
            Originally posted by paladin2019 View Post
            I agree, it's a question of reduced accuracy due to target obscuration, which is exactly what the cover modifier to hit rolls represent.
            Well this brings up the question of Cover v. concealment... a topic I had recently changed my mind on in regards to the rules.

            Previously, I was of the opinion that Cover can also be used to emulate concealment, but it was brought to my attention that that's exactly what Illumination penalties are for. Cover is for physical obstacles get in your way, but you still generally know where the target is.

            The fact that you even say you would modify the Cover Penalty based on target visibility indicates that Cover is not really the issue at all.

            Regarding the specific grenade vs. "non-360 force field" example, I would only apply a cover modifier to hit based on how opaque it is. With about one exception, grenades are high angle weapons so lobbing them is normal employment and not worthy of an additional modifier (and the exception is designed specifically to counter defilade anyway).
            But the example I gave isn't only about clearing the top of the wall, it's about getting the just arc right so the grenade lands close to the wall on the other side. There are mitigating circumstances, of course. The closer the attacker is to his side of the wall, the easier it would be to get the proper arc. This is why I suggested using Comprehensive Modifiers, since those are, by definition, based on narrative elements. The penalty might be 0 (or even +1) if the attacker is close to the wall and the toss is a simple "up & above," but the further away he is, the more difficult the correct arc would be to achieve.

            Can you use Cover Penalties as a basis? Sure... but then you'll need a laundry list of exceptions and rationalizations. Personally, I think you'll be better off using the Illumination penalties (for level of obscurement) and a floating modifier based on difficulty, as informed by the narrative.

            Comment


            • #9
              Except Cover penalties are defined in terms of percentage of target visible. The to-hit modifiers clearly relate to concealment and trying to hit the smaller target presented. Thus, the option to treat an attack roll whose margin of failure is withing the cover modifier as a hit with the cover adding to Toughness exists. The difference between cover and concealment becomes how much the Cover improves Toughness, as it is commonly understood in doctrine. For example,

              Click image for larger version

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              Compare to (my interpretation of) Illumination. The important difference is the bottom line: A miss is a miss, not a maybe hit.

              Click image for larger version

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              And, assuming minimal protective value for heavy foliage and loose earth, I suppose both could apply. FFF? Maybe for Tour of Darkness.

              Click image for larger version

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              It depends on whether you how you want determine if Cover adds to the Defender's Toughness. If there's scale of difficulty for the attacker to avoid the Cover, the cover rules are appropriate. If Cover is simply on/off depending on an origin point, I'm not sure it matters. Though I suppose you could get complex and incorporate a previously non-existent Evasion check to duck behind cover on a deviation that now includes it.... Are extra rolls FFF?

              Comment


              • Ndreare
                Ndreare commented
                Editing a comment
                Cool, I like the graphics

              • steveculshaw
                steveculshaw commented
                Editing a comment
                Nice images

              • steveculshaw
                steveculshaw commented
                Editing a comment
                What's MoF ?

            • #10
              Originally posted by paladin2019 View Post
              Except Cover penalties are defined in terms of percentage of target visible. The to-hit modifiers clearly relate to concealment and trying to hit the smaller target presented. Thus, the option to treat an attack roll whose margin of failure is within the cover modifier as a hit with the cover adding to Toughness exists. The difference between cover and concealment becomes how much the Cover improves Toughness, as it is commonly understood in doctrine.
              I understand. I said earlier that that had been my thinking as well. Up until fairly recently. I moved away from that opinion because it's easier to just use Illumination penalties for "concealment" and think of the Cover mechanics as "extra armor."

              As you demonstrated, Illumination and Cover can stack. Why would you want to complicate things by folding in an extra layer of concealment with Cover? Just keep the two mechanics separate.

              It depends on whether you how you want determine if Cover adds to the Defender's Toughness. If there's scale of difficulty for the attacker to avoid the Cover, the cover rules are appropriate.
              But this is what I was saying earlier. You'd need a list of caveats for when Cover penalties do or do not apply. In the end, you're just taking extra steps to arrive at what Comprehensive Modifiers already do: modify a roll based on circumstance.

              If Cover is simply on/off depending on an origin point, I'm not sure it matters. Though I suppose you could get complex and incorporate a previously non-existent Evasion check to duck behind cover on a deviation that now includes it.... Are extra rolls FFF?
              With AE attacks, Cover is on/off depending on origin point. This is expressly written in the rules. And if an AE attack allows an Evasion roll and the defender succeeds, they avoid damage entirely. This is true whether the AE attack was on point or deviated. I'm not exactly sure what you're trying to say here about things getting complex. It's actually pretty simply; there either is or isn't Cover, and there either is or isn't an Evasion roll.

              The only thing I can think of that might slow gameplay is if a player wants to burn a Benny to alter the narrative and give themselves Cover before the blast. They'd need to rationalize that somehow, and that could take time.

              Comment


              • #11
                And just to throw more gas on this fire, although I don't remember this being explicitly stated in the rules (because so many things in SWADE default to GM/common sense), there has to be somewhere for the character to Evade to. IOW, if backed into a corner, they may not even need to roll to evade since the situation prevents them from being placed outside of the template.

                Comment


                • Deskepticon
                  Deskepticon commented
                  Editing a comment
                  This is good point to bring up.
                  Evade recommends to place any defender who succeeds at the Agility roll outside of the affected area. If there's nowhere to go (and nowhere to hide), a GM can rule that no Evasion roll is allowed.

                  Generally, I'd err on the side of "cool" ... a Allied soldier backed into an alleyway by an Axis flammenwerfer can dive into some rubbish and wield a trashcan lid as makeshift shield.

              • #12
                Originally posted by steveculshaw View Post
                Page 98 details how cover and obstacles affect Blasts ...
                Solid obstacles like trees or brick walls protect
                against area effect attacks if they’re between
                the origin of the blast and the GM reasonably
                thinks they’d apply. Reduce the damage by
                the amount listed on the Cover Bonus table
                under Cover & Obstacles, page 99.


                But I can't find an equivalent for Burst ?(
                "Blast" in this case is not italicized and thus does not apply to the power but the simple sudden onrush of violent energy.

                The header to that section is more important as it notes what the rule covers, "Cover & Area Effect Attacks." Then the section overarching "Area Effect Attacks" section defines those as (italics added) "Grenades, spell effects, breath weapons, and other attacks that cover a large area are “area effect attacks.” The most common are Small, Medium, and Large Blast Templates, and the Cone Template."

                Since burst is a spell effect which uses the Cone Template, the Cover & Area Effect Attacks rules apply to it. So if there's an obstacle between the attacker and the target, then the damage is reduced by the Cover Bonus before applying to the target.

                Hope that helps.
                Clint Black
                Forum Admin & Rules Answer Guy
                Savage Worlds Brand Manager

                Comment


                • steveculshaw
                  steveculshaw commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Clint, it helps a lot and reduces my confusion, so many thanks
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