Cover provides a bonus to Defense. The more cover a character has, the bigger the bonus. In a melee, if a character has cover against an opponent, that opponent probably has cover against the character, too. With ranged weapons, however, it’s easy to have better cover than the opponent.

The GM may impose other penalties or restrictions on attacks depending on the details of the cover.

Degree of Cover

Cover is assessed in subjective measurements of how much protection it offers. The GM determines the value of cover. This measure is not a strict mathematical calculation, because a character gains more value from covering the parts of his or her body that are more likely to be struck. If the bottom half of a character’s body is covered, that only gives one-quarter cover, because most vital areas are still fully exposed. If one side or the other of a character’s body is covered, the character gets one-half cover.

Cover Defense Bonus

Table: Cover gives the Defense bonuses for different degrees of cover. Add the relevant number to the character’s Defense. This cover bonus overlaps (does not stack) with certain other bonuses.

Cover Reflex Save Bonus

Table: Cover gives the Reflex save bonuses for different degrees of cover. Add this bonus to Reflex saves against attacks that affect an area. This bonus only applies to attacks that originate or burst out from a point on the other side of the cover.

Striking the Cover Instead of a Missed Target

If it ever becomes important to know whether the cover was actually struck by an incoming attack that misses the intended target, the GM should determine if the attack roll would have hit the protected target without the cover. If the attack roll falls within a range low enough to miss the target with cover but high enough to strike the target if there had been no cover, the object used for cover was struck. This can be particularly important to know in cases when a character uses another character as cover. In such a case, if the cover is struck and the attack roll exceeds the Defense of the covering character, the covering character takes the damage intended for the target.

If the covering character has a Dexterity bonus to Defense or a dodge bonus, and this bonus keeps the covering character from being hit, then the original target is hit instead. The covering character has dodged out of the way and didn’t provide cover after all. A covering character can choose not to apply his or her Dexterity bonus to Defense and/or his or her dodge bonus, if the character so desires.

Table: Cover
Degree of Cover (Example) Cover Bonus to Defense Reflex Saves
One-quarter (standing behind a 3-ft. high wall) +2 +1
One-half (fighting from around a corner or a tree; standing at an open window; behind a creature of same size) +4 +2
Three-quarters (peering around a corner or a big tree) +7 +3
Nine-tenths (standing at an arrow slit; behind a door that’s slightly ajar) +10 +41
Total (on the other side of a solid wall)

1 Half damage if save is failed; no damage if successful.

Screen printing