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Old 09-08-2018, 01:31 AM   #1
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Default Passive cover bonus from shield and cloak?

Some of you might be familiar with the fact certain shields and cloaks (if not all) give you +1 or more to active defenses (i.e. dodge and parry).

I know there is an “errata” which “denies” such bonuses (roughly speaking). But then I found another source that explains you have a certain bonus from passive cover. And it makes sense.

For example,

If you are going to get hit, even if you blocked an arrow before, you still have the passive defense from your shield or your cloak (regardless of using it as a swashbuckler’s cape or not) because it is between the arrow and your body (considering you are targeted by more arrow attacks).

So, how do/would you work with this, without falling in “house rules”?

Thanks for your ideas,
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Last edited by Hide; 09-08-2018 at 01:35 AM.
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Old 09-08-2018, 06:25 AM   #2
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Default Re: Passive cover bonus from shield and cloak?

I am not entirely sure what errata you are referring to.

But yes a DB:2 shield gives a bonus of +2 to active defenses. Against range attacks there are two ways to rule that a shield helps you.

Simple solution: You give attackers a penalty to hit equal to the DB. any miss by that number hits the shield instead of missing (and might damage the shield - or you, via overpenetration, if it's just a cloak.)

More cumbersome solution: You figure out what parts of the body the shield covers (including partially) and then roll randomly for location. If it's a location covered by the shield then it's the same as above.
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Old 09-08-2018, 12:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Passive cover bonus from shield and cloak?

There is no passive defense in 4e. When you fail to defend, you fail to defend. When you succeed by the DB of the object you are defending with, it takes the hit instead of you and, if the attack is strong enough, the object only provides cover DR. This is why a shield is not 100% effective against high-powered weapons.
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Old 09-08-2018, 02:25 PM   #4
Plane
 
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Default Re: Passive cover bonus from shield and cloak?

Does the bonus to active defenses still apply if you are attacked from a direction you normally could not do a block toward? For example if you are holding a shield and are dodging a shot from the rear (non-surprise, you have Danger Sense or ally shouted warning) or weapon-side?
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Old 09-08-2018, 02:39 PM   #5
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Passive cover bonus from shield and cloak?

No; see B374. Front or shield side (same rules as for a Block).
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Old 09-08-2018, 11:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: Passive cover bonus from shield and cloak?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hide View Post
So, how do/would you work with this, without falling in “house rules”?
Since there's nothing in the rules for handling normal shields as cover, any solution will necessarily be house rules.

My own take is here. The brief version: Use the DB stat in the normal manner (as an Active Defense bonus), or as a cover-like penalty to hit the defender, whichever makes sense for the situation. (Don't apply both benefits vs the same attack.)
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Old 09-09-2018, 07:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: Passive cover bonus from shield and cloak?

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Originally Posted by tbone View Post
Since there's nothing in the rules for handling normal shields as cover
Shields are cited as an example of cover. It's even a pull quote on B379. B408 gives you several options for dealing with cover (target a non-covered hit location; roll a random location and see if that's covered). The weakness here is that there's no rule in Basic specifically detailing what locations are covered by various sizes of shield, much less a table to cover all the possible cases of postures and motion during combat. The Overpenetration section (also on B408) cites a successfully Blocking shield as cover that counts as an automatic hit on the person behind it.
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Old 09-09-2018, 07:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: Passive cover bonus from shield and cloak?

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
...The weakness here is that there's no rule in Basic specifically detailing what locations are covered by various sizes of shield...
That's part of what I'm talking about, yes. There are rules for penetrating a shield that was successfully used in an active defense, but nothing for intentionally aiming "around" the shield (as one would aim around a wall or other cover).

And – unless I'm really missing something – there's nothing in the rules that has a shield do any good if it's not used for an active defense. That is, if two guards are standing unaware - no AD – as a dozen arrows streak toward each, the fact that one guard stands behind a large shield, and one has no shield at all, makes no difference; no active defense means the big shield does nothing (in Basic Set, anyway) for the guy standing behind it.

That's the "no rules for shields as cover" I refer to; maybe it's better expressed as "no rules for any passive benefit from shields".
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Old 09-09-2018, 08:13 AM   #9
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Default Re: Passive cover bonus from shield and cloak?

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Originally Posted by tbone View Post
no active defense means the big shield does nothing (in Basic Set, anyway) for the guy standing behind it
That is partially covered (ha ha) by the rules I mentioned above. Roll for random hit location of those dozen arrows; the ones that hit the shielded locations have to do enough overpenetration to hurt the guard (which probably means no damage). The guard with no shield gets no such benefit, and so gets riddled by all dozen arrows. You don't need to make active defense rolls to benefit from cover.

The catch, as we agreed, is there's no obvious rule telling us which locations are covered.

It's not terribly hard to make one up. Surely the shield hand; the arm for anything bigger than a buckler; probably the torso. A really big shield would add groin; something like a Norman kite shield or Roman scutum is meant to cover a leg or legs as well (if not usually all the way down to a foot). The head and face aren't covered, or you couldn't see.

That leads to even more complexity, since you can move a shield. But then, if you raise the shield to block a successful hit on your face, you know the shield is in front of your face -- apply the overpenetration rules (if you're into that much detail). If you always use targeted hit locations, the active defenses not too much of a problem. For passive defense, you can assume the shield doesn't move from its standard guard position. (We are, after all, assuming the target is "passive", so why not?)

if you just roll randomly, then you could perhaps live with a static list of covered locations. Yes, shields can be moved, but we're already stepping away from a level of resolution that handles individual locations. If you're not aiming at specific points, then you don't need to know what specific point the shield is "actually" covering at any time.

If you don't want to use hit locations at all, then you could simplify that static list of locations into a flat percentage chance. Maybe a small shield has a 16% chance of randomly serving as cover even entirely passively, going up to 67% for a tower shield. (Adjust the numbers to taste or to fit existing tables; I'm just making up numbers here to resolve with a single extra d6 on the attack roll.)
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Old 09-09-2018, 08:14 AM   #10
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Passive cover bonus from shield and cloak?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone View Post
no active defense means the big shield does nothing (in Basic Set, anyway) for the guy standing behind it
That is partially covered (ha ha) by the rules I mentioned above. Roll for random hit location of those dozen arrows; the ones that hit the shielded locations have to do enough overpenetration to hurt the guard (which probably means no damage). The guard with no shield gets no such benefit, and so gets riddled by all dozen arrows. You don't need to make active defense rolls to benefit from cover.

The catch, as we agreed, is there's no obvious rule telling us which locations are covered.

It's not terribly hard to make up such a rule. Surely the shield hand; the arm for anything bigger than a buckler; probably the torso. A really big shield would add groin; something like a Norman kite shield or Roman scutum is meant to cover a leg or legs as well (if not usually all the way down to a foot). The head and face aren't covered, or you couldn't see.

That leads to even more complexity, since you can move a shield. But then, if you raise the shield to block a successful hit on your face, you know the shield is in front of your face -- apply the overpenetration rules (if you're into that much detail). If you always use targeted hit locations, the active defenses not too much of a problem. For passive defense, you can assume the shield doesn't move from its standard guard position. (We are, after all, assuming the target is "passive", so why not?)

if you just roll randomly, then you could perhaps live with a static list of covered locations. Yes, shields can be moved, but we're already stepping away from a level of resolution that handles individual locations. If you're not aiming at specific points, then you don't need to know what specific point the shield is "actually" covering at any time.

If you don't want to use hit locations at all, then you could simplify that static list of locations into a flat percentage chance. Maybe a small shield has a 16% chance of randomly serving as cover even entirely passively, going up to 67% for a tower shield. (Adjust the numbers to taste or to fit existing tables; I'm just making up numbers here to resolve with a single extra d6 on the attack roll.)
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