Concealment and Cover

Sword of Spirit
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Concealment and Cover

Postby Sword of Spirit » Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:31 am

On first glance, Concealment seems simple. If you can't see the target very well, you have a harder time hitting them. It's basically doing the same thing as the Darkness penalties.

But Cover makes it difficult (for me) to understand. As I read it, Zhang Zhi in the picture on p. 121 has High Concealment/Cover. This means his attackers have -6 to hit him. If their attack fails by -6 or less, they still hit him, but he has armor, so may not take any damage.

The weird part of this for me, and what I need someone to help clear up, is that as I read the book, if that table were instead just an opaque sheet of black paper, then he would lack Cover, and the Concealment would mean that if his attacker failed to hit him by -6 or less...they would just fail to hit him. Somehow, making the Concealment "hard" makes it easier to successfully target you.

What am I missing?

A) Is the assumption that the Concealment penalty only applies to something that actually does provide a meaningful barrier? The way the text of Cover is phrased suggests that Concealment rules don't even come into play unless it is "hard" concealment--ie, the default assumption is that it is blocking the attack, and the Cover = armor rules only kick in if the barrier can potentially be punched through.
B) If A is correct, then is it correct that the Concealment/Cover rules do not cover situations where aiming ability is impaired?
C) If both A and B are correct, how do you deal with situations where both aiming ability is impaired, and Concealment/Cover applies? For example, shooting at someone on the other side of a wall, whose general location you know due to some noise that was made.

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Spatula
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Re: Concealment and Cover

Postby Spatula » Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:15 am

I thought this was a bit odd as well when we played a Day One scenario. To me, both things should make it harder for the person to be hit. But looking at the rules now, I think I get it. They're just using the words somewhat differently than D&D does. :)

My interpretation is:
A) Generally yes.
B) Maybe? Depends what you mean by "impaired." The darkness penalties cover similar territory, and hey, they follow the same pattern as the concealment penalties. If you can't see the target, that's like being in pitch black darkness where you're relying on sound alone, so -6 to hit.
C) Well, one way to look at it is that the target has 75% or more concealment, so -6 to hit and +whatever to Toughness. And the invisibility spell implies that penalties from not being able to see the target top out at -6.

I guess the question for the FAQ is if concealment and vision (i.e. darkness) penalties stack. The rules as written suggest they do, which would make the wall example -12 to hit, I believe.

Padre
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Re: Concealment and Cover

Postby Padre » Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:07 am

Not sure if this helps, but the military definitions of cover vs. concealment is that concealment prevents you from being seen while cover blocks the bullets from hitting you.

My interpretation of the quote is that rather than hitting him, they hit the table he is behind if they missing less than 6.

ZorValachan
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Re: Concealment and Cover

Postby ZorValachan » Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:29 am

I believe the main part being overlooked is " if the GM feels". And its not a cop out.

If the guy is hiding in shadows, the enemy doesnt know where he is at all. Thus -6.

If the guy is hiding behind a piece of paper, the enemy knows where he is, so it becomes an armor bonus. I would say 0 in this case. He really is not concealed, he is known to be behind the paper.

If he is behind a tree, and the enemy doesnt know, he gets the -6 to hit. If he was seen jumping behind it, then give him the armor +4 if a miss was within the -6 because it was known where he was and not just spray and pray.

If he was behind a huge brick wall, and not known exactly where, it's concealment and if he is hit (i would say it needed to be at the -6, not -1 through -6), then he gets 6 armor, because he couldnt be hit without piercing the wall.

Small brick wall only covering him, within the -6 is armor outside the -6 he was hit cause a leg or something poked out.

Basically, the GM takes both factors and makes a ruling. Such as a medium wall, i might say within the -6, -a miss over 4 is completely miss, while miss by 3 or less gets armor, assuming your popping out on your turn to shoot back. If not, they have the full -6 and even on a hit you get +6 armor

Situational control by the GM.

They couldnt explain every situation, so just explained the most obvious. Its definitely not promoting hiding in cardboard boxes.
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mystic101
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Re: Concealment and Cover

Postby mystic101 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:10 am

I think there are a couple sources of confusion here. One is how the two terms are described in the rules. Another is that the game isn't using the real-world meanings of the words "cover" and "concealment". And a third thing is that cover and concealment is being handled differently than sight penalties.

In game terms, "concealment" = something that you're hiding behind that both blocks view, and is completely impenetrable to the ranged attack. A thick stone wall or a vault door, vs. small-caliber bullets, would be "concealment".

"Cover" = something that you're hiding behind that blocks view, but is fully or partially penetrable by the attack. The book gives -2/-4/-6 examples of things to hide behind. It could have included a -0 level as well, because that would have addressed the OP's opaque sheet of paper to hide behind. It's "cover" because it blocks view, but it doesn't impede the attack at all, so it gives no armor bonus. However, since the attack hits through "cover" no matter what, and zero armor bonuses don't help at all, there was no point in making a worthless space on the chart.

One wrinkle is that sight penalties, from things like natural darkness, Invisibility, or Mage Dark, seem to be handled differently than the penalties from hiding behind objects. The -2/-4/-6 penalties from obscured vision seem to cause straight-out misses, if the penalty is what caused the attack to fail. Otherwise Invisibility would be useless . . . it would "cover" the person with up to a -6 penalty, but then the attacks would still hit within that range, and the spell would offer zero armor bonus. It would literally do nothing to help.

So as for concealment/cover vs darkness/sight penalties, I'd say they don't stack, but you should only take the better of the two. In the real world, being both completely invisible and completely behind a bush is no different than being completely behind a bush. In game terms, however, the character is being protected by a sight penalty from the invisibility, or they're getting a cover bonus from the bush. All things being equal, they're better off choosing the sight penalty instead of the cover bonus, because the bush would let the bullets pass right on through, but the invisibility makes the attacker miss outright. Even if they were hiding behind a bank vault door, I'd say they're still better off using any available sight penalty that applies instead.

Now, if the sight penalty is significantly less than the cover or concealment provided, then the player has a more difficult choice to make. Go with the small, increased chance to miss, or use the protection provided by the object's armor bonus? A +6 armor bonus from cover might be better than a -2 to miss sometimes. It'll depend on circumstances.

And that means the opaque sheet of paper is a terrible, terrible thing to hide behind, even if it's completely covering someone. The player would be much better served by spending an action to tape the paper over the ceiling lights, for the sight penalties. :)

It's all pretty strange, I know, but that happens with rules systems sometimes. That's my take on things, anyway.

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Re: Concealment and Cover

Postby ZorValachan » Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:14 pm

The cover +2/+4/+6 chart is only used when the GM feels that the cover can be penetrated. It states it right there on page 121. If the GM feels the cover is not penetrable, then anything that misses (with appropriate penalty) does not damage the target.

Concealment = difficulty knowing where the person is
Cover = thing between opponents/how much is exposed.

Cover table is only used when the GM feels the object can be penetrated. It's not a default bonus to Toughness. The default = no damage on a miss.
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utsukushi
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Re: Concealment and Cover

Postby utsukushi » Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:48 pm

I don't think Concealment, as it's being used here, has anything at all to do with not knowing where the target is - it's just the chance of the attack hitting whatever's in front of them instead of them. So we have someone standing behind a car door, and we figure that's Medium Concealment (because the window part isn't really helping here, it's not bullet resistant), and let's say their Dodge skill is a 10.

So if the attacker's total, before the Concealment, is less than 9, they've missed completely, like they would have anyway. If it's 10-13 (and therefor 6-9 with the -4 from Concealment), then they hit the car door that he's behind, and hit it where he is -- so they roll damage, but he gets +4 Armor because the door is protecting him. If their pre-Concealment total is 14+, then they hit him in an exposed area, so he doesn't get any armor bonus.

The important thing about the way they worded it is that, if they said it provided cover if you were hit within that range, then Good and Outstanding Results would still be just as easy to get. Since it applies as a penalty, that means that a pre-Concealment attack total of 15, say, against or car-door-guy above, hits, and avoids the door entirely, but it's not a Good Hit because their actual attack total is still only 11. So Concealment really has two effects: It gives you Cover (bonus armor) within its range, and it adds its range to the totals needed for bonus Success Levels. It *doesn't* actually make you harder to hit, period, unless the thing you're Concealed behind is impenetrable by whatever you're being attacked with.


Hiding behind a piece of paper (I'm going to assume it's a really big piece of paper) counts as a Darkness effect, not Concealment.

If you drape a towel over your head and you're not fighting a Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, then, no. Just, no. (Except maybe as a Player's Call on an Interaction Attack. "Ooh, I got a Glory Result on my Taunt? I drape this towel over my head and sing out, 'La la la, you can't see me!' The entire enemy team spends the next round calling out their favorite quotes, except for Tim, who's never read it and has no idea what anybody's talking about. Tim still gets to attack next round, but nobody ever talks to him again because, dude." That's a legit Player's Call, right?)

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Re: Concealment and Cover

Postby ZorValachan » Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:46 pm

utsukushi wrote:I don't think Concealment, as it's being used here, has anything at all to do with not knowing where the target is - it's just the chance of the attack hitting whatever's in front of them instead of them. So we have someone standing behind a car door, and we figure that's Medium Concealment (because the window part isn't really helping here, it's not bullet resistant), and let's say their Dodge skill is a 10.

So if the attacker's total, before the Concealment, is less than 9, they've missed completely, like they would have anyway. If it's 10-13 (and therefor 6-9 with the -4 from Concealment), then they hit the car door that he's behind, and hit it where he is -- so they roll damage, but he gets +4 Armor because the door is protecting him. If their pre-Concealment total is 14+, then they hit him in an exposed area, so he doesn't get any armor bonus.

The important thing about the way they worded it is that, if they said it provided cover if you were hit within that range, then Good and Outstanding Results would still be just as easy to get. Since it applies as a penalty, that means that a pre-Concealment attack total of 15, say, against or car-door-guy above, hits, and avoids the door entirely, but it's not a Good Hit because their actual attack total is still only 11. So Concealment really has two effects: It gives you Cover (bonus armor) within its range, and it adds its range to the totals needed for bonus Success Levels. It *doesn't* actually make you harder to hit, period, unless the thing you're Concealed behind is impenetrable by whatever you're being attacked with.


Hiding behind a piece of paper (I'm going to assume it's a really big piece of paper) counts as a Darkness effect, not Concealment.

If you drape a towel over your head and you're not fighting a Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, then, no. Just, no. (Except maybe as a Player's Call on an Interaction Attack. "Ooh, I got a Glory Result on my Taunt? I drape this towel over my head and sing out, 'La la la, you can't see me!' The entire enemy team spends the next round calling out their favorite quotes, except for Tim, who's never read it and has no idea what anybody's talking about. Tim still gets to attack next round, but nobody ever talks to him again because, dude." That's a legit Player's Call, right?)


But the default is it is impenetrable. The cover + to armor is only used when the GM deems the object can be penetrated.

"If an attack misses due to the concealment penalty AND the GM feels the attack can pentrate the obstacle AND hit the target anyway, the defender receives an armor bonus as shown below".

AND stress mine

So 3 things have to apply.
1. The miss has to be in the penalty range of how much is hidden/not seen from the concealment chart.
2. The GM has to feel that the cover can be penetrated.
3. The GM has to feel the target could be hit - location behind obstacle is known/can be guessed.
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TorgHacker
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Re: Concealment and Cover

Postby TorgHacker » Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:24 pm

Okay, I had an extensive discussion with Darrell.

He told me, "You're thinking about this too hard." He's not wrong. :lol:

Anyway, here's the gist of how to handle this. This probably does change the text slightly (especially the part I'm going to highlight in a bit). But it's probably easier to deal with.
1. Concealment, Darkness, and Blind Fire penalties do not stack. Take the 'worst'. Edit: See later.

2. If you miss because of the Concealment penalty, you hit, but the Cover Armor bonus applies (and note it is an Armor bonus, so that doesn't stack with Armor). That is of course, assuming that you were able to penetrate at all, or also could be zero for practically insubstantial Cover (ie. bushes or towels).

3. Called Shots ignore Concealment penalties. This does mean that you don't get to 'hit' if you miss by just a little bit.

4. Use the Called Shot penalties instead of the Concealment Penalties table. They contradict each other and we want people to focus on what's visible, not what isn't visible. So:

Arm/Leg: -2
Head: -4
Eye: -6

Another way to look at it is:

If you're in cover/concealment and you're

Firing long rifles/bows/two handed firearms: -2

Firing a pistol: -4.

Firing through an arrow slit: -6.
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Wotan
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Re: Concealment and Cover

Postby Wotan » Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:04 pm

Cool, I'd been pondering the intent behind these modifiers, & how they interact, myself.

This is really useful information, is there any chance of having it added to the FAQ? :)
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