WOIN Cover Clarifications

TreChriron

Adventurer
Supporter
  • What constitutes Cover where someone can shoot and be shot at?
    • The only way to achieve this is with Covering Fire?
  • Can a character hide behind a barrier, then pop-up to attack in the same turn?
    • Essentially spending a short movement and firing in the midst of that movement?
    • This would take two actions, yes?
  • The character doing this would be Blocked until they popped up?
    • Are there any "snap shot" penalties for this quick action?
  • Without Cover, the above character would be vulnerable to Overwatch, yes?
I understand the combat rules are designed to keep things dynamic, encouraging movement (which they do!). But it seems common to me in movies where a group takes a position (say in a ruined building) and defends it, using the walls for cover -- like in a Western where they stand behind the wall at the same window, popping out to shoot. For WOIN combat, it would make better sense if the defenders keep moving 10' each turn, taking up different positions, to keep the attackers from gaining large Overwatch bonuses -- switching up which openings they fire from.
  • If three defenders are switching around which openings they fire from, but are firing from the same three openings (just moving or trading positions), does the Overwatch bonus apply to the position? Or is this good enough to reset the Overwatch bonus each turn?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I count 10 questions there! In a complex branching conditional structure. I’ll answer the first one for now.

Cover is defined in the game as 50% or more of the target being blocked by something, but line of sight still existing.
 

BlckKnght

Explorer
I think most of the rest of your questions are closely interrelated, so we don't actually need to answer them all separately:
  • Can a character hide behind a barrier, then pop-up to attack in the same turn?
    • Essentially spending a short movement and firing in the midst of that movement?
    • This would take two actions, yes?
  • The character doing this would be Blocked until they popped up?
    • Are there any "snap shot" penalties for this quick action?
Kind of. You can shoot, and then move to block Line of Sight. Or you could move to gain LOS (after previously being blocked from view), and then shoot. But you can't shoot in the middle of a movement, each action needs to be completed before you start the next. So you can't gain LOS, shoot and break LOS again in the same turn unless you have three actions (and most characters have only 2 unless they spend their precious Luck dice).

I think most of the "popping up" activities you're talking about are below the level of detail of the simulation in WOIN. That is, your character may be doing them, but they should just be part of the narration of the results of rolls, not actions with discrete mechanical effects. For instance, if somebody shoots at you with a -2d6 cover modifier and misses, you could describe that as your character ducking to avoid the shot before popping back up. It's similar in your question about snap shots. If you run around a corner to gain line of sight on a hidden enemy and fire at them and miss, you might blame the poor effect of your shot on the hastiness of your actions. But mechanically the only real thing going on here is that because you moved, you didn't have an action to Aim before shooting (so you passed up on a +1d6 you could have had in another situation where the enemy wasn't initially blocked from your view).

Cover is very strong in WOIN, especially when your die pool is small, as it will usually be early in a campaign. A big tactical choice players have to make each round is between aiming and shooting, shooting twice, or moving to a new position (and the next good position will often be two or more move actions away). None of the options is always better than the others, and you often want to mix them up, e.g. staying in cover for a few turns and double shooting, aiming and shooting when you don't have a clear shot on somebody out of cover, and then moving to a new position when an opportunity for a Crossfire comes up, or after you've been pinned down by incoming fire for a few rounds.

  • Without Cover, the above character would be vulnerable to Overwatch, yes?
I understand the combat rules are designed to keep things dynamic, encouraging movement (which they do!). But it seems common to me in movies where a group takes a position (say in a ruined building) and defends it, using the walls for cover -- like in a Western where they stand behind the wall at the same window, popping out to shoot. For WOIN combat, it would make better sense if the defenders keep moving 10' each turn, taking up different positions, to keep the attackers from gaining large Overwatch bonuses -- switching up which openings they fire from.
  • If three defenders are switching around which openings they fire from, but are firing from the same three openings (just moving or trading positions), does the Overwatch bonus apply to the position? Or is this good enough to reset the Overwatch bonus each turn?
I think you were mixing up Overwatch and Pinned Down in your last few questions, as they don't really make sense as written. Overwatch is an action you can take on your turn that lets you shoot at anyone you who moves into the open where you can see before your next turn (up to a limit based on your INTUITION, though realistically your attack die pool will get pretty small after the first two or three shots, since there's a cumulative -1d6 for each shot after the first, so you may not even bother with the rest). Pinned down is a bonus to hit a target that hasn't moved for several turns. They rarely mix together.

Assuming you were asking about Pinned Down, I think it would eventually apply to a bunch of cowboys sharing a few windows as their cover, because you don't reset the pinned down modifier if you move back to a location where you were pinned down before (though maybe the AGI vs INT test to hide can reset it even in that situation). If the cowboys stay in a besieged building too long, they're eventually going to get unlucky and catch a bullet. Going for a strategy where they shoot twice each turn without moving might even be better than one where they spend a lot of actions changing windows, as with heavy firepower they may be able to kill or drive off their enemies before the modifier for being pinned down gets too high. Shootouts usually don't last too long!
 

TheHirumaChico

Explorer
  • Can a character hide behind a barrier, then pop-up to attack in the same turn?
    • Essentially spending a short movement and firing in the midst of that movement?
    • This would take two actions, yes?
  • The character doing this would be Blocked until they popped up?
    • Are there any "snap shot" penalties for this quick action?
In the Designing Foes section of the NOW Core Rulebook on p. 191, there is a sample exploit for Skirmisher-type NPCs called "Mobile attack" which says "The skirmisher moves two moves and makes a single ranged attack at any point." So I would think this exploit would allow for the pop-up style of attack that you have described above. I don't see why you couldn't house-rule to allow this exploit to be available to PCs as well as for Skirmisher-type NPCs. I might only suggest that you add it to one or more existing careers (Guerilla Fighter, Gun Fu, Gun Kata, Infiltrator, Scout perhaps?) that resemble a Skirmisher-type NPC rather than make it a Universal Exploit, but again, your game, your rules. You could also make a custom career that includes this exploit using the Designing a Career section rules that start on p. 185.

I also think that the snap shot penalty already exists in that a character shouldn't be able to use Aim while using this "Mobile attack" exploit.
 

TheHirumaChico

Explorer
My apologies TreChiron, but I'm going to continue your thread topic with some additional questions of my own related to Cover. Your subject line is good, so I figure having more Cover Clarifications discussed within this same thread could be helpful for anyone looking to get their Cover questions answered rather than starting another thread on essentially the same topic.
  • Positional Effects: On p. 150 of the NOW and OLD Core rulebook (p. 169 in NEW), there are a couple of handy charts of positional effects (these can also be found in the WRRD). In the Ranged Modifiers section of all these charts, there is an entry for "Cover" which is -2d6, a separate entry for "Firing into melee" which is also -2d6, and a separate entry for "Obscured (smoke, darkness, etc.)" which is again -2d6. The NEW chart adds one more entry for "Suppressive fire" which is once more -2d6. In the NOW Core rulebook on the same page, but not in the charts, are text descriptions of these modifiers. In the text description section entitled Other Modifiers, it says that making a ranged attack at someone engaged in melee combat "takes a -2d6 cover penalty." And then it goes on to say "Similarly, in darkness or under cover of obscuring fog or smoke, a –2d6 cover penalty is inflicted." I'm curious whether these conditions mean that the targets are considered as being "in cover" for reasons that I go into below. Also, do these penalties stack or not because they are all cover penalties? I'm inclined to say they do stack since they are listed separately in the handy charts and because I could see it being exceedingly difficult to shoot at a target engaged in melee with one's ally while they are behind a half-wall or a bar in a smoky room. Even more so if that target is also benefitting from their ally's Suppressive Fire.

  • Follow on question to this is whether one can "pin down" a target that is in darkness, smoke, fog, etc. by "chipping away" its cover. I'm inclined to say no as one doesn't really chip away at darkness or obfuscating vapors, which would then imply that these targets are not "in cover". In the same vein, I don't think one can chip away at the cover of a target that is engaged in melee as that would imply you're chipping away at an ally!

  • Exploits: A few exploits are also dependent on whether a target is defined as "in cover":
    • Dodge (per WRRD): "You may use a reaction to dodge one attack you are aware of, as long as you are not in cover. State your intention before the attack roll. The attacker suffers a -2d6 penalty for that attack."
      • Does this mean that one cannot Dodge if they are in darkness/smoke/fog?
        • I don't see why not, but I'd love to know what others think.
      • Does this mean that one cannot Dodge if they are engaged in melee?
        • I can understand not being able to Dodge a Ranged Attack while engaged in melee with someone other than the shooter, but I also believe one can certainly Dodge a melee attack by the melee opponent.
    • Spray (per WRRD): "When using a weapon with the auto trait you may spend all your actions to spray a 30’ cone, making one attack against every target not in cover within the cone. Make one attack roll and apply it to the RANGED DEFENSE of all within that area."
      • Does this mean one cannot use the Spray exploit to fire a 30' cone at a group of persons engaged in melee?
        • My opinion is that Spray can be used, albeit with the consequence that the shooter may hit targets they would not wish to hit, though I'm keen to hear others' thoughts.
      • Does this also mean that one cannot use the Spray exploit against targets in a foggy area or a smoky corridor?
        • My opinion is that Spray can be used, but with a -2d6 penalty to the single attack roll, though again I'm keen to hear others' thoughts.
      • Would a single target that is benefitting from an ally's Suppressive Fire, who is amongst several possible targets within the potential 30' cone of a Spray attack, be immune to the Spray attack while the others are not?
        • My opinion is less formed on this one. I'm inclined to say that Spray can still be used, but I don't think I would apply the -2d6 Suppressive Fire penalty because that would defy the definition of Suppressive Fire providing the benefit of Cover to a "specific ally." Again, the opinions of others would be most welcome and much appreciated.
    • Hunker down (p. 215 of NOW): 'Marines take half damage when "in cover" '. I could see this working when the marine is engaged in melee with an ally the shooter doesn't want to hit, but I'm not sure I can convince myself that darkness/smoke/fog would trigger this benefit. It seems to be a benefit that depends on the presence of more solid cover that can take the damage instead of the marine.
I know that's a bunch to digest, but these are questions that are coming up as my crew and I continue to play a WOIN NOW campaign. We love the system and are making some collective judgments as needed about the rules as we go, but we're curious to know how others are interpreting them.
 
Last edited:

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
  • Positional Effects: On p. 150 of the NOW and OLD Core rulebook (p. 169 in NEW), there are a couple of handy charts of positional effects (these can also be found in the WRRD). In the Ranged Modifiers section of all these charts, there is an entry for "Cover" which is -2d6, a separate entry for "Firing into melee" which is also -2d6, and a separate entry for "Obscured (smoke, darkness, etc.)" which is again -2d6. The NEW chart adds one more entry for "Suppressive fire" which is once more -2d6. In the NOW Core rulebook on the same page, but not in the charts, are text descriptions of these modifiers. In the text description section entitled Other Modifiers, it says that making a ranged attack at someone engaged in melee combat "takes a -2d6 cover penalty." And then it goes on to say "Similarly, in darkness or under cover of obscuring fog or smoke, a –2d6 cover penalty is inflicted." I'm curious whether these conditions mean that the targets are considered as being "in cover" for reasons that I go into below. Also, do these penalties stack or not because they are all cover penalties? I'm inclined to say they do stack since they are listed separately in the handy charts and because I could see it being exceedingly difficult to shoot at a target engaged in melee with one's ally while they are behind a half-wall or a bar in a smoky room. Even more so if that target is also benefitting from their ally's Suppressive Fire.
Yes, if it says 'cover' it means cover; and no they don't stack as they're all examples of the same penalty: cover.

Follow on question to this is whether one can "pin down" a target that is in darkness, smoke, fog, etc. by "chipping away" its cover. I'm inclined to say no as one doesn't really chip away at darkness or obfuscating vapors, which would then imply that these targets are not "in cover". In the same vein, I don't think one can chip away at the cover of a target that is engaged in melee as that would imply you're chipping away at an ally!
It's your game, and you can houseful it that way if you like, but as written yes, you can pin down a target using any type of cover.

Dodge (per WRRD): "You may use a reaction to dodge one attack you are aware of, as long as you are not in cover. State your intention before the attack roll. The attacker suffers a -2d6 penalty for that attack."

Does this mean that one cannot Dodge if they are in darkness/smoke/fog?

These are all kind of the same question now. If you want to houserule it otherwise, that's your game, but as written cover is cover is cover.
 

Suskeyhose

Explorer
I also want to add a couple things here.

You can in fact move from one place of cover to another, firing in the middle.

In the OLD core rulebook p.146, Movement, it says if you take an action and move on your turn, the action can take place at any time during your movement.

So you can run from one doorway to another on a street, firing down the street as you do, both starting and ending your turn in cover or out of line of sight. The Skirmisher exploit simply allows the character to double move instead of single move while doing so. That said, other characters may be able to manage this too, e.g. by using a charge action to get closer to the enemy while firing at a -2d6 penalty, then using their second action to move to cover. This is restricted by requiring you move towards your target, but this isn't necessarily a huge constraint.

In addition, with the Cover rules, the three positions you can be in are Open, In Cover, and Blocked, requiring a move action to change between them. I interpret this to mean that it requires a full move action to change between them, so you cannot pop out of blocked, fire, and drop back with one move action and one attack action, as it requires a full move action to change between them both ways.

In the cowboy holdout example, this is representing that if you sit down with your back against the wall and head below the window you're blocked, and you can't pop up and drop back down fully out of view while firing between without exposing yourself to being fired at. Normal popping up and ducking I would just consider cover.
 

TheHirumaChico

Explorer
Yes, if it says 'cover' it means cover; and no they don't stack as they're all examples of the same penalty: cover.


It's your game, and you can houseful it that way if you like, but as written yes, you can pin down a target using any type of cover.





These are all kind of the same question now. If you want to houserule it otherwise, that's your game, but as written cover is cover is cover.
I think that perhaps some of my confusion regarding the interpretation of the cover penalty for non-solid forms of cover (darkness, smoke, fog, etc.) is related to whether PCs/NPCs/monsters can see into and out of these conditions. Is it just a matter of GM interpretation as to how much obfuscation results from the condition? The description on p. 163 of the NOW Core rulebook regarding dim/smoky/rain/snow conditions indicates that a creature which starts its turn in a dimly lit area is Blind (stage 1), but if the area is darker, then it is Blind (severe/stage 2).

In looking once more at the rules for a smoke grenade from the NEW Core rulebook on p. 105, it says the target area has full concealment for 2 rounds. I'm rethinking this description and it is sounding like anyone/anything inside the smoke grenade's area of full concealment is BLOCKED, so more like a dark area as opposed to a dimly lit one. I'm now interpreting that to mean that there is no line of sight to anything inside the affected area and creatures inside the affected area have no line of sight out of the affected area. My previous thinking was that smoke grenades would be used tactically by PCs or foes to give themselves the benefit of the -2d6 obscuration cover penalty when they find themselves without more solid forms of cover. Essentially the equivalent of suppressive fire in a can, so to speak. But if my new interpretation of the full concealment is correct, then am I correct in thinking that actually they cannot be fired upon nor fire through it at all?
 

TheHirumaChico

Explorer
In the cowboy holdout example, this is representing that if you sit down with your back against the wall and head below the window you're blocked, and you can't pop up and drop back down fully out of view while firing between without exposing yourself to being fired at. Normal popping up and ducking I would just consider cover.
A very similar situation arose in our WOIN game session this past weekend. One of the PCs took an overwatch covering a short corridor between two rooms. His expressed trigger and action for the overwatch was to shoot anyone or anything that appeared in his line-of-sight. So a bad guy made his way to the other end of the short corridor unseen, then he stuck out his arm with the intention of flinging a grenade down the corridor blind into the next room. After a short discussion, I allowed the Overwatch to trigger despite this contradicting the WOIN RAW, but I gave the player a -2d6 cover penalty to shoot the exposed hand/arm, along with a -1d6 size penalty for shooting a small target. The 7 MDP PC spent a couple luck dice and scored a critical hit on the arm with the grenade, so I said that it caused the grenade to fall rather than be flung. Pretty unlikely, sure, but we're playing a cinematic-style action game and this PC is a sniper character who has good reflexes and is particularly adept at skeet-shooting/shooting targeting clays.

But this brings up the core issue my players and I have with the Overwatch rule as written -- the idea that Overwatch can only trigger against targets that have zero Cover. Played as written, it gives no chance for characters (or their opponents) to react to the head and arm that pops up over the low wall or leans around a corner to take a quick shot. Just for the benefit of other WOIN GMs who may encounter this debate with their players, moving forward, my crew is going to play Overwatch as triggering when the target moves from Blocked to either In Cover or Open. If the target is still In Cover then the requisite penalty applies to the Overwatch shooter. I'm also going to allow the Cover penalties from Suppressive Fire, obscured vision, and physical barriers (all listed separately in the Ranged Attack modifiers table) to stack for these purposes. This latter choice is based on my previous argument that it's hard to hit someone partially hiding behind a low wall, harder still if the shooter is also trying to duck a spray of bullets when the target is benefitting from an ally's Suppressive Fire, and even harder if the lighting is dim.
 

Suskeyhose

Explorer
But this brings up the core issue my players and I have with the Overwatch rule as written -- the idea that Overwatch can only trigger against targets that have zero Cover. Played as written, it gives no chance for characters (or their opponents) to react to the head and arm that pops up over the low wall or leans around a corner to take a quick shot. Just for the benefit of other WOIN GMs who may encounter this debate with their players, moving forward, my crew is going to play Overwatch as triggering when the target moves from Blocked to either In Cover or Open. If the target is still In Cover then the requisite penalty applies to the Overwatch shooter. I'm also going to allow the Cover penalties from Suppressive Fire, obscured vision, and physical barriers (all listed separately in the Ranged Attack modifiers table) to stack for these purposes. This latter choice is based on my previous argument that it's hard to hit someone partially hiding behind a low wall, harder still if the shooter is also trying to duck a spray of bullets when the target is benefitting from an ally's Suppressive Fire, and even harder if the lighting is dim.
So in this case I think I would do the same spot ruling because of the PC's skills, but personally I don't mind just allowing that PC to target them with the usual cover penalty when their round comes up. Overwatch isn't really meant to allow you to take extra potshots at people hunkered down.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top