Rules Question! Tanks shooting out of area terrain.



Ok, here is a rules question up for grabs! When a tank is in a piece of area terrain, and is shooting through more then 2 inches of it, does the target get a cover save?

The terrain piece in question is 12x12". It is a piece of foamboard (clearly defined edge) that has been covered with modeling sand, and has a small ruin set in the middle. The tank is on the left edge of the terrain, shooting at a squad that is in the open about 18 inches away. The barrel of the gun, in this case a Baal Preds assault cannon, is 4" away from the edge of the terrain piece. How are LoS and Cover Saves determined in this case? Looking down the barrel of the gun, you can see 100% of the target, unobstructed. There is no question about that.

See page 22. Does this apply to tanks? Can any one point out rules for how to resolve this with tanks? The tank will not get a cover save for being in the area terrain, (unless it is shot at from the extreme right where there is a small ruin.) why should it grant one?

If you give answers, please reply with information at least partially supported with page numbers and rules! Jawaballs

13 comments:

dverning said...

Page 22: "Note that this does
not apply if the shots go over the area terrain or unit
rather than through it."

It's part of the basic Shooting rules, so it would apply to tanks.

Just because something is declared area terrain does not mean it confers an infinitely high cover save. TLoS rules all in 5th.

But to additionally save confusion, we define the properties of any area terrain piece before the game starts. Something like you're talking about would be "difficult terrain, no cover except for TLOS regarding the ruin".

Eternal Swarm said...

This is actually a question that came up at the tournament I played last weekend.

On page 22 it say that any model firing out of area terrain may fire through 2” of terrain without giving their target a cover save. In the scenario you presented, your opponent would receive a 6+ cover save (guessing you count this as plus 6 cover).

Vehicles (and monstrous creatures) seemed to receive a penalty here as in the piece of terrain you described they would not receive cover due to the 50 percent rule, but would still give it to their opponent.

To dverning - the rule you quoted applies to firing through units or area terrain. In the scenario described he is already inside the area terrain and is firing out of it. While I think an exception should be made for tanks (and monstrous creatures), as it stands the rule states it gives a cover save to the target.

jawaballs said...

On page 13 the book defines area terrain as a boundary using a piece of board. Within the board you place stuff to represent what sort of area terrain it is, such as a piece of ruin and maybe some rubble on the ground etc.

In this case, the entire piece of area terrain was considered ruin, and by page 21 granted a 4+ save to any model on it. (Not vehicles of course unless they were behind the actual ruin piece.) To try to determine different saves for different spots in a piece of area terrain is too complicated so the book simplifies it.

Dverning, what you suggest "saves confusion", actually adds to it. It is way easier to simply point at a piece of "area terrain" and declare it as ruin. Thus granting the 4+ save no matter where you are on that piece. Instead of saying "well, on the left side it will be a 6+ and over here a 5+ and next to the little piece of wall a 4+." Infantry models in the spot I was describing would in fact get 4+ cover saves. That answers you too Eternal Swarm. We could spend time before a game determining just what save every spot on the board confers, but area terrain makes that simpler.

Now ES is closer to the point of this question here. Unless there are exceptions printed some place that I could not find, it would seem that a vehicle, sitting on a piece of area terrain, would grant its target a cover save unless its gun was within 2" of the edge.

Dverning, the rule you are talking about at the beginning of your post regards shooting through or over terrain or models. A tank may try to shoot a target on the other side of a piece of terrain or squad, and it's turret may have unobstructed LoS, but its side sponsons will not be able to, so the turret will NOT grant a cover save while the sponsons do. This way you can fire at tanks from across a crowded battle field with your turret mounted weapons, or troops in high terrain, and not give cover saves.

Any one else have some input on this?

Colby said...

This exact situation came up in our local gaming group about a month ago, as the rules are written just so that a couple of interpretations of what SHOULD be a simple case of RAW turns into a contest to see who can bend the English language the most.

Basically we agreed that as vehicles are not affected/protected by "blanket" area terrain, they are thus not hampered by area terrain. Thus a non-vehicle unit would only get a cover save from vehicle fire if some part of the unit was actually obscured by the terrain (or the unit was IN area terrain, of course).

So a squad of Orks is on the table facing a "Dakka" Predator. There is a crater in between them and the tank. The turret can see the entire squad clearly over the top of the terrain. No cover is given. The side sponsons are at or lower than "eye" level and the feet/knees of the orks are partially covered by the lip of the crater. The orks get 4+ saves from wounds caused by the sponsons.

If the majority of the Orks were actually IN the crater, then they would all get 4+ cover saves no matter what.

In another imaginary scenario, the Predator is now sitting right behind (or partially on top of) the crater. The turret sticks out a bit and has a clear shot to the Orks. No cover save. The sponsons are further back than 2 inches from the edge of the crater, but due to the positioning of the tank now, the Orks are clearly visible from the barrel of both sponsons. No cover save.


I hope that helps... :(

jawaballs said...

Colby you nailed it squarely. The way you describe it is exactly as I would think it should be done and is the way I will try to play it from now on. But of course, there are those rule warping English benders. That or I just completely avoid cover, or get my tanks guns to within 2" of the edge.

Eternal Swarm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eternal Swarm said...

It comes down to this question: What takes precedence, the rules for shooting out of area cover or the rules for Vehicle Weapons and Line of Sight.

If the Rules for Shooting out of Area terrain take precedence (pg.22), then there is no grey area. If the weapons on your vehicle are not within 2” of the edge of the terrain, your enemy gets a cover save. There is no exception for vehicles on this rule (should be, but there isn’t).

However, if the rules for Vehicle Weapons and Line of Sight (page 58) take precedence, then is some a bit of grey in the answer. According to the rules book:

“When firing a vehicle’s weapons, point them against the target and then trace the LOS from each weapons’ mounting and along its barrel, to see if the shot is blocked by terrain or models. If the target unit happens to be in cover from only some of the vehicle’s weapon, then work out if the target gets cover saves exactly as if each firing weapon on the vehicle was a separate firing model in a normal unit”.If this rule takes precedence, then in the example presented by Jawaballs, his tanks would not have to worry about the terrain unless it blocks LOS.

(To bad I can find a similar rule for monstrous creatures…bah!!)

Sorry about the delete, little fingers hit the publish button.

Wienas said...

Beacuse the rules do not exempt vehicles, I would say that a vehicle firing through more than 2" of area terrain grants a save to its target.

The quote that ES brought up further supports this:

"If the target unit happens to be in cover from only some of the vehicle’s weapon, then work out if the target gets cover saves exactly as if each firing weapon on the vehicle was a separate firing model in a normal unit."

The target unit would be in cover from any weapons that are further than 2" within area terrain.

So to sum up: a vehicle in area terrain can give a cover save without receiving one. That seems stupid, but it is what I would gather from the rules as they are written.

Colby said...

I totally agree about there being nothing in the rules exempting vehicles from the "2 inches through area terrain" rule, but as dverning pointed out in the first comment, if the area terrain isn't blocking LOS at all to your target, you're not shooting THROUGH it, are you?

In the examples I gave in my first comment I was using the example of a an inch or so high crater acting as 4+ cover area terrain. If a vehicle is shooting at a unit that's on the other side of the crater but is at such a height/angle that its weapons can clearly see the unit its firing at, it's not shooting THROUGH the terrain. It's shooting OVER the terrain. TLOS is still in effect here, so unless the unit is actually mostly IN the area terrain you still have to use line of sight to determine if a unit gains cover.

You could have a 12"x12" block of "area terrain" that's only half an inch tall at it's highest point. Any vehicle shooting at a unit on the other side of the terrain doesn't confer a cover save if the unit isn't mostly in the terrain or if the vehicle can see the unit without the terrain obscuring any parts of the unit. That's RAW. This isn't 4th edition any more and area terrain isn't "magically" a foot tall and grants cover to anything on the other side of it automatically.

Old Shatter Hands said...

Area terrain has been problematic since its first emergence in 4th edition. IMO it should be removed from the game entirely with TLOS taking precedence.

I would agree that a tanks do confer a cover save when firing from 2 inches in.

Another question that came up with area terrain and the 2 inch rule is, what if an infantry model is sitting on level 2 of a ruined building, is firing from within 2 inches of the level he is on, but lower levels extend farther out. It looks like a clear shot from TLOS, but because the lower levels are larger than his level, does the shat grant a cover save?

jawaballs said...

Nice one shatter hands! I would have to say it applies to the level he is on. A marine shooting from level 5 of a tower will not grant cover saves if he is within 2" of the edge of the level he is on. Rules for templates like a flamer make distinctions between levels, almost as if they were seperate terrain pieces, so that is how levels should be treated.

And sadly, by the rules, i think you are right with the tank... but it doesnt mean I wont try to shoot mine while in cover!

dverning said...

"To dverning - the rule you quoted applies to firing through units or area terrain. In the scenario described he is already inside the area terrain and is firing out of it."

Ah, but let's debate semantics here... If we look at the rule for firing out of area terrain, is says "Therefore the may fire THROUGH up to 2" of area terrain", emphasis mine.

The way I read this is that rule for firing out of area terrain is a supplement to the rule about firing through area terrain. If you're in the terrain, but 2" from the edge, then you're firing through. Thus the height of the area terrain matters for units inside.

Taken another way, a Monolith Gauss Arc and a 1" high shrubbery. Why would that confer cover because you were on the shrub rather than behind it?

The nice thing is that this answer is equally applicable to Old Shatter Hands' query.

@jawa: Actually, we find this simplifies things: TLOS rules all. The abstraction is removed in most cases. Grass/tree/rubble area terrain is given a vertical definition for how much it "covers", usually measurable by something on the piece itself. Make sense?

jawaballs said...

I hear what you are saying, but then that leads to us having to predetermine every inch of every terrain and end up in discussions like, "Well, this spot here is a 6+ while 2" over it is a 4+ and just beyond there is a 5+ or none at all.." Area terrain rules mean you point to an area terrain piece and see grass and ruin... then say "Grass or ruin? Ruin! Grass! Doh.. ok d6 wins." Move on to the next area terrain.

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