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I've been googling in this forum regarding casting spells from combat (built in search hangs). There is a mix of opinions regarding LoS and how it changes in combat, and which spells can be cast in combat. I was hoping to post some of these common claims, and my thoughts, and get feedback.
I'd like to add that many posts on this issue said 'this is how we play it', 'I asked some experts and they said this', etc. but did not offer references. I'd prefer replies that reference the actual rules if possible. It would also be great if someone could mention that 'this was a rule in 7th', because that would help explain the confusion. If the number of conflicting threads are any indication, this rule is confusing people and hopefully this post will be helpful. I know some of the rules are hard to find...
Claims from other threads:
1: When you are in melee, you can only cast spells that specifically allow you to cast from melee.
My take: False: After many reviews I didn't find this rule in the BRB, the army books, or the FAQs. Only magic missile spells are listed as specifically being disallowed in combat. I think people are confusing the rule that you can't cast spells INTO melee. Or maybe they are confused by a legacy rule.
2: When you are in melee, you only have LoS against the units you are in melee with, so you can only cast against this target. Since most spells cannot be cast into melee, you won't be able to use these spells.
My Take: False:. LoS is defined on page 10 of the 8th ed book as requiring a line to be traced from the unit's eye to the target's body part. I couldn't find any exceptions in the melee combat rules either, so it seems that you have LoS to all sorts of units while in melee. Line of sight is not restricted to your front arc (there are some spells that require line of sight but not front arc), and is not necessarily blocked by units (this is how shooting works, units that only obscure but do not block your LoS simply apply a modifier to the attack roll, which of course does not affect spells that auto-hit).
My Interpretation of Casting from combat:
You can use Direct Damage, Augment, Hex and Vortex spells from combat. You cannot target the direct damage spell against the unit you are fighting. You may target the hex against the unit you are fighting. You may target Augments on yourself. You cannot target the Vortex against the unit you are fighting.
Direct damage requires forward arc, you can fire through the unit you are fighting though, since no LoS is required.
With the Hex/Augment, you need the LoS, but you can fire behind you, beside your, or through the enemy unit assuming you can still see enemy bodies on the other side.
You can also fire Vortex spells through the enemy unit, assuming you have LoS to the target.
A nice run down here, I agree with most of what you have posted
there is a couple of things to note though...
Hex's and Augments do not need LOS, these can be cast on any unit within there range. The specific rules for Hex's and Augments can be found on pg 31 of the rulebook and nothing is stated about requiring LOS
Vortex's are tricky, when you cast a Vortex it must be placed with the template in base contact with the caster and with its centre within the casters forward arc (as per the magical vortex rules on pg 31 ' template....is placed in base contact with the caster and within the caster's frontal arc...').
You cannot intentionally target a unit engaged in combat or your own troops, so, in most situations, you wouldnt be able to cast a vortex if your wizard is engaged in combat. There just wouldnt be anywhere to place the template that didnt hit the enemy or your own unit.
Thanks for the quick and useful reply. Good point about the vortexes. Indeed they are more complicated than other spells, and although not specifically disallowed would be very hard to use.
The magic section doesn't specifically say that Hex/Augment requires line of sight. Indeed, the magic section says that in general no spell requires line of sight unless explicitly stated. However, the summary section at the end says that Hex/Augment does require line of sight (indicated by a Y on the chart). As you always should when you notice a contradiction, I reread it five times and checked for errata. The errata indicates that the chart in the summary section is wrong, and those Y's need to be changed to N's. So no, Augment/Hex do not require LOS.
I do have a quick question to add in. Can units see through their own heads? I'm inclined to believe that LoS lets you see backwards because it does not require forward arc, but measuring form the unit's eyes through the back of their head is an issue. This would lead to all sorts of messy scenarios for units with eyes that go sideways (like a dragon or a horse) or units with abnormal forms. I'm inclined to lean towards the conclusion that you can measure LoS from your head.
I try to keep up with the rulebook errata's and FAQs and make notes in my small rulebook, there are a surprising amount of contradictions that are still not mentioned in the errata even though the book is many months old now :/
Where to measure LOS from is a very complicated matter and one that I have heard many disagreements about. The fact that many models can be built with heads facing in different directions or can be based to cause them to rise up higher than they normally would causes issues (I have a Savage orc Shaman that I have based standing on a pile of rocks,this brings his head height about 10mm higher than it would be with the basic model).
I even had an opponent once mention that because the model I use for my Night Goblin Shaman has his hood slipped over his face, hence covering his eyes, that he would have no LOS anywhere. To this day I hope he was joking!
If you think there may be an issue like this its best to discuss it before the battle and agree with your opponent how you will deal with things.
A fair way, and one I know is used in several tournaments, is that you measure from the head-height of the model how it would be if assembled as stock. Also that you would expect a model to be able to turn its head/body to be able to see 360 degree's. Its also reasonable to suggest that models within the same unit would not block LOS (they would get out of the way when the Shaman etc.. shouted at them.)
Thanks, I'd give you rep but I think it would have no effect.
You are correct in your interpretation of both numbers 1 and 2 in your original post. The reason you are correct is that they are both 7th edition functions. Neither made it into 8th as they are redundant now.
As for line of sight, you can only see things in your front arc. Check out the rules for magic missiles, and declaring charges for examples of where it says LOS is in the front arc.
Vortexes have no problem being cast while in combat. They don't target anything and can affect your own troops, so blast away if you have the desire.
I am right 94% of the time, why worry about the other 3%.
In the description for magic missiles it says '...can only cast a magic missile at a target that lies within his forward arc and to which he can trace line of sight'
The description for declaring a charge says the same thing '...must be able to trace line of sight, and the target must lie partially within the charging units line of sight'
there is no mention that LOS requires things to be in the frontal arc, in fact both descriptions go as far as to point out that both are requirements, this leads me to interpret that one rule does not incorporate the other.
When casting a vortex spell, unless otherwise stated in the spell, The template is placed with the centre within the casters frontal arc and in base contact with the caster.
If the caster is within a unit and engaged in combat then, in the vast majority of situations, it not be possible to place the template in such a way as it does not touch the enemy the unit is fighting.
As placing the template onto the enemy unit would be intentionally targetting them doing so would be against the rules.
There will be situations where it is possible for a wizard to be engaged in combat and still cast a vortex such as if the wizard is on the edge of wide unit and the edge of the engaged unit is a couple of models across.
The wizard could also cast the vortex if he has declined a challenge and is at the back of the unit, but, the vortex would be placed covering some of the friendly unit and so they would take negative effects from it.
Last edited by ashen1973; April 9th, 2011 at 18:18.
As for line of sight, it has always been into the forward arc. All instances of examples in the book have charges that can only occur in the front arc. Spells that require line of sight specifically mention LOS and front arc in the table at the back. Been this way for many years and won't change anytime soon.
I am right 94% of the time, why worry about the other 3%.
Vortexes - I have to disagree here. The rules for magic specifically state that, unless otherwise specified in the spell description, 'Wizards cannot target spells at units that are engaged in close-combat'. As any template placed would hit the enemy unit and cause negative effects/damage then you, by placing the template on top of the unit, are specifically targeting an enemy in combat.
LOS - Yes, for charges and magic missiles you do require line-of-sight and the target to be within your frontal arc, there is no argument with this. But, there is no rule anywhere that states that Line of sight is front-arc only.
Line of sight and frontal-arc requirement are two different and seperate rules.
That being said, the discussion is mute really, i've been having a good read through the book and can't find a single reference of anything that requires LOS but doesnt also say it requires frontal-arc. but, if such an occurance does arise, then I stand by that LOS does not automatically require the target to be within the frontal-arc.
My original concern was trying to cast spells which required LoS but not front arc. The errata that I cited solves the issue; any spell that requires LoS also requires front arc so the situation never arises.
As pointed out, the case is the same for Shooting and Charging.
So the question is whether LoS requires front arc. According to a direct interpretation of the rules, I would say no. However, so far every rule that requires LoS also requires front arc, so the question becomes moot. Does anyone have an example of a situation which requires LoS but not front arc?
Last edited by eriktheguy; April 9th, 2011 at 21:33.