[RPG] How does the second benefit of the Mounted Combatant feat interact with total cover


The second benefit of the Mounted Combatant feat (PHB, p. 168) lets you force an enemy to attack you rather than your mount when they attempt to attack the latter. What happens if you do that while you, but not your mount, is in total cover?

Best Answer

The rider gets no benefits from total cover because a redirected attack is not a direct attack but an indirect one; alternatively, this is a case over specific over general

The rules on Cover state:

[...] A target with total cover can't be targeted directly by an attack or a spell, although some spells can reach such a target by including it in an area of effect.

I would say that redirecting an attack from your mount to yourself is not, in any way, making it a direct attack against you. The attack has indirectly targeted you and thus total cover provides no benefits.

Unfortunately covers do not stack:

If a target is behind multiple sources of cover, only the most protective degree of cover applies [...]

Thus having total cover does not also give you ¾ cover. This means that the rider will be benefitting from no forms of cover whatsoever and the attack roll will happen as normal. Though what counts as the "most protective degree" could be argued to be ¾ cover that's something I'm less sure of and is somewhat explained in the question "What constitutes the most protective degree of cover?".

Alternatively you could explain this as the Mounted Combatant feat allowing you to target somebody even if they do have total cover. This would just be an example of specific over general where normally you can't target somebody with total cover but the Mounted Combatant feat specifically forces the rider to be targeted (barring any even more specific rule). Note that the feat says the attack targets you, not that it targets you only if the attack could otherwise do so legally. Thus the feat results in you being targeted by the attack even if it would usually be illegal.

This angle is the approach taken in user jgn's answer

Related Topic