Area Targeting. Why would you ever use a cone over a cube?

Maybe I’ve missed something important, but from what I can tell area targeting with a cube always covers a larger area compared to a cone at the same disadvantage level. On top of that, a cone must originate from your square, while a cube doesn’t have this restriction. It seems like a cone is just the worst option in every situation, except the rare cases where you actually want to target a smaller area.

Length Disadvantage Squares Targeted Cube Squares Targeted Cone
1 0 1 1
2 2 4 3
3 3 9 6
4 4 16 10
5 5 25 15

This effect gets worst as the size increases, or if you consider the area in three dimensions instead of just two. As the size of your area effect increases, cones become half as effective as cubes.

Should something be changed to encourage a meaningful decision between the two? The most obvious fix to me would be to make the disadvantage penalty for cones one less than the size of the cone. This would give cones a slight advantage at size 1 and 2, and make them more equal in area coverage at sizes up to 5, when compared to a cube with the same disadvantage penalty. I think this would be a fair change considering that cones also require proximity, but someone with more experience with the system might see it differently.

Short answer, Flavor/Fluff for whatever ability you are doing.

The other answer, situational. B/c of the positioning of your allies or important items that might be in the way, a cone could be better by missing those but still allowing you to hit the targets that you want to.

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To expand upon @Great_Moustache’s “situational” answer: it’s all about efficiency versus target selection ability.

  • A cube is the most efficient in terms of disadvantage to squares targeted, but has the least target selection because a cube is a cube and hits everything within its bounds.
  • A line is the least efficient in terms of disadvantage, but you can zig-zag it around to hit multiple enemies while avoiding your allies so it has the best target selection.
  • A cone lies between the two; it’s not as inefficient as a line but you can pick your targets better by moving to change the origin and altering the angle. It was made to always start from your character to make it different from just half a cube (and also because that fits most descriptions of a character making a cone attack).