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Stealth Playtest

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Illustration by Yngvar Apslund

Here at Paizo, the design team has a host of challenges. Some of the greatest challenges come when dealing with the rules of our game that don't work as well as we would like. For a number of weeks we have been talking about the issues concerning the Stealth skill. Over the course of those conversations we have come up with many ideas to improve this skill and make its use both clearer and more playable.

So, here is our crazy idea: We are thinking about just rewriting the skill. This is our first stab at a rewrite, but before we make any definitive change, we want to unleash our crazy ideas to you—the Pathfinder players—to poke holes in, give us input on, and playtest. The following changes to the Stealth rules are by no means final, nowhere near official, and definitely not usable in Pathfinder Society. They're here for you to read, think on, playtest, and then for you to give us feedback. We will be listening for the next week. Have fun!

Stealth

(Dex; Armor Check Penalty)
You are skilled at avoiding detection, allowing you to slip past foes or strike from an unseen position. This skill covers hiding and moving silently.

Check: Your Stealth check is opposed by the Perception check of anyone who might notice you. Usually a Stealth check is made at the start of a free, move, or swift action when you start that action with either some kind of cover (except for soft cover) or concealment. You can always spend a swift action to stay immobile and make a Stealth check. You cannot spend a free action to initiate a Stealth check, but if you spend a free action while under the effects of Stealth, you must make a new Stealth check in order to continue the effects of Stealth. You can move up to half your normal speed and use Stealth at no penalty. When moving at a speed greater than half and up to your normal speed, you take a –5 penalty. It's usually impossible to use Stealth while taking an immediate action, standard action, or a full-round action, unless you are subject to greater invisibility or a similar effect, you are sniping (see below), or you are using a standard action to ready an action. When you make your Stealth check, those creatures that didn't succeed at the opposed roll treat you as invisible until the start of your next action or until the end of your turn if you do not end your turn with cover or concealment. When you use Stealth, creatures that are observing you (creatures that you didn't have cover or concealment from) or that succeed at the opposed check do not treat you as invisible.

A creature larger or smaller than Medium takes a size bonus or penalty on Stealth checks depending on its size category: Fine +16, Diminutive +12, Tiny +8, Small +4, Large –4, Huge –8, Gargantuan –12, Colossal –16.

Attacking from Invisibility: Usually making an attack against a creature ends the invisible condition. If during your last action were invisible to a creature, you are still considered invisible when you make the first attack of that new action.

Other Perception Checks: If a creature makes a Perception check as a move action to notice an invisible creature, the DC of the Perception check is the invisible creature's last Stealth check. This is also the case if a creature makes a Perception check to notice an invisible creature because the perceiving creature is entering an area where it could possibly notice an invisible creature.

Sniping: If you already are invisible to a target and you are 10 feet from that target, as a standard action, you can make one ranged attack against that target and immediately make an opposed Stealth check to stay invisible. You take a –20 penalty on your Stealth check when attempting to snipe.

Creating a Diversion to Hide: If you do not have cover or concealment, as a standard action, you can attempt a Bluff check opposed by the Perception of opponents that can see you. On a success, you become invisible to those creatures and can move up to half your speed. When you do this, you take a –10 penalty on the Bluff check.

Action: Usually making a Stealth check is not an action. Using Stealth is part of the action are taking.

Special: If you are subject to the invisibility or greater invisibility spells or a similar effect, you gain a +40 bonus on Stealth checks while you are immobile, or a +20 bonus on Stealth checks while you're moving. If you have the Stealthy feat, you get a bonus on Stealth checks (see Chapter 5).

Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Designer

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Tags: Design Tuesdays Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Playtest Stealth Yngvar Apslund
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Andoran

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Jeremiziah wrote:

You missed the part where you eat an AoO for moving out of a threatened square, but that's not even the worst thing you missed.

You say "Move + Stealth" as the second action in the round. You can't do that.

"Usually a Stealth check is made at the start of a free, move, or swift action when you start that action with either some kind of cover (except for soft cover) or concealment. "

Once you've attacked, you move back toward cover/concealment (eating an AoO), but can't stealth during the move action because you didn't have cover or concealment when you started the move action (you lost it when you attacked). Best thing you could do would be to move behind cover/concealment and Stealth/Move at the start of your next turn.

Yes, if your opponent is standing on top of you, you cannot use the invisibility loop with simple cover. That said, you lose your stealth when attacking, not your cover.

For example, in this example the ogre could stealth loop the sorcerer all day long (disregard the fact that ogres have terrible stealth).

Also, ANY concealment lets you abuse the invisibility loop. Blur, displacement, a smokestick, etc.


Jiggy wrote:


I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Sniping is for a (small) chance of not losing your stealth when you attack - any other attack guarantees being noticed. What point are you trying to make...?

blog post wrote:
It's usually impossible to use Stealth while taking an immediate action, standard action, or a full-round action, unless you are subject to greater invisibility or a similar effect, you are sniping (see below), or you are using a standard action to ready an action.

What I am getting at is an addition of language in the text quoted where the precedent has been set that a standard action (an attack can be done at least 10ft away from those you are stealth-ed against for sniping) yet still allow for you to check to see if you remain hidden could be applied to Prof Potts list of actions as long as they occur at least 10 ft away they would work in a manner to the recheck for sniping. Penalties may apply based on the type of action (immediate, standard or full round).

I say check because sometimes in movies, etc. the glint of the dagger sliding down ones wrist does give the assassin away which is also dramatic.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

Yes, but the blog says, that if you're sniping 'you can make one ranged attack against that target and immediately make an opposed Stealth check to stay invisible.'

So you end up with a situation where one thing (the spell) says the spell conditionally ends, but another thing (the proposed revised skill) says you can make a stealth check to stay invisible. From a new player or rules-lawyer perspective, that looks to me a lot like you can make a Stealth check to cancel the spell ending...

Staying invisible does not cause the spell to not end - anyone with English as their primary language can see that. The spell being active and the creature being invisible are not the same thing, any more than standing in the rain and getting wet are the same thing; sure standing in the rain will cause you to get wet, but that doesn't mean that if you walk inside and jump in a pool that you're somehow still in the rain just because you're still getting wet. In the same way, the spell being active causes you to be invisible, but that doesn't mean that continuing the effect in spite of the spell ending will cause the spell to not end.


I like the clarification of the invisible condition. Makes it easier to understand exactly how it works.

I generally adjudicate stealth in a manner consistent with what I see in books and movies and have seen in real life. I wouldn't mind seeing some written clarification about vision range. Such as being able to sneak up behind a creature with no cover or concealment, but outside the natural range of vision of the creature. Creatures generally have a certain range on their peripheral vision. This is usually taught to stealthy warriors when they learn to do things like sentry removal and the like. Be nice to at least include a line that says "The GM may determine whether a creature has cover or concealment relative to their position due to being outside the creature's field of vision".

I also think you should be able to drink a potion or something similar while stealthed. I'll continue to play it that way even if the rules are rewritten otherwise.

Not sure I understand the free action make another stealth roll wording. Does that mean if I take a free action like dropping something I have to make a another stealth check or does that mean if I'm stealthing from round to round I have to use a free action each round to make a new roll to maintain stealth?

I don't want to have to roll too much while I'm moving into position with stealth. That turns stealth into a numbers game that will almost always fail because it takes a while to stealth once entering a person's detection range. If they keep rolling perception checks and you keep rolling stealth checks, stealth will almost always fail.

I usually have my PCs roll a single time per situation and the enemy the same unless they spend an extra action to get another perception check. That limits the failures due to the numbers game and makes stealth more effective.


Varthanna wrote:

Love love love this, great attempt, designers! That said, I gotta echo that Invisibility is a really bad choice. I get you want a pre-existing condition so you have to change less/not go back and revise everything, but it just doesn't work.

+1 to a new Hidden condition

And with interests of page-number-refernces in mind, it doesn`t need to be a Condition per se that is listed in the Condition sub-section at the back of the book. Rage isn`t listed their either. But it can be referenced as a pseudo-condition (without using the Condition name, rather just `entering Stealth`, where Stealth is defined as having some qualities of Invisiblity - either positively or defining what qualities it DOESN`T have - without being Invisibility per se, e.g. for all effects)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Dragonsong wrote:
Jiggy wrote:


I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Sniping is for a (small) chance of not losing your stealth when you attack - any other attack guarantees being noticed. What point are you trying to make...?

blog post wrote:
It's usually impossible to use Stealth while taking an immediate action, standard action, or a full-round action, unless you are subject to greater invisibility or a similar effect, you are sniping (see below), or you are using a standard action to ready an action.
What I am getting at is an addition of language in the text quoted where the precedent has been set that a standard action (an attack can be done at least 10ft away from those you are stealth-ed against for sniping) yet still allow for you to check to see if you remain hidden could be applied to Prof Potts list of actions as long as they occur at least 10 ft away they would work in a manner to the recheck for sniping. Penalties may apply based on the type of action (immediate, standard or full round)

Okay, I think I get what you're saying now. I.e., drinking a potion a distance away from the enemy should be able to fall under "sniping" rules? If that's what you mean, then I think I agree that there should be contingencies for that. And I also agree that "sniping" would suddenly become a less-than-perfect name for that rule subset. ;)


Jiggy wrote:
Dragonsong wrote:
Jiggy wrote:


I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Sniping is for a (small) chance of not losing your stealth when you attack - any other attack guarantees being noticed. What point are you trying to make...?

blog post wrote:
It's usually impossible to use Stealth while taking an immediate action, standard action, or a full-round action, unless you are subject to greater invisibility or a similar effect, you are sniping (see below), or you are using a standard action to ready an action.
What I am getting at is an addition of language in the text quoted where the precedent has been set that a standard action (an attack can be done at least 10ft away from those you are stealth-ed against for sniping) yet still allow for you to check to see if you remain hidden could be applied to Prof Potts list of actions as long as they occur at least 10 ft away they would work in a manner to the recheck for sniping. Penalties may apply based on the type of action (immediate, standard or full round)
Okay, I think I get what you're saying now. I.e., drinking a potion a distance away from the enemy should be able to fall under "sniping" rules? If that's what you mean, then I think I agree that there should be contingencies for that. And I also agree that "sniping" would suddenly become a less-than-perfect name for that rule subset. ;)

Bingo, sorry if I wasn't clear before.


Feral wrote:
What if that enemy is blurred and can stealth literally anywhere?

Fight them at high noon? You can not stealth from concealment in bright light (outside with the sun shining).


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Feral wrote:
Jeremiziah wrote:

You missed the part where you eat an AoO for moving out of a threatened square, but that's not even the worst thing you missed.

You say "Move + Stealth" as the second action in the round. You can't do that.

"Usually a Stealth check is made at the start of a free, move, or swift action when you start that action with either some kind of cover (except for soft cover) or concealment. "

Once you've attacked, you move back toward cover/concealment (eating an AoO), but can't stealth during the move action because you didn't have cover or concealment when you started the move action (you lost it when you attacked). Best thing you could do would be to move behind cover/concealment and Stealth/Move at the start of your next turn.

Yes, if your opponent is standing on top of you, you cannot use the invisibility loop with simple cover. That said, you lose your stealth when attacking, not your cover.

For example, in this example the ogre could stealth loop the sorcerer all day long (disregard the fact that ogres have terrible stealth).

Also, ANY concealment lets you abuse the invisibility loop. Blur, displacement, a smokestick, etc.

And this is not a change from the existing rules.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What were the problems with Stealth that are trying to be addressed here? (Color me ignorant.)

Don't need to take up the thread; if there's another thread or threads you can direct me to, that would be great!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Maddigan wrote:
Not sure I understand the free action make another stealth roll wording. Does that mean if I take a free action like dropping something I have to make a another stealth check or does that mean if I'm stealthing from round to round I have to use a free action each round to make a new roll to maintain stealth?

Stealth checks are made action-by-action. So if you (as in your example) use a free action to drop a held item, you would need to make a fresh stealth check - a failure means someone heard your sword clatter to the ground. Oops.

If you're "stealthing from round to round", you're just making stealth checks as you begin each action.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lab_Rat wrote:
Feral wrote:
What if that enemy is blurred and can stealth literally anywhere?
Fight them at high noon? You can not stealth from concealment in bright light (outside with the sun shining).

Which brings up the point of stealth rules being hidden in other areas. Please, if you are going to revise steal, also take a look at its other referenced locations, like lighting and scent, and make sure they are consistent.

Get rid of the huge annoyance of no stealth in bright light. It makes no sense, and causes conflicts with other rules.


Quote:
Creating a Diversion to Hide: If you do not have cover or concealment, as a standard action, you can attempt a Bluff check opposed by the Perception of opponents that can see you. On a success, you become invisible to those creatures and can move up to half your speed. When you do this, you take a –10 penalty on the Bluff check.

So, Standard to Bluff and become invisible, Move up to 1/2 Speed. Let's say you do not reach Cover or Concealment. Now on their turn your enemies can see you again? Kind of a stealthy way to withdraw, is that the idea?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Cthulhudrew wrote:

What were the problems with Stealth that are trying to be addressed here? (Color me ignorant.)

Don't need to take up the thread; if there's another thread or threads you can direct me to, that would be great!

The easiest place to look would be theConsolidated Stealth Threads For Easy FAQ Clicking thread. 77 FAQ clicks on the opening post.


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I like the idea of the hidden condition / sudo-condition. My reasoning is that a stealth check is versus all methods of perception. It takes into account not being seen or heard or smelled (by a normal enemy, not one with scent). Invisibility does not count these other senses. It just says you can not be seen. Stealth needs to be more than that.

The hidden condition should be something like - You can not be perceived by normal senses.

Also. By separating stealth from invisibility, the spell invisibility still gives you a useful bump to stealth and you don't have to rewrite a bunch of other pieces of the book that focus on invisibility.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Abciximab wrote:
Quote:
Creating a Diversion to Hide: If you do not have cover or concealment, as a standard action, you can attempt a Bluff check opposed by the Perception of opponents that can see you. On a success, you become invisible to those creatures and can move up to half your speed. When you do this, you take a –10 penalty on the Bluff check.
So, Standard to Bluff and become invisible, Move up to 1/2 Speed. Let's say you do not reach Cover or Concealment. Now on their turn your enemies can see you again?

Actually, they don't even have to wait until their turn to notice you, because you lose your stealth (and therefore become spotted) as soon as you:

• Fail a stealth check
• Begin an unstealthable action (such as standard actions, etc)
• End your turn without cover/concealment.

So in your example (where you bluff and then fail to reach cover), you're spotted the moment your turn ends. Perhaps a nit-picky difference (unless an enemy was delaying their turn...)


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Abciximab wrote:
Quote:
Creating a Diversion to Hide: If you do not have cover or concealment, as a standard action, you can attempt a Bluff check opposed by the Perception of opponents that can see you. On a success, you become invisible to those creatures and can move up to half your speed. When you do this, you take a –10 penalty on the Bluff check.
So, Standard to Bluff and become invisible, Move up to 1/2 Speed. Let's say you do not reach Cover or Concealment. Now on their turn your enemies can see you again?

Actually, they don't even have to wait until their turn to notice you, because you lose your stealth (and therefore become spotted) as soon as you:

• Fail a stealth check
• Begin an unstealthable action (such as standard actions, etc)
• End your turn without cover/concealment.

So in your example (where you bluff and then fail to reach cover), you're spotted the moment your turn ends. Perhaps a nit-picky difference (unless an enemy was delaying their turn...)

Pretty much. You say "look over there", they look, you run away, and they turn arround to see you 30 ft away and shout "get him". Seems pretty iconic to me.

I find it interesting that this allows an alternative to Tumble for not provoking AoO.


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Jiggy wrote:
Maddigan wrote:
Not sure I understand the free action make another stealth roll wording. Does that mean if I take a free action like dropping something I have to make a another stealth check or does that mean if I'm stealthing from round to round I have to use a free action each round to make a new roll to maintain stealth?

Stealth checks are made action-by-action. So if you (as in your example) use a free action to drop a held item, you would need to make a fresh stealth check - a failure means someone heard your sword clatter to the ground. Oops.

If you're "stealthing from round to round", you're just making stealth checks as you begin each action.

The first part I understand and play it that way.

The second part I would not. That is a sure way guarantee stealth failure, especially at higher levels when perception checks for creatures are high, and thus force players to rarely use stealth.

I prefer stealth to operate like other game systems. Where you make a roll per situation. For example, if you are sneaking across a field of grass 300 feet long in front of castle with 5 or 6 guards on the ramparts. You make a single stealth check for the entire distance and the guards make a single perception check for the entire 300 feet. It will take you roughly 20 move actions to move across that field.

If the expectation is that I sit there and roll out 20 stealth checks and roughly a 100 perception checks (a perception check per guard per stealth check), that is not going to happen. And that is a very poor way to run the stealth skill.

1. It heights failure to an astronomical level.

2. It requires a number of rolls that would bore the group to tears making them all, especially if more than one member of the party is stealthing.

Any stealth design should take into account the number of rolls needed to adjudicate the action. It should be kept simple and low in number to make Stealth a useable and not inconvenient and annoying skill for the DM to adjudicate.

That is why I think it should focus more on situation rather than actions.

It should run per situation:

1. Sneak across field: One stealth check. One perception check per guard or creature.

2. Sneak up behind target: one stealth check, one perception check for guard.

3. Sneak up behind target: one stealth check. Draw weapon; second stealth check.

Not on a per action basis. That is asking for a very unwieldy stealth skill that slows the game down and makes the skill less attractive to use as more rolls heightens chances for failure.

Grand Lodge

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While I like what I've read, there is still one issue that concerns me. mass die rolls.

Stealth performed every round, by multiple opponents observing can lead to a combat round getting bogged down by uncessessary die rolls.

What I propose is that if you are considering re-writing the rules perhaps is the time to hardcode in some static rules to cover stealth and perception.

Consider them along the lines of CMB/CMD where one is fixed while the other is rolled.

The advantage I see to this is allowing room for additional rules such as class benefits (assassin and ninja springs to mind) and perhaps stackable and situational bonuses to cover the differential between perception (sight) and perception (sound).

An example might be that the stealth skill for a character might be rolled against a fixed DC of perception (sight) and/or perception (sound) specified in each opponent. Perception might consider a flat 10, like AC, but gets boosted by +5 for a character that is considered alert to danger and +10 that is aware of who or where that danger is. A sleeping character might be considered to have a -10.

Fixed dice does require a slight adjustment in the rules for determining stealth since as an opposed roll the chances of succeeding against a automatic 20 rolled perception doesnt put the odds favorably on the stealthy character.

Thoughts?


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Quijenoth wrote:

While I like what I've read, there is still one issue that concerns me. mass die rolls.

Stealth performed every round, by multiple opponents observing can lead to a combat round getting bogged down by uncessessary die rolls.

What I propose is that if you are considering re-writing the rules perhaps is the time to hardcode in some static rules to cover stealth and perception.

Consider them along the lines of CMB/CMD where one is fixed while the other is rolled.

The advantage I see to this is allowing room for additional rules such as class benefits (assassin and ninja springs to mind) and perhaps stackable and situational bonuses to cover the differential between perception (sight) and perception (sound).

An example might be that the stealth skill for a character might be rolled against a fixed DC of perception (sight) and/or perception (sound) specified in each opponent. Perception might consider a flat 10, like AC, but gets boosted by +5 for a character that is considered alert to danger and +10 that is aware of who or where that danger is.

Fixed dice does require a slight adjustment in the rules for determining stealth since as an opposed roll the chances of succeeding against a automatic 20 rolled perception doesnt put the odds favorably on the stealthy character.

Thoughts?

I am a fan of bifurcated dice system for players vs NPC's. Make the perceptions static(10+mod)DC to roll against if the characters are stealthing. Make the stealth checks static(10+mod) if the characters are the ones perceiving. This way the action is focused on the players and their characters.


4th edition handles this as "Passive Perception", which is something I always liked.

Perhaps when you sneak, you roll against a DC of 10 + your opponents' Perception modifier - any creatures whose DC you don't beat spot you.

There's precedent for this in the system - Feinting is rolled against a flat DC rather than being an opposed roll.

I also like the idea of not having to make new checks unless you take other actions, such as moving - if all you do is hold still, having to make a new check every single round could be cumbersome.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Maddigan wrote:

The first part I understand and play it that way.

The second part I would not. That is a sure way guarantee stealth failure, especially at higher levels when perception checks for creatures are high, and thus force players to rarely use stealth.

I prefer stealth to operate like other game systems. Where you make a roll per situation. For example, if you are sneaking across a field of grass 300 feet long in front of castle with 5 or 6 guards on the ramparts. You make a single stealth check for the entire distance and the guards make a single perception check for the entire 300 feet. It will take you roughly 20 move actions to move across that field.

If the expectation is that I sit there and roll out 20 stealth checks and roughly a 100 perception checks (a perception check per guard per stealth check), that is not going to happen. And that is a very poor way to run the stealth skill.

1. It heights failure to an astronomical level.

2. It requires a number of rolls that would bore the group to tears making them all, especially if more than one member of the party is stealthing.

Two problems - one, that's the mother of all "extreme examples". Seriously, stealthing across a 300ft field? That's supposed to be an example of a failing with the stealth rules?

Two, the problems you list with that example would be greatly reduced if you were running the situation correctly (i.e., "you're doing it wrong"). First, you can't even use stealth unless that field's grass is long enough to provide concealment. Second, since the rogue (or whoever) is not actively being threatened, he's entitled to take 10 on those stealth checks (until he's spotted and has to start ducking around, stealthing "on the fly"). Poof, there go a bunch of those checks. Third, if Mr. Rogue is hundreds of feet away in tall grass, there are probably boatloads of situational modifiers in his favor (I'm not going to look up the exact distance adjustments right now, though). Since a natural 20 is not an auto-success on skills, he can probably get most of the way across the field before the guards are even capable of spotting him. Thus, they need not bother rolling impossible checks - poof, there go most of the rolls.

And once you get past ALLLLLLL that, eventually getting close enough that the guards could spot the rogue, you have to take into account that the guards are most definitely not threatened and would therefore all be taking 10 on their perception checks - poof, there go all of the perception rolls in the entire situation. Eventually, once the rogue is close enough that the GM rules the situation to be high-pressure enough that the rogue can't take 10 anymore, he starts rolling stealth (against the guards taking 10).

So even in your incredibly specific scenario that you deliberately set up to make the stealth rules look bad, you STILL only have to roll a handful of checks.

Quote:

It should run per situation:

1. Sneak across field: One stealth check. One perception check per guard or creature.

2. Sneak up behind target: one stealth check, one perception check for guard.

3. Sneak up behind target: one stealth check. Draw weapon; second stealth check.

Not on a per action basis. That is asking for a very unwieldy stealth skill that slows the game down and makes the skill less attractive to use as more rolls heightens chances for failure.

Number 1 I addressed above - numbers 2 and 3, your methodology is exactly the same as the proposed rules.

I've probably been ninja'd into oblivion, but oh well.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

'Rixx wrote:

4th edition handles this as "Passive Perception", which is something I always liked.

Perhaps when you sneak, you roll against a DC of 10 + your opponents' Perception modifier - any creatures whose DC you don't beat spot you.

This already exists in PF: it's called "they take 10 on their perception".

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

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If you don't have anything productive to say but baiting other people, don't say anything at all. Especially when you're calling out specific people.

Anyway, this is definitely an improvement over the core Stealth rules, both in clarity and function. I do have some issues, though.

Quote:
Usually a Stealth check is made at the start of a free, move, or swift action when you start that action with either some kind of cover (except for soft cover) or concealment.

The definition of "soft cover" is buried deep in the combat rules, and sending people all over the place to figure out how Stealth works was one of the problems with the previous rules. It turns out it's hiding behind other creatures.

Also, not being able to hide behind soft cover means that you can't hide in a crowd.

Speaking of buried deep in other rules...

[url=http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/exploration-movement#TOC-Vision-and-Light wrote:
Exploration & Movement: Bright Light[/url]]A creature can't use Stealth in an area of bright light unless it is invisible or has cover. Areas of bright light include outside in direct sunshine and inside the area of a daylight spell.

This is a large part of why Jack couldn't steal a chicken, and because it's buried deep in the Exploration and Movement rules, it's not well-known and not touched by this rewrite. You still can't hide in the daytime unless it's behind something that can stop a bullet, and that's both nonsensical (you can hide behind a pile of sandbags, but not a pile of leaves) and obscure.

While we're on the subject of other rules...

Rangers wrote:

Hide in Plain Sight (Ex)

While in any of his favored terrains, a ranger of 17th level or higher can use the Stealth skill even while being observed.

What function does this have under these new rules?

Back to the stealth rules themselves.

Quote:
Sniping: If you already are invisible to a target and you are 10 feet from that target, as a standard action, you can make one ranged attack against that target and immediately make an opposed Stealth check to stay invisible. You take a –20 penalty on your Stealth check when attempting to snipe.

Shouldn't this be "at least 10 feet"? Sniping from exactly 10 feet doesn't strike me as very useful.

Also, this is not compatible with Vital Strike. Intended or no?

Quote:
When you use Stealth, creatures that are observing you (creatures that you didn't have cover or concealment from) or that succeed at the opposed check do not treat you as invisible.

This generates a lot of confusion. If you've successfully hidden, do you get +20/+40 to subsequent stealth rolls? Can you make a sniping check to retain the benefit of the invisibility spell? If someone notices you while you're under the invisibility spell, do you stop being invisible? Confusion abounds.

Quote:
Other Perception Checks: If a creature makes a Perception check as a move action to notice an invisible creature, the DC of the Perception check is the invisible creature's last Stealth check. This is also the case if a creature makes a Perception check to notice an invisible creature because the perceiving creature is entering an area where it could possibly notice an invisible creature.

This is functional, but it is a BIG CHANGE. It's giving everyone Hide In Plain Sight as long as nobody is around to see them.

For example, I can hide in an empty room. As nobody is here to Perceive me, I am now invisible. If someone walks into the room, they need to make a Perception check (opposed by my last Stealth check) to even know I'm there.

I think this is actually cool, since people totally do hide in the corner or in the rafters or whatever all the time, both in fiction and in real life.

Also, I understand that the rules for calling out "Hey, there he is!" means that the person who is being shouted to will try to Perceive as a move action. What bonus does this callout give?

Quote:
Usually a Stealth check is made at the start of a free, move, or swift action when you start that action with either some kind of cover (except for soft cover) or concealment. [...] It's usually impossible to use Stealth while taking an immediate action, standard action, or a full-round action, unless you are subject to greater invisibility or a similar effect, you are sniping (see below), or you are using a standard action to ready an action.

Is it intentional that a purely mental immediate/standard/full action (a spell with no spell components, using a telepathic effect, etc.) breaks you out of Stealth, but that a Quickened spell - even one with verbal components - does not?

Quote:
Attacking from Invisibility: Usually making an attack against a creature ends the invisible condition. If during your last action were invisible to a creature, you are still considered invisible when you make the first attack of that new action.

This is intended to resolve, once and for all, that you only get one Sneak Attack from the Invisibility spell unless the enemy is flat-footed for other reasons, correct?

Quote:
Creating a Diversion to Hide: If you do not have cover or concealment, as a standard action, you can attempt a Bluff check opposed by the Perception of opponents that can see you. On a success, you become invisible to those creatures and can move up to half your speed. When you do this, you take a –10 penalty on the Bluff check.

Is it intentional that rogues and ninjas are better at hiding than monks and rangers?

That's all I've got for now. I'll see what turns up after some playtesting.


The stealth rules should note that creatures who are not actively looking for hiding creatures are assumed to be taking 10 on perception, and that guards are not actively looking for creatures unless they have reason to believe that an intruder is there at that very moment.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Aaand that's why I enjoy having MiB around.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

'Rixx wrote:
The stealth rules should note that creatures who are not actively looking for hiding creatures are assumed to be taking 10 on perception, and that guards are not actively looking for creatures unless they have reason to believe that an intruder is there at that very moment.

I don't think it's necessary to have that mentioned in the stealth rules, because it's not really specific to stealthy situations; any GM who understands how take 10 works (and doesn't have an addiction to the physical act of rolling dice) should be having their NPCs take 10 in every eligible situation, unless that specific NPC has a good reason to elect otherwise.


'Rixx wrote:

4th edition handles this as "Passive Perception", which is something I always liked.

Perhaps when you sneak, you roll against a DC of 10 + your opponents' Perception modifier - any creatures whose DC you don't beat spot you.

There's precedent for this in the system - Feinting is rolled against a flat DC rather than being an opposed roll.

I also like the idea of not having to make new checks unless you take other actions, such as moving - if all you do is hold still, having to make a new check every single round could be cumbersome.

I may start using something like this. It certainly does make it easier on rolling, and anything that speeds up game play is great. I wouldn't call it passive though, because there are going to be instances where guards are actively looking for a skulker. I would still use this rule in such a case, because it's easier.


The key difference between the new Stealth rules and the old ones is that your stealth does not expire immediately if you enter an open area. Even in bright light, your stealth does not deactivate until the end of your turn - and if you get to a shadowy area or behind cover before then, you can keep using stealth. You can finally dart between the shadows unnoticed!

You can't make a stealth check in bright light without cover, but making a stealth check means "initiating" stealth now. In broad daylight, you can sneak up on someone from behind a barrel or something and sneak attack them in the back before they know what's what.

I do think a special exception should be made for Sleight of Hand checks - sneaking up behind someone and taking their stuff is pretty iconic.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Gorbacz wrote:
Aaand that's why I enjoy having MiB around.

Indeed, that was an impressively thorough post. Some of it had been addressed by the time he finished (like the "at least 10 feet" thing), but still. Kudos.

Foghammer wrote:
I may start using something like this. It certainly does make it easier on rolling, and anything that speeds up game play is great. I wouldn't call it passive though, because there are going to be instances where guards are actively looking for a skulker. I would still use this rule in such a case, because it's easier.
Jiggy wrote:
This already exists in PF: it's called "they take 10 on their perception".

Boom! It's like I'm precogniscient or something! :D


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Interesting stuff, SRM, worthy of further reflection on my part.

The illustration, however, I can say without reflection is BRILLIANT! HAHA!

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Feral wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Please, only critique what you've read.

I did.

Attack (while stealthed)

Attacking you broke your stealth mode and your location is detected. You get 1 sneak attack.

Feral wrote:


Move + Stealth

You are observed, you can't initiate stealth at the start of your move.

Move behind something.
You still don't satisfy the requirement of being behind cover at the start of your move: "Usually a Stealth check is made at the start of a free, move, or swift action when you start that action with either some kind of cover"

Feral wrote:


Next turn, repeat as needed.

Next turn, if your target hasn't moved in a way to see you behind your cover, you can re-enter stealth.


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I think the new rules as-written make a lot of sense once you've made your way through them a few times, but they seem hopelessly wordy and need to be cleaned up quite a bit. I also think the absolute best solution to the inherent problems with using the term "invisible" would be to replace the invisible condition in the Core Rulebook with the following:

Imperceptible Condition
Imperceptible creatures are undetectable by normal means of either seeing or hearing, and sometimes by both. An imperceptible creature gains a +2 bonus on attack rolls against opponents unable to detect it, and ignores its opponents’ Dexterity bonuses to AC (if any).

You'd then have to replace all references to the invisible condition with the text "visually imperceptible." This gives you a clear distinction between effects that cause invisibility and effects that allow you to hide from all manner of perception, as well as opening up the possibility of effects that allow you not to make any sound while still being seen (in case that's useful at all... ninja, I'm looking at you).

This would mean that using stealth would make you fully imperceptible (neither sight nor sound), which would in and of itself help clean up the text somewhat. I really think the new proposed rules are actually quite simple if you could only phrase them in a simple way.


I can't even hope to begin to digest the new ideas and counter-arguments, but I look really forward to seeing how it all ends up.

This is why I play Pathfinder.


Jiggy wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Aaand that's why I enjoy having MiB around.

Indeed, that was an impressively thorough post. Some of it had been addressed by the time he finished (like the "at least 10 feet" thing), but still. Kudos.

Foghammer wrote:
I may start using something like this. It certainly does make it easier on rolling, and anything that speeds up game play is great. I wouldn't call it passive though, because there are going to be instances where guards are actively looking for a skulker. I would still use this rule in such a case, because it's easier.
Jiggy wrote:
This already exists in PF: it's called "they take 10 on their perception".
Boom! It's like I'm precogniscient or something! :D

Well, in this instance it's creating a Stealth DC, not an opposed check, which means that when I stat out NPCs or customize monsters for an encounter, I can just calculate out what the DC for stealthing around them is, like figuring up their Feint DC or Intimidate DC (which I've started doing since my players like to use those so much).

Contributor

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Wait. Formians, larvae. Where is the blog's image from? Because that's just one of the most awesome images of a formian queen ever.

Andoran

Diego Rossi wrote:
You are observed, you can't initiate stealth at the start of your move.

It doesn't matter if your target observed you. You are still behind cover.


Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
Todd Stewart wrote:
Wait. Formians, larvae. Where is the blog's image from? Because that's just one of the most awesome images of a formian queen ever.

I was guessing the Harrow module?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Todd Stewart wrote:
Wait. Formians, larvae. Where is the blog's image from? Because that's just one of the most awesome images of a formian queen ever.

That would be Harrowing. A recent adventure module of great potential.

Regards,
Ruemere

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Todd Stewart wrote:
Wait. Formians, larvae. Where is the blog's image from? Because that's just one of the most awesome images of a formian queen ever.

Harrowing by Crystal Frasier. Go and grab it now, it's an incredible adventure.

Taldor

Feral wrote:

I'm not a big fan. These rules make it too easy for stealthy characters to remain essentially permanently invisible.

I may be mistaken, but the invisibility is automatically ended if you do anything. This seems to settle once and for all the question of sneak attack on multiple attacks from Stealth. Sniping has always been -20, so that part of Stealth isn't new. I don't see how someone could stay permanently invisible this unless they remain completely still and make their stealth check every round to do so.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Feral wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
You are observed, you can't initiate stealth at the start of your move.
It doesn't matter if your target observed you. You are still behind cover.

Which means that you have arranged a situation (at the cost of potentially significant resources) in which you have cover or concealment against your target but they don't have it against you, and you are able to keep said situation without them moving out of range/into your cover, and you can keep succeeding on your stealth checks over and over again.

Yes, if you do all that, you get to keep shanking people from the shadows. Isn't that kind of the point?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Warforged Gardener wrote:
Feral wrote:

I'm not a big fan. These rules make it too easy for stealthy characters to remain essentially permanently invisible.

I may be mistaken, but the invisibility is automatically ended if you do anything. This seems to settle once and for all the question of sneak attack on multiple attacks from Stealth. Sniping has always been -20, so that part of Stealth isn't new. I don't see how someone could stay permanently invisible this unless they remain completely still and make their stealth check every round to do so.

To clarify, when he says "essentially permanently invisible", he means "repeatedly invisible, despite being spotted at least once every single round", by means of maintaining a position of cover/concealment against the enemy over the course of multiple rounds and succeeding on one or more stealth checks each round.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Feral wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
You are observed, you can't initiate stealth at the start of your move.
It doesn't matter if your target observed you. You are still behind cover.

Which means that you have arranged a situation (at the cost of potentially significant resources) in which you have cover or concealment against your target but they don't have it against you, and you are able to keep said situation without them moving out of range/into your cover, and you can keep succeeding on your stealth checks over and over again.

Yes, if you do all that, you get to keep shanking people from the shadows. Isn't that kind of the point?

I had a Kobold Rogue behind an arrow slit do this in a recent game. The players were pissed. Worked great though, and exactly how I think it should have gone.

Taldor

Jiggy wrote:

To clarify, when he says "essentially permanently invisible", he means "repeatedly invisible, despite being spotted at least once every single round", by means of maintaining a position of cover/concealment against the enemy over the course of multiple rounds and succeeding on one or more stealth checks each round.

I just got that reading the last few posts. The assumption is based on succeeding on the check with a -20 for sniping, or does that not apply here?

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Feral wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
You are observed, you can't initiate stealth at the start of your move.
It doesn't matter if your target observed you. You are still behind cover.

True. Now you can hide even if observed as long as you have cover.

On the other hand:

Blur is questionable even if RAW.
Displacement don't work as it don't give concealment, it give a miss chance (Spell text: the creature benefits from a 50% miss chance as if it had total concealment).
Smokestick, fog cloud and so on: sure. But you can do that even now.

Note that smokestick, fog cloud and so on work both ways too. You can hide, but your target can do the same on his turn.

Warforged Gardener wrote:
If you have, you broke stealth and could not make another stealth check because you can't make a stealth check while observed.

That isn't in the proposed wording of how stealth should work now, so Feral is right.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Warforged Gardener wrote:
Feral wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
You are observed, you can't initiate stealth at the start of your move.
It doesn't matter if your target observed you. You are still behind cover.
If you haven't moved from cover, it's sniping. If you have, you broke stealth and could not make another stealth check because you can't make a stealth check while observed. There's no loop unless -20 isn't an issue because of Greater invisibility or something.

It's only sniping if you're making a ranged attack from at least 10 feet away. So if you have a smokestick going, and you're standing in the smoke (granting you concealment) and stab the guy next to you, you lose stealth but (if you have an action remaining) can try to re-stealth.

And then (apparently) the target just stands there instead of either moving into the smoke (gaining miss chance and sneak attack immunity) or moving out of melee range of the smoke.

But in exactly the right circumstances, Feral's plan does sort of work. Which, IMO, is completely fine. It's what smoking rogues are SUPPOSED to be doing.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Warforged Gardener wrote:
Feral wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:
You are observed, you can't initiate stealth at the start of your move.
It doesn't matter if your target observed you. You are still behind cover.
If you haven't moved from cover, it's sniping. If you have, you broke stealth and could not make another stealth check because you can't make a stealth check while observed. There's no loop unless -20 isn't an issue because of Greater invisibility or something.

In the new rules, there is nothing preventing you from making a stealth check if you are currently observed, providing you meet the requirements for having cover or concealment. In the old rules, you there were easily ways to get arround it by getting total cover.


My two cents.
Stealth is fine and clear as it is in the core rulebook. This new version seems to me unnecessarily overconfusing.

If anything is to change, I would only add some words about the fact that when an individual is under total concealment or total cover (unless the cover is transparent), it cannot be detected by sight, and it will only be detectable by sound (or other senses, when appropriate) if it takes actions that makes it possible. Or if it simply comes to sight, of course.


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Suggestion: Whenever you guys get to the point where you think you have a publishable new rule,
besides releasing it as Errata, ALSO have a Blog/FAQ explaining the DIFFERENCES to the old version, or, `what is new`.
If the aim is a rule-set that is easily understandable, that will also be helpful for that goal.

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