Alot of good suggestions.
Yeah, I don't see combat end anywhere but in tragedy for my party. She hasn't even called in her two shining children yet. The party don't know they're even there. So its 4 Alu-demons 2 of which are at around 3/4ths hp, 5 completely unhurt giants, Delvahine, who is healing up from the Rogue's sneak attacks, and 2 Shining Children vs a Rogue, a Monk, a Paladin and a Witch, with the added bonus of their enemies having the Bard at their mercy.
Having Delvahine becoming more curious about the party is a viable angle. I do not wish to kill off the Bard (or anyone else for that matter), and with his countersong out of the picture, the party again becomes succeptible to the charms and suggestions of Delvahine and her children, who would, of course, rather have toys than corpses to play with.
My heroic party of heroic heroes arrived in Runeforge today's gamesession. They're now trapped there, and don't know how to get out. To begin with, they played it very cautiously. The witch scouted the Envy section with a floating eye, and proceeded to check out the opening section of Wrath and Greed, before checking on Lust. In Lust,she saw Mr Mutt, and instantly dropped any semblance of subtlety or care. They charged forth like big damn heroes, and were instantly heard and met by the Alu-Demon sister. Delvahine joined shortly after, and what followed was... unfotunate. After a bit of back and forth, the party witch managed to tick Delvahine off a bit, wherepon she suggested that the witch get down and bark like a dog. The Bard decided to countersong the effect, wherupon the Witch went into combat-mode, and from thereon the party simply got destroyed. First to act was the party Rogue, who sneak attacked Delvahine with her holy bow. Pissed and hurting, Delvahine called for the slaves, and ordered her daughters to silence the Bard and Kill the Rogue. The Monk tried valiantly to pose a threat to the Alu-Demons, but being good daughters, they did what mommy said,and maintained focus on the two squishies, while Delvahine assumed Greater Invisibility and initiated a grapple with the witch, managing to energy drain away access to her highest level spells.
The fight continued for a few rounds, and the party remained in control of themselves by virtue of the Bard's countersong. Then the Witch had to dimensiondoor out to save her skin, and as the Rogue and Bard lined up to follow, Delvahine dragged the bard off, to prevent them from escaping. The bard was struck down and is bleeding to death. The rogue escaped to the main chamber with a sliver of health, and the Monk, while battered and bruised, is not ready to leave the Bard behind yet. So now its the Monk and the Paladin vs the entire Cathedral of Lust. No enemies are down yet, or even at half HP. And Delvahine presently has the helpless Bard in her grasp, high above the battle, ready to murder him in a second if needed.
I imagine Delvahine would wanna keep the Bard for a pet for a little while, seeing as how he has an extremely pretty voice (Casual 50 perform), and would probably start a hostage situation, rather than continue the fight, with the risk of losing her daughters to a lucky smite.
Can you offer any advice on how to make the most of the present predicament?
Thanks in advance.
I usually avoid Lycanthropes, because I am of the belief that the lycanthropy rules are a gigantic clusterf**k, and I don't want to deal with it, in case a player becomes afflicted.
Well... while technically not overpowered or anything, on its own, I find that crocodiles, if sprung on the party in a swamp or similar terrain that favours the crocodile, they can actually be devastating. They casually stealth for 23 + modifiers if the water is murky and whatnot. Then they pick out a target (likely the party halfling, or small and weak-looking target?), and once the time is right, they strike, sprinting with a sudden 40ft per round burst, biting, grappling, and dragging down their target, then they apply the deathroll, while their target is rolling to escape the grapple, cannot see anything in the murky swamp-water, is being tossed around like a ragdoll, and is drowning. Meanwhile, if the water is deep enough, the party has to do down after it, to save their party member. If the water is only waist-high or somesuch, any non-piercing weapon still deal half damage, and they're stabbing blind (or at least concealed), trying to stab something in the water.
Crocodiles can be serious business.
You are correct about the general rule of such magic items.
If the text spells out a higher caster level, however, that means that the item in question casts a more powerful version of the spell.
In your example, the scroll of flaming shpere would create a Flaming Sphere can could be moved around for 5 rounds, whereas such a scroll, if just aquired at the lowest possible caster level (CL 3), would only let the sphere be out for 3 rounds. Furthermore, the scroll has a higher caster level, for the purpose of overcoming spell resistance. And because it is more powerful than a standard scroll of Flaming Sphere, it would also be more expensive on the marketplace: spell level 2 x caster level 5 x 25 gp, for a total of 250gp, instead of the 150gp such a scroll can normally be bought at. This works if the players sell the item as well, with them being able to fetch 125 gp for the scroll, rather than 75gp.
Hope it helps.
I'll remind you that it technically does not cost gold to make magic items.
It costs gold to get the potent magical ingredients, needed to make the magic items, from specialists, monster hunters, alchemists and whatnot, and have them delivered from exotic locations. So even if you say that gold is not a barrier, which I definitely do not agree with, especially for non-adventurers, all a big pile of gold will get you, is shiny encumbrance.
"Power lies not in wealth, but in the things it affords you", to quote a certain fictitious vampire.
So while, yes, Slackjaw Joe, the hammerhanded magic item specialist might be very talented, he's gonna have an issue with aquiring dragonbone marrow, an amethyst cut by a blind man, and powdered hydra teeth that have been marinating in mercury and wolfsbane for a full moon, as well as the multitude of other ingredients he might need.
True, gamemasters usually just make it a direct cash for magic items deal, but that is not (I should think) because they think you transmute mammon to magic, but because the game is supposed to be fun, and gathering these items could be tedious.
It does not have to be, it depends on players. Had a campaign get sidetracked for a few weeks once, while my players travelled out to get the components for a particularly powerful magic item. They seemed to enjoy themselves, adventuring into deep forests to get "A branch from a beffudled treant, willingly given", among other ingredients.
Anyhew... that was rantish....hope it helps?
I won't be picking apart the diabolist to give a complete answer. At least not tonight.
I will, however, say this. If you make a wizard with the Familiar Arcane Bond, and then take the Improved familiar feat, to get an Imp familiar, you get to have 2 Imps, one on each shoulder, that can advice you, and whisper hellish corruption in your ears. One is loyal to you, one is loyal to hell.
I'd argue that this makes it useful, for its flavour value alone. Especially in Way of the Wicked :)
I guess if you essentially took Pharasma's plane out of the equation, there'd be an issue with where bad guys go? Abaddon, The Abyss and The Pit, basically lay claim of the different kinds of evil souls, yet there are evil gods(with no ties to the 3 lower planes), who might expect to get their servants brought to their halls, once they die?
Normally this hasn't been as much of a problem, but the game I'm running now is a set in a homebrew mesoamerican setting. Jungles, blood magic, mysterious diseases and even more mysterious monsters. Exploration and mystery are the themes of the day and those damn knowledge checks keep killing my mystery! They hit the "Uncover secrets" button and the mystery of an interesting creature falls away.
You're very welcome mate.
Is this neck of the world, they're travelling in, well documented by prior explorers? If not, then there's a limit to the usefulness of knowledge skills. The knowledge skills may provide helpful hints, but if no clear knowledge has been uncovered, no clear knowledge has been uncovered.
Your PCs might become the law on the area and the creatures of the area, when they return, having uncovered a tonne of information themselves.
If only small bits of pre-existing information exist, I'd basically increase the DC og the knowledge check by somewhere between +5 to +15 based on how little information exist. If the players run across some form of giant, monstrous wasp, that has only been encountered once in recorded history, by the explorer Maggie the Snoring, who only managed to scribble "THE PAIN! THE PAAAAAIN!" into her notes, before she was found in a deep sleep, from which she has yet to be roused, then there won't be alot of basis for knowledge checks.
Here's what I suggest you do. Let the Knowledge checks remain relevant, but do so in a different way. Exploration is the flavour of the day? Let characters with high knowledge, have insight into the workings of the world, and use this to provide hints. An example:
"As you clear the foliage, you spy a creature, its rubbery skin a deep, murky green, covered in clusters of rocklike scales, almost like barnacles on a ship. <insert more description>"
Player 1: "I roll an applicable knowledge skill!" *rolls and succeeds*
"You realize, almost immediately after browsing your brain-box, that you have no knowledge of this creature. No references in any tomes, no tribal stories carried over by sailors or explorers. To you, this creature is completely alien..."
Player 1: "But..."
"...However! You are no amateur to the ways of the world, realizing that the creatures rocklike scales and rubbery skin, will likely prove a tough fight, even for a well sharpened sword. Its form is big, and lumbering, but you notice its hind legs are fairly strong-looking, and seems to carry alot of the weight. The creature might be capable of quite extraordinary speeds. That, coupled with the long claws on its front legs, but not-so-long claws on its hind-legs, implies that the creature might be a charging hunter, like the great cats of northern forests back home, or the far-east. Finally, the stinky, dank swamp you're presently traversing, though full of pestilence and mosquitos, seem to be its hunting grounds. Unless it drags its prey to a patch of dry-land somewhere, it likely eats whatever it catches, right here, slurping up a tonne of disease-ridden, boggy water, while eating. This creature is likely very healthy, maybe even downright immune to disease"
And from this, your players have uncovered that the creature has damage reduction, a high base speed, pounce, a good fortitude save and maybe immunity to diseases and poisons. Not from knowing it in advance, but from applying knowledge to an unfamiliar situation. As the battle progresses, they may learn new things about the creature, and if they're smart, their characters will keep a journal of it, and have it published when they get home, for the benefit of the scientiific world :)
hope it helps
The normal adventuring day assumes 8 hours of travel, 8 hours of rest and 8 hours of making camp, faffing about and taking down the camp. During this time, the players are assumed to be doing stuff, even though you don't always roleplay every hour in-character. Ever read Lord of the Rings? The poor level 1 hobbits may start out with low knowledge checks, but Strider and Gandalf share alot of information, and alot of songs are shared in the travelling party. Songs about history, geography, and great legends. Ample basis for increasing your knowledge skills, and it works for them. After stopping in Rivendell, Merry reads up on the lay of the lands, which helps him guide Pippin in Fangorn. Alot of things go down behind the scenes.
Reading books, sharing stories and gossip, singing together (alot of useful info in songs). As the players increase in level, they may raise their knowledge skills, and they will learn stuff. As they return from their adventures, the other veteran adventurers in the tavern will nod respectfully, and let them share a seat at the big-boys table. Suddenly the players have access to a wealth of info from other well-travelled adventurers.
Point is: There is alot of stuff going on during the small bits of downtime, and it does not have to diminish the fantastical, if the player characters know what they're dealing with.
Presently my gaming group is playing through an old AP, and they've encountered dragons twice. Both times, the Bard aced his knowledge checks, but that did not mean I had to make them any less fantastical.
He had enough knowledge of dragonkind to know many of its strengths and weaknesses. I took a minute to explain his character's memories as he searched his brain-box for answers. He knew about their flight (clumsy) from having observed a dragon on one of their travels, as it flew overhead and into a forest. He remembered an old song, being sung by Chelish sailors that spoke of Captain Harnowasch who drove off a white dragon with fire and flame. And so on, and so on.
Also, do note that the amount of information you gain from succeeding a knowledge check is not set in stone. 2 playsessions ago, I had my players run into a Leng Spider, stalking them in the night, in the frozen wastes of the Varisian nolands. They hid in the witch's secure shelter, and I was able to make it into an intense scene, rather than a fight, by describing the creature, when they succeeded their knowledge checks. I emphasized the murky, conflicting information on the subject, and what little actual knowledge existed of the Nightmare realm of Leng. I gave them information on its strengths and weaknesses, but delivered it in such a way, that the players would shy away from confrontation. Instead it became an instense, memorable sequence :)
Hope it helps.
Since the sleeping PC was...well...asleep, do you even have to make a combat maneuver against him? Provided his character's total weight was under the weight the BBEG could move around, would the BBEG then not, under the rules, have been able to just toss the PC off the cliff like a sack of potatoes?
Thank mates :)
I'll make it so they can't use power attack on their regular attacks, but only have it as a prerequisite for improved drag :)
Zhangar, I was wondering how to advance the breath weapon myself, but I could not find any useful information pertaining to it, so I just left it as it were. :)
Yesterday I tried my hand at creating a troop, for the first time.
Tried making a troop of Winter Wolves. This particular troop is supposed to reflect a group containing about 12 wolves.
So, do you think this statblock looks right?
Comments and insights appreciated.
Winter Wolf troop:
Winter Wolf Troop CR 12 – exp 19200
NE Large magical beast (cold, troop)
Init +5; Senses Darkvision 60 ft. , low-light vision, scent; Perception +23
AC 25 touch 10 flat-footed 25 (+1dex, -1 size, +15 natural)
hp 200 (16HD+96Con+16Toughness)
Fort +14 Ref +9 Will +5
Immune cold, trip, bull-rush, single-target spells
Weaknesses vulnerability to fire, area of effect spells
Speed 50 ft. (10 squares)
Melee troop (4d6+18(30 with power attack)+1d6 cold + trip)
Space 20ft. Reach 5ft.
Special Attack breath weapon (every 1d4 rounds, 15 ft. cone 6d6 cold damage, Reflex half (DC 24)
Str 34 (+12), Dex 13 (+1), Con 22 (+6), Int 9 (-1), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 10 (+0)
Base Atk +12 CMB +25(27 on drag) CMD 35
Feats Improved Initiative, Run, Skill Focus (Perception), Toughness, Power Attack, Improved Drag
Skills Perception +23, Stealth +8(+16 in snow), Survival +7, Racial Modifiers +2 perception, +2 stealth (+8 in snow), +2 survival
Language Common, Giant
If there is such a tier-system I do not know about it.
I guess you could argue that Alignment DR is more powerful, in the sense that it is harder for your average adventurer to get your weapon to do alignment damage. Paladins get it right out of the gate(I think, not really pally-savvy), but other classes (with certain exceptions) have to pay for a weapon enhancement to get alignment damage on their weapon. Whereas everyone with the cash to spare, can get adamantine weapons in a big enough city.
Taking some advice from this board, I'm changing an encounter with 40+ winter wolves, to an encounter with 4 Winter Wolf Troops, of 10 wolves each, and a few high-tier wolves + a boss.
But I cannot seem to wrap my around the troop mechanics.
How do I calculate the HD and HP? Do I just multiply the 6HD of a winter wolf by 10? One for everyone wolf in the troop? That would make such a troop a 60HD creature with con score of 18, totalling 540hp.
What about saves, breath weapon and attacks?
I am pretty inexperienced with applying templates and subtypes, so some assistance in creating this Winter Wolf Troop correctly, would be appreciated.
Thank you very much in advance.
Tired, entitled rant below:
I prefer my elves to be unsleeping and untrancing.
I want them to be able to enter a dream-state akin to that of Tolkien elves, where they can rest their minds and ponder mysteriously, even as they walk or function normally. Like Legolas did in the Two Towers. Not some form of trance that is implied to basically work like sleep, and requires rest.
I want elven spellcasters to just get their spells back every 24 hours.
I want the elven houses in Kyonin to have beds, for the sole purpose of being comfy while making love, and for enjoying the feeling of silk-sheets a bit more than is perhaps socially acceptable.
heh... I want alot of things :)
BTW, bring back the magical food from Elves of Golarion! That was awesome! In fact, do alot of stuff with elves that make them more alien! and gets them their own brand of awesome. There have been way too much homogenization going on through d20 history.
JaAaaaAamMeeeEeSsss, be my wish-granting fairy and make all the stuff I want :C
Naturally I have faith in my players, that they will find a way to handle the situation :)
Though I'll admit that these are grim odds indeed, and quite a few CR above their APL, but at least they went into it, of their own chosing.
I've got a question regarding the Troop subtype. It says that damage is based on hit dice. Does that mean that a 6 hit die winter wolf troop will deal 6 damage automatically? Or does it mean it will do 6+7(str + prime nattack)+1d6 cold damage?
Also, would a troop be immune to chain lightning?
And how would the free trip attempt on every landed hit work with a troop? Do I just roll a CMB roll against each enemy hit, every round?
Thanks everyone, for your quick responses and great input.
I'll provide some contextual information, that may help shed some light on my players' exact situation.
The party consists of:
They're presently travelling close to the boarder between Varisia and The Linnorm Kingdoms, heading very close to the western edges of the Kodar mountains.
They travel by day, and use the spell Secure Shelter by night, having learned from a local druid that travelling without sunlight in these regions is suicide. Further they were told that if they intended to head towards a lake near the Kodars, they should cross a river they're travelling next to, since they were about to head into Usxhvalha's territory, and among the wolves of these frozen badlands, he was the largest, and most dangerous the druid had ever known live in the area, and commanded a host of wolves, greater than one would believe.
My players decided to try to help the region by not crossing the river, and instead heading into wolf-territory to kill themselves some winter-wolves. Last night, their cottage was surrounded by a large scouting group of 20 or so Wolves, hoping to just grab a few morsels and drag them off. When they saw the shelter, that they knew weren't there the day before, they decided to just circle it and taunt the PCs for awhile, before pulling back to tell their Alpha about it. The PCs know there is likely to be around 40 wolves if not more, yet they plan to go through with it.
I believe the paladin plans to challenge Usxhvalha to single combat, hopefully scaring the others off. I've yet to make my mind up if I'll have Usxhvalha take up the challenge, but so far I'm thinking not.
Also note that I do not imagine the wolves sleeping in a cave, since they have no need to hide from the elements of the region.
The players have been provided with an escape-route, in that they can cross the river to escape. I've made it clear to them that because of fluff-reasons, the wolves will not step foot(step paw?) in the river. However due to it being around midway through Pharast, some of the snow in the lower mountains, at the base of the river has started melting, and the river currents are strong and foam decorates the water. Also, my players have access to teleport, which could be a last-second save for them, provided they're capable of remaining in touching-distance of eachother.
In light of these informations, is there anything you would like to add? :)
I have a question regarding how to run combat with a massive amount of enemies. Today my players decided to help out a region of frontier country, by challenging a giant pack of Winter Wolves.
I am unsure if they'll go though with it, but presently they stand to fight around 40 CR5 Winter Wolves and their Alpha Usxhvalha, an Advanced Winter Wolf CR 8, totalling quite the epic challenge for their APL 13 party.
Now I can only imagine my players will be inventive and find some way to tip the situation in their favor, but let us assume for the moment that everything fails and the enemy just opens the floodgates and pour on them like a wave.
How would you run such an encounter? I'm concerned that the encounter will feel slow to my players, with around 8 wolves taking turn in between each of theirs.
I've been playing through Rise of the Runelords for around 1½ year now, with my present group, and they're getting really close to the endgame. 4 of my players join me over skype, and I have my GF here in the apartment with me, so for the most part, we run the game digitally. We use maptool, for dungeonmapping and stuff like that.
Over the course of the game I've had succes with mood music, basically playing it on my side, and letting it pass through the mic onto my skype-buddies. However, this, of course distorts the music a bit and sometimes requires me to play it loud enough, that it becomes a nuisance to hear my players through the PC speakers.
I'm looking for a program, preferably browser based, but I'm trying to be flexible, that will let me play music for my players live. So I can have a playlist running with the proper mood-music, and switch as appropriate.
Do you know of such a program? I know Roll20 has the jukebox function, but that program does not really agree with me in its present form.
Thanks in advance.
As I have come to understand it, there are quite a few people in hell who would rather not be there. Maybe look for some of them, see if you can work something out? Maybe seek out a soul who has not gone mad with eternal torment, yet, who cannot escape himself on account of ... well... being consigned to hell, but who might be able to help someone who has just been gated/teleported/called/whatever there, in exchange for some help, once you get out?
As a paladin, you unfortunately radiate good, which is gonna make you stand out like a sore thumb. Not much chance of going unnoticed.
You could try to walk into the first infernal city you spot, walk up to a devil, and ask it to its face, where you can find the one who rules the domain you walk in. Then present yourself, and apologize for intruding in his domain, but you are unfamiliar with the territory, then ask for permission to conduct your business in his realm, as long as you don't interfere with his business. If you can get such a deal going, you should be able to avoid getting wolf-packed by hordes of lesser devils, trying to score themselves some pally-blood.
Cool, well okay.
First off, I can see Hierophant making sense for a paladin. Your Divine Surge ability should probably be Beast's Fury (If your divine bond is a mount) or Recalled Blessing.
I don't know if it's me misreading your concept, but I'd think that the tier 1 powers Divine Countenance and Sustained by Faith would fit well with your character. Though I am not sure if they mechanically stand up to their alternatives.
You'll lose out of offense by not going Marshal, but the Paladin is a very strong class on its own, so if you focus your feat selection and general level advancement a bit on offense, and then use your mythic paths to empower your "shining knight"-image, I'd think you could make a great character, both from a mechanical and flavour standpoint.
At the early levels, maybe even as early as first level, I'd grab toughness as a feat. As long as you don't completely tank your to-hit, you'll be able to stay viable in fights, even against high-AC encounters, through Smite Evil. Still, I'd probably grab weapon focus in your weapon of choice, sooner rather than later. Seeing as how Wrath of the Righteous is supposed to contain demons in spades, I'll assume alot of fast healing/regeneration and damage reduction, so power attack could be a lifesaver.
If you're looking for defense, there are quite a few nice shield-based feats that let you improve its defensive value, and guard your allies. If you're going for offense, certain combinations of TWF mesh fairly well with sword and shield. But as a heavily armored, shining knight, I'm guessing you don't plan on pumping dexterity.
As a paladin, I don't foresee you having any problems with saves, unless your dice favors natural 1's. Once Divine Grace kicks in at level 2, even your god-awful reflex-save will get a kick in the ass, and with immunity to fear waiting down the line, you should do fine. As a self-healer and (usually) frontliner, you will probably be sporting a few HP's, so even if your reflex save is a bit lower than what you'd like, you can likely eat whatever evocations your enemy toss your way.
AC is a tricky beast. In my experience, you'll blow every ounce of gold you have on AC items, if you insist on keeping it high enough to almost never get hit. As I see it, AC is not about blocking attacks - it's about blocking the iterative attacks. The first attack will land, it usually does, but keeping your AC at around 18-20 at level 1, and then letting it rise in tandem with your own to-hit, should keep you floating. I'd likely stop raising it once you're at 35-40 AC, since raising it further is likely to be a suboptimal cash-sink.
Hope it helps.... and hope I'm not giving you bad advice :P
So my players are playing Sins of the Saviors, and are slowly, but surely, approaching the encounter with Arkrhyst. Only problem is, I rolled the weather for that encounter in advance, and its gonna be a nice, sunny, albeit cold day to be an adventurer... and then somewhere around afternoon, severe winds and heavy snowfall.
Usually I'd just roll with it, I mean, a bit of harsh weather will just add to the challenge, but usually not spell outright doom for the players. But in this case, I think that with severe winds and heavy snowfall, Arkrhyst is gonna completely destroy my players. Also, I predict them hitting Arkrhyst around midway through Pharast, meaning it'll be fairly dark, that time of day.
My question is: Should I hand-of-god this encounter and make the weather less of a deathtrap to my players? I realize they may just flee and live to fight another day, but if they don't, or their casters get iced, then they're as good as dead, the way I see it.
Your input would be very much appreciated.
It depends on the setting of the fight. If the Adult Blue Dragon fights them anywhere in the open, plays to its strengths and fights smart, the party will be utterly annihilated. Blue Dragons are masters of hit and run strategies, able to deprive their enemies of water and take repeated shots at them with its lightning breath.
If the dragon plays to its strengths, the party should run in terror, NPCs or not.
DISCLAIMER: The following is entirely my opinion, and I do not expect others to share it.
I completely disagree. Like... completely, flat on its face, 180 degrees, disagree.
The PCs should enjoy their new benefits with little to no worry. They should be rewarded for their evil actions with genuine, tangible benefits, and have little-to-no tangible disadvantages from it, as long as they don't obviously flaunt their evil in the face of people who are bound to be judgemental about it.
And it should be this way, because evil is supposed to be tempting. It is supposed to feel awesome and rewarding to be evil. A good character who steps foot on the path of evil is supposed to think: "Geez, why didn't I do this years ago?! I'm never f****ng stopping". Because evil is supposed to be the easy way. The quick way. You sacrifice part of your humanity, of your innocence, commiting evil, and you get to see the benefits of it. The real, true backlash does not come during play, unless the PCs are caught in their vile deeds, but once the character dies. Their soul has to go somewhere :)
I'm thinking movement is closer to home than move-action in this case.
A person who is standing behind a chest-high wall, when someone comes along that he'd like hide from, rolls his stealth. Now I assume that in this case, the movement that is spoken of, would be him ducking down behind the chest-high wall, rather than him just standing there (technically in cover) and just stepping 5 ft to the right and then being stealthed.
This is of course, opinion.
But still, you'd have to be in Total C/C to satisfy both conditions at once, yes?
That'd be my ruling, yes. You'd need to be in cover, such that the enemy cannot trace a line from his square, to your square, without cutting through something. If your enemy can trace a line from his square to yours, then he can still observe a part of you (like your shoulder for instance) and you'd be unable to stealth, until you had fully broken LoS. So if you're trying to stealth from pursuers in a forest, you don't necessarily need to find a big tree, but a few smaller trees, sufficiently densely packed, could potentially make it so it was not possible to see you, and that would permit a stealth check.
I'd argue that from a RAI perspective, Danny should be able to stealth again once his enemy can no longer clearly observe him. Danny could be anywhere, once behind the tree. He could be sneaking backwards, while keeping the tree between them. He could be prone, crawling along the dark forest floor, or sneaking in any number of directions. He could be stealthily climbing up the tree for all they know. The shadowy area(dim light) could cheat their senses before Danny was spotted, and I believe it continues to be able to do so, once the character can no longer clearly observe his target.
Perception must be rolled once more.
From a RAW perspective, I am uncertain, since I do not know if there is a clear definition of how a character comes to "observe" another character, and what ways exist that stops said character from "observing" his target. There are alot of ways it could be easily argued to work, but if they are clearly supported in the rules, I do not know. Actually I doubt that it has been spelled out, with any degree of precision.
So without knowing for certain whether there is actual rules text, spelling out how observation of someone else is obtained and lost, I'd argue that in this case, the GM is supposed to rule based on what seems to make sense. This is of course a dubious solution, especially in cases of organized play.
With regards to being observed and using stealth:
Shadowlord covers it rather well.
We imagine a bonfire, shedding light in 20ft radius circle, shedding dim light a further 20 ft, and then nothing but inky, black night. Around this bonfire sits 4 humans. Danny is trying to sneak up on them. Despite being a human himself, and having no darkvision, Danny can see the light of the campfire perfectly well, so he moves closer. When he reaches a distance of around 200 ft, he starts stealthing, to be on the safe side. We assume Danny is taking 10 with a +10 to stealth and the people around the fire are taking 10, with a +4 perception, and a -5 penalty for being distracted, since they’re presently debating something relevant to their interests.
Danny sneaks into the dim light around the bonfire, and is now 25 ft away from the closest enemy. Still no problems, in regards to perception vs stealth. But then something annoying happens. An owl hoots, particularly close by, and one of humans around the bonfire stops taking 10, and rolls a regular perception to try to spot it. He does not count as distracted for this purpose. Not only is he now a threat to Danny’s stealth, but he actually rolls a 20. 24 beats Danny’s stealth check of 20, and the man jumps to his feat and shouts for his buddies to notice Danny, sneaking up on them. Danny freezes where he stands, ready to react, as the other people jump to their feet and, despite a +2 bonus on their perception checks, fail to notice him. Danny, despite being observed by one enemy, can still stealth with regards to the other people, who have yet to beat his stealth check. However, he cannot stealth with regards to the enemy observing him, even though he has concealment. He needs to find some way of making himself unobserved. Danny can do several things to make this happen.
He could quickly use a move action to stealth behind a tree. The stealth would not work against one of his foes, but the rest would remain oblivious to his movement, and once behind the tree, he breaks line of sight, to the one enemy observing him. He can now no longer clearly observe Danny, and Danny can use another movement to stealth further into the dim light, trying to get evade his enemies.
He could also attempt a bluff check to distract his enemy. While I’d usually equate this to, for example, pointing over the shoulder of someone and shouting “what is that, behind you?!”, nowhere does it say that you have make a vocal bluff. I could see this, being Danny crouching down, making himself smaller and harder to observe, then rolling sideways, whipping his cape around and tossing up a handful of leaves, effectively tricking the observing enemy’s eyes, permitting Danny to stealth back out into darkness while he’s distracted.
Or, of course, Danny could just remain observed and walk back another 20 feet, planting him solidly outside the dim light, back out in the darkness, where his human enemy can no longer observe anything. Once out here, Danny could begin stealthing again.
First, on the topic of question 4:
I don’t think you’re actually –really- exposed when you move from cover to cover. Don’t get me wrong, when I picture a rogue, moving through the ruins of an Egyptian-esque temple, darting from pillar to pillar, to remain stealthed, he is definitely exposed when clearing the space between them, but by the rules he technically remains unobserved and stealthed, as long as he ends his turn in cover or concealment, and nobody beats his stealth. I don’t think there’s a way to actually get around that, even with readied actions.
Let bring out Danny again, shall we? And while we’re at it, let’s use a hallway as well. We picture a 60 ft long hallway, 10 ft across, lined on both sides with pillars, placed with 15 ft intervals. Each pillar has a torch sconce, with a burning torch in it, so the room is well lit. At the end of this hallway, we place a guard. The guard has his longbow out, and has an action readied to send an arrow flying against the first intruder he sees. Danny, meanwhile, is stealthed behind the second pillar.
Now Danny wants to make a break for it, and run to the next pillar up the hallway, in an attempt to close in on the guard. He moves from cover to cover, permitting him a stealth check, opposed by the guard’s perception check. Despite Danny leaving cover and walking up the hallway, he’s still allowed to remain unobserved, as if constantly in conditions permitting him stealth, as long as he ends his turn in cover. Despite the guard having a readied action, he cannot effectively use it here, until he notices Danny. Until that time, Danny could keep darting from cover to cover, permitting him movement, even across space that would normally break his stealth, and still remain unobserved.
Let me add that I disagree with your thoughts on being aware of someone. As I read it, if they fail to beat your stealth check, and as such remain unaware of you, it means they don’t observe you. You remain unobserved by whomever is not aware of you, until you they beat your stealth checks, or the situation changes to where you can no longer remain stealthed to them.
So as I see it, if you remain stealthed, you are effective untargetable by anything requiring an attack roll. However if you’re sneaking up on Mordrius the twitchy pyromancer of southern Taldor, and he suddenly spots a particularly threatening butterfly, he might accidentally toss a fireball your way, catching you in the explosion. However, even in this case, you do not necessarily break stealth, thought I’d argue the GM could call for a check on some relevant skill or save, to see if you maintain composure and silence, even while eating 10d6 firedamage.
Thank you all for your thoughtful answers! Especially Nearyn, I know all that typing took some time, but the examples really helped. If you are still checking this thread, and have the time, I would really appreciate your thoughts on question #4 in particular.
You are very welcome mate.
I'll give you my thoughts on #4 sometime this week :)
Question 3: Unfortunately yes, I disgree. By RAW it is completely impossible to Stealth in bright light, unless you have cover or are invisible. This is likely not the intent, but rather the effects of artefacts in the language.
IMO this is the result of the lighting rules being copy-pasted from Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. Back in the 3.5 days, there were two Stealth-skills. Hide and Move Silently. When in bright light, without cover or invisibility, you could not hide, but you could move silently. But with the text being copied over, hide and move silently were just replaced with Stealth, meaning that by RAW, if someone has lit a hallway with daylight spell, and there's a sleeping guard in it, you cannot use stealth to try to move silently past him. You being in bright light just auto-denies your stealth unless you have cover or invisibility, meaning he'll likely wake up because the brightly lit room shuts down your ability to do anything but stomp down the hallway like a one-man-marching-band.
I recommend you just flat out ignore that part of the rules, and instead house-rule that you can use stealth for the purpose of not making sound when moving, even when in bright light. And that if you have ways of getting concealment(not necessarily cover), then you may attempt to stealth, even in bright light.
Question 2: Yes. Everyone who might see you, is allowed a perception check to attempt to beat your stealth check. Some might be positioned in such a way that your cover does not grant you concealment against them, and they almost automatically see you. You may think you're hiding in the dim light, at the edge of a torch, but there could be an elf with the enemy, who sees you just fine.
However, if you have a target, and remain stealthed with respects to that target, you're golden. Lets say you're hidden in the dim light shed at the edge of a torch, and the enemy elven ranger says to his human companions "Be careful! That guy looks like he's gonna attempt to sneak up on you!", his allies do not necessarily see you. They may get a +2 bonus on perception checks to beat your stealth check, if the elf tries to direct their attention, but otherwise you remain stealthed to them, until they beat your stealth score, or changes the conditions so your stealth no longer applies (Like moving the torch closer to you, making it so you're now trying to stealth in normal light, rather than dim)
Here's where things get hairy. This has been discussed, over and over again, time in and time out, because at present, the stealth rules do not exactly work as intended. I don't hold any hopes of adequately describing the circus that is a typical stealth-discussion, so I'll try to be simple about what rulings people seem to think are solid.
Danny is hiding from 2 enemy fighters, in the dim light surrounding their normal torchlight. The enemy ranger sees him, but him assisting his team does not raise their perception high enough to see Danny. Danny moves up to one fighter and attacks:
Group A says): Once Danny enters the normal light, his stealth is instantly broken and the fighter is not denied his dex bonus against the attack, meaning the attack is not a sneak attack.
Group B says): The rules are unclear on whether stealth allows you to deny dex against an attack, meaning there is no basis for arguing a sneak attack in the first place. Danny attacks, but against full AC.
Group C says): Danny charging out of the shadows and attacking the man, denies his dex to AC, because he cannot manage to raise his guard against the attack in time, effectively granting Danny precision damage, if the attack hits.
Group D says): The devs clearly didn't consider this
Group E says): I like skittles
And then everyone starts calling eachother names, and the thread is derailed. Support staff enter the thread to keep everyone civil once or twice, but then abandons the thread, along with everyone sane.
In short, you're unlikely to find RAW satisfying, or even find someone else who completely agrees with you on what the RAW are.