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Stealth to a sneak attack


Rules Questions

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Ok but keep an open mind for a second. Is it possible that they only get wonky under an uber-pedantic, hyper-literal interpretation from the internet?


TGMaxMaxer wrote:

Ok, a perception check is needed to "notice" someone walking thru the woods, or to find them after they have ran around a corner, or in a crowd of people, correct?

If just having line of sight to something automatically succeeded on that perception check, why is it even a skill?

If you have someone trained to not be seen, such as someone with ranks in stealth, and they hide while out of your view, why would you -automatically- see them as soon as they enter the room/hall/space you're in? In game, you get a chance to "notice" creatures in ambush, with a perception roll. You get a chance to "notice", someone slipping up to pick your pocket, with a perception roll. You get a chance to "notice" someone stealthing by you, with a perception roll.

If you fail that roll, you don't notice them, then you certainly cannot observe something that you have not noticed.

You're saying that if I come up to you to pick your pocket, there's a chance you won't see me, but if I come up to stab you, you automatically see me?

You should see them before you get stabbed.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

No, even mildly pedantic readings can reveal serious wonkiness in the stealth rules.


:)


Nicos wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

What I am saying is that you can see in all directions. That does not mean that everything is automatically noticed. The DC of 0 has nothing to do with direction. It has to do with distance. The book also says it is a DC of 0, to notice an visible creature as a base point. Now by RAW there are times that perception check should be made since the book gives you a -1 per 10 feet to the perception roll, but many people ignore it.

Using the OP's example if the ninja breaks cover he will be seen before he gets to the target unless the target has no ranks in perception, a terrible wisdom score, and rolls really low, but those rolls almost never take place, in an actual game unless someone is hiding or very far away, even if the penalty to the perception modifier is really bad.

edit:added "in an actual game"

edit:My previous post was not worded well.

Thats do not make senes whith the rest of the interpretation of stealth. You said before that getting out of cover automatically breaks invisibility, there was no distance in your statemant.

To be clear it was something like "if the enemy can draw a line of sight to you then stealth is automaticall broken"

now you are saying that there is a a roll to see people.

sorry is a look to be conflictive but to me this issue get convoluted with every post XD

I said it was automatic because when you have line of sight people assume you are seen, and they never account for the roll*. I was incorrect by that with RAW. If you play strictly by RAW you should have to roll a check if you can't roll a 1 and make it.

*I did say in my other post that people often ignore that. There was no conflict, only a correction.


Grimmy wrote:

First it was sugar, now it's preservatives. Can you drop the sanctimonious drivel for a second and tell me what additives I'm applying to your so-called vegetables? I'm not trying to change the stealth rules I'm explaining how I read them for anyone open-minded enough to consider another point of view. I don't know if my reading is the intended one I just know it's easy, stream-lined, solves more problems then it creates and jell's just fine with the text as it's written.

I'm not trying to tell you how to play so can you please stop telling me what to eat?

Don't condenscend me maaan...

The issue is that it creates problems elsewhere in the rules. If you add facing to the game it won't just affect stealth. That is why I used the example of being surrounded by multiple people and losing dex to AC if the game has facing.

My way to solve it, and yes it is a houserule:
1.There is no facing. That kills any issues facing can cause.
2a. If you can get from the place you made you stealth check at to the victim in one move then you get they lose dex to AC against you.
2b. If you make a successful stealth check, and on the next round stop your turn out in the open with no cover or concealment then you are pretty much seen.
3. The book has the rule of a perception check to see someone being 0 if they are right beside. I ignore that, just like most people do, if there is no active attempt to hide.

Andoran

Seems to me like the best interpretation we have so far is this:

If you are stealthed during your turn (i.e. you are seemingly unobserved by your target at the start of your turn) you may get sneak attack damage if you can:
A: move to your target and attack that turn
B: beat his perception check during that turn with a new stealth check.

Seems like this allows the standard use of stealth to get out of sight to begin with, then requires an opposed check to actually make the sneak attack count.

It would simulate the "damn fog, can't see a thing." and then either:

A: OHGODAROGUE! ow that hurt.

or

B: now where couldAAAAUUGHH my SPLEEEEEEEEN!

Just my best attempt at processing the current rules with logic and hopefully a fair approach. I agree from our readings here that there's some muddy ground at this point, though. This idea would at least give the rogue a chance to dart out of said fog and place his blade in the split second that the defender has to react, giving him a chance to defend himself -IF- he can suddenly make a check.

Of course, this could very well just be a normal initiative roll, if the surprise round rules don't cover it. Ive often understood it that there are things which can not only initiate combat, but change initiative order, and perhaps an adjudication for this lies somewhere in between.


Grimmy wrote:
Let me get something straight. We all agree there is a DC (albeit a very low one) to notice a visible creature with the perception skill, right? You guys are saying this DC is the same whether the creature is some buffoon casually walking up waving his hands in the air, or a stealthy trained thief creeping up as softly as possible to stab you or pick your pockets?

Yes.

The stealthy thief can't even use the stealth skill unless certain conditions are met.


Grimmy wrote:
Ok but keep an open mind for a second. Is it possible that they only get wonky under an uber-pedantic, hyper-literal interpretation from the internet?

Nope. They just pretty much suck if you are going to follow the book version. I am sure if it was just a misunderstanding Paizo would just say "here is an FAQ" instead of "let's rewrite these terrible rules".

PS:Last I heard the project was done, at least for now, but those two blogs had some decent ideas in them.


Personally, I'm tempted to run off the idea that Invisibility only gives a +20 bonus to stealth checks and say that not having cover or concealment give a -20 to stealth. If you can still beat his perception, he doesn't see you.

Andoran

yeah the whole "cant use the skill without conditions" thing is as written, that's why I think its best to say:

"ok you started your turn out of sight, you get to use your SA if you can reach him this turn and he still doesn't spot you."


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wraithstrike wrote:


The issue is that it creates problems elsewhere in the rules. If you add facing to the game it won't just affect stealth. That is why I used the example of being surrounded by multiple people and losing dex to AC if the game has facing.

Try to look at it like this. I'm not trying to add a whole new facing mechanic to the game. I get why they don't have one. It keeps things simple. But having no facing rules is not the same as saying every creature has omni-directional always on vision.

We don't have rules for left-handed or right-handed characters either right? Why? Because it would add needless complexity. However when someone dual wields one hand still has to be the off hand.

No rules for right or left handedness, because we don't usually have to worry about it. But when it comes up we deal with it.

Likewise we have no rules for facing. That doesn't mean everyone has eyes in the back and sides of their head. A creatures attention has to be somewhere.

Let's say there is a guard posted at a battlement watching out over the crenellations, and a rogue climbs up a wall on the other side and wants to walk across the battlement behind the guards to get a key that's hanging on a hook on the wall. You are going to tell him he can't use stealth because you can draw a line from the guards square to the square he is standing in? Can you see the irony that someone told me my interpretation is like a video game?

You can call it GM Fiat if I say the guard is looking out over the crenellation. I don't care for that term, but if that is GM Fiat then GM Fiat is just part of the game. Another way of looking at it, if that is too close to facing rules for you, is that you can consider that guard distracted. We all agree the rogue can use a feint/bluff to distract someone, so why can't someone be distracted to begin with? In this case he's distracted because he's busy watching the area he's supposed to watch.

Think about this... if no-facing means omni-directional vision, how does the feint/bluff action work anyway? This is a trick that gets someone to look the other way so you can stealth into concealment, right? According to this crazy pedantic stance on no-facing and the requirements to be able to stealth, the feint/bluff trick wouldn't even work because it doesn't matter that you get someone to look the other way, he can still see you and watch you when you move behind the rock or whatever to get your concealment.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I understand you want RAW to support all you want to do, but it does not.

In your home games, play it fast and loose, and have fun.


wraithstrike wrote:
Grimmy wrote:
Ok but keep an open mind for a second. Is it possible that they only get wonky under an uber-pedantic, hyper-literal interpretation from the internet?

Nope. They just pretty much suck if you are going to follow the book version. I am sure if it was just a misunderstanding Paizo would just say "here is an FAQ" instead of "let's rewrite these terrible rules".

PS:Last I heard the project was done, at least for now, but those two blogs had some decent ideas in them.

That makes sense to me. If it was just a misunderstanding it would be easier to clarify then play testing new stealth rules. I guess I didn't think about that so I suppose based on that logic you are correct. I haven't really checked out the stealth rules play test.

If that's the case all I can say is maybe this is one time a stealth errata would have been a decent move for all involved.

If you just run stealth the way I'm saying things don't get wonky and you wouldn't have to change a word. Just two sentences in a FAQ blog-post could solve the whole thing.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

I understand you want RAW to support all you want to do, but it does not.

In your home games, play it fast and loose, and have fun.

I'm sure it looks like I'm stuck in that mode where you want the RAW to support what you've been doing but I don't usually have that hang-up. I've played no confirming crits, I've played no attacks of opportunity, I didn't go on the internet and try to convince people that what I was doing was RAW. In this case I just thought it was interesting that my reading of the stealth rules, while it may not be the one that was intended, is still reasonably consistent with the wording that exists and seems to solve what some people see as a problem with the rules. I only offer this perspective in case it has value to someone, you never know who is reading these threads, right?

Edit: By the way I haven't had to confine myself to my home games to have stealth work the way I'm describing, it's worked that way in every group I've played in, including PFS where I've played a rogue and a stealthy bard under more then one GM and never had anyone bat an eye when I used stealth in the manner I'm describing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
That is not RAW. By RAW if the character breaks cover he can not stealth, unless he has concealment.

That gets said a lot, but there really is some wiggle room in the text as long as you aren't being too pedantic. For example, see this passage from the rules:

Core Rulebook wrote:

If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can’t use Stealth. Against most creatures, finding cover or concealment allows you to use Stealth. If your observers are momentarily distracted (such as by a Bluff check), you can attempt to use Stealth. While the others turn their attention from you, you can attempt a Stealth check if you can get to an unobserved

place of some kind. This check, however, is made at a –10 penalty because you have to move fast.

The implication is that a DM could rule an NPC as not observing the stealthy PC because he's distracted - his attention is focused elsewhere - and allow the PC some leeway in not exposing him the instant he's out of cover or concealment. In the classic chicken stealing discussion, the farmer whittling on the porch is distracted, allowing a rogue to cross the gap in cover between the side of the house and the chicken coop. I don't think it's unfair to also allow the stealthy PC a similar leeway striking swiftly out of cover even if that's technically the opposite of the described process (in cover > distraction > not in cover instead of not in cover > distraction > into cover). If he can cover a gap to get into cover on the basis of the distraction, I don't see why he can't cover the cap to strike instead.

All that said, the stealthy PC could always use a ranged attack from within concealment/cover as long as he's within 30 feet. That use is clear even with pedantic treatment of the stealth rules.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

@Grimmy: I see what you are doing. I am not dismissing it.

You just seem to be headed down into a discussion that may be more appropriate for another forum.

Perhaps you could start a new thread in the Advice or General Discussion forum. Houserules forum, if you wish to create new rules.


Up until the point wraithstrike made a few posts up, I did not believe what I was talking about was a house rule. I believed I was putting forth a valid interpretation of the RAW. Now that wraithstrike pointed out the fact that the devs went to the trouble of play testing new stealth rules, I can see that probably means the solution isn't as simple as I thought. I won't argue my point any further without at least familiarizing myself with the stealth play test rules and the history around them.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I was only pointing out possible places for you to take your current direction of the conversation.


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Grimmy wrote:
Up until the point wraithstrike made a few posts up, I did not believe what I was talking about was a house rule. I believed I was putting forth a valid interpretation of the RAW. Now that wraithstrike pointed out the fact that the devs went to the trouble of play testing new stealth rules, I can see that probably means the solution isn't as simple as I thought. I won't argue my point any further without at least familiarizing myself with the stealth play test rules and the history around them.

I think one of the issue is the interpretation to the word RAW.

the standar interpretation supported by writhstrike and the most of the forum calims that in the book only concealment, cover and bluff are stated to allow a stealth check. They are right, those are the only trhee ways stated in the book.

Now if you see RAW as what is allowed whiting the rules, i mean, what can be done that is not against the text of stealth. Saying that the guard is distracted looking to some other place do not contradicts the conditons for stealth check written in thetext so i d not not seem that as DM fiat.


Nicos wrote:
Grimmy wrote:
Up until the point wraithstrike made a few posts up, I did not believe what I was talking about was a house rule. I believed I was putting forth a valid interpretation of the RAW. Now that wraithstrike pointed out the fact that the devs went to the trouble of play testing new stealth rules, I can see that probably means the solution isn't as simple as I thought. I won't argue my point any further without at least familiarizing myself with the stealth play test rules and the history around them.

I think one of the issue is the interpretation to the word RAW.

the standar interpretation supported by writhstrike and the most of the forum calims that in the book only concealment, cover and bluff are stated to allow a stealth check. They are right, those are the only trhee ways stated in the book.

Now if you see RAW as what is allowed whiting the rules, i mean, what can be done that is not against the text of stealth. Saying that the guard is distracted looking to some other place do not contradicts the conditons for stealth check written in thetext so i d not not seem that as DM fiat.

+1000

Also, a couple things.

One, I don't know if we can say this is the standard claim made by most of the forum. I would say the people who see it this way are the most vocal. They are vocal because the way they see it causes problems so they talk about it. If you read it like I do, it works fine, you have no problems, you never say anything. It's just another skill that works fine, you don't talk about it any more then you talk about appraise or swim or survival or craft basket weaving.

Two, you say concealment, cover and bluff are the only ways listed for stealth to work, but you were correct earlier when you pointed out that it doesn't say only bluff. It says "momentarily distracted (such as by a bluff check)". For some reason everyone is acting like a bluff check is now the only way anyone can ever be distracted.

Three, look at what paragraph those three conditions show up in. The paragraph begins "If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth." I have always used this paragraph only when someone wanted to use stealth after they had already been observed. I have players with a chronic habit of thinking they can just use stealth to disappear in plain sight. When they try to pull that, I read them that paragraph. If you've ever had players like that you will understand. I believe this paragraph only exists to shut down attempts to vanish in plain sight. I think it's a big mistake to take this paragraph and apply it to every legitimate stealth attempt made by rogues who have not yet been observed.

Ok so that was a few things.


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Nicos wrote:
Now if you see RAW as what is allowed whiting the rules, i mean, what can be done that is not against the text of stealth. Saying that the guard is distracted looking to some other place do not contradicts the conditons for stealth check written in thetext so i d not not seem that as DM fiat.

Saying that the guard is distracted is in DM fiat by definition, because it's not something the players can describe. I can say "my character starts to take something out of his nose", but I can't say "the guard starts to take something out of his nose", because NPC are described by the DM. Sure, most DM will allow a PC to stealth past a guard, and they'll use "facing" too, at least while not in combat ("the king is staring out of the window"->I can stealth up to him).

So yes, by RAW, you can stealth past a distracted NPC. But a NPC is distracted only when your DM says he is. And most DM I know, don't allow aware fighting combatants count as "distracted" while in combat. So more often than not, you can use stealth to sneak attack only if you do so before the combat begins, while the guard is unaware. In that case, this debate is moot point, as being stealthy when the combat starts means you have a surprise round. And you can sneak in a surprise round regardless of stealth.

The problem with Stealth rule, is that it *is* a rule. When you try to codify a rule that work in a board (with squares, cover and concealment determined by LoS from square to square, and such), stealth become either exploitable, or useless. When you play a RPG in the Theater of the Mind, you don't have this problem. The whole scene is up to DM fiat, so either you can stealth, or you can't, based on DM's description, not hardcoded rules about concealment, squares, LoS and cover. I ussually leave the exploration part of the game in the Theater of the Mind (so sneaking past the guards is easy, as I don't use a board for that)


Grimmy wrote:
Let me get something straight. We all agree there is a DC (albeit a very low one) to notice a visible creature with the perception skill, right? You guys are saying this DC is the same whether the creature is some buffoon casually walking up waving his hands in the air, or a stealthy trained thief creeping up as softly as possible to stab you or pick your pockets?

You mean that stealthy trained thief STANDING IN THE OPEN?

They're not using stealth, so who cares how they were trained!

The DC to spot something in the open is not an opposed roll, but rather a function on how inept the viewer is.

Now give that stealthy trained thief something to obscure his outline, even a little bit of cover, and suddenly he can go to work.

But out in the open with nothing? Nope. He IS that buffoon at that point. He's walking straight at a guy with a dagger out!

-James


james maissen wrote:
Grimmy wrote:
Let me get something straight. We all agree there is a DC (albeit a very low one) to notice a visible creature with the perception skill, right? You guys are saying this DC is the same whether the creature is some buffoon casually walking up waving his hands in the air, or a stealthy trained thief creeping up as softly as possible to stab you or pick your pockets?

You mean that stealthy trained thief STANDING IN THE OPEN?

They're not using stealth, so who cares how they were trained!

The DC to spot something in the open is not an opposed roll, but rather a function on how inept the viewer is.

Now give that stealthy trained thief something to obscure his outline, even a little bit of cover, and suddenly he can go to work.

But out in the open with nothing? Nope. He IS that buffoon at that point. He's walking straight at a guy with a dagger out!

-James

But he doesn't even have to be that stupid. He can't even dash from behind one tree to another while the guy's back is turned. Since soft cover doesn't allow Stealth you can't even blend into a crowd to get past a guard. Being quiet makes no difference. No difference between noticing the silent little guy moving up on you and the clanking knight in shining armor charging in on his steed.

If you're far enough away, but in the open and bright light, the distance penalties to Perception make it hard to see you. That seems clear. Can a character use stealth make that even harder? Perhaps by crouching low or crawling to avoid silhouetting himself. At what distance is perception automatic? Does this depend on the observer's Perception? Can Stealth play any roll here?

Andoran

So, a couple pages later, everyone seems to mostly be coming around to my point, which is that if you're allowing rogues and the like to sneak across open ground, then you're simply liberally applying the distracted state. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, nor do I think it's GM fiat. I think it's just playing the game, and I'm certain it's well in-line with the developers' intent.

There's still no facing rules in this game, though. Things face different directions, to be sure, but there are not any rules for that, really.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
Nicos wrote:
Now if you see RAW as what is allowed whiting the rules, i mean, what can be done that is not against the text of stealth. Saying that the guard is distracted looking to some other place do not contradicts the conditons for stealth check written in thetext so i d not not seem that as DM fiat.

Saying that the guard is distracted is in DM fiat by definition, because it's not something the players can describe. I can say "my character starts to take something out of his nose", but I can't say "the guard starts to take something out of his nose", because NPC are described by the DM. Sure, most DM will allow a PC to stealth past a guard, and they'll use "facing" too, at least while not in combat ("the king is staring out of the window"->I can stealth up to him).

So yes, by RAW, you can stealth past a distracted NPC. But a NPC is distracted only when your DM says he is. And most DM I know, don't allow aware fighting combatants count as "distracted" while in combat. So more often than not, you can use stealth to sneak attack only if you do so before the combat begins, while the guard is unaware. In that case, this debate is moot point, as being stealthy when the combat starts means you have a surprise round. And you can sneak in a surprise round regardless of stealth.

The problem with Stealth rule, is that it *is* a rule. When you try to codify a rule that work in a board (with squares, cover and concealment determined by LoS from square to square, and such), stealth become either exploitable, or useless. When you play a RPG in the Theater of the Mind, you don't have this problem. The whole scene is up to DM fiat, so either you can stealth, or you can't, based on DM's description, not hardcoded rules about concealment, squares, LoS and cover. I ussually leave the exploration part of the game in the Theater of the Mind (so sneaking past the guards is easy, as I don't use a board for that)

"DM fiat" is another of those blurry therms. Saying that a guard is disctacted is just pefectly reasonable and withing the job of the DM, and certainly not against RAW.

note that (i think) in this thread i have not stated that you can use stealth in the meiddle of a fight to get right behind the BBEG.

Andoran

thejeff wrote:


But he doesn't even have to be that stupid. He can't even dash from behind one tree to another while the guy's back is turned.

Sure he can. He just has to somehow concretely assure that the guy's back stays turned for the duration. Something like a bluff check to cause a distraction, or his buddies causing said distraction.

Quote:
Since soft cover doesn't allow Stealth you can't even blend into a crowd to get past a guard.

Oh, sure you can. You'd just make a bluff check. After all, when you're blending into a crowd, you're not trying to remain unseen - instead, you're trying to make people's eyes pass over you without their brain sounding an alarm. That's a job for bluff, not stealth.


Nicos wrote:


"DM fiat" is another of those blurry therms. Saying that a guard is disctacted is just pefectly reasonable and withing the job of the DM, and certainly not against RAW.

note that (i think) in this thread i have not stated that you can use stealth in the meiddle of a fight to get right behind the BBEG

Never said it's against RAW or it is not the DM. Maybe I'm hitting the language barrier (not english speaker), but for me, "DM fiat" means that it's something the DM has to set, as opposite to player actions. For example, as a PC, I *can* decide if I use Power Attack or not. As a PC, I *Can't* decide the guard is distracted or not. So the *Player* has no choice about trying to stealth past a guard, it's completelly in the DM territory. The player could decide to make a feint, or try a disarm, or try a trip, do a ranged attack, try to jump, or try to stealth behind cover. All those are player empowered actions, it's the player who decide to do it or not.

Sneaking past a guard in a corridor is not a player option. It's enterelly a DM option. The DM can say "the Guards in the corridor seems distracted, arguing each other about the dinner". So you could try a stealth check. If the DM does not say the Guards are distracted, you CAN'T even TRY to stealth, unless you have cover or concealment.

Jeremiziah wrote:
I don't think there's anything wrong with that, nor do I think it's GM fiat. I think it's just playing the game, and I'm certain it's well in-line with the developers' intent.

Of course it's playing the game. GM fiat ARE part of the game. A great part of it, indeed. It's just not a part of the game the PC can control.

About the developer's intent, they are redoing the stealth rules. So this makes two things clear: the current rules work exactly as they read (ie: wonky), and the developers aren't happy about it, so they're making new rules.


Grimmy wrote:

Try to look at it like this. I'm not trying to add a whole new facing mechanic to the game. I get why they don't have one. It keeps things simple. But having no facing rules is not the same as saying every creature has omni-directional always on vision.

We don't have rules for left-handed or right-handed characters either right? Why? Because it would add needless complexity. However when someone dual wields one hand still has to be the off hand.

No rules for right or left handedness, because we don't usually have to worry about it. But when it comes up we deal with it.

Likewise we have no rules for facing. That doesn't mean everyone has eyes in the back and sides of their head. A creatures attention has to be somewhere.

Let's say there is a guard posted at a battlement watching out over the crenellations, and a rogue climbs up a wall on the other side and wants to walk across the battlement behind the guards to get a key that's hanging on a hook on the wall. You are going to tell him he can't use stealth because you can draw a line from the guards square to the square he is standing in? Can you see the irony that someone told me my interpretation is like a video game?

You can call it GM Fiat if I say the guard is looking out over the crenellation. I don't care for that term, but if that is GM Fiat then GM Fiat is just part of the game. Another way of looking at it, if that is too close to facing rules for you, is that you can consider that guard distracted. We all agree the rogue can use a feint/bluff to distract someone, so why can't someone be distracted to begin with? In this case he's distracted because he's busy watching the area he's supposed to watch.

Think about this... if no-facing means omni-directional vision, how does the feint/bluff action work anyway? This is a trick that gets someone to look the other way so you can stealth into concealment, right? According to this crazy pedantic stance on no-facing and the requirements to be able to stealth, the feint/bluff trick wouldn't even work because it doesn't matter that you get someone to look the other way, he can still see you and watch you when you move behind the rock or whatever to get your concealment.

It sounds like you are saying you only want facing rules for stealth, but that just causes confusion, and makes no more sense than not having facing rule at all. Either I see you or I don't. You can't say I see you if you are out in the open, but you want to run up on me, but if you are trying to attack me from range you suddenly become visible.

As I have said the devs have admitted that is how the rules work, and the text I have shown have stated that. You can't, not be seen, unless you use stealth, otherwise stealth is useless. You can't stealth unless certain conditions are met. When you look at the rules, it is not good to try to argue a position because you want it. Just go by what the book says, and if it makes no sense to you then house rule it.

The game is an abstraction. We already know it does not make sense on all levels. If the book says the feint works, then it works, just like a person that is paralyzed gets reflex saves, even though the reflex save clearly says you move out of the way.

Quote:
Reflex: These saves test your ability to dodge area attacks and unexpected situations. Apply your Dexterity modifier to your Reflex saving throws.

You can't dodge if you can't move right? :)

GM Fiat is also not a bad term, but GM Fiat is not a part of the core rules, and the core rules is what we are discussing right now. Some GM's rule that if you are squeezing you can't use weapons what swing in a wide arc. That makes sense, but it is not a rule either.

In short if you want to keep your sanity, don't try to make sense of the rules for the purpose of realism. I wish I had a notepad of the questions I have been asked by players about things I agree did not make sense, but "them's the rules".


Jeremiziah wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Since soft cover doesn't allow Stealth you can't even blend into a crowd to get past a guard.
Oh, sure you can. You'd just make a bluff check. After all, when you're blending into a crowd, you're not trying to remain unseen - instead, you're trying to make people's eyes pass over you without their brain sounding an alarm. That's a job for bluff, not stealth.

Standing characters give cover. So while in a crowd, there's a high chance you have cover from the guard: any guy in the crowd that stands between you and him, gives you cover.


Bill Dunn wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
That is not RAW. By RAW if the character breaks cover he can not stealth, unless he has concealment.

That gets said a lot, but there really is some wiggle room in the text as long as you aren't being too pedantic. For example, see this passage from the rules:

Core Rulebook wrote:

If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can’t use Stealth. Against most creatures, finding cover or concealment allows you to use Stealth. If your observers are momentarily distracted (such as by a Bluff check), you can attempt to use Stealth. While the others turn their attention from you, you can attempt a Stealth check if you can get to an unobserved

place of some kind. This check, however, is made at a –10 penalty because you have to move fast.
The implication is that a DM could rule an NPC as not observing the stealthy PC because he's distracted..

I had brought up distraction in an earlier post, but what counts as distracted basically amounts to table variation(GM Fiat), so you can't really depend on it, unless you are using the bluff skill. There is also the issue of the NPC's buddies being able to see him. Of course the GM could rule every that everyone is distracted, but that goes back to table variation.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
Jeremiziah wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Since soft cover doesn't allow Stealth you can't even blend into a crowd to get past a guard.
Oh, sure you can. You'd just make a bluff check. After all, when you're blending into a crowd, you're not trying to remain unseen - instead, you're trying to make people's eyes pass over you without their brain sounding an alarm. That's a job for bluff, not stealth.
Standing characters give cover. So while in a crowd, there's a high chance you have cover from the guard: any guy in the crowd that stands between you and him, gives you cover.
But you can't use that for stealth
Quote:

Soft Cover

Creatures, even your enemies, can provide you with cover against ranged attacks, giving you a +4 bonus to AC. However, such soft cover provides no bonus on Reflex saves, nor does soft cover allow you to make a Stealth check.


thejeff wrote:

If you're far enough away, but in the open and bright light, the distance penalties to Perception make it hard to see you. That seems clear. Can a character use stealth make that even harder? Perhaps by crouching low or crawling to avoid silhouetting himself. At what distance is perception automatic? Does this depend on the observer's Perception? Can Stealth play any roll here?

By the rules, perception is NOT automatic. Noticing someone not stealthing is a DC 0. -1 per ten feet. So if you are at 30', your DC to spot someone is 3 (not automatic, but close).

Standing without cover does not make you automatically noticed. What makes you, is *not able to roll stealth*, which is different.

The game is an abstraction. Abstraction make some things silly. (If stealth makes thing silly, don't get me started with initiative rules, full round actions, and characters who are standing toe to toe, then do a 5' step, and start making a full round with a bow, firing 6 arrows in six seconds while the opponent is freezing 5' away...). Allowing a character to roll stealth for "crouching low" to "avoid silhouetting himself" also have issues. It means a 10th level halfling with Stealthy feat and skill focus in stealth is effectivelly INVISIBLE while standing at 50' from you, right in your face, because he is "avoiding silhouetting" just very well. Actually, he is invisible when he approach to 40', and 30', and 10', and right in front of your face. This is absurd, just like being unable to approach a guard from "behind" because the guard has 360º vision is absurd too.

Best approach is to ignore the combat rules (ie: the board, squares, cover and concealment measured by LoS in the board, etc) when you are not in combat.


GM Fiat is just one of those terms, you never know what someone means when they say it. When I hear it I think of "rocks fall you all die."


GM Fiat basically amounts to "Mother may I". I don't need GM Fiat to stealth if I am invisible because I have concealment, and the RAW states that concealment allows for stealth. If I ask the GM does the NPC's dying buddy cause a distraction that is GM Fiat, since he may say no one time, and yes the next. Another GM may always say no. Sure the rules say "(such as by a bluff check)", but any other time is not supported by the rules, and goes back to GM Fiat. In other words that phrase is an enabler for the GM, to allow other situations to work, but those other situations, whatever they are, are not core rules.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
thejeff wrote:

If you're far enough away, but in the open and bright light, the distance penalties to Perception make it hard to see you. That seems clear. Can a character use stealth make that even harder? Perhaps by crouching low or crawling to avoid silhouetting himself. At what distance is perception automatic? Does this depend on the observer's Perception? Can Stealth play any roll here?

By the rules, perception is NOT automatic. Noticing someone not stealthing is a DC 0. -1 per ten feet. So if you are at 30', your DC to spot someone is 3 (not automatic, but close).

+1. The problem is that so many people play it that way, that they forget about about it, like I did earlier*. It is just really hard to not see someone that is not hiding and people, including myself, sometimes use real life logic or movie scenes to mind trick us into the wrong interpretation. We are playing heroes most of the time so we want to believe stealth works like we want it to.

*Despite me bringing up the point in other threads<face palm>


Grimmy wrote:

I would allow a rogue to stealth up behind a guard and make a sneak attack. He has to come from a direction the guard does not expect and the guard gets a perception check vs his stealth. Is this not RAW?

I know there is no facing mechanics but if a guard is watching down a hallway and the rogue climbs a wall to get to his area, I count the guard as unaware of him.

Even without facing rules in the mechanics, I as the GM can tell where he is facing.

So does this work or not? Earlier you said no.

Andoran

The word fiat has several ramifications, none of them particularly pleasant for most of the world. Merrica.

1.
an authoritative decree, sanction, or order: a royal fiat. Synonyms: authorization, directive, ruling, mandate, diktat, ukase.
2.
a fixed form of words containing the word fiat, by which a person in authority gives sanction, or authorization.
3.
an arbitrary decree or pronouncement, especially by a person or group of persons having absolute authority to enforce it: The king ruled by fiat.

The problem is really definition #3, which uses the dreaded word "arbitrary". Nobody likes to feel like a GM's rulings are going to be arbitrary, but they are of course going to be: GM's are the arbitrators of your game, because you asked them to be..

It's a matter of tone. "GM Fiat" sounds like "The GM grumpily decides whether or not you get to do what you want to do, ususally contingent upon whether it's going to mess up something they have planned". Meanwhile, "a GM ruling" means the exact same thing, but sounds like "There's a question the players can't decide without input from the GM. What does he say?"

So, while "GM ruling" and "GM fiat" mean almost precisely the same thing, I think the question of whether an NPC is distracted or not obviously requires a GM ruling, but it feels confrontational to say that it is subject to GM fiat (though, of course, it is).

Here on the rules forum, though, people generally dislike the GM having the final say. So, GM fiat gets thrown around a lot.


During another discussion a couple of months ago I got frustrated that people were talking past each other because they had different definitions of GM Fiat.

I spent a couple of hours searching the internet, spent a lot of time on ENWorld, giantsintheplayground, here, thegamingden (scary place by the way!) found a definition on urban dictionary, decided that didn't count for much, found a site called dmfiat.com, etc. etc.

Not scientific research by any means but my impression after all of that was that the most common definition of GM Fiat by far is stuff like fudging dice, hand-wavium, and off-the-cuff unannounced house-rules that may be good for the goose but not the gander. So I do have a knee-jerk reaction when someone says my interpretation only works with GM Fiat but I try to remember people might be working with a less pejorative definition.


Jeremiziah wrote:

The word fiat has several ramifications, none of them particularly pleasant for most of the world. Merrica.

1.
an authoritative decree, sanction, or order: a royal fiat. Synonyms: authorization, directive, ruling, mandate, diktat, ukase.
2.
a fixed form of words containing the word fiat, by which a person in authority gives sanction, or authorization.
3.
an arbitrary decree or pronouncement, especially by a person or group of persons having absolute authority to enforce it: The king ruled by fiat.

The problem is really definition #3, which uses the dreaded word "arbitrary". Nobody likes to feel like a GM's rulings are going to be arbitrary, but they are of course going to be: GM's are the arbitrators of your game, because you asked them to be..

It's a matter of tone. "GM Fiat" sounds like "The GM grumpily decides whether or not you get to do what you want to do, ususally contingent upon whether it's going to mess up something they have planned". Meanwhile, "a GM ruling" means the exact same thing, but sounds like "There's a question the players can't decide without input from the GM. What does he say?"

So, while "GM ruling" and "GM fiat" mean almost precisely the same thing, I think the question of whether an NPC is distracted or not obviously requires a GM ruling, but it feels confrontational to say that it is subject to GM fiat (though, of course, it is).

Here on the rules forum, though, people generally dislike the GM having the final say. So, GM fiat gets thrown around a lot.

Well said. Very good explanation.

But I think the tone says a whole lot about the attitude of the person who chose the phrase in many cases. Sometimes saying "that only works with GM Fiat" is the same as saying "that only works if there is a GM" in which case, why say it at all.


Nicos wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Nicos wrote:

I still think the "canonical" interpretarion of stealth is the wors posible interpretation.

I would like to see the rule that says "at every time a character see in 360 degrees"

We do agree that it sucks, but the game has no facing. The fact that it is so hard to stealth in combat was why Paizo was considering changing the rules so that it was possible.

Here is basically how the rules word it. If I can draw a line from character A to character B, and there is no cover or concealment e then character B can't hide.

Such facing rules would also make it so that if someone is charged from all sides in the same round that one of the attackers would count as not being seen if he could not see all of them, since all of the actions in a round are pretty much simultaneous. We take turns in real life, but the characters are fighting the entire time.

You have to admit the stalh skill do not say that.

Stealth says that against morst creatures finding cover and concelemanet allow to use the skill.

it also says that if a creature is distracter (such by a bluff check*) then the character can use stealth.

in nowhere i read that cover and bluff are the only way to use stealth, there are just options.

* or looking to anohter side.

Interesting thread, but why hasn't someone responded to this post. The phrase "such as by a bluff check" does seem to intuit that there would be other ways to become distracted. Is the farming in the field distracted by his farming enough to allow a rogue the ability to steal a chicken in the coup? Is a fighter distracted enough in battle to allow a rogue who is hidden to sudden sneak up behind him and sneak attack?

I believe this is why there has been discussions of house rules in the "rule" section. When the rules leave open the possibility of other ways to become distracted, the rules thereby imply the house rules must be implemented when determining if a character is distracted.

Don't they.


Jeremiziah wrote:

The word fiat has several ramifications, none of them particularly pleasant for most of the world. Merrica.

1.
an authoritative decree, sanction, or order: a royal fiat. Synonyms: authorization, directive, ruling, mandate, diktat, ukase.
2.
a fixed form of words containing the word fiat, by which a person in authority gives sanction, or authorization.
3.
an arbitrary decree or pronouncement, especially by a person or group of persons having absolute authority to enforce it: The king ruled by fiat.

The problem is really definition #3, which uses the dreaded word "arbitrary". Nobody likes to feel like a GM's rulings are going to be arbitrary, but they are of course going to be: GM's are the arbitrators of your game, because you asked them to be..

It's a matter of tone. "GM Fiat" sounds like "The GM grumpily decides whether or not you get to do what you want to do, ususally contingent upon whether it's going to mess up something they have planned". Meanwhile, "a GM ruling" means the exact same thing, but sounds like "There's a question the players can't decide without input from the GM. What does he say?"

So, while "GM ruling" and "GM fiat" mean almost precisely the same thing, I think the question of whether an NPC is distracted or not obviously requires a GM ruling, but it feels confrontational to say that it is subject to GM fiat (though, of course, it is).

Here on the rules forum, though, people generally dislike the GM having the final say. So, GM fiat gets thrown around a lot.

I don't dislike GM Fiat or rules 0, which are really the same thing, but in a discussion on what the book says, what the GM says normally does not carry much weight.

As an example I think it is reasonable to allow stealth to work similar to how Grimmy wants it to work, but that is not what the book says.

In other words this section of the site is about what he book says, not about what makes sense or what makes the game easier to run, so in a sense of I turn off my ability to rule for fun. Why? Because what is fun or easy, and what the book says don't always match up.

Sometimes I get PM's from people on the site, or I visit the advice section, and I give suggestions that ignore the rules, but I don't do it in the rules section.


Driver 325 yards wrote:
Nicos wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Nicos wrote:

I still think the "canonical" interpretarion of stealth is the wors posible interpretation.

I would like to see the rule that says "at every time a character see in 360 degrees"

We do agree that it sucks, but the game has no facing. The fact that it is so hard to stealth in combat was why Paizo was considering changing the rules so that it was possible.

Here is basically how the rules word it. If I can draw a line from character A to character B, and there is no cover or concealment e then character B can't hide.

Such facing rules would also make it so that if someone is charged from all sides in the same round that one of the attackers would count as not being seen if he could not see all of them, since all of the actions in a round are pretty much simultaneous. We take turns in real life, but the characters are fighting the entire time.

You have to admit the stalh skill do not say that.

Stealth says that against morst creatures finding cover and concelemanet allow to use the skill.

it also says that if a creature is distracter (such by a bluff check*) then the character can use stealth.

in nowhere i read that cover and bluff are the only way to use stealth, there are just options.

* or looking to anohter side.

Interesting thread, but why hasn't someone responded to this post.

I did respond to it. :)

edit:click me


Hey wraith how do I find the blog posts/stealth playtest stuff? I want to find out more about why the devs feel the stealth rules are bad and what they would change, etc


Here you go.

Stealth Blog 1

Stealth Blog 2

When doing searches for things you can use the drop down list to select blogs on the right side of the screen.


Thanks dude, sorry I should have figured that out myself.


I also dug up the jack b nimble thread to brush up on that.


Grimmy wrote:
Thanks dude, sorry I should have figured that out myself.

No problem. IIRC at one time the blogs were not even in the drop down list. I noticed it by accident.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
thejeff wrote:

If you're far enough away, but in the open and bright light, the distance penalties to Perception make it hard to see you. That seems clear. Can a character use stealth make that even harder? Perhaps by crouching low or crawling to avoid silhouetting himself. At what distance is perception automatic? Does this depend on the observer's Perception? Can Stealth play any roll here?

By the rules, perception is NOT automatic. Noticing someone not stealthing is a DC 0. -1 per ten feet. So if you are at 30', your DC to spot someone is 3 (not automatic, but close).

Standing without cover does not make you automatically noticed. What makes you, is *not able to roll stealth*, which is different.

The game is an abstraction. Abstraction make some things silly. (If stealth makes thing silly, don't get me started with initiative rules, full round actions, and characters who are standing toe to toe, then do a 5' step, and start making a full round with a bow, firing 6 arrows in six seconds while the opponent is freezing 5' away...). Allowing a character to roll stealth for "crouching low" to "avoid silhouetting himself" also have issues. It means a 10th level halfling with Stealthy feat and skill focus in stealth is effectivelly INVISIBLE while standing at 50' from you, right in your face, because he is "avoiding silhouetting" just very well. Actually, he is invisible when he approach to 40', and 30', and 10', and right in front of your face. This is absurd, just like being unable to approach a guard from "behind" because the guard has 360º vision is absurd too.

Best approach is to ignore the combat rules (ie: the board, squares, cover and concealment measured by LoS in the board, etc) when you are not in combat.

But it's equally absurd to think that a small sneaky guy coming up quietly is just as noticeable as a big guy walking up openly in clanky armor.

I don't think it should be that easy. But I also don't think it should be impossible. Which is why I suggested a flat -20 modifier (the opposite of being invisible) for trying stealth without cover. If you're that good, you should be able to pull off things that seem impossible.
Think the old joke about "Arizona landscape with Apaches"

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