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Shadow Dancer HIPS vs. Darkvision?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Actually the Dwarf still suffers something from it IIRC. Though I might be thinking of 3.5... I wanna say it either is a reduced Miss Chance (30% instead of 50%) or a penalty on their attack roll.

Though that might be only if they fail the Perception check be a certain amount...


When I first saw this thread, the only thing that came to mind was a dancer with nice hips.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. So, does Darkvision beat out Hide in Plain Sight as an ability?

The Shadowdancer is treated as invisible when using Hide in Plain Sight (Stealth rules), so Darkvision won't help.


So why would the Dwarf suffer any penalty at all?

You are visible, just the same as if the observer had made a sucessful Perception check. A person with no gift of enhanced eyesight has a chance of seeing you, the Dwarf simply has an easier time of it because of the anatomy of their eyes - they don't require light. They can 'see' perfectly well without it.

In order to beat Mr Dwarf, you will need cover and concealment from a source other than the absence of light, because to him, light doesn't matter.


Icyshadow wrote:
The Shadowdancer is treated as invisible when using Hide in Plain Sight (Stealth rules), so Darkvision won't help.

Before he can be treated any such way, he needs a shadow to operate from. What happens when there is no shadow? The Dwarf doesn't see one, to him its all normal lighting. For you its a 'space' with the light off... for him its a 'space' with the light on. You will require something to block his line of sight - cover or concealment.


Shifty wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:
The Shadowdancer is treated as invisible when using Hide in Plain Sight (Stealth rules), so Darkvision won't help.
Before he can be treated any such way, he needs a shadow to operate from. What happens when there is no shadow? The Dwarf doesn't see one, to him its all normal lighting. For you its a 'space' with the light off... for him its a 'space' with the light on. You will require something to block his line of sight - cover or concealment.
Actually it's worse than that:
Vision and Light wrote:
A creature can't hide within 60 feet of a character with darkvision unless it is invisible or has cover.

By RAW, Concealment doesn't help you hide against darkvision.

Worse, read literally, if you're within 60' of someone with darkvision you can't use concealment to hide, even from other people.


...guess the Stealth rules need to be worked on.

Because otherwise, the Shadowdancer just became worthless.


Icyshadow wrote:
Because otherwise, the Shadowdancer just became worthless.

Because everything in the Shadowdancers world has Darkvision?

Last I checked it was only a minority.


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RAW for HiPS, Stealth, Darkvision, Dim Light, and Darkness:
CRB page 562 wrote:

Darkvision

Darkvision is the extraordinary ability to see with no
light source at all, out to a range specified for the creature.
Darkvision is black-and-white only (colors cannot be
discerned). It does not allow characters to see anything
that they could not see otherwise—invisible objects are
still invisible, and illusions are still visible as what they
seem to be. Likewise, darkvision subjects a creature to
gaze attacks normally. The presence of light does not
spoil darkvision.
CRB page392 wrote:

Hide in Plain Sight (Su): A shadowdancer can use the Stealth skill even while being observed. As long as she is within 10

feet of an area of dim light, a shadowdancer can hide herself
from view in the open without anything to actually hide
behind. She cannot, however, hide in her own shadow.
CRB Page 442 wrote:

Darkness

Darkvision allows many characters and monsters to see
perfectly well without any light at all, but characters with
normal or low-light vision can be rendered completely
blind by putting out the lights. Torches or lanterns
can be blown out by sudden gusts of subterranean
wind, magical light sources can be dispelled or
countered, or magical traps might create fields of
impenetrable darkness.
In many cases, some characters or monsters might be
able to see while others are blinded. For purposes of the
following points, a blinded creature is one who simply
can’t see through the surrounding darkness.
Characters with darkvision (dwarves and half-orcs) can see lit areas normally as well as dark areas within 60 feet. A creature can't hide within 60 feet of a character with darkvision unless it is invisible or has cover.
CRB Page 172 wrote:

Vision and Light

Dwarves and half-orcs have darkvision, but the other races
presented in Chapter 2 need light to see by. See Table 7–10
for the radius that a light source illuminates and how long
it lasts. The increased entry indicates an area outside the
lit radius in which the light level is increased by one step
(from darkness to dim light, for example).
In an area of bright light, all characters can see clearly.
Some creatures, such as those with light sensitivity and
light blindness, take penalties while in areas of bright
light. A creature can’t use Stealth in an area of bright light
unless it is invisible or has cover. Areas of bright light
include outside in direct sunshine and inside the area of
a daylight spell.
Normal light functions just like bright light, but
characters with light sensitivity and light blindness do not
take penalties. Areas of normal light include underneath a
forest canopy during the day, within 20 feet of a torch, and
inside the area of a light spell.
In an area of dim light, a character can see somewhat.
Creatures within this area have concealment (20% miss
chance in combat) from those without darkvision or the
ability to see in darkness. A creature within an area of
dim light can make a Stealth check to conceal itself. Areas
of dim light include outside at night with a moon in the
sky, bright starlight, and the area between 20 and 40 feet
from a torch.
In areas of darkness, creatures without darkvision are
effectively blinded. In addition to the obvious effects, a
blinded creature has a 50% miss chance in combat (all
opponents have total concealment), loses any Dexterity
bonus to AC, takes a –2 penalty to AC, and takes a –4
penalty on Perception checks that rely on sight and
most Strength- and Dexterity-based skill checks. Areas
of darkness include an unlit dungeon chamber, most
caverns, and outside on a cloudy, moonless night.
CRB Page 106 wrote:

Steal th

(Dex; Armor Check Penalty)
You are skilled at avoiding detection, allowing you to slip
past foes or strike from an unseen position. This skill
covers hiding and moving silently.
Check: Your Stealth check is opposed by the Perception
check of anyone who might notice you. You can move up
to half your normal speed and use Stealth at no penalty.
When moving at a speed greater than half but less than
your normal speed, you take a –5 penalty. It’s impossible
to use Stealth while attacking, running, or charging.
A creature larger or smaller than Medium takes a size
bonus or penalty on Stealth checks depending on its size
category: Fine +16, Diminutive +12, Tiny +8, Small +4,
Large –4, Huge –8, Gargantuan –12, Colossal –16.
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.
Sniping: If you’ve already successfully used Stealth at
least 10 feet from your target, you can make one ranged
attack and then immediately use Stealth again. You take
a –20 penalty on your Stealth check to maintain your
obscured location.
Creating a Diversion to Hide: You can use Bluff to allow
you to use Stealth. A successful Bluff check can give you the momentary diversion you need to attempt a Stealth check
while people are aware of you.
Action: Usually none. Normally, you make a Stealth
check as part of movement, so it doesn’t take a separate
action. However, using Stealth immediately after a ranged
attack (see Sniping, above) is a move action.
Special: If you are invisible, you gain a +40 bonus on
Stealth checks if you are immobile, or a +20 bonus on
Stealth checks if you’re moving.
If you have the Stealthy feat, you get a bonus on Stealth
checks (see Chapter 5).

I have quoted above all of what I feel are the relevant entries from the CRB, if there is anything I am missing please inform me.

Now this is from a pure RAW standpoint, no RAI, no well my opinion is, just RAW.

(General)
Stealth says if you are observed by any senses you may not use stealth.
Lighting says in an area of Bright or normal light you may not stealth.
Lighting also says you may not stealth within 60 feet of a character with darkvision. Please note this is a general rule within the lighting and vision section, not in the darkvision ability.

(Specific)
HiPS says you may use stealth while observed if you are within 10 feet of an area of dim light. HiPS also specifically calls out that you do not need cover.

For the interactions with darkvision, all darkvision allows you to do is see in darkness.

Darkvision does not modify the light conditions of an area. So, if an area of dim light exists within ten feet of a shadowdancer they may stealth and darkvision offers absolutely no help against this effect.

To be clear as an illustarting example:

A red dragon can see through smoke.

PRD Red Dragon wrote:
Smoke Vision (Ex) A very young red dragon can see perfectly in smoky conditions (such as those created by pyrotechnics).

If there was a Prestige class with an identical ability to the shadowdancers, however it required the character to be within ten feet of an area of smoke instead of an area of dim light, it would not matter that the dragon could see right through the smoke, the character would be able to roll stealth, while observed and in the open while within ten feet of the smoke. The dragon would still be required to roll perception to locate the character vs the character's stealth roll.

TL;DR

Darkvision does NOT by RAW change light conditions, therefore it does NOT deny a shadowdancer the ability to stealth as long as they are within ten feet of an area of dim light.

Just because a character can see in dim light or darkness does not mean the dim light or darkness does not exist.

If you make any other ruling you are houseruling, and that is fine, as long as everyone involved is having fun.

You will however be using a houserule to weaken the shadowdancer class.

If I am incorrect please show me how with quotes from RAW, not personal opinion.


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Sure, but light conditions according to whom? because to the person with Darkvision, that condition doesn't exist.

Saying it does is like a blind person trying to tell a sighted person they must be blind too because the blind person can't see.

"Darkvision allows many characters and monsters to see
perfectly well without any light at all" - to them, there is no shadow. If there is no shadow, you can't hide (from them).

On the other hand, if their friend next to them has normal vision then there is a shadow and you can hide (from that guy).

So I have to put it to you, that to the Darkvision guy, there is no area of dim light. He can see perfectly well.

SD: Ha! I'm hiding in the shadows,
Dwarf: What shadow?
SD: This one (points around)
Dwarf: What one? It all looks like daylight to me.
SD: No really, its shadowy, I can barely see so teh light must be dim.
Dwarf: No it isn't.
SD: Well I can barely see, so I am hiding in the shadow.
Dwarf: You realise you are standing in the middle of the room with a cloak over your head right?
SD: No, I'm in a dark room.
Dwarf: Whatever.


Shifty wrote:

Sure, but light conditions according to whom? because to the person with Darkvision, that condition doesn't exist.

Saying it does is like a blind person trying to tell a sighted person they must be blind too because the blind person can't see.

"Darkvision allows many characters and monsters to see
perfectly well without any light at all" - to them, there is no shadow. If there is no shadow, you can't hide (from them).

On the other hand, if their friend next to them has normal vision then there is a shadow and you can hide (from that guy).

So I have to put it to you, that to the Darkvision guy, there is no area of dim light. He can see perfectly well.

SD: Ha! I'm hiding in the shadows,
Dwarf: What shadow?
SD: This one (points around)
Dwarf: What one? It all looks like daylight to me.
SD: No really, its shadowy, I can barely see so teh light must be dim.
Dwarf: No it isn't.
SD: Well I can barely see, so I am hiding in the shadow.
Dwarf: You realise you are standing in the middle of the room with a cloak over your head right?
SD: No, I'm in a dark room.
Dwarf: Whatever.

Cute, but they can tell the difference. Darkvision is black and white only. I'm not exactly sure what that would look like in dim light, where you could distinguish some color with normal vision, but it does imply there is such a thing as "dim light". It's that lighting under which things are shades of grey with dim colors as opposed to normal or bright light where everything is color or actual darkness where there's no color at all.


And I've no idea whether

Vision and Light wrote:
A creature can't hide within 60 feet of a character with darkvision unless it is invisible or has cover.

trumps HiPS or not.

The SD isn't invisible and doesn't have cover. HiPS overrides the "if someone is observing you" clause, but that's all, right?


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Shifty wrote:

Sure, but light conditions according to whom? because to the person with Darkvision, that condition doesn't exist.

Saying it does is like a blind person trying to tell a sighted person they must be blind too because the blind person can't see.

"Darkvision allows many characters and monsters to see
perfectly well without any light at all" - to them, there is no shadow. If there is no shadow, you can't hide (from them).

On the other hand, if their friend next to them has normal vision then there is a shadow and you can hide (from that guy).

So I have to put it to you, that to the Darkvision guy, there is no area of dim light. He can see perfectly well.

SD: Ha! I'm hiding in the shadows,
Dwarf: What shadow?
SD: This one (points around)
Dwarf: What one? It all looks like daylight to me.
SD: No really, its shadowy, I can barely see so teh light must be dim.
Dwarf: No it isn't.
SD: Well I can barely see, so I am hiding in the shadow.
Dwarf: You realise you are standing in the middle of the room with a cloak over your head right?
SD: No, I'm in a dark room.
Dwarf: Whatever.

No, you are operating from a fallacious assumption.

Your error is this.

You say:

shifty wrote:
So I have to put it to you, that to the Darkvision guy, there is no area of dim light.

That is not true.

Darkvision does not change light conditions, it provides a specific set of abilities when those light conditions exist.

This is in my above post in the RAW I quoted, and also illustrated by the dragon example I provided.

So since the light conditions are not changed the shadowdancer may stealth as normal.

To amplify, I will use you conversation. Let us say that the "Smoke-Dancer" class I proposed in my last post exists, now let us say the conversation is between a red dragon and a "Smoke-Dancer" standing in clear line of sight of the dragon in bright light, but within 10 feet of smoke.

SD: Ha! I'm hiding in the smoke,
Dragon: What smoke?
SD: This one (points around)
Dragon: What one? It all looks like daylight to me.
SD: No really, its smoky, I can barely see so there must be smoke.
Dragon: No it isn't.
SD: Well I can barely see, so I am hiding in the smoke.
Dragon: You realise you are standing in the middle of the room with a cloak over your head right?
SD: No, I'm in a smoky room.
Dragon: Whatever.

The above is what you are trying to say and it does not match RAW at all. The dragon or dwarves ability to see through smoke/dim light does not change the fact that the smoke or dim light exists. In fact it confirms it in darkvision as you can only see in black and white in darkvision, clearly differentiating it from normal vision.

Now, I am not trying to argue common sense or wrongbadfun, I am simply stating RAW. If you or anyone else wishes to houserule this another way feel free and enjoy, just please be aware it is a houserule.


thejeff wrote:
And I've no idea whether
Vision and Light wrote:
A creature can't hide within 60 feet of a character with darkvision unless it is invisible or has cover.

trumps HiPS or not.

The SD isn't invisible and doesn't have cover. HiPS overrides the "if someone is observing you" clause, but that's all, right?

From my understanding specific trumps general, so the specific shadowdancer HiPS rule trumps the General Lighting darkvision caveat. Also at worst that means a shadowdancer could hide 65 feet away from a character with darkvision, even if that character had 120 feet of darkvision.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
...if there were some ability called forest sight that allowed you to ignore the visibility penalties in forests, than you could ignore the HiPS of rangers with Favored Terrain (forest) while they were in a forest.

Speak with Plants?

Druid: "Anyone seen a person creeping about?"

Ranger: "damn..."

Uncooperative Bush: "He's here! He's hiding behind me!"

<Druid steps up, using Woodland Stride. Bush moves branches apart to reveal ranger...>


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Bill Dunn wrote:
Wolf Munroe wrote:

A shadowdancer's Hide in Plain Sight is a Supernatural (Su) ability. It doesn't require that the person can't see in dim light to not see the person who is attempting to hide, it requires that the person attempting to hide be in dim light.

Whether someone can see in dim light or not doesn't matter. Being a supernatural ability, a shadowdancer's Hide in Plain Sight is a magical effect, so logic of whether the observer can observe the dim light or not is irrelevant.

That is predicated on an unfounded assumption - that a supernatural power can't be foiled by a exceptional one.

For me, the convincing text is that the shadow dancer can't hide in his own shadow. That implies that he is hiding in a shadow, just that his supernatural power allows that shadow to be a small distance away, Since the character with darkvision sees through the shadow, no hiding is possible as long as that shadow is within the range of the darkvision.

I recognize that not everyone is convinced by my interpretation. But that is the way I run my games.

Your interpretation ignores most of the description of the Shadowdancer's Hide in Plain Sight ability, particularly this passage, "a shadowdancer can hide herself from view in the open without anything to actually hide behind."

You are still assuming the shadowdancer is using something to hide/conceal themselves with (in this case, shadow), but this is clearly not the case per RAW.

Further, a shadowdancer must be within 10 feet of dim light, not be IN the dim light -- they can actually be in an area of normal light where ANYONE can see them, darkvision or not -- and still hide. Shadow is only indirectly involved, not directly. They, direct quote from the book, "can hide while being observed."

That means as long as they are near an area of dim light, they could be standing in front of a bunch of people who are all looking at him, and regardless of how good their vision is, he can disappear because it doesn't matter that they can see him. A creature with darkvision who can see through dim light is still "observing" you and you can still "hide while being observed."

The "you cannot hide in your own shadow" is not well explained and is probably the least clear phrase in the whole description -- and is in fact a holdover from 3.x where the ability was activated by being near "shadows" which were not defined otherwise. But I would interpret this to mean something like, "If you are in an area of bright light and the only shadow near you is your own, this is not considered an area of dim light."

And I'm kind of curious as to why you let the least clear, 3.5 holdover phrase trump the otherwise very clear wording of the ability, which obviously lets you hide even when people can see you.


By Shifty's logic a Dwarf Shadowdancer is screwed.

That being said. Light level is measured from the light sources NOT from a character. The character only modifies their perception of the area around them.

Remember everything in this game breaks something else.

And Stealth under RAW is a worthless skill. These abilities actually allow it to function in Combat and become a Viable Tactic.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bill Dunn wrote:
Azaelas Fayth wrote:
@Bill_Dunn: Your argument is good. Unfortunately it seems RAW allows them to hide against Darkvision.
Ultimately, the issue hinges on what the significance of the statement about not hiding in one's own shadow. That too is in the RAW, so is my interpretation the rule as written or not? Both interpretations, I believe, are RAW, though I would admit mine seems to be a minority position on these boards.

My interpretation of that was to stop a Shadowdancer being able to hide at any time in an open field in bright light by saying... "I have a shadow, it is within 10 feet of me I can use hide in shadows".


Ughbash wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
Azaelas Fayth wrote:
@Bill_Dunn: Your argument is good. Unfortunately it seems RAW allows them to hide against Darkvision.
Ultimately, the issue hinges on what the significance of the statement about not hiding in one's own shadow. That too is in the RAW, so is my interpretation the rule as written or not? Both interpretations, I believe, are RAW, though I would admit mine seems to be a minority position on these boards.
My interpretation of that was to stop a Shadowdancer being able to hide at any time in an open field in bright light by saying... "I have a shadow, it is within 10 feet of me I can use hide in shadows".

It's mostly a 3.5 holdover from when Shadowdancers actually did hide in Shadows. Now they need to be within 10' of an area of dim light. Shadows are not involved. A shadow, yours or anyone elses does not produce an area of dim light.

Leaving that sentence in leads people to argue that you can't hide in your shadow but you can in other shadows.

Leading further to the joke about 2 Shadowdancers who hid in each other's shadows and were never seen again.


thejeff wrote:
Leading further to the joke about 2 Shadowdancers who hid in each other's shadows and were never seen again.

love it.

But I still find it funny that if you look they technically can't hide from a Dwarf in an area full of Darkness. That is unless I missed something.


Azaelas Fayth wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Leading further to the joke about 2 Shadowdancers who hid in each other's shadows and were never seen again.

love it.

But I still find it funny that if you look they technically can't hide from a Dwarf in an area full of Darkness. That is unless I missed something.

Actually, according to some interpretation, they can't hide from anyone if there's a Dwarf around. Without cover or Invisibility.

You can't run Stealth RAW. You have to pick between interpretations to reach any consistency, so you might as well pick an interpretation that also makes sense.


Not only darkness, but you could by RAW carry around a paralyzed dwarf and use it to detect everyone within a Fog Cloud.


I have a Facing system in my games.

@Ilja: The ultimate security system for a Dark Lord who doesn't like light.


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Ilja wrote:
Not only darkness, but you could by RAW carry around a paralyzed dwarf and use it to detect everyone within a Fog Cloud.

Or hiding in the underbrush.


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@ Bill Dunn, Lumiere Dawnbringer, and others supporting the DV trumps HiPS argument:

Firstly, here is why Ranger HiPS would be utterly unaffected by Darkvision. Ranger HiPS has exactly ZERO to do with shadows and concealment. It has 100% to do with the Ranger's intimate knowledge of his Favored Terrains. When in his Favored Terrain he can use Camouflage and HiPS whether it is in bright light, normal light, dim light, or darkness and no amount of seeing through shadows will affect that in any way.
....

Now there are several completely separate reasons why I think that Shadowdancer and Assassin HiPS would trump Darkvison. Let's examine the actual text defining Darkvision. A lot of people get hung up on that one sentence in the Vision and Light section of the rules; the part I have in bold:

PRD wrote:
Characters with darkvision (dwarves and half-orcs) can see lit areas normally as well as dark areas within 60 feet. A creature can't hide within 60 feet of a character with darkvision unless it is invisible or has cover.

But this isn't what Darkvision is, it is just a simple explanation of how Darkvision interacts with the normal, non-magical, ambient light conditions of the world. It does not take into account in any way, special cases or abilities; it is just how DV interacts with the light conditions. Now what I want to draw your attention to, and what most people tend to avoid or forget, is the text in the Glossary section of rules describing what DV actually is. Pay particular attention to the highlighted sections:

PRD wrote:
Darkvision is the extraordinary ability to see with no light source at all, out to a range specified for the creature. Darkvision is black-and-white only (colors cannot be discerned). It does not allow characters to see anything that they could not see otherwiseinvisible objects are still invisible, and illusions are still visible as what they seem to be. Likewise, darkvision subjects a creature to gaze attacks normally. The presence of light does not spoil darkvision.

And now I want you to look back up to the first quote and pay particular attention to the first sentence: "Characters with darkvision can see lit areas normally as well as dark areas..." When we combine those parts we have some fluff, and we have some mechanics. The mechanics are what is important here, and they are:

1) DV allows you to see in dark areas (dim light, darkness) as well as you would normally see in lit areas (bright light, normal light). Which means that while shadows still exist in the radius of their vision, they see everything within that radius AS IF it were in fact normal light. And that is all it means. They don't have beams of light coming from their eyes melting away the shadows. The shadows are still there, they just don't affect the accuracy of Darkvision sight the way they affect basic and low-light vision sight. (This by the way is 100% the reason why you can't use Stealth within the radius of DV unless you have cover or invisibility. It has nothing to do with dissolving the shadows in that radius. It has to do with you being able to see as if you were in the normal lighting condition. Read the normal lighting condition, it says you may not use Stealth without cover or invisibility.)

2) Darkvision allows you to see with no light source at all. So there is no light and you can still see. You are not producing flames from your eyes that burn away shadows. If you wanted to explain it the way Night Vision Goggles work, that is fine, but it still has no actual affect on the mechanics. You are not producing any kind of visible light that would change the lighting conditions in the radius of your vision. The shadows are still there, it is still dim light or darkness, you are simply able to see regardless of that fact.

3) Lastly, darkvision does not allow you to see anything you could not otherwise see of which, magical effects would be the most common things in that category, but it's not exclusive. This is just saying you aren't gaining any type of magical vision; you are simply able to see in darkness as if you were in normal light.

....

Now after breaking Darkvision down in that manner, why do I feel Shadowdancer and Assassin HiPS are both able to trump Darkvision? I would think it is fairly obvious where I am going with this but I will break that down as well:

1) Darkvision is (EX) and Shadowdancer/Assassin HiPS is (SU). I generally don't allow natural (EX) abilities that a number of PCs, NPCs, and Monsters are born with to outclass a hard earned (SU) ability that my players have spent a great deal of time and character resources achieving (unless it is specifically stated, and in the case of DV vs HiPS it is not). That would be a fairly stupid, dick-ish, and anti-PC thing to do IMO.

2) The description of Darkvision actually comes out and explicitly states that it is not magical and does not allow you to see through magical effects. HiPS (SU) is a magical effect, all Supernatural Abilities are:

PRD wrote:
Supernatural Abilities (Su): Supernatural abilities are magical but not spell-like. Supernatural abilities are not subject to spell resistance and do not function in areas where magic is suppressed or negated (such as an antimagic field). A supernatural ability's effect cannot be dispelled and is not subject to counterspells.

4) Darkvision eliminates a creature's ability to hide based on the concealment granted by the lighting conditions. However, Shadowdancer and Assassin HiPS allows them to use Stealth based on a whole different set of parameters. They are not using the concealment granted by the shadows. They are using the empowerment of a magical ability granted to them by mere proximity to shadows. As explicitly stated above, Darkvision does not eliminate the shadows in the area, it simply allows the creature to see as if in normal lighting conditions, which eliminates the effect of concealment only. Again, the Shadowdancer/Assassin is not using concealment to hide; he is using the presence of the shadows, which are still very much there.

5) Lastly, Darkvision only allows you to see normally in dark areas as if it were a lit area, but does not allow you to see anything you could not otherwise see, magical or not. So I pose this example: A creature with normal vision is looking at a Shadowdancer who is standing in normal light but is also within 10' of dim light. The Shadowdancer attempts Stealth and is successful, he disappears. No one argues that this isn't an acceptable use of the HiPS ability. It is exactly what the ability states the Shadowdancer may do. He can be standing in normal light (where generally he would need cover or invisibility to hide) and use Stealth as long as he is within 10' of dim light. So I ask you this, why do you say that the Shadowdancer can hide in broad daylight from the creature with normal or low-light vision, but can't hide in shadows from the creature with darkvision? Before you answer, think carefully about what I said about DV. It doesn't allow you to see anything you couldn’t normally see, and it only allows you to see as if you there were normal light conditions. (IE: If the guy with NORMAL vision can't see you in NORMAL LIGHT, then the guy with DARKVISION can't see you in DIM LIGHT/DARKNESS.)


@Shadowlord: Thank You for the break down.


Logically, sure. RAI, almost certainly. RAW, not a clue. There are too many absolute statements possibly superceded by other absolute statements elsewhere to knit the RAW on stealth into anything coherent.

I do agree that RAW, the Ranger's HiPS & Camouflage abilities which state he can Stealth as if he had Cover, trump the more general rules about Darkvision and lighting.

The Shadowdancer is less clear, since the rules text is less specific.

Shadow Lodge

By the way, the last sentence in the HiPS ability regarding shadows is a holdover from the 3.x version of the ability that specifically required the Shadowdancer to be near a shadow. Since Pathfinder changed the ability to instead work with dim light, the sentence is now just as useful as flavor text.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have spent some time reading over the various posts in this thread. I returned to the official rules printed in the books and on the Pathfinder SRD website. I quote the passages directly along with page numbers.

Copied and pasted from Pathfinder SRD website:

Hide in Plain Sight (Ex)
Prerequisite: Advanced talents

Benefit: A rogue with this talent can select a single terrain from the ranger’s favored terrain list. She is a master at hiding in that terrain, and while within that terrain, she can use the Stealth skill to hide, even while being observed.

Special: A rogue may take this advanced talent more than once, each time selecting a different terrain from the favored terrain list.

Copied and pasted from Ultimate Combat p71

Hide in Plain Sight (Ex): A rogue with this talent can select a single terrain from the ranger’s favored terrain list. She is a master at hiding in that terrain, and while within that terrain, she can use the Stealth skill to hide, even while being observed.

Pay special attention to the above and you will notice a recurring theme. Hide in plain sight allows you to use the Stealth skill even while being observed.

Copied and pasted from Pathfinder Core Rulebook page 67, Ranger class ability

Hide in Plain Sight (Ex): While in any of his favored terrains, a ranger of 17th level or higher can use the Stealth skill even while being observed.

Again, the same thing. “even while being observed…” there is nothing here about not needing concealment.

Copied and pasted from Pathfinder Core Rulebook, Shadowdancer class ability

Hide in Plain Sight (Su): A shadowdancer can use the Stealth skill even while being observed. As long as she is within 10 feet of an area of dim light, a shadowdancer can hide herself from view in the open without anything to actually hide behind. She cannot, however, hide in her own shadow.

Note that it still says even while being observed….as long as you are within 10 feet area of dim light (ie shadows, darkness, CONCEALMENT). The next part is very important. There is a subtle distinction that some people are missing. “Hide behind” means to use cover to hide. It says right in the Stealth skill that you can use cover or concealment. This is just saying that the Shadowdancer needs only a bit of shadow to CONCEAL themselves.

Copied and pasted from Pathfinder Core Rulebook Stealth skill:

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.

Above is the reference to concealment and the Stealth skill.

Copied and pasted from Pathfinder Core Rulebook page 197

Concealment and Stealth Checks: You can use concealment to make a Stealth check. Without concealment, you usually need cover to make a Stealth check.

Ignoring Concealment: Concealment isn’t always effective. An area of dim lighting or darkness doesn’t provide any concealment against an opponent with darkvision.

This means that you must always have either concealment or cover to use Stealth. If you are using shadows and/or darkness as concealment then it is not effective against opponents with Darkvision.

I would actually like to see an official ruling on this. If someone from Paizo could either make the ruling or post a link where it could be found, I would appreciate it.


Shinigaze wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Shinigaze wrote:

Dear James,

I know stealth has always been a point of contention on the forums but I have a question in regards the the Shadowdancer and Assassin's Hide in Plain Sight supernatrual ability. If a shadowdancer is standing is standing within 10' of an area of dim light does the ability let him use stealth against everybody? Or, can he not stealth against people who have for instance Low Light Vision who do not perceive the area around him as dim light but instead see it as normal light?

A point of contention in some places on the forums, perhaps. I like to think they're not a point of contention here! :-)

If a shadowdancer is within dim light and can thus use Hide in Plain Sight, yes, that lets him try to Stealth against everyone. Low Light Vision and darkvision don't particularly help or limit this.

From the mouth of James Jacobs here is his ruling.

While I don't like it, this is pretty close to the official word.

Found HERE.


It's worth pointing out that the Shadowdancer PRC itself grants darkvision. If darkvision trumps HiPS, then a Shadowdancer would not even be able to hide in a pitch black room while ALONE.
Which is, of course, patently absurd.


Scripps wrote:

It's worth pointing out that the Shadowdancer PRC itself grants darkvision. If darkvision trumps HiPS, then a Shadowdancer would not even be able to hide in a pitch black room while ALONE.

Which is, of course, patently absurd.

Along much of the rest of the Stealth rules.

Remember, RAW you can't use Stealth if anyone is observing you. Like the rest of the party or your thief buddy.
Nor can you use any form of concealment (like fog or undergrowth) to stealth within 60' of anyone with darkvision.

You really have to read the stealth rules with a huge grain of salt and apply some common sense.


That's precisely my point. In this instance, commons sense dictates that HiPS must defeat darkvision -- otherwise the ability is literally useless to any character with at least 2 levels in the PRC.

Given Shadowlord's detailed analysis and James Jacob's comments on the matter (even if they don't represent a 100% official ruling, per se) I would think we can all assume that common sense wins out and, in the very specific case of HiPS, the general rules for lighting/darkvision/concealment do not apply.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Sounds like this argument boils down to:

Position #1 - HiPS is a supernatural ability that lets you do cool stuff because that's fun.

Position #2 - If you want to do anything cool, you need to roll a caster. Back in your realism hole, mundane one!

Osirion

Arturick wrote:

Sounds like this argument boils down to:

Position #1 - HiPS is a supernatural ability that lets you do cool stuff because that's fun.

Position #2 - If you want to do anything cool, you need to roll a caster. Back in your realism hole, mundane one!

Position #2 is invalid. As a supernatural ability, HiPS is using magic.


Scripps wrote:

It's worth pointing out that the Shadowdancer PRC itself grants darkvision. If darkvision trumps HiPS, then a Shadowdancer would not even be able to hide in a pitch black room while ALONE.

Which is, of course, patently absurd.

This logic is patently absurd. The argument was never that Darkvision would make it impossible to hide, it was that it would be impossible to hide from a person with Darkvision.

Stealth is based on the observer in every other instance. A rogue can stealth from a character without low-light vision at 25' from a torch. He cannot stealth from a character with low light vision in the same square.

THAT is the argument. In the case of HiPS it is not based on the observer, only the current base state of light in the squares. In all other cases, I believe, it is based off of the observer and not the base state of light.


Scripps wrote:

It's worth pointing out that the Shadowdancer PRC itself grants darkvision. If darkvision trumps HiPS, then a Shadowdancer would not even be able to hide in a pitch black room while ALONE.

Which is, of course, patently absurd.

Yes, the Shadowdancer would have a hard time hiding from himself.


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Put me down in the camp of: Light conditions are an objective state, regardless of how the observer interacts with those conditions. The trigger for Shadowdancer HiPS is the (objective) light conditions. Therefore HiPS works even against Darkvision.

The most persuasive sentence in HiPS to me is the "within 10'" part. As others of noted, this means he can hide in normal light where anyone could normally see him by being near, not in, dim light. If I can hide in normal light while being watched by a human, I can hide in normal or dim light while being watched by a dwarf.


Samasboy1 wrote:

Put me down in the camp of: Light conditions are an objective state, regardless of how the observer interacts with those conditions. The trigger for Shadowdancer HiPS is the (objective) light conditions. Therefore HiPS works even against Darkvision.

The most persuasive sentence in HiPS to me is the "within 10'" part. As others of noted, this means he can hide in normal light where anyone could normally see him by being near, not in, dim light. If I can hide in normal light while being watched by a human, I can hide in normal or dim light while being watched by a dwarf.

+1


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Vinecent wrote:

I have spent some time reading over the various posts in this thread. I returned to the official rules printed in the books and on the Pathfinder SRD website. I quote the passages directly along with page numbers.

Copied and pasted from Pathfinder SRD website:
Hide in Plain Sight (Ex)
Prerequisite: Advanced talents
Benefit: A rogue with this talent can select a single terrain from the ranger’s favored terrain list. She is a master at hiding in that terrain, and while within that terrain, she can use the Stealth skill to hide, even while being observed.
Special: A rogue may take this advanced talent more than once, each time selecting a different terrain from the favored terrain list.

This ability is actually a pretty poorly worded example of HiPS. It bases it on the Ranger ability without mentioning the fact that the Ranger has two seperate abilities that work together to create true HiPS, the other ability is Camouflage. I can only hope this was an oversight on the writer's part, but as I do not know who wrote it, I can not be sure.

Aside from that, this ability is written very much like Hell Cat Stealth, which also doesn't say anywhere in the description that it trumps the need for Cover/Concealment. I argued very similarly to the way you are arguing now only to see later the writer of that feat come onto the boards and stated HCS did indeed trump the need for both CONCEALMENT and COVER just like HiPS, that is a quote from Sean K Reynolds a PF designer.

SKR wrote:
HS trumps the need for cover/concealment, but you have a penalty on the check. HIPS trumps the need for cover/concealment, but it requires a nearby shadow, and has no penalty.

And this is the wording of HCS for reference:

d20pfsrd / Hellcat Stealth wrote:
You may make Stealth checks in normal or bright light even when observed, but at a -10 penalty.

As you can see there is no mention of anything that would bring cover or concealment to mind but the writer/designer who put it in the book came on the boards to say it indeed does trump cover and concealment just like other forms of HiPS. Which also implies that other forms of HiPS indeed trump both concealment and cover.

Vinecent wrote:

Copied and pasted from Ultimate Combat p71

Hide in Plain Sight (Ex): A rogue with this talent can select a single terrain from the ranger’s favored terrain list. She is a master at hiding in that terrain, and while within that terrain, she can use the Stealth skill to hide, even while being observed.
Pay special attention to the above and you will notice a recurring theme. Hide in plain sight allows you to use the Stealth skill even while being observed.

I addressed this above, same ability copied from a different source.

Vinecent wrote:

Copied and pasted from Pathfinder Core Rulebook page 67, Ranger class ability

Hide in Plain Sight (Ex): While in any of his favored terrains, a ranger of 17th level or higher can use the Stealth skill even while being observed.
Again, the same thing. “even while being observed…” there is nothing here about not needing concealment.

I have seen this argument several times from people with your same opinion, what they all fail to read is the lvl 12 Ranger ability that works in conjunction with their lvl 17 ability to grant them full HiPS.

PRD wrote:
Camouflage (Ex): A ranger of 12th level or higher can use the Stealth skill to hide in any of his favored terrains, even if the terrain doesn't grant cover or concealment.

So by the time the Ranger gains HiPS at lvl 17 he can already use Stealth without cover/concealment. When he has both Camouflage and HiPS he can hide even while observed and without any cover or concealment.

Vinecent wrote:

Copied and pasted from Pathfinder Core Rulebook, Shadowdancer class ability

Hide in Plain Sight (Su): A shadowdancer can use the Stealth skill even while being observed. As long as she is within 10 feet of an area of dim light, a shadowdancer can hide herself from view in the open without anything to actually hide behind. She cannot, however, hide in her own shadow.
Note that it still says even while being observed….as long as you are within 10 feet area of dim light (ie shadows, darkness, CONCEALMENT). The next part is very important. There is a subtle distinction that some people are missing. “Hide behind” means to use cover to hide. It says right in the Stealth skill that you can use cover or concealment. This is just saying that the Shadowdancer needs only a bit of shadow to CONCEAL themselves.

The hole in your argument that Shadowdancers need concealment is in the wording "within 10 feet of dim light." Under normal circumstances dim light is capable of providing concealment in only two ways:

1) Concealment is provided to a creature that is in dim light.
2) Concealment is provided if dim light exists between you and an observer's line of sight. For instance a darkness spell cast between a Creature (C) and an Observer (O):

(C) {Dim Light} (O)

The Shadowdancer on the other hand is able to do something supernatural with his afinity to shadow which defies the normal need for the "concealment" granted by being actually in the dim light or using dim light to block line of sight.

(SD)(O){Dim Light}
(O)(SD) {Dim Light}

In either of these scenarios, as long as the Shadowdancer was within 10 feet of the dim light, he would be able to use Stealth against the Observer. There is no way you can argue that the Shadowdancer is gaining normal concealment from the dim light in either of these scenarios. In both scenarios the dim light can be up to 10 feet away from the SD and in one case the Observer is actually standing between the SD and the dim light. The only way you can explain gaining "concealment" from a shadow that is 10 feet away is by saying that the SD in some way pulls the shadow across those 10 feet and wraps himself in it to gain concealment. I have not seen any such descriptions in SD or Assassin HiPS.

Vincent wrote:

Copied and pasted from Pathfinder Core Rulebook Stealth skill:

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.
Above is the reference to concealment and the Stealth skill.

Couple things here:

1) Stealth Rules have been errata'd you can actually maintain Stealth through areas that have no cover/concealment as long as your movement begins/ends in cover/concealment. Also you can start your movement in cover/concealment and move out of it to approach a target and get an attack before leaving Stealth. Of coarse the attack breaks Stealth.

2) The HiPS ability ammends and trumps normal Stealth and cover/concealment rules. Specific always trumps general.

Vincent wrote:

Copied and pasted from Pathfinder Core Rulebook page 197

Concealment and Stealth Checks: You can use concealment to make a Stealth check. Without concealment, you usually need cover to make a Stealth check.

Cover/Concealment are only ever gained by being inside something that grants it or by using something that grants it to block dirrect line of sight between a creature and an observer. Having a supernatural connection with shadow and being non-specifically within 10 feet of dim light is not the same as gaining concealment from it. I can be in an area of bright light with no chance of concealment and as long as I am a Shadowdancer within 10 feet of dim light of some sort I can still use Stealth.

Vincent wrote:
Ignoring Concealment: Concealment isn’t always effective. An area of dim lighting or darkness doesn’t provide any concealment against an opponent with darkvision.

Another thing a lot of people tend to overlook about Darkvision is that it specifically says it doesn't allow you to see anything you wouldn't otherwise be able to see. All DV does is allow a creature to see in/through dim light and darkness as if it were normal light or bright light. The only difference is that it's in shades of gray instead of color. There is nothing supernatural about it, it is still just normal vision. So, if a guy with normal vision in normal or bright light can't see something, then a guy with Darkvision in an area of dim light or darkness also can't see it.

If this scenario would allow a Shadowdancer to hide from a human:

{Bright Light (H)(SD)}{Dim Light}

Then the exact same situation will also allow the Shadowdancer to hide from a dwarf:

{Bright Light (D)(SD)}{Dim Light}

The same exact scenario with two different observers. If the Shadowdancer can hide from the human then he can also hide from the dwarf because:

PRD wrote:
It does not allow characters to see anything that they could not see otherwise
Vincent wrote:
This means that you must always have either concealment or cover to use Stealth. If you are using shadows and/or darkness as concealment then it is not effective against opponents with Darkvision.

Absolutely true in regards to normal Stealth. Not true in regards to HiPS because the ability ammends and trumps normal rules.

Vincent wrote:
I would actually like to see an official ruling on this. If someone from Paizo could either make the ruling or post a link where it could be found, I would appreciate it.

1) James Jacobs says the dim light is judged in favor of the Shadowdancer. How other creatures observe the light level is irrelevant to the use of the ability.

2) James Jacobs further clarifying that lowlight vision and darkvision don't limit the use of HiPS.

3) James Jacobs clarifying a few things about SD use of HiPS and comparing it's balance with a wizard and the invisibility spell.

4) Sean K Reynolds comparing HiPS to the Hellcat Stealth feat. He says that both trump the need for both cover and concealment.

These aren't errata or strictly official statements. They are statements from Pathfinder designers and that's enough IMO until explicit errata comes out to support/contradict them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So basically, it's invisibility. I mean let's just call it what it is.

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