Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

Starfinder


Pathfinder Society


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Hidden Light and Stealth


Rules Questions


If a character bearing a Lantern of Hidden Light has Hellcat Stealth and is standing in a dark room with a bunch of orcs, could the bearer still use their Hellcat Stealth to hide from the orcs?

My initial thoughts:

The Lantern creates light as an evocation(per the Construction Requirements and the item's subsequent aura). To me, this means the light is real, even if only the item's bearer can see it, and thus would allow for Hellcat Stealth to be used.

What if a Shadowdancer or a character with the Shadow Well ability was illuminated by the low-light region of a Lantern of Hidden Light in the same room as before? Could they use their ability to hide from the orcs?

My initial thoughts:

The Lantern still creates light as an evocation(per the Construction Requirements and the item's subsequent aura). To me, this still means the light is real, even if the Shadowdancer or character with the Shadow Well ability can't see the low-light region. However, I don't believe they could use their Hide in Plain Sight or Shadow Well abilities because they lack line of sight/line of effect to the light required to use their abilities.

What if the Shadowdancer or character with the Shadow Well ability was bearing an item similar to a Lantern of Hidden Light, which only produced low-light, such as a Palelight Torch? Would the hidden low-light allow them to use their Hide in Plain Sight or Shadow Well abilities?

My initial thoughts:

To me, this is effectively the same as the standard Lantern of Hidden Light and Hellcat Stealth. The light is real, having been created by evocation magic, and the character has line of sight/line of effect to the shadow within 10 ft. I believe they would be able to use their Hide in Plain Sight or Shadow Well abilities.

Suppose the Shadowdancer or character with the Shadow Well ability was in the next room instead, picking a lock using Luminous Lockpicks when the orc patrol walked by, could the bearer still use their Hide in Plain Sight or Shadow Well abilities using the light from the lockpicks to hide from the orcs?

My initial thoughts:

The Luminous Lockpicks use transmutation magic to aid their ability to pick locks, but have no Construction Requirements or explanation for how they produce the much smaller scale, hidden illumination of a Lantern of Hidden Light. Without any references to the contrary, I would guess that the characters could still use their abilities using the hidden light, particularly since there are no stipulations on the size of the shadow created.


I think that when you try to apply Stealth rules, it matters what the creature that makes the Perception roll sees, not the creature that is sneaking. For example, the CRB states

Core Rulebook wrote:
An area of dim lighting or darkness doesn’t provide any concealment against an opponent with darkvision.

It doesn't mean that creature with darkvision can't hide in darkness, but that any attempt to hide in darkness doesn't work against a creature with darkvision.

Hellcat Stealth and Hide in Plain Sight lets you use Stealth while being observed (without concealment), so the presence or absence of light doesn't matter.

On the other hand, Shadow Well seems to make use of the fact that there's shadow providing the concealment. Orcs possess darkvision, so from their perspective the shadow is still there, but it doesn't provide concealment to anyone who'd try to hide in it. I would say that any ability that requires shadow to hide doesn't work (unless you're out of the range of the darkvision).

Whether other aspects of Shadow Well, that allow you to switch places or use dimension door, would work, depends ont he user's perspective. If he cannot see shadow nearby (because of the Lantern of Hidden Light) he cannot use those abilities, but if he can see the shadow, he can use it even in the presence of creatures with darkvision, as it's not hiding, so the concealment doesn't matter.


Adjoint wrote:
Hellcat Stealth and Hide in Plain Sight lets you use Stealth while being observed (without concealment), so the presence or absence of light doesn't matter.

This is incorrect. Hellcat Stealth allows you to use stealth, even while being observed, in normal or bright light. Hide in Plain Sight allows you to use stealth, even while being observed, within 10 ft. of dim light, regardless of what light level you're standing in. Shadow Well allows you to use stealth, even while observed, within 10 ft. of a shadow. So the presence or absence of light is the exact issue here.

Adjoint wrote:
On the other hand, Shadow Well seems to make use of the fact that there's shadow providing the concealment.

This is false. If a shadow dancer is standing in natural daylight, but there is dim light within 10 ft., they can hide in the natural daylight. They aren't moving into the dim light. The dim light isn't moving to them. They are benefitting from the shadow without being in it.

Adjoint wrote:
Orcs possess darkvision, so from their perspective the shadow is still there, but it doesn't provide concealment to anyone who'd try to hide in it. I would say that any ability that requires shadow to hide doesn't work (unless you're out of the range of the darkvision).

By this argument, Hellcat Stealth wouldn't ever work, since everyone can see someone standing in normal or bright light. However, your point does bring up another argument. Since creatures with darkvision can negate the benefits/hinderances of darkness and low-light vision effectively double the range of light levels, must we consider the Stealth-user's perception of light levels, the Perception-user's perception of light levels, or the objective light levels. I would say the abilities rely on the objective light levels, since it is the only light level that doesn't change with abilities.

As it applies to whether a Lantern of Hidden Light or Luminous Lockpicks provides viable light, the question still remains, "Is the light created objectively present or not?"

I would argue that it is. An easier example to understand might be the Amulet of Hidden Light, which creates a radius of light that only those inside can see. The hitch, however, is whether the light is an illusion (as per the item aura derived from the invisibility spell in the construction requirements) or if the light is an evocation (as per the light spell in the construction requirements). I would argue that the item's aura is mislabeled and should read "faint evocation and illusion", which would make it a clear case.


You're right that lighting conditions matter for Hellcat Stealth, I should have read it more carefully. For Hide in Plain Sight, Iwas thinking about the rogue's advanced talent, not the shadowdancer's ability. But yes, shadowdancer's ability also requires the presence of shadow nearby.

I agree that both Lantern and Amulet of Hidden Light should have both evocation and illusion auras. You need evocation to create light, and illusion to hide it. Unless you evoke darkness, but that would destroy the light completely, even for the item's user.

This one rule about darkvision negating concealment makes it clear to me, that concealmeant is a matter of Perception, and thus depending on observer. If any ability requires you to have concealment, it is posible it won't work against creatures with darkvision and low-light vision.

Hellcat Stealth seems to mimic the actual hellcat's ability

Bestiary 2, p. 153 wrote:
Invisible in Light (Su) In bright light, a hellcat has natural invisibility. In normal light, a hellcat has partial concealment (20% miss chance). In dim light, it has no concealment. In darkness, a hellcat’s flickering glow limits it to partial concealment, unless the darkness is magical in nature.

The description gives more details

Bestiary 2, p. 153 wrote:
The hellcat is only clearly visible in dim light, at these times appearing as a skeletal dire tiger with hellish flames burning and flickering along the surface of its bones. Despite this eerie appearance, the hellcat is neither undead nor an elemental creature. The “fires” are actually its blood coursing through transparent flesh. In bright light, the hellcat’s entire body fades away into obscurity, while in darkness its glowing blood is muted.

It would seem that hellcat creates its own concealment, and I would think that a character with Hellcat Stealth learns to do something similar. The problem is, if the light is hidden by an illusion, how does it affect the appearance of a creature that was using said light to gain concealment? I imagine that from the observer's perspective, the effect would look like it was negated, so it wouldn't work to use a Lantern of Hidden Light to be able to use Hellcat Stealth. That is, technically it would work, but the illusion that makes the light invisible to others would negate its effect.

In the case of Shadow Well I didn't mean that there's shadow in the space of the creature, just that shadow needs to exist somehwere nearby. And while it is not clearly stated, I would think that the sorcerer is using this shadow somehow. He's not moving towards the shadow, yes, but I imagine he draws the shadow to himself. And assuming that he has to actively use the shadow, I'd say he need to see the shadow. And yes, I'd agree with you that it has to be real, the lack of light cannot be just an illusion. So bringing a Lantern of Hidden Light close to a shadowdancer can make the latter unable to use some of his abilities.

I believe that items that give only a little light or shadow can't be used to activate abilities that require you to be in or close to an area of specific illumination. It's obvious to me that the amount of light generated by Luminous Lockpicks is to small to count as "an area of dim light".


Adjoint wrote:
Unless you evoke darkness, but that would destroy the light completely, even for the item's user.

I agree. A Darkness spell would suppress even Hidden Light.

Adjoint wrote:
This one rule about darkvision negating concealment makes it clear to me, that concealmeant is a matter of Perception, and thus depending on observer. If any ability requires you to have concealment, it is posible it won't work against creatures with darkvision and low-light vision.

I don't think it's the concealment aspect of the dim light that lets the character use Hide in Plain Sight or Shadow Well. Much like concealment isn't required for Hellcat Stealth. Sean Reynolds clarifies this.

They work similarly. 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.

Thematically speaking, drawing shadow to yourself from 10 ft away into bright light would highlight yourself rather than allow for stealth. For this reason, I don't think the shadow moves at all.

Shadow Lodge

No.

You need to bend the light around yourself, predator style, to use hellcat stealth.

You can't do that when the light only exists for you and not the people who's eyes you're trying to fool.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

No.

You need to bend the light around yourself, predator style, to use hellcat stealth.

You can't do that when the light only exists for you and not the people who's eyes you're trying to fool.

Any mechanical support for this?


BigNorseWolf wrote:

No.

You need to bend the light around yourself, predator style, to use hellcat stealth.

You can't do that when the light only exists for you and not the people who's eyes you're trying to fool.

I understand the actual hellcat's ability as making itself transparent (not only the flesh, which is naturaly transparent, but also the blood and the bones), and consequently, I imagined Hellcat Stealth to work on a similar principle.

And if only you are able to activate this ability, then even if others can't see any light, you are still (semi-)transparent.


Kai_G wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

No.

You need to bend the light around yourself, predator style, to use hellcat stealth.

You can't do that when the light only exists for you and not the people who's eyes you're trying to fool.

Any mechanical support for this?

Either the ability is on or it is not on. If your buddies can't bypass it they cant see you, just like if you cast the darkness spell they cant just bypass it.


Adjoint wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

No.

You need to bend the light around yourself, predator style, to use hellcat stealth.

You can't do that when the light only exists for you and not the people who's eyes you're trying to fool.

I understand the actual hellcat's ability as making itself transparent (not only the flesh, which is naturaly transparent, but also the blood and the bones), and consequently, I imagined Hellcat Stealth to work on a similar principle.

And if only you are able to activate this ability, then even if others can't see any light, you are still (semi-)transparent.

The feat is an extraordinary ability, so I don't think it's actually making yourself transparent. I'm more inclined to agree BigNorseWolf's description that it's bending light around yourself, like invisibility.

The light either exists or it doesn't though. Since the spell used to create the effect is evocation, the light exists. The question is whether or not manipulating the light would hide you, even if no one else saw the light.

wraithstrike wrote:


Either the ability is on or it is not on. If your buddies can't bypass it they cant see you, just like if you cast the darkness spell they cant just bypass it.

Are you arguing that you can't have your allies see you and the enemies not? If so, that's not the argument here. The question is whether you can hide from everyone, even if only you can see the light/dim light needed to hide.

I don't think it is based on the perceiver's perception of light. Consider this situation:

There is a dark hallway that turns right at a 90 degree angle. Just around that turn is a shadowdancer and he's picking the lock on a door while a candle sits on the floor next to him. He hears a sound coming from back down the hallway and steps over 10 ft. to check it out, only to see an orc.
____
|s _c|
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
|o|

The candle only sheds dim light in a 5 ft. radius, so the orc with darkvision can't see the light, but the shadowdancer can. Darkvision would normally allow the orc to see the shadowdancer and deny them the ability to use stealth. However, the shadowdancer's Hide in Plain Sight allows him to use stealth, even when observed, as long as they are within 10 ft. of dim light. So, even though the orc cannot see the dim light, and even though the orc can see the shadowdancer already, the shadowdancer can use Hide in Plain Sight to vanish in front of the orc's eyes. This is either because the shadowdancer can perceive the dim light within range or because the dim light exists objectively within range. I would lean towards objectivity for fairness in game.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

No.

You need to bend the light around yourself, predator style, to use hellcat stealth.

You can't do that when the light only exists for you and not the people who's eyes you're trying to fool.

Based on how Hide in Plain Sight works, this would be incorrect. It does not matter that a dwarf sees through the shadows that give the assassin the ability to hide. I see no reason why Hellcat Stealth would be any different.

The problem with all of these skills is that the light level is dependent upon the viewer but Paizo has ruled that the skills/abilities are dependent upon the "ambient light" which is very difficult to rule what that is.

Shadow Lodge

Hellcat stealth is not hide in plain sight at 10. it is hide in plain sight at 10 with certain conditions. One of those conditions is bright or normal light.

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

You're not in bright or normal light if you're standing in the dark relative to people trying to hide from you, just like you're not in the dark compared to a dwarf or you're not in the shadows compared to an elf when you're in starlight.


I wonder how low-light vision affects the access to dim-light. For example, consider a torch in the dark. It gives. 20-feet of normal light, and another 20 of dim-light. Those numbers are double for a creature with low-light vision. So a creature 10 ft. from the torch has dim light 10 feet away. But if that creature has low-light vision, it won't see dim light area until 30 feet away. Can it use Hide in Plain Sight?

I'd argue it can try, but its effectiveness depends on the perspective of the viewer. If the viewer doesn't have Low-light Vision, hiding works, and the creature can use stealth. If the observer has low-light vision though, the effect of the skill is negated, since from the persepective of that observer, the creature is too much away from shadow.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Hellcat stealth is not hide in plain sight at 10. it is hide in plain sight at 10 with certain conditions. One of those conditions is bright or normal light.

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

You're not in bright or normal light if you're standing in the dark relative to people trying to hide from you, just like you're not in the dark compared to a dwarf or you're not in the shadows compared to an elf when you're in starlight.

Based on the FAQ for Dim Light, it doesn't matter what the observer sees, but rather what a human sees.

As I have argued all along, you can't have it both ways just because.

If a Shadow Dancer can hide from a Dwarf in what is Dim Light to a human, but normal light to the Dwarf, then I see no difference with the opposite. While the OPs goal is a stretch, there is precedence that the light level as a human sees it is what matters, not the level in which the observer sees it.

And the FAQ is about Dim Light (a light level) not Hide in Plain Sight. As Normal Light and Bright Light are also light levels, I see no reason for the rules to be applied any differently here.

I absolutely and wholeheartedly disagree with the FAQ, but them's the rules...

FAQ wrote:

Dim Light: When an ability requires a character to be near shadows or an area of dim light (like the shadowdancer’s shadow jump or hide in plain sight), how does that interact with low-light vision, darkvision, and the like?

While it’s true that most creatures in the game have low-light vision or darkvision, when the rules talk about being in or near an objective light level (for example “in an area of dim light”), they always refer to the state of light and darkness from the perspective of normal vision, like a human. The exceptions, effects that depend on an observing creature’s perspective, such as the heavens shaman’s enveloping darkness ability, call this out with text indicating that the ability alters or depends on that creature’s perspective, rather than the overall light level.

Hellcat Stealth does not call out the exception listed in the quote. It is based on light level. Therefore, I see no reason for the FAQ not to apply.

As such, if a person was trying to Hellcat Stealth from an Elf, they could NOT do so 25' away from a torch, but once they closed within 20', they could. They also could not use regular stealth at 25' from a torch, against an elf, because apparently the normal rules for stealth DO rely upon the observer's vision rather than the static vision of a human. And at 25' from a torch, the Elf sees the area as normal light (just not for Hellcat Stealth or the SD's Hide in Plain sight).

I know, it is crazy.

Shadow Lodge

it is about the observer most of the time. The shadow dancer is an exception because they are taking the shadow and wraping it around them. The universe being designed for and bi weak sighted humans, the definition of shadow is the ones humans would use.

Stealther under starlight? Not hidden from an elf

Stealther in a cave? The kobolds wonder why he's stumbling around in the dark hunched over all funny.

"they always refer to the state of light and darkness from the perspective of normal vision, like a human
" The lantern creates the definition of a SUBJECTIVE light level, not an objective one. The lantern light is only there for the person that holds it. Normal human vision does not detect the light.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

it is about the observer most of the time. The shadow dancer is an exception because they are taking the shadow and wraping it around them. The universe being designed for and bi weak sighted humans, the definition of shadow is the ones humans would use.

Stealther under starlight? Not hidden from an elf

Stealther in a cave? The kobolds wonder why he's stumbling around in the dark hunched over all funny.

"they always refer to the state of light and darkness from the perspective of normal vision, like a human
" The lantern creates the definition of a SUBJECTIVE light level, not an objective one. The lantern light is only there for the person that holds it. Normal human vision does not detect the light.

Not according to the FAQ. It states that if there is no explicit exception, that exception does not exist.

Shadow Lodge

The FAQ says no such thing.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
The FAQ says no such thing.

Uh, then what does this mean:

FAQ wrote:
The exceptions, effects that depend on an observing creature’s perspective, such as the heavens shaman’s enveloping darkness ability, call this out with text indicating that the ability alters or depends on that creature’s perspective, rather than the overall light level.

And to be clear, I agree with you on how it SHOULD work. But after the FAQ, it is clear that how the observer sees it does not matter. Only the light level as a human sees it.

FAQ wrote:
they always refer to the state of light and darkness from the perspective of normal vision, like a human.

Shadow Lodge

Okay, and how does a normal, unmodified human see the light from the lantern?

They don't.

So whats the lighting condition? Dark.

Does hellcat stealth work in the dark? No.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Okay, and how does a normal, unmodified human see the light from the lantern?

They don't.

So whats the lighting condition? Dark.

Does hellcat stealth work in the dark? No.

I agreed with you on that part. I said the the OPs plan would not work.

Shadow Lodge

ABILITIES refer to absolute light levels. That did not make the entire stealth rules move into absolute light levels.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
The universe being designed for and bi weak sighted humans, the definition of shadow is the ones humans would use.

I would rather say that it's most of spells and class abilities that were designed by weak sighted humans.

Shadow Lodge

Adjoint wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
The universe being designed for and bi weak sighted humans, the definition of shadow is the ones humans would use.
I would rather say that it's most of spells and class abilities that were designed by weak sighted humans.

bipedal weirdos with their bilateral symmetry...


BigNorseWolf wrote:

ABILITIES refer to absolute light levels. That did not make the entire stealth rules move into absolute light levels.

Agreed. We (players) Are now in the position where we have to choose when to apply the FAQ since according to said FAQ, it applies unless otherwise noted. But we all are pretty sure it does not apply to the stealth skill because that would be crazy.

But, Hellcat Stealth calls out "being in or near an objective light level" exactly as the FAQ describes.


I's still to be established whether the light created by a Lantern of Hidden Light is objectively existing (but it's hidden from everyone but the lantern's wielder) or does it exist only in the perception of the wielder. As OP noted, things created by evocation effects are usually objectively existing.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Rules Questions / Hidden Light and Stealth All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002-2017 Paizo Inc.® | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours, Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time.

Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder, the Starfinder logo, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Legends, Pathfinder Online, Starfinder Adventure Path, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.