Stealth Playtest, Round Two

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Illustration by Christian Pearce

In case you missed it, a few weeks ago the Pathfinder design team previewed some changes we were considering making to the Stealth skill. Like any design endeavor, game design benefits from iteration. After letting all of you playtest the rules and let us know what you thought of the first draft, we went back to the drawing board and made some changes based on that fantastic feedback.
In this round of playtesting, you'll find that we've cleared up some action issues. We have opened up the possibilities for using standard actions with the Stealth skill, as long as those standard actions do not attack creatures. In this way, the Stealth skill mirrors the rules found in the invisibility spell; at least as far as what actions you can attempt while you are hidden without automatically ending that condition.

Speaking of hidden, while we have kept the invisible condition, and have even strengthened the wording on that condition a bit, we have also created a lesser, connected condition called hidden. You gain the hidden condition when you benefit from Stealth, and you gain the invisible condition when you use a spell or effect that makes you visually undetectable, like the invisibility spell. Hidden is the base condition, and invisible is an upgrade of that condition.

Lastly, we have added some small language changes to explain how the hidden condition interacts with some universal monster rules dealing with senses—specifically blindsense, blindsight, scent, and tremorsense.
Just like the last round of playtesting, keep in mind that these changes are not yet official. While you are free to use them in your home game—and we would like you to do so—these changes are not yet ready for Pathfinder Society play. This time around we are going to give you two weeks to playtest and comment on these proposed changes, so tell us what you think sometime before October 3rd. We'll announce the final version in the Design Tuesday blog sometime after the playtest is completed, and make changes to the rules using the Pathfinder RPG FAQ system.

Stealth

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

Check: Your Stealth check is opposed by the Perception check of anyone who might notice you. Usually a Stealth check is made at the start of an action when you have some kind of cover (except for soft cover) or concealment. You cannot spend a free action to initiate Stealth, but if you spend a free action while under the effects of Stealth, you must make a new Stealth check to continue its effects. You can always spend a swift action to stay immobile and make a Stealth check. You can move up to half your speed and use Stealth at no penalty. When moving at a speed greater than half your speed and up to your normal speed, you take a –5 penalty on the Stealth check. It's usually impossible to use Stealth while taking an immediate action, a full-round action, or any action to make an attack, unless you are subject to greater invisibility or a similar effect, or you are sniping (see below). When you make your Stealth check, those creatures that didn't succeed at the opposed roll treat you as hidden until the start of your next action or until the end of your turn if you do not end your turn with cover or concealment. You are not hidden from creatures that are observing you (creatures that you didn't have cover or concealment from) or that succeed at the opposed check.
A creature larger or smaller than Medium takes a size bonus or penalty on Stealth checks depending on its size category: Fine +16, Diminutive +12, Tiny +8, Small +4, Large –4, Huge –8, Gargantuan –12, Colossal –16.

Attacking while Hidden: Usually, making an attack against a creature ends the hidden condition. For purposes of Stealth, an attack includes any spell targeting a foe or whose area or effect includes a foe. Actions directed at an unattended object do not end Stealth. Causing harm indirectly is not an attack. If during your last action you were hidden to a creature, you are still considered hidden when you make the first attack of that new action.

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

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

Creating a Diversion to Hide: You can use Bluff to allow you to use Stealth. If you do not have cover or concealment, as a swift action, you can attempt a Bluff check opposed by the Sense Motive of opponents that can see you. If you are successful, you are considered to have concealment from those creatures (but you do not gain the percent miss chance from concealment) until the end of your next action, you make an attack (as defined in the Attacking while Hidden section, above), or the end of your turn, whichever happens first.

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

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

Conditions

Hidden: You are difficult to detect but you not invisible. A hidden creature gains a +2 bonus on attack rolls against sighted opponents, and ignores its opponents' Dexterity bonus to AC (if any). You do not have line of sight to a creature or object that is hidden from you.

Invisible: Invisible creatures are visually undetectable. An invisible creature or object gains the benefits of the hidden condition. An invisible object or creature gains total concealment.

Universal Monster Rules

Blindsense (Ex) Using nonvisual senses, such as acute smell or hearing, a creature with blindsense notices things it cannot see. The creature usually does not need to make Perception checks notice hidden creatures or to pinpoint the location of an invisible creature within range of its blindsense ability, provided that it has line of effect to that creature. Any opponent the creature cannot see still has total concealment from the creature with blindsense, and the creature still has the normal miss chance when attacking foes that have concealment. Visibility still affects the movement of a creature with blindsense. A creature with blindsense is still denied its Dexterity bonus to Armor Class against attacks from creatures it cannot see.
Format: blindsense 60 ft.; Location: Senses.

Blindsight (Ex) This ability is similar to blindsense, but is far more discerning. Using nonvisual senses, such as sensitivity to vibrations, keen smell, acute hearing, or echolocation, a creature with blindsight maneuvers and fights as well as a sighted creature. invisibility, darkness, and most kinds of concealment are irrelevant, as is the hidden condition, though the creature must have line of effect to a creature or object to discern that creature or object. The ability's range is specified in the creature's descriptive text. The creature usually does not need to make Perception checks to notice creatures within this range. Unless noted otherwise, blindsight is continuous, and the creature need do nothing to use it. Some forms of blindsight, however, must be triggered as a free action. If so, this is noted in the creature's description. If a creature must trigger its blindsight ability, the creature gains the benefits of blindsight only during its turn.
Format: blindsight 60 ft.; Location: Senses.

Scent (Ex) This special quality allows a creature to detect approaching enemies, sniff out hidden foes, and track by sense of smell. Creatures with the scent ability can identify familiar odors just as humans do familiar sights.
The creature can detect opponents within 30 feet by sense of smell. If the opponent is upwind, the range increases to 60 feet; if downwind, it drops to 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at triple normal range.
When a creature detects a scent, the exact location of the source is not revealed—only its presence somewhere within range. The creature can take a move action to note the direction of the scent. When it is within 5 feet of the source, the creature pinpoints the source's location or notices a hidden creature.
A creature with the scent ability can follow tracks by smell, making a Wisdom (or Survival) check to find or follow a track. The typical DC for a fresh trail is 10 (no matter what kind of surface holds the scent). This DC increases or decreases depending on how strong the quarry's odor is, the number of creatures, and the age of the trail. For each hour that the trail is cold, the DC increases by 2. The ability otherwise follows the rules for the Survival skill. Creatures tracking by scent ignore the effects of surface conditions and poor visibility.
Format: scent; Location: Senses.

Tremorsense (Ex) A creature with tremorsense is sensitive to vibrations in the ground and can automatically notice hidden creatures and objects as well as pinpoint invisible creatures and objects in contact with the ground. Aquatic creatures with tremorsense can also sense the location of creatures moving through water. The ability's range is specified in the creature's descriptive text.
Format: tremorsense 60 ft.; Location: Senses.

Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Designer

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Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Matrixryu wrote:
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:

You make the Stealth check as part of your next action, since you have concealment until the end of your next action (or you make an attack, or until the end of your turn, whichever happens first). Usually, you will use it to move away, but there are other ways to use it as well.

Hmmm, here's a question for you....

Normally, the rogue would have had to get behind cover in order for that brief period of concealment after a bluff to be useful. However there is this line in the stealth rules: "If during your last action you were hidden to a creature, you are still considered hidden when you make the first attack of that new action". So, doesn't that mean a rogue could bluff, stealth, and then sneak attack all in the same round even without an real cover or concealment around?

I don't consider this overpowered because it is basically a harder version of the Improved Feint feat, but I wanted to make sure that my interpretation was correct and that this was intended in the rules.

If you stealth as part of an action, you must have cover or concealment (or hide in plain sight, or invisibility) in order to do it. Remember, you always use stealth as part of an action.

Right, but using bluff to create a diversion to hide gives you concealment during your next action, right? That means you could swift bluff, move to get a stealth check to hide, then get a sneak attack because you were hidden to a creature during your last action.

*deletes an edit, hopefully before anyone sees it ;) *


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Great read, great clarifications!
To boot, I have just started a stealthy ranger - muahahahahahaa!

Ruyan.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Matrixryu wrote:
Right, but using bluff to create a diversion to hide gives you concealment during your next action, right? That means you could swift bluff, move to get a stealth check to hide, then get a sneak attack because you were hidden to a creature during your last action.

Which makes perfect sense.

"Hey, do you see that?"
"What, where?"
*stab*

:)


Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
If you stealth as part of an action, you must have cover or concealment (or hide in plain sight, or invisibility) in order to do it. Remember, you always use stealth as part of an action.

But a successful feint would seem to grant you the required concealment needed to hide regardless of whether you have HiPS, something to hide behind or whatnot. So a rogue can spin in place (to feint) right in front of his opponent and deliver a sneak attack as a standard action as long as he succeeds on both the bluff and stealth opposed rolls. Is this correct?


Cheapy wrote:

Was it the intent that spells that don't "come from" a caster would still break stealth?

Such as Call Lightning.

Verbal Component?

Wild, crazy, probably unsteathly Somatic components?

Yup, though it would sound like you could make a new check to stay hidden.


Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
You still need to make clear how someone/thing with Scent can detect a scent (DC? Automatic?)and how and if Stealth affects that.
If it is within range, it is automatic. Stealth doesn't help you when going up against a creature that has scent. That's the long and short of it.

So when does a creature with Scent need to make a scent Perception roll (at a +8 bonus, as noted in the Perception skill)? Never? Only when the scent is out of the listed range? Is the detection still automatic if the creature is asleep?

I have a slight nitpick on the Blindsense ability: it only mentions creatures, not objects. By contrast, Tremorsense mentions both creatures and objects. As written, bats might be bouncing off of walls quite frequently. ;-)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I have a small issue with the swift action to remaining immobile. Is this not an example of stealth actually being an action itself? After all, you are not doing anything, you are remaining immobile.
If I wanted to remain immobile and cast a quickened silent stilled spell, would I first need to spend a swift action to... stay still? It seems I could simply roll as part of the spell's action. If I was disabled, and wanted to remain immobile in the bushes while the guard searched for me, would this render me unconscious?

The summary point of this question is: can I spend a swift action while immobile to roll a stealth check, or must I spend a swift action to remain hidden while immobile, or even just to remain immobile?

Also, I believe "You cannot spend a free action to initiate Stealth, but if you spend a free action while under the effects of Stealth, you must make a new Stealth check to continue its effects."
should read: "You cannot initiate stealth during a free action, but if you spend a free action while hidden, you must make a new stealth check to remain hidden."

P.S:

hogarth wrote:
I have a slight nitpick on the Blindsense ability: it only mentions creatures, not objects. By contrast, Tremorsense mentions both creatures and objects. As written, bats might be bouncing off of walls quite frequently. ;-)

Bats have echolocation, which is listed as being a blindsight ability. Does it say otherwise in the bestiary? Otherwise, "a creature with blindsight maneuvers and fights as well as a sighted creature."

Senior Designer

But a successful feint would seem to grant you the required concealment needed to hide regardless of whether you have HiPS, something to hide behind or whatnot. So a rogue can spin in place (to feint) right in front of his opponent and deliver a sneak attack as a standard action as long as he succeeds on both the bluff and stealth opposed rolls. Is this correct?

Why not just make a feint? That's only one Bluff check?

Spinning around in place is not technically a move action (it's a swift action if you are using Stealth to stay immobile...and by immobile I mean staying in the same square). You have already spent your swift to create the diversion.

You could create the diversion, make a 5-foot step (succeeding the Stealth check) and then make the attack, yes. You could move instead--It's the "look over there" and then strike maneuver--but movement still provokes since you are considered to have concealment, not total concealment, but then you don't get the miss chance.

Often you're just better off making a feint action (with Improved Feint if you have it). Feint also has the benefit of having a long duration to its effect (next attack rather than next action).

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Stephen, regarding the discussion of casting if non-attack spells are possible while remaining stealthy - I'd point out the wording of the description of verbal components:

PRD wrote:
A verbal component is a spoken incantation. To provide a verbal component, you must be able to speak in a strong voice.

Emphasis mine. Wouldn't a strong voice break your attempts to be stealthy (it's certainly not a whisper). I'd suggest updating the stealth rules to indicate that any spellcasting with verbal components (or without silent meta-magic) ends the hidden condition to non-deaf creatures.

Liberty's Edge

Ambrus wrote:
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
If you stealth as part of an action, you must have cover or concealment (or hide in plain sight, or invisibility) in order to do it. Remember, you always use stealth as part of an action.
But a successful feint would seem to grant you the required concealment needed to hide regardless of whether you have HiPS, something to hide behind or whatnot. So a rogue can spin in place (to feint) right in front of his opponent and deliver a sneak attack as a standard action as long as he succeeds on both the bluff and stealth opposed rolls. Is this correct?

Well, let's look at it.

Rogue without cover or concealment attempts to cause a diversion (swift action). He succeeds. This grants him concealment until the end of his next action, until he attacks, or until the end of his turn, whichever comes first.

What is his next action?

Attack: You don't get sneak attack just from attacking out of concealment. You need to be hidden, and "It's usually impossible to use Stealth while taking [...] any action to make an attack, unless you are subject to greater invisibility or a similar effect [...]". No real advantage here.

Move: If his next action is to move and attempt to use Stealth as part of the move, fine - but his concealment ends at the end of the move action. However, the line "If during your last action you were hidden to a creature, you are still considered hidden when you make the first attack of that new action" applies here. Was the rogue hidden during his move action? Why yes, yes he was. Then he's still hidden for his first attack of his attack action. SNEAK ATTACK. According to the text, this should work.

I don't think it's bad, I don't think it's broken. I think it's a buff to Rogues with good Bluff modifiers, which is totally in order.

Great job on take two, SRM.

Sovereign Court

DiscoDragin wrote:

So if I stealthily cast haste (to buff my party) I remain stealthy.

(Not using Invisibility, but the stealth skill)
But when I stealthily cast Ice storm, my stealthiness fails...

To take it a step further, I can remain in stealth if I cast Interposing Hand, but not if I cast grasping hand?

Why does an attack spell that doesn't visibly originate from the caster break stealth?


Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:

Why not just make a feint? That's only one Bluff check?

Spinning around in place is not technically a move action (it's a swift action if you are using Stealth to stay immobile...and by immobile I mean staying in the same square). You have already spent your swift to create the diversion.

You could create the diversion, make a 5-foot step (succeeding the Stealth check) and then make the attack, yes. You could move instead--It's the "look over there" and then strike maneuver--but movement still provokes since you are considered to have concealment, not total concealment, but then you don't get the miss chance.

Often you're just better off making a feint action (with Improved Feint if you have it). Feint also has the benefit of having a long duration to its effect (next attack rather than next action).

Thanks for the clarification, I'm just curious about this because sometimes you have a rogue who wants to get a sneak attack in that round, but he doesn't have Improved Feint yet ;)

Hmmm, one other question then. The new rules say "usually a Stealth check is made at the start of an action". Do you become 'hidden' at the start or the end of the action? I'm assuming you get the hidden condition as soon as you succeed on the stealth check at the start of the action.

This is important because it means that a rogue who uses a distraction to hide + a stealth check at the start of a move would not provoke attacks of opportunity while he's moving (if he succeeds at both rolls). I'm assuming that the 'hidden' condition protects you from attacks of opportunity at least, lol.

Liberty's Edge

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:


Why not just make a feint? That's only one Bluff check?

Spinning around in place is not technically a move action (it's a swift action if you are using Stealth to stay immobile...and by immobile I mean staying in the same square). You have already spent your swift to create the diversion.

You could create the diversion, make a 5-foot step (succeeding the Stealth check) and then make the attack, yes. You could move instead--It's the "look over there" and then strike maneuver--but movement still provokes since you are considered to have concealment, not total concealment, but then you don't get the miss chance.

Often you're just better off making a feint action (with Improved Feint if you have it). Feint also has the benefit of having a long duration to its effect (next attack rather than next action).

I kind of have to disagree here, though, sir. Feint has action economy problems which makes it less attractive than the situation I just outlined above in quite a few cases. At the start of the game, rogues get one attack, and feint is a standard action. That's a no-brainer in favor of trying the tactic I described above, because you can Cause a Diversion, 5-foot w/ stealth, and get your "full attack" WITH sneak attack all in one turn, and you can wash, rinse, repeat.

With Improved Feint, feint is still a move action. Feint now has basically the same exact effect as Creating a Diversion, only it takes no Stealth roll. Slight advantage to Improved Feint... but I had to invest two feats to get there in a feat-starved class.

Yeah, I kind of think this makes Feint more or less obsolete. Not that it got a lot of play anyway. I think this is much, much better, and needed for the rogue.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:


You could create the diversion, make a 5-foot step (succeeding the Stealth check) and then make the attack, yes. You could move instead--It's the "look over there" and then strike maneuver--but movement still provokes since you are considered to have concealment, not total concealment, but then you don't get the miss chance.

Often you're just better off making a feint action (with Improved Feint if you have it). Feint also has the benefit of having a long duration to its effect (next attack rather than next action).

I seem to be missing something.

Create diversion: swift action
5-foot step: Free action
Attack:Standard action

But you "cannot spend a free action to initiate Stealth," and technically that is what we are doing: 5-foot stepping to initiate stealth.

jeremiziah wrote:
Move: If his next action is to move and attempt to use Stealth as part of the move, fine - but his concealment ends at the end of the move action. However, the line "If during your last action you were hidden to a creature, you are still considered hidden when you make the first attack of that new action" applies here. Was the rogue hidden during his move action? Why yes, yes he was. Then he's still hidden for his first attack of his attack action. SNEAK ATTACK. According to the text, this should work.

The rogue was not hidden during his move action, he had concealment. Hidden is now a condition that he has not gained, yes? This concealment simply allows our rogue to initiate stealth as part of his move action(throwing sand in the air, dashing behind the guard's back, something), but "it's usually impossible to use Stealth while taking... any action to make an attack, unless you are subject to greater invisibility or a similar effect, or you are sniping." and "creatures that didn't succeed at the opposed roll treat you as hidden until the start of your next action..." which means you would lose the benefits of being hidden immediately before your attack (a standard action) and all you've done is provoke an attack of opportunity. This doesn't seem plausible or mechanically possible to me.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Enaris wrote:


But you "cannot spend a free action to initiate Stealth," and technically that is what we are doing: 5-foot stepping to initiate stealth.

Actually, I just looked it up and a 5-foot step is not a free action. It is simply categorized as a "Miscellaneous Action". So, according to the rule, there isn't anything stopping you from using a 5-ft step to go into stealth.

Senior Designer

Jeremiziah wrote:


Cause a Diversion, 5-foot w/ stealth, and get your "full attack" WITH sneak attack all in one turn, and you can wash, rinse, repeat.

Nope, only with your first attack. And only if you have hide in plain sight or a similar effect.

Liberty's Edge

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Jeremiziah wrote:


Cause a Diversion, 5-foot w/ stealth, and get your "full attack" WITH sneak attack all in one turn, and you can wash, rinse, repeat.
Nope, only with your first attack. And only if you have hide in plain sight or a similar effect.

At low levels, your first attack is your only attack. And feint only gives you your first attacka anyway, even with Improved Feint.

Can you explain why HiPS is necessary? Here's the scenario again for your convenience:

I wrote:

Rogue without cover or concealment attempts to cause a diversion (swift action). He succeeds. This grants him concealment until the end of his next action, until he attacks, or until the end of his turn, whichever comes first.

If his next action is to move and attempt to use Stealth as part of the move, fine - but his concealment ends at the end of the move action. However, the line "If during your last action you were hidden to a creature, you are still considered hidden when you make the first attack of that new action" applies here. Was the rogue hidden during his move action? Why yes, yes he was. Then he's still hidden for his first attack of his attack action. SNEAK ATTACK. According to the text, this should work.

Grand Lodge

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Firstly, WOW what a wonderful re-write!

This is such a great improvement to the existing rules. "wonders when these conditions will get added to the condition card set? :)"

One question I do still have though. multiple onlookers.
The rules clearly state how stealth works against a single person.
They also clearly state how stealth works when you are hiding from multiple onlookers.
But it doesnt clearly define how stealth is handled when one person spots you but others do not while trying to maintain stealth.

In the past when someone spots a sniper up on a rooftop he would use an action to help others by pointing the target out (thus prompting a new perception check from those that failed). Is this how you see these rules working or would you recommend something else?

The rules do allow for additional perception checks base on new stimuly (such as sniping every round) but what about when your trying to lay low?


Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:


Take a swift action to feint, make an attack, take a 5-foot step and make a Stealth check as part of that move, and then make another attack.

Per the above discussion, you can't hide as part of a free action, so you can't hide when you take a 5-foot step.

Is the intent:

Quote:
If you take a free action while already under the effects of Stealth, you must make a new Stealth check to continue its effects. You may not initiate Stealth as part of a free action other than a 5' Step.

?


Matrixryu wrote:
Enaris wrote:


But you "cannot spend a free action to initiate Stealth," and technically that is what we are doing: 5-foot stepping to initiate stealth.
Actually, I just looked it up and a 5-foot step is not a free action. It is simply categorized as a "Miscellaneous Action". So, according to the rule, there isn't anything stopping you from using a 5-ft step to go into stealth.

Ooooh. That's a good find. I don't know if anyone actually thinks of it as other than a free action, so it should be specifically called out if its intended to be used to Stealth.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Let's make sure we're all on the same page first:

-Bob the rogue begins his turn.
-Bob takes a swift action to create a diversion to hide (Bluff vs. Sense Motive). Bob succeeds.
-Bob now has concealment from Orc.
-Now that Bob has concealment from Orc, Bob takes a move and makes a Stealth check vs. Orc's Perception check as part of that action. Relevant text: "Usually a Stealth check is made at the start of an action when you have some kind of cover (except for soft cover) or concealment." Bob could draw a weapon, or stand up from prone, or load his hand crossbow, or move towards Orc at half speed, open a door, or any other move action Bob can think of, and make a Stealth check vs. Orc's Perception check as part of that action. Let's assume that after this 5' step or move action, Bob has succeeded on his Stealth check and is adjacent to Orc.
-Bob now has the Hidden condition against Orc.
-Bob stabs Orc as a standard action. Bob gains +2 to hit for the Hidden condition, and Orc does not get to apply his Dex bonus to AC. If Bob's attack hits, Bob can add his sneak attack dice to his damage roll.
-Bob's Hidden condition ends.

Effectively, Bob has spent his swift action, his move action, and his standard action, and has made one attack with the Hidden condition against Orc. He had to win two opposed rolls, a Bluff vs. Sense Motive roll and a Stealth vs. Perception roll.

If Bob were to take two feats for Improved Feint, he could do all this with his move action and his standard action. In doing so, his Bluff check for feinting in combat would be against the higher of DC 10+Orc's BAB+Orc's Wisdom modifier or DC 10+Orc's Sense Motive modifier. Also, Bob would not gain an additional +2 to hit Orc due to being Hidden. However, Bob only has to win one opposed roll.

So, at the additional cost of a swift action and having to make a second opposed roll, Bob saves two feats, Bob gets to do whatever he wants with his move action instead of spending it on the Feint action, Bob has to roll Bluff vs. Sense Motive instead of the higher of DC 10+BAB+Wis or 10+SenseMotive, and Bob gets an additional +2 to hit.

It's time to rewrite the Feint action, as well as the feats which reference it.

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Jeremiziah wrote:


Cause a Diversion, 5-foot w/ stealth, and get your "full attack" WITH sneak attack all in one turn, and you can wash, rinse, repeat.
Nope, only with your first attack. And only if you have hide in plain sight or a similar effect.

Why do we need HiPS or a similar effect, Stephen? The new Stealth rules do the job without one.

-Matt

Shadow Lodge

Typo:

Quote:
Hidden: You are difficult to detect but you are not invisible.

Or maybe:

Quote:
Hidden: You are difficult to detect but not invisible.

The rule looks good, I like it.


The argument on the stealth rules with scent comes down to this sentence

Quote:
The creature can detect opponents within 30 feet by sense of smell

I read that as the creature does so automatically, since no roll is being asked for. if someone is hidden within 30 feet of a wolf, the wolf knows that someone is "around" but not where.

Some think this initial awareness calls for a perception check.

A creature with the scent ability can detect opponents by sense of smell, generally within 30 feet. If the opponent is upwind, the range is 60 feet. If it is downwind, the range is 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at three times these ranges.

If the ability isn't supposed to be automatic then what exactly does it do? The distance seems to be important, going so far as to factor in wind speed, but why does the distance matter if its just a perception vs stealth roll? What does the above clause say? Anyone can detect another creature with a perception roll. Furthermore when they do so they spot the creature, they don't just gain a vague sense of "there's something near me"

Quote:

The creature detects another creature's presence but not its specific location. Noting the direction of the scent is a move action.

Noting the direction of the scent is a move action. There is no action listed for detecting a creatures presence. It has to be less than a move action, implying that it was a non action. If its not autodetect then what does it do? Anyone can detect a presence with a perception check.

A creature could take a move action to make a perception check to try to find a creature even if it didn't have the scent ability, and would gain more than "its over that way" if successful.

Quote:

If the creature moves within 5 feet (1 square) of the scent's source, the creature can pinpoint the area that the source occupies, even if it cannot be seen.

It would seem that detecting its precise square once you're within 5 feet is a non action, or else it would be impossible to do (because the creature has to use a move action to detect direction and then a move action to move to it) Since there's no roll, action, system, or mechanism at all mentioned this lead me to believe it was automatic.

Senior Designer

Quijenoth wrote:

Firstly, WOW what a wonderful re-write!

This is such a great improvement to the existing rules. "wonders when these conditions will get added to the condition card set? :)"

One question I do still have though. multiple onlookers.
The rules clearly state how stealth works against a single person.
They also clearly state how stealth works when you are hiding from multiple onlookers.
But it doesnt clearly define how stealth is handled when one person spots you but others do not while trying to maintain stealth.

In the past when someone spots a sniper up on a rooftop he would use an action to help others by pointing the target out (thus prompting a new perception check from those that failed). Is this how you see these rules working or would you recommend something else?

The rules do allow for additional perception checks base on new stimuly (such as sniping every round) but what about when your trying to lay low?

That is basically covered in the Perception rules. The guy points it out, and folks can try to spot it again on their turn as a move action.

Senior Designer

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Jeremiziah wrote:
Can you explain why HiPS is necessary?

It's not, I was having a brain fart.

The idea here was to try and increase the usability for distraction, but it is stepping on the toes of not only the feint section of the Bluff skill, but maybe Sleight of Hand as well.

I'm thinking about changing it so that you can only take a withdraw action (and maybe only a standard action version of withdraw) after creating a distraction. This puts it closer to the intent of the original Stealth rules without some of the wackiness of those rules.

Good catch, folks.


Do the changes to blindsight rules mean that bats (and others using echolocation) can no longer "see around corners"?

Senior Designer

Caedwyr wrote:
Do the changes to blindsight rules mean that bats (and others using echolocation) can no longer "see around corners"?

The only change made to blindsight was a clause to show how it interacts with the hidden condition. Most of that condition is straight from the current universal monster rules.


Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Caedwyr wrote:
Do the changes to blindsight rules mean that bats (and others using echolocation) can no longer "see around corners"?
The only change made to blindsight was a clause to show how it interacts with the hidden condition. Most of that condition is straight from the current universal monster rules.

So it is. I'd never noticed that before and have been running blindsight using house-rules for a while then it appears.


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Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:

I'm thinking about changing it so that you can only take a withdraw action (and maybe only a standard action version of withdraw) after creating a distraction. This puts it closer to the intent of the original Stealth rules without some of the wackiness of those rules.

Good catch, folks.

And so dies the bluff/move/stealth/sneak-attack/repeat dance.


You can use Bluff to allow you to use Stealth. If you do not have cover or concealment, as a swift action, you can attempt a Bluff check opposed by the Sense Motive of opponents that can see you. If you are successful, you are considered to have concealment from those creatures (but you do not gain the percent miss chance from concealment) until the end of your next action, you make an attack (as defined in the Attacking while Hidden section, above), or the end of your turn, whichever happens first.

This makes improved feint rather superfluous.

Swift action: Look a monkey!
Move action: Sneak sneak sneak 5 feet away
Attack action: Sneak attack!


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Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:

I'm thinking about changing it so that you can only take a withdraw action (and maybe only a standard action version of withdraw) after creating a distraction. This puts it closer to the intent of the original Stealth rules without some of the wackiness of those rules.

Good catch, folks.

Please don't. There's a reason why the Rogue is widely considered to be the worst class in the game, and the limitations of Sneak Attack are a part of that.

Could you instead look at revising the Feint rules and feats, to make them not suck so much?

-Matt

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

The whole paragraph under "Check:" is garbley rules-speak that took me several re-reads to even get the gist of it, and I'd like to think I'm somewhat competant at rules-speak.

However, it fails "the wife test": my casual-gamer wife cannot make sense of how to use this ability from the text provided. She's a smart gal, she's just not a PF rulesmonkey. Hence a good litmus for if things are too complicated. :-)

As others have mentioned, the third setence is where the derail occurs: "You cannot spend a free action to initiate Stealth..."

I know you want to put the action stuff under the "Action" header, but introducing an exception before you introduce the general rule is really confusing.


It's usually impossible to use Stealth while taking an immediate action, a full-round action, or any action to make an attack, unless you are subject to greater invisibility or a similar effect, or you are sniping (see below).

-I'm worried that this lets people combine stealth and the +20 from invisibility even when they're standing out in the open. It makes them impossible to find, even in a vauge general sense of "they're over there" that would let you glitterdust or fairy fire them.


Ambrus wrote:
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:

I'm thinking about changing it so that you can only take a withdraw action (and maybe only a standard action version of withdraw) after creating a distraction. This puts it closer to the intent of the original Stealth rules without some of the wackiness of those rules.

Good catch, folks.

And so dies the bluff/move/stealth/sneak-attack/repeat dance.

real pity. it is very rogueish, using skills and sneak attack to get an advantage in combat.

i too am i favor of keeping it, and maybe modifying the feint feat line somehow. improved feint has always been too costly for a very rogueish thing to do, for a rogue.
i will probably keep the dance in my home game, ignoring the fact that it kicks the improved feint feat out of the game.

Sovereign Court

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:

The idea here was to try and increase the usability for distraction, but it is stepping on the toes of not only the feint section of the Bluff skill, but maybe Sleight of Hand as well.

I'm thinking about changing it so that you can only take a withdraw action (and maybe only a standard action version of withdraw) after creating a distraction. This puts it closer to the intent of the original Stealth rules without some of the wackiness of those rules.

Would it be possible to make some adjustments to Feint somehow then instead of changing this? Honestly the way you've got it here certainly seems very interesting and would probably strengthen the skill quite a bit in usability.


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Mattastrophic wrote:
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:

The idea here was to try and increase the usability for distraction, but it is stepping on the toes of not only the feint section of the Bluff skill, but maybe Sleight of Hand as well.

I'm thinking about changing it so that you can only take a withdraw action (and maybe only a standard action version of withdraw) after creating a distraction. This puts it closer to the intent of the original Stealth rules without some of the wackiness of those rules.

Please don't. There's a reason why the Rogue is widely considered to be the worst class in the game, and the limitations of Sneak Attack are a part of that.

Could you instead look at revising the Feint rules and feats, to make them not suck so much?

I strongly agree that the Creating a Distraction rule overlaps WAY too much with Feint... It is not so much an issue of it being MORE powerful, but 1) making the Improved Feint Feat semi-superfluous since you can do (most of) what it does from Level 1 without spending any Feats and 2) it´s just massively confusing to re-hash what already exists in another section of the rules, just with differing action mechanics, etc.

Perhaps what needs to be done is integrating (adding) the ´pseudo-Concealment´ into the base Feint itself... One would still take Improved Feint/etc, to reduce the action cost. With pseudo-Concealment, you can (from Level 1 with no Feats) ´approximate´ a half-Withdraw, because if the Stealth Check succeeds (at beginning of Move Action), they can´t take an AoO against you (and you can still Tumble just in case the Stealth fails). I.e. Standard (Feint), Move (Stealth at beginning), possibly 2nd Stealth as Free Action when you actually move into real concealment/shadows.

I think giving more reasons for people to actually take the Feint Feats is a good thing.


Wow I really like the style of that art piece for some reason! I'm gonna have to look up Christian Pearce, now.


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

Just to clarify, when does this apply? Since it doesn´t include any movement, it doesn´t seem like you can step out from behind a corner and step back to your Cover... So it basically is when you are Stealthing in shadows (Concealment) or have PARTIAL Cover that doesn´t prevent shooting?

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

WHat does the last line actually mean? Is it talking about when you move around a corner and newly gain potential Line of Sight? But can´t you ALREADY make Perception checks even without Line of Sight, there is just a penalty when doing so (Cover, etc)? I´m just not seeing what situations would qualify as suddencly being able to ´possibly´ notice a creature, unless you´re talking about situations where the DC is above/below what is achievable on a Natural 20 (which I don´t get the impression is what you´re talking about here). ...?

Blog wrote:
Special: If you are subject to the invisibility or greater invisibility spells or a similar effect, you gain a +40 bonus on Stealth checks while you are immobile, or a +20 bonus on Stealth checks while you're moving.

BigNorseWolf brought this up (though I´m slightly confused about the relationship of what he quoted to his comment). ...Would it be more reasonable if the +40 while immobile bonus ONLY applied when you took NO other action besides the Swift Action to Maintain Stealth?

Blog wrote:

Hidden: You do not have line of sight to a creature or object that is hidden from you.

Invisible: An invisible object or creature gains total concealment.

What is the difference here?

Example: Joe Fighter is told by his friend Sharp Eye that the Evil Ninja is hidden in square E-4.
(I don´t usually play that people can call out exact locations of hidden opponents, but if it happens to correspond to an obvious landmark, e.g. ´the corner´ or ´on top of the 5x5 table´, you should be able to target a specific square in this manner)
Joe Fighter moves into range and swings blindly at square E-4.
If Evil Ninja is Invisible, Joe Fighter rolls 50% Miss Chance.
If Evil Ninja is merely Hidden, does Joe Fighter roll Miss Chance, or not?

In other words, if the target square can be targetted accurately, does Hidden provide no other protection?
Given how scent works (you ´notice´ adjacent Hidden creatures - the same term used for succesful Perception checks, while you ´pin-point´ adjacent Invisible ones), I suspect that Hidden grants no Miss-Chance, but it seems that could be made a little bit more obvious.

Is ´not having Line of Sight´ only relevant to spells, etc, which target specific creatures, but not physical attacks? (or magical attacks that make attack rolls)


Blog wrote:

Blindsense: The creature usually does not need to make Perception checks notice hidden creatures or to pinpoint the location of an invisible creature within range of its blindsense ability, provided that it has line of effect to that creature.

Blindsight: ...though the creature must have line of effect to a creature or object to discern that creature or object... The creature usually does not need to make Perception checks to notice creatures within this range.

This can be alot clearer. Exactly when DO they need to make Perception Checks?

When there is Cover or Partial Cover?
IF you use the phrase ´usually´, you need to make explicitly clear when are the exceptions.


The Blog wrote:
A creature with the scent ability can detect opponents by sense of smell, generally within 30 feet. If the opponent is upwind, the range is 60 feet. If it is downwind, the range is 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at three times these ranges.

To follow up on BigNorseWolf´s treatment of this... The problem comes down to the word ´can´.

By your statements on this subject, it seems that the intent is for Scent to automatically negate the need for any Perception check within range. But ´can detect´ is rather ambiguous: it could mean ´you detect them´, or it could mean ´you can (possibly) detect them´. The latter reading is re-enforced by what is actually stated in Scent: ´you can detect opponents... or smoke, garbage, skunks, or troglodytes´. Perception has a table of DCs/modifiers, and there are specific DCs/modifiers for smoke and garbage (which Scent says ´you can detect´, same as for opponents). Although there is no Peception DC/modifier for ´detect scent of opponents´, that could be presumed to have a zero modifier for Perception DCs.

If the intent is to bypass Perception checks (and Stealth) completely, I think that intent should be explicitly spelled out. At minimum, the ambigous phrase ´can´ should just be removed, hopefully replacing with it with ´automatically´ or something to that effect. That results in a ´stronger´ sentence stating what you DO, rather than suggesting a capacity of things you ´can´ do.

EDIT: It seems that Scent should work not just for OPPONENTS (as is RAW), but for ´creatures´ in general (in addition to smoke, other smelly objects), since there isn´t really any plausible reason you can smell-detect opponents (and notice/pin-point adjacent ones) but not your own Invisible allies (for example) or non-combatant NPCs.


hogarth wrote:
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
You still need to make clear how someone/thing with Scent can detect a scent (DC? Automatic?)and how and if Stealth affects that.
If it is within range, it is automatic. Stealth doesn't help you when going up against a creature that has scent. That's the long and short of it.
So when does a creature with Scent need to make a scent Perception roll (at a +8 bonus, as noted in the Perception skill)? Never? Only when the scent is out of the listed range? Is the detection still automatic if the creature is asleep?

I hate to bump my own comment, but is there a consensus over when scent Perception rolls are necessary?

Enaris wrote:
Bats have echolocation, which is listed as being a blindsight ability. Does it say otherwise in the bestiary?

The Bestiary says bats have blindsense, not blindsight.


hogarth wrote:

So when does a creature with Scent need to make a scent Perception roll (at a +8 bonus, as noted in the Perception skill)? Never? Only when the scent is out of the listed range? Is the detection still automatic if the creature is asleep?

I hate to bump my own comment, but is there a consensus over when scent Perception rolls are necessary?

Well, Stephen´s comments in this thread are a mostly clear indication of RAI, though I´m not sure how to deal with all the cases you mentioned... But the RAW itself is definitely not clear: Things mentioned as ¨you can detect¨ (including smoke, garbage, besides opponents) in fact have specific DCs/modifiers to detect them with the Perception skill, so it´s not at all clear what ´you can detect´ means re: automatic-ness and/or implications for Perception checks.


I´m mostly very impressed with this iteration of the Stealth changes.
If the issues people have mentioned are addressed, I think it will be very good.
I do strongly agree with other people who have complained about the legibility...
I´ve mostly hacked my way thru it... But for a typical reader, who isn´t approaching it from a Rules Playtest perspective, but is just playing the game and the Stealth rules are just another paragraph, this can be written ALOT more clearly and consisely. I´m SURE that this functional rule-set can be re-phrased in a way that is signifigantly shorter (I see alot of repetition) AND easier to understand... Possibly spending some of the ´word tightening´ in spelling out things that aren´t specifically stated (currently).


Blog wrote:
Hidden: You are difficult to detect but you not invisible. A hidden creature gains a +2 bonus on attack rolls against sighted opponents, and ignores its opponents' Dexterity bonus to AC (if any). You do not have line of sight to a creature or object that is hidden from you.

I feel like the identity of ´You´ is switching around between the first sentence and the last...

If you continue the identity of ´You´ as ´the Hider´, the last sentence means that Stealthed characters can´t target people they´re Hidden from... which is wierd.
(Attacking should normally break the Hidden Condition, but if you can´t Target the potential observers, you couldn´t do what is necessary to break the Hidden Condition in the first place)

I suspect the intention is that the people you´re Hidden from can´t Target YOU (the Hider), but that switch of perspective is far from obvious, and the ´concealed´ switch of perspective makes the passage hard to read (even if people will understand your meaning).
Probably better to phrase the last line: Creatures you are Hidden from do not have Line of Sight to you.

(I´m not sure why Object were included in the first place... If any object is acting independently, it essentially counts as a Creature. Otherwise, Objects don´t care about Line of Sight AFAIK. Line of Effect still matters, e.g. for Area Effects, but that isn´t addressed here)

The Exchange

Thanks for this change in the stealth rule. To pick up on the HiPS discussion, we are now saying that:

HiPS is done are part of an action as any Stealth check
A successful opposed stealth check using HiPS gains the Hidden condition

?

If so, that clears up a lot of the extra sensory perception questions, except for one: Darkvision.

Any chance of clearing that one up once and for all?


Quandary wrote:
Blog wrote:
Other Perception Checks: If a creature makes a Perception check as a move action to notice a hidden creature, the DC of the Perception check is the hidden creature's last Stealth check. This is also the case if a creature makes a Perception check to notice a hidden creature because the perceiving creature is entering an area where it could possibly notice a hidden creature.
WHat does the last line actually mean? Is it talking about when you move around a corner and newly gain potential Line of Sight? But can´t you ALREADY make Perception checks even without Line of Sight, there is just a penalty when doing so (Cover, etc)? I´m just not seeing what situations would qualify as suddencly being able to ´possibly´ notice a creature, unless you´re talking about situations where the DC is above/below what is achievable on a Natural 20 (which I don´t get the impression is what you´re talking about here). ...?

On second thought, I guess this is covering situations like a Stealther in an area of pure Darkness, i.e. where non-Darkvision species just can´t see them PERIOD, and that Darkness is subsequently Dispelled/raised to brighter state where they CAN ´possibly´ be seen (in which case their last Stealth check is used). I still think the wording can be alot clearer/more obvious about these things (since ´entering an area´ normally doesn´t fundamentally change what you can perceive, unless you are carrying a light source, but that isn´t an obvious component of ´entering an area´, and as per the above Dispel example, this rule seems like it would apply for alot more than just ´entering an area´ = moving).

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
I'm thinking about changing it so that you can only take a withdraw action (and maybe only a standard action version of withdraw) after creating a distraction. This puts it closer to the intent of the original Stealth rules without some of the wackiness of those rules.

I think that this limitation is too severe. What if I wanted to do something else? The list there could be pretty long, though I've never really understood the "make a distraction" concept mechanically. Sure, you can make the stealth check while people are aware of you, but what then? They're gonna look back at you, and you aren't invisible.

In any case, simply limiting the actions you can take to non-attack actions after making a distraction should work. (It ends the hidden condition, why not the quasi-concealed condition?)

I do have a second theory: instead of letting anyone do anything to become hidden, such as opening a door or drawing a weapon, which doesn't practically make sense, have the act of hiding one's self actually be an action. Once you have ATTAINED the hidden condition, by spending an action hiding one's self, you must roll per action to maintain it.

A third idea is to simply increase the time it takes to make that bluff check, or even tie it to the feint action. You are, after all, feinting.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
hogarth wrote:
Enaris wrote:
Bats have echolocation, which is listed as being a blindsight ability. Does it say otherwise in the bestiary?
The Bestiary says bats have blindsense, not blindsight.

The comedic value of bat swarms in my campaign just quadrupled.

Liberty's Edge

Just a couple of queries which doesn't appear to be clear:

EXAMPLE 1: A character is currently "hidden" behind cover. The character has a move of 30'. The target, a guard, which is 30' away is looking out over a battlement on guard duty (i.e. taking a move action each round to perceive his surroundings). The character moves from the cover, moves at half speed and makes a Stealth skill check (at no penalty as he only made a half move). The guard makes an opposed roll using his Perception skill in order to "notice" the character but fails to beat the character's Stealth skill check result. The character therefore still has the "hidden" condition from the guard's perspective.

Q1. Is this correct?
Q2. If so, can the character in the next round make a half move again, coupled with a Stealth check to remain hidden from the guard in order to make an attack?
Q3. Is it possible for a character to have the "hidden" condition towards one enemy, and yet not have it for another in the same encounter (i.e. In this scenario, the big bad was watching from a tower and saw the character moving towards his guard)?

EXAMPLE 2: A party is resting for the evening. The party consists of 4 characters, one of whom is a druid with an animal companion with Scent as an ability. The animal is asleep as is the druid. An enemy is using stealth to infiltrate the camp but the character on watch fails to "notice" the enemy sneaking in.

Q1. Does the Scent ability "switch off" when a creature with that ability is asleep?
Q2. If so, does the Perception check from the animal gain any bonus versus the opposed Stealth check?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
KrispyXIV wrote:
Cheapy wrote:
KrispyXIV wrote:

Wait... can I cast a spell and make a Stealth Check to remain hidden?

If not, can someone point out for me where it says I can't?

By this, I mean a spell which is not also an attack (like buffs, or heals), cast targeting myself, an object, or an ally.

Go Unnoticed just became really good :)

I liked stealth on casters before. Now? Like this? Its near required.

And a good thing!

Remember, it the spell has a vocal component you need to speak in a [b]strong voice[b].

In my opinion that should be true for all the command worlds too.

How much a malus to stealth is casting with a strong voice, or if you can hide at all is a good question.

"Hear the detail of a conversation" as a DC of 0. You don't even need to hear the details, but you only need to hear the caster speaking. DC -5?

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