Stealth in Combat: Sneaky Bugbear vs. Elf Rogue


Rules Questions

1 to 50 of 490 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

I had a rules dispute come up tonight during the game I was running, so I'd like to throw the scenario out there and get some feedback. I try to be fair to the players, so I want to know if my rulings were unfair.

-----

The last session the characters finished cleaning out a crypt and captured Skizzik. Skizzik is a 5th level evil Cleric who had been bothering the party since they were first level. His band of goblins burned down the party's cleric's temple (almost with the party's wizard in it) and tortured some dogs the party's ranger later rescued and befriended. He escaped from captivity once before and the party hunted him down. In short, he's been a small green pain in the @$$ for probably the last eight game sessions.

A Man In Black once suggested a house rule on the forums here, whereby a truly fatal blow would instead inflict conditions of the striker's choosing (any combination of conditions, up to and including death). We adopted this as a house rule in our campaign, and the party member who got the "killing blow" on Skizzik chose to inflict a permanent coma on the goblin. So the goblin was alive, but he wasn't going to do anything without some major clerical healing mojo to make it happen.

This session, the players had rested at the nearby village and were traveling on horseback to return to the captiol city, to turn in Skizzik and claim the reward laid upon his head.

In the first two sessions of the campaign, the party met one another while "exploring" a bugbear tomb. The bugbears had a different view on this "exploration", they called it defiling the crypt of their ancestor and wanted revenge. This was the second such band of bugbears to ambush the players along the road and demand retribution during this campaign.

None of the party were terribly proficient riders, and these were travel horses without combat training. Most of the party dismounted immediately in order to fight the bugbears hand to hand. The party's wizard was not so lucky, and after the bugbear struck his horse, the wizard took a wild ride on a very frightened horse.

The battle then split into thirds, each approximately 70' (14 squares) long. The road was roughly 30' across and had a gentle curve.

In the "down the road" third, the party's barbarian fought two bugbears at once, and the party's ranger and cleric ganged up on a bugbear.

In the middle third, the party's horses stood where they had been dismounted; the ranger also commanded his dogs to "stay" so they wouldn't risk combat.

In the "up the road" third, the VERY tough leader of the bugbear pack wielding a nasty heavy crossbow took aim at the cleric. The party's rogue popped an invisibility potion and headed this direction.

As the combat played out, the rogue managed to get in for the sneak attack, but got low damage. The enraged leader of the bugbears drew his greataxe and proceeded to give the rogue two nasty wounds, reducing him to 1 hp. The barbarian scored an amazing critical hit and slew one of the bugbears outright, and fought the other very well. The cleric and the ranger had little luck, the cleric couldn't seem to hit and the ranger kept missing with her bowshots. The wizard hung on for his life and tried to slow the frightened horse.

In the midst of this, one bugbear disappeared into the grass, and I removed the token from the board. Without replacing it, I decided he would sneak back in the tall grass on the side of the path, cross the path while passing by the party's horses. At this point, I rolled several rolls. The first set of four were the stealth rolls for the bugbear, they came up pretty high: 13, 15, 14, 16. The next set of four were the opposed perception rolls for the rogue (who had line of sight, but may have been distracted by a greataxe sweeping through his guts), they came up pretty low: 3, 5, 6, 7. The rogue's perception was +9, and the bugbear's stealth was +14.

I ruled the bugbear was able to sneak through the middle, cut the prized goblin off the horse, and flee across the path into the tall grass on the other side. (All told, he crossed six squares of "open" terrain.) I didn't move any tokens on the map; waiting until the characters would notice before informing the players via the map.

In the next rounds, the rogue popped a healing potion and slew the leader of the bugbears, and immediately asked for a Perception check, looking actively for the "one that got away". I rolled a 19 and told him, "You don't see the bugbear who snuck away, but you do see this." and removed the token indicating the prized goblin.

The rogue's player was livid. He thought it was completely unfair that the bugbear snuck through combat, that he should have been limited to five foot steps, wouldn't have had enough time to do anything, he would have been in plain sight, etc. I just said "Well, I gave you opposed checks, and the bugbear won. You were fighting for your life and so you didn't notice until your break in the combat."

The rogue's player continued to argue, and I said, "Well, you look and the goblin is not there. Are you going to call out to the other party members to let them know?" The rogue's player said, "No. I just sit down." And so the character (and the player) sat without saying a word for the rest of the encounter.

The other players were obviously interested in this turn of events, but knew their characters knew nothing about it. They asked for Perception checks, and the party's cleric noticed some grass being disturbed and called out to the party. The ranger instructed his dogs to "sic 'em" and the dogs cornered the bugbear in the grass. The bugbear (who was relying on stealth and knew all his companions were dead) surrendered and stood up in the grass with his hands up. The party's ranger immediately put two arrows in the bugbear, and the party's barbarian slew the sneaky bugbear.

They recovered the prized goblin. Still comatose and a little dirty from being dragged through the grass, but no worse for the wear. At which point, every bugbear had been killed and the encounter was over.

-------

Was it unfair to let the bugbear sneak through the middle and snatch the goblin "in plain sight" without informing the players?

I ruled the wizard too concerned with staying on the horse and too far down the road to get a check. The barbarian had a similar situation, being too far around the curve to get LOS.

The ranger and cleric were arguably close enough, but they were engaged in combat and had some obstructions in their LOS.

The rogue arguably had a clear LOS, but his perception rolls were pretty lousy against the bugbear's good stealth rolls.

Ultimately it was futile for the bugbear, who died at the hands of a very unmerciful party. But, was it unfair to let him pull the caper in the first place?

-------

I keep coming back to the idea, what if the party's rogue wanted to pull a similar stunt? If he wanted to sneak through a combat and fetch something off an enemy's horse? Would I let him do it? What rolls would I require for him to do it?

I like to think I would have done it the same way for him. If the enemy is distracted and he's trying to be sneaky, Perception vs. Stealth. If anybody had direct LOS and no distractions, I'd rule it hopeless in plain sight. However, if everybody is engaged in a vicious melee, it's enough of a distraction to allow a shot; luck of the dice be with you.

Fair? Unfair? Your comments are appreciated.


I once played with a DM who was a marine. We didn't use a grid, and once he said that one of the opponents was flanking. Well, two really, as per the definition of flanking. A player tried to argue, and he pointed out that, actually having combat experience, it is REMARKABLY difficult to keep track of everything that's going on when you're in that situation.

Given the rolls that you made and all of that, what you did seems entirely fair to me. Now, there is the matter of the bugbear having to move at half speed to use Stealth without penalty, but it all seems on the level to me nonetheless.


I agree this sounds reasonable, you didn't mention applying the penalty for not moving at half-speed, but it sounds like he rolled well enough to beat the Rogue anyways (and he may have had the fast stealth talent anyways).

If you skipped perception checks for the ranger and cleric with line of sight that seems like the only issue I can see. Any applicable distance/cover penalties should have of course applied, and I don't think simply being in melee combat itself should be a penalty (though if the opponent is partially blocking LoS that could count as soft cover, etc). Clearly, the concept that events can happen and be over-looked while intense combat is going on near-by is not a surprise, and the fact you followed the letter of the rules (at least as far as the Rogue character/player was concerned) only validates it further.

It sounds like the rest of your players handled it fine even though they were the only ones who didn't get a Perception check. Personally, if I asked the Rogue player why their character was sitting down and doing nothing and they didn't give a decent answer (i.e. it was clear the childish reaction they as a player were enacting), I would ask them to leave the room if they weren't going to play anymore. That's it.


Well if he had a clear line of sight, then by RAW - no stealth check allowed. You could argue however, that he made a stealth check, broke cover to the horse, the rogue would be surprised in that round and still flat-footed - but he can still see. And the horse only provides soft cover no stealth check therefore. Unless he hid behind either cover or concealment and there was a clear line of sight - the rogue should've seen him IMHO.

I've heard it argued countless times about real combat etc. but that's RAI, not RAW. That being said, if at your table you're comfortable with that (and comfortable with the rogue being able to stealth without cover or concealment) then go for it. But by RAW, i'd say no.


By the rules once the bugbear was in open terrain he should have been spotted. Personally I like consistency when I play, but each group is different, and some don't mind the DM bending rules every once in a while.


Tanis raises a good point. The bugbear would have needed cover or concealment of some sort in order to Stealth in the first place. He'd also have to move at half speed or take a -5 on his stealth checks.

Cover or concealment could come from a number of sources, however. If this was a road through a forest, then there was quite possibly light or dense undergrowth which would provide concealment. Although undergrowth also costs two squares of movement to move through, slowing down the bugbear even further. Also, light undergrowth imposes a penalty on Stealth checks, but heavy undergrowth provides a hefty bonus to Stealth checks.

Undergrowth can also be found in other terrain types, such as plains, deserts, and mountains.

On the flip side, the rogue (and other party members) would be taking penalties on their Perception checks too for being distracted; and I'm certain that the rogue being at 1 hp after taking two big hits from greataxe wielding leader bugbear would count as a distraction. Also, distance penalties would apply (these often get glossed over in play though).

All in all, probably not a big deal unless the bugbear had to move at a considerable speed to pull off his getaway. Might not be a bad idea to review the rules for the Stealth and Perception skills, as well as the terrain type rules.


FOUR checks no less to spot the Buggy, and he failed. He can't accuse you of DM Fiat with THAT many checks.

Simlpy put, Buggies ARE sneaky, that is something they are SUPPOSED to do well - so well played and well thought.

The only thing I take issue with is the Ranger deciding to double tap a surrendered foe and purporting to be 'good'.


Shifty wrote:

FOUR checks no less to spot the Buggy, and he failed. He can't accuse you of DM Fiat with THAT many checks.

Simlpy put, Buggies ARE sneaky, that is something they are SUPPOSED to do well - so well played and well thought.

The only thing I take issue with is the Ranger deciding to double tap a surrendered foe and purporting to be 'good'.

Number of checks aside, he did use DM Fiat, and if the player is expecting a by-the-books game he should be upset. If the DM likes to run outside the rules a bit to enhance the story there might need to be a group discussion.

PS: I am not saying not following the rules to a T makes anyone a bad DM, but such things should be noted up front so nobody is surprised when the story usurps the rules.


I think he ran it right from the rogues point of view at the very least. The Bugbear gained concealment from the tall grass able to uses stealth at that point. The rogue failed his checks. It says in the stealth skill description that if someone is momentarily distracted, as I would see having a big bad bugbear in your face as a distraction, stealth can also be used. So even entering an open space stealth is still posible in this situation.


I don't see the fiat.

There was a perfectly legit set of circumstances leading to the outcome.


Shifty wrote:

I don't see the fiat.

There was a perfectly legit set of circumstances leading to the outcome.

+1

Stealth isn't automatically lost when you come out behind cover or concealment; somebody still has to make an opposed Perception check first. The rogue failed his.


AvalonXQ wrote:
Shifty wrote:

I don't see the fiat.

There was a perfectly legit set of circumstances leading to the outcome.

+1

Stealth isn't automatically lost when you come out behind cover or concealment; somebody still has to make an opposed Perception check first. The rogue failed his.

+2 ... he failed four checks, mind you.

;-)

Honestly, you did nothing AT ALL wrong as you held the bugbear to the same expectations you'd have had for the player. If there's a problem, it's with your player deciding to sit down and be a dink about it.

I'm with Quandry - ask him/her to hit the road if he/she's going to be a baby about it.

I'm also finding the *only* fishy part of that scenario being that a ranger murdered an opponent that surrendered. Definitely not "good" at all.


AvalonXQ wrote:
Shifty wrote:

I don't see the fiat.

There was a perfectly legit set of circumstances leading to the outcome.

+1

Stealth isn't automatically lost when you come out behind cover or concealment; somebody still has to make an opposed Perception check first. The rogue failed his.

-1. You don't have stealth without cover or concealment. B is for a building. The X's are open area. When you are in X you have no cover or concealment. Unless you have hide in plain sight you are spotted. Without cover or concealment there is no hide check. At the very least there should have been a -10 to the stealth check, but if he was untying the goblin in open sight he should have been immediately spotted.

PRD:
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.

B X X X X B


The Speaker in Dreams wrote:
AvalonXQ wrote:
Shifty wrote:

I don't see the fiat.

There was a perfectly legit set of circumstances leading to the outcome.

+1

Stealth isn't automatically lost when you come out behind cover or concealment; somebody still has to make an opposed Perception check first. The rogue failed his.

+2 ... he failed four checks, mind you.

;-)

Honestly, you did nothing AT ALL wrong as you held the bugbear to the same expectations you'd have had for the player. If there's a problem, it's with your player deciding to sit down and be a dink about it.

I'm with Quandry - ask him/her to hit the road if he/she's going to be a baby about it.

I'm also finding the *only* fishy part of that scenario being that a ranger murdered an opponent that surrendered. Definitely not "good" at all.

Expecting someone to follow the rules is not being a baby. I do think it was cinematic, and a lot cooler than just being caught in the open, but that has nothing to do with the rule itself. I would just list it as a house rule that you can hide in the open after a stealth check if the DM wants to run it that way, but that ranger probably has a high stealth and will be looking for every opportunity to take advantage of it.

PS: Obviously the player did not know what the standard was or he would not have been complaining. If I was the player I would simply ask is that how things will continue to be done in regards to stealth, and adjust accordingly.


wraithstrike wrote:
The Speaker in Dreams wrote:
AvalonXQ wrote:
Shifty wrote:

I don't see the fiat.

There was a perfectly legit set of circumstances leading to the outcome.

+1

Stealth isn't automatically lost when you come out behind cover or concealment; somebody still has to make an opposed Perception check first. The rogue failed his.

+2 ... he failed four checks, mind you.

;-)

Honestly, you did nothing AT ALL wrong as you held the bugbear to the same expectations you'd have had for the player. If there's a problem, it's with your player deciding to sit down and be a dink about it.

I'm with Quandry - ask him/her to hit the road if he/she's going to be a baby about it.

I'm also finding the *only* fishy part of that scenario being that a ranger murdered an opponent that surrendered. Definitely not "good" at all.

Expecting someone to follow the rules is not being a baby. I do think it was cinematic, and a lot cooler than just being caught in the open, but that has nothing to do with the rule itself. I would just list it as a house rule that you can hide in the open after a stealth check if the DM wants to run it that way, but that ranger probably has a high stealth and will be looking for every opportunity to take advantage of it.

PS: Obviously the player did not know what the standard was or he would not have been complaining. If I was the player I would simply ask is that how things will continue to be done in regards to stealth, and adjust accordingly.

Expecting someone to follow the rules is not being a baby. When the DM does something you don't expect and disagree with, choosing to sulk silently in and out of game IS being a baby. If a player is upset with a DM decision, the most mature option is "okay, I'm not sure I agree, can we meet after the game and talk about this?" or something along those lines. Mid-game, unless it's something truly egregious (like something leading to character death), I think people should generally be willing to roll with unusual rulings. I've DMed for something like 7 years now and I'm well aware that not every call I made was a good one, but it slows down the game and ruins the experience for the entire group to fight about it too long mid-session (a quick rules check is not what we're talking about here.)

But then, that's my opinion. YMMV.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

PFSRD wrote:
If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth. Against most creatures, finding cover or concealment allows you to use Stealth. If your observers are momentarily distracted (such as by a Bluff check), you can attempt to use Stealth. While the others turn their attention from you, you can attempt a Stealth check if you can get to an unobserved place of some kind. This check, however, is made at a –10 penalty because you have to move fast.

This is from the Stealth entry, and is the relevant rules issue (emphasis mine). The party was distracted, allowing the bugbear to Stealth. The bugbear's rolls would have been at a -10 penalty, but he rolled very high and the rogue rolled very low.

If this rule didn't exist, you could never actually sneak up on anyone unless they were in a dark alleyway. I'm sure we all know from real life experience that it's perfectly possible to sneak up on someone in broad daylight if they're not completely aware of you.

The DM played the scenario properly, in my book.


Kevin Morris wrote:
PFSRD wrote:
If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth. Against most creatures, finding cover or concealment allows you to use Stealth. If your observers are momentarily distracted (such as by a Bluff check), you can attempt to use Stealth. While the others turn their attention from you, you can attempt a Stealth check if you can get to an unobserved place of some kind. This check, however, is made at a –10 penalty because you have to move fast.

This is from the Stealth entry, and is the relevant rules issue (emphasis mine). The party was distracted, allowing the bugbear to Stealth. The bugbear's rolls would have been at a -10 penalty, but he rolled very high and the rogue rolled very low.

If this rule didn't exist, you could never actually sneak up on anyone unless they were in a dark alleyway. I'm sure we all know from real life experience that it's perfectly possible to sneak up on someone in broad daylight if they're not completely aware of you.

The DM played the scenario properly, in my book.

I totally agree with you on this one. Not only that, but the players should have recieved penalties to their perception checks. Its a -5 penalty on the perception check if your distrated, and being in combat certainly qualifies in my book.


wraithstrike wrote:
AvalonXQ wrote:
Shifty wrote:

I don't see the fiat.

There was a perfectly legit set of circumstances leading to the outcome.

+1

Stealth isn't automatically lost when you come out behind cover or concealment; somebody still has to make an opposed Perception check first. The rogue failed his.
-1. You don't have stealth without cover or concealment.

I disagree. You can't GAIN stealth without cover or concealment. I don't see anything in the rules that requires that every character automatically notices you the moment you leave cover or concealment; they still have to make Perception checks to notice, and here they didn't.


Plus we should try to remember that stealth is not ONLY the skill of remaining unseen it is also the skill of moving quietly. With sufficient distraction on the battlefield and moving behind the rogues line of sight it is very reasonable to have the ref make the rolls he did to not see the enemy.

The reaction of the rogues player on the other hand is childish and totally inappropriate. If he does not trust the ref enough to think they are playing fairly then they should not be in their game.


Gilfalas wrote:
The reaction of the rogues player on the other hand is childish and totally inappropriate.

Agreed. That would be the last time that player would play with our group.

Shadow Lodge

I look at it from a slightly different perspective.

The point of the rulebooks is to provide a set of expectations. If you violate the rulebook you are essentially house ruling. Ultimately this is Ok with me but it can be extremely frustrating to a player to have to GUESS what the rules are from moment to moment in the game because you are violating his expectations.

The other angle here is consistency. Have you in the past allowed the player to get away with similar things? Would you allow it in the future? It is very frustrating to see a GM apply rules unevenly because the game loses the element of predictability.

It's entirely possible that I would have said something similar in your players shoes. I wouldn't have acted like a petulant child after the initial comment but I would have certainly called you on it. More important I would expect later in the game that my rogue character could get away with similar feats and if you denied it then my confidence in your ability to rule consistently would be destroyed.


I can understand your point on consistency.
I disagree that this is a case of houseruling. I believe that what happened was entirely within RAW.


0gre wrote:

I look at it from a slightly different perspective.

The point of the rulebooks is to provide a set of expectations. If you violate the rulebook you are essentially house ruling. Ultimately this is Ok with me but it can be extremely frustrating to a player to have to GUESS what the rules are from moment to moment in the game because you are violating his expectations.

Which I totally agree with. I actually am the one who wrote down all my current ref's house rules and put them into a 16 page document when I joined her game with her established players for just this exact reason. I am CRAZY about knowing what rules I play by.

That said, I also trust my ref enough that I know she will need to make rulings on the fly about stuff not 100% covered in the rules and that I or my character may not know the full reasons for and I trust her to be as fair as possible when doing so. Note I do not expect her to be PERFECT, because really who is, but I TRUST her that if she makes a rules mistake it is honest and that if she makes a ruling she thinks it is fair for the situation it applies to, even if that ruling can sometimes be different or even contrary to normal rules.

Players should give their referee's that level of trust, since they expect it in return from the referee's. If a group does not have that trust both ways then it has bigger issues than simple mechanics rulings.


Kevin Morris wrote:
PFSRD wrote:
If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth. Against most creatures, finding cover or concealment allows you to use Stealth. If your observers are momentarily distracted (such as by a Bluff check), you can attempt to use Stealth. While the others turn their attention from you, you can attempt a Stealth check if you can get to an unobserved place of some kind. This check, however, is made at a –10 penalty because you have to move fast.

This is from the Stealth entry, and is the relevant rules issue (emphasis mine). The party was distracted, allowing the bugbear to Stealth. The bugbear's rolls would have been at a -10 penalty, but he rolled very high and the rogue rolled very low.

If this rule didn't exist, you could never actually sneak up on anyone unless they were in a dark alleyway. I'm sure we all know from real life experience that it's perfectly possible to sneak up on someone in broad daylight if they're not completely aware of you.

The DM played the scenario properly, in my book.

Combat by itself does NOT "distract (such as by a Bluff check)." Otherwise, everyone would be flat-footed all throughout combat. Or at least to anyone that is not the last person they attacked (which isn't even how flanking works). And apparently the horses didn't care about a 7' tall hairy creature rushing at them out of the bushes, grabbing a little green thing (apparently cutting him down while on the run) and dashing through the other bushes.

Also, all debates of what tenuously could and couldn't be accomplished aside, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to run from one patch of high grass to the second. Without grabbing the goblin.

Quote:
I ruled the bugbear was able to sneak through the middle, cut the prized goblin off the horse, and flee across the path into the tall grass on the other side. (All told, he crossed six squares of "open" terrain.)

A bugbear's speed is 30ft, ie 6 squares of terrain. In order to make it between cover (horses are soft cover and don't count, besides bugbears are bloody big), he would either have had to have a speed GREATER than 30ft (6 squares of open terrain +1 square of cover) or have run. It is impossible to stealth while running and it is VERY unlikely that he had one of the few ways to increase his speed.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Cartigan wrote:


Combat by itself does NOT "distract (such as by a Bluff check)." Otherwise, everyone would be flat-footed all throughout combat. Or at least to anyone that is not the last person they attacked (which isn't even how flanking works).

I would say that's a DM's call. For the most part, combat doesn't distract from immediate-area threats. Distract from a bugbear that's moved away and is causing some minor bit of mischief out of combat a few rounds after disappearing, that I can believe.

Cartigan wrote:
And apparently the horses didn't care about a 7' tall hairy creature rushing at them out of the bushes, grabbing a little green thing (apparently cutting him down while on the run) and dashing through the other bushes.

That's probably the most dubious element of the whole encounter. I would probably have had the horses start a commotion.


Bill Dunn wrote:


That's probably the most dubious element of the whole encounter. I would probably have had the horses start a commotion.

I reexamined it and the horses being neutral and unstartled is only the second most dubious element. The most dubious element is how he had 7 squares of movement and made AT LEAST a standard action at the same time.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Cartigan wrote:


I reexamined it and the horses being neutral and unstartled is only the second most dubious element. The most dubious element is how he had 7 squares of movement and made AT LEAST a standard action at the same time.

Depends on how many rounds all of this took and how many were conducted getting across the road and with the goblin. I don't think it's clear how it's all broken out from the OP.


Cartigan wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:


That's probably the most dubious element of the whole encounter. I would probably have had the horses start a commotion.
I reexamined it and the horses being neutral and unstartled is only the second most dubious element. The most dubious element is how he had 7 squares of movement and made AT LEAST a standard action at the same time.

Clearly, you've never encountered a tribe of Ascetic Bugbears (they are all 10th level Monks). :)


Bill Dunn wrote:
Cartigan wrote:


I reexamined it and the horses being neutral and unstartled is only the second most dubious element. The most dubious element is how he had 7 squares of movement and made AT LEAST a standard action at the same time.
Depends on how many rounds all of this took and how many were conducted getting across the road and with the goblin. I don't think it's clear how it's all broken out from the OP.

He was dashing from cover to cover, that was the only way to stealth at all. Horses don't count as cover for stealth (especially to 7', 400lb monstrous humanoids). Visibly standing around in the open in the middle of a bunch of horses and feeding them carrots for a round will get you spotted, regardless of your stealth check. The only problem is the bugbears are too slow to get that far, which was explicitly listed as 6 squares of open ground (in fact, all medium humanoids are too slow to get that far sans spell, feat, or class abilities). And this is ignoring somehow cutting the goblin loose (CUTTING mind you) as he was tied to one of the extremely tame, neutral horses.

Shadow Lodge

Gilfalas wrote:
Players should give their referee's that level of trust, since they expect it in return from the referee's. If a group does not have that trust both ways then it has bigger issues than simple mechanics rulings.

GMs should endeavor to gain and keep that trust. IMO that is one of the cornerstones of GMing. Players have an obligation to respect the GM and accept their arbitration but if the GM cannot lay a foundation of consistent rulings then the players are going to lose their trust in the GM.


Cartigan wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:
Cartigan wrote:


I reexamined it and the horses being neutral and unstartled is only the second most dubious element. The most dubious element is how he had 7 squares of movement and made AT LEAST a standard action at the same time.
Depends on how many rounds all of this took and how many were conducted getting across the road and with the goblin. I don't think it's clear how it's all broken out from the OP.
He was dashing from cover to cover, that was the only way to stealth at all. Horses don't count as cover for stealth (especially to 7', 400lb monstrous humanoids). Visibly standing around in the open in the middle of a bunch of horses and feeding them carrots for a round will get you spotted, regardless of your stealth check. The only problem is the bugbears are too slow to get that far, which was explicitly listed as 6 squares of open ground (in fact, all medium humanoids are too slow to get that far sans spell, feat, or class abilities). And this is ignoring somehow cutting the goblin loose (CUTTING mind you) as he was tied to one of the extremely tame, neutral horses.

You only need no one to be dirrectly observing you to stealth. You do not need cover, but usually do. He can easily spend 2 rounds moving that distance and 2 rounds gathering the goblin (1 to cut the bonds and 1 to pick him up). He did make 4 stealth checks. He started in cover to make it so the people who were observing him were not, and then moved into the open once they were not watching.

As for the horses or dog not being bothered, a handle animal could easily explain that. DC10, maybe with a penalty to him being a bugbear. The dog was commanded to stay, not guard. He does not need to feed them, only approach in a non-threatening manner to not spook them. Since he is moving at half speed anyway, this seems to basically be what he did.

As for a 7 ft tall person not being able to hide behind horses, I am 6 feet tall and can easily hide behind a small car. A horse would be even easier I see very little difference, he would have needed to been crouching anyway to get to the bonds he needs to cut.


Caineach wrote:


You only need no one to be dirrectly observing you to stealth. You do not need cover, but usually do.

The rules state you can go without cover, while unobserved and opponents are distracted (as by Bluff), only to reach cover. If you don't reach cover, I fail to see how you are stealthed.

Quote:
He can easily spend 2 rounds moving that distance and 2 rounds gathering the goblin (1 to cut the bonds and 1 to pick him up).

Really? Really? Rules are getting stretched razor thin to try and explain how a perfectly visible bugbear manages to spend half of combat wandering around in the open while being simultaneously stealthed. We presume he is an Aesthetic Monk and has learned to hide in the corner of everyone's eyes.

Quote:
As for the horses or dog not being bothered, a handle animal could easily explain that.

Which the Jet Li bugbear would also excel at of course.

Quote:
As for a 7 ft tall person not being able to hide behind horses, I am 6 feet tall and can easily hide behind a small car. A horse would be even easier [...]

I have a few questions for you:

Would you or would you not say a 5' tall person has a much easier time hiding than you?
Do you weigh roughly 400lbs?
And, most importantly, have you EVER seen a horse?

All of those questions ignore the fact a horse is by the rules, not "hide-behindable" cover for the purposes of stealth.


Kevin Morris wrote:
PFSRD wrote:
If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth. Against most creatures, finding cover or concealment allows you to use Stealth. If your observers are momentarily distracted (such as by a Bluff check), you can attempt to use Stealth. While the others turn their attention from you, you can attempt a Stealth check if you can get to an unobserved place of some kind. This check, however, is made at a –10 penalty because you have to move fast.

This is from the Stealth entry, and is the relevant rules issue (emphasis mine). The party was distracted, allowing the bugbear to Stealth. The bugbear's rolls would have been at a -10 penalty, but he rolled very high and the rogue rolled very low.

If this rule didn't exist, you could never actually sneak up on anyone unless they were in a dark alleyway. I'm sure we all know from real life experience that it's perfectly possible to sneak up on someone in broad daylight if they're not completely aware of you.

The DM played the scenario properly, in my book.

You forgot the part where he stood there and untied the prisoner. That is not moving quickly from one point of cover to the next. If he keeps moving he gets the -10. If he stops and unties a prisoner, or tap dances and so on he is spotted.


As others have pointed out, this bugbear managed to hide in plain sight - that's a high-level ranger ability that, if he had it, he was such a high level NPC he could have just TPK'd the whole party.

Aside from that, I would have done one other thing differently:

The OP rolled the rogue's Perception checks for him. The player has to take it at faith that he failed the rolls because he never saw them. In this situation, if I were that player, I would be inclined to assume that the DM wanted the bugbear to succeed and "fudged" my rolls "for the sake of story." That kind of railroading bugs many players.

Yes, I know, the DM did not actually do this, but the player doesn't know it and all the signs are there so he's likely to believe the "fudging" happened.

If I had been DMing that situation, and assuming the bugbear had some cover/concealment to reach the horse/goblin, I would have told the player "OK, that bugbear that vanished into the tall grass is still in the vicinity, you get a Perception check to see if you spot him."

That way, if the player rolls well and spots the bugbear, then he feels like HE accomplished something. And if he rolls poorly and never sees the bugbear, then at least he knows that HE screwed up the rolls and it wasn't DM railroading.

Keep the dice in the players hands whenever you can. Most players prefer it that way, and as the OP found out, some players react very poorly (childishly even - sat down and pouted for the rest of the encounter? I mean really...) when the dice are taken out of their own hands.


Cartigan wrote:
Caineach wrote:


You only need no one to be dirrectly observing you to stealth. You do not need cover, but usually do.

The rules state you can go without cover, while unobserved and opponents are distracted (as by Bluff), only to reach cover. If you don't reach cover, I fail to see how you are stealthed.

Quote:
He can easily spend 2 rounds moving that distance and 2 rounds gathering the goblin (1 to cut the bonds and 1 to pick him up).
Really? Really? Rules are getting stretched razor thin to try and explain how a perfectly visible bugbear manages to spend half of combat wandering around in the open while being simultaneously stealthed. We presume he is an Aesthetic Monk and has learned to hide in the corner of everyone's eyes.

You have someone 70+ feet away in a combat and therefore heavily distracted. He has a -12 to his perception check and you are saying that that does not qualify as go unobserved by him? The bluff rules say that while they are distracted you can stealth, so long as you are still unobserved at the end of your turn. He failed the spot check to see the bugbear, so the bugbear is still unobserved. He is still distracted, so you can still make stealth checks there.

Quote:


Quote:
As for the horses or dog not being bothered, a handle animal could easily explain that.

Which the Jet Li bugbear would also excel at of course.

Handle animal is a basic skill that fighters get as a class skill. Its not unreasonable to expect that he has a +3 (1 rank w/ penalty for lw cha). Even failing that, he can use it untrained and will likely succeed on an average roll.

Quote:

Quote:
As for a 7 ft tall person not being able to hide behind horses, I am 6 feet tall and can easily hide behind a small car. A horse would be even easier [...]

I have a few questions for you:

Would you or would you not say a 5' tall person has a much easier time hiding than you?
Do you weigh roughly 400lbs?
And, most importantly, have you EVER seen a horse?

All of those questions ignore the fact a horse is by the rules, not "hide-behindable" cover for the purposes of stealth.

I do know a couple guys who are 6'7" or taller and 400 lbs. They can sneak up on people very effectively, and can hide behind cars. They are also not that much taller than most horses I have ever seen. And, at 70 ft away, their head sticking up over a multiple horses' bodies would not be readily apparent. Now, by the rules soft cover can't be hidden behind, but he doesn't need to, since his opponents are distracted.

Scarab Sages

DM_Blake wrote:

As others have pointed out, this bugbear managed to hide in plain sight - that's a high-level ranger ability that, if he had it, he was such a high level NPC he could have just TPK'd the whole party.

Aside from that, I would have done one other thing differently:

The OP rolled the rogue's Perception checks for him. The player has to take it at faith that he failed the rolls because he never saw them. In this situation, if I were that player, I would be inclined to assume that the DM wanted the bugbear to succeed and "fudged" my rolls "for the sake of story." That kind of railroading bugs many players.

Yes, I know, the DM did not actually do this, but the player doesn't know it and all the signs are there so he's likely to believe the "fudging" happened.

If I had been DMing that situation, and assuming the bugbear had some cover/concealment to reach the horse/goblin, I would have told the player "OK, that bugbear that vanished into the tall grass is still in the vicinity, you get a Perception check to see if you spot him."

That way, if the player rolls well and spots the bugbear, then he feels like HE accomplished something. And if he rolls poorly and never sees the bugbear, then at least he knows that HE screwed up the rolls and it wasn't DM railroading.

Keep the dice in the players hands whenever you can. Most players prefer it that way, and as the OP found out, some players react very poorly (childishly even - sat down and pouted for the rest of the encounter? I mean really...) when the dice are taken out of their own hands.

A nice compromise that keeps the secrecy of when a player needs to make a check yet keeps the rolls in the player's hands is this: Have each player roll up 20 1d20 rolls at the start of the game. Write them down, put them in a laptop or paper, whatever. Then, as you need to do 'secret player rolls', just use one of theirs and scratch it off. Then if the player has an issue, well, you can show them the rolls you scratched off and that you indeed used their rolls (it's best to, of course, go in an order so you aren't just picking bad rolls) and you get to maintain the benefit of secrecy.


Caineach wrote:


You have someone 70+ feet away in a combat and therefore heavily distracted. He has a -12 to his perception check and you are saying that that does not qualify as go unobserved by him? The bluff rules say that while they are distracted you can stealth, so long as you are still unobserved at the end of your turn. He failed the spot check to see the bugbear, so the bugbear is still unobserved. He is still distracted, so you can still make stealth checks there.

Again, he is "unobserved" in the open without cover or concealment. Using this logic, anyone you yourself are not engaged in combat with may stealth effectively without penalty and then treat you as flat-footed (because apparently the penalty to perception from being in combat is somehow higher than the penalty to stealth while dashing through open areas). Who the hell needs better flanking rules? I just bloody stealth then attack you while hidden right next to you!

Quote:

Its not unreasonable to expect that he has a +3 (1 rank w/ penalty for lw cha). Even failing that, he can use it untrained and will likely succeed on an average roll.

So does he handle the animal after rushing into its threat range or afterward? Does he do it while stealthily hidden from the animals (several of which have scent and can see through his magic act anyway)

Quote:
They are also not that much taller than most horses I have ever seen

You have apparently never noticed the large gap in coverage between a horse's front and back legs.

Quote:
And, at 70 ft away, their head sticking up over a multiple horses' bodies would not be readily apparent.

Their one foot of head about the horse's bodies may not be very easy to spot but I'm sure the several feet below the horse's abdomen would be. "Wait a minute, horses don't have thick, furry legs OR loin cloths."

Quote:
Now, by the rules soft cover can't be hidden behind, but he doesn't need to, since his opponents are distracted.

Refer to first paragraph.


The distraction does not make you blind since you are using bluff. At best it give you one round. Super Bugbear moves to 70 feet. He would have to run. You can't stealth when running.

Round 2 he unties the goblin. Definitely the distraction should be over by now. His move action was used to calm the horses or they make noise.

round 3. WTF, how is nobody noticing this guy? He is just chilling in the middle of combat. Now he runs off with a goblin. He is definitely running once again. He does not even get to stealth due to that, and he is out in the open.

Moving things normally catch people's eyes. Big 7 ft things are easier to see.


Cartigan wrote:
Caineach wrote:


You have someone 70+ feet away in a combat and therefore heavily distracted. He has a -12 to his perception check and you are saying that that does not qualify as go unobserved by him? The bluff rules say that while they are distracted you can stealth, so long as you are still unobserved at the end of your turn. He failed the spot check to see the bugbear, so the bugbear is still unobserved. He is still distracted, so you can still make stealth checks there.

Again, he is "unobserved" in the open without cover or concealment. Using this logic, anyone you yourself are not engaged in combat with may stealth effectively without penalty and then treat you as flat-footed (because apparently the penalty to perception from being in combat is somehow higher than the penalty to stealth while dashing through open areas). Who the hell needs better flanking rules? I just bloody stealth then attack you while hidden right next to you!

Quote:

Its not unreasonable to expect that he has a +3 (1 rank w/ penalty for lw cha). Even failing that, he can use it untrained and will likely succeed on an average roll.

So does he handle the animal after rushing into its threat range or afterward? Does he do it while stealthily hidden from the animals (several of which have scent and can see through his magic act anyway)

Quote:
They are also not that much taller than most horses I have ever seen

You have apparently never noticed the large gap in coverage between a horse's front and back legs.

Quote:
And, at 70 ft away, their head sticking up over a multiple horses' bodies would not be readily apparent.

Their one foot of head about the horse's bodies may not be very easy to spot but I'm sure the several feet below the horse's abdomen would be. "Wait a minute, horses don't have thick, furry legs OR loin cloths."

Quote:
Now, by the rules soft cover can't be hidden behind, but he doesn't need to, since his opponents are distracted.
Refer to first paragraph.

If Cain allows me to play in his game with these rules I am going rogue. I will kill everything. Cain if we ever meet I am definitely volunteering to be in a game you DM.


DM_Blake wrote:
As others have pointed out, this bugbear managed to hide in plain sight - that's a high-level ranger ability that, if he had it, he was such a high level NPC he could have just TPK'd the whole party.

Apparently you don't need "hide in plain sight" to hide in plain sight. You just need everyone standing around picking their noses. Or fighting some one else. All Rogues automatically have "hide in plain sight."


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Cartigan wrote:


Again, he is "unobserved" in the open without cover or concealment. Using this logic, anyone you yourself are not engaged in combat with may stealth effectively without penalty and then treat you as flat-footed (because apparently the penalty to perception from being in combat is somehow higher than the penalty to stealth while dashing through open areas). Who the hell needs better flanking rules? I just bloody stealth then attack you while hidden right next to you!

DM's call seems pretty reasonable here. There's no hard and fast rule to determine when a character is distracted. A bugbear removed from the fight taking non-combat relevant actions could certainly benefit from PCs being distracted by combat.


Bill Dunn wrote:


DM's call seems pretty reasonable here. There's no hard and fast rule to determine when a character is distracted. A bugbear removed from the fight taking non-combat relevant actions could certainly benefit from PCs being distracted by combat.

If combat distracts you such that anyone you are not specifically in combat with may stealth in regards to you (and at a +2 BONUS), then it obviates the need for both hide in plain sight and flanking.


another_mage wrote:
I had a rules dispute come up...

Leaving aside the mechanics of what observation/stealth rolls could be made according to RAW or in your particular campaign... I think the mistake you made was in not having the player do his own rolling. Even if you just reviewed his character sheet to learn his perception bonus and then said "OK, I need you to make a blind roll here, well several really. I'll add in your relevant skill bonus." And then you do your 4 dice-offs.

By not having the character involved, and then dinging him on what is arguably a source of professional pride (being observant), your actions appeared as DM fiat. If you had allowed him to roll, he would have at least felt engaged in whatever the mysterious outcome was. Yes, it blows maintaining the "in the game" feel but it also would appear more fair to your players.

I do have a question - WHY was the bugbear trying to steal the goblin's body? Maybe I didn't read your post closely enough but I didn't get the feel that these bugbears knew the goblin so I can't figure out why it would steal the body instead of just fleeing.


Cartigan wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:


DM's call seems pretty reasonable here. There's no hard and fast rule to determine when a character is distracted. A bugbear removed from the fight taking non-combat relevant actions could certainly benefit from PCs being distracted by combat.
If combat distracts you such that anyone you are not specifically in combat with may stealth in regards to you (and at a +2 BONUS), then it obviates the need for both hide in plain sight and flanking.

The Bugbear is a -10 to his stealth check for sneaking in the open.

The distracted PC has a cumulative -5 penalty for being distracted and -7 penalty for distance, 1 per 10 feet. Both of these are listed clearly in the perception table.

If a GM didn't let me do this type of thing in a game, I would be annoyed, since I have done it to people in real life.

And Wraith,
My understanding is that the bugbear who stealth started just at the edge of the road by the horses, not near the combat with the rogue. So he would not need to move 70 feet in the first round. He mearly stealths and moves towards the horses who are ~20 feet away. Rounds 2 and 3, no one notices him as he cuts the bonds and grabs the goblin. Aguably, this is only 1 round of actions since he can both cut the bonds(standard action) and pick up the goblin (move action). He is not drawing attention to himself and people are distracted, so he can stealth. Round 4, he scampers away with his loot back into the thick brush.

Shadow Lodge

DM_Blake wrote:
As others have pointed out, this bugbear managed to hide in plain sight - that's a high-level ranger ability that, if he had it, he was such a high level NPC he could have just TPK'd the whole party.

Possibly, I can see it going either way. I would never rule this way in an organized play game but I might do something similar in my home game. But then I would also allow my rogue player to do something similar under the right circumstances. In my eyes consistency is far more important than slaving yourself to RAW. What this does is set some precedence though and opens up opportunities for the rogue player.

Quote:

Aside from that, I would have done one other thing differently:

The OP rolled the rogue's Perception checks for him. The player has to take it at faith that he failed the rolls because he never saw them. In this situation, if I were that player, I would be inclined to assume that the DM wanted the bugbear to succeed and "fudged" my rolls "for the sake of story." That kind of railroading bugs many players.

I am a big fan of rolling in plain sight and having the players roll when possible. The challenge is some rolls it's appropriate the player doesn't see, if the player knows there was a perception check doesn't it follow that he knows there is something going on that he doesn't see? The other problem is if the player rolls good on his perception check but the bugbear aces his check as it was in this situation then it seems even more likely there is a perception of fudging.

Perception checks are one of the few checks I tend to roll behind the screen so it's a tough call for me.

Shadow Lodge

stormraven wrote:
another_mage wrote:
I had a rules dispute come up...
Leaving aside the mechanics of what observation/stealth rolls could be made according to RAW or in your particular campaign... I think the mistake you made was in not having the player do his own rolling. Even if you just reviewed his character sheet to learn his perception bonus and then said "OK, I need you to make a blind roll here, well several really. I'll add in your relevant skill bonus." And then you do your 4 dice-offs.

The problem is that what sort of things do you give blind rolls for? Will saves and perception are about the only things I can think of. I'm not sure you are buying a lot of secrecy by making the roll 'blind'.

I'll have to think about this though, maybe have them roll some perception rolls at the beginning of the game session 'just in case' and use those.


0gre wrote:
stormraven wrote:
another_mage wrote:
I had a rules dispute come up...
Leaving aside the mechanics of what observation/stealth rolls could be made according to RAW or in your particular campaign... I think the mistake you made was in not having the player do his own rolling. Even if you just reviewed his character sheet to learn his perception bonus and then said "OK, I need you to make a blind roll here, well several really. I'll add in your relevant skill bonus." And then you do your 4 dice-offs.

The problem is that what sort of things do you give blind rolls for? Will saves and perception are about the only things I can think of. I'm not sure you are buying a lot of secrecy by making the roll 'blind'.

I'll have to think about this though, maybe have them roll some perception rolls at the beginning of the game session 'just in case' and use those.

Different strokes for different folks. I suppose it depends on how much verisimilitude your players want. Knowing you have to make a roll alerts the player that something is going on but not what - is it save vs. poison from that last greataxe blow? Is it a perception roll for that missing bugbear? Is the guy with greataxe doing a feint? Is the DM just f#$*&@$*& with me? Saying 'make a perception roll' gives the player way more info to work with - which, for some players, really bugs them because then they have to roleplay not knowing that something is sneaking up.

Personally, I never use blind rolls or pre-gen rolls. I flat-out tell my players: "Gimme a perception roll". My players don't mind the additional burden of having their characters role-play ignorance while the player knows something bad is coming down the road. It makes the game more exciting for them even though it is in a meta-gaming sense. And, sometimes I keep them on edge as players by not immediately revealing the results of the roll. There is nothing funnier than having the players handle a mysterious orb, then say "could you all make a Fort save please" and then watch the players hold their breath for 5 minutes... waiting for something bad to happen which turns out to be a minor benign effect.


Caineach wrote:


The Bugbear is a -10 to his stealth check for sneaking in the open.
The distracted PC has a cumulative -5 penalty for being distracted and -7 penalty for distance, 1 per 10 feet. Both of these are listed clearly in the perception table.

Like I said, if combat distracts you such that anyone you are not specifically in combat with may stealth in regards to you, then it obviates the need for both hide in plain sight and flanking. Not only that, but it obviates the explicitly defined rules for hiding after sniping from cover.

Quote:
My understanding is that the bugbear who stealth started just at the edge of the road by the horses, not near the combat with the rogue. So he would not need to move 70 feet in the first round. He mearly stealths and moves towards the horses who are ~20 feet away. Rounds 2 and 3, no one notices him as he cuts the bonds and grabs the goblin. Aguably, this is only 1 round of actions since he can both cut the bonds(standard action) and pick up the goblin (move action). He is not drawing attention to himself and people are distracted, so he can stealth. Round 4, he scampers away with his loot back into the thick brush.

I will quote myself again.

Quote:
Rules are getting stretched razor thin to try and explain how a perfectly visible bugbear manages to spend half of combat wandering around in the open while being simultaneously stealthed. We presume he is an Aesthetic Monk and has learned to hide in the corner of everyone's eyes.

That is THREE ROUNDS without cover or concealment that he maintains stealth. Who needs Hide in Plain Sight? This is also assuming the dogs and horses are tame to the bugbear.


Bill Dunn wrote:
Cartigan wrote:


Again, he is "unobserved" in the open without cover or concealment. Using this logic, anyone you yourself are not engaged in combat with may stealth effectively without penalty and then treat you as flat-footed (because apparently the penalty to perception from being in combat is somehow higher than the penalty to stealth while dashing through open areas). Who the hell needs better flanking rules? I just bloody stealth then attack you while hidden right next to you!
DM's call seems pretty reasonable here. There's no hard and fast rule to determine when a character is distracted. A bugbear removed from the fight taking non-combat relevant actions could certainly benefit from PCs being distracted by combat.

Not having a hard rule for something does not equal anything goes. By that logic he could have tapdanced around the party for an hour, and they never would have known he was there. I know combats don't last an hour, but your statement supports such things.


wraithstrike wrote:
Not having a hard rule for something does not equal anything goes. By that logic he could have tapdanced around the party for an hour, and they never would have known he was there.

Well, we are talking about a 10th Aesthetic Ninja / 10th Ascetic Monk / 3HD Bugbear... gotta have at least a +3 racial Tapdancing bonus.

1 to 50 of 490 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Stealth in Combat: Sneaky Bugbear vs. Elf Rogue All Messageboards