Hide in Plain Sight in the interrogation room


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Say that a shadowdancer is tied up in an interrogation chamber, with a bright light in his face. The rest of the room is shrouded in darkness (within 10 feet). An interrogator stands before him, attentive and alert, and altogether focused on his prisoner.

The shadowdancer uses his hide in plain sight ability.

What happens? What does the interrogator see?

An empty chair? Floating ropes? A shroud of supernatural darkness? Or a helpless prisoner?


I don't it would work if the character is tied up, at least if I was GM I wouldn't allow it


I just say 'soz no'.

Interrogator sees hapless Shadowdancer.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Bluff for distraction, rolls chair and self into darkness.

Hey!? Where did he go?


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
blackbloodtroll wrote:

Bluff for distraction, rolls chair and self into darkness.

Hey!? Where did he go?

Why would he need a distraction? He has hide in plain sight. As far as I can tell, nothing is preventing him from disappearing.

Sovereign Court

Vanish into a puff of smoke? Maybe the bonds weren't tight enough and when the interrogator blinks the Shadowdancer's incredible reflexes and training kick in and he vanishes in an instant. Or you could just say that he vanishes, as simple as that.

But... the text is a bit fussy on this. The actual ability says: "A shadowdancer can use the Stealth skill even while being observed. As long as she is within 10 feet of an area of dim light, a shadowdancer can hide herself from view in the open without anything to actually hide behind. She cannot, however, hide in her own shadow." (my emphasis)

A bound character is considered to have the helpless condition and a character with the helpless condition is treated as having an effective 0 in dexterity, meaning that he can't use stealth anyway. So... I don't think he would be able to use it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Does he still not need cover or concealment?

Sovereign Court

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Does he still not need cover or concealment?

No that would be the "even while being observed" part that sets Hide in Plain Sight away from regular uses of Stealth.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I thought you needed cover/concealment, and also not be observed.

Sovereign Court

blackbloodtroll wrote:
I thought you needed cover/concealment, and also not be observed.

Usually of course. But Hide in Plain Sight finds a way around that. It's a pretty powerful ability.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
I thought you needed cover/concealment, and also not be observed.

That would apply to normal Stealth.

But i also think that if the shadowdancer is tightly bound and observed by someone who knows of his/her skills and who focuses all of the attention on the shadowdancer he/she cannot use the HiPS skill, especially if under bright light wide enough to keep shadows away from him, at least as long as the shadows are more than 10 ft away.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
I thought you needed cover/concealment, and also not be observed.

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

Not all HiPS abilities are the same though.


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Ravingdork wrote:
As far as I can tell, nothing is preventing him from disappearing.

He can't move. Thus he cannot use the stealth skill.

He doesn't need cover, concealment, nor being unobserved, but he still needs to use the stealth skill which is done as part of movement.

-James


Gandal wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
I thought you needed cover/concealment, and also not be observed.

That would apply to normal Stealth.

But i also think that if the shadowdancer is tightly bound and observed by someone who knows of his/her skills and who focuses all of the attention on the shadowdancer he/she cannot use the HiPS skill, especially if under bright light wide enough to keep shadows away from him, at least as long as the shadows are more than 10 ft away.

The problem with that is unless the shadowdancer is the only person in an absolutely bare area, the light is leaving a shadow someplace (the chair, the table the light is on, the guard, etc).

As for what they would see, I'd say on a successful stealth/failed perception check, an empty chair. The ropes were "on" the character and should probably disappear as well (roll it into the SU of the ability, who knows).

As for if it is even possible...normally stealth usage is part of a move action and usually costs "no action." Implication being you move during a stealth check. Not being able to move doesn't seem to come into it RAW but then, anyone who has followed the boards for any amount of time knows Stealth is a "problem child" of a skill.


james maissen wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
As far as I can tell, nothing is preventing him from disappearing.

He can't move. Thus he cannot use the stealth skill.

He doesn't need cover, concealment, nor being unobserved, but he still needs to use the stealth skill which is done as part of movement.

-James

As a SU ability, using stealth to disappear from sight using a stealth roll could be easily considered a standard action RAW... Stealth skill never says you need to move, just that it is 'normally part of movement.' That is a huge difference.

Sovereign Court

Skylancer4 wrote:
james maissen wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
As far as I can tell, nothing is preventing him from disappearing.

He can't move. Thus he cannot use the stealth skill.

He doesn't need cover, concealment, nor being unobserved, but he still needs to use the stealth skill which is done as part of movement.

-James

As a SU ability, using stealth to disappear from sight using a stealth roll could be easily considered a standard action RAW... Stealth skill never says you need to move, just that it is 'normally part of movement.' That is a huge difference.

This is true, but remember that a bound character (as provided by the example) is considered helpless. The helpless condition says that you have an effective dexterity score of 0 which renders you paralyzed. Therefore he couldn't use the skill as he would be helpless.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
james maissen wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
As far as I can tell, nothing is preventing him from disappearing.

He can't move. Thus he cannot use the stealth skill.

He doesn't need cover, concealment, nor being unobserved, but he still needs to use the stealth skill which is done as part of movement.

-James

You don't need to move to use stealth. There are a myriad of creatures, abilities, and bonuses that RELY on stealthing BY STAYING STILL.

Take a look at the Gargoyle's freeze ability, the svirfneblin's Stoic Pose feat, or the higher bonus invisibility grants for not moving.

Stealth doesn't even usually require an action, so helpless doesn't specifically prevent it being used.


Tied up does not equal helpless... look at grapple, you'll see 'tie up' as an option. Which leads to "pinned."

Being manacled to a chair doesn't equal helpless. Being tied to a chair doesn't equal helpless.

You are assuming something that wasn't stated in the OP.

Not to mention absolutely nothing in helpless means you are paralyzed. Two completely different conditions technically. Being paralyzed does lead to helpless, but not the other way around.

Sovereign Court

Skylancer4 wrote:

Tied up does not equal helpless... look at grapple, you'll see 'tie up' as an option. Which leads to "pinned."

Being manacled to a chair doesn't equal helpless. Being tied to a chair doesn't equal helpless.

You are assuming something that wasn't stated in the OP.

I disagree. Under the Helpless section we see: "Helpless: A helpless character is paralyzed, held, bound, sleeping, unconscious, or otherwise completely at an opponent's mercy. A helpless target is treated as having a Dexterity of 0 (–5 modifier). Melee attacks against a helpless target get a +4 bonus (equivalent to attacking a prone target). Ranged attacks get no special bonus against helpless targets. Rogues can sneak attack helpless targets."


OP said tied up, not bound, not helpless. Do a search through the core book for 'tie up' and let me know what you find.

Sovereign Court

Skylancer4 wrote:
OP said tied up, not bound, not helpless. Do a search through the core book for 'tie up' and let me know what you find.

*scratches head* you realize those are the same thing? As in when you bind someone (bound is the past and past participle of bind) you tie them up.


Skylancer4 wrote:
OP said tied up, not bound, not helpless. Do a search through the core book for 'tie up' and let me know what you find.

The grapple "tie up" is a neutral state of grappling where one side has control but neither side is at a disadvantage.

It has nothing to do with the state of being tied up using a rope.

Being tied up in a rope and being bound are the same thing.

Just because the wording exists in another rule doesn't mean that rule applies to every use of that wording.

In this case, the words mean two different things in two different contexts.

Liberty's Edge

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Sometimes I imagine the Devs going through these threads, reading the RAWylerly arguments and rage closing their laptops.

It makes me sad.


Roac wrote:
Skylancer4 wrote:
OP said tied up, not bound, not helpless. Do a search through the core book for 'tie up' and let me know what you find.
*scratches head* you realize those are the same thing? As in when you bind someone (bound is the past and past participle of bind) you tie them up.

Like several other conditions in the core book, there are various paths to similar ends. Being 'tied up' via a grapple doesn't lead to being helpless.

It's the difference between being handcuffed to an immobile hospital bed and being completely immobilized in one of those 'traction' contraptions in a hospital. You have limited movement in the first and absolutely none in the second.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:

Say that a shadowdancer is tied up in an interrogation chamber, with a bright light in his face. The rest of the room is shrouded in darkness (within 10 feet). An interrogator stands before him, attentive and alert, and altogether focused on his prisoner.

The shadowdancer uses his hide in plain sight ability.

What happens? What does the interrogator see?

An empty chair? Floating ropes? A shroud of supernatural darkness? Or a helpless prisoner?

You do realize of course that the rules are designed for standard dungeon encounter scenarios. Whenever you have to take them out of that framework, GM adjudication is the rule of the day. A normal Hide in Plain Sight situation would still be in a place where such a character has far more freedom of movement than someone in an interrogation chair.

So barring something that changes the picture, your shadowdancer is still SOL.


Fleshgrinder wrote:
Skylancer4 wrote:
OP said tied up, not bound, not helpless. Do a search through the core book for 'tie up' and let me know what you find.

The grapple "tie up" is a neutral state of grappling where one side has control but neither side is at a disadvantage.

It has nothing to do with the state of being tied up using a rope.

Being tied up in a rope and being bound are the same thing.

Just because the wording exists in another rule doesn't mean that rule applies to every use of that wording.

In this case, the words mean two different things in two different contexts.

Grapple gives the option to 'tie up' using rope or some material, this leads to a pinned state NOT helpless. It also means the person establishing the 'tie up' can leave the grapple and be at no disadvantage while the person 'tied up' is at a complete disadvantage fighting an established DC.

Putting manacles on someone doesn't make them helpless, yet they are "bound." There are numerous other ways of binding someone that don't make them completely helpless but limit mobility.

Regardless way off topic...


ciretose wrote:

Sometimes I imagine the Devs going through these threads, reading the RAWylerly arguments and rage closing their laptops.

It makes me sad.

The intelligent ones read through the arguments and remedy the issues with errata to fix the loop holes being used or clear up the wording to make sure the abilities get used as intended. There is nothing sad about making the game better. There is something sad about rage closing the laptops and ignoring the issue.

Liberty's Edge

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Skylancer4 wrote:
ciretose wrote:

Sometimes I imagine the Devs going through these threads, reading the RAWylerly arguments and rage closing their laptops.

It makes me sad.

The intelligent ones read through the arguments and remedy the issues with errata to fix the loop holes being used or clear up the wording to make sure the abilities get used as intended. There is nothing sad about making the game better. There is something sad about rage closing the laptops and ignoring the issue.

When they come here and do that, the RAWyer still scream and pout.

The book is only 500 pages, each spell is less than half a page. You can only get so far into the weeds before you have to expect people to use common sense.


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Skylancer4 wrote:
ciretose wrote:

Sometimes I imagine the Devs going through these threads, reading the RAWylerly arguments and rage closing their laptops.

It makes me sad.

The intelligent ones read through the arguments and remedy the issues with errata to fix the loop holes being used or clear up the wording to make sure the abilities get used as intended. There is nothing sad about making the game better. There is something sad about rage closing the laptops and ignoring the issue.

There is something quite sad about having to fix things where the intent should be fairly clear.


Cheapy wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
james maissen wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
As far as I can tell, nothing is preventing him from disappearing.

He can't move. Thus he cannot use the stealth skill.

He doesn't need cover, concealment, nor being unobserved, but he still needs to use the stealth skill which is done as part of movement.

-James

You don't need to move to use stealth. There are a myriad of creatures, abilities, and bonuses that RELY on stealthing BY STAYING STILL.

Take a look at the Gargoyle's freeze ability, the svirfneblin's Stoic Pose feat, or the higher bonus invisibility grants for not moving.

Stealth doesn't even usually require an action, so helpless doesn't specifically prevent it being used.

So is this shadowdancer a gargoyle, svirfneblin, or under the effects of the invisibilty spell?

No, it is a PrC with a SU ability and no definitive description on how to use it. It could be a "Usually none" (as per the stealth description) or a standard action (as per the SU description).


ciretose wrote:
Skylancer4 wrote:
ciretose wrote:

Sometimes I imagine the Devs going through these threads, reading the RAWylerly arguments and rage closing their laptops.

It makes me sad.

The intelligent ones read through the arguments and remedy the issues with errata to fix the loop holes being used or clear up the wording to make sure the abilities get used as intended. There is nothing sad about making the game better. There is something sad about rage closing the laptops and ignoring the issue.

When they come here and do that, the RAWyer still scream and pout.

The book is only 500 pages, each spell is less than half a page. You can only get so far into the weeds before you have to expect people to use common sense.

Again Stealth has been a problem child basically... forever.


Cheapy wrote:
Skylancer4 wrote:
ciretose wrote:

Sometimes I imagine the Devs going through these threads, reading the RAWylerly arguments and rage closing their laptops.

It makes me sad.

The intelligent ones read through the arguments and remedy the issues with errata to fix the loop holes being used or clear up the wording to make sure the abilities get used as intended. There is nothing sad about making the game better. There is something sad about rage closing the laptops and ignoring the issue.
There is something quite sad about having to fix things where the intent should be fairly clear.

I can fix things in my own game, that doesn't mean I know what the intent of the developer was. Just like you don't know, or Ciretose, or RavingDork, or any one of us. We can guess at it, but that is where the arguments come in. We ALL have differing points of view and different games running, so my intent won't work in your game, just like yours wouldn't work in RavingDorks game. So we go looking for rules clarifications, here on the Rules Forum.

There are multiple ways for the ability to work, so clearing up how it works in situations like this helps the game. We need these clarifications for things like PFS, which is Paizos baby, right?


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Alright, found the answer.

Grappled Condition wrote:


A grappled creature cannot use Stealth to hide from the creature grappling it, even if a special ability, such as hide in plain sight, would normally allow it to do so.

Pinned is a more severe state of Grappled, so the quoted line will carry over to Pinned.

Tied Up is a more severe state of pinned, so it uses the pinned rules, so it too inherits the quoted line.

So from here, the intent should be pretty clear.

The interrogator sees a bound prisoner, like he did before the shadowdancer attempted to use HiPS.

One could try to argue that since it's ropes grappling the shadowdancer, the above line wouldn't work since it specifies creature. But then I will laugh at you and hit you with a +5 Spirit of the Rules Hammer.


Roac wrote:


A bound character is considered to have the helpless condition and a character with the helpless condition is treated as having an effective 0 in dexterity, meaning that he can't use stealth anyway. So... I don't think he would be able to use it.

By this logic, a bound character, being helpless and thus an effective 0 Dex, also can't use Escape Artist to get out of the bindings.

Even if you allow the check, since that's one of the purposes of Escape Artist, do all attempts to get out of ropes have an effective penalty of 5 + Dex modifier for being helpless: Highly dextrous characters are no better than anyone else at escaping bonds?

As a side note, does it really make sense for characters tied up outside of grapples, while unconscious or whatever, to have their escape difficulty based on the binder's CMB? Big, strong creatures are better at tying people up?


thejeff wrote:
Roac wrote:


A bound character is considered to have the helpless condition and a character with the helpless condition is treated as having an effective 0 in dexterity, meaning that he can't use stealth anyway. So... I don't think he would be able to use it.

By this logic, a bound character, being helpless and thus an effective 0 Dex, also can't use Escape Artist to get out of the bindings.

Even if you allow the check, since that's one of the purposes of Escape Artist, do all attempts to get out of ropes have an effective penalty of 5 + Dex modifier for being helpless: Highly dextrous characters are no better than anyone else at escaping bonds?

As a side note, does it really make sense for characters tied up outside of grapples, while unconscious or whatever, to have their escape difficulty based on the binder's CMB? Big, strong creatures are better at tying people up?

Well, a big strong creature can certainly force limbs into uncomfortable and binding positions and pull knots tighter.

It's more weird that part of your BAB is essentially knowledge of tying people up, but honestly, who still wanted "Use Rope(dex)" to be its own skill? At least some arguments can be made for combat proficient entities having experience with binding enemies and more importantly if you know how to grapple, you know bit about how to contort someone with bindings to make it more difficult for them to move/escape.

If you don't like that it's specifically strength based, there are some ways to use dex for CMB instead of str, so you can even work it in non-standard means.

However, if you are personally against it, could always discuss the point with your GM or make your own exceptions if you are a GM. If a sultry seductress with S&M experience argued that she should be able to make an applicable skill or ability check, I'd probably be inclined to agree she knows how to tie somebody up well, if not tightly, so it seems applicable (perhaps replace BAB with an applicable skill modifier or strength with dexterity as in the RAW work-around above).


Ravingdork wrote:


Stealth doesn't even usually require an action, so helpless doesn't specifically prevent it being used.

Incorrect.

Stealth doesn't usually require it's own action but rather is normally part of movement.

Sorry.

-James


Cheapy wrote:

Alright, found the answer.

Grappled Condition wrote:


A grappled creature cannot use Stealth to hide from the creature grappling it, even if a special ability, such as hide in plain sight, would normally allow it to do so.

Pinned is a more severe state of Grappled, so the quoted line will carry over to Pinned.

Tied Up is a more severe state of pinned, so it uses the pinned rules, so it too inherits the quoted line.

So from here, the intent should be pretty clear.

The interrogator sees a bound prisoner, like he did before the shadowdancer attempted to use HiPS.

This should settle the discussion.


Cheapy wrote:

Alright, found the answer.

Grappled Condition wrote:


A grappled creature cannot use Stealth to hide from the creature grappling it, even if a special ability, such as hide in plain sight, would normally allow it to do so.

Pinned is a more severe state of Grappled, so the quoted line will carry over to Pinned.

Tied Up is a more severe state of pinned, so it uses the pinned rules, so it too inherits the quoted line.

So from here, the intent should be pretty clear.

The interrogator sees a bound prisoner, like he did before the shadowdancer attempted to use HiPS.

One could try to argue that since it's ropes grappling the shadowdancer, the above line wouldn't work since it specifies creature. But then I will laugh at you and hit you with a +5 Spirit of the Rules Hammer.

See now this is where your "intent" and someone elses "intent" will probably diverge.

As written the intent of the line seems to be you can't hide from a creature who has a physical hold of you. Everyone else is fair game. And that makes quite a bit of sense.

Feel free to laugh and swing away, but if you are going to bring "obvious intent" to the board RAW spells out that it works against anyone who isn't grappling the tied up prisoner.


So, what do you think the intent is, skylancer4?


I also dislike treating Tied Up as part of a grapple, unless it was done as part of the grapple. If you've been knocked out, tied up, manacled to the chair whatever, there's been no grappling going on.

Strictly applying the grappling rules, once tied up the shadowdancer couldn't hide from the person who tied him up, but could from everyone else. So, strictly speaking, the interrogator only can automatically see the bound shadowdancer if the interrogator was the one who bound him. But the guard who tied him up, who's been outside on his lunch break will spot him automatically when he comes back in.

Makes no sense.

Of course, practically speaking, if the interrogator has any sense, he'll try to feel the chair. When he does that he'll find the shadowdancer since he can't move.

Beyond that, I'd let it work, at a pretty big penalty. The Dex = 0 part at least. It's a supernatural ability, not just hiding. It might confuse your opponents, if nothing else. More likely to work if they left you bound in the cell.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

*voice of regret* What have I done? :(


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Personally, I play the Shadow Dancer's "Hide in Plain Sight" as summoning the surrounding shadows to hide him/her. It's a manipulation of the surrounding darkness, so the darkness would engulf the chair and the shadow dancer in spite of the bright light shining on that spot. Would the jailer see the Shadow Dancer? No. Would the jailer have a pretty darned good idea of where the Shadow Dancer was? Absolutely.

But considering my Shadow Dancer has both Stealth and Escape Artist maxed out, plus some Rogue talents to go with them, in my game it would play out as:

(1) Shadows engulf the Shadow Dancer. This acts as the surprise round.
(2) The jailer and Shadow Dancer roll initiative.
- If the Shadow Dancer wins (and if she doesn't, she needs to re-examine her feats), she gets to roll Escape Artist the next round. Jailor is SOL with an empty chair (and very likely a dagger in the back in the near future).
- If the jailer wins, he gets a free hit on the Shadow Dancer with all the various mods (no book handy, but all kinds of fun there). No coup de grace, though, as the jailer can't see the vital areas any more. Alternatively, he could try a grapple to get a better idea as to the current position of the now-hidden Shadow Dancer.

This lives within RAW (the Shadow Dancer has successfully hidden from the jailer in spite of being tied up), but gives the jailer a chance to yell for help/get in some licks/cast a whole ton-o-light spells to try to ameliorate the situation.

Yeah, Shadow Dancers are nasty that way. That's why they're fun.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

That's what I was thinking as well, NobodysHome.


NobodysHome wrote:

Personally, I play the Shadow Dancer's "Hide in Plain Sight" as summoning the surrounding shadows to hide him/her. It's a manipulation of the surrounding darkness, so the darkness would engulf the chair and the shadow dancer in spite of the bright light shining on that spot.

It doesn't work that way.

If the jailor made his perception check he would see the shadow dancer without any concealment, right? Whereas if the darkness were actually surrounding the shadow dancer that would not be the case.

The shadow dancer needs to move in order to hide. If he's restrained from being able to move then he cannot hide.

If you were hidden and immobile you certainly would not need to roll stealth each and every round that you maintained being hidden, right?

-James


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

James, it's not like he's put up some kind of physical barrier. It's just darkness. Anybody can see into dim illumination at least a little. It's simply a function of the Perception skill. Those with higher modifiers are more likely to discern those hiding in the darkness. The shadowdancer magically wrapping himself in shadows in order to break line of sight (as far as Perception/Stealth is concerned) is a perfectly reasonable explanation of the ability.


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What if he polymorphed into a philly cheesesteak sandwich instead of trying to hide?


Ravingdork wrote:
James, it's not like he's put up some kind of physical barrier. It's just darkness. Anybody can see into dim illumination at least a little. It's simply a function of the Perception skill. Those with higher modifiers are more likely to discern those hiding in the darkness. The shadowdancer magically wrapping himself in shadows in order to break line of sight (as far as Perception/Stealth is concerned) is a perfectly reasonable explanation of the ability.

No, it's not.

Because if this were the case then a seen shadowdancer would have concealment against those that cannot see clearly into that dim light. Do they get this? No.

Ergo, the shadowdancer does not cause darkness to envelope them.

Rather they draw power from the proximity of those shadows in order to be able to hide by their movements where they otherwise would not be able to..

-James


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

A much better argument, James.


Except that - and I realize this will never please a rawyer, but here it is - wrapping the darkness about you, being so intimate with it as to coax the shadowstuffs into the light, is a wonderful image. Rich, cinematic, fun to describe, fun to imagine. 'Drawing power from shadow' is flat. It's bland bloody boring. Come to that, turning straight greenscreened 'invisible' is awful boring, too, especially for a shadowdancer. NobodysHome set the scene beautifully - many of the nice folks here have supported that by, frankly, plenty of RAW for me. Anyone else - sorely lacking in imagination. :P


James has a solid point here. To me this is yet another case of a poorly written rule that allows players to attempt an exploit beyond any sort of reasonable limits. You have someone tied up on a table with a bright light on them, they can't escape the bonds, can't move, and yet they can somehow "hide in plain sight?"

I don't really care about the RAW. That's magic. Unless "hide in plain sight" is magic then it's not going to hide a tied up, helpless person being interrogated in a small room. As far as I remember, it's not even a supernatural ability, just an extraordinary one.

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