Yet another request to rewrite the messed-up Invisibility SA entry


Rules Questions


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You know those threads...
http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz4b86?Blindness-vs-Invisibility
http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz2pvq?Consolidated-Stealth-Threads

But nothing has changed. RAW still makes it so that an invisible rogue behind a wall gets +20 Stealth to... move silently. That's the "ghost steps bug".

Also, rules lack consolidation between the invisibility SA and Perception rules. There are modifiers that differ, which is annoying.

This whole affair is very obviously caused by the merging of Listen/Spot. 3.5 Invisibility was very clear. PF made it muddy because handling multi-modality Perception seems hard. It need not be so, because we've got the conceal/cover mechanics...

Suggested easy fix/clarification
Scrap the +20 stealth, and the 3.5-throwback invisibility move bonusses.
In fact, scrap all numeric perception rules that appear in the Invisibility SA entry. Then clarify the Perception rules thusly:

A) "Plain Sight". Creature has no conceal/cover.
Usually, just assume you're seen.
Straight DC to notice is 0/-5/-10/-20 for an immobile/½spd/full/running creature. This might matter if distraction + long-range piles up.

B) "Hiding". Creature has partial conceal/cover.
Use Stealth (-5 for full speed). {"sight"+"sound"}
A running creature would be a straight DC-20, in case it ever matters...

C) "Hidden/Invisible". Creature has total conceal/cover (behind a wall, or invisible).
Use Stealth (-5 for full speed). {"sound" only}
+20 bonus if immobile.
A running creature would be a straight DC0.
Also, if you beat an invisible check by 20, you confirm its presence visually.

Lengthy balance, rationale and comments in the spoiler below..

Spoiler:

Balance
No +20 from invisibility seems unfair? It's crucial to remember that an invisible creature has a huge advantage on being able to always hide in plain sight. Also, if your opponent beats your Stealth by less than 20, he's still only "aware of something". But if you're not invisible, he knows you're somewhere behind cover, which is close to a pinpoint. If you're invisible, you could be anywhere! So, it's almost like having +20 already.

Rationale
As in 3.5, an invisible creature *can* be visually noticed. This is the "Predator Cloaking Clause". But it's hard. In 3.5, it was a straight DC20/30/40. To makes things more homogenous, and in line with the suggested PF ruling, this could be replaced with Stealth+20, +20 for being immobile, and modified for speed. (again, think about a running vs. sneaking vs. immobile Predator).
However, as in 3.5, and as clearly specified in the spell desc, invisibility does not affect sound.
Therefore, in most cases, sneaks will be noticed by sound rather than sight. That's why the DC to notice an invisible creature has no +20 bonus! If you beat the DC by 20, then you've a) pinpointed the creature by sound *and* b) visually noticed something weird.
The -5/-10/-20 speed mods come from a mix of the new PF invis SA and Perception entries.

Corner cases
* Invisible creature, no cover, with deaf onlooker / sneak behind glass wall / "deaf" remote magical sensor.
--> You can see but not hear. In that case, just slap the normal "deaf" Perception malus, and grant the sneak the normal +20 "Predator" bonus.

The "visual cues" argument
There's a counter-argument that says you can use visual cues to analyse sounds, hence the +20 bonus to not hear you when invisible. I just can't figure this argument.
An invisible creature still produces visual cues, such as dust and moved objects. The only difference is shadows, which he doesn't cast. But the rules basically don't cover lighting and shadows (it would be highly complex) anyways.
Also, plus twenty for visual cues!! Mmm.... I really don't think that's RAI!


I completely agree with your rationale, but this might be better posted in the House rules section, as you obviously understand the rules, you just don't think they make sense.

Good suggestion, but I thought about using the pre-existing rule of combining Perception, to avoid having to make 2 different tests for seeing and hearing someone.

When invisible, you get +20 to Stealth checks. If a perception check beats the invisible character, he will be detected visually as well as auditory. If the perception check fails, but by less than 20, the invisible character can be heard but not pinpointed. Else, the character remains undetected.

How does that sound? Movement penalties will still apply, and makes sense both for seeing OR for hearing someone, as will the rising DC for being behind a wall and distance penalty. If you (Commoner with +0 Stealth skill) are invisible (+20) behind a wall (-5 Per), more than 30 feet away (-3), and double moving (-5), and you take 10 on Stealth, the DC to detect you is 25. If the opposing character has Perception +0 (modified by -8 because of terrain), he would need to roll a 13 to even hear the invisible commoner.

Now since the Commoner here has 100% concealment anyway, the +20/fail by 20 becomes pointless, so the DM should simply roll Stealth vs. Perception unmodified by Invisibility. The only idea about this rule is to avoid having to roll twice (like in the old Hide+Sneak vs Spot+Listen, 4 rolls just for detecting 1 character).

Sounds good?


Actually I think they make sense - once they're clarified -. I don't think anybody seriously mean that invisibility smothers sound. So I'm just suggesting that the +20 be removed. As you point out, it rarely comes into play anyways!

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