Can you use stealth with 20% concealment while observed?


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I was having a discussion with a friend about how stealth works with cover/concealment.

One of us thought that getting concealment or cover was sufficient to make stealth checks. The argument against was that you would still be observed unless you found total concealment or cover.

Essentially, we disagreed on which sentence took priority in the stealth rules (bolded below)

Stealth:

Check: Your Stealth check is opposed by the Perception check of anyone who might notice you. Creatures that fail to beat your Stealth check are not aware of you and treat you as if you had concealment. You can move up to half your normal speed and use Stealth at no penalty. When moving at a speed greater than half but less than your normal speed, you take a –5 penalty. It's impossible to use Stealth while attacking, running, or charging.

Creatures gain a bonus or penalty on Stealth checks based on their size: Fine +16, Diminutive +12, Tiny +8, Small +4, Medium +0, Large -4, Huge -8, Gargantuan -12, Colossal -16.

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.

Breaking Stealth: When you start your turn using Stealth, you can leave cover or concealment and remain unobserved as long as you succeed at a Stealth check and end your turn in cover or concealment. Your Stealth immediately ends after you make and attack roll, whether or not the attack is successful (except when sniping as noted below).

Sniping: If you've already successfully used Stealth at least 10 feet from your target, you can make one ranged attack and then immediately use Stealth again. You take a –20 penalty on your Stealth check to maintain your obscured location.

Creating a Diversion to Hide: You can use Bluff to allow you to use Stealth. A successful Bluff check can give you the momentary diversion you need to attempt a Stealth check while people are aware of you.

Action: Usually none. Normally, you make a Stealth check as part of movement, so it doesn't take a separate action. However, using Stealth immediately after a ranged attack (see Sniping, above) is a move action.

Special: If you are invisible, you gain a +40 bonus on Stealth checks if you are immobile, or a +20 bonus on Stealth checks if you're moving.

If you have the Stealthy feat, you get a bonus on Stealth checks (see Feats).

link


Not exactly sure how to answer this yet.... Dotted for interest.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

I would say that you can, because the creature does not fully observe you when you have concealment. It may see you just as a shadow, or a dark patch of fog.


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Normal Concealment is enough to activate 'Stealth mode'.

The first bolded statement is amended by the second. In most situations, if they can see you, you can't Stealth. The second sentence modifies that by stating that having Cover or Concealment will allow you to Stealth. "Most creatures" is there because there are creatures with other, unusual forms of senses (such as Blindsight) or that don't use conventional senses at all. Or, in the case of the next (not bolded) sentence, it's because there are other ways to initiate Stealth.

Note that this can lead to odd situations for the player when the forms of concealment don't always apply. For instance, if they are in a shadowy area (20% Concealment), they can attempt stealth against a foe. Now, if that foe has Darkvision and there is nothing actually obstructing the foe's view aside from the darkness, you're technically not Stealthed against them. You may not realize this until it's the monster's turn, however. (I, preferring old school DM'ing methods, have the monster's eyes glow red or suchlike to indicate they are using Darkvision, so there's usually a subtle clue ahead of time that it's a bad idea.)


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I'll just link this thread because the first few posts answer your questions better than I could. Blue + Stealth thread. A few quotes:

"A creature can't use Stealth in an area of bright light unless it is invisible or has cover." PRD. Cover, not concealment.

"Normal light functions just like bright light, but characters with light sensitivity and light blindness do not take penalties." PRD Same for normal light.

"In areas of darkness, creatures without darkvision are effectively blinded." PRD

"A creature can't hide within 60 feet of a character with darkvision unless it is invisible or has cover." PRD

Bringing it all together: "So, in Bright and Normal light you cannot use concealment to attempt Stealth and therefore could not use Blur. In conditions of Dim Light or Darkness you can use concealment to attempt Stealth but you don't need Blur because you already have concealment from the conditions themselves."

Remember that many (if not most) creatures have low-light vision or dark vision. Low-light vision means their "normal light" area from say a torch goes out twice as far (40') as well as their "dim-light" area (another 40' after that). So in the dim-light area to the creature you can stealth, but in normal light you couldn't start a stealth. I believe you could remain stealthed until they saw you, though it'd probably be up to the DM. Darkvision is the same but you would have to start sneaking up on them at 65+ feet and hope they don't see you.

The feat/talent Hellcat Stealth/Hide in Plain Sight give you expanded uses of stealth. Hope this helps!


Even when having concealment you can be observed si no stealth should be possible. Not being able to see you clearly is different from not being able to see you at all. One still has you being observed.


In this case, we weren't discussing use of the Blur spell.

edit: Just for clarity.


Blur gives concealment, which is what you were asking about. So if you were, say, talking about the Cloaks of Displacement the same would still apply.

EDIT: I mentioned how cover interacted in normal and bright light in my last post, if you were asking why I was only talking about concealment.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber

Concealment allows for stealth.

Some spells grant a 20% miss chance. This is not concealment, its a 20% miss chance and in those cases would not allow for stealth.


Wraith Strike is correct. You may have concealment but you are still visible. If you are standing in an area with concealment and you want to use Stealth you can, but you must first break your observer's line of sight. Rules for that are in the Stealth description you posted. Additionally, if you are in an area of Obscuring Mist or if there is an area the provides Cover you can simply move out of visual range or pass behind the Cover to break line of sight. Then you can go wherever you want under Stealth as long as you keep Concealment or move between areas of Concealment.

Grand Lodge

Unless a creature has Blindsight or something of that nature you can use the stealth skill as long as you are not being observed, have cover or have concealment.

Blur says in the spell that it grants you concealment so that one would work. Displacement gives you a 50% miss chance "like" concealment but it's not concealment. Wind Stance I don't think would work because even though it provides you with concealment, it's only against Ranged Attacks. Walking through a Fog Cloud or Obscuring Mist spell would work because even withing 5' of a creature you have concealment.

Just my thoughts.


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Paulicus wrote:

In this case, we weren't discussing use of the Blur spell.

edit: Just for clarity.

If Blur is your only source of Concealment you will not be able to use Stealth. At the end of the description Blur says "Opponents that cannot see the subject ignore the spell's effect." If Blur is your only Concealment and you use Stealth you become unseen. If you are unseen your opponent ignores the spell's effect. If you opponent is ignoring the spell's effect, you lose Concealment. If you lose Concealment you fall out of Stealth.


No need to go that roundabout.

This is the first line of the Stealth skill:

Quote:
If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth.

Blur does not stop you from being observed. You cannot, therefore, use Stealth with Blur as your only source of Concealment.


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wraithstrike wrote:
Even when having concealment you can be observed si no stealth should be possible. Not being able to see you clearly is different from not being able to see you at all. One still has you being observed.

I disagree with this. While that would be an obvious understanding of the words, I don't think it's the intended function.

"finding cover or concealment allows you to use Stealth." If concealment alone did not allow for the use of Stealth, the inclusion of it as a standalone in the entry is wrong. You cannot use Stealth while "being observed". "Concealment" allows you to use Stealth. It stands to reason, then, that you are not "being observed" (for the purposes of the Stealth rules) if you have concealment against your foe.

Silver Crusade

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fretgod99 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Even when having concealment you can be observed si no stealth should be possible. Not being able to see you clearly is different from not being able to see you at all. One still has you being observed.

I disagree with this. While that would be an obvious understanding of the words, I don't think it's the intended function.

"finding cover or concealment allows you to use Stealth." If concealment alone did not allow for the use of Stealth, the inclusion of it as a standalone in the entry is wrong. You cannot use Stealth while "being observed". "Concealment" allows you to use Stealth. It stands to reason, then, that you are not "being observed" (for the purposes of the Stealth rules) if you have concealment against your foe.

I agree with this interpretation.

The general rule is that if you are being observed, you cannot use stealth.

The specific rule is that having cover or concealment allows you to use stealth, even if you are being observed.

Say you have a situation with Joe and Bob. Joe is a human guard standing outside of a dungeon door looking down a hallway. The hallway is 60' long and dimly lit. Bob walks into the hallway at the other end from Joe and decides he wants to stealth. Joe can obviously observe Bob, but Bob has concealment because Joe is a puny human and does not have low-light vision or darkvision and Bob is more than 20' away. So it would be entirely possible for Bob to stealth up to within 25' of Joe. However, once he got 20' (or less) away, he could no longer stealth because he no longer has concealment.


Paulicus quotes stealth as saying, "Check: Your Stealth check is opposed by the Perception check of anyone who might notice you. Creatures that fail to beat your Stealth check are not aware of you and treat you as if you had concealment."

D20PFSRD says, "Your Stealth check is opposed by the Perception check of anyone who might notice you. Creatures that fail to beat your Stealth check are not aware of you and treat you as if you had total concealment." So clearly partial concealment is enough to attempt Stealth.

Also, "You can use cover to make a Stealth check. Without cover, you usually need concealment (see below) to make a Stealth check." Since you have cover if even less than half of you is behind a wall that is also enough for a stealth check, if partial.

I'm curious as to where Paulicus got his quote from. I know D20PFSRD isn't gospel so we might have dueling sources here. I couldn't find either quote in the Core Rulebook.


fretgod99 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Even when having concealment you can be observed si no stealth should be possible. Not being able to see you clearly is different from not being able to see you at all. One still has you being observed.

I disagree with this. While that would be an obvious understanding of the words, I don't think it's the intended function.

"finding cover or concealment allows you to use Stealth." If concealment alone did not allow for the use of Stealth, the inclusion of it as a standalone in the entry is wrong. You cannot use Stealth while "being observed". "Concealment" allows you to use Stealth. It stands to reason, then, that you are not "being observed" (for the purposes of the Stealth rules) if you have concealment against your foe.

You need to have cover/concealment AND not be observed. That is what I am saying. If you only have 20% concealment then you can still be seen. That is why you can not hide. You can however use a bluff check to distract them and them hide.


Rynjin wrote:

No need to go that roundabout.

This is the first line of the Stealth skill:

Quote:
If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth.
Blur does not stop you from being observed. You cannot, therefore, use Stealth with Blur as your only source of Concealment.

Using that logic can make any concealment (short of total concealment) invalid for stealth. I can just as easily "observe" someone in a shadow or a light mist as I can someone with a blur spell cast on them.


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wraithstrike wrote:


You need to have cover/concealment AND not be observed. That is what I am saying. If you only have 20% concealment then you can still be seen. That is why you can not hide. You can however use a bluff check to distract them and them hide.

If the designers intended the rule to be played like that, I don't think they would have used the term "concealment", they would have just said "total concealment".


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wraithstrike wrote:
fretgod99 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Even when having concealment you can be observed si no stealth should be possible. Not being able to see you clearly is different from not being able to see you at all. One still has you being observed.

I disagree with this. While that would be an obvious understanding of the words, I don't think it's the intended function.

"finding cover or concealment allows you to use Stealth." If concealment alone did not allow for the use of Stealth, the inclusion of it as a standalone in the entry is wrong. You cannot use Stealth while "being observed". "Concealment" allows you to use Stealth. It stands to reason, then, that you are not "being observed" (for the purposes of the Stealth rules) if you have concealment against your foe.

You need to have cover/concealment AND not be observed. That is what I am saying. If you only have 20% concealment then you can still be seen. That is why you can not hide. You can however use a bluff check to distract them and them hide.

But that makes the entry about concealment irrelevant, which is my point.

If you are being observed, and concealment alone is insufficient to allow you to use Stealth, then you need to go duck behind some cover. So there's no point to including concealment, because what you actually need is cover.

Or you can use concealment for Stealth, but only in the case that you're not being observed, in which case what's the point of using Stealth because there's nobody around you need to hide from anyway?

If "being observed" means, essentially, having line of sight (which is what you're basically arguing), concealment is utterly worthless. Either you have line of sight or you don't; concealment will never change that. The only way you'd not have line of sight is if there is something between you and your opponent, blocking the view. But that's handled by cover. So where does concealment come into play?


wraithstrike wrote:


You need to have cover/concealment AND not be observed.

True.

Quote:
If you only have 20% concealment then you can still be seen.

(My emphasis.)

Quote:
That is why you can not hide.

Not true. Having a line of sight to part of an opponent does not mean they are seen. We're acting as though they have 360 degree vision and are always alertly looking everywhere. If you're being stealthy and not making any noise to draw their attention to you then there's a definite chance that they won't notice you. That's the whole point of stealth and perception checks. If you're really stealthy and your opponent not very perceptive then it takes bad luck for you to be noticed.

Sure, if you walk up to the Town Hall in broad daylight the guards will notice you. If you sneak up to the corner of a building, at night, and peek around, not so likely.

Line of sight means can be seen, not are seen.


Iron Giant wrote:
Rynjin wrote:

No need to go that roundabout.

This is the first line of the Stealth skill:

Quote:
If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth.
Blur does not stop you from being observed. You cannot, therefore, use Stealth with Blur as your only source of Concealment.
Using that logic can make any concealment (short of total concealment) invalid for stealth. I can just as easily "observe" someone in a shadow or a light mist as I can someone with a blur spell cast on them.

Correct. However darkness makes someone without darkvision effectively blind. The fog spells also say you can't see someone beyond 5 feet in addition to saying you get 50% concealment beyond that distance.


Iron Giant wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:


You need to have cover/concealment AND not be observed. That is what I am saying. If you only have 20% concealment then you can still be seen. That is why you can not hide. You can however use a bluff check to distract them and them hide.

If the designers intended the rule to be played like that, I don't think they would have used the term "concealment", they would have just said "total concealment".

Precisely this. That they included "concealment" specifically has to mean something, unless it was simply a mistake.

Silver Crusade

wraithstrike wrote:
You need to have cover/concealment AND not be observed. That is what I am saying. If you only have 20% concealment then you can still be seen. That is why you can not hide. You can however use a bluff check to distract them and them hide.

Yeah, the part I bolded of Wraithstrike's last statement is most definitely incorrect and has no support in the rules as they are written.


wraithstrike wrote:
Iron Giant wrote:
Rynjin wrote:

No need to go that roundabout.

This is the first line of the Stealth skill:

Quote:
If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth.
Blur does not stop you from being observed. You cannot, therefore, use Stealth with Blur as your only source of Concealment.
Using that logic can make any concealment (short of total concealment) invalid for stealth. I can just as easily "observe" someone in a shadow or a light mist as I can someone with a blur spell cast on them.
Correct. However darkness makes someone without darkvision effectively blind. The fog spells also say you can't see someone beyond 5 feet in addition to saying you get 50% concealment beyond that distance.

Those are examples of total concealment, not concealment, though. The Stealth rules reference concealment (20%), not total concealment (50%).


daimaru wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:


You need to have cover/concealment AND not be observed.

True.

Quote:
If you only have 20% concealment then you can still be seen.

(My emphasis.)

Quote:
That is why you can not hide.

Not true. Having a line of sight to part of an opponent does not mean they are seen. We're acting as though they have 360 degree vision and are always alertly looking everywhere. If you're being stealthy and not making any noise to draw their attention to you then there's a definite chance that they won't notice you. That's the whole point of stealth and perception checks. If you're really stealthy and your opponent not very perceptive then it takes bad luck for you to be noticed.

Sure, if you walk up to the Town Hall in broad daylight the guards will notice you. If you sneak up to the corner of a building, at night, and peek around, not so likely.

Line of sight means can be seen, not are seen.

Actually you do have 360 degree vision. If you can draw a line from character A to character B then you can see that character. There is no facing in the game. However a GM can rule that character A is distracted, and that might work.

As for your peeking example, if someone is around a building they are not being observed and they have cover so of course they can use stealth.

The rules don't see if you have concealment you can ignore being observed.

Normally finding cover or concealment prevents you from being observed, but that is not always the case.

RAW they would need to say you can make a stealth check while being observed if you have cover or concealment, but that is not what it says.

Do I think it "should" be that way? Yes. The book does not say that however. Is it possibly what it means? Yes, but once again I don't see the concealment trumping being observed.


fretgod99 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Iron Giant wrote:
Rynjin wrote:

No need to go that roundabout.

This is the first line of the Stealth skill:

Quote:
If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth.
Blur does not stop you from being observed. You cannot, therefore, use Stealth with Blur as your only source of Concealment.
Using that logic can make any concealment (short of total concealment) invalid for stealth. I can just as easily "observe" someone in a shadow or a light mist as I can someone with a blur spell cast on them.
Correct. However darkness makes someone without darkvision effectively blind. The fog spells also say you can't see someone beyond 5 feet in addition to saying you get 50% concealment beyond that distance.
Those are examples of total concealment, not concealment, though. The Stealth rules reference concealment (20%), not total concealment (50%).

That is true, but the rules also say you can't hide while being observed. That is why I think you have to satisfy both. If it said you had to see them clearly like it does for sneak attack to avoid someone being able to hide from you, then I would say normal concealment would be good enough.


Bigdaddyjug wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
You need to have cover/concealment AND not be observed. That is what I am saying. If you only have 20% concealment then you can still be seen. That is why you can not hide. You can however use a bluff check to distract them and them hide.
Yeah, the part I bolded of Wraithstrike's last statement is most definitely incorrect and has no support in the rules as they are written.

There is no support for someone that is being observed being able to make a stealth check. Being able to hide while concealed does not mean you can ignore another rule unless the rules say rule A trumps rule B.

Now if you have a dev comment saying differently I would like to see it. I did look for it.


wraithstrike wrote:
Iron Giant wrote:
Rynjin wrote:

No need to go that roundabout.

This is the first line of the Stealth skill:

Quote:
If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth.
Blur does not stop you from being observed. You cannot, therefore, use Stealth with Blur as your only source of Concealment.
Using that logic can make any concealment (short of total concealment) invalid for stealth. I can just as easily "observe" someone in a shadow or a light mist as I can someone with a blur spell cast on them.
Correct. However darkness makes someone without darkvision effectively blind. The fog spells also say you can't see someone beyond 5 feet in addition to saying you get 50% concealment beyond that distance.

If we look at the lighting rules in the CRB, we see:

Core Rulebook wrote:
In an area of dim light, a character can see somewhat. Creatures within this area have concealment (20% miss chance in combat) from those without darkvision or the ability to see in darkness. A creature within an area of dim light can make a Stealth check to conceal itself. Areas of dim light include outside at night with a moon in the sky, bright starlight, and the area between 20 and 40 feet from a torch.

So you definitely can use stealth in dim light.

Looking at the statement "A creature within an area of dim light can make a Stealth check to conceal itself" applied to the "being observed" argument doesn't make sense because if you aren't being observed you could go into stealth regardless.

In all honesty I completely understand why someone would hate the idea of this working with magic items. If I buy a 6480gp Haunted Shoes, my ninja can essentially get greater invisibility with one attack per turn for one encounter a day. As it is though, I think RAW it does work.


wraithstrike wrote:


Actually you do have 360 degree vision. If you can draw a line from character A to character B then you can see that character. There is no facing in the game. However a GM can rule that character A is distracted, and that might work.

No, that's the point of perception and stealth. That you aren't always looking in all directions. The perception and stealth abilities and the roll of the dice determine whether or not someone who could be observed is observed.

Quote:
As for your peeking example, if someone is around a building they are not being observed and they have cover so of course they can use stealth.

No, partly around the building. If you're all the way around the building you can't see them either.


daimaru wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:


Actually you do have 360 degree vision. If you can draw a line from character A to character B then you can see that character. There is no facing in the game. However a GM can rule that character A is distracted, and that might work.

No, that's the point of perception and stealth. That you aren't always looking in all directions. The perception and stealth abilities and the roll of the dice determine whether or not someone who could be observed is observed.

While I am still doing research on the on the 20% concealment this(idea of not being able to see all around you) is incorrect. The book(combat chapter) says if I can draw an unobstructed line to your square then you are in my line of sight. You only get to stealth when my view is interfered with my cover or concealment. If you are allowing players to hide in a wide open area, assuming they are close enough to be seen, then you are not following the rules.

I understand that in theory you can not see everywhere at once, but on the map you do not have a front or behind. <---That is what I am saying. We may be talking past each other.


As I understand it the distinction here is that if you start unobserved, you can make use of cover or concealment to remain unobserved. Once you are observed, by leaving cover/concealment, the observer making a Perception check, you attacking or any other means, you can no longer use that cover or concealment until you can arrange to be unobserved - by using a bluff check to distract the observer or (and this is only implied) breaking line of sight with total cover or concealment.

But that's sort of a synthesis and I can't support it with direct rules quotes, at least ones not countered by others. I'm pretty sure the stealth rules are self-contradictory even with giving them some leeway.

My favorite example is the rule that says you need cover or invisibility to use stealth within 60' of anyone with darkvision - meaning that somehow darkvision lets you see through underbrush. :)


wraithstrike wrote:

You only get to stealth when my view is interfered with my cover or concealment. If you are allowing players to hide in a wide open area, assuming they are close enough to be seen, then you are not following the rules.

I understand that in theory you can not see everywhere at once, but on the map you do not have a front or behind. <---That is what I am saying. We may be talking past each other.

Maybe we are. I'm not saying that if you're out in the open in good light that you can be unseen (without magic or something). I'm arguing that if you have any cover or concealment, in spite of your opponent having line of sight to some part of the square you're in, that a stealth vs. perception check is possible. That a low perception skill indicates that you aren't noticing everything that you could see.


After looking around it seems the consensus is that blur would work so I will just assume the concealment rules were meant to trump the observed rule. I still think the wording in the book should explicitly say that.


daimaru wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:

You only get to stealth when my view is interfered with my cover or concealment. If you are allowing players to hide in a wide open area, assuming they are close enough to be seen, then you are not following the rules.

I understand that in theory you can not see everywhere at once, but on the map you do not have a front or behind. <---That is what I am saying. We may be talking past each other.

Maybe we are. I'm not saying that if you're out in the open in good light that you can be unseen (without magic or something). I'm arguing that if you have any cover or concealment, in spite of your opponent having line of sight to some part of the square you're in, that a stealth vs. perception check is possible. That a low perception skill indicates that you aren't noticing everything that you could see.

ok. We agree then. I think cover blocks line of sight, and concealment just does not care about line of sight with regard to stealth.


thejeff wrote:

As I understand it the distinction here is that if you start unobserved, you can make use of cover or concealment to remain unobserved. Once you are observed, by leaving cover/concealment, the observer making a Perception check, you attacking or any other means, you can no longer use that cover or concealment until you can arrange to be unobserved - by using a bluff check to distract the observer or (and this is only implied) breaking line of sight with total cover or concealment.

Yes, I agree with this. Once you have been observed it's too late to go all stealthy. Stealth only works if you started out before you could be seen and have some cover or concealment to work with. If you walk around a corner in front of a guard, sorry Charley, he's already observed you. But if you sneak up to the corner and ease around, and are lucky, you might remain unseen. (I'm assuming some corner, or wall, or something remains between you and your opponent.) Or you could try to hide behind a bush, if you had a way to get there unnoticed or if you were already there in ambush when your opponent comes along. Even a small bush.


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wraithstrike wrote:
fretgod99 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Iron Giant wrote:
Rynjin wrote:

No need to go that roundabout.

This is the first line of the Stealth skill:

Quote:
If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth.
Blur does not stop you from being observed. You cannot, therefore, use Stealth with Blur as your only source of Concealment.
Using that logic can make any concealment (short of total concealment) invalid for stealth. I can just as easily "observe" someone in a shadow or a light mist as I can someone with a blur spell cast on them.
Correct. However darkness makes someone without darkvision effectively blind. The fog spells also say you can't see someone beyond 5 feet in addition to saying you get 50% concealment beyond that distance.
Those are examples of total concealment, not concealment, though. The Stealth rules reference concealment (20%), not total concealment (50%).

That is true, but the rules also say you can't hide while being observed. That is why I think you have to satisfy both. If it said you had to see them clearly like it does for sneak attack to avoid someone being able to hide from you, then I would say normal concealment would be good enough.

Then what is the point of including the line "Against most creatures, finding ... concealment allows you to use Stealth"?

If you are being observed, your claim is you cannot stealth, even with concealment. However, if you are not being observed, why do you need concealment to make a stealth check? What are you hiding from? If you're not being observed (visually - which ultimately is the only sense we're really talking about right now), then you necessarily have cover against any creature you might be trying to use stealth against (in reference to other senses), so concealment is unnecessary.

The inclusion of concealment only makes sense if having concealment means you're not "being observed" for the purposes of Stealth. Otherwise it's completely extraneous and irrelevant.

Ultimately, what does "being observed" mean? You're applying a strict definition of "observe" in regards to sight (which is fine), but not to the rest of a person's senses. Observed doesn't mean "seen"; it means to notice through the senses. So "being observed" rightly ought to include the ability to hear or smell. Cover typically isn't going to provide protection against being heard. If you apply the same criteria to hearing that you do to sight, cover isn't going to allow for a Stealth check, either because I can hear you (thus, you're "being observed").

Naturally, you get a perception check to notice if you hear the movement behind the cover. Which is all my point is in regards to visual stealth with concealment. I saw you run behind the turned over table. Why do you get a stealth check in that scenario, but not in the case where I saw you run into the very dimly lit corner of the room? You're "being observed" in both cases.

EDIT: Just saw your post conceding the point. So maybe this hopefully helps explain why I think it functions this way. Undoubtedly, it could have been written more clearly.


daimaru wrote:
thejeff wrote:

As I understand it the distinction here is that if you start unobserved, you can make use of cover or concealment to remain unobserved. Once you are observed, by leaving cover/concealment, the observer making a Perception check, you attacking or any other means, you can no longer use that cover or concealment until you can arrange to be unobserved - by using a bluff check to distract the observer or (and this is only implied) breaking line of sight with total cover or concealment.

Yes, I agree with this. Once you have been observed it's too late to go all stealthy. Stealth only works if you started out before you could be seen and have some cover or concealment to work with. If you walk around a corner in front of a guard, sorry Charley, he's already observed you. But if you sneak up to the corner and ease around, and are lucky, you might remain unseen. (I'm assuming some corner, or wall, or something remains between you and your opponent.) Or you could try to hide behind a bush, if you had a way to get there unnoticed or if you were already there in ambush when your opponent comes along. Even a small bush.

Disagree. It depends on what you're trying to do. Your opponent may know you're there, but if you're in dim lighting, the opponent doesn't know what furtive actions you're taking. That's why sneak attack ought to work (assuming you can see through the dim lighting yourself or have something like Shadow Strike).

Your opponent knows you're there, but can't make out enough detail to properly defend him/herself. Stealth need not always necessarily be "You can't see me!" but could instead be "You can't see what I'm doing!"


fretgod99 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:


That is true, but the rules also say you can't hide while being observed. That is why I think you have to satisfy both. If it said you had to see them clearly like it does for sneak attack to avoid someone being able to hide from you, then I would say normal concealment would be good enough.

Then what is the point of including the line "Against most creatures, finding ... concealment allows you to use Stealth"?

If you are being observed, your claim is you cannot stealth, even with concealment. However, if you are not being observed, why do you need concealment to make a stealth check? What are you hiding from? If you're not being observed (visually - which ultimately is the only sense we're really talking about right now), then you necessarily have cover against any creature you might be trying to use stealth against (in reference to other senses), so concealment is unnecessary.

Ultimately, what does "being observed" mean? You're applying a strict definition of "observe" in regards to sight (which is fine), but not to the rest of a person's senses. Observed doesn't mean "seen"; it means to notice through the senses. So "being observed" rightly ought to include the ability to hear or smell. Cover typically isn't going to provide protection against being heard. If you apply the same criteria to hearing that you do to sight, cover isn't going to allow for a Stealth check, either because I can hear you (thus, you're "being observed").

Naturally, you get a perception check to notice if you hear the movement behind the cover. Which is all my point is in regards to visual stealth with concealment. I saw you run behind the turned over table. Why do you get a stealth check in that scenario, but not in the case where I saw you run into the very dimly lit corner of the room? You're "being observed" in both cases.

If you're being observed you can't use stealth - without in some way breaking that observation. If you aren't being observed, you can use stealth. That's pretty simple.

The thing you're missing is what "observed" means. It could mean "Standing out in the open with no usable cover or concealment". In this case, it doesn't matter. You don't have the prerequisites to use stealth anyway. It could also mean, "In cover or concealment, but he made his perception roll and saw you." In this case, you still can't use stealth even though you have cover or concealment, because he's already spotted you.

Example: Outside on a starlit night. Dim lighting conditions, no other sources of light, no special vision.
I sneak out from around a corner, which I can do because I have concealment do to dim light. I roll Stealth, you roll Perception and see me. Now I've still got concealment, but I'm observed. I can't use stealth anymore. You come after me, but I run and get around the corner. Now I'm not observed, there's a big wall between so I duck into a particularly shadowy crevice and roll stealth again. You come pounding around the corner, roll perception and don't beat my roll. You don't see me.

There are a lot of weird edge cases, but that's how the basics work.


fretgod99 wrote:
daimaru wrote:
thejeff wrote:

As I understand it the distinction here is that if you start unobserved, you can make use of cover or concealment to remain unobserved. Once you are observed, by leaving cover/concealment, the observer making a Perception check, you attacking or any other means, you can no longer use that cover or concealment until you can arrange to be unobserved - by using a bluff check to distract the observer or (and this is only implied) breaking line of sight with total cover or concealment.

Yes, I agree with this. Once you have been observed it's too late to go all stealthy. Stealth only works if you started out before you could be seen and have some cover or concealment to work with. If you walk around a corner in front of a guard, sorry Charley, he's already observed you. But if you sneak up to the corner and ease around, and are lucky, you might remain unseen. (I'm assuming some corner, or wall, or something remains between you and your opponent.) Or you could try to hide behind a bush, if you had a way to get there unnoticed or if you were already there in ambush when your opponent comes along. Even a small bush.

Disagree. It depends on what you're trying to do. Your opponent may know you're there, but if you're in dim lighting, the opponent doesn't know what furtive actions you're taking. That's why sneak attack ought to work (assuming you can see through the dim lighting yourself or have something like Shadow Strike).

Your opponent knows you're there, but can't make out enough detail to properly defend him/herself. Stealth need not always necessarily be "You can't see me!" but could instead be "You can't see what I'm doing!"

If it's dim light, you have concealment. Go ahead and roll Stealth. If you beat his perception roll, he doesn't know you're there. If you don't he sees you. You still have concealment (20% miss chance), but you can't sneak attack him.

If Stealth was sometimes "You see me, but can't see what I'm doing", there need to be rules for which case is which. You may want to sneak by a guard without being seen at all, in which case "He knows you're there but can't see you well enough to keep you from sneak attacking" isn't really helpful.
You're trying to draw a distinction for which there are no rules.


I agree with thejeff on his last two posts. Not that my agreement proves anything :) just sayin'.


thejeff wrote:

If you're being observed you can't use stealth - without in some way breaking that observation. If you aren't being observed, you can use stealth. That's pretty simple.

The thing you're missing is what "observed" means. It could mean "Standing out in the open with no usable cover or concealment". In this case, it doesn't matter. You don't have the prerequisites to use stealth anyway. It could also mean, "In cover or concealment, but he made his perception roll and saw you." In this case, you still can't use stealth even though you have cover or concealment, because he's already spotted you.
Example: Outside on a starlit night. Dim lighting conditions, no other sources of light, no special vision.
I sneak out from around a corner, which I can do because I have concealment do to dim light. I roll Stealth, you roll Perception and see me. Now I've still got concealment, but I'm observed. I can't use stealth anymore. You come after me, but I run and get around the corner. Now I'm not observed, there's a big wall between so I duck into a particularly shadowy crevice and roll stealth again. You come pounding around the corner, roll perception and don't beat my roll. You don't see me.

There are a lot of weird edge cases, but that's how the basics work.

But he only rolls the perception check if you've already used stealth, which is my point. If you have concealment, roll your stealth check opposed by a perception check (whether you're "being observed" or not).

Being observed doesn't negate the ability to make the stealth check in concealment; being bad at stealth is what gets you noticed, not that you were being observed.


thejeff wrote:

If Stealth was sometimes "You see me, but can't see what I'm doing", there need to be rules for which case is which. You may want to sneak by a guard without being seen at all, in which case "He knows you're there but can't see you well enough to keep you from sneak attacking" isn't really helpful.

You're trying to draw a distinction for which there are no rules.

Not really. I'm explaining why you can still sometimes sneak attack somebody by making a stealth check, even though you're literally standing right in front of them.

Dim lighting, neither party has dark vision, you have shadow strike. Make a stealth check when you slip to the side of the opponent, cause the target to be flatfooted, sneak attack. You're standing w/i 5' the entire time. But you can still make a stealth check and sneak attack.

People (often) balk at that situation for allowing a stealth check and sneak attack. My point is that maybe you (using the royal you, so to speak) are thinking the wrong way about how the stealth check functions here. It's not that you're hiding from your opponent; you're using your opponent's inability to see clearly to mask what you're doing.

The Stealth rules accommodate this scenario just fine, even if it's not as clear as we might all like it to be.


fretgod99 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

If you're being observed you can't use stealth - without in some way breaking that observation. If you aren't being observed, you can use stealth. That's pretty simple.

The thing you're missing is what "observed" means. It could mean "Standing out in the open with no usable cover or concealment". In this case, it doesn't matter. You don't have the prerequisites to use stealth anyway. It could also mean, "In cover or concealment, but he made his perception roll and saw you." In this case, you still can't use stealth even though you have cover or concealment, because he's already spotted you.
Example: Outside on a starlit night. Dim lighting conditions, no other sources of light, no special vision.
I sneak out from around a corner, which I can do because I have concealment due to dim light. I roll Stealth, you roll Perception and see me. Now I've still got concealment, but I'm observed. I can't use stealth anymore. You come after me, but I run and get around the corner. Now I'm not observed, there's a big wall between so I duck into a particularly shadowy crevice and roll stealth again. You come pounding around the corner, roll perception and don't beat my roll. You don't see me.

There are a lot of weird edge cases, but that's how the basics work.

But he only rolls the perception check if you've already used stealth, which is my point. If you have concealment, roll your stealth check opposed by a perception check (whether you're "being observed" or not).

Being observed doesn't negate the ability to make the stealth check in concealment; being bad at stealth is what gets you noticed, not that you were being observed.

That doesn't make any sense. In that case, making the Perception check is what determines if he observes you. You are allowed to roll Stealth because he hasn't seen you and you have concealment. If either of those isn't true, there's no Stealth vs Perception, he just sees you.

If, to use another contrived example, I was hidden in dim light and you came walking out normally, not sneaking because you didn't know anyone was around to spot you, I'll automatically see you. If you then start trying to be sneaky, it won't matter because I'm watching you. You've got concealment, but you're observed, so you can't use Stealth.

I wasn't observed when I started using Stealth, so I can continue.


In your example, you've already attempted to use stealth and been seen. It has nothing to do with being observed, but doing poorly on a stealth check.

If you're standing in the corner of a dimly lit room, you can use stealth against a guard (who doesn't have darkvision), whether s/he's already seen you or not. If the perception check is high enough, your stealth check failed and you're seen.

The fact that a guard is in the same room as you does not prevent you from using concealment to allow a stealth check.


fretgod99 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

If Stealth was sometimes "You see me, but can't see what I'm doing", there need to be rules for which case is which. You may want to sneak by a guard without being seen at all, in which case "He knows you're there but can't see you well enough to keep you from sneak attacking" isn't really helpful.

You're trying to draw a distinction for which there are no rules.

Not really. I'm explaining why you can still sometimes sneak attack somebody by making a stealth check, even though you're literally standing right in front of them.

Dim lighting, neither party has dark vision, you have shadow strike. Make a stealth check when you slip to the side of the opponent, cause the target to be flatfooted, sneak attack. You're standing w/i 5' the entire time. But you can still make a stealth check and sneak attack.

People (often) balk at that situation for allowing a stealth check and sneak attack. My point is that maybe you (using the royal you, so to speak) are thinking the wrong way about how the stealth check functions here. It's not that you're hiding from your opponent; you're using your opponent's inability to see clearly to mask what you're doing.

The Stealth rules accommodate this scenario just fine, even if it's not as clear as we might all like it to be.

No. They don't.

The rules are clear that doesn't work. There are even rules about how to do something similar (Bluff for distraction.)


thejeff wrote:
fretgod99 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

If Stealth was sometimes "You see me, but can't see what I'm doing", there need to be rules for which case is which. You may want to sneak by a guard without being seen at all, in which case "He knows you're there but can't see you well enough to keep you from sneak attacking" isn't really helpful.

You're trying to draw a distinction for which there are no rules.

Not really. I'm explaining why you can still sometimes sneak attack somebody by making a stealth check, even though you're literally standing right in front of them.

Dim lighting, neither party has dark vision, you have shadow strike. Make a stealth check when you slip to the side of the opponent, cause the target to be flatfooted, sneak attack. You're standing w/i 5' the entire time. But you can still make a stealth check and sneak attack.

People (often) balk at that situation for allowing a stealth check and sneak attack. My point is that maybe you (using the royal you, so to speak) are thinking the wrong way about how the stealth check functions here. It's not that you're hiding from your opponent; you're using your opponent's inability to see clearly to mask what you're doing.

The Stealth rules accommodate this scenario just fine, even if it's not as clear as we might all like it to be.

No. They don't.

The rules are clear that doesn't work. There are even rules about how to do something similar (Bluff for distraction.)

No, bluff for distraction works when you're standing in the open and want to head into concealment. In my scenario, you're already in concealment. Different situation.

If you're already in concealment, you can use stealth. Because the rules say you can use concealment to make a stealth check.


fretgod99 wrote:

In your example, you've already attempted to use stealth and been seen. It has nothing to do with being observed, but doing poorly on a stealth check.

If you're standing in the corner of a dimly lit room, you can use stealth against a guard (who doesn't have darkvision), whether s/he's already seen you or not. If the perception check is high enough, your stealth check failed and you're seen.

The fact that a guard is in the same room as you does not prevent you from using concealment to allow a stealth check.

Or if you don't make a stealth check at all. I can't just open the door walk into the room, see the guard and then hide. He sees me at that point. No rolls needed. Once he's seen me, he's seen me, unless I get out of his sight. Dim light doesn't do that. It lets you keep from being automatically spotted if you're using Stealth.


fretgod99 wrote:


If you're standing in the corner of a dimly lit room, you can use stealth against a guard (who doesn't have darkvision), whether s/he's already seen you or not. If the perception check is high enough, your stealth check failed and you're seen.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you? If the guard has already seen you and -knows- you're in the corner, then you can't disappear. You've been observed and you can't even try a stealth check.

Now, if someone distracts the guard and you duck into a dark corner, then you can try to hide.


wraithstrike wrote:
fretgod99 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Iron Giant wrote:
Rynjin wrote:

No need to go that roundabout.

This is the first line of the Stealth skill:

Quote:
If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can't use Stealth.
Blur does not stop you from being observed. You cannot, therefore, use Stealth with Blur as your only source of Concealment.
Using that logic can make any concealment (short of total concealment) invalid for stealth. I can just as easily "observe" someone in a shadow or a light mist as I can someone with a blur spell cast on them.
Correct. However darkness makes someone without darkvision effectively blind. The fog spells also say you can't see someone beyond 5 feet in addition to saying you get 50% concealment beyond that distance.
Those are examples of total concealment, not concealment, though. The Stealth rules reference concealment (20%), not total concealment (50%).

That is true, but the rules also say you can't hide while being observed. That is why I think you have to satisfy both. If it said you had to see them clearly like it does for sneak attack to avoid someone being able to hide from you, then I would say normal concealment would be good enough.

If someone is not being observed, why would they need cover or concelment?

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