Stealth rewrite


Homebrew and House Rules


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

Check: Your Stealth check is opposed by the Perception check of anyone who might notice you. 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, even if the creature is observing you*.

*Cover and concealment are relative, so you may be able to stealth against one creature, but not against another creature. As an example if a creature has blindsight and you are within the range of its blindsight then you can not stealth against it, even if you have concealment.

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.

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 to avoid being pinpointed. Use the chart under invisibility in the glossary to determine how additional modifiers will affect your stealth bonus. The same chart also applies to your stealth check when not invisible. As an example if you are speaking in a normal voice it is a -20 to your stealth check. If you are speaking within the hearing range of another creature then it may not be possible to use stealth against them as you would be observed by their hearing. Whispering imparts a -5 modifier, to your stealth check, and your allies may need to make perception checks to hear you. The enemy may also make perception checks to hear you. If they can hear you whisper however, and you have already used stealth against them successfully it only gives them your direction but it does not pinpoint your location unless they can beat your stealth DC.

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

As of now I am undecided as to whether or not I should require total concealment for someone to hide if they are being observed by eyesight


I have bolded sections with changes.


Looks good. Couple comments:

Wraithstrike wrote:
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.

The PRD still says you are treated as having concealment for some reason. The actual errata that added this line says you are treated as having total concealment.

Wraithstrike wrote:
As of now I am undecided as to whether or not I should require total concealment for someone to hide if they are being observed by eyesight

Personally, I think it could be reasonably regulated either way. If you're interested I did to a write up on the evolution of 3.5 Hide/Move Silently into PF Stealth. According to that, I don't think concealment breaks observation. Not sure if it will be anything you didn't already know though.


WS:
I'm not savvy to the existing complaints of the Stealth skill, as groups I have been in have never had trouble with it. Maybe we have RAI'd it instead of RAW'ing, without knowing. Doesn't matter. Anyhow, could you please briefly explain what you are trying to accomplish with your amendments?


Shadowlord wrote:

Looks good. Couple comments:

Wraithstrike wrote:
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.

The PRD still says you are treated as having concealment for some reason. The actual errata that added this line says you are treated as having total concealment.

Wraithstrike wrote:
As of now I am undecided as to whether or not I should require total concealment for someone to hide if they are being observed by eyesight

Personally, I think it could be reasonably regulated either way. If you're interested I did to a write up on the evolution of 3.5 Hide/Move Silently into PF Stealth. According to that, I don't think concealment breaks observation. Not sure if it will be anything you didn't already know though.

Your link is how I thought it worked also, but due to the combining of skills, and the way the rules exist in Pathfinder I can see how it is not so clear. I think the intend is for total cover, but stealth is already difficult to pull off, especially at higher levels. Anyway, thanks for the link. :)


Ciaran Barnes wrote:

WS:

I'm not savvy to the existing complaints of the Stealth skill, as groups I have been in have never had trouble with it. Maybe we have RAI'd it instead of RAW'ing, without knowing. Doesn't matter. Anyhow, could you please briefly explain what you are trying to accomplish with your amendments?

I have seen quiet a few stealth threads here.

One problem is that many of use think you have to not be observed, AND have cover or concealment to make a stealth check. Some think that if you have concealment(not total concealment) you can still try to use stealth.

My rules say that if you are have concealment you can hide even if you are being observed. I also add that blindsight also negates concealment so you still can not hide if the creature has blindsight. I also put a note at the bottom saying that I might require total concealment. That is because even with concealment(20%) miss chance you are still being observed, and I don't think that was ever intended to allow you to hide.

Another thing I did for this invisibility section was state that if you can beat the stealth DC then you can pinpoint(find the square they occupy). The stealth and perception skills, use the word "notice" which just means you know someone is around. The invis section has a rule saying "you can notice an invisible creation within 30 feet" with a DC 20 perception check. If you read the invis section further it goes on to say that list a table. Some thing that means the DC to pinpoint an invisible creature not using stealth is a DC 40, and a 60 if they are not moving.

If you look at the stealth rules and the invis spells they add a +20 and a +40(if you are not moving) for the perception check for stealth, but they don't mention the 30 foot notice limit, so technically someone could say that outside of 30 feet you can't even notice or pinpoint an invisible person. All of this depends on how you interpret the rulers. Personally a +40 and 60 to pinpoint someone in addition to whatever they roll on a stealth check is way to high IMO, so even if the devs said that was the intent I would not use it.

By me saying you can pinpoint a creature by beating its stealth check, and saying they only get +20 and +40 I have overwritten the DC 20 notice rule, and made it easier to find someone who is invisible, but not nerfed the spell because they still get +20 and +40.

I listed the conversation(-20 to finding an invisible creature per RAW) and whispering because some people think that the sound you make while invisible should not be counted, but invisibility says nothing about muffling sound. It even says you can be detected by sound. Whispering has a 15 base DC, and there is no rule on how it works with regard to being invisible, so I put in rules for that.

PS: I did some paraphrasing but that is mainly it.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Having this in an organized, easy to be presented to DMs, and players, would be awesome.

Sovereign Court

Why does blindsight block stealth, even if you have cover/concealment?

I mean, I understand how blindsight helps against concealment by darkness or fog. But suppose you're hiding behind a shrubbery that grants concealment?


Ascalaphus wrote:

Why does blindsight block stealth, even if you have cover/concealment?

I mean, I understand how blindsight helps against concealment by darkness or fog. But suppose you're hiding behind a shrubbery that grants concealment?

That is a good point. I would suggest adding some clarification in the example by stating that in this situation, failure to to stealth is based on lighting (dim-light, darkness) that blind-sight overcomes, but not other forms of concealment that form an opaque barrier to vision, such as a wall.

EDIT: Actually, I realize I don't know whether blindsight would allow sensing through transparent barriers like windows... Probably not that either. My suggestion probably would have worked for darkvision though.


I think this could work pretty well, particularly for a patch of the existent rules.

If you're diving into a more comprehensive rewrite, I think the point re: blindsight is a good one. Concealment really should be irrelevant, but Cover should be fine. So are there other situations that might need their own asterisk?

Also, if a larger rewrite is being contemplated, I wonder if allowing a Stealth check with less than total cover and/or concealment should be done at some kind of penalty. So dim lighting gives you the chance to make a Stealth check, but it's not going to be as easy as if you're starting out completely around the corner.

Then again, if you don't want to completely bog these types of situations down with all sorts of chart references and conditional and situational modifiers, maybe you don't worry about getting that specific. Plus, the more you get into it the closer you're getting to doing things like differentiating by sense, which sort of defeats the purpose of streamlining the skills like PF did.


I ended up using some rules from 4e despite my dislike of the game. While I have nothing else to add, maybe the Rules of Hidden Club will be of as much use to you for inspiration as they have for us in practice.


This version has confusing language as to whether a Distraction is needed when attempting to enter Stealth while Observed.

There should be around four levels of defined awareness.

Unaware - Has no awareness of anything amiss or hidden.

Presence - Suspicion of something amiss or hidden.

Direction - Confirmation of something amiss or hidden, and which direction of movement would bring you closer or farther.

Pinpoint - Knowledge of which square a thing is in.

Entering Stealth while Observed:

An Observer must be at least 10 feet away to be affected by an Observed Stealth attempt.

Concealment - Impossible
Total Concealment - Direction
*Concealed Stealth is treated as having Total Concealment, blocking Line of Sight yet not Line of Effect from potential Observers.

Cover - Direction
Total Cover - Direction
*Covered Stealth is treated as having Total Cover, blocking both Line of Sight and Line of Effect from potential Observers and also the creature using Stealth. (Bugs Bunny posing in exactly the same shape of a cactus, while hiding behind said cactus).

Covered Stealth is generally superior to Concealed Stealth. If a Square offers both Concealment and Cover, the creature using Stealth my elect, when the check is made, to use either or both sources as the basis of their Stealth.

Cover itself may be used as Concealment or Cover whenever a Stealth check is made. (Sniping behind some rocks, or hunkering behind the same rocks).

Distraction should be further defined with an Action type, whether or not someone can make use of a Distraction from another creature, and both Range and Duration. It should cause Observed Stealth attempts to allow Observers to know only the Presence of the creature using Stealth, and allow Observed Stealth attempts within ten feet of an Observer.

Much like Damage forces penalties to Concentration checks, it should also force penalties to Perception checks. Spell casting should also force a penalty equal to the level of the Spell.

Sniping should have rules for both the Surprise Round and Readied Actions; or leave it as is and have a Rogue Talent, Feat, or something allow the Stealth check.

Casting a Spell with Somatic Components should force the caster Flat Footed during casting, with the option to abandon the spell when an attack roll is made against the caster and prevent themselves from being Flat Footed. A caster does not have this option against attacks from an enemy that is not Pinpointed.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Having this in an organized, easy to be presented to DMs, and players, would be awesome.

I will do that.


Ascalaphus wrote:

Why does blindsight block stealth, even if you have cover/concealment?

I mean, I understand how blindsight helps against concealment by darkness or fog. But suppose you're hiding behind a shrubbery hat grants concealment?

Blindsight is blocked by total cover not by partial cover.


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

Check: Your Stealth check is opposed by the Perception check of anyone who might notice you. 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 gaining total concealment allows you to use Stealth, even if the creature is observing you*. However if you are not being observed the you can use concealment as opposed to total concealment to use stealth.

*Cover and concealment are relative, so you may be able to stealth against one creature, but not against another creature. As an example if a creature has blindsight and you are within the range of its blindsight then you can not stealth against it, even if you have concealment.

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 to avoid being pinpointed. Use the chart under invisibility in the glossary to determine how additional modifiers will affect your stealth bonus. The same chart also applies to your stealth check when not invisible. As an example if you are speaking in a normal voice it is a -20 to your stealth check. If you are speaking within the hearing range of another creature then it may not be possible to use stealth against them as you would be observed by their hearing. Whispering imparts a -5 modifier, to your stealth check, and your allies may need to make perception checks to hear you. The enemy may also make perception checks to hear you. If they can hear you whisper however, and you have already used stealth against them successfully it only gives them your direction but it does not pinpoint your location unless they can beat your stealth DC.

For those wondering why blindsight only cares about total cover:

Quote:
Blindsight (Ex) This ability is similar to blindsense, but is far more discerning. Using nonvisual senses, such as sensitivity to vibrations, keen smell, acute hearing, or echolocation, a creature with blindsight maneuvers and fights as well as a sighted creature. Invisibility, darkness, and most kinds of concealment are irrelevant, though the creature must have line of effect to a creature or object to discern that creature or object. The ability's range is specified in the creature's descriptive text. The creature usually does not need to make Perception checks to notice creatures within range of its blindsight ability. Unless noted otherwise, blindsight is continuous, and the creature need do nothing to use it. Some forms of blindsight, however, must be triggered as a free action. If so, this is noted in the creature's description. If a creature must trigger its blindsight ability, the creature gains the benefits of blindsight only during its turn.
Quote:
Total Cover: If you don't have line of effect to your target (that is, you cannot draw any line from your square to your target's square without crossing a solid barrier), he is considered to have total cover from you.

suggested house rule:
If you feel as though requiring total cover makes it too difficult to use stealth, then having a -5 penalty apply to the stealth DC could be used to emulate the idea of hiding while someone is observing you.

PS2: If there are any other questions let me know. I want to get this part finished before adding a chart. It will be the chart in the invisibility section, and the chart in the perception area for anything that would apply to stealth. I think they match up already, but if there are any rules conflicts I will try to go with whichever one is more consistent.

PS: Transparent cover is still cover, so blindsight does not work through closed windows.


Wraithstrike wrote:
As of now I am undecided as to whether or not I should require total concealment for someone to hide if they are being observed by eyesight

So earlier I posted some stuff against concealment alone granting a Stealth check. I may have interpreted too strictly. It may or may not change how you want your re-write to go, but it's at least some extra info to make the decision.


Shadowlord wrote:
Wraithstrike wrote:
As of now I am undecided as to whether or not I should require total concealment for someone to hide if they are being observed by eyesight

So earlier I posted some stuff against concealment alone granting a Stealth check. I may have interpreted too strictly. It may or may not change how you want your re-write to go, but it's at least some extra info to make the decision.

I saw that, so I am going to change my final decision also. It still irks me from a realism point of view, but stealth has enough problems with true seeing and blindsight etc etc so I guess I can be nice. :)


OK. I think it is done. If anyone has questions feel free to ask.

Link to stealth rules


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wraithstrike wrote:
It still irks me from a realism point of view, but stealth has enough problems with true seeing and blindsight etc etc so I guess I can be nice. :)

I want to make a joke about fairies, shape-shifting dinosaurs, and an anthropomorphic fox dual-wielding bastard swords, but I have a lot of work to do today. ;)

But in all seriousness, that's a good write-up.

Scarab Sages

Dotting this for later reading.

Don't know if this has been discussed already, but off the top of my head, one of the big clarifications needed is in the definition of 'observing'.

Depending on how you interpret the word, a phrase such as '...if your target is observing you.' can mean either;

'your target is potentially able to discern your prescence by scanning their surroundings and attempting a Perception check vs your opposed Stealth', or

'your target has successfully scanned your surroundings, having already passed a Perception check vs your opposed Stealth roll.'

I believe much of the contention arises from posters building scenarios starting from these two different definitions.

'Of course I should be able to attempt to cross the courtyard, even if there is a guard observing the area'

vs

'WTF? How can you say that? You just admitted he's observing the area! You're spotted!'


fretgod99 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
It still irks me from a realism point of view, but stealth has enough problems with true seeing and blindsight etc etc so I guess I can be nice. :)

I want to make a joke about fairies, shape-shifting dinosaurs, and an anthropomorphic fox dual-wielding bastard swords, but I have a lot of work to do today. ;)

But in all seriousness, that's a good write-up.

That is another reason why I let it go. I had similar thoughts. :)


Snorter wrote:

Dotting this for later reading.

Don't know if this has been discussed already, but off the top of my head, one of the big clarifications needed is in the definition of 'observing'.

Depending on how you interpret the word, a phrase such as '...if your target is observing you.' can mean either;

'your target is potentially able to discern your prescence by scanning their surroundings and attempting a Perception check vs your opposed Stealth', or

'your target has successfully scanned your surroundings, having already passed a Perception check vs your opposed Stealth roll.'

I believe much of the contention arises from posters building scenarios starting from these two different definitions.

'Of course I should be able to attempt to cross the courtyard, even if there is a guard observing the area'

vs

'WTF? How can you say that? You just admitted he's observing the area! You're spotted!'

I don't mean potentially. I mean he actually is detecting you using sight, hearing, blindsense, etc*.

Right now I can't think of any situation where someone would not be able to see you that did not mean concealment or cover was in play. I guess if someone had you in grapple, and you were blind touching them would not allow them to hide, but that is very unlikely to happen.

*You are trying to sneak into a building in broad daylight, but the guard sees you. That is being observed. If you are far enough away that he might not see you due to distance then a perception roll would need to be made to see if you are detected/observed. If he does see you then you could not use stealth. However most GM's just say that if you are out in the open you are seen. In that case you need cover or concealment to try to hide.

edit: I have added this to the document.


I believe your chart needs fixing. It implies that only invisible creature's stealth DCs are affected by distance and obstacles.


Ciaran Barnes wrote:
I believe your chart needs fixing. It implies that only invisible creature's stealth DCs are affected by distance and obstacles.

Noted. As soon as my internet is back up I will fix the document.


Dotted for further reading!


It has been modified.

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