Is stealth really feasible without some form of "hide in plain sight" like ability?


Advice


I'm making an Unchained rogue and I won't be getting any sort of ability like this until I get access to advanced talents and even then it is only in a single type of terrain. So I was just wondering how viable is it without one these abilities? I'm aware of invisibility but don't remind me why I think full casters need kicked in the pants, not to mention this is a PFS character so I won't have a consistent party, and if the only way to make it doable is to just carry plant of invisibility potions why invest in the skill at all?

Also I know shadow dancer provides probably the most reliable of these types of abilities with a one level dip and I'd jump at that opportunity if I wasn't a sort of feat starved class that is attempting something pretty feat intensive, not to mention dodge is kind of meh and mobility would provide me with the most minimal benefit as I always have crazy good acrobatics and this guy is no exception, in fact he will be likely better at it than any other character I've had at it which is saying something, what with the plus 2 racial and my archetype giving a small morale bonus to it eventually.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

the most reliable nowadays is a level of spellcasting class for a elf or half-elf or I guess human with racial heritage (elf) to get the spell blend(Hunter would be a decent choice for a dip). This spell is so strong for anybody relying on stealth, even better than the shadowdancer ability.

For PFS, not sure, I guess would depend on the scenario, stealthing around is usually a solo thing, which works better in home games, not sure how or if they do any of that in PFS.


People are usually leery of letting you do it and this is usually when the DM interjects with the joking yes split the party thing. Unfortunately I've made up the character and backstory and what not and he is most certainly not an elf.

I'm starting to feel like stealth is one of the harder things to actually be able to do effectively. I mean I see Barbarians cutting people up and casters casting spells just fine right from the get go, but these stealth characters don't get to do their thing for ages... Save for Ninjas but I'm considering vanishing trick magic since I'm pretty sure the ability functions just like a spell.


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Depends on what you mean by viable? As long as you don't need to depend on stealth in combat then you're fine without HiPS. If you want to depend on stealth in combat...then no, not really.


Well, there's Bluff for the distraction to be allowed to stealth for a round bit. but otherwise, it's invisibility, HIPS or bust.

And yes, getting Stealth to work well tends to be a pain since it tends to either be everyone needs to sneak past the obstacle, or it's just more efficient to throw the barbarian at it.

There likely is some stealth builds that may get better results like some specific sniping builds but ultimately your options are outlined above.

Well unless you want to carry smokesticks everywhere and have a means to see through clouds/smoke. That works too, though it's a little obvious which general area you are in when you do it.

Technically having Blur gives you concealment too thus allowing you to hide in plain sight too though some people get huffy if you do that.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It will depend on the scenario.

Some happen mostly at night or under other conditions where there is plenty of opportunity for stealth. Still have to watch out for the NPCs with dark vision, tremor sense, and blindsight.

That said, an impatient player is more likely to negate your stealth.

If you are trying to do a lot of scouting, I would suggest that you get a messenger Wayfinder (Pathfinder Society Field Guide, pg. 63, 5 PP) so that you can keep in contact with the group. This will allow the whole group to be involved in your scouting since you would have two way communications. A forward scout asking a group "Where next?" Is much more likely to be allowed to scout than someone who wants to solo scout things.


All I'm aiming for is to do a bit of scouting occasionally and when it would seem beneficial, like sneak down the hall and peep around corners or into rooms, or sneak around a building looking into windows so we have a decent idea what we are getting into. That's all I'd need to feel my ranks weren't wasted.

Although a preemptive attack occasionally would be fun.

@BretI- Thank you for informing me that magic walkie-talkies exist! I've been wondering what an easy way to communicate without actually running back would be.


Stealth is always viable, you just have to strategize for it. For example if you're playing a Halfling with the alternate racial traits Warslinger and Halfling Sniper you could be sniping at -10 every round and full attacking at later levels with your sling. The only down side is having Cover or Concealment every round to hide with.

Carry smokesticks. Take a race that gets 1/day spells and make sure one of them is Obscuring Mist or Darkness. Take the rogue talent for either the spell Blend mentioned above or if you can't get that, Obscuring Mist. Pump your UMD really high and get some wands w/the right spells.

There are a lot of ways these days to create a scenario for stealth, but that's only if you're out of options from the environment you're fighting in. Consider playing a grippli. Using the alternate racial traits Jumper and Glider plus their natural Climb speed of 20 you could be bouncing all around the battlefield, climbing into corners, hiding in rafters, whatever.

I don't know what everyone else's experience has been but it's rare when a fight takes place in a shorn field that's flat and open or perhaps a completely empty room that's well lit. More often than not you can find some rubble, or furniture, or trees and shrubs, or rocky outcrops, or sand dunes or SOMETHING to jump behind. This works even better when you are Small size and can tuck into wall niches, fissures, or just duck down into some tall grass.


And if you have more than one sneaker, stealth synergy is awesome.


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Also remember that they changed how stealth works. If you start in cover or concealment, you can get to another place where you have that and make the stealth roll again, even if you're darting in open sight.

Stealth is unfortunately one of those skills where people don't really follow the rules.


Cheapy wrote:

Also remember that they changed how stealth works. If you start in cover or concealment, you can get to another place where you have that and make the stealth roll again, even if you're darting in open sight.

Stealth is unfortunately one of those skills where people don't really follow the rules.

You are my hero, I did not know this.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

there's also hellcat stealth...


No problem. Here's the relevant quote from the stealth page:

Quote:
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).

Note that this changed in the 6th printing of the Core Rulebook. Or maybe it was the 5th. If you open up a core rulebook, and the credits page doesn't say it's the 5th or 6th printing at the very bottom, it won't have this change in it.


@Bandw2- oh yea, forgot about that, will have to check prereqs, seriously there can't be to many worse cases of needs feats and doesn't have them as I'm attempting lol.

@Cheapy- Thx for pulling up the quote, these new printings can hard to remember to keep up with, I forget they even do it sometimes, I just look at my book and think it is still right.


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I would say that bringing a stealth character to PFS will be ultimately far more frustrating that satisfying.

PFS is mostly a race to the finish. Nobody wants to sit around spending 10 minutes discussing strategy and watching you sneak around into some position just so that you can make one extra sneak attack at the start of combat. Especially when they could have spent that 10 minutes finishing that fight with a frontal assault and dividing up the loot.

With PFS you don't know who will be showing up. At a home table, with your friends, you can easily say "Hey, guys, I like being sneaky, let's work our battle tactics so I can do the fun stuff I like" and your friends will support you. In PFS, those strangers at the table don't care about YOUR fun, not at all, and more often than not, THEIR fun is plowing through each encounter as quickly as possible - the opposite of what stealth characters usually try to do.

Give it a try, find out if that's true (maybe I'm wrong), but I suggest you don't get too invested in it.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
noble peasant wrote:
@Bandw2- oh yea, forgot about that, will have to check prereqs, seriously there can't be to many worse cases of needs feats and doesn't have them as I'm attempting lol.

Prerequisites: Skill Focus (Stealth), Stealth 6 ranks.

pretty manageable.


DM_Blake wrote:

I would say that bringing a stealth character to PFS will be ultimately far more frustrating that satisfying.

PFS is mostly a race to the finish. Nobody wants to sit around spending 10 minutes discussing strategy and watching you sneak around into some position just so that you can make one extra sneak attack at the start of combat. Especially when they could have spent that 10 minutes finishing that fight with a frontal assault and dividing up the loot.

With PFS you don't know who will be showing up. At a home table, with your friends, you can easily say "Hey, guys, I like being sneaky, let's work our battle tactics so I can do the fun stuff I like" and your friends will support you. In PFS, those strangers at the table don't care about YOUR fun, not at all, and more often than not, THEIR fun is plowing through each encounter as quickly as possible - the opposite of what stealth characters usually try to do.

Give it a try, find out if that's true (maybe I'm wrong), but I suggest you don't get too invested in it.

No you are actually pretty spot on with people pissing on my fun.


The number one killer of stealth characters is that 90% of enemies have darkvision.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
The number one killer of stealth characters is that 90% of enemies have darkvision.

Followed closely behind by the number two killer, your own allies blowing it for you.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

on dark vision, that's why i prefer hellcat stealth and staying in the light in dark places.

Sovereign Court

noble peasant wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:

I would say that bringing a stealth character to PFS will be ultimately far more frustrating that satisfying.

PFS is mostly a race to the finish. Nobody wants to sit around spending 10 minutes discussing strategy and watching you sneak around into some position just so that you can make one extra sneak attack at the start of combat. Especially when they could have spent that 10 minutes finishing that fight with a frontal assault and dividing up the loot.

With PFS you don't know who will be showing up. At a home table, with your friends, you can easily say "Hey, guys, I like being sneaky, let's work our battle tactics so I can do the fun stuff I like" and your friends will support you. In PFS, those strangers at the table don't care about YOUR fun, not at all, and more often than not, THEIR fun is plowing through each encounter as quickly as possible - the opposite of what stealth characters usually try to do.

Give it a try, find out if that's true (maybe I'm wrong), but I suggest you don't get too invested in it.

No you are actually pretty spot on with people pissing on my fun.

To play Devil's Advocate - you want them to just sit at the table patiently for 10-15 min while you go do your unnecessary stealthing.


Hellcat Stealth is a good feat if you're focusing on Stealth.


Never played PFS before, so I'm not sure if custom magic items are allowed, but I had a stealthy character that benefited by a ring which cast Vanish 6/day at CL3 (so 3 rounds). It was crafted by the party wizard, and it made sneaking much easier, and didn't require me to level dip.

The other advice is read up on rules for blinding. I carried a shield w/ the blinding enchantment just so I could get an extra sneak attack here and there. Also, dirty tricks work well to give you a chance to hide mid-combat (I carried a pouch of sand for just such times... dirty trick to blind the caster for 1 round, get to a place of concealment w/ my move action, and start the next round w/ the possibility for sneak attack).


@Charon's Little Helper- I didn't mean ruining my stealth fun, I've done stealth in ways that don't involve holding up the party, like using stealth to stay hidden while they initiate a combat, and then once everyone has closed in, I jump out of hiding get the sneak attack I could've potentially got earlier in the round, except now I've gotten to cherry pick positioning, or was hiding just so I could sneak attack some enemies we knew were coming as they charged the party. When I say pissing on my fun, I'm talking about stuff like I've invested in social skills and am trying to diplomacy our way out of fighting some troglodytes when suddenly the fighter realizes he speaks draconic too and in character yells at them "F*** you and your boss." Then combat starts... THAT is what I meant by that as that is exactly what happened last week.


The Numerator wrote:
Never played PFS before, so I'm not sure if custom magic items are allowed, but I had a stealthy character that benefited by a ring which cast Vanish 6/day at CL3 (so 3 rounds). It was crafted by the party wizard, and it made sneaking much easier, and didn't require me to level dip.

Not allowed in PFS.

Also, if I recall the formula correctly, the math for 6/day actually makes it cost 20% more than unlimited/day. In other words, if you're not going to limit it to less than 5/day, there is no need for a limit at all. Shame on that party wizard! (unless I'm misremembering the math).

But a great idea.


UMD and a wand of Vanish should be PFS-legal, as I understand it.

Sczarni

DM_Blake wrote:

I would say that bringing a stealth character to PFS will be ultimately far more frustrating that satisfying.

PFS is mostly a race to the finish. Nobody wants to sit around spending 10 minutes discussing strategy and watching you sneak around into some position just so that you can make one extra sneak attack at the start of combat. Especially when they could have spent that 10 minutes finishing that fight with a frontal assault and dividing up the loot.

With PFS you don't know who will be showing up. At a home table, with your friends, you can easily say "Hey, guys, I like being sneaky, let's work our battle tactics so I can do the fun stuff I like" and your friends will support you. In PFS, those strangers at the table don't care about YOUR fun, not at all, and more often than not, THEIR fun is plowing through each encounter as quickly as possible - the opposite of what stealth characters usually try to do.

Give it a try, find out if that's true (maybe I'm wrong), but I suggest you don't get too invested in it.

Let me just say as a PFS GM that there is some merit in what you are saying here, but a lot of this gameplay can be done quickly if the player is aware of time. Most often, new and brash players tend to lose focus of their mission and plan. Sometimes information before a fight can make a difference, but it depends completely on encounter type. Problem is also that people don't know what to do with this information sometimes. Losing 10 minutes of gameplay to notice a large ferocious monster is the next room might gives you advantage in that fight.

@OP

From personal perspective, focusing on Stealth only in PFS won't bring much satisfaction. The old, new and confusing rules regarding it make a lot of table variation from table to table. Relying on Stealth alone is poor way of dealing Sneak Attacks. It's best to simply keep it as optional secondary tactic. I suggesting taking Improved Feint for more reliable Sneak Attacks.

Grand Lodge

No one mention the Wizard Shadow School Power?

RTA, gives EVERYONE the concealment you need to disappear. The only counter is darkvision, so that *can* be an issue. Still, it is an option. One that also has easy access to Vanish. Oh, and Blindness/Deafness. That is also an easy way to gain the concealment.

Of course, both those options are limited to that 1 target, but it still gets you there.


Oh I'm not focusing on it per se, I mean I will be playing an unchained rogue and yes I will have max ranks in stealth, but I mean I'll be getting 9 ranks per level until I hit level four and that will be a ten so I don't mind the expenditure, but it is hardly going to the character's focus. I was just curious if one of these options was necessary to really get any use out of those ranks.


Stealth is very problematic in PFS. At BEST it means 1-2 characters getting to do stuff while the rest of the party twiddles their thumbs.

Since no two DMs do stealth rules the same way, it can be easy to run afoul of a problem while trying to stealth.

It gives the stealthy and more mobile people at best, one extra surprise round action. At the cost of making the tanks spend 2-3 round doing nothing but double moving.

I have a faux rogue druid with stealth synergy with his companion now in retirement. I think stealth was useful once.

think I've had this work once or twice in ten levels, even with a druid that's rocking a +30 stealth.

First off the stealth rules practically define the term "expect table variation". There's a lot of judgement calls to make there, and I doubt that any two dm's will read them all exactly the same way. Stealth comes with a lot of "it doesn't matter what the dice rolls are, you autofail" situations that you can run into if you don't know exactly how the dm is running stealth.

You need cover or concealment to hide. Most creatures don't spend an awful lot of time in lighting conditions where they can't see perfectly- if you're in the dark, you put a light on. If you're an elf you open a window and let the moonlight in. If you're making a stealth character you practically need A shadow dancers hide in plain sight (the rogue one isn't nearly as useful) or the hellcat stealth feat.

You almost need darkvision. Even in a campaign as human-centric as pfs most of the things you fight can see in the dark. It doesn't matter if YOU"RE as quiet as a church mouse and less visible than a speck of dust, no one is going to miss the light of a torch thats letting you see come down the hall. For you i can recommend a moonrod out of the ARG. It only sheds dim light, but that light goes twice as far if you have Low light vision, so if a party member carries it for you and you sit ~40 feet away from it You're in an area of normal light for you and darkness for the things in the dungeon that don't.* (by the way i'm reading the item, again. table variation)

Doors are a pain. Doesn't matter how quiet you are, its not hard to notice a door swinging open.

Then you need to deal with the most chaotic element of stealthing...your party. Stealth can take a while between the player and the dm Can i move here, whats here, what do i see, perception checks, stealth rolls.. very often the other players will get bored on you, say to hell with it, and just walk on in.

Sczarni

The biggest problem in PFS regarding Stealth is that party's do not have sufficient synergy with it. Having four persons with +5 on Stealth checks is much more valuable then having two persons with +10 on Stealth checks simply because, someone will fail that Stealth check. It happens all the time in PFS so people eventually give up on Stealthy approach and prefer to use blunt force trauma instead which sadly works pretty well.

There are some scenario's where Stealth is good to have, such as specific scouting or diplomatic missions but these are especially rare in earlier seasons (0-3). Overall, invest a rank in Stealth, but don't focus on it. It should provide enough when necessary.

Adam

The Exchange

As a person who has run scouts (stealthy jawns) in pfs, I have found it extremely rewarding and enjoyable, but I find it best to approach the dm beforehand. It usually goes like this:
Me: so I'm thinking of bringing my stealth guy, but I don't want to spotlight too much, is it ok if for most enoucnters we just skip me describing what I am doing and you accept that I have scouted ahead, if appropriate for the encounter?
Dm: what do you mean?
Me: I mean, just draw out the maps of rooms before we get there, and put monsters where they are if I can perceive them.
Dm: what would let you do that? How are you avoiding detection?
Me: my guy is immune to blindsense, blindsight, tremorsense, can only be detected with scent if I'm within 15 feet, is immune to divination spells, and is always climbing the walls. My take ten on stealth is 40 (or whatever)
A bit of explaining feats and such happens, dm will either accede I should be able to just report the locations of monsters so we can prep before fights, or they get squirmy, and I bring a different character.
At the table, I ask the party if they are ok with me scouting ahead, alone. I tell them I won't be triggering encounters, just letting us prep, if the table is squirmy, bring another character.
This works like 90% of the time. If I bring a stealth guy and the dm and party isn't letting me be useful, I just stealth and try to drag bodies out of combat when people start dropping.
Personally I don't build stealth guys to do damage, but I can see it being more viable with unchained. I max out sleight of hand and rob the enemies blind before we encounter them, which can lead to funny situations with archers and wizards.

As for a home game, I think a hide in plain sight build would be extremely disruptive to most types of games. What is stopping a person who has the full suite of stealth abilities from robbing everything and everybody in the world they meet? I could see this being fun for a solo campaign, but at a certain point (and level 10) the character effectively stops existing and is just a black hole that wealth disappears into.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Stealth is very problematic in PFS. At BEST it means 1-2 characters getting to do stuff while the rest of the party twiddles their thumbs.

Unless you have the wizard, sorcerer, or bard cast the Message cantrip or get yourself the Messenger vanity for your Wayfinder. With Message, you get what is basically a magical throat microphone and earpiece.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Since no two DMs do stealth rules the same way, it can be easy to run afoul of a problem while trying to stealth.

Which is a good reason to make sure that you know the rules and can gently ask leading questions.

* Is there enough concealment to allow me to stealth up to them?
* I'm keeping at least 30 feet away. Did you figure the -3 into their perception rolls?
* Does it look like there are enough objects around over here (pointing at map) to provide me cover or concealment? I want to get to a place where I can maintain stealth

Quote:
It gives the stealthy and more mobile people at best, one extra surprise round action. At the cost of making the tanks spend 2-3 round doing nothing but double moving.

Or it gives everyone a run down on what they are about to face and allows them to prepare for it. The rogue should either retreat or stay where they are hidden until the party joins them.

Granted, there are a lot of problems with stealth. You will hit table variation and some GMs just hate it and will shut it down. I would not make it your main tactic.

Still, there are times where finding out what is ahead can make all the difference in the world.


BretI wrote:


Unless you have the wizard, sorcerer, or bard cast the Message cantrip or get yourself the Messenger vanity for your Wayfinder. With Message, you get what is basically a magical throat microphone and earpiece.

"My stealth check is a 57

" *radio crackle*... hey sneaky, what are we in for?

The monster turns to you and opens its maw.

"What the hell!? Fifty. Seven...

"Those nearby can hear these messages with a DC 25 Perception check.....

There's also the need to whisper back, which is probably considerably lower.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Since no two DMs do stealth rules the same way, it can be easy to run afoul of a problem while trying to stealth.

Which is a good reason to make sure that you know the rules and can gently ask leading questions.

* Is there enough concealment to allow me to stealth up to them?
* I'm keeping at least 30 feet away. Did you figure the -3 into their perception rolls?
* Does it look like there are enough objects around over here (pointing at map) to provide me cover or concealment? I want to get to a place where I can maintain stealth

Half the time I've tried that I've gotten yeah sure, followed by you're autospotted for lack of cover.

Quote:
Or it gives everyone a run down on what they are about to face and allows them to prepare for it. The rogue should either retreat or stay where they are hidden until the party joins them.

How much does that actually help? Baring a spare resist elements most of the buffs in the game are pretty general purpose. Knowing the fights starting doesn't give many actual benefits.

The Exchange

BigNorseWolf wrote:
BretI wrote:


Unless you have the wizard, sorcerer, or bard cast the Message cantrip or get yourself the Messenger vanity for your Wayfinder. With Message, you get what is basically a magical throat microphone and earpiece.

"My stealth check is a 57

" *radio crackle*... hey sneaky, what are we in for?

The monster turns to you and opens its maw.

"What the hell!? Fifty. Seven...

"Those nearby can hear these messages with a DC 25 Perception check.....

There's also the need to whisper back, which is probably considerably lower.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Since no two DMs do stealth rules the same way, it can be easy to run afoul of a problem while trying to stealth.

Which is a good reason to make sure that you know the rules and can gently ask leading questions.

* Is there enough concealment to allow me to stealth up to them?
* I'm keeping at least 30 feet away. Did you figure the -3 into their perception rolls?
* Does it look like there are enough objects around over here (pointing at map) to provide me cover or concealment? I want to get to a place where I can maintain stealth

Half the time I've tried that I've gotten yeah sure, followed by you're autospotted for lack of cover.

Quote:
Or it gives everyone a run down on what they are about to face and allows them to prepare for it. The rogue should either retreat or stay where they are hidden until the party joins them.

How much does that actually help? Baring a spare resist elements most of the buffs in the game are pretty general purpose. Knowing the fights starting doesn't give many actual benefits.

It's been useful for me by having us dimension door directly into a favorable position. an alternative is to have maxed sleight of hand, steal all the loot there, and then bypass the encounter. Or you can have the party hide in a portable hole/ bag of holding and have the rogue dump them out in a good position. It's true in pfs this rarely seems to make life or death differences, but I've seen people get pretty pumped on being able to plan for encounters, and being the enabler for that feels pretty good


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:

"My stealth check is a 57

" *radio crackle*... hey sneaky, what are we in for?

The monster turns to you and opens its maw.

"What the hell!? Fifty. Seven...

"Those nearby can hear these messages with a DC 25 Perception check.....

There's also the need to whisper back, which is probably considerably lower.

If your stealth check is 57, you are probably at the point where the wizard can get Telepathic Bond. Use that.

Until then, use the distance penalties and some intelligence when relaying information.

"Going in, need silence for the next couple of minutes..."

stealth check, perception check, retreat to a safe distance

"I'm back. Ahead is a group of giants waiting in ambush. If you come forward much more, they will see your lights around the bend. Any recommendations?"

There are problems with the stealth rules and how some GMs treat any attempt at stealth. Still, there are ways to make it work.

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