Blindsight VS Stealth


Rules Questions


Does Blindsight allow a creature to detect a stealth user without needing to make a perception roll? For the sake of completion, does blindsense and tremor sense work the same way?

Relevant Text:

Blindsight (Ex) wrote:

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.

Format: blindsight 60 ft.; Location: Senses.

The bolded can be taken as stealth not functioning against something with blindsight. However, stealth could be argued to count as one of those "unusual" instances, so if a creature manages to use stealth against a blindsight user despite blindsight negating concealment the blindsight user still has to roll perception(it's a bit of a stretch, but since blindsight defeats stealth anyway due to concealment negation, there is a weak case for something like HiPS working since it is "unusual"). The text isn't clear on which of these two(at least) interpretations should be used.

So...can Blindsight auto-beat stealth without a perception check, barring special abilities that explicitly defeat blindsight?


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Yes. Eh, it's complicated, mostly yes but in different circumstances.

Dampen Presence wrote:

Prerequisites: Skill Focus (Stealth), Stealth 5 ranks.

Benefit: You may use the Stealth skill to hide from any creature attempting to perceive you using blindsight or blindsense, even if you are clearly in that creature's perceptual field. This feat does not confer any advantages against other forms of perception, such as scent, vision, or tremorsense.

This feat has absolutely no purpose unless blindsight and blindsense auto-detect everything in their range.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Not exactly relevant, but you can beat Blindsight with a feat:

Dungeoneer's Handbook pg. 10 wrote:

Dampen Presence

Your habitual stillness makes you difficult to perceive for creatures that use blindsight or blindsense.

Prerequisites: Skill Focus (Stealth), Stealth 5 ranks.

Benefit: You may use the Stealth skill to hide from any creature attempting to perceive you using blindsight or blindsense, even if you are clearly in that creature’s perceptual field. This feat does not confer any advantages against other forms of perception, such as scent, vision, or tremorsense.

NINJA'D!


Ah, I didn't know about that feat.

I guess that would settle it then. Blindsight beats stealth without specific tools to defeat it.

Lantern Lodge

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I actually favor stealth winning out in more circumstances.

I rule that a blind sight creature can see through concealment or invisibility, but a creature using cover would follow the rules for stealth, and the blindsight creature would have to roll a perception roll, since blind sight still requires line of effect.

I think it's similar to how we can see clearly in the day, but some gifted people are able to move fast right when we get distracted.


FrodoOf9Fingers wrote:

I actually favor stealth winning out in more circumstances.

I rule that a blind sight creature can see through concealment or invisibility, but a creature using cover would follow the rules for stealth, and the blindsight creature would have to roll a perception roll, since blind sight still requires line of effect.

I think it's similar to how we can see clearly in the day, but some gifted people are able to move fast right when we get distracted.

A creature(with or without blindsight) has line of effect to another creature unless the creature has total cover, regardless of stealth (and then blindsight doesn't work at all vs total cover regardless of stealth).

So that would be a houserule (which wouldn't normally be an issue, but this is the rules forum, so non-rules should probably be stated as such).

Grand Lodge

Not counting feats, A creature with blindsight would bypass stealth completely. A creature with blindsense might not see the creature that is stealthing, but it would know there is something "there". Thus, a rogue using stealth against blindsense still might get sneak attack as it effectively has total concealment.

Keep in mind too, many creatures with blindsight can not actually "see" with vision at all.


As a houserule, I say that blindsense/blindsight ignores concealment (including invisibility) and gives a +20 bonus beyond that. So if you have cover or hide in plain sight, you have a chance. Only an absolute master of stealth can sneak past them.

Sovereign Court

Blindsight ignores concealment (sans Blink) which makes stealth difficult - but nothing I've seen convinces me that it ignores cover.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Noticing a visible creature is a DC 0 Perception check. Noticing a creature using Stealth is an opposed check against the creature's Stealth. Blindsight and Blindsense allow you to automatically notice a creature. Therefore, blindsight and blindsense allow you to automatically notice a creature using Stealth.

You also need to begin and end your movement while having concealment or cover in order to use Stealth. Blindsight negates all forms of concealment and allows you to automatically notice any creature for which you have line of sight to. Since you have line of sight to anything less than total cover, you would need total cover in order to use Stealth against a blindsighted creature, even ignoring the fact they don't need to roll in order to notice you.

Sovereign Court

Cyrad wrote:
Noticing a visible creature is a DC 0 Perception check. Noticing a creature using Stealth is an opposed check against the creature's Stealth. Blindsight and Blindsense allow you to automatically notice a creature. Therefore, blindsight and blindsense allow you to automatically notice a creature using Stealth.

That's only Blindsense (possibly) - not Blindsight.

SRD Blindsense wrote:
Blindsense lets a creature notice things it cannot see, but without the precision of blindsight. The creature with blindsense usually does not need to make Perception checks to notice and locate creatures within range of its blindsense ability, provided that it has line of effect to that creature. Any opponent that cannot be seen has total concealment (50% miss chance) against a creature with blindsense, and the blindsensing creature still has the normal miss chance when attacking foes that have concealment. Visibility still affects the movement of a creature with blindsense. A creature with blindsense is still denied its Dexterity bonus to Armor Class against attacks from creatures it cannot see.

There is no equivalent line in Blindsight. Though one could even argue that 'usually' means that it's just when they're not stealthed - which would qualify as 'usually' - though I don't feel like debating that here since I don't have a horse in that race. (I'm undecided myself.)

SRD Blindsight wrote:

Some creatures possess blindsight, the extraordinary ability to use a non-visual sense (or a combination senses) to operate effectively without vision. Such senses may include sensitivity to vibrations, acute scent, keen hearing, or echolocation. This makes invisibility and concealment (even magical darkness) irrelevant to the creature (though it still can't see ethereal creatures). This ability operates out to a range specified in the creature description.

•Blindsight never allows a creature to distinguish color or visual contrast. A creature cannot read with blindsight.
•Blindsight does not subject a creature to gaze attacks (even though darkvision does).
•Blinding attacks do not penalize creatures that use blindsight.
•Deafening attacks thwart blindsight if it relies on hearing.
•Blindsight works underwater but not in a vacuum.
•Blindsight negates displacement and blur effects.

As I stated above - it ignores all concealment sans Blink - but not cover. Considering how blatantly it was stated for Blindsense - if it were also true for Blindsight - such would have been stated.

The rule is far more obvious here than in many other places. I'm not sure how this is even up for debate.

Sovereign Court

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Yes. Eh, it's complicated, mostly yes but in different circumstances.
Dampen Presence wrote:

Prerequisites: Skill Focus (Stealth), Stealth 5 ranks.

Benefit: You may use the Stealth skill to hide from any creature attempting to perceive you using blindsight or blindsense, even if you are clearly in that creature's perceptual field. This feat does not confer any advantages against other forms of perception, such as scent, vision, or tremorsense.

This feat has absolutely no purpose unless blindsight and blindsense auto-detect everything in their range.

Of course it has a use without them auto-detecting. It lets you make stealth checks against them without cover or concealment. Very handy - especially since virtually no concealment works against them.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Yes. I built a PC around this, Hellcat Stealth, and other ways to beat all perception.

I don't think there was any way to see/hear/sense him, unless he wanted you too, or you had really good scrying magic, along with a bit of luck.


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Yes. Eh, it's complicated, mostly yes but in different circumstances.
Dampen Presence wrote:

Prerequisites: Skill Focus (Stealth), Stealth 5 ranks.

Benefit: You may use the Stealth skill to hide from any creature attempting to perceive you using blindsight or blindsense, even if you are clearly in that creature's perceptual field. This feat does not confer any advantages against other forms of perception, such as scent, vision, or tremorsense.

This feat has absolutely no purpose unless blindsight and blindsense auto-detect everything in their range.
Of course it has a use without them auto-detecting. It lets you make stealth checks against them without cover or concealment. Very handy - especially since virtually no concealment works against them.

.. no. Just... no.

Sovereign Court

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:


Of course it has a use without them auto-detecting. It lets you make stealth checks against them without cover or concealment. Very handy - especially since virtually no concealment works against them.
.. no. Just... no.

I'm glad that you were able to disprove me through the rules... oh wait - you were just dismissive.

I have rules on my side. RAI was attempted to be used as proof to expand what the RAW actually says - and I gave a valid RAI alternative which is based upon actual RAW.

I don't see the issue.


Corwin Illum wrote:

Not counting feats, A creature with blindsight would bypass stealth completely. A creature with blindsense might not see the creature that is stealthing, but it would know there is something "there". Thus, a rogue using stealth against blindsense still might get sneak attack as it effectively has total concealment.

Keep in mind too, many creatures with blindsight can not actually "see" with vision at all.

this is how I interpret Blindsense and Blindsight

Sovereign Court

Jurkal wrote:
Corwin Illum wrote:

Not counting feats, A creature with blindsight would bypass stealth completely. A creature with blindsense might not see the creature that is stealthing, but it would know there is something "there". Thus, a rogue using stealth against blindsense still might get sneak attack as it effectively has total concealment.

Keep in mind too, many creatures with blindsight can not actually "see" with vision at all.

this is how I interpret Blindsense and Blindsight

Okay - you can do that. But... without actual rules to back it up - it's just a houserule.

And since this is a rules forum...

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Charon's Little Helper, you're pulling that from D20PFSRD, which separated the glossary definitions of Blindsense and Blindsight from the PRD. The PRD's glossary entry lists Blindsense as a lesser version of Blindsight, so it's obviously the case that the autodetection occurs with Blindsight.

Finally, the Blindsight universal monster rule does say such creatures don't need to do Perception checks to notice creatures, as shown in the below text.

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 this range. 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.

Seems pretty clear to me. You don't need to perform Perception checks to notice creatures with Blindsense and Blindsight. So Stealth doesn't work.

Sovereign Court

Cyrad wrote:

Charon's Little Helper, you're pulling that from D20PFSRD, which separated the glossary definitions of Blindsense and Blindsight from the PRD. The PRD's glossary entry lists Blindsense as a lesser version of Blindsight, so it's obviously the case that the autodetection occurs with Blindsight.

Finally, the Blindsight universal monster rule does say such creatures don't need to do Perception checks to notice creatures, as shown in the below text.

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 this range. 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.
Seems pretty clear to me. You don't need to perform Perception checks to notice creatures with Blindsense and Blindsight. So Stealth doesn't work.

Again - it says 'usually'. For creatures with sight - they don't 'usually' have to make perception checks to see people either.

For 'unusually' - I say it's a stealthed character. What's your 'unusually'? Just for the feat which came out well after that rule was written?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

You can go ahead and cast doubt on me as much as you like. However, you don't really have any evidence to support your claim whereas I have pointed out several sources that say otherwise. It's obvious that blindsight and blindsense allow a creature to automatically observe any creature within range and line of sight. The Stealth rules specifically say that you cannot use Stealth while being observed. Therefore, you cannot use Stealth against a creature with Blindsight or Blindsense.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I suppose "usually" could mean "Always. Every time. Without exception", but I don't feel that's in the spirit of the way "usually" is used here.


Charon's Little Helper wrote:

Again - it says 'usually'. For creatures with sight - they don't 'usually' have to make perception checks to see people either.

For 'unusually' - I say it's a stealthed character. What's your 'unusually'? Just for the feat which came out well after...

You don't make perception checks to notice a non stealthed character.

I realize this is the rules forum but a good faith effort to read and understand whats written and conclude what it says is still required.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:


You don't make perception checks to notice a non stealthed character.

Technically, you do. The Perception skill lists it as a DC 0 Perception check.


I've had a bit of difficulty following the various confusions

Stealth wrote:
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.

This is why stealth is ineffective vs forms of detection other than sight and sound.

Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Of course it has a use without them auto-detecting. It lets you make stealth checks against them without cover or concealment. Very handy - especially since virtually no concealment works against them.

This is very much untrue; instead, the feat makes cover/concealment work against them.

Dampen Presence wrote:
Benefit: You may use the Stealth skill to hide from any creature attempting to perceive you using blindsight or blindsense, even if you are clearly in that creature’s perceptual field. This feat does not confer any advantages against other forms of perception, such as scent, vision, or tremorsense.

"clearly in that creature's perceptual field" refers to being within line of effect, which is the only thing those senses care about.


Cyrad wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:


You don't make perception checks to notice a non stealthed character.
Technically, you do. The Perception skill lists it as a DC 0 Perception check.

So the monster is gaining the amazing ability to automatically make a dc 3 perception check?

Sovereign Court

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:


You don't make perception checks to notice a non stealthed character.
Technically, you do. The Perception skill lists it as a DC 0 Perception check.
So the monster is gaining the amazing ability to automatically make a dc 3 perception check?

In the dark and through any sort of concealment - yes.

I figure that that "The creature usually does not need to make Perception checks to notice creatures within this range." was more a clarification of how blindsense/blindsight works than an extra bonus that it gives them.


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Cyrad wrote:

Charon's Little Helper, you're pulling that from D20PFSRD, which separated the glossary definitions of Blindsense and Blindsight from the PRD. The PRD's glossary entry lists Blindsense as a lesser version of Blindsight, so it's obviously the case that the autodetection occurs with Blindsight.

Finally, the Blindsight universal monster rule does say such creatures don't need to do Perception checks to notice creatures, as shown in the below text.

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 this range. 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.
Seems pretty clear to me. You don't need to perform Perception checks to notice creatures with Blindsense and Blindsight. So Stealth doesn't work.

Again - it says 'usually'. For creatures with sight - they don't 'usually' have to make perception checks to see people either.

For 'unusually' - I say it's a stealthed character. What's your 'unusually'? Just for the feat which came out well after...

My unusually is when the creature has total cover relative to the blind-sight person or has the feat dampen presence.

Not when a creature is merely stealthed.

Sovereign Court

Ughbash wrote:

My unusually is when the creature has total cover relative to the blind-sight person or has the feat dampen presence.

Not when a creature is merely stealthed.

Neither of those qualify.

1. Total cover was already excluded when 'line of effect' was mentioned 2 sentences earlier - making areas behind total cover not in the range of blindsight/blindsense at all.

2. Dampen Presence didn't exist when that rule was written, so it couldn't have been written to reference it.

So - I ask again - what would 'usually' would be referring to if not stealth?


I answered, you simply do not agree with my answer.

Though Etherealness MIGHT apply.

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.

Now if a creature had blindsight due to keen smell, the no odor spell might be an UNUSUAL reason why it did not pick up on something.

I fit used Echolocation it might not pick up on an ETHEREAL person.

Those would be unusual situations, stealth would not.

Sovereign Court

Ughbash wrote:

I answered, you simply do not agree with my answer.

Because it wasn't a valid answer - as I pointed out.

You could have answered 'because the Easter Bunny told me it plays that way' as an answer. But it'd be an equally invalid answer.


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"usually" didn't have to refer to specific situations. It's entirely possible that the guy who wrote that text said to himself "Dang, this whole Stealth kettle of fish is a really big nightmare with skills, feats, monster abilities, spells, and magic items all making it impossible to consider every little nuanced possibility, so I'll just stick 'usually' into this rule so that any current or future exception can actually be excepted."


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Ughbash wrote:

I answered, you simply do not agree with my answer.

Because it wasn't a valid answer - as I pointed out.

You could have answered 'because the Easter Bunny told me it plays that way' as an answer. But it'd be an equally invalid answer.

I did not consider stealth to be that unusal, it is just an "Easter bunny" to me (if we want to use your words). However I did go back and update with some more "unusual" situations.


Usually stealth is negated when concealment is removed.

HiPS is an exception to the usual rules.

Lantern Lodge

Snowlilly wrote:

Usually stealth is negated when concealment is removed.

HiPS is an exception to the usual rules.

I don't believe anyone is arguing for keeping stealth when using concealment against a monster with blindsight. We're debating if you can use partial cover.


FrodoOf9Fingers wrote:
Snowlilly wrote:

Usually stealth is negated when concealment is removed.

HiPS is an exception to the usual rules.

I don't believe anyone is arguing for keeping stealth when using concealment against a monster with blindsight. We're debating if you can use partial cover.

Are we? Are the rules for (Ex) LoE somehow different from what's described in the magic chapter?

Quote:
An otherwise solid barrier with a hole of at least 1 square foot through it does not block a spell's line of effect. Such an opening means that the 5-foot length of wall containing the hole is no longer considered a barrier for purposes of a spell's line of effect.

A normally sighted creature would still maintain LoE to you regardless of your successful stealth check.

It's not unreasonable as a houserule to say that "stealth" means you ducked completely behind a low wall or some such, but the printed rules only deal in increments of "squares" on a grid.

Partial and normal cover simply are not enough to block LoE.

Sovereign Court

Archaeik wrote:


Partial and normal cover simply are not enough to block LoE.

No one is debating that.

However, Blindsight/Blindsense don't actually state that partial cover doesn't allow stealth within their LoE.

The closest they come is to say the the creature 'usually' doesn't need to make a perception check to see things in their range.

The two arguments seem to be

1. That means that no stealth of any kind works so long as they have LOE. The 'usually' was added to cover any weird circumstances the designer couldn't think of off the top of their head or might arise in the future.

2. That people with normal sight don't 'usually' need to make perception checks to see things either. Only when they're stealthed. The designer was clarifying the rule - especially Blindsense since it's rules are a bit stranger. (what with knowing the square - but not actually see them)

Admittedly - most seem to be leaning towards the first interpretation, while I lean towards the second as I tend to rule any sort of odd power as limited as I can. (Both to reign in craziness - and as a general logic rule of permissiveness.) But as there's nothing definitive, both are just that - interpretations.

Sovereign Court

FrodoOf9Fingers wrote:
Snowlilly wrote:

Usually stealth is negated when concealment is removed.

HiPS is an exception to the usual rules.

I don't believe anyone is arguing for keeping stealth when using concealment against a monster with blindsight. We're debating if you can use partial cover.

With the exception of Blink for concealment (maybe other oddball cases - but I can't think of any) - I agree entirely.


DM_Blake wrote:

"usually" didn't have to refer to specific situations. It's entirely possible that the guy who wrote that text said to himself "Dang, this whole Stealth kettle of fish is a really big nightmare with skills, feats, monster abilities, spells, and magic items all making it impossible to consider every little nuanced possibility, so I'll just stick 'usually' into this rule so that any current or future exception can actually be excepted."

Exactly. A blindsight based on 'echolocation' or other sonic ability could perhaps be concealed with acoustical damping or generation.

Ever see an old martial arts movie where the blind monk is disoriented or distracted by loud banging of drums? Crippled Avengers I believe.


A glass terrarium or wall of force in between the monster and the rogue would be an unusual situation.

Stealth is THE ususal situation for making a perception check to spot a creature.

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