# Locating an attacker when blind

### Rules Questions

Here is the situation:

A character is blind and adjacent to an attacker.

The attacker does a full attack and takes a 5 foot step into another square.

What does the character need to do to determine what square the attacker moved to?

Same as if the character is sighted and the attacker is invisible.

A creature can grope about to find an invisible creature. A character can make a touch attack with his hands or a weapon into two adjacent 5-foot squares using a standard action. If an invisible target is in the designated area, there is a 50% miss chance on the touch attack. If successful, the groping character deals no damage but has successfully pinpointed the invisible creature's current location. If the invisible creature moves, its location, obviously, is once again unknown.

If an invisible creature strikes a character, the character struck knows the location of the creature that struck him (until, of course, the invisible creature moves). The only exception is if the invisible creature has a reach greater than 5 feet. In this case, the struck character knows the general location of the creature but has not pinpointed the exact location.

If a character tries to attack an invisible creature whose location he has pinpointed, he attacks normally, but the invisible creature still benefits from full concealment (and thus a 50% miss chance). A particularly large and slow invisible creature might get a smaller miss chance.

If a character tries to attack an invisible creature whose location he has not pinpointed, have the player choose the space where the character will direct the attack. If the invisible creature is there, conduct the attack normally. If the enemy's not there, roll the miss chance as if it were there and tell him that the character has missed, regardless of the result. That way the player doesn't know whether the attack missed because the enemy's not there or because you successfully rolled the miss chance.

A Perception check would also suffice, but it's a tough check if the opponent is moving using Stealth. If they're not, it's a simple DC 10 check to "Hear the sound of a creature walking"*, which ought to be enough to give the listener a direction. At that point, the listener should assume the adjacent square in that direction and attack there.

* Offer subject to change if the creature slithers, crawls, flies, moseys, teleports, or moves more quietly (or more loudly) for reasons other than Stealth.

Can you use stealth on a 5 foot step after a full attack? I've always played that you can, but I'm note sure if that is legal.

The blind person takes a -20 modifier to perception. Should the attacker have a negative like with the sniping rules?

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

As shown above all you need to do is pinpoint the location of the foe and then you may attack them, but you have a 50% miss chance. Unless there is something special about your foe (such as using Stealth, incorporeal, or some of the conditions Blahpers mentioned), the Perception DC to hear someone in combat is -10. So with a penalty of 20, that number is usually a DC 10 Perception check. Also, you can usually only pinpoint a foe within 30 feet.

Unless you have Blind-Fighting, it is also double move to even go five feet so you may provoke attacks of opportunity based on the situation. After that it is really up to the DM to adjudicate the situation. I take away the other miniature so the player does not know exactly where the foe is and have them make their checks to get that information.

I am the GM in this case. The party has run into a dirty trick fighter that starts combat by blinding his opponent. He would then take a 5 foot step.

I had the player and the dirty trickster make opposed rolls, stealth vs perception for the player to figure out what square the dirty trickster moved to. The blinded character took a -20 on this check. This ends up being pretty harsh.

As the dirty tricks guy is most likely going to show up again, I want to make sure I am doing the mechanics correctly.

Kifaru wrote:

I am the GM in this case. The party has run into a dirty trick fighter that starts combat by blinding his opponent. He would then take a 5 foot step.

I had the player and the dirty trickster make opposed rolls, stealth vs perception for the player to figure out what square the dirty trickster moved to. The blinded character took a -20 on this check. This ends up being pretty harsh.

As the dirty tricks guy is most likely going to show up again, I want to make sure I am doing the mechanics correctly.

It sounds like you taught your party a valuable lesson about taking precautions against likely hazards, like being Blinded or fighting monsters that create deeper Darkness, or turn Invisible.

I recommend you continue torturing them with that until they learn to take the proper counters.

Of course, once they do, then they can start carrying around an Everxmoking Bottle and Blind all your monsters. You should let them have their fun before all your encounters just happen to be with creatures who just happen to all have Scent and Blindfighting.

Rulewise, you did it well.

In fairness, you should let your players know the whole ruling involved in using Dirty Tricks

Dirty Trick wrote:

You can attempt to hinder a foe in melee as a standard action. This maneuver covers any sort of situational attack that imposes a penalty on a foe for a short period of time. Examples include kicking sand into an opponent’s face to blind him for 1 round, pulling down an enemy’s pants to halve his speed, or hitting a foe in a sensitive spot to make him sickened for a round. The GM is the arbiter of what can be accomplished with this maneuver, but it cannot be used to impose a permanent penalty, and the results can be undone if the target spends a move action. If you do not have the Improved Dirty Trick feat or a similar ability, attempting a dirty trick provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver.

If your attack is successful, the target takes a penalty. The penalty is limited to one of the following conditions: blinded, dazzled, deafened, entangled, shaken, or sickened. This condition lasts for 1 round. For every 5 by which your attack exceeds your opponent’s CMD, the penalty lasts 1 additional round. This penalty can usually be removed if the target spends a move action. If you possess the Greater Dirty Trick feat, the penalty lasts for 1d4 rounds, plus 1 round for every 5 by which your attack exceeds your opponent’s CMD. In addition, removing the condition requires the target to spend a standard action.

Bolded for emphasis.

I disagree with how this played out, but specifically because I don't think stealth checks should be allowed when combined only with a 5 foot step.

The reasoning behind it are kind of complex and have to deal with hide in plain sight and some shenanigans that basically end up along this line.

But otherwise the rules seem to be executed adequately, except where you didn't mentioning explaining to the player they could have removed the condition by spending a standard action.

Thank you very much everyone. I've never been good with the stealth rules.

While I sometimes let the players do things that are not entirely rules perfect, I try to keep all the bad guys pretty strictly in line with the rules. Thanks for helping make sure.

I kinda agree with Claxon on this one. That may be how I do this in the future to ease frustration.

Also, I was looking through the blindness condition, and it said a blinded character takes a -4 on opposed perception checks. I'm not sure what that means.

For some real fun, go look at threads about Hellcat Stealth + Hide in Plain Sight and shenanigans that people want.

My personal way of resolving it is that you must use more than a 5ft step action to use stealth (if you move only 5ft via a move action it's fine).

The Hellcat stealth threads we're basically, well I got my stealth up very high, I can stealth anywhere, and now I'm just going to unleash completely unanswerable full attacks and 5ft step away. If the enemy moves away I just wait until I can make a full attack and 5ft step away by following them and getting myself into position.

Regardless of whether it's rule legal, it's definitely abusive in my opinion and not fun for the whole table.

You cannot stealth while being observed, sure one party guy is blind, but if they arent all blind, or unless the guy is completly alone, the enemy should not be allowed a stealth roll

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Observed is relative so he could potentially use Stealth against the characters that he has concealment from but, as you mentioned, not against those who are not blind.

blahpers wrote:
If they're not [using stealth], it's a simple DC 10 check to "Hear the sound of a creature walking", which ought to be enough to give the listener a direction.

Actually, it's probably at a DC 20 (+5 for "Terrible conditions" presuming that there's other (heavy) fighting going on (+2 for light fighting), and +5 for "Creature making the check is distracted" for being in combat). RAW, that's also only for noticing the sound - for pinpointing, the rules say "A Perception check that beats the DC by 20 reveals the unseen creature’s square", so we're talking about ~DC 50.

And that's ignoring that a 5-ft-step is, well, a step, and not "walking".

Hendelbolaf wrote:
the Perception DC to hear someone in combat is -10. So with a penalty of 20, that number is usually a DC 10 Perception check.

That's the DC to "Hear the sound of battle", not the individual creature. The noise is probably even made at your own square (mud hitting your face or whatever). In any way, the culprit stepped away from where he made the noise. Party members attacking the dirty fighter should help, though (but then again, they could just direct you, e.g. the classic "enemy at 3 o'clock").

Evilserran wrote:
You cannot stealth while being observed, sure one party guy is blind, but if they arent all blind, or unless the guy is completly alone, the enemy should not be allowed a stealth roll

Yeah, that's why you have Hide in Plain Sight which does allow you to use stealth, even while observed.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Derklord wrote:
Hendelbolaf wrote:
the Perception DC to hear someone in combat is -10. So with a penalty of 20, that number is usually a DC 10 Perception check.
That's the DC to "Hear the sound of battle", not the individual creature. The noise is probably even made at your own square (mud hitting your face or whatever). In any way, the culprit stepped away from where he made the noise. Party members attacking the dirty fighter should help, though (but then again, they could just direct you, e.g. the classic "enemy at 3 o'clock").

I guess that depends on your interpretation of the rules. I try and find any non-Stealth action on the table and/or see how the action fits with the listed actions.

So if a blinded creature is attacked, I see that as being in combat with the sounds of combat so it is a -10 base DC. Of course a DM can apply any modifiers for distance, unfavorable conditions, or what ever they want to that check, but that is the base. I also add the +20 to the DC for the blindness/invisibility aspect of it. Just as a talking creature can be heard and pinpointed within 30 feet with a base 0 DC modified as mentioned above.

Then of course you have the 50% miss chance so a blind creature finding and attacking another creature or a creature attacking an invisible opponent.

It is not 100% clear all the time, but that is why you have a DM to interpret and adjudicate the rules at the table. It would be nice if we always had some level of consensus on every situation, but just read through the forums to see that is almost impossible...

Good luck!

It certainly doesn't help that half the rules on on a creature you can't see are in two different locaitons, first the darkness rules on page 443, and then the invisibility rules on page 563. One basically has to cross-reference the two section. *pukes*

The most important part might be this: "A creature can generally notice the presence of an active invisible creature within 30 feet with a DC 20 Perception check. The observer gains a hunch that “something’s there” but can’t see it or target it accurately with an attack. It’s practically impossible (+20 DC) to pinpoint an invisible creature’s location with a Perception check."
So that's a DC 40 to pinpoint a stationary unseen creature, plus modifiers for background noise (+2 or +5), being distracted (+5), and range (+1 per 10ft).

If the blinded creature is attacked, it might pinpoint the attacker with a DC20 check (-10, +5 disctracted, +5 terrible conditions, +20 to pinpoint), but for enemies without reach, that's unneeded. I say might, because "sound of combat" doesn't really sound like "sound of an individual attack". In any cases, it's the original location you've pinpointed - not the location after a possible 5-feet-step! As I've mentioned above, the DC to pinpoint a walking invisible creature would be lower than for a stationary (DC 30 pre modifiers), but a step is not a walk.

Hendelbolaf wrote:
I also add the +20 to the DC for the blindness/invisibility aspect of it.

I'm not sure that applies here, as the creature isn't actually invisible, and the spell explicitly says that the target isn't silenced. I think the +20 to the DC is only on visual checks.

Hendelbolaf wrote:
Just as a talking creature can be heard and pinpointed within 30 feet with a base 0 DC modified as mentioned above.

Where does it say that?

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Derklord wrote:
Hendelbolaf wrote:
I also add the +20 to the DC for the blindness/invisibility aspect of it.
I'm not sure that applies here, as the creature isn't actually invisible, and the spell explicitly says that the target isn't silenced. I think the +20 to the DC is only on visual checks.

The Invisibility spell says that creatures get a +20 bonus to their stealth, it does not distinguish between hearing and seeing (this is one of the pitfalls of combining Spot and Listen in Pathfinder) so an invisible creature gets a +20 to their Stealth checks against whatever means used to pinpoint their location. I usually apply this to creatures using Stealth against a blinded creature, but it is more of an inference from the rules rather than a strict reading of them.

On the other hand the Silence spell does nothing for Stealth as it gives no bonus to Stealth checks. I would, however, probably rule that a blinded character cannot use Perception as the blinded condition does say that all checks requiring sight automatically fail and with no sound, it would be hard pressed to use another sense to locate creatures. Again, that is a loose extrapolation from the rules of how I would adjudicate it as a DM.

Derklord wrote:
Hendelbolaf wrote:
Just as a talking creature can be heard and pinpointed within 30 feet with a base 0 DC modified as mentioned above.
Where does it say that?

Under the chart for Perception it has "hear the details of a conversation" as a DC 0 check. If I can hear someone, it seems like I could pinpoint them if they are within 30 feet and then move to attack them with a miss chance. That is how I interpret that situation.

Hendelbolaf wrote:
The Invisibility spell says that creatures get a +20 bonus to their stealth, it does not distinguish between hearing and seeing (this is one of the pitfalls of combining Spot and Listen in Pathfinder) so an invisible creature gets a +20 to their Stealth checks against whatever means used to pinpoint their location.

The spell also says that "Of course, the subject is not magically silenced". Yes, there is a lack of distinction between visual and audible perception, but I think the concept is clear here.

Hendelbolaf wrote:
Under the chart for Perception it has "hear the details of a conversation" as a DC 0 check. If I can hear someone, it seems like I could pinpoint them if they are within 30 feet and then move to attack them with a miss chance. That is how I interpret that situation.

Nothing in the perception rules even mentions pinpointing. If you can't see them, "It’s practically impossible (+20 DC) to pinpoint an invisible creature’s location with a Perception check." is still valid.