States of awarenes don't work. Does cover / conealment let you stealth or not?


Rules Questions

101 to 150 of 165 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>

2 people marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:


I have also noticed what he does to my name when he is quoting things by hand. Mostly I am amused, but if I ever change my avatar picture it isn't going to make sense any more.
Look, i've met 4 people online and 2 in person who asked me if i was the same person as that "big nosed wolf" guy from the forums and I've made it EASY....")

Easy. It's "Puppy".

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Claxon wrote:
does everyone agree that being unobserved and having some type of cover/concealment are two separate requirements for stealth?
No actually, it's the main point of contention. According to the easy stealth folks cover or concealment breaks observation enough to try a stealth check.

The problem is, it's stated in multiple places that cover is an example of something that can break observation. It's actually the go-to example almost every time it comes up in the rules. Which means the argument here is really that the game designers badly overlooked the consequences of what they were writing. I come down solidly on the "require some kind of active breaking of observation" for actual playablility reasons, but I think the reason I don't get any pushback on that from players is that they're all so used to Pathfinder working that way that it's never questioned (and I am blessed with a lack of rules lawyers in the group).


So why is observed even a thing? Why not make the rule just "you can attempt a stealth check any time you have cover or concealment" ?

Being observed stops attempts at stealth checks. Why mix it in with a state of observation if it's completely irrelevant?


Different writers on different chapters?

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Claxon wrote:
Full cover/concealment vs regular cover/concealment aside, does everyone agree that being unobserved and having some type of cover/concealment are two separate requirements for stealth?

No, not having an Observed status isn't a requirement for using Stealth to Hide, it's the goal of using Stealth to Hide.

You have the Observed status because you didn't try to hide, couldn't find any sufficient condition to try to hide, or tried and failed.

If you succeed at Hiding, you gain total concealment (Hiding rules in Stealth). This causes you to stop being Observed, because then you're not being perceived with a precise sense anymore (Observe rules).

In the Observed section: "A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth check which would result in breaking Observed without first breaking that observation." This sounds circular if you think that the state Observed and "observation" are the same thing. But they're not; Observed is a keyword state, while "observation" is not a keyword but just a synonym for perceiving or witnessing.

"To break observation, the creature must either
* mask itself from your precise senses (with darkness, fog, invisibility, or the like, but not with effects such as displacement that still leave a clear visual indicator of its location),
* move somewhere it can’t be observed (a place with cover, for example),
* or use Bluff to create a distraction to momentarily break your observation of it."

The examples of things that can mask you from precise senses are all things that can make it impossible to see you. Darkness makes you impossible to see (assuming nobody has Darkvision). 10ft of fog completely blocks vision. Invisibility also blocks vision.

It says you can't be observed in cover, but this rule applies to people who have the Observed state and want to make a check to end it. Clearly Observed and this observation that you're trying to break can't be exactly the same thing.

The third part starts with "or" indicating they're three alternative ways to do it. It again talks about breaking observation as a requirement before you can try an action to stop being Observed. So observation and the Observed state can't be the same thing.

Claxon wrote:


In Pathfinder it was pretty clear from the Hide in Plain Sight ability that being unobserved and having cover/concealment were separate requirements.

It's why Rangers have:

Camouflage (Ex) wrote:
A ranger of 12th level or higher can use the Stealth skill to hide in any of his favored terrains, even if the terrain doesn’t grant cover or concealment.

and

Hide in Plain Sight wrote:
While in any of his favored terrains, a ranger of 17th level or higher can use the Stealth skill even while being observed.
Now the rules for Pathfinder and Starfinder are somewhat different, but I think there is evidence that these are separate things and remain so in Starfinder.

Actually I think it's just a mistake in Pathfinder. There have been many mistakes, each printing (6+) is different as they patch some of them. The original printing of Pathfinder was a rushed copy/paste job to get a 3.5 replacement in the market ASAP. This inconsistency affects mostly 17th level ranger players with a deep technical interest in the stealth rules so it's absolutely not the squeaky wheel that got the grease.

Also it predates the UI/Starfinder attempts to clean up the stealth rules by 8 years. I don't think it offers strong evidence of current developers' thinking about stealth at all. Notice that Starfinder doesn't have rangers anymore.


Ascalaphus wrote:
In the Observed section: "A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth check which would result in breaking Observed without first breaking that observation." This sounds circular if you think that the state Observed and "observation" are the same thing. But they're not; Observed is a keyword state, while "observation" is not a keyword but just a synonym for perceiving or witnessing.

That... sure is some linguistic interpretation. "can't attempt a stealth check" is pretty explicit. If A must precede B, you can't have B be the solution to A.

Ascalaphus wrote:

"To break observation, the creature must either

* mask itself from your precise senses (with darkness, fog, invisibility, or the like, but not with effects such as displacement that still leave a clear visual indicator of its location),
* move somewhere it can’t be observed (a place with cover, for example),
* or use Bluff to create a distraction to momentarily break your observation of it."

The examples of things that can mask you from precise senses are all things that can make it impossible to see you. Darkness makes you impossible to see (assuming nobody has Darkvision). 10ft of fog completely blocks vision. Invisibility also blocks vision.

It says you can't be observed in cover, but this rule applies to people who have the Observed state and want to make a check to end it. Clearly Observed and this observation that you're trying to break can't be exactly the same thing.

Or the text is self-contradictory. This isn't a divine text, the game designers can make mistakes. If the text conflicts with itself, the answer really shouldn't be reversing how language works to make it fit.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Well apart from a couple of things, most of the UI text was completely rewritten. From the start, they were writing with the idea that there would be more senses such as Shirren blindsense. The big constants are:
Under your reading, you can do some bull)#$*(#$ that was very hard to do under pathfinder rules. If the authors were intending, rather than accidentally, changing how stealth works they wouldn't have left the now useless "look a monkey" option in there.

Look at the actual text for the Bluff option:

"Diversion
As a move action, you can use Bluff to create a diversion. Your Bluff check is opposed by the Sense Motive check of the creature you are attempting to beguile. If you succeed, you can either attempt the hide task of Stealth as if you had cover or concealment"

If cover or concealment isn't sufficient for hiding, then the Diversion option also doesn't work.

You keep talking as if it was supposed to be the primary way you hide, but there's really no evidence for that. It's not like the sole purpose of the bluff skill is to create distractions for using stealth.

BigNorseWolf wrote:


Quote:
I think much of the confusion comes from the writer somewhat mixing "the act of observation" (verb) which leads to "the state of being observed" (noun).

Ok, no and hell no.

You cannot insist that the writers not be able to alter a word to account for grammar. It's sheer tortue of the english language to try to say that observing and observed is a coincidence when they both reference the same rules.

It's also really weird for the stealth rules to mention observed, at all. Seriously, why bring observed into it, at all, ever? It's a completely redundant turn by what you're saying.

I can't really tell which "observed" you're talking about now. Are you asking what's the point of the Observed state? It's the state that you have when you're not better hidden by one of the others. Pretty clear why the state exists.

It's pretty hard to write about senses while carefully stepping around the word "observed" because you also made it a keyword with a specific rules meaning. Maybe if the state had been called Witnessing it would have been easier. Or if you use "perceiving" every time you're talking about observing someone but don't want to indicate that you're specifically talking about the Observed state. Or maybe use bold typeface.

I'm pretty sure not all instances of observing/observed/observation in that text mean exactly the same thing, because the text boils down to "to try to break out of Observed you have to first break observation". If Observed and being under observation are exactly the same thing then that's impossibly circular.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
You can have the Observed state while in cover, but the act of observation is sufficiently hindered by cover that an attempt to Hide is possible. It takes the addition of just one word to clarify the whole
.. and wind up with broken as hell stealth rules. Or you read non observed status and cover as two separate requirements, cover fog concealment as their more severe versions, and just accidentally wind up with a stealth system that's fairly realistic and balanced. It lets you do what stealth is supposed to do (sneak up on people and get off one surprise) Not turn every rock and tree into a game of teleporting whackamole.

You keep saying it would be broken as hell but I'm really not seeing it. It takes actions to use stealth, which stops you from full attacking. Success isn't guaranteed because monster Perception goes up awfully fast. The only class that can really keep up is the Operative but he gets much much much better results using Stealth-based trick attacks instead.

At worst you get a more mobile combat where people are constantly ducking behind cover and playing hide and seek. Which seems like something the developers liked quite a lot.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Samantha DeWinter wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
In the Observed section: "A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth check which would result in breaking Observed without first breaking that observation." This sounds circular if you think that the state Observed and "observation" are the same thing. But they're not; Observed is a keyword state, while "observation" is not a keyword but just a synonym for perceiving or witnessing.

That... sure is some linguistic interpretation. "can't attempt a stealth check" is pretty explicit. If A must precede B, you can't have B be the solution to A.

Ascalaphus wrote:

"To break observation, the creature must either

* mask itself from your precise senses (with darkness, fog, invisibility, or the like, but not with effects such as displacement that still leave a clear visual indicator of its location),
* move somewhere it can’t be observed (a place with cover, for example),
* or use Bluff to create a distraction to momentarily break your observation of it."

The examples of things that can mask you from precise senses are all things that can make it impossible to see you. Darkness makes you impossible to see (assuming nobody has Darkvision). 10ft of fog completely blocks vision. Invisibility also blocks vision.

It says you can't be observed in cover, but this rule applies to people who have the Observed state and want to make a check to end it. Clearly Observed and this observation that you're trying to break can't be exactly the same thing.

Or the text is self-contradictory. This isn't a divine text, the game designers can make mistakes. If the text conflicts with itself, the answer really shouldn't be reversing how language works to make it fit.

It's not about reversing how language works, just about accepting that not every time you see the word observation/observed/observing, they mean the state Observed. There's just a limited number of synonyms for it that don't sound really awkward.


Ascalaphus wrote:
It's not about reversing how language works, just about accepting that not every time you see the word observation/observed/observing, they mean the state Observed. There's just a limited number of synonyms for it that don't sound really awkward.

"A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth check which would result in breaking Observed without first breaking that observation."

Even IF you accept that somehow those words mean different things (which I am highly skeptical of), it doesn't change the "A before B" requirements of that sentence. "-without first breaking that observation" means something has to happen before the stealth check.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Claxon wrote:
does everyone agree that being unobserved and having some type of cover/concealment are two separate requirements for stealth?
No actually, it's the main point of contention. According to the easy stealth folks cover or concealment breaks observation enough to try a stealth check.

Also, I don't think we need to come to consensus on this. That isn't the purpose of why I debate this out at least. The point is that we all know the impact and problems of the interpretation of the rules that we decide to use at our respective game tables.

BigNorseWolf describes the two main proposed options as 'easier stealth' and 'harder stealth'. I can get behind that.

Personally I prefer the easier stealth that allows building stealth-based characters who can sneak around the battlefield playing hide-and-seek with the enemies. BigNorseWolf and Claxon prefer a more realistic version of stealth where if an enemy sees you, it is not possible to hide again without getting totally out of the perception sightlines of all enemies.

If we were to play together, we would have to choose one of those options to use at the table. But none of us would be unsure of what impact that choice would make to our characters - PCs and NPCs alike.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Perhaps the best assumption here regarding the intent is that making a Stealth check to Hide while in cover breaks observation from any observers who you have cover against.

Moving away from strict text resolution for a second, does that seem like a reasonable read on what the design is?


Nerdy Canuck wrote:

Perhaps the best assumption here regarding the intent is that making a Stealth check to Hide while in cover breaks observation from any observers who you have cover against.

Moving away from strict text resolution for a second, does that seem like a reasonable read on what the design is?

OK. So going with the easier stealth option, yes? Cover being enough to qualify for making a stealth check. I think it would work the same with harder stealth too, but you would need total cover against the enemies before making the check.

And from the look of the scenario you are describing, there may be multiple enemies and you only have cover against some of them.

I would rule on it the way you did. You can attempt the stealth check, and if you succeed against the perception of the enemies that you have cover against, then you are not Observed by those enemies. The enemies that you don't have cover against don't need to do any perception skill in order to continue Observing you - you couldn't attempt to hide against those enemies, so your skill check results wouldn't work anyway.


Samantha DeWinter wrote:
Different writers on different chapters?

Which would introduce the possibility that not everyone is on the same page. hence the problem

Ascalaphus wrote:
I can't really tell which "observed" you're talking about now

Again, its torture of the english language to suggest they just randomly put observed in the stealth section dealing with how to hide from people trying to see you and observing in the vision section describing how you see things that are trying to hide.

Re brokeness

Don't picture a fighter doing it. Picture a technomancer who has nothing better to do with his move actions. With haste going he can stealth 30 feet in any direction at no penalty, regardless of the intervening space. So he tosses fireball stealths 30. At the least he's getting a 50 50 miss chance against half the party, for a skill. More likely he's getting occasional rounds of improved invisibility.

Don't picture the PC using it picture the NPC using it.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Don't picture a fighter doing it. Picture a technomancer who has nothing better to do with his move actions. With haste going he can stealth 30 feet in any direction at no penalty, regardless of the intervening space. So he tosses fireball stealths 30. At the least he's getting a 50 50 miss chance against half the party, for a skill. More likely he's getting occasional rounds of improved invisibility.

Don't picture the PC using it picture the NPC using it.

OK. Scenario:

NPC technomancer with a couple of melee thugs with him. Assuming on-level encounter CR. Technomancer has a haste circuit or something giving him haste.

If he starts from cover, he can cast a spell as standard action, stealth and move 15 feet as move action 1, then stealth and move 15 more feet as action 2.

If he doesn't start with cover, he can cast a spell as a standard action, bluff to distract as move action 1, then stealth and move 15 feet as move action 2, taking a -10 penalty to the stealth check because it is only allowed after a bluff check to distract.

Let's also add in the scenario of only moving 15 feet with one move action when starting from cover. Still taking the standard action to do something offensive.

The question is: is this broken in the easy stealth ruling?

First, some math.

With an on-level CR, let's say that this technomancer has a 60% chance of succeeding at both stealth checks and bluff checks vs. each of the players. Let's also figure this against a 4 party team of player characters. This isn't going to be entirely accurate. I am ignoring the variations in the perception skill levels of the various PCs and other such things. But this should give us a good ballpark to work from.

The two move, 30 feet stealth would require two skill checks, each opposed by all four of the players. So to become hidden against any one of the players he has a .6 x .6 percent chance, to succeed at both. So .36 or 36% chance. In order to hide from all of the players at the same time would be a .36 x .36 x .36 x.36 chance. So .0168, or 1% that all of the players lose where he went.

The Batman(tm) vanish trick has a -10 to the stealth skill check, so that drops the probability of succeeding at that to 10% if my thinking is correct on that probability adjustment. Again our broken technomancer is making two skill checks against each of our player characters. So he has a .6 x .1 percent chance against each of them - so .06 or 6% to succeed against any particular player. And to vanish into thin air right in front of all four of our player characters is a whopping 0.00029% chance of success.

Really the only person who regularly does the Batman vanish is Batman - because he has a moral compulsion against killing people. Anyone who can pull off the stunt with anything resembling reliability is at such an unbalanced encounter level that it would be just as easy for him to wipe out the opposing party and walk away.

Now the last option is to start from cover and only stealth move once (hasted or not). That has a .6 percent chance of success against any one of the players, or a (.6)^4 = 12.9% chance of success against all of them at the same time. That is at least marginally viable.

Conclusion on math:
I feel like the stealth option could be used to mitigate some damage. The players that failed the perception check couldn't attack very well even if they do know what location the target moved to. The players that did succeed at the perception check could attack normally, but would still have to deal with the cover as normal (our technomancer has to end the turn in a location with cover or becomes Observed, so obviously he went to a location with cover).

Second, alternatives:

What else could our hypothetical technomancer do each turn with one or two move actions? How would those compare in effectiveness to the damage avoidance caused by stealth and hiding?

I'm going to leave the question of whether the stealth option is broken unanswered. That is ultimately something that each table has to consider and decide on.


there's a BUNCH of problems with the rules behind your number crunching there ...

1) Haste in starfinder doesn't give you an extra move action. It lets you take an extra move action if you full attack.

2) haste also gives you +30 feet of movement as an enhancment bonus, so with no penalty that's a movement of 60 feet which is 30 feet of stealth as long as I'm not attacking the party with the worlds stealthiest fireball tossing mormalaw. (which i am absolutely going to make as a character if someone faqs things your way)

Even IF you decide you make one stealth check per action (which isn't a rule, but it isn't isn't a rule either) it's one check to stealth.

You don't make one check per observing individual. You make one stealth check and then everyone tries to spot you. So if you roll poorly your chances of being spotted by everyone, but if you roll well your chances of beating everyone are pretty decent.

Quote:
he players that failed the perception check couldn't attack very well even if they do know what location the target moved to.

You don't know what square they moved to. You functionally cannot interact with them at all. They don't have a 50% miss chance they have a .5 * 1/the number of squares within 30 feet of movement... assuming their stealth score isn't so high that a -10 is a possibility.

Sovereign Court

Nerdy Canuck wrote:

Perhaps the best assumption here regarding the intent is that making a Stealth check to Hide while in cover breaks observation from any observers who you have cover against.

Moving away from strict text resolution for a second, does that seem like a reasonable read on what the design is?

I think it's the plainest reading. Every time cover and stealth come up in the book it says something like "if you have cover you can stealth" or "with this power you can stealth even if you don't have cover".

Then in the Observed section is says that you need some favorable circumstance to let you try to hide while Observed, and mentions cover as one of them.

Sovereign Court

breithauptclan wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:

Perhaps the best assumption here regarding the intent is that making a Stealth check to Hide while in cover breaks observation from any observers who you have cover against.

Moving away from strict text resolution for a second, does that seem like a reasonable read on what the design is?

OK. So going with the easier stealth option, yes? Cover being enough to qualify for making a stealth check. I think it would work the same with harder stealth too, but you would need total cover against the enemies before making the check.

And from the look of the scenario you are describing, there may be multiple enemies and you only have cover against some of them.

I would rule on it the way you did. You can attempt the stealth check, and if you succeed against the perception of the enemies that you have cover against, then you are not Observed by those enemies. The enemies that you don't have cover against don't need to do any perception skill in order to continue Observing you - you couldn't attempt to hide against those enemies, so your skill check results wouldn't work anyway.

I think all the states of awareness are relative between sneaker and perceiver.

Adam, Bob and Clark are in a room. Bob has blindsense. Clark has See Invisibility. Jane comes into the room using Invisibility.

Adam remains Unaware. Bob goes to Aware of Location because his blindsense lets him pinpoint here. Clark goes to Observed because he can see her.

Clark then telepathically tells Adam about Jane. Adam is now Aware of Presence. Since he can't directly perceive Jane with even an imprecise sense (Jane is under a Silence spell) he still can't pinpoint her, even though he got told about her current position.

---

So yeah, all these states are relative between characters.

Sovereign Court

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Re brokeness

Don't picture a fighter doing it. Picture a technomancer who has nothing better to do with his move actions. With haste going he can stealth 30 feet in any direction at no penalty, regardless of the intervening space. So he tosses fireball stealths 30. At the least he's getting a 50 50 miss chance against half the party, for a skill. More likely he's getting occasional rounds of improved invisibility.

Don't picture the PC using it picture the NPC using it.

(Sidenote: just become the outcome isn't something you like, doesn't mean a rule doesn't work that way.)

But let's explore this example. Say our current level 11 AP party is fighting a CR 13 technomancer who has Stealth as a "good" skill. So he has a +23 according to the AA monster guidelines.

I'm guessing a little bit, but I think our perception scores are:
Mystic: +19
Operative: +18
Envoy: +15
Solarian: +14

He throws a fireball and then scurries behind cover. Let's say that there's a lot of chest-high crates in the warehouse we're fighting. We see which way he went off to (because he didn't use Bluff to create a diversion) but he's trying to lose us beyond that. The crates aren't high enough to make it impossible to see us, just hard enough that he's allowed to stealth.

Since I suck at probability math I programmed it instead of calculating by hand.

python code, do your own indentation:

import random
import numpy

count = 1000000

PCs = [19, 18, 15, 14]
Technomancer = 23

individual_hides = [0.0, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0]
full_hides = 0.0

for i in range(count):
full_hide = True
PC_results = [PC + random.randint(1,20) for PC in PCs]
Technomancer_result = Technomancer + random.randint(1,20)

for j in range(len(PC_results)):
if Technomancer_result >= PC_results[j]:
individual_hides[j] += 1
else:
full_hide = False

if full_hide:
full_hides += 1

individual_probs = [individual_hide / count for individual_hide in individual_hides]
full_prob = full_hides / count

print individual_probs
print full_prob

This results in the following probabilities of hiding from each of us individually:
Mystic 0.700527
Operative 0.737541
Envoy 0.834788
Solarian 0.863066

But the chance of hiding from all of us at the same time is only 0.524272.

Those are slightly above-even odds, for an enemy that's two CRs above us. I don't think that's really all that broken.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Claxon wrote:
does everyone agree that being unobserved and having some type of cover/concealment are two separate requirements for stealth?
No actually, it's the main point of contention. According to the easy stealth folks cover or concealment breaks observation enough to try a stealth check.

Yeah.....I can't get behind that.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Claxon wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Claxon wrote:
does everyone agree that being unobserved and having some type of cover/concealment are two separate requirements for stealth?
No actually, it's the main point of contention. According to the easy stealth folks cover or concealment breaks observation enough to try a stealth check.
Yeah.....I can't get behind that.

It's...in the rules for stealth and hiding.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Claxon wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Claxon wrote:
does everyone agree that being unobserved and having some type of cover/concealment are two separate requirements for stealth?
No actually, it's the main point of contention. According to the easy stealth folks cover or concealment breaks observation enough to try a stealth check.
Yeah.....I can't get behind that.

But that's exactly what the rules say:

Observing

When you are observing a creature, you can directly perceive the creature with a precise sense. Generally, this occurs when a creature is visible, when the situation makes it impossible for the creature use Stealth to hide, or when you have succeeded at a Perception check to pinpoint the creature using a precise sense such as blindsight. You must be observing a creature to use a ranged effect that targets a specific creature without requiring an attack roll to hit (such as magic missile). You can also make normal attacks, including ones using ranged abilities, against creatures that you are observing. Again, it is subject to area effects that affect its location.

A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth check without first breaking that observation. To break observation, the creature must either mask itself from your precise senses (with darkness, fog, invisibility, or the like, but not with effects such as displacement that still leave a clear visual indicator of its location), move somewhere it can’t be observed (a place with cover, for example), or use Bluff to create a distraction to momentarily break your observation of it.

Moving into cover is explicitly listed as one of the standard ways to break observation enough to enable a stealth check. It's the immediate follow-up sentence to the one saying you can't stealth unless you break observation.

And that's perfectly consistent with the rest of the book that says that cover lets you hide.

Are you disputing what the rule is, or what it should be? The rules pretty clearly provide for "easy stealth".

And stealth is not actually all that easy, because you need to beat opposed rolls and NPC skills scale pretty well in Starfinder. Specifically, Perception is generally at least a Good skill for NPCs.

It scaled up at 1.5 per CR. The only class that can properly keep up wit that is operatives. But an operative who's trying to use stealth in combat is probably a Ghost operative, and he's rolling against 20+CR which is usually a lot less than the monster's average Perception roll, and it does Trick Attack damage.


Ascalaphus wrote:

And stealth is not actually all that easy, because you need to beat opposed rolls and NPC skills scale pretty well in Starfinder. Specifically, Perception is generally at least a Good skill for NPCs.

It scaled up at 1.5 per CR. The only class that can properly keep up wit that is operatives.

And Shadow connection Mystics.

Sovereign Court

Xenocrat wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

And stealth is not actually all that easy, because you need to beat opposed rolls and NPC skills scale pretty well in Starfinder. Specifically, Perception is generally at least a Good skill for NPCs.

It scaled up at 1.5 per CR. The only class that can properly keep up wit that is operatives.

And Shadow connection Mystics.

Yeah, but that connection doesn't need easy stealth rules to be broken. Easy greater invisibility already did that.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

And stealth is not actually all that easy, because you need to beat opposed rolls and NPC skills scale pretty well in Starfinder. Specifically, Perception is generally at least a Good skill for NPCs.

It scaled up at 1.5 per CR. The only class that can properly keep up wit that is operatives.

And Shadow connection Mystics.
Yeah, but that connection doesn't need easy stealth rules to be broken. Easy greater invisibility already did that.

They only have min/level increments of regular invisibility, not greater.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Claxon wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Claxon wrote:
does everyone agree that being unobserved and having some type of cover/concealment are two separate requirements for stealth?
No actually, it's the main point of contention. According to the easy stealth folks cover or concealment breaks observation enough to try a stealth check.
Yeah.....I can't get behind that.

But that's exactly what the rules say:

Observing

When you are observing a creature, you can directly perceive the creature with a precise sense. Generally, this occurs when a creature is visible, when the situation makes it impossible for the creature use Stealth to hide, or when you have succeeded at a Perception check to pinpoint the creature using a precise sense such as blindsight. You must be observing a creature to use a ranged effect that targets a specific creature without requiring an attack roll to hit (such as magic missile). You can also make normal attacks, including ones using ranged abilities, against creatures that you are observing. Again, it is subject to area effects that affect its location.

A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth check without first breaking that observation. To break observation, the creature must either mask itself from your precise senses (with darkness, fog, invisibility, or the like, but not with effects such as displacement that still leave a clear visual indicator of its location), move somewhere it can’t be observed (a place with cover, for example), or use Bluff to create a distraction to momentarily break your observation of it.

Moving into cover is explicitly listed as one of the standard ways to break observation enough to enable a stealth check. It's the immediate follow-up sentence to the one saying you can't stealth unless you break observation.

And that's perfectly...

I'm saying I'm not sure I parse the rules the same way. I can read that it says to break observation you move somewhere you can't be observed. But that leads to the problem (in my mind) of someone moves behind a big rock and can try to use stealth against you. Except I don't think that's how it should work. You've lost sight of them, but you know where they are, even if you can't see them. In my mind they need to bluff you to distract your attention elsewhere for you to actually lose of track of them.

Perhaps they've deliberately changed it from Pathfinder, but I would find it un-intuitive. Although it wouldn't be unprecedented since they added the whole "swift actions block you from full actions" thing.

The way my group has used stealth, and I would expect for us to continue to use stealth, it matters little since no one is trying to use stealth after combat has started so your not trying to break observed status after the enemy has seen you.

The more I think on, the more I believe you might be correct in the most RAW sort of way. I think perhaps I just disagree with the rules, and preferred the Pathfinder execution.


I guess fundamentally my issue is the following. Based on the the interpretation of the rules that say cover lets you break observation and make a stealth check and combined with the understanding that stealth checks are usually made as part of a move action (I can't actually find a source where it says this, but I believe it's true in Starfinder the way it was in Pathfinder) then a character with a sufficient movement speed could:

Move behind a wall that was big enough to provide cover (10' tall and 10' long should definitely work for a medium creature), attempt a stealth check, continue moving and then shoot a creature once their shot is no longer obstructed and that shot would benefit from having a flat-footed target.

To me, that result simply isn't acceptable even if that is the most straight forward interpretation of the rules as written.


Claxon wrote:

I guess fundamentally my issue is the following. Based on the the interpretation of the rules that say cover lets you break observation and make a stealth check and combined with the understanding that stealth checks are usually made as part of a move action (I can't actually find a source where it says this, but I believe it's true in Starfinder the way it was in Pathfinder) then a character with a sufficient movement speed could:

Move behind a wall that was big enough to provide cover (10' tall and 10' long should definitely work for a medium creature), attempt a stealth check, continue moving and then shoot a creature once their shot is no longer obstructed and that shot would benefit from having a flat-footed target.

To me, that result simply isn't acceptable even if that is the most straight forward interpretation of the rules as written.

My interpretation of the hide rule found in the stealth skill section is that you have to begin and end your movement in cover/concealment in order to be successfully hidden both during and after your move.


Claxon wrote:

I guess fundamentally my issue is the following. Based on the the interpretation of the rules that say cover lets you break observation and make a stealth check and combined with the understanding that stealth checks are usually made as part of a move action (I can't actually find a source where it says this, but I believe it's true in Starfinder the way it was in Pathfinder) then a character with a sufficient movement speed could:

Move behind a wall that was big enough to provide cover (10' tall and 10' long should definitely work for a medium creature), attempt a stealth check, continue moving and then shoot a creature once their shot is no longer obstructed and that shot would benefit from having a flat-footed target.

To me, that result simply isn't acceptable even if that is the most straight forward interpretation of the rules as written.

So... A more difficult and more complicated (and worse) trick attack? I feel like the utility of that is pretty limited, since the only class that might really make use of it already doesn't need it.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Claxon wrote:

I guess fundamentally my issue is the following. Based on the the interpretation of the rules that say cover lets you break observation and make a stealth check and combined with the understanding that stealth checks are usually made as part of a move action (I can't actually find a source where it says this, but I believe it's true in Starfinder the way it was in Pathfinder) then a character with a sufficient movement speed could:

Move behind a wall that was big enough to provide cover (10' tall and 10' long should definitely work for a medium creature), attempt a stealth check, continue moving and then shoot a creature once their shot is no longer obstructed and that shot would benefit from having a flat-footed target.

To me, that result simply isn't acceptable even if that is the most straight forward interpretation of the rules as written.

As you can see there's also a disagreement about whether you need to start in cover or can move through cover. But that aside - what you describe as undesirable, I consider just fine.

The first thing to consider is that flat-footed isn't as big a deal in Starfinder. It's only a -2 to hit. It's not as wacky as losing all of your Dex modifier. And touch attacks in Starfinder don't ignore armor so it's also not like alchemists will be running rampant.

Second is to compare the gain to the cost. You spend a move action and have a chance at a swing of 2 in your to-hit. Compare that to spending a move action to aim with a scope, to reduce someone's cover by 2. Or compare it to full attacking; if your to-hit is already decent then you're probably better off trying twice. Compared to these, the chance that you'll successfully use Stealth doesn't seem disproportional?

Finally, what about this style of combat, people running around trying to get an advantage instead of standing still and trading broadsides. Isn't that great?


Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Claxon wrote:

I guess fundamentally my issue is the following. Based on the the interpretation of the rules that say cover lets you break observation and make a stealth check and combined with the understanding that stealth checks are usually made as part of a move action (I can't actually find a source where it says this, but I believe it's true in Starfinder the way it was in Pathfinder) then a character with a sufficient movement speed could:

Move behind a wall that was big enough to provide cover (10' tall and 10' long should definitely work for a medium creature), attempt a stealth check, continue moving and then shoot a creature once their shot is no longer obstructed and that shot would benefit from having a flat-footed target.

To me, that result simply isn't acceptable even if that is the most straight forward interpretation of the rules as written.

So... A more difficult and more complicated trick attack? I feel like the utility of that is pretty limited, since the only class that might really make use of it already doesn't need it.

For the trick attack, you are correct Nerdy Canuck. I use my operative designation (e.g. stealth for Ghost) and achieve the trick attack as part of my full attack action. I can't use the stealth skill separate and concurrently as part of my Trick Attack Full Round action that I am aware of.

Where it gets interesting is if I am using my Cloaking Field. It allows me to hide in plain sight. If I attack as part of my Trick Attack and don't move (which is allowable), I am unhidden. I can't hide again that I know of. So do I gain any benefit from the Cloaking Field, such as Concealment or anything?

Let's say I have a Haste Circuit and I activated it at the start of combat. Following the round after I activated it, can I use my extra move action following my Trick Attack Full-Round action to use my Stealth Skill to actually hide?

That, to me, is where it gets tricky.

Sovereign Court

Kalderaan wrote:
Where it gets interesting is if I am using my Cloaking Field. It allows me to hide in plain sight. If I attack as part of my Trick Attack and don't move (which is allowable), I am unhidden. I can't hide again that I know of. So do I gain any benefit from the Cloaking Field, such as Concealment or anything?

Well the cloaking field never gives you concealment directly. It allows you to use stealth to Hide, and if you succeed at that you achieve full concealment. But using the Hide task of stealth as either its own move action or as part of a move action to move. Not as part of a trick attack.

Kalderaan wrote:

Let's say I have a Haste Circuit and I activated it at the start of combat. Following the round after I activated it, can I use my extra move action following my Trick Attack Full-Round action to use my Stealth Skill to actually hide?

That, to me, is where it gets tricky.

No, because a Trick Attack doesn't actually work so well with Haste. Haste only gives you an extra action after a Full Attack. A Trick Attack is not a Full Attack.

You could use it when using your Triple Attack or Quad Attack class abilities, since those are full attacks.


Ascalaphus wrote:
Kalderaan wrote:
Where it gets interesting is if I am using my Cloaking Field. It allows me to hide in plain sight. If I attack as part of my Trick Attack and don't move (which is allowable), I am unhidden. I can't hide again that I know of. So do I gain any benefit from the Cloaking Field, such as Concealment or anything?

Well the cloaking field never gives you concealment directly. It allows you to use stealth to Hide, and if you succeed at that you achieve full concealment. But using the Hide task of stealth as either its own move action or as part of a move action to move. Not as part of a trick attack.

Kalderaan wrote:

Let's say I have a Haste Circuit and I activated it at the start of combat. Following the round after I activated it, can I use my extra move action following my Trick Attack Full-Round action to use my Stealth Skill to actually hide?

That, to me, is where it gets tricky.

No, because a Trick Attack doesn't actually work so well with Haste. Haste only gives you an extra action after a Full Attack. A Trick Attack is not a Full Attack.

You could use it when using your Triple Attack or Quad Attack class abilities, since those are full attacks.

Those are the problems I keep running into. Almost as if they never wanted Cloaking Field to be used in Combat.


Ascalaphus wrote:
We see which way he went off to (because he didn't use Bluff to create a diversion)

He doesn't need to set a diversion and you don't know which way he went off. He starts stealthing as soon as he has cover, which is probably where he's standing. POOF he's vanished, you have NO idea where he went after that.

Only getting to act against the guy half the time is broken as hell for a skill. What other skill is going to halve the opponents action economy?

Sovereign Court

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
We see which way he went off to (because he didn't use Bluff to create a diversion)

He doesn't need to set a diversion and you don't know which way he went off. He starts stealthing as soon as he has cover, which is probably where he's standing. POOF he's vanished, you have NO idea where he went after that.

Only getting to act against the guy half the time is broken as hell for a skill. What other skill is going to halve the opponents action economy?

Perception. If he doesn't beat all of your perception rolls then your skill has halved his action economy.

And if he fails, he can't be quite that far, he had only one move action to go anywhere.

Diplomacy, to prevent the fight in the first place.
Bluff, to talk the enemy into thinking they should be fighting someone else.
Intimidate, to prevent the fight again.
Disguise, to prevent the fight.
Sense Motive/Perception, to spot an ambush and not walk into it, voiding all the enemy's actions spent on positioning.
Engineering/Mysticism to disable traps and alarms that the enemies rely on for getting early warning.


Ascalaphus wrote:


If he doesn't beat all of your perception rolls then your skill has halved his action economy.

Even targeting his square he's halved your action economy.

Quote:
And if he fails, he can't be quite that far, he had only one move action to go anywhere

Mechanically there's very little difference between being between 10 and 30 feet distant in this game. Still soaks up a move action for melee and you're not going to out distance a laser rifle.

Quote:
Diplomacy, to prevent the fight in the first place.

Doesn't work at all on PCs, doesn't work when the DM doesn't want it to.

Quote:
Bluff, to talk the enemy into thinking they should be fighting someone else.

ANd that works half the time? No.

Quote:
Intimidate, to prevent the fight again.

and that works half the time? no

Disguise, to prevent the fight.

Quote:
Sense Motive/Perception, to spot an ambush and not walk into it, voiding all the enemy's actions spent on positioning.

Malarky evaluation. When you perceive the opponent the only action economy you're messing with is the surprise round attack. Likewise thats all stealth is supposed to get you: 1/2 a round. Not doubling your rounds.

Quote:
Engineering/Mysticism to disable traps and alarms that the enemies rely on for getting early warning.

That's fighting a buffed enemy or an unbuffed one. The opponent doesn't sit there buffing while you're whaling on them.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:

So why is observed even a thing? Why not make the rule just "you can attempt a stealth check any time you have cover or concealment" ?

Being observed stops attempts at stealth checks. Why mix it in with a state of observation if it's completely irrelevant?

I can think of at least one reason: for cases where there is no hostile around. If you categorically have to have "cover or concealment" in order to attempt stealth, then do you have to. . . find a random wall to duck behind when there is literally no one around?

The cover or concealment is a means to an end: the state of "no one is looking at me". If anything, they should have dropped reference to *cover and concealment*, and simply stated that attempting stealth requires that no one hostile is currently observing the character ( and leave it up to the player to decide which means to achieve this ).


Ascalaphus wrote:
Claxon wrote:

I guess fundamentally my issue is the following. Based on the the interpretation of the rules that say cover lets you break observation and make a stealth check and combined with the understanding that stealth checks are usually made as part of a move action (I can't actually find a source where it says this, but I believe it's true in Starfinder the way it was in Pathfinder) then a character with a sufficient movement speed could:

Move behind a wall that was big enough to provide cover (10' tall and 10' long should definitely work for a medium creature), attempt a stealth check, continue moving and then shoot a creature once their shot is no longer obstructed and that shot would benefit from having a flat-footed target.

To me, that result simply isn't acceptable even if that is the most straight forward interpretation of the rules as written.

As you can see there's also a disagreement about whether you need to start in cover or can move through cover. But that aside - what you describe as undesirable, I consider just fine.

The first thing to consider is that flat-footed isn't as big a deal in Starfinder. It's only a -2 to hit. It's not as wacky as losing all of your Dex modifier. And touch attacks in Starfinder don't ignore armor so it's also not like alchemists will be running rampant.

Second is to compare the gain to the cost. You spend a move action and have a chance at a swing of 2 in your to-hit. Compare that to spending a move action to aim with a scope, to reduce someone's cover by 2. Or compare it to full attacking; if your to-hit is already decent then you're probably better off trying twice. Compared to these, the chance that you'll successfully use Stealth doesn't seem disproportional?

Finally, what about this style of combat, people running around trying to get an advantage instead of standing still and trading broadsides. Isn't that great?

Actually, now that you bring it up I would find it acceptable that having cover is sufficient to reach unobserved status and allow you to use stealth, but only if you start your turn with cover from an enemy.

I would still prefer that you have to use bluff to distract the enemy to hide after they are aware of you, but the starting your turn in cover requirement would make it less disagreeable to me.


Kalderaan wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
Claxon wrote:

I guess fundamentally my issue is the following. Based on the the interpretation of the rules that say cover lets you break observation and make a stealth check and combined with the understanding that stealth checks are usually made as part of a move action (I can't actually find a source where it says this, but I believe it's true in Starfinder the way it was in Pathfinder) then a character with a sufficient movement speed could:

Move behind a wall that was big enough to provide cover (10' tall and 10' long should definitely work for a medium creature), attempt a stealth check, continue moving and then shoot a creature once their shot is no longer obstructed and that shot would benefit from having a flat-footed target.

To me, that result simply isn't acceptable even if that is the most straight forward interpretation of the rules as written.

So... A more difficult and more complicated trick attack? I feel like the utility of that is pretty limited, since the only class that might really make use of it already doesn't need it.
For the trick attack, you are correct Nerdy Canuck. I use my operative designation (e.g. stealth for Ghost) and achieve the trick attack as part of my full attack action. I can't use the stealth skill separate and concurrently as part of my Trick Attack Full Round action that I am aware of.

So now the part you're missing: This is still objectively worse than Trick Attack, because it doesn't get the bonus damage nor any of the other benefits that come along with Trick Attack as you level up.

So we're talking about, basically, a way worse version of Trick Attack which is quite difficult for anyone but an Operative to use without a notable investment... I'm not seeing the problem.

(Also, specialization is irrelevant - all Operatives can use Stealth, Bluff, and Intimidate to Trick Attack; additionally, per the FAQ, Ghost Operatives do not get that +4 to use Stealth to Trick Attack)


BigNorseWolf wrote:
there's a BUNCH of problems with the rules behind your number crunching there ...

Do I not have the rules for haste right?

...

Huh. So I don't. Good to know.

Now if only there was a more reliable way for a technomancer to avoid taking damage than making a bunch of skill checks each round.

---------------

Ascalaphus wrote:
Since I suck at probability math I programmed it instead of calculating by hand.

Yeah, calculating probabilities gets very complicated very quickly. Nice Python code though.

---------------

Claxon wrote:

I guess fundamentally my issue is the following. Based on the the interpretation of the rules that say cover lets you break observation and make a stealth check and combined with the understanding that stealth checks are usually made as part of a move action (I can't actually find a source where it says this, but I believe it's true in Starfinder the way it was in Pathfinder) then a character with a sufficient movement speed could:

Move behind a wall that was big enough to provide cover (10' tall and 10' long should definitely work for a medium creature), attempt a stealth check, continue moving and then shoot a creature once their shot is no longer obstructed and that shot would benefit from having a flat-footed target.

To me, that result simply isn't acceptable even if that is the most straight forward interpretation of the rules as written.

Here for stealth checks as part of other movement.

Skills; stealth; hide wrote:
You can attempt a Stealth check to hide either as a move action (if you are planning to stay immobile) or as part of a move action.

And yes, the scenario you described is certainly something that I can imagine players or NPC enemies at my table attempting.

I recently put my players up against a monster spider - a solo-hunting, stealth-based, ambush predator that considered the PC party to be its next meal. It successfully stealth moved against the party and bit one of the players, starting that character down a Dex poison track. It then got shot repeatedly, but survived the round. On its next turn it went behind a tree and started hiding. It failed to beat one of the player's perception (happened to be the one that was poisoned), and all of the players knew which tree it was behind. If it had more rounds, it would have tried to stealth climb the tree to go location unknown - but it didn't get the chance. The players came around the tree after it, made new perception checks when it didn't have cover against them, saw it there, and shot it some more until it died.


breithauptclan wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
there's a BUNCH of problems with the rules behind your number crunching there ...

Do I not have the rules for haste right?

...

Huh. So I don't. Good to know.

Now if only there was a more reliable way for a technomancer to avoid taking damage than making a bunch of skill checks each round.

1) Not an or option. You can take your enterage of you AND stealth around.

2) you can still be fireballed, magic missiled, and grenaded while mirror imaged.

3) The party can still move up and interact with you, even if its popping off an image or two.

And again. One skill check.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

1) The point is that it is a roughly comparable option. Costs: Move action, skill check with possibility of failure vs. Standard action, spell slot and no possibility of failure. Benefits: Until your next attack - 50% miss chance if the enemies know where you are or ~100% miss chance if they don't vs. Some variable percentage chance of hitting a figment instead of you for as many rounds as you have figments available (10 rounds per level max).

The fact that you could do both doesn't change that the options are reasonably on par with each other.

2) You can still be fireballed and grenaded while hiding.

3) The party can still move up and find you while hiding - completely negating the action economy you spent and the awesome skill roll you made earlier.

My point is that the easy stealth ruling doesn't really feel overpowered. Certainly not overpowered enough to call it 'Broken as hell'.


So earlier in this thread, D&D 3.5 was brought up. I remember how horribly unusable the sneaky combatant character design worked. I'm sure anyone who tried playing a rogue in the game wanted to use it. And I'm sure that they all found out rather quickly how unusable it was.

So I pulled out my book and compared the two.

For your amusement, here is what I see as the differences:

First and foremost: Hide and Move Silently were two separate skills that had to be bought independently. They also generally had to both be rolled whenever sneaking around - which I hope you all know what that does to your overall chances of success.

I do see that the penalty for moving more than half your speed were only -5... to each of the skill checks rolled.

Hide takes a -20 penalty when attacking. Both skills take a -20 penalty when running or charging.

The bluff distraction trick would impose a -10 to hide, and (here's the kicker) you could only move 1 foot per rank to get to a hiding place. So before level 5 (assuming Hide was a class skill) you couldn't do it at all. And at level 20, you could go a total of four entire squares away.

Sniping from cover did exist and it looks like it has the same rules. One shot and then a -20 on the skill check to try and hide again.


Ascalaphus wrote:

Here's one thing that I think is actually problematic with stealth rules.

You need cover/concealment (or maybe full cover/concealment) to initiate stealth. If you end your turn without it, your stealth fails.

What happens if an enemy walks around during their turns and you don't have cover/concealment anymore? Does your stealth fail immediately?

The book doesn't quite say, as far as I can make out. But if someone is hiding behind a wall and you walk around the wall, you would expect to see them.

Heh. I think I just found the answer to this.

Stealth; hide wrote:
A creature that fails the opposed skill check treats you as if you had total concealment as long as you continue to have actual cover or concealment.

So if an enemy moves to a place where you no longer have cover or concealment against them, then you automatically become Observed again.

Not sure why it took me so long to see that. Apparently that line of text has a pretty good Stealth score.


breithauptclan wrote:
1) The point is that it is a roughly comparable option.

Lets say thats true for a moment.

What other skill gives you an at will version of the most commonly used second level spell? It's not secret page, its THE go defensive spell of every wizard.

Quote:
Costs: Move action

It costs you half your move action.

skill check with possibility of failure vs. Standard action, spell slot and no possibility of failure.

Mirror image fails against

AOEs
Single Target spells
1 time in 5 to start with and then lowering from there. (making full attacking you a real option)

Quote:
Some variable percentage chance of hitting a figment instead of you for as many rounds as you have figments available (10 rounds per level max).

If it is a figment, the figment is destroyed. If the attack misses by 5 or less, one of your figments is destroyed by the near miss, and an attack that misses you due to a miss chance also destroys an image

It only lasts through a number of attacks, not rounds, a lil more than there are images.

It's a pretty rare group where that's going to be more than 1 or 2 rounds. (and then because you're getting brainblasted and the party is hitting you) The party starts full attacking, the images go down fast.

[quote3) The party can still move up and find you while hiding - completely negating the action economy you spent and the awesome skill roll you made earlier.

Depends a bit on distance and terrain and on SOMEONE in the party spotting you


BigNorseWolf wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:
1) The point is that it is a roughly comparable option.

Lets say thats true for a moment.

What other skill gives you an at will version of the most commonly used second level spell? It's not secret page, its THE go defensive spell of every wizard.

Instead of just hiding?

If hiding is so overpowered, why would spellcasters not just use that? Why spend the spell known and the spell slot, when you could just spend skill ranks and feats to boost your stealth ability?

To ask the opposite question: What other character defensive options that require character build investment can be completely countered with just a non-action skill check? Or failing that, just an untrained move action?

---------

To me hiding feels like an interesting option. It isn't a bad option, but it isn't overpowered either. It adds spice and flavor - mixes things up a bit.

But whenever I have tried it on either side of the GM screen, I find it to be hard to pull off. It is unreliable.

Unlike Mirror Image, the counters for it can be done by any opponent you face with nothing more than a move action. No need to have multiple characters full attacking for a round or two. As my spider found out, if you are going to be using stealth combat to keep yourself alive, you need to have other (non-hiding) allies; both so that your enemies to decide to target your allies instead of you, and to prevent your opponents from just following you, finding you, and killing you.

And if you are using it for the offensive bonus, then all it really does is apply flat-footed. And that only against your attack, and only your first attack at that. There are better options for applying flat-footed.

It is an interesting option. It is not really broken even when run with easy stealth ruling.

Do you have an experience at a game table where stealth was instead overpowering?


breithauptclan wrote:

Instead of just hiding?

You said they were comparable.

I'm asking you what other skill gives you that much of a combat advantage.

Quote:

If hiding is so overpowered, why would spellcasters not just use that?

Why spend the spell known and the spell slot, when you could just spend skill ranks and feats to boost your stealth ability?

You're being rather circular here. I'm arguing hiding ISN"T that powerful, in no small part because of the observed clause.

Quote:
What other character defensive options that require character build investment can be completely countered with just a non-action skill check? Or failing that, just an untrained move action?

What "character defensive options that require character build investment" are there in the game?

---------

Quote:

Do you have an experience at a game table where stealth was instead overpowering?

Lots. Both a home game DM who was rather fond of the tactic, and the occasional and the occasional society DM who ran rogues that way.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:

Instead of just hiding?

You said they were comparable.

I'm asking you what other skill gives you that much of a combat advantage.

For defensive options, none that I can think of. For offensive options we have Intimidate: Demoralize and Bluff: Feint. Both of those can give a decent combat advantage for the cost of nothing more than a skill check.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Quote:

If hiding is so overpowered, why would spellcasters not just use that?

Why spend the spell known and the spell slot, when you could just spend skill ranks and feats to boost your stealth ability?

You're being rather circular here. I'm arguing hiding ISN"T that powerful, in no small part because of the observed clause.

Huh. Then what do you mean when you say that the easy stealth ruling is 'broken as hell' and if we play that way then we will have enemies popping the equivalent of improved invisibility every other round?

I was under the impression that you were arguing that hiding IS that powerful. At least under my reading of the rules.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Quote:
What other character defensive options that require character build investment can be completely countered with just a non-action skill check? Or failing that, just an untrained move action?

What "character defensive options that require character build investment" are there in the game?

I am talking about things that you have to choose when building your character. Things like 'spells known' selection, skill ranks assigned, equipment bought.

So the spell Mirror Image would be a defensive option that a player could have - and it would require character build investment in order to have it.

The simplest defensive option that a character could invest in would be armor.

The hide option also requires spending skill ranks in the skill checks needed in order to pull off the stunt.

A defensive option that doesn't require character build investment would be things like fighting defensively or total defense action. All characters can do those automatically. The player doesn't have to pay anything or give up getting something else in order to have that option available.

Does that clarify the question well enough? What defensive options that require character build investment can be defeated as thoroughly and easily as hiding can?

BigNorseWolf wrote:


Quote:

Do you have an experience at a game table where stealth was instead overpowering?

Lots. Both a home game DM who was rather fond of the tactic, and the occasional and the occasional society DM who ran rogues that way.

I'm always up for a good story. Pick one. Seeing hiding being overpowering in play would do more to convince me that it is in fact overpowered than debating theory will.


breithauticlan wrote:
or defensive options, none that I can think of. For offensive options we have Intimidate: Demoralize and Bluff: Feint. Both of those can give a decent combat advantage for the cost of nothing more than a skill check.

a -2 to hit is a 10% miss chance. That pales in comparison to a 50 percent miss chance or a 100% miss chance.

Feint takes a feat to be worth it at all. Otherwise you're trading two attacks for one attack at a +2, which is a bad deal.

Quote:
Huh. Then what do you mean when you say that the easy stealth ruling is 'broken as hell' and if we play that way then we will have enemies popping the equivalent of improved invisibility every other round?

You asked why casters don't do this.

PC casters don't do this because it's not the rules, at least not as they and the DM understand them.

NPC casters only do it when the writer thinks it's the rules. Which isn't all the time.

Quote:
I am talking about things that you have to choose when building your character. Things like 'spells known' selection, skill ranks assigned, equipment bought.

Dermal plating can be gotten around by just using an eac weapon

armor can be gotten around just by being an NPC

The enhanced resistanced feat can be gotten around with a 50 credit laser pistol

invisibility can be borked by a smoke cloud (puts you on equal footing)

lots of gas attacks are thwarted by armor.

Quote:
The hide option also requires spending skill ranks in the skill checks needed in order to pull off the stunt.

Skill ranks are hardly a scarce commodity in this system.

The bang for your buck is absurdly good.

Acrobatics is a very hard roll to negate 1 aoo (so like, 1/18th of a characters action economy)

Quote:
I'm always up for a good story. Pick one. Seeing hiding being overpowering in play would do more to convince me that it is in fact overpowered than debating theory will.

It's not really good ones. People would just cast blurr hit you and then nyah nyah you don't know where they went , see invisibiity doesn't counter it (because they're blurred and hiding not invisible). Or you spend half of a very long drawn out fight passing because you can't interact with anything. Snipers miss their -20 sniping roll but just go oh well and move somewhere else.

It has made for a craptastic play experience all around
It will absolutely not work as well for the PCs as the NPCs
and it doesn't have solid rules support.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
breithauticlan wrote:
or defensive options, none that I can think of. For offensive options we have Intimidate: Demoralize and Bluff: Feint. Both of those can give a decent combat advantage for the cost of nothing more than a skill check.

a -2 to hit is a 10% miss chance. That pales in comparison to a 50 percent miss chance or a 100% miss chance.

Feint takes a feat to be worth it at all. Otherwise you're trading two attacks for one attack at a +2, which is a bad deal.

The point is that other skills exist that have combat applications.

And yes, defensively Intimidate: Demoralize isn't great. But also remember that it applies that -2 to saving throws. I did list it as an offensive combat skill. It also helps counter Hide ;-)

BigNorseWolf wrote:


Quote:
Huh. Then what do you mean when you say that the easy stealth ruling is 'broken as hell' and if we play that way then we will have enemies popping the equivalent of improved invisibility every other round?

You asked why casters don't do this.

PC casters don't do this because it's not the rules, at least not as they and the DM understand them.

NPC casters only do it when the writer thinks it's the rules. Which isn't all the time.

My point here is that even in the easier stealth ruling (which from the survey of the people on this thread, most players play with), Stealth: Hide still isn't overpowering. Technomancers still favor Mirror Image. Soldiers still use smoke grenades. And quite often players spend their skill points in Piloting, Sense Motive, Acrobatics, or some other skill that they think would be useful and interesting instead of having Stealth be a must-pick skill for the defensive options that it provides.

In the easy stealth ruling.

BigNorseWolf wrote:


Quote:
I am talking about things that you have to choose when building your character. Things like 'spells known' selection, skill ranks assigned, equipment bought.

Dermal plating can be gotten around by just using an eac weapon

armor can be gotten around just by being an NPC

The enhanced resistanced feat can be gotten around with a 50 credit laser pistol

invisibility can be borked by a smoke cloud (puts you on equal footing)

lots of gas attacks are thwarted by armor.

Not disagreeing that any of these options are good defensive options.

But I would point out that all of the counters you have listed also require character build investment of their own. Hide can be countered with just a move action. Nothing special needed.

BigNorseWolf wrote:


Quote:
The hide option also requires spending skill ranks in the skill checks needed in order to pull off the stunt.

Skill ranks are hardly a scarce commodity in this system.

The bang for your buck is absurdly good.

Acrobatics is a very hard roll to negate 1 aoo (so like, 1/18th of a characters action economy)

Other than hiding, what is Stealth used for?

If, as I claim, hiding isn't overpowered - would it be a wise investment for a Technomancer to spend 1/4 of their base class's skill ranks each level on Stealth? Granted, a Technomancer would also likely have bonus skill ranks from their INT score. But still, that is a lot of percentage of their character build for skill allocation spent on one combat stunt. One that in my experience at least, doesn't work very reliably.

So like I pointed out earlier, even with the easy stealth ruling a lot of players that I have played with don't go for it because the bang isn't worth the buck.

BigNorseWolf wrote:


Quote:
I'm always up for a good story. Pick one. Seeing hiding being overpowering in play would do more to convince me that it is in fact overpowered than debating theory will.

It's not really good ones. People would just cast blurr hit you and then nyah nyah you don't know where they went , see invisibiity doesn't counter it (because they're blurred and hiding not invisible). Or you spend half of a very long drawn out fight passing because you can't interact with anything. Snipers miss their -20 sniping roll but just go oh well and move somewhere else.

It has made for a craptastic play experience all around
It will absolutely not work as well for the PCs as the NPCs
and it doesn't have solid rules support.

Clarifying: In these game scenarios that you are mentioning, which Stealth ruling were you using at the table? The easy stealth rules? or the harder stealth rules that you read them as?

And if you are mentioning casting Blur, then you are talking about Pathfinder or D&D 3.x, yes?


hard to spell kitty wrote:
The point is that other skills exist that have combat applications.

Wow, no. Either or fallacy.

I am NOT arguing that no other skills have combat applications.

I AM arguing that the easy stealth rules give stealth combat applications far, FAR above that of any other skill: to the point that you should really consider that reading of the rules if it gets that result.

"hey, there's water in the basement, perfectly normal this time of year"

"Hey, there's a sturgeon swimming in the basement, should we call a plumber or..."

Both are cases of "water in the basement" but the degree is important.

Quote:
My point here is that even in the easier stealth ruling (which from the survey of the people on this thread, most players play with),

1) the rules forum isn't the best representative sample

1a) it tends towards the munchkiny answer rather than the right one.

2) again, most players don't because something they do will break the stealth rules as they exist in the DMs head when a PC tries to do it.

3) The player needs terrain to pull this off. Which is under the DM/ the NPCs control. If the PC keeps doing it, it's going to be combats on Riggly field.

Quote:
But I would point out that all of the counters you have listed also require character build investment of their own. Hide can be countered with just a move action. Nothing special needed.

You need ranks in perception or the stealthers 1 will beat your 20.

Having an EAC weapon doesn't cost you anything compared to a KAC one.

Quote:
If, as I claim, hiding isn't overpowered - would it be a wise investment for a Technomancer to spend 1/4 of their base class's skill ranks each level on Stealth? Granted, a Technomancer would also likely have bonus skill ranks from their INT score. But still, that is a lot of percentage of their character build for skill allocation spent on one combat stunt. One that in my experience at least, doesn't work very reliably.

Absolutely. I'd go all in with skill focus and skill synergy and barricade. Poof, i have a better miss chance than the best armor against ranged attacks.

Quote:
Other than hiding, what is Stealth used for?

Stealth is used to gain or sometimes to avoid a surprise round at the start of a fight. A tactically important advantage in any fight.

It's used to sneak around.

Hiding in combat from people looking right at you .... no.

Quote:
And if you are mentioning casting Blur, then you are talking about Pathfinder or D&D 3.x, yes?

Yes, pathfinder and D&D 3.5. (before ultimate intrigue some people claimed blur let you stealth whereever)


The individual replies to lines is getting to be a bit long. Many of the responses are starting to converge anyway. Let me know if I miss one.

----------

Back in D&D 3.5 days I had a GM that ran combat like it was Final Fantasy. One team would line up on this side, the other team would line up on that side, and we would take turns throwing damage at each other. We didn't ever use figurines or battle maps. Terrain was never described.

I was playing a ranger.

With ranks in Hide and Move Silently.

Which felt like a complete waste.

As a GM myself, I have several times created NPCs that use stealth. It mixes things up a bit. It breaks up that Final Fantasy style combat. We use battle maps and figurines. I make sure to place and inform the other players about locations that provide cover. If any of the characters plan on using stealth (PC or NPC) I make sure that there are at least a couple ways of making it work. In all that time, I haven't ever seen stealth become overpowered.

So, no. I have never seen the sturgeon swimming in the basement. Though there is something I noticed about this that I will get to later.

And I agree that neither my own experience, nor a sampling of this forum qualify as a proper sample of game players. But it is all I have available.

When I am talking about the counters to Hide, I am meaning both the perception check and the ability to move to a place where the hiding enemy no longer has cover. The perception check does require skill ranks in perception to be viable. But moving doesn't.

If you move to a place where the enemy doesn't have cover, they are no longer hiding. Every character can do that. They don't need to have a single piece of equipment. It requires no skill checks - so it needs no character build investment at all, and the only possibility of failure is if there are multiple locations that the enemy could be hiding in and you aren't able to look behind all of them.

So your character concept of maxing Stealth skill, taking the barricade feat, and sneaking around the battlefield sounds awesome. It doesn't sound like it would be too powerful compared to its cost at all. You would be able to take a move action(I think it is a move action) to create the barricade, then take another move action to hide behind it. At that point you would have the +4 AC and +2 Reflex save from the barricade. You would also have the 50% miss chance against anyone who failed their perception check. They would still know where you are. You might be successfully contorting yourself behind that barricade such that none of your skin is showing, but they still know you are there. You could also (on subsequent turns) stealth move to a different bit of cover somewhere - again against some fraction of the enemy team - at which point you would have nearly 100% miss chance against those character's attacks.

And what could the enemy team do about it?

They could walk around your barricade.

All of that character development - three feats and a skill rank per level - wasted by a single Move Your Speed move action.

Now, if the rest of your team is on board with this and have positioned themselves such that they can prevent the enemy team from coming around the barricade, then it would work better. But now we are talking about entire party investment into this build. Maybe not much investment, or investment that is out of the ordinary. But it would still require some coordination at least. And it would likely lead to interesting and tension-filled combat. This sounds like lots of fun to me.

----------

This here:

BigNorseWolf wrote:
2) again, most players don't because something they do will break the stealth rules as they exist in the DMs head when a PC tries to do it.

I am having serious trouble understanding what you are meaning with that. Rephrase maybe?

But this here:

BigNorseWolf wrote:
3) The player needs terrain to pull this off. Which is under the DM/ the NPCs control. If the PC keeps doing it, it's going to be combats on Riggly field.

This sounds like an antagonistic GM problem rather than something wrong with the Stealth rules. If one of the players (or multiple players) are building a stealth-based character, deliberately removing any possibility of making it work is just going to make that player not have any enjoyment. I know that one from experience.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
before ultimate intrigue some people claimed blur let you stealth whereever

O.o

Uh huh. A Shadowdancer also can't hide in their own shadow.

That does sound broken.

---------------

Now, what I noticed about the sturgeon in the basement. I haven't ever seen any problems with stealth getting out of hand. But I have noticed how important Perception is. In AA:A1 NPC creation, it says that by default all NPCs should have 'good' skill bonus in Perception by default. In Pathfinder 2 they even removed it from the list of skills that the player chooses - even though it is calculated exactly the same as all of the rest of the skills. So it feels like they removed the trap option of not putting ranks in Perception.

So while Stealth may not be a must-pick skill because of its awesome overpowered combat applications, Perception (the main counter to Stealth) is.

What that implies to me is that while easy hiding may not cause problems, hard seeking does.

Having your party's caster able to hide from some of the enemies so that the enemies don't ignore the tanks and focus down the caster first thing: cool.

Having the one of the enemies pulling that same stunt on the players: cool.

Having an enemy hiding from the entire PC party for multiple rounds at a time: not so cool.
(And with Starfinder math and probabilities, this is a strong indicator that the GM is fudging rolls)

101 to 150 of 165 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Starfinder / Rules Questions / States of awarenes don't work. Does cover / conealment let you stealth or not? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.