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


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This has been a problem since pathfinder. They took a whack at it in ultimate intrigue and it didn't work. They used that for starfinder and... it still doesn't work.

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.

So Roger is standing behind a 3 foot tall wall.

He cannot stealth because he is currently being observed. Cover does not prevent attacks, or single target spells like magic missile, and observed is the only status that lets you cast those. There is a clear visual indicator of where he is (you know, the upper quarter of his body)

OR

Roger CAN stealth because cover is an example of somewhere he can't be observed.

Is that last sentence supposed to be total cover?


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Probably meant total cover and not regular cover.

If you change that little portion of it I think everything makes sense and works.


It's clear from the Stealth skill entry under Hide that both cover (the regular kind) and concealment (the 20% kind) allow you to attempt a stealth check to hide.

I'd edit the observation rule to say "move somewhere it can't be [fully] observed (a place with cover, for example)."

Sovereign Court

CRB p. 147 (Stealth skill) wrote:

Hide

You can use Stealth to hide if you have either cover or concealment (or a special ability that allows you to hide in plain sight), or if you have successfully created a diversion with the Bluff skill.

If you have cover or concealment, you can begin hiding.

CRB p. 260 (states of awareness) wrote:

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.

It seems that they had their mind made up pretty strongly that if you have cover, you can begin trying to hide from observation.

Roger is standing behind a wall that gives him cover? Right now he's not trying to hide so you can observe him clearly and cast Magic Missile at him. But he doesn't want that so he's going to try to hide. If his Stealth beats your Perception then you're no longer observing him, can't shoot him with Magic Missile anymore.

---

The Pathfinder CRB says multiple times that cover lets you stealth.
Ultimate Intrigue says cover lets you stealth.
Starfinder CRB says cover lets you stealth in both the Stealth and the States of Awareness section.

Seems to me the writers' intent is pretty clear here.

Sovereign Court

With that said, they should have probably called that section "the four and a half states of awareness".


Ascalaphus wrote:

It seems that they had their mind made up pretty strongly that if you have cover, you can begin trying to hide from observation.

Roger is standing behind a wall that gives him cover? Right now he's not trying to hide so you can observe him clearly and cast Magic Missile at him. But he doesn't want that so he's going to try to hide. If his Stealth beats your Perception then you're no longer observing him, can't shoot him with Magic Missile anymore.

---

The Pathfinder CRB says multiple times that cover lets you stealth.
Ultimate Intrigue says cover lets you stealth.
Starfinder CRB says cover lets you stealth in both the Stealth and the States of Awareness section.

Seems to me the writers' intent is pretty clear here.

Right. Dim light, weak fog, and cover (that isn't total cover) all obscure you sufficiently that if you're good enough at Stealth you can become completely unobserved in that not-full obscuration provided by the environment.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Yeah, seems to me that guy behind the wall can simply bend over or something to start stealthing. If it were a tree, he'd just suck in his gut or whatever.


A place with cover is NOT somewhere they can't be observed though.

1) it doesn't fit with any of the rest of the paragraph

2) It makes the "hey look a monkey" use of bluff a complete non issue: there is almost never a time when you'd be better off making 2 skill checks with a standard action then a move than making 1 skill check with just moving and then moving.

3) It gets really wonky. Two farmers on a moonlit night have a 50 50 chance of just vanishing in front of the other. Hit then whack

4) with a haste circuit/spell up shoot shoot and 30 feet to run behind cover and start stealthing. its better than invisibility.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
A place with cover is NOT somewhere they can't be observed though.

So what? The Stealth skill use and this paragraph says cover gives you the ability to Hide. Either the developers made a mistake by using the "can't be observed" language with respect to cover or they disagree with you about what that means. In any case, there's zero doubt that cover or concealment are all you need to attempt a stealth check.

BigNorseWolf wrote:


2) It makes the "hey look a monkey" use of bluff a complete non issue: there is almost never a time when you'd be better off making 2 skill checks with a standard action then a move than making 1 skill check with just moving and then moving.

Whenever you don't have cover/concealment in the square you are starting from. Bluff will let you do that (if successful), basic stealth won't.

BigNorseWolf wrote:


3) It gets really wonky. Two farmers on a moonlit night have a 50 50 chance of just vanishing in front of the other. Hit then whack

So what? It's the rules. If you don't like it, rule that 5' away counts as normal light, 5+ is dim light, some greater distance is total concealment/darkness.

BigNorseWolf wrote:


4) with a haste circuit/spell up shoot shoot and 30 feet to run behind cover and start stealthing. its better than invisibility.

You have to start AND end your movement in cover concealment/cover to stealth, which is worse than invisibility, and you can defeat stealth +0 with your perception, vs stealth +20 for invisibility. It's in no way better than invisibility.


For the game mechanics, plain old ordinary not-fully-unable-to-see-them cover is sufficient to allow a character to take a move action and use the stealth skill to become hidden.

The game rules are very clear and consistent on this.

If you think it is a bit wonky in the description, then you need to describe things in a way that makes it make more sense.

Ravingdork proposed (and I agree) that Roger, who is standing behind a 3 foot wall, can use that move action to crouch behind the wall so that he is not being seen. That is reasonably consistent with the game mechanics and is cinematically appropriate.

I don't see any reason to change the game mechanics based on an argument that (to paraphrase) the explanation that I have come up with to describe things doesn't make sense in the real world. Use a different description.


breithauptclan wrote:

For the game mechanics, plain old ordinary not-fully-unable-to-see-them cover is sufficient to allow a character to take a move action and use the stealth skill to become hidden.

The game rules are very clear and consistent on this.

Please define the awareness state of observed.


Observing wrote:
When you are observing a creature, you can directly perceive the creature with a precise sense.

So if I can see the top 18 inches of a creature, then I am observing it and I can target it with spells and weapons and such.

Compared to

Aware Of Location wrote:
you know exactly where the creature is located, but you still can’t observe the creature with a precise sense such as vision.

So before crouching behind the 3 foot wall, Roger is observed and can be attacked with Magic Missile. After taking a move action to crouch behind the wall and using the stealth skill (and being successful at it), then the enemy mage is only aware of location.

Aware Of Location wrote:
You must at least be aware of a creature’s location in order to directly attack it, though it is considered to have total concealment from you

But the enemy mage can still attack Roger until Roger changes location while remaining hidden.


If the enemy crouches down behind the wall where you can't see the top of their head they're moving to full cover and can't be targeted with the magic missile. (a three foot wall was picked because it's a little hard to do that without going outright prone)


BigNorseWolf wrote:
If the enemy crouches down behind the wall where you can't see the top of their head they're moving to full cover and can't be targeted with the magic missile. (a three foot wall was picked because it's a little hard to do that without going outright prone

Again that sounds like an argument from a disagreement between the mechanics rules and the description of events.

The mechanics rules are clear and well defined.

The description of events can be fudged as needed. I don't always describe the events strictly accurately to the game mechanics. That isn't the point of the rules.

In my opinion, the point of the rules is to define what you can and can't do to another character (either player character or an NPC character controlled by the GM). This prevents arguments and fights between players as they are trying to tell a shared story together. It answers the question of 'is that player really allowed to do that to my character?'

Describe the events however you like. But when it comes to hiding, targeting, attacking, and dealing damage - use the mechanics rules of the game.


One thing to remember is you do not stare at a given arc and continuously observe it in Pathfinder. You’re trying to look in all directions at once, which would hurt your ability to closely observe any particular thing. Presumably part of the stealth skill is ducking when an opponent swivels his head in your direction, popping up for your action when his attention moves on.


breithauptclan wrote:


The mechanics rules are clear and well defined.

They are not. The mechanics are at outright contradictions with one another.

A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth check without first breaking that observation.

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).

A creature with little enough cover to be magic missiled doesn't have enough cover for the cover to break observation on it's own.

You also have the question of why anyone would ever use "look a monkey" to break observation and then move to cover when they could just move to cover and then move to cover.

"four and a half states of awareness" resolves that contradiction. Denying its existence does not.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:


The mechanics rules are clear and well defined.

A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth check without first breaking that observation.

Error. Incomplete.

Skills: Stealth: Hide wrote:
You can use Stealth to hide if you have either cover or concealment (or a special ability that allows you to hide in plain sight), or if you have successfully created a diversion with the Bluff skill.

You can attempt a stealth check if you are not being observed, or if you have either cover or concealment, or if you create a diversion with bluff.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
A creature with little enough cover to be magic missiled doesn't have enough cover for the cover to break observation on it's own.

That is the purpose of making the character spend a move action to use the skill.

So Roger behind his 3 foot wall is allowed to make a hide check while being observed by an enemy mage - according to the game mechanics.

Describe it however you like in game.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
You also have the question of why anyone would ever use "look a monkey" to break observation and then move to cover when they could just move to cover and then move to cover.

If the character does the distraction first and then moves to cover, then the enemy doesn't know the location. If they move to cover first and then hide, the enemy is still aware of location. That would be the purpose.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm inclined to agree with breithauptclan on this one.


breithauptclan wrote:


A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth check without first breaking that observation.

Error. Incomplete.

Quoting a rule from a different part of the book to show that a statement is wrong but that there's no contradiction is in we were always at war with eastasia levels of not working.


Tiny owl wrote:
The Pathfinder CRB says multiple times that cover lets you stealth.

It didnt. It had a similar problem there whether you read a paragraph or individual sentences.

It also had a real problem that the rangers camoflage ability would have given them hide in plain sight, which they later got. There was no need to make cover and break observation different special abilities if one always gave you the other.

[quoteUltimate Intrigue says cover lets you stealth.

Had both the problems of starfinder with direct conflicting statements and the problems of the core rulebook when you read things together or seperately.

Quote:
Starfinder CRB says cover lets you stealth in both the Stealth and the States of Awareness section.

And also very directly states that you can't stealth while being observed, and that cover itself does not break observation.

Quote:
That is the purpose of making the character spend a move action to use the skill.

It doesn't take a move action to use the skill. You use the skill as part of a move action, so ducking down is essentially half of your move action if you don't want the -10 penalty or a free action if you don't care

If you attempt to hide while moving more than half your speed or after creating a diversion with Bluff, you take a –10 penalty to your Stealth check; these penalties are cumulative if you do both

Why wouldn't you just move to the cover you're going to wind up behind anyway , then move to different cover?

If you lose actual cover or concealment during your turn, you can attempt to stay hidden, but only if you end your turn within cover or concealment.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Quoting a rule from a different part of the book to show that a statement is wrong but that there's no contradiction is in we were always at war with eastasia levels of not working.

OK. From just the rules on Observing status.

Observing wrote:
A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth check without first breaking that observation. To break observation, the creature must ...* move somewhere it can’t be observed (a place with cover, for example).

* note, other options for breaking observation are given here also.

It is still consistent. You can make a stealth check while being observed if you have cover.

Are you getting hung up on the 'somewhere it can't be observed' text. Since technically it can be observed in the location where it has cover (when it is not making a stealth check)? Is that where the confusion/argument is coming from? If I was going to errata any of the text here it would be that. It should instead read 'move to a location that qualifies for making a sneak check to hide'. That is how I intuitively read it. Especially since it explicitly calls out a location with cover as qualifying.


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IBigNorseWolf wrote:
t doesn't take a move action to use the skill.

It does if you don't use the skill as part of a terrain traversal movement action.

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 ...


breithauptclan wrote:
IBigNorseWolf wrote:
t doesn't take a move action to use the skill.

It does if you don't use the skill as part of a terrain traversal movement action.

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 ...

You really don't want to stay in the last place people saw you if you plan on hidding. They're going to just come around the corner and see you.


breithauptclan wrote:


It is still consistent.

A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth check without first breaking that observation. To break observation, the creature must ...* move somewhere it can’t be observed (a place with cover, for example).

A place with cover is a place you cannot be observed is inconsistent with the states of awareness that cover does not break observation.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:
IBigNorseWolf wrote:
t doesn't take a move action to use the skill.

It does if you don't use the skill as part of a terrain traversal movement action.

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 ...
You really don't want to stay in the last place people saw you if you plan on hidding. They're going to just come around the corner and see you.

Or just attack the spot where they last saw you at. Moving would certainly be more advantageous.

But hiding in a known location does at least give you total concealment until they come around the corner. It isn't completely worthless. And it is legal in the mechanics.

Quote:
A place with cover is a place you cannot be observed is inconsistent with the states of awareness that cover does not break observation.

Yes. That could be worded better. I noted that earlier. I still think the intent of the mechanics is that a place with cover qualifies as a place where you can make a stealth check to hide. Even though being in that location (without making a stealth check) does not break observation. Considering that they specifically call out as an example in the rules for observing that a place with cover qualifies.


hard to spell kitty wrote:
. I still think the intent of the mechanics is that a place with cover qualifies as a place where you can make a stealth check to hide.

I cannot see why you would invent the game term observed and then go out of your way to make it absolutely synonymous with not having cover if that was the case. There's no reason for observed to matter , at all,...

Unless standing behind cover when no one sees you (like for an ambush) is different than hiding behind cover when someone has already seen you.

If you walk into the room and Polonius is hiding behind the curtain you might not see his feet sticking out. If you watch Polonius walk back there, you're not going to lose track of him.

You walk into the room, Polonius has cover and non observed status, he can make a stealth check

Polonius walks from in front of you to behind the curtain he has cover but is observed, he can't hide


The idea that cover and unobserved aren't synonymous shows up in other places too

While the cloaking field is active, you can use Stealth to hide, even while being directly observed and with no place to hide.

The barricade feat= hide in plain sight.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

The idea that cover and unobserved aren't synonymous shows up in other places too

While the cloaking field is active, you can use Stealth to hide, even while being directly observed and with no place to hide.

The barricade feat= hide in plain sight.

I don't see the issue. It's only from one direction so you can negate his cover and his stealth by moving and changing your line of attack, and otherwise you still know he's in that square if you want to attack him - his stealth roll just means he successfully ducks down behind the cover when you're trying to see/shoot at him, so you've got a 50% miss chance.

Sovereign Court

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Starfinder CRB p. 137 (Skills > Bluff) wrote:

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, or you gain a +10 bonus to perform the palm an object task of Sleight of Hand (your choice). Occasionally, your Bluff check might be opposed by several creatures (for instance, if you are on a crowded space station promenade); in such cases, the GM might decide to roll several Sense Motive checks, and you succeed only against creatures with Sense Motive results lower than your Bluff result.

This says that with a succesful diversion you can hide as if you had cover.

Starfinder CRB p. 147 (Skills > Stealth) wrote:

Hide

You can use Stealth to hide if you have either cover or concealment (or a special ability that allows you to hide in plain sight), or if you have successfully created a diversion with the Bluff skill. 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. If you move at a rate of half your speed or less, you take no penalty to your Stealth check. If you attempt to hide while moving more than half your speed or after creating a diversion with Bluff, you take a –10 penalty to your Stealth check; these penalties are cumulative if you do both. The check is opposed by the Perception checks of creatures in the area that might detect you. 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. A creature that succeeds at the opposed skill check either sees you or pinpoints you (see page 260) in situations when you have total concealment. If you lose actual cover or concealment during your turn, you can attempt to stay hidden, but only if you end your turn within cover or concealment.

This says you can hide if you have cover.

Starfinder CRB p. 254 (Tactical Rules > Cover) wrote:

Soft Cover

Creatures, even enemies, between you and the source of an effect provide you with cover against ranged attacks, giving you a +4 bonus to AC. However, soft cover provides no bonus to Reflex saves, nor does soft cover allow you to attempt a Stealth check.

This says that you can't use soft cover to hide, which is only necessary to point out if regular cover allows you to hide.

Starfinder CRB p. 260 (Tactical Rules > Senses > The Four States of Awareness) wrote:

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.

The first pragraph says that you are observing a creature if at least one of the following is true:

* The creature is visible
* The situation makes it impossible for the creature to use Stealth to hide
* or You have succeeded at a perception check to pinpoint the creature with a precise sense like blindsight.

It's the "or" that is important. It distinguishes the case where a creature is visible (but could have cover) from a situation where the creature is not allowed to attempt stealth checks.

The second paragraph is the one you keep getting stuck on, because it basically says "before you use stealth to stop being observed you must first break observation". I think it's that sentence that's wrong, because the rest of the book is very consistent in saying that cover lets you hide. I think the problem is that the sentence uses the word "observed" and "observation", but they don't mean the same thing. The first one is a game term referring to the Observed state of awareness; the second should be read as "looking at without obstruction". "Somewhere it can't be observed" should also be understood as "can't be looked at without obstruction".


A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth check without first breaking that observation

Why is that there? Why is observed a thing? Why not just say "you need cover to stealth" and be done with it?

easy stealth= how you're reading it cover breaks observation
hard stealth= how i'm reading it cover doesn't break existing observation

Quote:
because the rest of the book is very consistent in saying that cover lets you hide.

It isn't, on a large number of accounts.

First off, take observed completely out of the game and what changes for the easier stealth interpretation? Observed is a completely unnecessary thing to track if its synonymous with has cover.

Secondly, give me some set up where you're better off using bluffs "look a monkey!" to break observation than just breaking observation. It seems like it should be a thing, but if you can just start stealthing behind cover, AND you can move from cover to cover, there's no reason to ever bluff someone (baring some truly bizarre teleporter or slide shenanigans) Your standard action to bluff and then 15 feet of movement could MUCH be better spent as 30 feet of movement.

Third, abilities list cover and observation as seperate things that stealth enablers deal with. The operatives cloaking field for one. There's no reason to do that if cover/concealment automatically broke observation.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Secondly, give me some set up where you're better off using bluffs "look a monkey!" to break observation than just breaking observation.

Since Diversion lets you hide as if you had cover or concealment, it would be when you don't have cover or concealment.


Nerdy Canuck wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Secondly, give me some set up where you're better off using bluffs "look a monkey!" to break observation than just breaking observation.
Since Diversion lets you hide as if you had cover or concealment, it would be when you don't have cover or concealment.

It only lasts long enough for you to get there.

You go look a monkey, everyone turns away, you need to move your rump behind something. (you can't stand there holding a branch saying "I'm a Bush and make a stealth check)

Situations where you wouldn't move behind something, stealth, and then move behind something else with the same action economy are so niche as to be non existant/ not something you'd write rules for.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

A creature currently being observed can’t attempt a Stealth check without first breaking that observation

Why is that there? Why is observed a thing? Why not just say "you need cover to stealth" and be done with it?

This prevents giving everyone Hide in Plain Sight for free. If my character is in a large empty room and an enemy walks in and points a gun at me, I can't just start making stealth checks because 'A creature currently being observed can't attempt a Stealth check without first breaking that observation.'

BigNorseWolf wrote:

First off, take observed completely out of the game and what changes for the easier stealth interpretation? Observed is a completely unnecessary thing to track if its synonymous with has cover.

To start with, taking the Observed state of awareness out of the game would leave the rest of the states of awareness lacking. We would have people asking, 'If I am not Unaware, and I am not Aware of Presence, and I am not Aware of Location, then what?' They would probably be trolling, but it would make the Paizo game dev's look stupid.

As far as stealth and hiding, as I said - without that rule about not making stealth checks while an enemy has Observing status against you without moving to a location or taking an action to qualify for a stealth check, then everyone effectively gets Hide in Plain Sight for free.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Secondly, give me some set up where you're better off using bluffs "look a monkey!" to break observation than just breaking observation. It seems like it should be a thing, but if you can just start stealthing behind cover, AND you can move from cover to cover, there's no reason to ever bluff someone (baring some truly bizarre teleporter or slide shenanigans) Your standard action to bluff and then 15 feet of movement could MUCH be better spent as 30 feet of movement.

I did that already.

If you move behind cover and then make a stealth check (staying in the same location) then the enemy is still Aware of Location.

If you instead go, 'look! a monkey.' Then move and hide behind that curtain, the enemy is not Aware of Location.

What do you mean by 'just breaking observation'? From what I know, the only way to 'just break observation' is moving to a location that provides total concealment (or total cover since that also provides total concealment).

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Third, abilities list cover and observation as seperate things that stealth enablers deal with. The operatives cloaking field for one. There's no reason to do that if cover/concealment automatically broke observation.

Cover and concealment don't break observation automatically. When you move to a location that has cover, you are still Observed by enemies that had Observing state before. Being behind cover qualifies you to make a stealth check to hide. It is listed as one of the options in both the rules on Observing and the rules on Hide.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Situations where you wouldn't move behind something, stealth, and then move behind something else with the same action economy are so niche as to be non existant/ not something you'd write rules for.

Let's see...

Rooms where there is only one location that provides cover or concealment.

Places where there is only one place with concealment that you can reach in the amount of distance you can travel.

Setups where there are several places with cover, but only one of them has cover against all of the enemies.

When going up against intelligent enemies: setups where there are multiple places of concealment, but you don't want the enemies to be able to quickly deduce which one you went and hid in.

I think that actually covers most setups that I can think of where I would be wanting to hide after the encounter already started.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Nerdy Canuck wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Secondly, give me some set up where you're better off using bluffs "look a monkey!" to break observation than just breaking observation.
Since Diversion lets you hide as if you had cover or concealment, it would be when you don't have cover or concealment.

It only lasts long enough for you to get there.

You go look a monkey, everyone turns away, you need to move your rump behind something. (you can't stand there holding a branch saying "I'm a Bush and make a stealth check)

Situations where you wouldn't move behind something, stealth, and then move behind something else with the same action economy are so niche as to be non existant/ not something you'd write rules for.

Not at all! If you bluff and stealth, they literally don't know where you went, although they can probably guess you're in a covered or concealed square within a reasonable range of your estimated movement speed. If that's multiple locations scattered around a room (crates in a warehouse, or multiple doors out of a room), you don't know which one to approach (e.g. to search or for blindsight range purposes) or attack with AOEs.

If you move and then stealth, they know exactly which piece of cover/concealment you went into, and know you had to stop and take a move action to complete your hide action there. You move up to close the range if that's beneficial to you, or you can hit that area with a grenade, Explosive Blast spell, or explode weapon of your choice to damage the stealthing character.

If you were doing it in a room with four open doors, they know exactly which door you went through before you disappeared, rather than having to guess and potentially waste time rushing through the wrong door after you.


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In short, the bluff check to hide increases the number of places that you could be hiding. Making it harder for the enemies to just walk over to the hiding place that you are in and find you there.


Aha! Bluff then Stealth is also a means to avoid attacks of opportunity.

"Hey, look over there!" followed by walking through their threatened area - Bluff (Diversion) qualifies you to make the Stealth (Hide) check, then the successful Stealth (Hide) check gives you total concealment and therefore immunity to AoOs during your movement.

Sovereign Court

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

It isn't, on a large number of accounts.

First off, take observed completely out of the game and what changes for the easier stealth interpretation? Observed is a completely unnecessary thing to track if its synonymous with has cover.

It's not precisely - someone in a wide open empty room is observed; someone in cover but not actively trying to hide is observed; someone in cover who beats your Perception check is no longer observed.

But I do think calling it Four states of awareness was a bit of a misnomer because they kinda split observation down into "observation with no chance of hiding" and "observation and hasn't successfully hidden yet but could start any moment".

So four and a half states of awareness.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Secondly, give me some set up where you're better off using bluffs "look a monkey!" to break observation than just breaking observation. It seems like it should be a thing, but if you can just start stealthing behind cover, AND you can move from cover to cover, there's no reason to ever bluff someone (baring some truly bizarre teleporter or slide shenanigans) Your standard action to bluff and then 15 feet of movement could MUCH be better spent as 30 feet of movement.

Just because the Bluff option exist doesn't mean it has to be equal or better than other options.

It does have one major use case: preventing people from knowing where you went to hide. If I'm standing in front of you and use Bluff, I could Hide and move into cover to stay hidden on the right or the left of you, and you won't know for certain in which direction to go looking for me.

If I'd just moved left from the start, I would also be hidden, but you would know where to look.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Third, abilities list cover and observation as seperate things that stealth enablers deal with. The operatives cloaking field for one. There's no reason to do that if cover/concealment automatically broke observation.

The cloaking field is a solution if no cover or concealment is available: "While the cloaking field is active, you can use Stealth to hide, even while being directly observed and with no place to hide."

It also allows you to stay hidden much closer to your enemies, while they wrongly assume you must have moved behind that stack of crates over there because that's the only cover nearby.


breithauptclan wrote:
In short, the bluff check to hide increases the number of places that you could be hiding. Making it harder for the enemies to just walk over to the hiding place that you are in and find you there.

It doesn't. because you have to use your standard action to bluff and then move you gain no advantage over move+stealth +another move +stealth.

Quote:
Rooms where there is only one location that provides cover or concealment.

Won't help you, they know where you are.

Quote:
Places where there is only one place with concealment that you can reach in the amount of distance you can travel.

1) won't help you they know where you are

2) you can get twice as far with using both of your move actions to hide as you can with bluff + stealth.

Quote:
Setups where there are several places with cover, but only one of them has cover against all of the enemies.

Same problem, they know where you went.

Quote:


When going up against intelligent enemies: setups where there are multiple places of concealment, but you don't want the enemies to be able to quickly deduce which one you went and hid in.

Again, start hiding and then move gives you twice the distance you can travel and probably at least that many hiding places.

Quote:
I think that actually covers most setups that I can think of where I would be wanting to hide after the encounter already started.

Really not the question.

If you can stealth with just cover, why wouldn't you just stealth stealth with no penalty instead of bluff stealth at -10 ? (or fast stealth for 60 feet of possibilities at -10 rather than make a bluff check AND a stealth check at -20?)

The look a monkey option is there to break observation. It's there for a reason and it makes it absurdly difficulty to just vanish while people are looking at you: because just vanishing while people are looking at you is exceedingly difficult.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

you can stealth with just cover, why wouldn't you just stealth stealth with no penalty instead of bluff stealth at -10 ?

For the fourth or fifth time, because you won't always have cover. Bluff lets you attempt stealth when you otherwise can't. Even in an area with no cover/concealment where you break stealth automatically at the end, you can at least avoid AOOs during your movement.


Ascalaphus wrote:


It's not precisely - someone in a wide open empty room is observed; someone in cover but not actively trying to hide is observed; someone in cover who beats your Perception check is no longer observed.

Someone who successfully enters stealth drops down to is "Aware of presence" . There is no need for observed to be a thing there.

Quote:
But I do think calling it Four states of awareness was a bit of a misnomer because they kinda split observation down into "observation with no chance of hiding" and "observation and hasn't successfully hidden yet but could start any moment".

There's no need for observed to be a seperate thing there. Just cover/no cover.

Quote:
So four and a half states of awareness.

Okay, so there is a FUBAR in the rules somewhere.

What's the best resolution in terms of other rules, workability, game balance, and realism?

I think that reading it with total cover instead of cover in the last sentence fixes just about everything, doesn't break anything, and fits the most pieces of evidence.

Going back to 3.5 where these rules were inspired by, requiring cover and non observed status were completely seperate powers on the ranger. They were gained at different levels when ignoring cover would have given automatic unobserved status.

Observed status shouldn't interact with stealth at all in starfinder if the easy stealth interpretation is correct. There is absolutely zero reason to bring up the concept, at all. Someone can accidentally forget a word or use cover as a catagory instead of a specific thing but you really can't accidentally make up a word and an entire concept around it. You definitely can't do that and then...

Have it crop up again in special abilities that let you stealth. Again, why does cloaking field even care about observed if it automatically breaks observation with concealment?

You are flat footed against a target that's succeded at a stealth check against you. With the easy stealth rulings every ranged combatant should be making a stealth check and then shooting nearly every round (because cover is ridiculously easy to come by) Because combat needs more rolls.

The bluff check to batman someone is a thing. It doesn't NEED to be equal to or better than other options but if one way of reading the rules makes you see WHY you would ever want to do something that hard (because you have to) and another reading makes it 99.44% superfluous... thats a bit of evidence for the first reading.

Having observation and cover as two different things gets you... pretty on the nose results as far as realism goes. YOu can walk into a room and miss polonius behind the tapestry, but it you watch him walk back there you're not a toddler that doesn't understand object permanence. Realism isn't always a systems goal, but mundane skills don't generally go TOO far off the mark.

Easy stealth lets people standing right next to each other on a moonlit night vanish and walk around the other person. Its not even hard. I have been in a pitch black cave and it was easier to keep track of people than a 50 50 chance of losing total track of someone like that.

Quote:
It does have one major use case: preventing people from knowing where you went to hide. If I'm standing in front of you and use Bluff, I could Hide and move into cover to stay hidden on the right or the left of you, and you won't know for certain in which direction to go looking for me.

It does not do this.

If you can reach those spots, you can instead of making a stealth check at -10, simply move left, make a stealth check, and then go right. It doesn't matter if there's a big open space in between them because you can move cover to cover.

Quote:
The cloaking field is a solution if no cover or concealment is available: "While the cloaking field is active, you can use Stealth to hide, even while being directly observed and with no place to hide."

I'm not asking how the ability works. I'm asking why it would bother to mention "while being directly observed". Why is observed even a thing if ALL you need is a place to hide? You can take that part of the ability out. There's no reason for it to keep coming up under your interpretation but it does.

They keep including it for a reason, that reason seems to be that it's a seperate requirement for stealthing.

hard stealth

1) Answers why the heck observed is a thing at all
1a) why observed is a thing that pops up in other rules
2) is more realistic
3) explains why "look a monkey" is even a thing
4) makes it so stealth is how you get a surprise round, not trying to turn a skill into a +2 to hit every round.

Sovereign Court

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

Okay, so there is a FUBAR in the rules somewhere.

What's the best resolution in terms of other rules, workability, game balance, and realism?

I think that reading it with total cover instead of cover in the last sentence fixes just about everything, doesn't break anything, and fits the most pieces of evidence.

Going back to 3.5 where these rules were inspired by, requiring cover and non observed status were completely seperate powers on the ranger. They were gained at different levels when ignoring cover would have given automatic unobserved status.

This is really getting absurd. How things worked in 3.5 is 15 years removed from the publication of Starfinder. Pathfinder has been around for almost a decade, and the stealth rules have been argued extensively. The cover/stealth rules have also been argued extensively in Ultimate Intrigue. If you want to know what Paizo meant about Stealth, look at what they're writing recently and not what different people wrote more than a decade ago in a different game. Just accept that the ranger was badly copy-pasted but that those class abilities were so obscure and rarely used that nobody noticed or cared.

In both Pathfinder CRB, Ultimate Intrigue and a couple of years later in Starfinder, the book is full of sentences saying "cover allows stealth". At some point you have to accept that they meant what they said over and over again.

The books make plenty of distinctions between regular and total cover. I find it very hard to believe that they would consistently say cover when they meant total cover, but only in the case of stealth. Over a span of nine years of publication.

Lots of text in the stealth rules has changed - they keep trying to explain observation, but they keep the cover=>stealth bits the same. It seems pretty clear that that is what they want and they're just having trouble explaining it.

If you're faced with an inconsistent text, and there's a simple statement repeated over and over and a rather complex single line that contradicts it, odds are the convoluted line is in the wrong.


Asclapius wrote:
In both Pathfinder CRB, Ultimate Intrigue and a couple of years later in Starfinder, the book is full of sentences saying "cover allows stealth". At some point you have to accept that they meant what they said over and over again.

Absolutely not. They've been copying and pasting and expounding on the same contradiction over and over. They keep making observed a thing.


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Gretchen, stop trying to make observed happen, it's not going to happen.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Quote:
So four and a half states of awareness.

Okay, so there is a FUBAR in the rules somewhere.

What's the best resolution in terms of other rules, workability, game balance, and realism?

I think that reading it with total cover instead of cover in the last sentence fixes just about everything, doesn't break anything, and fits the most pieces of evidence.

Disagree.

It ignores practically the entire text of the Stealth: Hide skill where it says that cover or concealment is what is needed.

It ignores the example that the developers gave in the Observed state of awareness.

---------

As a counter to the argument, I can (and already have) propose a different edit to the rules.

Change the rule text for the Observed state of awareness to the following: changes bolded.

Observed wrote:

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 that qualifies for making a stealth check to hide (a place with cover, for example), or use Bluff to create a distraction to momentarily break your observation of it.

1) I maintain that this change is not actually a change in the meaning of the rules. Just a change in wording.

2) I also maintain that this change removes all inconsistencies in the rules. Meaning the mechanics of the game engine itself. I don't accept arguments about how the mechanics of the rules interfere with the details of the description of events as a valid argument to change the rules of the game.

Now, that first point is a matter of opinion. You could instead argue that the Paizo devs intended for the rules on Observed to be contradictory with the example that they provide and the rules for Hide. I'm actually tired of trying to argue against that line of reasoning.

However, I am more interested in the second point. If you do (hypothetically) accept the errata that I have proposed, are there any further ambiguities or contradictory elements in the mechanics rules of the game regarding stealth and awareness?


Disagree.

Quote:
It ignores practically the entire text of the Stealth: Hide skill where it says that cover or concealment is what is needed.

It doesn't. Change that one cover to total cover and everything falls into place

Quote:
It ignores the example that the developers gave in the Observed state of awareness.

No, hard no, and... no. Observed states of awareness are a big basis for the contradiction. Shown, demonstrated, and evidenced. I cannot take anything you say seriously if you're going to try to insult me by saying i'm ignoring something without showing it.

However, I am more interested in the second point. If you do (hypothetically) accept the errata that I have proposed, are there any further ambiguities or contradictory elements in the mechanics rules of the game regarding stealth and awareness?

1)you have the problem that there is no reason for observation to be a thing, at all. Why not just eliminate it completely from stealth?

1a) Answer why the heck a bluff check to hide is a thing with a -10 penalty. Seriously, NONE of the examples you came up with would make it a viable option.

I don't think you realize how abusable stealth is under your interpretation because most people don't play stealth working that way. You would want to make a stealth check nearly every round in the hopes of flat footing your foe.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

Disagree.

Quote:
It ignores practically the entire text of the Stealth: Hide skill where it says that cover or concealment is what is needed.

It doesn't. Change that one cover to total cover and everything falls into place

Which one instance of cover? Just the one in the rules for Observed? The one in the example?

Observed wrote:
move somewhere it can’t be observed (a place with cover, for example)

That doesn't account for the instances in the Hide skill where it also lists that only cover is required to make stealth checks to hide. There are four more places there.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Quote:
It ignores the example that the developers gave in the Observed state of awareness.

No, hard no, and... no. Observed states of awareness are a big basis for the contradiction. Shown, demonstrated, and evidenced. I cannot take anything you say seriously if you're going to try to insult me by saying i'm ignoring something without showing it.

How many times to I have to quote this to make you happy? Or is it that listing out the rule as a direct quote doesn't count as 'showing it'?

observed wrote:
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.

A place with cover for example.

A place with cover for example.

A place with cover for example.

A place with cover for example.

A place with cover for example.

A place with cover for example.

Yup. Still definitely qualifies as support for the statement "[your ruling] ignores the example that the developers gave in the Observed state of awareness.

It lists right there that cover is the example that the Paizo devs use for a place to 'move somewhere it can't be observed'. I understand that this is the text that you are wanting to change. But don't try and tell me that the text written there isn't there.

ps. Yeah, I am also feeling a bit insulted here. I think that debate about opposing views are good for the system. Nothing helps refine one's thinking on a topic than a competent debate partner with a different point of view. But it feels like you are just blatantly ignoring anything that I say. Part of being a good debate partner is knowing how and when to concede the argument.


Quote:
Yup. Still definitely qualifies as support for the statement "[your ruling] ignores the example that the developers gave in the Observed state of awareness.

My bad. I missed where it was repeated.

Still, Taking one or two datapoints, comparing it with the rest of the datapoints, and not going with that one datapoint is only ignoring that data point IF you believe the rules to be without error.

I do not believe that to be the case. I don't override parts of the raw lightly but

To me, "Hey, do you mean partial cover, total cover, cover cover..." here or the rules not being written with one coherent idea of how they worked in mind seems more likely than

1) accidentally creating an entire thing (observed) that has zero purpose

2) accidentally making a bluff check to break that thing (observed) 99.44% superflous

3) Creating an unrealistically easy ability to start sneaking in front of people (mundane skills tend to be realistically realistic)

4) making a skill grant a fairly common combat bonus to hit (in the form of making your opponent flat footed)

5) bringing up observed as something stealth enabling abilities deal with.

6) Not intending, but accidentally having a converse reading of the rules that works with MOST other parts of the rules AND

7) reality. If you read the stealth rules the way I do, what breaks in the game, what breaks in between the game and reality?

Observed not covered: Polonius in the middle of the room. Can't hide

Covered and not observed: Polonius behind the tapestry. Can hide

Observed and covered: Polonius does "gotchyournose" you off and walks behind the tapestry. Can't hide you see where he went.

That seems a little too good for a random rules screwup (mind you I have had some epic achievements in ignorance that are probably not past the statute of limitations yet..) . I would expect a bad reading of the rules to screw something up besides the same phrase and problem copy pasted: either between functionally working to mirror reality or to functionally work with the rest of the game.

Sovereign Court

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

To me, "Hey, do you mean partial cover, total cover, cover cover..." here or the rules not being written with one coherent idea of how they worked in mind seems more likely than

1) accidentally creating an entire thing (observed) that has zero purpose

It doesn't. The other states of awareness all apply only when/cause someone to have total concealment. Observed doesn't mean you're seeing someone perfectly, just that you can see them at all.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
2) accidentally making a bluff check to break that thing (observed) 99.44% superflous

You're really hung up on that bluff check. In Pathfinder it was written a bit ambiguously, but in Starfinder it's clear that it's really just a substitute for cover: "If you succeed, you can either attempt the hide task of Stealth as if you had cover or concealment". You seem obsessed with the idea that the bluff check should be THE way of getting hidden. It's really not. It's more like a last resort way. It's useful if you want to escape and don't want people to know in which direction you escape.

You keep saying that cover is so plentiful so if cover was enough then the bluff would be useless. But if cover is plentiful, bluff is actually pretty useful, because then people will be wondering which of many covered places you went to hide in.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
3) Creating an unrealistically easy ability to start sneaking in front of people (mundane skills tend to be realistically realistic)

"Realism" is almost always a bad argument. How many calories does the wizard need to eat to cast a fireball?

Cover as a sufficient condition for stealth seems perfectly plausible to me. That wall is sort of high enough that if you crouch you're hard to see but if you stand up straight I can see you clearly. If it's too low for that, you should check the conditions, it probably doesn't count as cover either but only as partial cover.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
4) making a skill grant a fairly common combat bonus to hit (in the form of making your opponent flat footed)

But at the cost of a move action, so no full attacks. And you have to actually beat the monster's perception check, which is normally at least rated "good" (AA p. 128, 142) so it scales up by 1.5 per CR, meaning that only characters with some scaling bonus to stealth can keep up with it. Which are only operatives, but operatives have trick attack which basically does this but for more damage against a lower DC. So this is really not the big problem you think it is. More like a feature at low level that kinda tapers off at higher level for PCs. Stealthy monsters could keep doing it instead of full attacks, but that's also not a bad thing, creates interesting battles where the PCs need to maneuver so the monster can't keep lurking in cover. Pushing people to be mobile in combat is clearly something Starfinder wants to do.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
5) bringing up observed as something stealth enabling abilities deal with.

If you mean the Cloaking Field exploit, that one works perfectly fine. It allows you to stealth without cover. Which is useful if you need to operate in the middle of the room, for example to walk up to the console and press some buttons or to get to a fallen teammate and stabilize them without being seen. Or to bypass mooks and attack the boss from an unexpected direction.

It you mean the Stealth Warp revelation, that one also mentions When you are attuned or fully attuned, you can use this revelation to reduce your sensory output so much that you can attempt a Stealth check even when you’re directly observed and lack cover or a distraction. You are not invisible, simply difficult to see clearly, and if a creature was observing you prior to your Stealth check, it remains aware of your location until you successfully reach cover or concealment. This again says that you need either cover or a distraction to begin stealth. Unless you have this power in which case you can do it in the open.

These are the only abilities in the CRB I found that mention observation, and they are both specifically ways to hide when you don't have cover to break observation.

I searched Archives of Nethys for other mentions of "observation", "observed", "observing" and "observe". Most of them deal with either watching scary aliens from afar or cases of Disguise or hidden weapons/Sleight of Hand. A couple more things float to the top though:

The Eerie Perception manifestation of Shadow Corruption gives or improves darkvision and then allows you to observe creatures otherwise hidden by dim light, darkness, or invisibility, if you know where they are and that is the only thing they're using to hide. Implying there might be another thing they're using to hide: cover.

The Shadow Cloak manifestation of Shadow Corruption allows you to hide while being observed as long as you're in dim light or darkness (regardless of the senses of the observed).

Shadow Mastiffs are so shady they can hide without cover as long as they're not in bright light. Again going with the shadow critter theme that the darkvision of the observer doesn't matter so much against these beasts.

The Shadow Creature Summoning Graft allows the shady critter to hide even while observed or lacking cover, as long as it's not in bright light.

So that's Alien Archive 1 and two more AP books also using cover as a sufficient condition for hiding.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
6) Not intending, but accidentally having a converse reading of the rules that works with MOST other parts of the rules AND

You're still hung up on one awkward section, while every other part of the rules consistently says cover is sufficient for hiding. Just like it said in Ultimate Intrigue and the Pathfinder CRB.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

7) reality. If you read the stealth rules the way I do, what breaks in the game, what breaks in between the game and reality?

Observed not covered: Polonius in the middle of the room. Can't hide

Covered and not observed: Polonius behind the tapestry. Can hide

Observed and covered: Polonius does "gotchyournose" you off and walks behind the tapestry. Can't hide you see where he went.

That seems a little too good for a random rules screwup (mind you I have had some epic achievements in ignorance that are probably not past the statute of limitations yet..) . I would expect a bad reading of the rules to screw something up besides the same phrase and problem copy pasted: either between functionally working to mirror reality or to functionally work with the rest of the game.

To go with your Polonius analogy:

* Unaware: You didn't know Polonius was in this scene. He has total concealment.
* Aware of Presence: You know Polonius is in the room somewhere. It might be behind that curtain, but it's 20ft wide. He has total concealment.
* Aware of Location: He just coughed and you know which part of the curtain he's behind. He has total concealment.
* Observed: this could be one of several sub-cases;

- Concealed, but hasn't succeeded in hiding: you see his toes sticking out, so he just has 20% concealment.
- Covered, but hasn't succeeded in hiding: Polonius is actually behind that compensating-for-something high backed chair.

Now if Polonius drew in his feet a little (a succesful Stealth check to Hide) you'd no longer be able to observe him behind the curtain (but you're Aware of Location). He could start to quietly shuffle to the side and then you're only Aware of Presence.

And if he crouched a bit and held quite still, he'd be hard to see behind the chair. You're still Aware of Location, but maybe he manages to quietly crawl under the table and then you'd only be Aware of Presence.

----

Bonus point. You keep complaining that if concealment is enough to hide that you could have a ridiculous scuffle in the dim starlight between two peasants, but the rules say exactly that that is possible:

Dim Light

In dim light, you can somewhat make out shapes, but you can’t see precise details well at all. Dim light includes moonlight outside at night and bright starlight, or a starship’s emergency backup lights. An area just beyond the range of a light source has dim light. Creatures within an area of dim light have concealment (20% miss chance; see page 253) from creatures without darkvision or the ability to see in darkness. Because dim light is not ideal for observation, if you’re in an area of dim light, you can attempt a Stealth check to conceal yourself from creatures without low-light vision, darkvision, or blindsight. Dim light does not affect creatures with low-light vision, which can see in dim light as if it were normal light.


Ascalaphus wrote:
And you have to actually beat the monster's perception check, which is normally at least rated "good" (AA p. 128, 142) so it scales up by 1.5 per CR, meaning that only characters with some scaling bonus to stealth can keep up with it. Which are only operatives, but operatives have trick attack which basically does this but for more damage against a lower DC.

Shadow connection Mystics also have an insight bonus to Stealth, which they double in dim light/darkness, and at level 3 they can generate dim light on their square that can't be seen through with darkvision (and presumably low light vision was intended, but they didn't list it). They're by far the best stealth option in the game.

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