Hide in Plain Sight: Definitive Ruling Please or Help Finding One


Rules Questions


We are running a Westmarshes Campaign (a "council" of DMs, there are three of us) and Hide in Plain Sight has become a point of contention as it always does. We've done a lot of research, and we are all a bit of the rules layer type. We found this post: https://paizo.com/threads/rzs2kkoe&page=1?Why-is-the-Assassin-better-at -Hide-in-Plain#2

This should mean that someone can hide in the shadows of their enemies, or the shadows of chairs, grass, cracks, the rain and everything between. Effectively they can hide anywhere; however a counter argument has been put up that if shadow=dim light, and dim light is a specific lighting setting in the game, do they need to be within 10ft of dim lighting (as the rules here (https://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/exploration-movement#TOC-Vision-and -Light) or are shadows for this ability different?

TL;DR Can I hide anywhere there is a literally shadow of any type, or do I need to be within 10ft of a square of dim light? Dim Light=Shadow doesn't seem to clarify which is needed.

Thank you for any responses, and please cite sources me have not found to support what you say. Any official response is also much appreciated.

Thanks again.

Grand Lodge

A clear answer and/or official response will probably never come given their current schedule, so Table Variation (capital letters on purpose) is the only plausible response that can be given, unless there's somewhere a Paizo staffer who gave inpt.


My group hasn't had this variation come up exactly, because not many people use the assassin prestige class.

However, as a GM I would probably rule:
1) Dim light is not required
2) Shadows are required, but the shadow must be at least reasonably comparable to your characters size. So no hiding in rain drop shadows. An adult human couldn't hide in the shadow of a human child, but a halfling probably could. Its going to be GM discretion.

If the GM really wants to make this ability not work though, they simply use darkness spells and enemies with darvision. Can't hide in a shadow if there is no light to cast a shadow.


You seem to be using an outdated version of the CRB. The wording of the Assassin's HiPS ability was changed for the 5th printing of the CRB, it now matches the Shadowdancer version ("As long as he is within 10 feet of an area of dim light", CRB pg. 380).

Not that it would've been overpowered to have an ability that requires 8 levels in a crappy prestige class with almost no notable class feature be better than an ability that can be taken with but a one-level-dip...


Derklord, I'm not sure that's accurate.

Both d20pfsrd and Archive of Nethys both say:

Quote:
Hide in Plain Sight (Su): At 8th level, an assassin can use the Stealth skill even while being observed. As long as he is within 10 feet of some sort of shadow, an assassin can hide himself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind. He cannot, however, hide in his own shadow.

If it is true, which I cannot attest to because I don't have a physical copy of the 5th ed of the CRB, then that would make things more clear. But then we would need to clarify why AON and d20pfsrd are incorrect. Usually they're pretty good about making those changes.


Looking at my copy of the pocket CRB (which matches the sixth hardcover printing), it says 'As long as he is within 10 feet of an area of dim light, an assassin can hide himself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind. He cannot, however, hide in his own shadow.'. Shadowdancer has the same wording (only with female pronouns).

I'd guess that d20pfsrd and AoN just didn't get updated. There's a lot of PF to keep track of. Maybe send them an email.


Claxon wrote:
Can't hide in a shadow if there is no light to cast a shadow.

This is incorrect.

Hide in Plain Sight does not require a character to have cover, only to be within 10' of the appropriate terrain or condition (dim light in this case.)

The character himself could be standing in the open, in bright light, and the ability will still function.


Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Can't hide in a shadow if there is no light to cast a shadow.

This is incorrect.

Hide in Plain Sight does not require a character to have cover, only to be within 10' of the appropriate terrain or condition (dim light in this case.)

The character himself could be standing in the open, in bright light, and the ability will still function.

Volkard you've taken this way out of context.

The original wording of the ability talked about needing shadows to use the Assassin's version of Hide in Plain Sight. I was saying that if there is no light, there can be no shadows, which means no using that version of HIPS.

Even with the revised version saying Dim light, you can negate the ability to use this HIPS by changing the light level to either normal light, bright light, or dark.

So my statement was correct, and the premise is still correct. Changing the light level to anything other than dim light stops this version of HIPS. The old version was actually better because you could carry around a light source to make shadows to hide in. The only way to get rid of a shadow is to make it completely dark (if there is light, it create a shadow). Which means creatures with Darkvision can still see you and your HIPS doesn't work.

I was never ever talking about cover, and I'm not really sure where you made that leap from.


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Claxon wrote:
Derklord, I'm not sure that's accurate.

The part in quotation marks was copied from the PDF.

CRB wrote:
Hide in Plain Sight (Su): At 8th level, an assassin can use the Stealth skill even while being observed. As long as he is within 10 feet of an area of dim light, an assassin can hide himself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind. He cannot, however, hide in his own shadow.
Claxon wrote:
But then we would need to clarify why AON and d20pfsrd are incorrect.

I can actually do that: The change isn't listed in the errata notes. Since both these sites only update their rules according to these errata notes (the official SRD did it too), such "stealth updates" are usually missed. Not the only such case, by the way. Reincarnate springs to mind, both sites still list the costly oil as a divine focus and not a material component, which was also fixed in the 5th printing.

And now you know why I check the actual PDFs for almost every rule issue. I had actually written a text defending the "shadow" wording (8 levels in a very crappy prestige class vs. a single level means the Assassin's HiPS has a right to be better), but I checked the PDF before posting and promptly deleted it.


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Claxon wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Can't hide in a shadow if there is no light to cast a shadow.

This is incorrect.

Hide in Plain Sight does not require a character to have cover, only to be within 10' of the appropriate terrain or condition (dim light in this case.)

The character himself could be standing in the open, in bright light, and the ability will still function.

Volkard you've taken this way out of context.

The original wording of the ability talked about needing shadows to use the Assassin's version of Hide in Plain Sight. I was saying that if there is no light, there can be no shadows, which means no using that version of HIPS.

Even with the revised version saying Dim light, you can negate the ability to use this HIPS by changing the light level to either normal light, bright light, or dark.

So my statement was correct, and the premise is still correct. Changing the light level to anything other than dim light stops this version of HIPS. The old version was actually better because you could carry around a light source to make shadows to hide in. The only way to get rid of a shadow is to make it completely dark (if there is light, it create a shadow). Which means creatures with Darkvision can still see you and your HIPS doesn't work.

I was never ever talking about cover, and I'm not really sure where you made that leap from.

The bolded part is incorrect.

FAQ

All Darkvision does is remove cover. It does not change lighting levels.


Foeclan wrote:

Looking at my copy of the pocket CRB (which matches the sixth hardcover printing), it says 'As long as he is within 10 feet of an area of dim light, an assassin can hide himself from view in the open without having anything to actually hide behind. He cannot, however, hide in his own shadow.'. Shadowdancer has the same wording (only with female pronouns).

I'd guess that d20pfsrd and AoN just didn't get updated. There's a lot of PF to keep track of. Maybe send them an email.

That still doesn’t make sense. Shadows are not dim light as per the condition, otherwise everything in a forest everyone would have concealment. You could also hide in the shadows enemies cast on you RAW if shadows are dim light. The question we have it weather shadows themselves are a special version of dim light this ability uses, or if you need specifically dim light and the shadows line is just left over flavor. How could you try to hide in your own shadow and be prevented from doing so if you need dim light?

Grand Lodge

The revised wording only mentions not being able to hide in their own shadow...the ability has nothing to do with shadows in the current iteration of the rules, only dim light.

I imagine this change was made to stop people from going uber-munchkin with it and saying they can hide behind the shadow of that blade of grass over there...or in the shadow of the ant crawling by them, etc.

RAW it looks like areas of darkness or deeper darkness would not enable the ability...RAI I would say any area of dim lighting or lower should work.


Derklord wrote:


Claxon wrote:
But then we would need to clarify why AON and d20pfsrd are incorrect.
I can actually do that: The change isn't listed in the errata notes. Since both these sites only update their rules according to these errata notes (the official SRD did it too), such "stealth updates" are usually missed. Not the only such case, by the way. Reincarnate springs to mind, both sites still list the costly oil as a divine focus and not a material component, which was also fixed in the 5th printing.

Well done. :-D

Back to original topic, an 8th level stalker vigilante can get the same ability. For what it's worth, in the Giant Hunters Handbook there are rules for using stealth to hide under larger creatures. My thoughts were that HiPS combined with those rules should allow you to hide in the shadows of creatures at least one category larger than you... at least until they move. You might not be hidden from them unless they were unaware of you to begin with.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Can't hide in a shadow if there is no light to cast a shadow.

This is incorrect.

Hide in Plain Sight does not require a character to have cover, only to be within 10' of the appropriate terrain or condition (dim light in this case.)

The character himself could be standing in the open, in bright light, and the ability will still function.

Volkard you've taken this way out of context.

The original wording of the ability talked about needing shadows to use the Assassin's version of Hide in Plain Sight. I was saying that if there is no light, there can be no shadows, which means no using that version of HIPS.

Even with the revised version saying Dim light, you can negate the ability to use this HIPS by changing the light level to either normal light, bright light, or dark.

So my statement was correct, and the premise is still correct. Changing the light level to anything other than dim light stops this version of HIPS. The old version was actually better because you could carry around a light source to make shadows to hide in. The only way to get rid of a shadow is to make it completely dark (if there is light, it create a shadow). Which means creatures with Darkvision can still see you and your HIPS doesn't work.

I was never ever talking about cover, and I'm not really sure where you made that leap from.

The bolded part is incorrect.

FAQ

All Darkvision does is remove cover. It does not change lighting levels.

You are focusing on the wrong part of Claxon post.

Quote:
The only way to get rid of a shadow is to make it completely dark

The part you bolded is the continuation of that argument, not an argument staying by itself.

He is right, in complete darkness HIPS doesn't work and a creature with darkvision see you.


There's an faq on darkness and shadow that defines it as from a humans point of view.

Weirdspeciest things that they are


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Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Volkard Abendroth wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Can't hide in a shadow if there is no light to cast a shadow.

This is incorrect.

Hide in Plain Sight does not require a character to have cover, only to be within 10' of the appropriate terrain or condition (dim light in this case.)

The character himself could be standing in the open, in bright light, and the ability will still function.

Volkard you've taken this way out of context.

The original wording of the ability talked about needing shadows to use the Assassin's version of Hide in Plain Sight. I was saying that if there is no light, there can be no shadows, which means no using that version of HIPS.

Even with the revised version saying Dim light, you can negate the ability to use this HIPS by changing the light level to either normal light, bright light, or dark.

So my statement was correct, and the premise is still correct. Changing the light level to anything other than dim light stops this version of HIPS. The old version was actually better because you could carry around a light source to make shadows to hide in. The only way to get rid of a shadow is to make it completely dark (if there is light, it create a shadow). Which means creatures with Darkvision can still see you and your HIPS doesn't work.

I was never ever talking about cover, and I'm not really sure where you made that leap from.

The bolded part is incorrect.

FAQ

All Darkvision does is remove cover. It does not change lighting levels.

I don't see how the FAQ changes what I've said at all.

I've said: If you change the ambient light level to something besides Dim Light, such as to Dark, then the Assassin can't use HIPS (because they're not in Dim LIght). And if you make it dark, creatures with darkivision, which is most creatures, will see you just fine. Whereas if they didn't have darkvision they couldn't see you at all, and HIPS wouldn't be needed anyways.

As Diego said, you seem to not be putting together all the pieces of what I'm saying.

Ultimately what I'm saying is that this version of HIPS is actually pretty terrible, because it's so easy to make the lighting conditions to something other than Dim Light.

Which, going back to my original post:

Claxon wrote:
If the GM really wants to make this ability not work though, they simply use darkness spells and enemies with darvision. Can't hide in a shadow if there is no light to cast a shadow.


?

Darkvision doesn't remove Cover. If any thing it makes it a requirement for using Stealth since no Concealment is available vs Darkvision if the only Concealment around is related to lighting levels which Darkvision effectively ignores. If some errata/FAQ says different then the Stealth rules are a larger SNAFU than I thought since that would be in direct contradiction to the CRB.

Darkness (as well as Fog, Smoke, Rain, Snow etc..) does not block Line of Effect which Cover does. Cover is solid, concealment is not. Generally both effect Line of Sight.

Hide in Plain Sight has also, in my opinion, confused the @^%$&* out of folks since day 1. Normally if standing in a room and observable by someone else in the room one cannot Hide (i.e use Stealth). All HiPS was ever intended to due (yes this is the rules forum but ...) was allow the user to Hide as long as there were areas within 10ft of them that would allow them to Hide/use Stealth (instead of actually being within those areas). And then the mind boggling and overthinking it began ... .


Kayerloth wrote:
Darkvision doesn't remove Cover.

Volkard just mixed up Cover and Concealment. It happens.

And it's irrelevant for this anyway, since Claxon's point was "Effects that demand Dim Light don't work in complete Darkness, and complete Darkness isn't automatically Concealment" (Two separate but related accurate points), which Volkard misinterpreted as "Effects that need Darkness fail against creatures with Darkvision." (Which would have indeed been indeed been incorrect, but wasn't what Claxton said.)

And literally no one else was talking about Cover.


It would be pretty hard to change the entire area to a different light level. Most light level altering spells I can think of radiate light or darkness from a source, so they'd leave some sort of unchanged light if there are any objects in the room. You normally wouldn't need to worry about it, since people either can or can't see through darkness, but it does leave spotty ground cover and there aught to me shadows in those spots.

I would assume that, in any place where there would have been shadows previously, you couldn't remove all shadows with a single light level altering effect.


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Pan, definitely not a Kitsune wrote:
Kayerloth wrote:
Darkvision doesn't remove Cover.

Volkard just mixed up Cover and Concealment. It happens.

And it's irrelevant for this anyway, since Claxon's point was "Effects that demand Dim Light don't work in complete Darkness, and complete Darkness isn't automatically Concealment" (Two separate but related accurate points), which Volkard misinterpreted as "Effects that need Darkness fail against creatures with Darkvision." (Which would have indeed been indeed been incorrect, but wasn't what Claxton said.)

And literally no one else was talking about Cover.

Sorry if I came off a bit strong. I did suspect Volkard meant concealment. Think it hit a nerve unintentionally and set me in near rant mode as it seems like something fairly straightforward that's gotten so seemingly complex in the last 20 years.

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