Combining Assurance (Stealth) and Sneak Savant


Rules Discussion


Is it legal to combine these two together to auto-succeed at Stealth at (effectively) +10 compared to your Assurance value? Or does the text "when you roll..." in Sneak Savant eliminate the possibility of using Assurance to convert a failure to a success when no dice was rolled?


hyphz wrote:

Is it legal to combine these two together to auto-succeed at Stealth at (effectively) +10 compared to your Assurance value? Or does the text "when you roll..." in Sneak Savant eliminate the possibility of using Assurance to convert a failure to a success when no dice was rolled?

When you use Assurance, you get the value that the feat tells you. No modifiers. Nothing.

In the future, I can imagine feats that build off of Assurance. For now, though, no.


Sneak Savant doesn't modify the value, though; it modifies the effect of the value (it says "if you get a failure, you instead get a success").


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I would personally rule that they function together.


hyphz wrote:

Sneak Savant doesn't modify the value, though; it modifies the effect of the value (it says "if you get a failure, you instead get a success").

And this is why I shouldn't respond without double checking.

Interesting. Thanks for pointing this out.


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hyphz wrote:

Sneak Savant doesn't modify the value, though; it modifies the effect of the value (it says "if you get a failure, you instead get a success").

Actually it says

"When you roll a failure on a Sneak action"

And assurance says

"You can forgo rolling a skill check for that skill to instead"

Ultimately it isn't clear and up to GM interpretation. Personally I wouldn't allow it.

Liberty's Edge

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"Taking" a static number on a check is not the same as rolling and if an ability requires a roll then Assurance won't function with it, it's pretty much as simple as that.

Now if it simply said, "When you fail on a Sneak Action" then it could work but not in this case.


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With Sneak Savant you don't really need assurance, except that you could still critically fail.

Horizon Hunters

In the two interpretations for this the difference is so small that I wouldnt mind allowing this.

If you interpret this as Assurance not being able to apply a critical failure can only be obtained by rolling a 1 or attempting a very dangerous sneak.

If you interpret this as Assurance being able to apply you eliminate the possibility of rolling a 1 for the easier sneaks but receive no advantage on the harder ones.

As long as my player understood what they are getting into and were still willing to spend the feat on acquiring assurance then I wouldn't want to set up unnecessary road blocks. It may not be strictly RAW but I dont think it hurts anything balance wise; so if it helps my players have fun/realize their ideal build, then why not?

Shadow Lodge

Claxon wrote:
With Sneak Savant you don't really need assurance, except that you could still critically fail.

Well, you could take this combo on a Ruffian with a lower dexterity score and perhaps an armor penalty, making Assurance better than the 'take 5 or less' it should be for a stealth-focused character with a 20 dexterity and maybe +1 or +2 in other bonuses.

Otherwise, yeah, it mainly seems useful to negate the 'I rolled a 1' factor...


The difference is there as assurance negates all misfortune effects (assurance is a fortune effect).

It is a small power bump but one I think the GM should take into consideration before allowing them to combo.

Sovereign Court

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In the errata they make this change:

Errata 1.0 wrote:

Changes to Greater Juggernaut , Greater Resolve, Improved Evasion, and Third Path to Perfection

All four of these abilities grant a two-tier benefit on a failed saving throw of the specified type, but (as always) no ability will ever change your degree of success by more than one step. To clarify, we’re making the following clarification to all four abilities. Change the beginning of the last sentence from “When you fail” the listed saving throw to “When you roll a failure on” the listed saving throw.

They illustrate a significant difference between "getting a failure" and "rolling a failure"

With that in mind, I'm not so sure Stealth Savant would be intended to combo with Assurance.

Horizon Hunters

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Ascalaphus wrote:

In the errata they make this change:

Errata 1.0 wrote:

Changes to Greater Juggernaut , Greater Resolve, Improved Evasion, and Third Path to Perfection

All four of these abilities grant a two-tier benefit on a failed saving throw of the specified type, but (as always) no ability will ever change your degree of success by more than one step. To clarify, we’re making the following clarification to all four abilities. Change the beginning of the last sentence from “When you fail” the listed saving throw to “When you roll a failure on” the listed saving throw.

They illustrate a significant difference between "getting a failure" and "rolling a failure"

With that in mind, I'm not so sure Stealth Savant would be intended to combo with Assurance.

I am interpreting this entry in the errata differently from you are. This seems to me to be clarification to distinguish a critical failure from a failure in order for a class feature to not improve a roll by two steps. This does not seem at all to be addressing a distinction between rolling or taking an assurance value. The wording "when you fail" was deemed to be too ambiguous because it seemed to encompass both failure and critical failure.

Even if you want to stretch your imagination a bit, when you choose to take an assurance value a critical failure is still possible just not from rolling a 1. One could make an argument that a literal interpretation necessitates you rolling but the logic they spell out in the change itself is not related at all to the scenario we are worried about. I would still follow up with having Assurance work with it is RAI even if not RAW. Preventing a 1 failure for the easier checks is precisely what Assurance is for.


Thinking about this more, generally speaking if you were a character who had invested in stealth, assurance is going to give you something like rolling a 5. If you fail by 10 or more when rolling you were likely (75% of the time) going to crit fail anyways. Sneak savant is almost 100% better, but since you're rolling you can still crit fail by rolling a 1, whereas you can still crit fail on both by having a value 10 less than needed for success.

So Sneak Savant is usually better, but does reduce the liklihood of crit failing. Of course sneak savant makes any non crit fail attempt at Stealth into a success...so while it can be worse it is also generally much better.

Horizon Hunters

I would also say that it's important to take into consideration in most in game scenarios the circumstance, status, and item bonuses granted by their abilities, equipment, and the skills of their allies will also be sacrificed.


Combining Sneak Savant with Assurance on stealth makes you virtually undetectable to all creatures with a Perception DC no higher than 19 + your Stealth proficiency modifier as long as you sneak properly. From the moment you face creatures with a Perception DC higher than this, this strategy simply stops working.

Based on the Bestiary, it seems almost impossible to fail against level-appropriate monsters without ways to foil sneaking attempts since their Perception modifiers are way too low: the lowest level monsters that could be a problem for a level 10 sneaky rogue using this strategy are level 13, by level 15 the same rogue only needs to be wary of level 18+ monsters, and by level 20 only legendary creatures can be a problem.

And Assurance can remain relevant to the strategy until approximately level 17 unless you have an alchemist to provide you quicksilver mutagens and an occult caster for a heriosm spell that can give you enough bonuses to make Assurance irrelevant by level 11.

I think the problem isn't the combination of Assurance and Sneak Savant but rather the abundance of monsters with underwhelming Perception DCs unless their Perception gains extra bonuses from outer sources.


Sneak savant doesn't work with avoid notice oddly enough (avoid notice makes a distinction between it and sneak actions).

So setting up a scenario where a level 10 rogue is sneaking past a level 13 adult blue dragon in its lair.

- Rogue +21 stealth without other bonuses.

- Dragon DC34 perception, a result of a 24 or lower is a critical failure. A 15% chance of critical failure (1-3 on the dice).

So in this situation if you allowed them to interact it would be auto success for the combo, 85% success for rolls.

However, let's push it further. The dragon has cursed treasures in its horde that bestow misfortune on those who pick them up (simple roll twice take the worst misfortune effect for all skill checks).

In this situation allowing assurance and sneak savant to stack reduces it from a 27.7% chance of failure to an auto succeed.

Let's boost it even further, the dragon notices the the invisible rogue taking its stuff, inflicts a clumsy 2 debuff somehow...

The rogue now has a -2 status penalty and the misfortune reroll effect. They have a 43.7% chance of failure, unless the feats are allowed to stack and then it is 0%.

Now this is a niche scenario of sorts. But I wanted to highlight where it can have an impact and a decent impact at that.


The Gleeful Grognard wrote:

Sneak savant doesn't work with avoid notice oddly enough (avoid notice makes a distinction between it and sneak actions).

So setting up a scenario where a level 10 rogue is sneaking past a level 13 adult blue dragon in its lair.

- Rogue +21 stealth without other bonuses.

- Dragon DC34 perception, a result of a 24 or lower is a critical failure. A 15% chance of critical failure (1-3 on the dice).

So in this situation if you allowed them to interact it would be auto success for the combo, 85% success for rolls.

However, let's push it further. The dragon has cursed treasures in its horde that bestow misfortune on those who pick them up (simple roll twice take the worst misfortune effect for all skill checks).

In this situation allowing assurance and sneak savant to stack reduces it from a 27.7% chance of failure to an auto succeed.

Let's boost it even further, the dragon notices the the invisible rogue taking its stuff, inflicts a clumsy 2 debuff somehow...

The rogue now has a -2 status penalty and the misfortune reroll effect. They have a 43.7% chance of failure, unless the feats are allowed to stack and then it is 0%.

Now this is a niche scenario of sorts. But I wanted to highlight where it can have an impact and a decent impact at that.

Where there is a serious design issue is that monsters' Perception DCs scale so poorly that you can totally forgo every bonus to Stealth checks that you could get from your Dexterity, items and spells when they should totally be relevant at high level. I wouldn't mind the Assurance + Sneak Savant combo to exist if it didn't remain so consistent in its efficiency as the game progresses, while Assurance isn't supposed to scale well when you specialize accordingly in its associated skill. Even a sluggish ruffian with a voluntary flaw in Dexterity, no items that help in Stealth and no support from a spell can fool even some creatures that should pose a challenge by ranking up Stealth and using this combo even at the highest levels of play.


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The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Sneak savant doesn't work with avoid notice oddly enough (avoid notice makes a distinction between it and sneak actions).

This is a good catch and it does really curtail how effective the feat is (or feat combo if it works with Assurance, which I think it probably doesn't.) Not working on Avoid Notice means it isn't going to let you bypass many encounters, and not working on Hide means you need other set up to use the feat at all. (Do Rogues get a feat like Camouflage in class? I guess Ceaseless Shadows is a thing for Halflings.) Basically Sneak Savant lets you do three things more consistently: set up Sneak Attack, avoid being targeted, and flee an encounter. None of those are a big enough deal for me to think Assurance is going to cause a major issue.

Horizon Hunters

Thank you for the math breakdown and for the not working in Exploration mode catch. That's a lot of factors to consider when running a game. It also has me thinking of whether I need to look into bumping up Perception DCs in my games to give sneaky players a legitimate challenge.


Goldryno wrote:
Thank you for the math breakdown and for the not working in Exploration mode catch. That's a lot of factors to consider when running a game. It also has me thinking of whether I need to look into bumping up Perception DCs in my games to give sneaky players a legitimate challenge.

I doubt it. How often do sneaky players Avoid Notice solo? There may be some scouting, but you don't actually want that to fail because then you've got a split party and probably a dead rogue. Stealth is really only a problem if it lets you bypass things you really want fought, and that's only really a thing if your whole party is Avoiding Notice.

Because in combat, your rogue Sneaking less consistently just means less sneak attacks unless they flank or have one of the other dozens of ways to get someone flat-footed, and you can pretty much always count on having another target if the monster loses sight of the rogue.


Goldryno wrote:
Thank you for the math breakdown and for the not working in Exploration mode catch. That's a lot of factors to consider when running a game. It also has me thinking of whether I need to look into bumping up Perception DCs in my games to give sneaky players a legitimate challenge.

I dunno, this is someone who has invested to master tier and has invested skill feats. While I still don't like the interaction between the feats (if allowed). It isn't an auto succeed if they aren't allowed to combo and that is good enough when combined with other sorts of senses or abilities.

You want success to be of a decent chance for those who haven't, otherwise the party will simply not bother with stealth at all imo.

Also, remember that stealth doesn't mean someone becomes invisible. If there are two guards infront of a door and one really sneaky rogue... The rogue is still seen if it tries to go through the door in front of the guards :)

Adjusting DCs for environment is always a good option but not just because you want it to be harder mathematically imo.


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Isthisnametaken? wrote:
I don’t see anything under avoid notice that would preclude using assurance on your stealth check.

But Sneak Savant doesn't work with Avoid Notice. Assurance by itself seems fine.

Horizon Hunters

Isthisnametaken? wrote:
I don’t see anything under avoid notice that would preclude using assurance on your stealth check.

I believe what they are saying is:

Sneak Savant works with the Sneak action. Something you can only do in Encounter Mode and distinct from Avoid Notice.

Avoid Notice still uses a Stealth Check but contains no Sneak actions.

Assurance would work on either skill (Sneak or Avoid Notice) since it replaces you rolling a stealth check.

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