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Thread: How to Snipe?

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default How to Snipe?

    So I'm playing a spellthief who's going with a crossbow as his weapon of choice.

    My question is about using the Hide skill to snipe. Trying to snipe is a -20 penalty on your hide check, and it requires a move action. A -20 penalty means you need to have over a 100% chance to succeed with a Hide in the first place (basically trying to snipe reduces your chance of hiding successfully by 100%).

    Aside from the fact that I don't see how you could pull this off without some serious investment in Hide, my main question comes from this quote from the PHB:

    "It's practically impossible (-20 penalty) to hide while attacking, running or charging."

    So..... sniping is just as hard as hiding while charging the enemy? Also, sniping takes a move action while charging (or doing anything else) does not. The only advantage I can see that sniping has is that if your concealment is a bush or darkness then you could hide again while you couldn't normally (because the opponent sees you, and you can't hide while being observed). It seems like if you had a corner or a pillar to hide behind then you could just attack from behind it and then hide by ducking behind, at no penalty because they just can't see you.

    I'm also a little confused about the Hide skill itself. It says "you can run around a corner or behind cover so that you're out of sight and then hide." It seems like hiding behind corners is generally useless, because technically if you're behind a corner they can't see you anyways and if they run around the corner then you lost concealment so you can't hide, right?

    Sorry for the wall of text and noob questions. I also realize there are other ways of sneak attack too, especially once I get higher level spells, I'm just interested in being able to use the hide skill. If there is some sort of hiding handbook or guide that explains this stuff (I haven't been able to find one) that would be awesome.
    Last edited by Road_Runner; 2010-10-14 at 09:49 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Long story short- the sniping mechanic sucks for the casual player. While it's possible to optimize your Hide skill to truly inane levels, most people can't snipe effectively.

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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Road_Runner View Post
    So I'm playing a spellthief who's going with a crossbow as his weapon of choice.

    My question is about using the Hide skill to snipe. Trying to snipe is a -20 penalty on your hide check, and it requires a move action. A -20 penalty means you need to have over a 100% chance to succeed with a Hide in the first place (basically trying to snipe reduces your chance of hiding successfully by 100%).

    Aside from the fact that I don't see how you could pull this off without some serious investment in Hide, my main question comes from this quote from the PHB:

    "It's practically impossible (-20 penalty) to hide while attacking, running or charging."

    So..... sniping is just as hard as hiding while charging the enemy? Also, sniping takes a move action while charging (or doing anything else) does not. The only advantage I can see that sniping has is that if your concealment is a bush or darkness then you could hide again while you couldn't normally (because the opponent sees you, and you can't hide while being observed). It seems like if you had a corner or a pillar to hide behind then you could just attack from behind it and then hide by ducking behind, at no penalty because they just can't see you.

    I'm also a little confused about the Hide skill itself. It says "you can run around a corner or behind cover so that you're out of sight and then hide." It seems like hiding behind corners is generally useless, because technically if you're behind a corner they can't see you anyways and if they run around the corner then you lost concealment so you can't hide, right?

    Sorry for the wall of text and noob questions. I also realize there are other ways of sneak attack too, especially once I get higher level spells, I'm just interested in being able to use the hide skill. If there is some sort of hiding handbook or guide that explains this stuff (I haven't been able to find one) that would be awesome.
    Use wands of the 1st level spell Sniper's Shot (Spell Compendium), and hide in the bushes 200' away. Bam, penalty canceled. As for hiding around a corner: the point is that you broke their line of sight long enough that they don't see where you hide. You still need something to hide in, so if there isn't concealment around the corner then yeah, you're pretty screwed.
    Last edited by Fizban; 2010-10-14 at 10:05 PM.
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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Just around a corner can still give LOS to lots of things. Remember, you trace from any corner to any corner, so with the wall blocking other lines, you get cover and can hide. However, moving away from the corner, you lose your cover.

    Potentially, using another penalty will allow you to move away from the corner while still "hiding," then you may attack without taking a penalty for your cover and again move around the corner and into cover.

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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Having greater invisibility means you can ignore your Hide. UMD a wand as soon as you can.

    The Beguiler (Shining South) gets a great modifier to Hide from its Small size and racial bonus.
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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    max hide skill
    add the dark template to your character for +8 hide
    get darkstalker so things have to make spot checks to see you
    skill focus hide
    cloak of the elven kind
    put everything into dex
    gloves of dex

    You probably want to be able to dump as much damage into 1 shot as you can, otherwise, shooting for only 1d6 a round kinda sucks

    be roguish, with craven
    get the vest that gives you a d6 sneak attack
    there are some bracers that give you another d6
    put collision on your bow

    that should help, but I would say that there are other folks on these forums that can put my advise to shame.

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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Woodland Archer would be good for this

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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Greater Invisibility is the most straightforward way to snipe. You *can* make a character with a high enough Hide check to snipe effectively (a Whisper Gnome with the Dark template from Tome of Magic is a good start, as it has a +16 bonus to Hide before stats and skill points), but it tends to be a bit silly.
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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    are there any magic items that give hide in plain sight?
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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Thanks for all the replies!

    It sounds like the most practical uses of this skill are going to be:

    1) Using Greater Invisibility (I can cast at higher levels or get a wand if I need to)

    2) Use Sniper's Shot (I can start casting this at 4th level, or I could just get a wand) from really far away. Still at -20 penalty, but like someone pointed out if its 200 feet away that nullifies it.

    (Did I miss anything? Unfortunately I don't really want to invest in that LA template and I would like to stick to Strongheart halfling)

    I have one more question:

    If there were a corner/wall/large object you could hide behind during a battle, could you theoretically full attack from behind the corner every round, rehiding after you attack so you could keep sneak attacking? I realize its unlikely opponents wouldn't chase after you but my part consists of a 20-foot-reach spiked chain tripper and some prestige class guy that loses casting for a bunch of rebuke undead stuff and bonus rebuke undead related feats.
    Last edited by Road_Runner; 2010-10-15 at 12:05 AM.

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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Quote Originally Posted by FelixG View Post
    are there any magic items that give hide in plain sight?
    The collar of umbral metamorphosis gives you the Dark template for 22,000 GP. However, the Dark HiPS is the worst one, since it doesn't obviate the need for cover/concealment. You would do wisely to invest in a permanent item of darkness, which provides you with concealment and thus the ability to hide.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    There's no written rule stating that you can full attack from behind cover while still hiding, specifically. However, it says that you can snipe by taking a -20 penalty and make one attack. However, one could argue that you can continually make more iterative attacks by taking a greater penalty. So if you wanted to full attack with 4 attacks, you get a -80 penalty to your hide check result.

    Edit: Isn't there an armor property that blurs you? Seems like that would be less conspicuous as it still grants concealment.
    Last edited by Hague; 2010-10-15 at 12:16 AM.

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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Darkness is probably cheaper, but blur works too.

    Getting around the niggly "move to hide" restriction can be done one of two ways:
    a) Extra move action (hustle, belt of battle)
    b) Multiple attacks (Rapid Shot, basically)
    Rapid Shotting everyone is still only -20.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    The collar of umbral metamorphosis gives you the Dark template for 22,000 GP. However, the Dark HiPS is the worst one, since it doesn't obviate the need for cover/concealment. You would do wisely to invest in a permanent item of darkness, which provides you with concealment and thus the ability to hide.
    Ah, thanks for that suggestion. That's a nice item, I wish it had a permanent duration though, or atleast a swift action activation.

    EDIT: Oh wait, under "variants" for the item it says the non-permanent version is 10k, the 22k version is the permanent one. That's much more helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hague View Post
    There's no written rule stating that you can full attack from behind cover while still hiding, specifically. However, it says that you can snipe by taking a -20 penalty and make one attack. However, one could argue that you can continually make more iterative attacks by taking a greater penalty. So if you wanted to full attack with 4 attacks, you get a -80 penalty to your hide check result.

    Edit: Isn't there an armor property that blurs you? Seems like that would be less conspicuous as it still grants concealment.
    Hmmm yes I think you are right about the hiding. Thanks for pointing out the blurring armor though, that would be very helpful. You could also combine it with the umbral collar though for free hiding (well, -20) and sneak attack wherever.
    Last edited by Road_Runner; 2010-10-15 at 12:44 AM.

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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Darkness is probably cheaper, but blur works too.

    Getting around the niggly "move to hide" restriction can be done one of two ways:
    a) Extra move action (hustle, belt of battle)
    b) Multiple attacks (Rapid Shot, basically)
    Rapid Shotting everyone is still only -20.
    How does Rapid Shot help you get around the move to hide restriction? Also, what's an example of a darkness item?

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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    200 feet of distance cancels the penalty. There are also armor enchantments and magic items that give up to a +15 to hide.

    Cover and concealment are different from total cover and concealment. Total cover means you can't be hit (nor seen) regardless and total concealment means you can't be seen regardless. Cover, such as peeking around a corner or from behind something, OTOH provides +4 AC and you can still attack and be seen unless hiding. Concealment, such as shadows, only provides a 20% miss chance but you can still attack and be seen unless hiding. Yeah, you can't enter either and hide while being observed. You have to set it up before the fight and stay hidden or you can't hide again.

    Rapid shot only lets you make extra attacks on a full attack, so it doesn't help sniping.
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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Road_Runner View Post
    How does Rapid Shot help you get around the move to hide restriction? Also, what's an example of a darkness item?
    Wand of Darkness?

    Or maybe some item that isnt spell completion but still has charges
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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    One method could be just full attacking, and then grabbing a method to move without using your move actions. Say, Travel Devotion would work, though I think you're not considered to be hiding anymore after the first attack.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    One method could be just full attacking, and then grabbing a method to move without using your move actions. Say, Travel Devotion would work, though I think you're not considered to be hiding anymore after the first attack.
    I think you are still considered to be hiding, its just painfully obvious as to where you are at that point..kinda hard to remain hiding after you stab the guy in the back after all, either his body crumples loudly to the ground or he cries out, its one of the reasons i like the Pathfinder Assassin, they can kill things all silent like.
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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Quote Originally Posted by FelixG View Post
    I think you are still considered to be hiding, its just painfully obvious as to where you are at that point.
    Well, that's okay, since you move to another spot after full attacking, and hide as a part of that movement.
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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    Well, that's okay, since you move to another spot after full attacking, and hide as a part of that movement.
    Well not if you are sniping

    http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/hide.htm

    It takes a movement action to hide after a snipe, where as normally you could very well hide as part of a movement.

    THOUGH, what could be done, is hide next to a short wall, take the shot, then drop prone (free action) to gain total concealment, thus negating the need for a hide check, as they couldnt even see you if you made one.

    GM may call for a move silently check though at the same penalty to see if you hit the deck without making much noise in your hurry though... -shrug- its an idea!
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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Quote Originally Posted by FelixG View Post
    Well not if you are sniping
    I wasn't talking about the "Snipe" special option no more. You can't full attack when you snipe, so that should've been obvious.
    Last edited by Greenish; 2010-10-15 at 05:12 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post
    I wasn't talking about the "Snipe" special option no more. You can't full attack when you snipe, so that should've been obvious.
    True, missed that part, i only did a search for the word move in the document XD
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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Can you snipe with a reach weapon? IIRC they operate like ranged attacks in many ways. What about with a whip?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Foryn Gilnith View Post
    Can you snipe with a reach weapon? IIRC they operate like ranged attacks in many ways. What about with a whip?
    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    Sniping

    If you’ve already successfully hidden at least 10 feet from your target, you can make one ranged attack, then immediately hide again. You take a -20 penalty on your Hide check to conceal yourself after the shot.
    I suppose as long as its one ranged attack (not melee) you could snipe...you could throw the ranged weapon or whip at them?
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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Not sure if I got this right - but: When you're sniping, you're typically using cover of some sort, right? I mean, that's what a sniper does. Covering/concealing himself, then shooting from afar, then hiding and some time later he suddenly appears to take another shot.

    So to snipe, you need cover or concealment, and I would guess that you typically would be using some structure that provided no Line of Sight from your target to yourself. Like a wall, with a corner or with arrow-slits.

    You can fire one shot (a standard action), then use your move action to walk out of Line of Sight. You don't need to make a separate Move action just to hide (like in this rule http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/hide.htm ), because you're out of sight. Of course the targets will be staring at the point from which you fired your shot, but you don't take a -20 to Hide if you appear from another point - because no one is looking for you there.

    If what you want to do is firing continually from one fixed position and just use your Hide skill to be able to attack without counter-attack, that basically needs HiSP and concealment and very high Hide skills, and still you can't use Full attack.

    If you want to attack with Full attack at a ranged target, without anyone confronting you, that's dreaming... Or it's called ranged attack, simply. You can still do it from behind cover, but you should expect melée fighters to approach you.

    As I see it, sniping consists of infrequent, irregular attacks that originate from different places relative to the target, either killing it outright with a lucky shot (Sneak attack) or wearing it down, slowly. Much of the "power" of sniping isn't in the massive damage, but rather in the psychological effect because of the unpredictability.

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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Use some kind of constantly renewing concealment effect, such as a bottle of smoke. The -20 penalty to your hide skill is kind of irrelevant if your opponents can't see you anyway.

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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Quote Originally Posted by FelixG View Post
    are there any magic items that give hide in plain sight?
    one level dip into Shadow Dancer gives it to you...not to mention it's other niceness
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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    +20 to attack is much easier than +20 to hide
    Also, range increments can go up to 10, and that's -2 for each.
    A level 1 spell will give you +20 to your next attack, a repeating heavy crossbow has a range increment of 120'.

    This means for a level 1 spell you can shoot 1200' from cover at your attack before the spell.
    Throw up a camo net, use a bit of hidey stuff, there you go.

    Being able to sneak attack from any range is a must, so is poison.

    Hell, even running at full speed a 30' base speed covers what? 120' a round?
    That's 10 whole rounds, by the time he gets to you great timing! Your poison just hit secondary.

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    Default Re: How to Snipe?

    Remember the spot penalties for distance, too.
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