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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Jun 2016

    Default Good stealth system

    Can anyone recommend a good tabletop system for playing more of a stealth, infiltration and silent takedown type of game? I am thinking something like the batman or thief video games as a team rpg. Most of the systems I have played have stealth and light and darkness half baked and tacked on as an after thought.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Sep 2009

    Default Re: Good stealth system

    The games I can think of that focus on stealth are all fairly abstract with it:
    Project Dark (still technically in development from the Kickstarter, but the full thing has been released to backers, I think).
    Night Reign
    Black Seven
    and, of course,
    Blades In The Dark

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Good stealth system

    Quote Originally Posted by clash View Post
    Can anyone recommend a good tabletop system for playing more of a stealth, infiltration and silent takedown type of game? I am thinking something like the batman or thief video games as a team rpg. Most of the systems I have played have stealth and light and darkness half baked and tacked on as an after thought.
    IMO, to play a good stealth game, you don't really need a special system for it, you need a good scenario. So a location with actual things to hide behind, guards with actual patrol routes, etc so that the players can make meaningful decisions about how they are stealthing. If you don't have that the stealth is just going to be abstractions and after-the-fact justifications for why your stealth rolls succeed/fail. Systemwise, it should help if there are rules and procedures for tracking time and light. Many OSR games will work for that.

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    Anonymouswizard's Avatar

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    Default Re: Good stealth system

    While I've not played any games that ficus on stealth and infiltration*, I can see myself using something like Unknown Armies's Gridiron (an American football reference) to deal with it. It's designed for chases, but I can see the same idea working for a party trying to remain hidden and another searching.

    The only other way I've seen it work is for the PCs to do the legwork to get building plans and the have the players use these to plan routes in and out and then go all in on avoiding patrols and cameras. But that's a lot of work on both sides of the screen.


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    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

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    Default Re: Good stealth system

    I believe Blades in the Dark was created for the express purpose of running Oceans 11 style heists, compete with mechanics for the whole "aha, but in this flashback we see that I planned for this exact event!" That might not be exactly what you're looking for, but it's closer than anything else I can think of. Stealth is a hard thing to get right in an RPG; doing it well requires both the players and the GM to be on the exact same page for pretty much every possible physical action and environmental feature, and puts a big emphasis on PLAYER skill as opposed to that of the characters themselves.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2021-01-13 at 03:32 PM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Good stealth system

    At a glance it seems like a flashback system is good for telling stories with success as a reasonable outcome. If you trend simulationist you either get crushed by iterative probability or spreadsheet your way over.
    By the metric of being wholly dependent on the GM for noncombat interaction Fighter is an NPC class.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Good stealth system

    I will check out blades in the dark but I have also been throwing around ideas in my head for my own combat light stealth heavy platform. I think the two things to try to aim for is simplicity and simulation.

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    Grod_The_Giant's Avatar

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    Default Re: Good stealth system

    In terms of combat, you should barely need rules-- in most of the influence you're talking about, there are really only three outcomes to an encounter:
    • The player one-shots the target from hiding.
    • The player gets detected, but manages to hide again.
    • The player gets cornered and dies.

    It's the experience of the stealth itself you want to focus on. What are the key features you want to include, the core feeling you want to invoke? Like, for the Arkham series, the emphasis is on traps and ambushes--you have a massive mobility advantage, a commanding view of the action, and tons of options to play with. A game trying for that sort of experience will by necessity be very different from one that's taking its cue from, say, In Silence.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Good stealth system

    I have a system I'm working on that is (supposed to be) very similar to what you're looking for. Still a long ways out from completion, but feel free to toss me a PM if you want to do an early test or anything.
    Avatar credit to Shades of Gray

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    Tanarii's Avatar

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    Default Re: Good stealth system

    Quote Originally Posted by clash View Post
    Can anyone recommend a good tabletop system for playing more of a stealth, infiltration and silent takedown type of game? I am thinking something like the batman or thief video games as a team rpg. Most of the systems I have played have stealth and light and darkness half baked and tacked on as an after thought.
    That's because those games depend on real time reaction to changing enemy perception levels, and extensive use of detailed cover and lighting effects. They former is basically impossible in a TTRPG, and the latter is painful due to either requiring a computer or detailed battlemat terrain, that extends for the entire adventure.

    Also, they rarely have "resolve to see if you're hidden" checks, but generally rather a state of automatically hidden in most cases and automatically detected in others. There's probably some small middle ground with randomly generated success/failure, but they can't be common or the games would be a mess to play.

    They also don't make for very good team game. Any system where one stealth failure causes the entire team to fail won't.

    Games where stealth kinda sorta works tend to be "one check for a scene for the team" kind of things. So the opposite of the Detailed lighting and active "real time" interaction systems you're thinking of. The closest to what you're thinking of is probably round by round combat pop-up hiding, in which case terrain/lighting considerations and multiple checks makes sense.

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