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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The rule is it takes an action to hide.

    The player asked me what was to stop him from taking said action at the first sign of trouble before the fight starts, and then remaining hidden and then starting the fight with a first turn backstab.

    To which I said... I'll need to think about that and consult the forums.
    This seems pretty straightforward to me. There are 3 scenarios here i see happening.

    Scenario 1: Both sides are alerted to each others presence at the same time. He cannot hide before combat because he didnt have the time to do it. Sorry, but thems the rubs for being surprised.

    Scenario 2: The party is alerted to the enemy's presence but the enemy remains unaware. He can hide before combat just fine, assuming the terrain is such that he can find a hiding place.

    Scenario 3: The enemy is alerted to the party's presence but the party remains unaware. He cannot hide before combat for the same reason as scenario 1.

    If you want to vary his start to combat sometimes, then dont disalow hiding entirely, but give the party encounters where hiding successfully is infeasible, like in the middle of a road in a grassland with no cover. Maybe he needs to burn some invisibility if he wants to hide this time, or maybe it isnt worth the resources to do it. Now you have created an interesting scenario where he needs to solve a problem instead of just telling him he cant be sneaky.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    In this particular case, its asking at what point it is appropriate to bring out the stealth rules.
    Surprise/perception and is there time & terrain available before combat starts.
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The rule is it takes an action to hide.

    The player asked me what was to stop him from taking said action at the first sign of trouble before the fight starts, and then remaining hidden and then starting the fight with a first turn backstab.

    To which I said... I'll need to think about that and consult the forums.

    Its not that stealth rules are in short supply, its that there are lots of edge cases they aren't robust to handle.

    In this particular case, its asking at what point it is appropriate to bring out the stealth rules.
    "The Rogue wants to hide" doesn't seem like much of an edge case? If the issue is "I am always hidden as my standard mode of operation", that's not particularly a problem. Undoubtedly you already have standard operating procedures - things the characters are doing without explicitly needing to tell the GM. They tie their shoes, they go to the toilet, they oil and maintain their weapons, they eat and drink.

    In some cases, the standard operating procedures change. Even though the party don't routinely walk around with weapons in hand, since they know they're presently in a dungeon full of hostile monsters, they might choose to do so for all the upcoming dungeon encounters (and suffer any appropriate penalties if they burst into a room of non-hostile and brandish weapons at them). Maybe they have a standard marching order (Fighter in the front, cleric in the back). Maybe they do things by a certain procedure (At each treasure chest, we check it for traps before the Rogue tries to open it, while the others all stand 20" back). Having these SOPs means you don't have to work out every round exactly where everyone is standing and what they are doing when they're just rolling through the dungeon.

    Your system already covers this. When a fight starts, you go into initiative, and start tracking actions round by round. If the Rogue wins initiative and conditions allow, he hides as an action.

    If the Rogue wants to be hidden as a part of his standard SOP for dungeon crawling (or for the entirety of his life - weird, but that's your players), then he takes a Hide action out of combat when you aren't tracking actions. When he runs into enemies, you roll Stealth vs Alertness to see if they see him. If not, when combat begins he is already hidden. The downside to this is that he suffers the various penalties for Stealth - moving slower, can't participate in conversations, alarms friendly NPCs when he bursts out of hiding, etc.

    What he can't do is "Hide whenever a fight starts" as a free action without some sort of rule-breaking Feat, any more than a character could respond with "The moment there's trouble, I stab someone with a free out-of-combat attack, thus bypassing intiative rules and turn order". Initiative is literally a system that says 'let's slow the game down and track action by action'. What stops him hiding before the fight starts is the exact same system that stops the Wizard casting a spell 'before the fight starts' or the Fighter stabbing somebody before the fight starts.
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  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    If he spotted the patrol and they failed to spot him, shouldn't there be a surprise round? It depends on the system obviously, but my point is several games have ways to handle this scenario you might be overlooking.
    Yes, I guess the surprise round would be the one in which he initially hid in the trees, I should have started the scenario with detecting the orcs, not his request to hide. The rest of the party was too far away from the orcs, maybe they shot some arrows and moved forward in their surprise round. Then initiative gets rolled, and the rogue makes his first attack same as everyone else, potentially a sneak attack.

    So, in general I think the request to hide before combat starts should be denied except in the case where the rogue is aware of the enemy before the enemy is aware of the party (and therefore he and the party get an action before combat actually starts).
    Initial encounter distance makes a difference, too. If the parties see each other from enough distance, he and everyone else could certainly try to run and hide in an area with some form of obscurement or cover for their first action as the enemy moves forward or makes ranged attacks.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The rule is it takes an action to hide.

    The player asked me what was to stop him from taking said action at the first sign of trouble before the fight starts, and then remaining hidden and then starting the fight with a first turn backstab.

    To which I said... I'll need to think about that and consult the forums.
    s.
    As long as moving and going into hiding are mutually exclusive I have no problem with this. If you’ve ever done any hunting or played paintball this should be obvious. After a character is hidden then they can move, with appropriate penalties, in hiding. The act of jumping into a bush, or other cover, will naturally draw the eye to the movement.

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    As long as moving and going into hiding are mutually exclusive I have no problem with this. If you’ve ever done any hunting or played paintball this should be obvious. After a character is hidden then they can move, with appropriate penalties, in hiding. The act of jumping into a bush, or other cover, will naturally draw the eye to the movement.
    Bear with me here.

    The thing is, I don't know what "hiding" really means without context.

    Like, I understand moving slowly and quietly to avoid attracting attention. I understand moving behind cover or otherwise out of line of sight. But, that only hides you from a specific vantage point. Likewise, most "hiding" involves finding some place where you blend in and then don't move or draw attention to yourself.

    This is very different from sneaking around a battlefield.

    Like, imagine a dungeon. The rogue "hides" before the fighter opens the door, and the party charges into the next room. If there are monsters in the next room, they can't see the rogue, because she was in a different room. But why is she any more "hidden" when she walks through the same door that everyone else did to engage the monsters?

    I don't know, I kind of feel like players expect stealth to work like in a video game where your character crouches down and turns semi-transparent and then remains in "stealth" until they do something to break stealth, but that doesn't really match to my understanding of hiding in the real world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reversefigure4 View Post
    "The Rogue wants to hide" doesn't seem like much of an edge case? If the issue is "I am always hidden as my standard mode of operation", that's not particularly a problem. Undoubtedly you already have standard operating procedures - things the characters are doing without explicitly needing to tell the GM. They tie their shoes, they go to the toilet, they oil and maintain their weapons, they eat and drink.

    In some cases, the standard operating procedures change. Even though the party don't routinely walk around with weapons in hand, since they know they're presently in a dungeon full of hostile monsters, they might choose to do so for all the upcoming dungeon encounters (and suffer any appropriate penalties if they burst into a room of non-hostile and brandish weapons at them). Maybe they have a standard marching order (Fighter in the front, cleric in the back). Maybe they do things by a certain procedure (At each treasure chest, we check it for traps before the Rogue tries to open it, while the others all stand 20" back). Having these SOPs means you don't have to work out every round exactly where everyone is standing and what they are doing when they're just rolling through the dungeon.

    Your system already covers this. When a fight starts, you go into initiative, and start tracking actions round by round. If the Rogue wins initiative and conditions allow, he hides as an action.

    If the Rogue wants to be hidden as a part of his standard SOP for dungeon crawling (or for the entirety of his life - weird, but that's your players), then he takes a Hide action out of combat when you aren't tracking actions. When he runs into enemies, you roll Stealth vs Alertness to see if they see him. If not, when combat begins he is already hidden. The downside to this is that he suffers the various penalties for Stealth - moving slower, can't participate in conversations, alarms friendly NPCs when he bursts out of hiding, etc.

    What he can't do is "Hide whenever a fight starts" as a free action without some sort of rule-breaking Feat, any more than a character could respond with "The moment there's trouble, I stab someone with a free out-of-combat attack, thus bypassing intiative rules and turn order". Initiative is literally a system that says 'let's slow the game down and track action by action'. What stops him hiding before the fight starts is the exact same system that stops the Wizard casting a spell 'before the fight starts' or the Fighter stabbing somebody before the fight starts.
    Good points. But see above.

    The player in question likes the idea of being permanently hidden as it protects him from both in character attacks as well as having to ever talk to NPCs (as I said in my other thread, he is the one guy who hates dialogue).
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  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The rule is it takes an action to hide.

    The player asked me what was to stop him from taking said action at the first sign of trouble before the fight starts, and then remaining hidden and then starting the fight with a first turn backstab.

    To which I said... I'll need to think about that and consult the forums.



    Its not that stealth rules are in short supply, its that there are lots of edge cases they aren't robust to handle.

    In this particular case, its asking at what point it is appropriate to bring out the stealth rules.
    Quote Originally Posted by Reversefigure4 View Post
    "The Rogue wants to hide" doesn't seem like much of an edge case? If the issue is "I am always hidden as my standard mode of operation", that's not particularly a problem. Undoubtedly you already have standard operating procedures - things the characters are doing without explicitly needing to tell the GM. They tie their shoes, they go to the toilet, they oil and maintain their weapons, they eat and drink.

    In some cases, the standard operating procedures change. Even though the party don't routinely walk around with weapons in hand, since they know they're presently in a dungeon full of hostile monsters, they might choose to do so for all the upcoming dungeon encounters (and suffer any appropriate penalties if they burst into a room of non-hostile and brandish weapons at them). Maybe they have a standard marching order (Fighter in the front, cleric in the back). Maybe they do things by a certain procedure (At each treasure chest, we check it for traps before the Rogue tries to open it, while the others all stand 20" back). Having these SOPs means you don't have to work out every round exactly where everyone is standing and what they are doing when they're just rolling through the dungeon.

    Your system already covers this. When a fight starts, you go into initiative, and start tracking actions round by round. If the Rogue wins initiative and conditions allow, he hides as an action.

    If the Rogue wants to be hidden as a part of his standard SOP for dungeon crawling (or for the entirety of his life - weird, but that's your players), then he takes a Hide action out of combat when you aren't tracking actions. When he runs into enemies, you roll Stealth vs Alertness to see if they see him. If not, when combat begins he is already hidden. The downside to this is that he suffers the various penalties for Stealth - moving slower, can't participate in conversations, alarms friendly NPCs when he bursts out of hiding, etc.

    What he can't do is "Hide whenever a fight starts" as a free action without some sort of rule-breaking Feat, any more than a character could respond with "The moment there's trouble, I stab someone with a free out-of-combat attack, thus bypassing intiative rules and turn order". Initiative is literally a system that says 'let's slow the game down and track action by action'. What stops him hiding before the fight starts is the exact same system that stops the Wizard casting a spell 'before the fight starts' or the Fighter stabbing somebody before the fight starts.
    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Bear with me here.

    The thing is, I don't know what "hiding" really means without context.

    Like, I understand moving slowly and quietly to avoid attracting attention. I understand moving behind cover or otherwise out of line of sight. But, that only hides you from a specific vantage point. Likewise, most "hiding" involves finding some place where you blend in and then don't move or draw attention to yourself.

    This is very different from sneaking around a battlefield.

    Like, imagine a dungeon. The rogue "hides" before the fighter opens the door, and the party charges into the next room. If there are monsters in the next room, they can't see the rogue, because she was in a different room. But why is she any more "hidden" when she walks through the same door that everyone else did to engage the monsters?

    I don't know, I kind of feel like players expect stealth to work like in a video game where your character crouches down and turns semi-transparent and then remains in "stealth" until they do something to break stealth, but that doesn't really match to my understanding of hiding in the real world.



    Good points. But see above.

    The player in question likes the idea of being permanently hidden as it protects him from both in character attacks as well as having to ever talk to NPCs (as I said in my other thread, he is the one guy who hates dialogue).
    "Staying hidden all the time" SOP is fine, and seems to fit this player's desires.

    "Walking through the door and not being noticed (while the party is trying to shove several feet of steel down the enemy's throat)" is about timing, and making sure the enemies are distracted (having murderhobos trying to shove several feet of steel into your orifices, or attempting to use them to make new orifices, tends to qualify as "distracting", IMO), and this "waiting for the right moment" component of such stealth is accounted for (in many systems) by things like worse initiative, or reduced movement.

    Even if the PC isn't always hidden, combat doesn't always start the exact instant two sides are aware of one another - even if *both* sides are fully aware of one another. So it's actually stupid and gamey rather than realistic for him not to be able to break LoS and "hide" between when the party knows that there's trouble and when fighting actually starts.

    That said, everyone has that same opportunity to do stuff. Quertus, my signature academia mage for whom this account is named, has on several occasions spent 10 rounds or more on pre-combat spells (just listen to *and time* how long people spend discussing strategy *in character*, or evaluate how long before Pippin and the party Barbarian go up to the bar for a drink belly trickle stats before trouble starts, and factor in scouting and such, and you'll see how this had happened).

    Everyone can do things like attempt diplomacy, draw their weapons, hide, aim, study their opponents, pray to their gods, summon eldritch horrors, or move to position themselves between their tankier party member and trouble (hands on undrawn sword hilts) at the first sign of trouble, before combat starts. And some of those actions may *cause* combat to start.

    Everyone can. Most people don't, in fiction or IRL.

    This player is playing a character with good combat instincts and reflexes, who immediately hides when they think there's trouble brewing. Good for them.

    This doesn't give them free actions, it just means that they're actually using the actions that you should be giving them. Everyone else - PC and NPC - can use or not use that time, too. A leader might hail the other group. A twitchy military unit might all dive for cover, or move the diameter of a Fireball away from one another, or begin/continue looking for an ambush, or perhaps even reach for grenades or hold actions to shoot anything that moves. But, realistically, most will waste that time that exists between when they are aware of the opposition, and combat actually starts.

    Unless, of course, your world is filled with mindless morons, who ignore positioning and Diplomacy and Intelligence, that just mindlessly attack anything they see in an optimized Darwinian Selection process that continually kills off the weak. In the case, yeah, combat begins the moment two sides are aware of one another, with no positioning, no sizing one another up, no diplomacy, and no time for the PC to hide.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2021-11-25 at 06:58 AM.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Unless, of course, your world is filled with mindless morons, who ignore positioning and Diplomacy and Intelligence, that just mindlessly attack anything they see in an optimized Darwinian Selection process that continually kills off the weak. In the case, yeah, combat begins the moment two sides are aware of one another, with no positioning, no sizing one another up, no diplomacy, and no time for the PC to hide.
    Having time to hide is one thing, having opportunity to do so is quite another. You're right that combat might not start the moment two hostile groups meet, but group A is probably pretty likely to notice one member of group B running into the woods or whatever. It can certainly work in some scenarios and some settings, but far from all of them.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Bear with me here.

    The thing is, I don't know what "hiding" really means without context.

    Like, I understand moving slowly and quietly to avoid attracting attention. I understand moving behind cover or otherwise out of line of sight. But, that only hides you from a specific vantage point. Likewise, most "hiding" involves finding some place where you blend in and then don't move or draw attention to yourself.

    This is very different from sneaking around a battlefield.

    Like, imagine a dungeon. The rogue "hides" before the fighter opens the door, and the party charges into the next room. If there are monsters in the next room, they can't see the rogue, because she was in a different room. But why is she any more "hidden" when she walks through the same door that everyone else did to engage the monsters?

    I don't know, I kind of feel like players expect stealth to work like in a video game where your character crouches down and turns semi-transparent and then remains in "stealth" until they do something to break stealth, but that doesn't really match to my understanding of hiding in the real world.
    .
    Some uber-gamist and abstract system may allow stuff like that for everyone. Many systems allow stuff like that for preternatural powers - including being just too cool for this world. Classic ninja folklore includes the supposed ability to stand super-still in unnatural poses so the result is people looking at you and not seeing you. Peter Watts had a fun/creepy take on that in his science fiction with monsters that move super-fast while your eyes make saccadal movements and freeze when they don't. The stuff D&D would stat as Hide in Plain Sight (which is significantly more than a feat).

    But just as a normal use of a skill? Hiding while you are walking through an empty tunnel, or while you are walking through the only entrance into the room while that entrance is being watched or there are people on high alert in the room? That should be disallowed (more realistic) or invite penalties so hefty that only a character extremely focused on stealth and "high-level" or equivalent should be able to pull it off (slightly more permissible). Again, it all depends on exact circumstances. Modern road tunnel should be impossible to hide in if well-lit (and if it's dark then the issue is not the hiding skill but ability to act in an absence of light), but throw some post-apocalyptic wrecks and garbage in it and it becomes merely hard. Most beam or arch bridges should be impossible to hide at if free of obstruction, but on some truss bridges it is just barely plausible to hide behind the beams and then rapidly move from one beam to another. Even in a classic dungeon I can imagine in some circumstances sneakily opening the door and slipping within (realistically speaking relies on precise fields of vision of those inside, so depends on circumstances beyond the character's control, but can be abstracted into a penalty). But sneaking into combat once the fighting has started? Should not be possible by default.
    Last edited by Saint-Just; 2021-11-25 at 08:30 AM.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    This seems pretty straightforward to me. There are 3 scenarios here i see happening.

    Scenario 1: Both sides are alerted to each others presence at the same time. He cannot hide before combat because he didnt have the time to do it. Sorry, but thems the rubs for being surprised.

    Scenario 2: The party is alerted to the enemy's presence but the enemy remains unaware. He can hide before combat just fine, assuming the terrain is such that he can find a hiding place.

    Scenario 3: The enemy is alerted to the party's presence but the party remains unaware. He cannot hide before combat for the same reason as scenario 1.

    If you want to vary his start to combat sometimes, then dont disallow hiding entirely, but give the party encounters where hiding successfully is infeasible, like in the middle of a road in a grassland with no cover. Maybe he needs to burn some invisibility if he wants to hide this time, or maybe it isnt worth the resources to do it. Now you have created an interesting scenario where he needs to solve a problem instead of just telling him he cant be sneaky.
    +1. A healthy mix of these three will keep your player on his toes.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    Having time to hide is one thing, having opportunity to do so is quite another. You're right that combat might not start the moment two hostile groups meet, but group A is probably pretty likely to notice one member of group B running into the woods or whatever. It can certainly work in some scenarios and some settings, but far from all of them.
    And "someone running off into the woods" might raise tensions, change focus/actions, or even be the trigger that initiate combat.

    However, someone "taking cover"? Or casually continuing walking? I hate to give away all my tricks, but stealth is as much psychology as physical skill - just look at all the "throw a rock" examples in movies for a trivial example.

    So, someone who is actually good at hiding should be good at making those opportunities, that don't arouse suspicions. At leaving LoS casually and seeming unimportant.

    The simplest Gamist abstraction is to simply say, "yeah, you start combat hidden". The best alternative is to pixel-*****, and risk "guy at the gym" errors.

    EDIT: and, for the record, I'm apparently one of several "gods of stealth" I know compared to Playground "guy at the gym" expectations. "Sneaking in combat" is child's play. Of course, I *accidentally* snuck through a secured military facility, so my experiences may not be typical…
    Last edited by Quertus; 2021-11-26 at 07:20 AM.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    And "someone running off into the woods" might raise tensions, change focus/actions, or even be the trigger that initiate combat.

    However, someone "taking cover"? Or casually continuing walking? I hate to give away all my tricks, but stealth is as much psychology as physical skill - just look at all the "throw a rock" examples in movies for a trivial example.
    That is true, but that doesn't change the fact that it depends a lot on the situation. Are the two groups running into each other on a busy and/or dark street? Yes, there are probably lots of ways for a decently skilled stealth expert to hide before combat erupts. Is one of the groups catching the other in a brightly lit corridor in the big bad's secret base? The opportunities are probably a lot more limited, from both a physical and psychological point of view.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    The simplest Gamist abstraction is to simply say, "yeah, you start combat hidden". The best alternative is to pixel-*****, and risk "guy at the gym" errors.
    GMs make judgement calls all the time, why would "does it make sense to be able to hide before combat here?" be so much harder than any other?

    Of course, it is Talakeal's group we're talking about, so the right answer in this particular situation might be "let them do whatever they want, whenever they want, so they don't melt down like spoiled five-year-olds" but I was trying to answer in a more general sense.
    Last edited by Batcathat; 2021-11-26 at 07:23 AM.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Surprise rounds don't really work here.

    The issue is not that the whole group is hidden (although, honestly, why not?), it's that the rest of the party charges in while the rogue strikes from stealth to ensure they get the same number of actions as everyone else but also get their first turn sneak attack.

    Obviously, stealth rolls as normal.
    This sounds like rogues being rogues to me? As long as the rogue is making enough effort before the combat starts to be in a position to be hidden, and contributes effectively when combat starts rather than hiding for the sake of staying hidden, it sounds like the rogue is doing it right.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    That is true, but that doesn't change the fact that it depends a lot on the situation. Are the two groups running into each other on a busy and/or dark street? Yes, there are probably lots of ways for a decently skilled stealth expert to hide before combat erupts. Is one of the groups catching the other in a brightly lit corridor in the big bad's secret base? The opportunities are probably a lot more limited, from both a physical and psychological point of view.



    GMs make judgement calls all the time, why would "does it make sense to be able to hide before combat here?" be so much harder than any other?

    Of course, it is Talakeal's group we're talking about, so the right answer in this particular situation might be "let them do whatever they want, whenever they want, so they don't melt down like spoiled five-year-olds" but I was trying to answer in a more general sense.
    There you go. It is Talakeal's group. So any time that there is an interpretation whereby what were getting out of Bizarro World could possibly make any sense, let's go with that. Do it enough, and maybe some day the communication issues and (im)maturity issues will be resolved.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by GloatingSwine View Post
    This sounds like rogues being rogues to me? As long as the rogue is making enough effort before the combat starts to be in a position to be hidden, and contributes effectively when combat starts rather than hiding for the sake of staying hidden, it sounds like the rogue is doing it right.
    What is "enough effort" though?

    Currently, he just declared that he is always hidden at the start of the campaign and that is the end of it.

    The biggest issue is that I feel like giving one player a bonus hide action at the start of every combat is just kind of unfair to the other players.
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    What is "enough effort" though?

    Currently, he just declared that he is always hidden at the start of the campaign and that is the end of it.

    The biggest issue is that I feel like giving one player a bonus hide action at the start of every combat is just kind of unfair to the other players.
    You are giving him a bonus action for free.

    The simplest way to resolve it is to say if he wants to start every encounter hidden the whole party has to move at hidden rate of movement and be prevented from verbal communication whilst moving. The entire party has to be under the penalties for hidden movement all the time if he wants to be hidden for every encounter.

    If he wants to follow the RAW he has to take an action to go into hiding during the encounter. If he wants a bonus hide action don’t give it away for free.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    What is "enough effort" though?

    Currently, he just declared that he is always hidden at the start of the campaign and that is the end of it.

    The biggest issue is that I feel like giving one player a bonus hide action at the start of every combat is just kind of unfair to the other players.
    How fair this is depends a lot on how you're actually playing your game. If there is a pre-combat approach to the actual encounter (when appropriate) where the players have the chance to know a fight is coming and set up? If so, the player should have hidden during this period (just as the spellcasters cast buffs and the fighters make sure they're at the front of the group).

    If you abstract this portion of the game away then letting the player make this declaration is fine (in the same way that it would be fine for the players to declare their marching order and for wizards to declare what buffs they have cast).

    In other words, if the way the game goes is like this:

    DM: You see a flickering light deeper in the cave, like a torch or campfire, and hear the cackling of a small band of goblins walking their patrol. What do you do?
    players: *describe preparations, but rogue states no intention to hide*
    DM: Okay, anything else? the patrol is getting closer to your position.
    players: no, we're good.
    DM: Roll initiative
    rogue: I am hidden.

    Then it's fine to deny it, because the rogue player had their chance to hide and didn't take it. however, fi it is more like this:

    DM: you advance into the cave. You see a flickering light, like a torch or campfire, and hear the cackling of a small band of goblins walking their patrol. you round a corner and come face-to-face with the greenskins. Roll initiative.
    Rogue: I would be hidden at this point

    I see no reason to deny it.
    Last edited by DeTess; 2021-11-26 at 03:41 PM.
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    EDIT: and, for the record, I'm apparently one of several "gods of stealth" I know compared to Playground "guy at the gym" expectations. "Sneaking in combat" is child's play. Of course, I *accidentally* snuck through a secured military facility, so my experiences may not be typicalÂ…
    As for "sneaking" in combat: are we sure we're talking about the same thing? I have no doubt that stealth is easier when all your targets are distracted, but would that allow fast enough movement through an open space to be of any use? If the task was impossibly hard it can remain too hard after very favourable modifiers.

    As for your "sneaking in" through a military base - do you claim you were purposefully sneaking through an area you only later found to be a military base, or you have just walked through? The second one involves no skill.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The thing is, I don't know what "hiding" really means without context.

    Like, I understand moving slowly and quietly to avoid attracting attention. I understand moving behind cover or otherwise out of line of sight. But, that only hides you from a specific vantage point. Likewise, most "hiding" involves finding some place where you blend in and then don't move or draw attention to yourself.

    This is very different from sneaking around a battlefield.

    Like, imagine a dungeon. The rogue "hides" before the fighter opens the door, and the party charges into the next room. If there are monsters in the next room, they can't see the rogue, because she was in a different room. But why is she any more "hidden" when she walks through the same door that everyone else did to engage the monsters?

    I don't know, I kind of feel like players expect stealth to work like in a video game where your character crouches down and turns semi-transparent and then remains in "stealth" until they do something to break stealth, but that doesn't really match to my understanding of hiding in the real world.
    As you are designing your own system anyway, you can change it.

    If you copy D&D with hide actions, hidden status effects and sneak attacks for rogues, you get behavior like D&D. But that is your fault alone. Look how Shadowrun (as something widely known) handles stealth : As runners are basically criminals trying to stay unnoticed as long as possible, stealth is a major part of the gameplay. And somehow SR does not have a single one of your specific problems.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    What is "enough effort" though?

    Currently, he just declared that he is always hidden at the start of the campaign and that is the end of it.

    The biggest issue is that I feel like giving one player a bonus hide action at the start of every combat is just kind of unfair to the other players.
    You need to have rules that specify when and how he can be hidden. IE, He must make a successful stealth roll (against awareness) while in an area of obscurement. Define "area of obscurement"- a region that has cover, darkness or both. In plain language, a player must have something to hide in or behind from the POV of those they wish to be hidden from. If they move out of the area of obscurement, they are no longer hidden. Any movement they make while under obscurement will require a new stealth roll to remain hidden (moving silently).
    You perhaps can specify that sneak attack can work even if the character is not technically hidden, so long as the target is not yet aware of the attacker's presence- if they failed awareness checks to notice the character approaching. Moving silently should be sufficient depending on the facing and level of distraction of the target.

    If all this already exists in some form in your game, then obviously the solution is to enforce your rules and deny the blanket declaration of being hidden. The only time he should be able to be hidden prior to combat is if he knows the enemy's position, they aren't aware of him, and he is already in a region that will allow hiding. Otherwise he'll need to use to use the first combat round to move into a place where he can hide and take the action to hide.

    If he wants to be hidden at all times, the burden is on him to describe how and where he's hiding in every scenario and environment the party finds themselves in. This will establish his general position at the beginning of any combat. You should enforce whatever movement rate is require for stealthy movement, and of course disallow talking with the other characters. It seems very impractical and implausible, but it is a fantasy game, I suppose.
    Last edited by Thrudd; 2021-11-26 at 06:30 PM.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    As you are designing your own system anyway, you can change it.

    If you copy D&D with hide actions, hidden status effects and sneak attacks for rogues, you get behavior like D&D. But that is your fault alone. Look how Shadowrun (as something widely known) handles stealth : As runners are basically criminals trying to stay unnoticed as long as possible, stealth is a major part of the gameplay. And somehow SR does not have a single one of your specific problems.
    Good suggestion!

    I sold my Shadowrun books years ago, it might be time to dig it up.


    That being said, I am not sure how being like D&D is a bad thing or a matter of fault; afaict these issues are fairly system agnostic and, looking at D&D, is so sparse that it really has nothing for me to build on.


    Edit: Do you have any specific edition of Shadowrun or section of the book I should be reading? I am skimming a 4E digital copy my roommate had, and it seems to be more or less in line with how D&D does it but is even more vague and gives me even less to work with.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2021-11-26 at 07:51 PM.
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    EDIT: and, for the record, I'm apparently one of several "gods of stealth" I know compared to Playground "guy at the gym" expectations. "Sneaking in combat" is child's play. Of course, I *accidentally* snuck through a secured military facility, so my experiences may not be typical…
    You aren't alone. Although someone's involved borrowing an officer's hat and wearing the right kind of coat, so not exactly the "sneaky unseen" type of stealth. Personally I wear boots with rattley swivel eyelets and no laces in an attempt to both clomp & jingle, and still accidentally sneak up on people.
    "And this, too, shall pass away."

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Good suggestion!

    I sold my Shadowrun books years ago, it might be time to dig it up.


    That being said, I am not sure how being like D&D is a bad thing or a matter of fault; afaict these issues are fairly system agnostic and, looking at D&D, is so sparse that it really has nothing for me to build on.


    Edit: Do you have any specific edition of Shadowrun or section of the book I should be reading? I am skimming a 4E digital copy my roommate had, and it seems to be more or less in line with how D&D does it but is even more vague and gives me even less to work with.
    D&D 5th edition is sufficiently vague that it has started internet arguments about what precisely qualifies as stealth by the rules, but in principle its pretty simple. You need to be unseen and unheard, thats it. Unseen is accomplished with a line of sight blocker like a hedge, thick fog, or (magical) shadows. Being unheard is taking the hide action. Once you meet both those conditions, you roll your stealth check against their perception.

    It is, IMO, a system that actually works better if you start with whats intuitive and work backwards to find the relevant rule. Obviously if they can see you then you arent hidden, for example.
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    As for "sneaking" in combat: are we sure we're talking about the same thing? I have no doubt that stealth is easier when all your targets are distracted, but would that allow fast enough movement through an open space to be of any use? If the task was impossibly hard it can remain too hard after very favourable modifiers.

    As for your "sneaking in" through a military base - do you claim you were purposefully sneaking through an area you only later found to be a military base, or you have just walked through? The second one involves no skill.
    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    You aren't alone. Although someone's involved borrowing an officer's hat and wearing the right kind of coat, so not exactly the "sneaky unseen" type of stealth. Personally I wear boots with rattley swivel eyelets and no laces in an attempt to both clomp & jingle, and still accidentally sneak up on people.
    Bingo! My "accidental stealth" involved looking like I belonged, and acting like I belonged, until I realized that I was lost, and asked for directions. I was met with complete incredulity that I wasn't dead long before I got to where I was, and was escorted to my actual destination by "scary people" (heavily armed? MPs? Darn senility)

    There's a difference between being seen and being noticed. There's plenty of skills one could apply to make people not care about you walking through that door nearly as much as they care about the murderhobo trying to shove several feet of steel into a new orifice of their own making. Although, honestly, not much skill is really required in that particular scenario, if you stop and think about it…

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Bingo! My "accidental stealth" involved looking like I belonged, and acting like I belonged, until I realized that I was lost, and asked for directions. I was met with complete incredulity that I wasn't dead long before I got to where I was, and was escorted to my actual destination by "scary people" (heavily armed? MPs? Darn senility)

    There's a difference between being seen and being noticed. There's plenty of skills one could apply to make people not care about you walking through that door nearly as much as they care about the murderhobo trying to shove several feet of steel into a new orifice of their own making. Although, honestly, not much skill is really required in that particular scenario, if you stop and think about it…
    Definitely not the same kind of skill as hiding in the shadows and bushes (you'd probably want to cue that off purely mental stats, possibly even treat that as a social skill), and I strongly doubt it would be helpful when there are actual hostiles in the area (in your example people definitely had social considerations in their mind, which they wouldn't in combat) and doubly so it wouldn't be helpful to move into advantageous combat position (as opposed to slipping through).

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Edit: Do you have any specific edition of Shadowrun or section of the book I should be reading? I am skimming a 4E digital copy my roommate had, and it seems to be more or less in line with how D&D does it but is even more vague and gives me even less to work with.
    The editions don't change much. The important points are :

    - There is no sneak attack as class ability and no class skill. Everyone can do stealth, everyone can profit from stealth. You don't get groups where one player needs stealth for his tricks to work and the others don't care.
    - Being hidden or not depends mostly on perception and stealth checks. People can be hidden from some but at the same time visible to other enemies. There is no "hidden" status. Hidden always carries the informaion "from whom". If the whole group out of line of sight, you don't have hidden and non-hidden members. No one can see any of them.
    - The whole hidden and noticed thing is symmetrical. The enemies are unknown to the group until they are found as well. Usually per the same perception mechanics unless it is really obvious. Not noticing all enemy combattants is common.
    - Surprise attacks are powerful, but surprise wears off and is basically a once per combat thing
    - There lots of rules and modifiers for perception rolls as well as guidelines for far you can hear stuff etc.
    - The basic assumption is that the whole team is sneaking or not because raising alarm, calling for reinforcements and paying more attention to a place where someone got found is expected. It is not really useful to sneak in a group of looud people. People are aware the group is there and once they see it, they tend to see you anyway. Also people can alert each other.
    - There is no such thing as hide-in-plain-sight or even being-hidden-in plain-sight unless you have basically invisibility, magically or technologically andboth can be countered in various ways. If you go through a door that is under observation because of your teammates, you generally are seen, no check allowed.

    It basically boils down to "no sneak attack, no "hidden"-status, only opposed skill rolls heavily modified for the situation (that can also shift into auto-success and auto-failure territory) and attacking usually gives you away.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    My feelings on "staring the encounter hidden" are basically, 'yeah, why not'. He's a rogue. My only concerns are that:
    1. He must be aware of the potential trouble, and the opponent must not have already been aware of him. (if he has been sighted, then its going to take him his first action to move out of sight.)
    2. He must have a means of not being noticed/observed. You can't hide in a large open space, a brightly lit corridor, etc.

    I'd be thinking about the area/terrain/buildings/etc at the location the group is. Possibly offer some options for stealth - for example: "There's a large rock you could hide behind easily, but it's not very close to where everyone else is. There is a tree close to the road, but it doesn't provide as much cover." (Rock may give a Stealth bonus, but it will take another Stealth action to move from it to enter combat once it starts, tree has a penalty.) Being able to start an encounter in stealth, doesn't mean that where's he's hidden is going to be right in the middle of where the fight breaks out.

    I've had the rogue in my D&D group hide perfectly, then have another PC "pull" the opponents away from where he was by their actions. I've also seen the Rogue pick a good hiding place when my monsters/NPC's weren't planning on going past him in the first place. (In that case, though, your player would probably blame you that he didn't get a sneak attack because you changed plans specifically based on his action.)

    Alternatively, if most/all of the group is aware of potential opponents (that aren't aware of them) then ask EVERYONE what they do (give them all an action) before the initiative roll.
    Last edited by Tarmor; 2021-11-27 at 03:46 AM.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Definitely not the same kind of skill as hiding in the shadows and bushes (you'd probably want to cue that off purely mental stats, possibly even treat that as a social skill), and I strongly doubt it would be helpful when there are actual hostiles in the area (in your example people definitely had social considerations in their mind, which they wouldn't in combat) and doubly so it wouldn't be helpful to move into advantageous combat position (as opposed to slipping through).
    One of the best combatants I know will do exactly that - move around, making themselves appear "less important" than the guy "trying to shove several feet of steel into a new orifice", only to have moved into advantageous combat position while attentions were elsewhere. That's… kinda his MO, tbh. Not that he wouldn't best me, or half a dozen of me, in a stand-up fight anyway.

    So… yeah, "stealth" comes in many forms, not just "lurk in the shadows", but many very mental forms as well, and I'd like to avoid "guy at the gym"ing the character / system to the point where my experiences seem phenomenally superhuman

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    So, we had another session.

    I told Bob that he can't start stealth hidden without good reason.

    He told me that if I am going to "waste his first turn" then he is going to waste as much of my time as possible and make me actually play out a solo infiltration mission before each combat so that he can start hidden in an ambush mission behind enemy lines. Which, aside from boring the rest of the party to tears, is likely to get him killed off the first time he flubs a crucial stealth roll.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    The editions don't change much. The important points are :

    - There is no sneak attack as class ability and no class skill. Everyone can do stealth, everyone can profit from stealth. You don't get groups where one player needs stealth for his tricks to work and the others don't care.
    - Being hidden or not depends mostly on perception and stealth checks. People can be hidden from some but at the same time visible to other enemies. There is no "hidden" status. Hidden always carries the informaion "from whom". If the whole group out of line of sight, you don't have hidden and non-hidden members. No one can see any of them.
    - The whole hidden and noticed thing is symmetrical. The enemies are unknown to the group until they are found as well. Usually per the same perception mechanics unless it is really obvious. Not noticing all enemy combattants is common.
    - Surprise attacks are powerful, but surprise wears off and is basically a once per combat thing
    - There lots of rules and modifiers for perception rolls as well as guidelines for far you can hear stuff etc.
    - The basic assumption is that the whole team is sneaking or not because raising alarm, calling for reinforcements and paying more attention to a place where someone got found is expected. It is not really useful to sneak in a group of looud people. People are aware the group is there and once they see it, they tend to see you anyway. Also people can alert each other.
    - There is no such thing as hide-in-plain-sight or even being-hidden-in plain-sight unless you have basically invisibility, magically or technologically and both can be countered in various ways. If you go through a door that is under observation because of your teammates, you generally are seen, no check allowed.

    It basically boils down to "no sneak attack, no "hidden"-status, only opposed skill rolls heavily modified for the situation (that can also shift into auto-success and auto-failure territory) and attacking usually gives you away.
    I see then.

    I think you might be misinterpreting my problems then.

    Currently, my game works a lot more like Shadowrun than D&D, and that is where the problem lies.

    The player simply wants to have a "hidden" condition, while my game uses a more complex system of who can see who at any given time. Trying to square both of them creates an incredibly complex situation.
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    So, we had another session.

    I told Bob that he can't start stealth hidden without good reason.

    He told me that if I am going to "waste his first turn" then he is going to waste as much of my time as possible and make me actually play out a solo infiltration mission before each combat so that he can start hidden in an ambush mission behind enemy lines. Which, aside from boring the rest of the party to tears, is likely to get him killed off the first time he flubs a crucial stealth roll....

    I think you might be misinterpreting my problems then.

    Currently, my game works a lot more like Shadowrun than D&D, and that is where the problem lies.

    The player simply wants to have a "hidden" condition, while my game uses a more complex system of who can see who at any given time. Trying to square both of them creates an incredibly complex situation.
    Then problem is the player. I'm sorry I can't help. Need a place to hide? I may be able to swing that.
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