A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Then problem is the player. I'm sorry I can't help. Need a place to hide? I may be able to swing that.

    Agreed.

    But... he was pissed off at the time because he felt like I was pulling the rug out from under him and leaving him with no alternative.

    It's not exactly problematic to want to get their most out of your character's abilities, I just wish I had a more concrete and fair way of handling it that didn't feel like I was pulling a rule out of my butt every time so that we could avoid such conflicts.



    I remember a very similar situation once when I was playing a rogue and I attacked someone who was standing in complete darkness a hundred yards from his allies, and the DM rules that the guard called for help and I was immediately spotted despite the fact that there was no rational way they could see me; the DM argued that because the guy I attacked could see me and that he wasn't hidden from his allies, they would simply come directly to his and spot me despite the intervening darkness and distance.

    Honestly its kind of ironic that video games are the ones that tend to use a blanket "hidden" condition when you more or less need a computer to calculate who can see who at any given moment.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2021-11-28 at 03:07 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Yeah, this is definitely one of those topics that needs an agreement between player and GM, but it also does kinda raise the question of "what is hiding".

    In terms of entering combat in a certain way, it kinda reminds me of playing a cavalier, but that question complicates it. You do best on your mount, but it's a pretty clear-cut, definable thing of "are you on your mount at the start of combat" with there being obvious situations of when you would or would not be on your mount at the start of combat, and what would be required to get on your mount during combat. Ambushed while traveling between towns? Yeah, you're on your mount. Ambushed while sitting at the bar in a tavern? Yeah, no, you're not on your mount. Then you define what it'll take to get on your mount, in this case going outside the tavern to where said mount is, unhitching it from the post, and climbing on top.

    But it gets a little harder than that, obviously, because it's not really a yes/no answer for "am I hidden" in the same obvious way as there is for "am I on a horse right now". I really like the suggestion made earlier, that there's a physical token that represents the intent of staying hidden. You as the GM would decide if any given action they take, or situation they enter, necessitates flipping that token. If you're moving between towns, you'd be hidden (or have the chance to instantly make your stealth roll at the start of combat) if you're moving alongside the road in the brush, scouting ahead. You wouldn't be hidden if you were walking beside the paladin engaged in a lengthy argument with him. You're not so much deciding at the moment if they're actually possessing the "hidden" condition, you're determining whether or not rolling stealth should be allowed as an automatic thing at the beginning of combat or whether the player has to take an action or something to qualify for the chance to roll such as diving into a ditch and then crawling away.

    The compounding thing is, what in your opinion as a GM is being stealthy and not being stealthy, and how can you convey this to your player? You should probably come up with a definition of what being detected by enemies is, something like "they are both aware of your presence and consider you a threat". If some bandits burst into the tavern and demand that everyone gives up their money, and you're tucked into a corner booth, maybe the first part of the definition is not true - they see that there's a booth there, and they see that it is occupied. But maybe the stealth check is you making an effort to appear as nonthreatening as possible so they make the mistake of turning their back to you or something. They still know you're there, unless they don't have object permanence, but by failing to consider you a threat they've put you in a situation where you could definitely spring out of "hiding" to attack, or stay "hidden" further into combat because the actual combat is between the bandits and the rest of the obviously armed and dangerous adventuring party that was at the middle table.

    After that, just work on communicating "yes, you can do that and be stealthy" and "no, you cannot do that and be stealthy", until your player gets a general feel for what makes you say yes and no. At that point they'll hopefully start molding their behavior so that you meet halfway with how a "sneaky rogue" should be behaving.
    Last edited by Milodiah; 2021-11-28 at 04:19 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    Do not try a linear campaign, without some discussion with them. Players very often look at your hooks and then try to accomplish it in a different way, not touch it, try to do the complete opposite, or somehow set it on fire.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    But... he was pissed off at the time because he felt like I was pulling the rug out from under him and leaving him with no alternative.

    It's not exactly problematic to want to get their most out of your character's abilities, I just wish I had a more concrete and fair way of handling it that didn't feel like I was pulling a rule out of my butt every time so that we could avoid such conflicts.
    I doubt there is a completely objective way to rule it (at least without getting into ridicolous amounts of detail for every situation). Did your player actually attempt to justify why his character should be able to be automatically hidden in all situations or did he just go straight to hissy fit? I'm not sure how good his character is supposed to be at hiding, but saying you should always be able to hide because you're good at hiding is like saying you should always be able to lift stuff because you're strong, regardless of how much something actually weighs

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    I doubt there is a completely objective way to rule it (at least without getting into ridicolous amounts of detail for every situation). Did your player actually attempt to justify why his character should be able to be automatically hidden in all situations or did he just go straight to hissy fit? I'm not sure how good his character is supposed to be at hiding, but saying you should always be able to hide because you're good at hiding is like saying you should always be able to lift stuff because you're strong, regardless of how much something actually weighs
    He has a magic item which blurs his image and grants him a +2 bonus to stealth and AC. He says he is always moving ahead of the party while "invisible" to scout, and that it makes no sense that if he was scouting that he should suddenly become visible when initiative is rolled.


    It is a bit weird how much he over emphasizes being "invisible" at all times, like the other night they were at a banquet and he said he spent the entire meal walking along the table hidden and pickpocketing every guest and never once took to his seat; this served the double purpose of making him some money and getting him out of RPing, and he got mad when I said that while slipping away or picking a few pockets is certainly viable, there is no way in the world that people aren't going to notice you leaving your seat to orbit the table for the entire meal just because you move quietly and have a blurred outline.
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    He has a magic item which blurs his image and grants him a +2 bonus to stealth and AC. He says he is always moving ahead of the party while "invisible" to scout, and that it makes no sense that if he was scouting that he should suddenly become visible when initiative is rolled.


    It is a bit weird how much he over emphasizes being "invisible" at all times, like the other night they were at a banquet and he said he spent the entire meal walking along the table hidden and pickpocketing every guest and never once took to his seat; this served the double purpose of making him some money and getting him out of RPing, and he got mad when I said that while slipping away or picking a few pockets is certainly viable, there is no way in the world that people aren't going to notice you leaving your seat to orbit the table for the entire meal just because you move quietly and have a blurred outline.
    ...so he's one of those players, huh?

    Good luck. The problem becomes less "well if you're concealing yourself you can't participate in this or that" because clearly he values being concealed over...you know, participating in things. Part of me wants to say he needs to start experiencing in-game consequences for being a kleptomaniac, but part of me knows that's probably not going to fix the problem, and instead drive him to try even harder to avoid being caught. At this point it's a matter of whether his obsession is negatively impacting the fun being had by other people, which I assume it is, and he probably needs to be told to knock it down a few notches, which he will not take kindly to.
    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    Do not try a linear campaign, without some discussion with them. Players very often look at your hooks and then try to accomplish it in a different way, not touch it, try to do the complete opposite, or somehow set it on fire.

  6. - Top - End - #66
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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.
    They’re definitely not system agnostic. Some games don’t have any special rules or sub-systems for stealth or how stealth interacts with combat. (Hell, some games don’t even have any special rules or sub-systems for combat). In those games you just describe yourself being stealthy and resolve it the way you would resolve anything else, one situation at a time. I think when you have an involved tactical combat system like D&D and special stealth rules that give you very clear, defined and predictable advantages in the combat system, that’s when you get the issue of “I hide” becoming a rote, mechanical step that the stealth player says every time because there’s no reason not to.

    But my intuitive answer is that even in D&D I would go on a case by case basis. I’d want to tell the player they can’t just assume they can be hidden at the start of every encounter. They need to engage with the fiction and tell me how exactly they’re being sneaky when they want to be sneaky. If it does start to feel rote and mechanical and like they really should just be able to assume they’re always skulking in the shadows when the fight starts, then I’d want to up my encounter game and mix it up a bit, having fights in brightly lit areas, places with no hiding spots, monsters coming out of the walls on all sides, etc.

    EDIT having read the thread more closely: definitely sounds like the player is the problem. I think it’s time to have a chat. What does he want out of the game, can he understand why you don’t want to treat “hiding” like invisibility, is there any way you can compromise. Sounds like he’s being very immature though.
    Last edited by HidesHisEyes; 2021-11-28 at 07:17 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    He has a magic item which blurs his image and grants him a +2 bonus to stealth and AC. He says he is always moving ahead of the party while "invisible" to scout, and that it makes no sense that if he was scouting that he should suddenly become visible when initiative is rolled.
    I don't think any type of rule will solve this conflict. There are already rules for stealth in your game, but the player seems to insist it should work the way he imagines it rather than whatever is written; there's no reason to think this would change if you added an official "hidden" condition with reasonable requirements. He thinks his character should be able to be hidden in plain sight/invisible at all times, unless you make that possible in your rules, he won't be happy.

    I'd say the best way to resolve the conflict is to allow him to be hidden/invisible with a stealth roll (as an explicit feature of the magic item) but with the condition that he needs to come up with a plausible location in the current environment where he could have been moving unseen. Not an entire stealth mini-game, just a description of where he thinks his character should be. Get him to agree that you must approve and are allowed to alter or deny his description if it seriously conflicts with verisimilitude (but most of the time you'll be pretty lenient). Perhaps have explicit exceptions that he is aware of ahead of time, such as small rooms and narrow corridors, where it should be understood that hiding is impossible, even with the magic item.

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    I'd say the best way to resolve the conflict is to allow him to be hidden/invisible with a stealth roll (as an explicit feature of the magic item) but with the condition that he needs to come up with a plausible location in the current environment where he could have been moving unseen.
    I'd say that the best way to resolve the conflict is to tell the player that you (the DM) are not here for his own personal enjoyment and that if he doesnt like the way the stealth rules work he is free to make a different character or leave the table. When somebody starts threatening to deliberately waste table time, that means you pull out the Big Red Button. I know if somebody at my table was deliberately trying to waste everyone's time out of spite, as soon as they started talking about something that wasnt their action i would go "cool, you forfeit your turn." and move on to the next guy who actually wants to play the game.

    Edit: Having said that, i do agree that Mr Sneak has a point that if he was successfully hidden when combat was called, there is absolutely not reason for him to have suddenly broken out of sneaking. Presumably the sound of drawn swords does not count as radar.
    Last edited by Keltest; 2021-11-29 at 08:33 AM.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    I'd say that the best way to resolve the conflict is to tell the player that you (the DM) are not here for his own personal enjoyment and that if he doesnt like the way the stealth rules work he is free to make a different character or leave the table. When somebody starts threatening to deliberately waste table time, that means you pull out the Big Red Button. I know if somebody at my table was deliberately trying to waste everyone's time out of spite, as soon as they started talking about something that wasnt their action i would go "cool, you forfeit your turn." and move on to the next guy who actually wants to play the game.

    Edit: Having said that, i do agree that Mr Sneak has a point that if he was successfully hidden when combat was called, there is absolutely not reason for him to have suddenly broken out of sneaking. Presumably the sound of drawn swords does not count as radar.
    I agree on both points, though in regards to the first one I think the hope of Talakeal's players behaving like sane people or Talakeal dropping them from the group are both pretty slim. In regards to the second one, I think the main issue is whether the character can always start out hidden, his magical stealth and habit of scouting ahead should certainly make it the case sometimes.

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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.
    I would rather tell him that he will almost always have the opportunity to begin combat hidden but he's going to have to tell you how he's going to hide prior to each combat based on the description you've given the party about the surroundings. Let him know that "Stand in the open in my blur field" is barely ever going to be enough because it's not invisibility, it's just very good camouflage, but will allow him to make use of much less concealment than anyone else could get away with.

    That makes him engage with the situation in a way that earns the advantage he wants.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    I'd say that the best way to resolve the conflict is to tell the player that you (the DM) are not here for his own personal enjoyment and that if he doesnt like the way the stealth rules work he is free to make a different character or leave the table. When somebody starts threatening to deliberately waste table time, that means you pull out the Big Red Button. I know if somebody at my table was deliberately trying to waste everyone's time out of spite, as soon as they started talking about something that wasnt their action i would go "cool, you forfeit your turn." and move on to the next guy who actually wants to play the game.

    Edit: Having said that, i do agree that Mr Sneak has a point that if he was successfully hidden when combat was called, there is absolutely not reason for him to have suddenly broken out of sneaking. Presumably the sound of drawn swords does not count as radar.
    Keep in mind, he was upset when he said this and was putting it in uncharitable terms.

    A more neutral way of saying it would be that if he needs to play out a solo infiltration before the combat starts to start out hidden, then that is what he will do, but that is going to eat up a lot of time and leave the other players bored.
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Keep in mind, he was upset when he said this and was putting it in uncharitable terms.

    A more neutral way of saying it would be that if he needs to play out a solo infiltration before the combat starts to start out hidden, then that is what he will do, but that is going to eat up a lot of time and leave the other players bored.
    Presumably you have no intention of actually making anyone do that though, so he's either going to go out of his way to waste everyone's time or he's just trying to blackmail you into letting him cheat.

    Unless (again) you actually did just arbitrarily rob him of pre-established stealth when combat started, in which case that really is a DM foul that you probably shouldnt repeat.
    Last edited by Keltest; 2021-11-29 at 12:56 PM.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Presumably you have no intention of actually making anyone do that though, so he's either going to go out of his way to waste everyone's time or he's just trying to blackmail you into letting him cheat.

    Unless (again) you actually did just arbitrarily rob him of pre-established stealth when combat started, in which case that really is a DM foul that you probably shouldnt repeat.
    The sticking point is what qualifies as “pre-established”.

    Is it him declaring he hides the moment I call for an initiative roll, or is it playing out an infiltration mission beforehand? What is grounds for establishment?
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Is it him declaring he hides the moment I call for an initiative roll, or is it playing out an infiltration mission beforehand? What is grounds for establishment?
    I think that's bound to be a judgement call, even if you could create some sort of guidelines. A whole infiltration mission before each combat sounds... excessive but saying he just autohides is going too far in the other direction, I think. At the risk of stating the obvious, I think it basically boils down to "Does it make sense for him to be hidden right now?". Was he scouting ahead when the party got ambushed in the forest? Sure, it makes sense to be hidden. Is the party in more or less complete darkness and he's moving silently? It makes sense for him to manage to hide before combat starts. But then there are plenty of situations where it doesn't make sense (because of the environment or the lighting conditions or everyone's positioning or whatever).

    Basically, I think you as the GM has to make the call. In most groups I doubt that would be much of an issue. In your group? Well...

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The sticking point is what qualifies as “pre-established”.

    Is it him declaring he hides the moment I call for an initiative roll, or is it playing out an infiltration mission beforehand? What is grounds for establishment?

    Thats why I actually really like the idea of the physical, flippable token that was mentioned earlier. I do a similar thing at my tables when I play games like Call of Cthulhu; major items of kit or big, bulky weapons like Thompson sub machine guns, shotguns, are on an index card. It serves a dual purpose here, one is that nobody has to flip to page 238 or whatever to see what the stats are, but it also symbolizes physical possession of that thing, at the moment. If the players specify they are leaving it in the trunk of the car, it goes into a pile that represents that. That way nobody gets to say "well I actually meant to bring the shotgun" at the start of combat, because if you did then you would have physically collected that card to indicate it. And if a cop stops you says "hold on a second why do you have a Tommy gun in my quiet suburb" you can't say "oh I actually left it in the car" because there it is, right in front of you.

    Sure, players are forgetful. If someone declared their intention to collect it or stow it, but then got off on a tangent and didn't actually move the card, I'll do it for them. But you'd be surprised just how often the players do it, since its a nice tactile addition to the game and I find players like to get to DO things.

    In the same sense, the "hiding" token is him visibly indicating how his character is choosing to act at the moment. Dark side up, presumably, would be the norm for this guy. It's not exclusive to him being inside a barrel or something all session; it just means he's moving in a way that would let him vanish quickly, which is something that obviously the character know how to do. He's keeping up near walls, not walking in the middle of streets or lights, etc, ready at any moment to Assassin's Creed his way into Concealment.

    Any time he says he's doing something that would make that implausible, like buying something from a merchant or climbing a ladder, that token flips to exposed. He can still try to stealth, but he's going to have to go out of his way and actively seek a way to flip that token back over first, like jumping off that ladder into a bush. That's when its an action to hide rather than just 'I roll stealth' at the beginning of an encounter.
    Last edited by Milodiah; 2021-11-29 at 01:51 PM.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    This is further complicated by the idea of "hidden" as an objective condition. What does hidden actually mean? From whom? Can your allies target you while you are hidden? As in the example I posted a few days ago, what does it mean to be hidden from some people while actively fighting others?

    So, in my last session there were two combats.

    The first was against four ogres that had taken up residence in an observatory on a hill. They were outside resting on various balconies and catwalks. The party approached in the open and engaged them in a pitched battle.

    The second was a group of trolls who made their lair in a volcanic cavern. They had no sentinels, and the party burst in the main entrance and started kicking butt.


    In both of these cases, how would you rule preemptive stealth would work?
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    In both of these cases, how would you rule preemptive stealth would work?
    It's hard to say for certain without more detail, but I would probably have allowed preemptive stealth in both cases, mainly since the combat was initiated by the party and it's easy to justify Stealth Guy going around a little or hanging back to avoid being seen. I'd still ask the player to justify it, but less "play out an entire infiltration mission" and more "explain your approach".

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    It's hard to say for certain without more detail, but I would probably have allowed preemptive stealth in both cases, mainly since the combat was initiated by the party and it's easy to justify Stealth Guy going around a little or hanging back to avoid being seen. I'd still ask the player to justify it, but less "play out an entire infiltration mission" and more "explain your approach".
    I would say that “hanging back a little” would be well represented by taking the hide action, but he wants to open the fight in melee with a first turn backstab.
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    I'm curious btw - do combats last significantly more rounds in your system, or is backstab really strong? Because from a 3.x perspective, using a round to hide seems like almost always a trap option.
    Last edited by icefractal; 2021-11-29 at 03:13 PM.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    This is further complicated by the idea of "hidden" as an objective condition. What does hidden actually mean? From whom? Can your allies target you while you are hidden? As in the example I posted a few days ago, what does it mean to be hidden from some people while actively fighting others?
    Yeah, a formal dictionary definition is probably gonna be needed here.

    I pitch the definition of being detected as 'the enemy is both aware of your location and perceives you as a threat.'

    The first one basically means they know at least exactly which square you're in. I'd still give it to him if they knew he were somewhere in that treeline, or in the building somewhere, etc, but it'd make the check harder.

    It also means that even if one or more enemies are aware of your location, you are still concealed from enemies who have been alerted that something is wrong but have not been informed of your exact location. Its one thing to yell "Intruder!" It's another to yell "Intruder, he's hiding behind that crate!" while pointing at the crate and illuminating it with your lantern. I always say that if the sneaky guy gets detected but eliminates the guy in the first combat round, a general alarm probably got shouted but no more than that, it's unlikely for a guard to be narrating everything he sees in a loud voice as you're stabbing him.

    That brings us to the concept of general versus specific alerts, something I borrowed from shadowrun decking. General alert means they know there is an intruder or other problem, but specific means they know YOU are the intruder. They know what you look like, where you last were, what you've been doing, etc. I've never been hard pressed on the fine details like you are now, but perhaps two tokens could be used. Think of it like the metal gear solid, hitman, etc games. They search for you, they find you, they tell other people where you are, in that order.
    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    I'm curious btw - do combats last significantly more rounds in your system, or is backstab really strong? Because from a 3.x perspective, using a round to hide seems like almost always a trap option.
    Combats are significantly longer than D&D yes.

    No, a sneak attack by itself isn't that great, hiding is generally more of a defensive action imo.

    But the real advantage is that, unlike D&D, hidden is determined per person rather than being a condition, so he will hide before combat, sneak attack enemy A on round one, sneak attack enemy B on round two, sneak attack enemy C on round three, sneak attack enemy D on round four, etc. until there are no enemies left who aren’t aware of his presence, at which point he will take an action to hide and then repeat.
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Combats are significantly longer than D&D yes.

    No, a sneak attack by itself isn't that great, hiding is generally more of a defensive action imo.

    But the real advantage is that, unlike D&D, hidden is determined per person rather than being a condition, so he will hide before combat, sneak attack enemy A on round one, sneak attack enemy B on round two, sneak attack enemy C on round three, sneak attack enemy D on round four, etc. until there are no enemies left who aren’t aware of his presence, at which point he will take an action to hide and then repeat.
    This strikes me as rather weird in terms of mechanics. Is he making stealthy attacks? In most TTRPGs combat actions tend to break stealth unless you’re that good, or are using specialized equipment.
    Last edited by Xervous; 2021-11-29 at 03:26 PM.

  23. - Top - End - #83
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I would say that “hanging back a little” would be well represented by taking the hide action, but he wants to open the fight in melee with a first turn backstab.
    Yeah, that's another interpretation, like I said it's hard to tell without specifics (and even then it'd be subjective). Starting out with an immediate backstab could be a valid action but it, once again, depends on the specific situation.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    This is further complicated by the idea of "hidden" as an objective condition. What does hidden actually mean? From whom? Can your allies target you while you are hidden? As in the example I posted a few days ago, what does it mean to be hidden from some people while actively fighting others?

    So, in my last session there were two combats.

    The first was against four ogres that had taken up residence in an observatory on a hill. They were outside resting on various balconies and catwalks. The party approached in the open and engaged them in a pitched battle.

    The second was a group of trolls who made their lair in a volcanic cavern. They had no sentinels, and the party burst in the main entrance and started kicking butt.


    In both of these cases, how would you rule preemptive stealth would work?
    Hiding normally wouldn't work in either scenario, unless the party lured the enemies toward a spot where the rogue was hiding, or the rogue had infiltrated the area where the enemies were beforehand completely unnoticed and hid somewhere among them (assuming there even is an appropriate spot for that to happen).
    I guess he could have stealthed into either of those areas before the party went in, hidden behind something or lurked in a shadow with his magic item activated, and waited for the party to enter.

    This is really about appeasing a difficult player (and I presume the other players would agree that it isn't worth constantly fighting over), rather than establishing a balanced set of rules that simulate stealth in a reasonable way. You have a handle on how stealth could and should work, we have no dearth of potential rule sets to apply.

    I'd still say to just let it happen, with caveats. This guy, I gather, doesn't like to pay attention to anything happening outside of combat, so he isn't actually actively participating in scouting, is he? He just wants his character to be perpetually scouting and not have to think about how that's happening. So let him make a stealth roll, based on his roll vs the awareness of the enemies, quickly describe how he snuck into the area and where he hid prior to the fight starting. If the area would be more difficult to sneak into or hide in, apply a penalty to his roll or a bonus to the awareness roll or both. If it would be impossible, tell him it would have been impossible and his character would have known that and reported as such to the rest of the party (you know, like a scout does). If his stealth roll failed, tell him he was seen/found out just before the attack started. So you are doing an "infiltration mission" at the start of every combat, but it consists of two dice rolls (his and yours), and a one or two sentence description of where he is and what happened.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    He has a magic item which blurs his image and grants him a +2 bonus to stealth and AC. He says he is always moving ahead of the party while "invisible" to scout, and that it makes no sense that if he was scouting that he should suddenly become visible when initiative is rolled.
    Seems reasonable. If he scouts ahead, he encounters enemies before the rest of the party and should get his stealth roll for not being noticed. If that one works, he can stay out of line of sight until the others arrive and start the combat hidden. But if the roll fails, he has some time alone with the enemy until the others arrive.

    It is a bit weird how much he over emphasizes being "invisible" at all times, like the other night they were at a banquet and he said he spent the entire meal walking along the table hidden and pickpocketing every guest and never once took to his seat; this served the double purpose of making him some money and getting him out of RPing, and he got mad when I said that while slipping away or picking a few pockets is certainly viable, there is no way in the world that people aren't going to notice you leaving your seat to orbit the table for the entire meal just because you move quietly and have a blurred outline.
    I would not have allowed that. Blurry is not invisible (and actually more than a bit attention-grabbing at a feast) and there are numerous onlookers. If he had insisted to try it anyway, i would have let him roll : opposed rolls against all the onlockers with his blur bonus and some big malus for the situation. And if found, he would have been treated like the thief he is. But if he is that masterful a thief to still pull that off, good for him.

    More honestly, pickpocketing at a feast without the blur-item is something i would rule as far easier and actually quite likely to succeed for a professional if that is a feast where moving around occasionally instead of staying seated is something a lot of people do. Pickpocketing in a gathering is easy, if you can blend in. But if everyone else stays seated, it is basically impossibly hard. The same goes if the PC is some guest of honer who has the attention of the others all the time.


    Of course i would have told the player the chances as i see them before they commited to the action.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    This is further complicated by the idea of "hidden" as an objective condition. What does hidden actually mean? From whom? Can your allies target you while you are hidden? As in the example I posted a few days ago, what does it mean to be hidden from some people while actively fighting others?

    So, in my last session there were two combats.

    The first was against four ogres that had taken up residence in an observatory on a hill. They were outside resting on various balconies and catwalks. The party approached in the open and engaged them in a pitched battle.

    The second was a group of trolls who made their lair in a volcanic cavern. They had no sentinels, and the party burst in the main entrance and started kicking butt.


    In both of these cases, how would you rule preemptive stealth would work?
    I would have asked if he wants to scout ahead as always and the party is willing to wait for that. If yes, then played out his solo scouting. If no, no stealth.


    I mean i have been in groups that tend to send a scout in first and somehow there never was some disagreement like you always get.

    But you already know that i would have kicked that particular player long long ago for many other reasons. And my games are so much fun usually going years without arguments and when a disagreement arises we are having a productive discussion like adults.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    I would say that “hanging back a little” would be well represented by taking the hide action, but he wants to open the fight in melee with a first turn backstab.
    Sneaking into melee range is hard and depending on layout and positioning outright impossible. I would only allow it if he would successfully make those hard (situationally adjusted) sneak rolls and if not, he gets to start without support from the rest of the party in melee range of the enemy.



    Scouting is a difficult minigame of risk vs. reward. One can shorten it to one opposed roll or some such, but the player doesn't get the big reward without actually taking the risk.


    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    But the real advantage is that, unlike D&D, hidden is determined per person rather than being a condition, so he will hide before combat, sneak attack enemy A on round one, sneak attack enemy B on round two, sneak attack enemy C on round three, sneak attack enemy D on round four, etc. until there are no enemies left who aren’t aware of his presence, at which point he will take an action to hide and then repeat.
    You are allowing him to actually fight in melee without being noticed by other combattants of the same fight ? If that is something your rulesystem does, he has found an exploit and abuses it. Again.




    I know you are different and your table dynamics include some strange power play between GM and player on the metalevel. But i personally get quite hostile when i perceive some player argueing in bad faith. For me rules discussions should be a cooperative endeavor to get the best rules, not some adversarial power play to get the most benefiacial ruling tor a certain PC or an attempt to get away with as much as you can. Which is, again, why i would in most cases not give Bob what he wants (unless he convinces he it is reasonable) and would have kicked him long ago for throwing a tantrum over it. I don't have an advice to make your table work.
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2021-11-30 at 03:42 AM.

  26. - Top - End - #86
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The first was against four ogres that had taken up residence in an observatory on a hill. They were outside resting on various balconies and catwalks. The party approached in the open and engaged them in a pitched battle.

    The second was a group of trolls who made their lair in a volcanic cavern. They had no sentinels, and the party burst in the main entrance and started kicking butt.


    In both of these cases, how would you rule preemptive stealth would work?
    Insufficient information.

    What I can do though is tell you what I would do if I were in the mindset of your rogue player (but possessed of all my normal faculties).

    I would ask in both situations "What cover can I use to hide in to get the drop on these enemies"? Then on receiving an answer I would ask to the party "let me get into that position then we start the fight".

    If your party are taking the initiative to start the fights on their own terms, I think it's reasonable for you as a DM to enable the rogue player by providing some cover that allows them to use their sneak attacks against at least some enemies as long as they meet that threshold of asking about the situation and using what they are told about it, and co-operating with the rest of the party.

    If the players are caught on the hop and the fight comes to them, then the rogue shouldn't expect to start combat hidden unless he had previously told you how he was hiding.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Seems reasonable. If he scouts ahead, he encounters enemies before the rest of the party and should get his stealth roll for not being noticed. If that one works, he can stay out of line of sight until the others arrive and start the combat hidden. But if the roll fails, he has some time alone with the enemy until the others arrive.

    I would not have allowed that. Blurry is not invisible (and actually more than a bit attention-grabbing at a feast) and there are numerous onlookers. If he had insisted to try it anyway, i would have let him roll : opposed rolls against all the onlockers with his blur bonus and some big malus for the situation. And if found, he would have been treated like the thief he is. But if he is that masterful a thief to still pull that off, good for him.

    More honestly, pickpocketing at a feast without the blur-item is something i would rule as far easier and actually quite likely to succeed for a professional if that is a feast where moving around occasionally instead of staying seated is something a lot of people do. Pickpocketing in a gathering is easy, if you can blend in. But if everyone else stays seated, it is basically impossibly hard. The same goes if the PC is some guest of honer who has the attention of the others all the time.


    Of course i would have told the player the chances as i see them before they commited to the action.

    I would have asked if he wants to scout ahead as always and the party is willing to wait for that. If yes, then played out his solo scouting. If no, no stealth.


    I mean i have been in groups that tend to send a scout in first and somehow there never was some disagreement like you always get.

    But you already know that i would have kicked that particular player long long ago for many other reasons. And my games are so much fun usually going years without arguments and when a disagreement arises we are having a productive discussion like adults.

    Sneaking into melee range is hard and depending on layout and positioning outright impossible. I would only allow it if he would successfully make those hard (situationally adjusted) sneak rolls and if not, he gets to start without support from the rest of the party in melee range of the enemy.



    Scouting is a difficult minigame of risk vs. reward. One can shorten it to one opposed roll or some such, but the player doesn't get the big reward without actually taking the risk.



    You are allowing him to actually fight in melee without being noticed by other combattants of the same fight ? If that is something your rulesystem does, he has found an exploit and abuses it. Again.




    I know you are different and your table dynamics include some strange power play between GM and player on the metalevel. But i personally get quite hostile when i perceive some player argueing in bad faith. For me rules discussions should be a cooperative endeavor to get the best rules, not some adversarial power play to get the most benefiacial ruling tor a certain PC or an attempt to get away with as much as you can. Which is, again, why i would in most cases not give Bob what he wants (unless he convinces he it is reasonable) and would have kicked him long ago for throwing a tantrum over it. I don't have an advice to make your table work.
    So here is the thing:

    The player is used to D&D where "hidden" is an absolute condition, and is used to 3.5 D&D where an invisibility spell or a skill boosting item essentially means it is a permanent condition regardless of what you are doing.

    My system is written to be more of a case by case basis where rather than being "hidden" as a condition, I determine whether any given enemy is aware of you at any given time.

    The player is trying to combine these assumptions into a sort of "best of both worlds" situation where entering the hidden condition is global but breaking it is on a case by case basis. And I don't really think this is malicious behavior, he is merely trying to get the most out of his character and bringing in assumptions where they don't apply.
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  28. - Top - End - #88
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    So here is the thing:

    The player is used to D&D where "hidden" is an absolute condition, and is used to 3.5 D&D where an invisibility spell or a skill boosting item essentially means it is a permanent condition regardless of what you are doing.

    My system is written to be more of a case by case basis where rather than being "hidden" as a condition, I determine whether any given enemy is aware of you at any given time.

    The player is trying to combine these assumptions into a sort of "best of both worlds" situation where entering the hidden condition is global but breaking it is on a case by case basis. And I don't really think this is malicious behavior, he is merely trying to get the most out of his character and bringing in assumptions where they don't apply.
    I can respect trying to bring in some more realism into a rules system, but for stuff like stealth in particular, IMO the merits of a quick and easy-to-grasp resolution are more important to the gaming experience.

    Doubly so because presumably you need to turn this system on your players at some point, so telling someone "sorry, you dont know this guy on the battle map is here yet, only Tony knows he exists, and Tony just got stabbed to death." is going to be a hard sell.
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  29. - Top - End - #89
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    But the real advantage is that, unlike D&D, hidden is determined per person rather than being a condition, so he will hide before combat, sneak attack enemy A on round one, sneak attack enemy B on round two, sneak attack enemy C on round three, sneak attack enemy D on round four, etc. until there are no enemies left who aren’t aware of his presence, at which point he will take an action to hide and then repeat.
    So it's your system. Is this working as it's intended to work? Is there a specific concept or style of game or genre you're trying to mimic with these rules? I can't think of many fights from movies or books where combatants are unaware of each other. Batman taking out mooks from the shadows is one, or a Movie Ninja Fight where combatants are totally unaware of each other and combat is shown only through disappearing bodies or the rustle of bushes.

    So you have Rogue, Fighter, Wizard, and Cleric vs Orcs A, B, C, and D. The Rogue can happily engage A, then B, then C, all without being seen by D. So what is Orc D supposing to be seeing? Are his fellow orcs just mysteriously dropping dead from swords through the chest? Does D see them engaged in a sword fight with only the shadows - something is there, but he can't make it out?

    Most systems don't do this because it adds a lot of complexity - for each individual Orc, you need to track which party members you can see, and even in a relatively simple 4 vs 4 fight, you need to track that A, B, and D can see each other, that the Fighter and Cleric made their Alertness checks to see Orc C hiding, that the Rogue and Orc C can't see each other because they failed the checks, that the Wizard can see the Rogue the whole time, but not when the Rogue hides again, beating his Alertness... there's a reason most systems use a simple 'attacking breaks Stealth' - it's easy to track, and under normal circumstances it's hard for combatants to miss a swordfight happening right in front of their face.

    Is this how you're intending the system to work and the sort of Stealth you want to emulate? If not, you need to fix your rules. If so... well, it's an odd setup, but if your system is aiming to tackle Batman Stealth Fights, then everybody should probably be hiding regularly, and it's an intentional effect that people can have sword fights right next to each other while un-noticed.

    Be sure that the players understand that's how it works for everyone, though. Most players will turn up their nose at the concept that only Bob can see the guy that's stabbing him, and your players more than most.
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Reversefigure4 View Post
    So it's your system. Is this working as it's intended to work? Is there a specific concept or style of game or genre you're trying to mimic with these rules? I can't think of many fights from movies or books where combatants are unaware of each other. Batman taking out mooks from the shadows is one, or a Movie Ninja Fight where combatants are totally unaware of each other and combat is shown only through disappearing bodies or the rustle of bushes.

    So you have Rogue, Fighter, Wizard, and Cleric vs Orcs A, B, C, and D. The Rogue can happily engage A, then B, then C, all without being seen by D. So what is Orc D supposing to be seeing? Are his fellow orcs just mysteriously dropping dead from swords through the chest? Does D see them engaged in a sword fight with only the shadows - something is there, but he can't make it out?

    Most systems don't do this because it adds a lot of complexity - for each individual Orc, you need to track which party members you can see, and even in a relatively simple 4 vs 4 fight, you need to track that A, B, and D can see each other, that the Fighter and Cleric made their Alertness checks to see Orc C hiding, that the Rogue and Orc C can't see each other because they failed the checks, that the Wizard can see the Rogue the whole time, but not when the Rogue hides again, beating his Alertness... there's a reason most systems use a simple 'attacking breaks Stealth' - it's easy to track, and under normal circumstances it's hard for combatants to miss a swordfight happening right in front of their face.

    Is this how you're intending the system to work and the sort of Stealth you want to emulate? If not, you need to fix your rules. If so... well, it's an odd setup, but if your system is aiming to tackle Batman Stealth Fights, then everybody should probably be hiding regularly, and it's an intentional effect that people can have sword fights right next to each other while un-noticed.

    Be sure that the players understand that's how it works for everyone, though. Most players will turn up their nose at the concept that only Bob can see the guy that's stabbing him, and your players more than most.
    That is a very good point. I do think a lot of the tension is coming from trying to square the circle between MMO style ease of play stealth and Batman style in-depth stealth.
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