A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    The way I've always tried to handle that is if one enemy spots you, and is given sufficient time to inform the others of your presence (usually one combat round) without you doing something about them, then everyone with him knows where you are even if they didn't initially beat that opposed check or whatever to detect you. Obviously there are exceptions, but in general it works well enough. Though I should specify that only applies to people in his immediate vicinity, where he can point and say something, they can look where he's pointing, and then they say "oh yeah there IS a guy there". If it's just a general distress signal type thing (depending on the setting that could be anything from a radio to a flare gun to a particular pattern of Dancing Lights, to just yelling for help really loud) then that isn't going to give the enemy your location, just that there is A Problem.

    If people disagree, then sure, we can go to complex check systems to ensure everyone perceives everyone else. But that's gonna apply to the enemies, too, and I guarantee they're gonna get fed up with not being able to attack the enemy whose model is clearly on the battle mat because their character doesn't know that, and any attempt at metagaming will be discouraged.
    Last edited by Milodiah; 2021-12-02 at 04:02 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.

  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    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.
    Yes, that is the impression i get.
    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.
    And i would still tell him "No", even if it were not malicious.

    It is just not how your rulesystem works and it would be a bad idea to change it accordingly as what the player wants is utterly overpowered. And would undoubtly cause no little amount of backlash if some NPC used it against the group.



    The thing is, what rules or houserules i use depends only on the merits of the rules, the consequences they have and what i want to achieve. The player behavior does only change how i interact with the player, whether i remain open or friendly and whether i keep or kick them. Those two things should not be mingled. No favorable rules for nice players, no unfavorable ones to punish them. The only exception are gentlemens agreements to not abuse stuff so you don't have to nerf it rulewise.
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2021-12-03 at 03:53 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    The player's plan is, sneak attack each opponent from hiding, return to hiding, repeat.

    Let's say that there are 4 opponents. And that the average expected damage from hiding is 5.

    If the PC starts the combat hidden, his expected damage for the first 5 rounds is 5+5+5+5+0=20.

    If the PC has to spend the first round or combat hiding, his expected damage for the first 5 rounds of combat is 0+5+5+5+5=20.

    You've changed rules mid game, sacrificed player good will, removed the "feel good" the player had, and guaranteed worse gameplay as now you'll be wasting everyone's time on pixel *****ing whether or not he's hiding…

    … for no fundamental change in average total combat DPS.

    Good job. Clearly a Determinator-approved use of your resources.

  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    You've changed rules mid game, sacrificed player good will, removed the "feel good" the player had, and guaranteed worse gameplay as now you'll be wasting everyone's time on pixel *****ing whether or not he's hiding…
    Yes, the ideal solution is clearly to give a problematic player what they want, regardless of whether it makes in-game sense or not, so they won't whine. I'm sure that'll set a great precedent for the future.

  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    Yes, the ideal solution is clearly to give a problematic player what they want, regardless of whether it makes in-game sense or not, so they won't whine. I'm sure that'll set a great precedent for the future.
    Especially since the OP is the creator of their system, and if the creator fails to provide an answer to the problem then every gm who encounters this in the future will have it too.
    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 - #96
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    The player's plan is, sneak attack each opponent from hiding, return to hiding, repeat.

    Let's say that there are 4 opponents. And that the average expected damage from hiding is 5.

    If the PC starts the combat hidden, his expected damage for the first 5 rounds is 5+5+5+5+0=20.

    If the PC has to spend the first round or combat hiding, his expected damage for the first 5 rounds of combat is 0+5+5+5+5=20.

    You've changed rules mid game, sacrificed player good will, removed the "feel good" the player had, and guaranteed worse gameplay as now you'll be wasting everyone's time on pixel *****ing whether or not he's hiding…

    … for no fundamental change in average total combat DPS.

    Good job. Clearly a Determinator-approved use of your resources.
    You are aware that your math only works if you choose to snapshot combat at X+1 rounds, with X being the number of enemies, correct?

    But who said I changed the rules mid game? The printed rules that we have been playing with say that hiding takes an action, and the player is asking for an exception to those rules to let him be permanently hidden.
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  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    Yes, the ideal solution is clearly to give a problematic player what they want, regardless of whether it makes in-game sense or not, so they won't whine. I'm sure that'll set a great precedent for the future.
    Quote Originally Posted by Milodiah View Post
    Especially since the OP is the creator of their system, and if the creator fails to provide an answer to the problem then every gm who encounters this in the future will have it too.
    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    You are aware that your math only works if you choose to snapshot combat at X+1 rounds, with X being the number of enemies, correct?

    But who said I changed the rules mid game? The printed rules that we have been playing with say that hiding takes an action, and the player is asking for an exception to those rules to let him be permanently hidden.
    Hmmm… I suppose it's possible I misread the OP.

    OK, if it's *not* the case that the player has been allowed to start combat hidden simply by saying, "I'm hidden", and no previous players have done so either, if this doesn't represent a change in how things have been played at your table, then that changes my response.

    And, as to my math, well, the player's plan was to attack everyone from hiding once, repeat. This makes it sound like combat lasts long enough that the difference in pacing will be minimal (after 12 rounds, it's 45 vs 50 damage, and back to 60 vs 60 at 15, for example). Which… is a pretty bad plan, at least in most systems.

    I agree that versimilitude is important… but… if I understood correctly, and "stealth" is broken on an individual basis, and only by attacking the person you have stealth against? Then "reality" has left the building long ago, and, speaking for myself, my belief in the system will be broken far less by "you get to start hidden", and far more by "guy at the gym"ing stealth conditions to work less well than I've witnessed IRL.

    It's Talakeal's table, so of course I cannot argue the claim of "problem player"; I just think that, in this case, there's no evidence of the player doing anything wrong.

    I don't think it's wrong for the system to leave it to the table to determine what valid conditions for entering the "hidden" condition are. That said, if you want something explicit in the rules? Personally, I might go for… any time there is cover, poor lighting conditions, distractions, or the target is engaged in an activity other than active perception… and there is noise or a vacuum… and (for each other applicable sense of the target).

    That is, you cannot enter the "hidden" condition if there is even a single relevant sense against which you *cannot* hide (sorry, anthropomorphic deer / cat girl, you didn't approach from downwind, so the guard dogs *will* smell you coming, regardless of your stealth, and you're not flying, so the creature with tremor sense will know exactly where you are).

    As to setting a precedent, it's that the rules don't change mid-campaign.

  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    I gather that the CORE issue isn't that the player is doing the hit-dip-hit-dip-hit stealth attack approach, its more that he's kind of exploiting the typical nebulousness of the medium to retroactively say he was hiding at the start of the fight, even though he didn't necessarily have a reason to think he should be hiding. Thus the title of the thread, STARTING combat hidden.
    Last edited by Milodiah; 2021-12-06 at 01:19 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Milodiah View Post
    I gather that the CORE issue isn't that the player is doing the hit-dip-hit-dip-hit stealth attack approach, its more that he's kind of exploiting the typical nebulousness of the medium to retroactively say he was hiding at the start of the fight, even though he didn't necessarily have a reason to think he should be hiding. Thus the title of the thread, STARTING combat hidden.
    Is "being in a potentially dangerous situation" not enough of a reason to be slow and sneaky?
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  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Is "being in a potentially dangerous situation" not enough of a reason to be slow and sneaky?
    What's a particularly dangerous situation, though? Traveling on a main road in daylight? Walking down a city street? Eating dinner in a tavern?

    At some point it starts being ridiculous that there's no negative effects to "being slow and sneaky", like moving at a slower speed than the rest of the party, being viewed as suspicious by the city watch, or not being served in the tavern.

    That's been what the last four pages of discussion have been. It's not that the guy says he hides at the start of combat, its that he says he ALREADY WAS hidden.

    Reminds me of El Disgusto.
    Last edited by Milodiah; 2021-12-06 at 03:28 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    So I talked to Bob and we came to a compromise.

    He flat out said that if it takes an action to hide, he refuses to play a rogue and will be making a new character.

    I said that he can start out hidden IF he is aware of the enemies before they are aware of the party; which means no stealth if the PCs are ambushed or if the rest of the PCs rush ahead of him.

    Seems to be a good compromise, but it still isn't great as a longtime rule as the optimal position is still for everyone, PC and NPC alike, to declare they are hidden 24/7 if there is no cost to using the hide ability.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I agree that versimilitude is important… but… if I understood correctly, and "stealth" is broken on an individual basis, and only by attacking the person you have stealth against? Then "reality" has left the building long ago, and, speaking for myself, my belief in the system will be broken far less by "you get to start hidden", and far more by "guy at the gym"ing stealth conditions to work less well than I've witnessed IRL.
    Who is the "guy at the gym" here? The mooks who are getting back-stabbed?

    The system is designed so that if you stick to the shadows and invest heavily in stealth skills, you can pick most enemies off one by one like Rambo or Batman or Solid Snake or pretty much any ninja.

    It works well enough, the problem is that if hiding doesn't take an action, there is no trade off and there is no reason for everyone not to attempt it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Is "being in a potentially dangerous situation" not enough of a reason to be slow and sneaky?
    From a fluff perspective, being "slow and sneaky" doesn't mean a whole lot when you are part of a party who is making all sorts of noise and the enemy has no reason to see you as anything but another member of the group, especially when you are actively doing rogue stuff like searching and disarming traps. In a dungeon situation, the enemy literally doesn't know the rogue exists as an individual, but they know that there are a bunch PCs in the next room who are all about to kick in the door and rush in.

    From a game perspective, if there is no tradeoff for stealth, then the optimal move is for everyone on both teams to be stealthy all the time, which is a logistical nightmare to actually manage at the table.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    And, as to my math, well, the player's plan was to attack everyone from hiding once, repeat. This makes it sound like combat lasts long enough that the difference in pacing will be minimal (after 12 rounds, it's 45 vs 50 damage, and back to 60 vs 60 at 15, for example). Which… is a pretty bad plan, at least in most systems.
    Damage total will be one round behind, and will then catch up every fifth round, only to fall behind again on the following round.

    BUT keep in mind that being hidden also protects one from being hit in turn, and that as enemies die their damage goes down (as does the number of rounds between hiding).

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I don't think it's wrong for the system to leave it to the table to determine what valid conditions for entering the "hidden" condition are. That said, if you want something explicit in the rules? Personally, I might go for… any time there is cover, poor lighting conditions, distractions, or the target is engaged in an activity other than active perception… and there is noise or a vacuum… and (for each other applicable sense of the target).
    All of these things modify stealth, but they are not automatic. It is perfectly possible to be fighting with someone else in the dark with neither person attempting to hide from the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I don't think it's wrong for the system to leave it to the table to determine what valid conditions for entering the "hidden" condition are. That said, if you want something explicit in the rules? Personally, I might go for… any time there is cover, poor lighting conditions, distractions, or the target is engaged in an activity other than active perception… and there is noise or a vacuum… and (for each other applicable sense of the target).

    That is, you cannot enter the "hidden" condition if there is even a single relevant sense against which you *cannot* hide (sorry, anthropomorphic deer / cat girl, you didn't approach from downwind, so the guard dogs *will* smell you coming, regardless of your stealth, and you're not flying, so the creature with tremor sense will know exactly where you are).

    As to setting a precedent, it's that the rules don't change mid-campaign.
    The thing is "hidden" is not a condition, it is an action. Because, unless you are "hide and seek" style climbing into someplace out of the way and staying still, you need to hide FROM something.

    As I said above, its less about changing the rules and more working out a gray area to determine exactly what point one can hide. Its less about punishing the rogue player and more trying to make their be some sort of cost to hiding so that the optimal move isn't for every single person to be hidden at every single moment, which is a logistical nightmare.

    Quote Originally Posted by Milodiah View Post
    What's a particularly dangerous situation, though? Traveling on a main road in daylight? Walking down a city street? Eating dinner in a tavern?

    At some point it starts being ridiculous that there's no negative effects to "being slow and sneaky", like moving at a slower speed than the rest of the party, being viewed as suspicious by the city watch, or not being served in the tavern.

    That's been what the last four pages of discussion have been. It's not that the guy says he hides at the start of combat, its that he says he ALREADY WAS hidden.

    Reminds me of El Disgusto.
    This.
    Last edited by Talakeal; 2021-12-06 at 03:34 PM.
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  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    So I talked to Bob and we came to a compromise.

    He flat out said that if it takes an action to hide, he refuses to play a rogue and will be making a new character.

    I said that he can start out hidden IF he is aware of the enemies before they are aware of the party; which means no stealth if the PCs are ambushed or if the rest of the PCs rush ahead of him.

    Seems to be a good compromise, but it still isn't great as a longtime rule as the optimal position is still for everyone, PC and NPC alike, to declare they are hidden 24/7 if there is no cost to using the hide ability.

    Sounds like you could do with some rule elaboration on surprise, ambushes, and perhaps a list of example sounds and how far they can be heard.
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  13. - Top - End - #103
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    So I talked to Bob and we came to a compromise.

    He flat out said that if it takes an action to hide, he refuses to play a rogue and will be making a new character.

    I said that he can start out hidden IF he is aware of the enemies before they are aware of the party; which means no stealth if the PCs are ambushed or if the rest of the PCs rush ahead of him.

    Seems to be a good compromise, but it still isn't great as a longtime rule as the optimal position is still for everyone, PC and NPC alike, to declare they are hidden 24/7 if there is no cost to using the hide ability.
    So figure out, during this campaign, how you would like to change the rule for after the campaign. Run it by us. And run a few one-shots with the changes rule before starting your next campaign, to test that the change doesn't engage behavior like, "we let the Avatar of Hate kill us all to free Teleport back to town" .

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Who is the "guy at the gym" here? The mooks who are getting back-stabbed?
    The poor PC (because of course NPCs will still ambush the party) who cannot hide in ways that people can actually hide IRL.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The system is designed so that if you stick to the shadows and invest heavily in stealth skills, you can pick most enemies off one by one like Rambo or Batman or Solid Snake or pretty much any ninja.

    It works well enough, the problem is that if hiding doesn't take an action, there is no trade off and there is no reason for everyone not to attempt it.
    Other than build resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    From a fluff perspective, being "slow and sneaky" doesn't mean a whole lot when you are part of a party who is making all sorts of noise and the enemy has no reason to see you as anything but another member of the group, especially when you are actively doing rogue stuff like searching and disarming traps. In a dungeon situation, the enemy literally doesn't know the rogue exists as an individual, but they know that there are a bunch PCs in the next room who are all about to kick in the door and rush in.
    Which is why Batman has Robin wear bright colors, and rush in first, so that nobody notices when the bat sneaks in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    From a game perspective, if there is no tradeoff for stealth, then the optimal move is for everyone on both teams to be stealthy all the time, which is a logistical nightmare to actually manage at the table.
    Other than build resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Damage total will be one round behind, and will then catch up every fifth round, only to fall behind again on the following round.
    Yup.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    BUT keep in mind that being hidden also protects one from being hit in turn,
    Meaning the enemies are better focusing fire on his team mates, while he's spreading the damage out. Another way this is a bad tactic in most systems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    and that as enemies die their damage goes down (as does the number of rounds between hiding).
    Which happens at the same rate for either progression.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    All of these things modify stealth, but they are not automatic. It is perfectly possible to be fighting with someone else in the dark with neither person attempting to hide from the other.
    Me: these are the conditions for when you can make a check.
    You: those don't automatically make you hidden.

    I think there's a disconnect here somewhere…

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    The thing is "hidden" is not a condition, it is an action. Because, unless you are "hide and seek" style climbing into someplace out of the way and staying still, you need to hide FROM something.
    So let's take a look at Batman in your system.

    So, Batman knows that mob boss Vinnie and his dozen thugs are meeting someone in a warehouse.

    He has himself shipped into the warehouse in a crate with a false / sliding side, which Robin (posing as a worker) moved into position. Then Robin waits outside, watching.

    Batman waits until Robin radios him with the identity of the person Vinnie is meeting with (el Sinister), and Intel on the security cameras, before exiting the crate.

    Batman gains the "hidden" trait against Vinnie, his dozen thugs, El Sinister, and the security cameras. So, classic Batman, he begins taking out the security cameras, right? Well, no - so long as he *doesn't* attack the security cameras, they'll never notice him.

    Instead, he begins taking out Vinnie's goons.

    Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the dynamic duo, The Red Ninja, a master contortionist, is hiding in El Sinister's briefcase, watching events through 1-way mirrored eye holes.

    As soon as Batman takes out the first of Vinnie's goons, The Red Ninja notices him, and activates the electrified catwalks / the knockout gas vents / the floor is lava / whichever trap is appropriate to Batman's location.

    Thus dies Batman. Because he didn't know to hide against The Red Ninja.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    As I said above, its less about changing the rules and more working out a gray area to determine exactly what point one can hide. Its less about punishing the rogue player and more trying to make their be some sort of cost to hiding so that the optimal move isn't for every single person to be hidden at every single moment, which is a logistical nightmare.
    Other than build resources?

    Most firefights begin with everyone attempting to get cover. "Cover" is a concept of a state that really only applies against some targets and not universally to everything, yet many systems treat the abstraction as simply a "has cover" state. The optimal opening move in many systems is for everyone to seek cover.

    If everyone who spent build resources on stealth tries to obtain the "hidden" state? I guess I'd say it gives mechanical "teeth" for how an ambush is even possible in the first place (otherwise, why don't both sides of every engagement open with, "we ambush them"?). It'd be like half-zombie kids walking up to the target before attacking, because, due to their "stealth", the target doesn't view them as a threat until too late.

    Actually… how isn't "I'm hidden" exactly the same as "we ambush them"? Does your system have rules for entering the "ambush" state/condition, or is it all GM fiat?

  14. - Top - End - #104
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    The poor PC (because of course NPCs will still ambush the party) who cannot hide in ways that people can actually hide IRL.
    How did you come to that conclusion? Because I'm pretty sure people IRL can't count on starting every combat hidden.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    So I talked to Bob and we came to a compromise.
    Good for you.

    This would mean, he still gets to sneak attack all enemies in a fight one after another, right ? Well, if it makes him happy and is tolerable for you, ok.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    The poor PC (because of course NPCs will still ambush the party) who cannot hide in ways that people can actually hide IRL.
    I am pretty sure, NPCs operate under the same hide rules as PCs. Any kind of stealth-nerf would obviously make NPC ambushes weaker as well and vice versa.

    Other than build resources?
    No build ressources required to hide. Build ressources only come into play when testing whether a specific observer can see through it or not.

    But that was not even the argument. The cost T is talking about is cost per use. He didn't want to have hidden as spammable, always on by default condition. Build ressources don't really come into play here as even Sir Clanks-a-lot without any investmentment in stealth could try to hide at the beginning of every combat if it doens't cost anything. Maybe with luck it works once in a while.

    As soon as Batman takes out the first of Vinnie's goons, The Red Ninja notices him, and activates the electrified catwalks / the knockout gas vents / the floor is lava / whichever trap is appropriate to Batman's location.

    Thus dies Batman. Because he didn't know to hide against The Red Ninja.
    You write it as if it were something you disagree with ?

    I do remember a lot of sessions where the players were not aware of certain guards/observers and this totally messed up their supposedly stealthy approach when they acted where this particular observer sould see them. Seems completely fine.


    If everyone who spent build resources on stealth tries to obtain the "hidden" state? I guess I'd say it gives mechanical "teeth" for how an ambush is even possible in the first place (otherwise, why don't both sides of every engagement open with, "we ambush them"?). It'd be like half-zombie kids walking up to the target before attacking, because, due to their "stealth", the target doesn't view them as a threat until too late.
    Again, there no build ressources to aquire a hidden state, there are only actions to do so. And T assumes that making it free results in having to run every scenario as double-blind because everyone hides all the time until they get explicitely noziced and he doesn't want to do that because it is a logistical nightmare.
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2021-12-07 at 04:37 AM.

  16. - Top - End - #106
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    The poor PC (because of course NPCs will still ambush the party) who cannot hide in ways that people can actually hide IRL.
    I don't see it; explain?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Which is why Batman has Robin wear bright colors, and rush in first, so that nobody notices when the bat sneaks in.
    Which would be fine in my system. But the problem is, the rogue players wants to be the first person in combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Other than build resources?
    Sativinian has addressed this above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Meaning the enemies are better focusing fire on his team mates, while he's spreading the damage out. Another way this is a bad tactic in most systems.
    It depends. Sometimes spreading damage around is good, sometimes focusing it on the tankier characters is good. Sometimes the rogue should take one for the team, other times they should escape with their lives after being beat up. The point is that it is a tool to control the enemy's damage and it shouldn't be ignored in that capacity.

    Also, the player has spent build resources with the assumption he will be permanently hidden and is more or less an unarmored glass canon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Me: these are the conditions for when you can make a check.
    You: those don't automatically make you hidden.

    I think there's a disconnect here somewhere…
    Yeah, the same disconnect my player has.

    My player says that because he has an amulet of blur, he should always 100% of the time be able to hide.

    I am saying that these things all modify your chance to be hidden, but are not a binary. Just because the room is dimly lit does not mean everyone can roll a stealth test every turn at no cost regardless of circumstances.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Actually… how isn't "I'm hidden" exactly the same as "we ambush them"? Does your system have rules for entering the "ambush" state/condition, or is it all GM fiat?
    It does.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the dynamic duo, The Red Ninja, a master contortionist, is hiding in El Sinister's briefcase, watching events through 1-way mirrored eye holes.

    As soon as Batman takes out the first of Vinnie's goons, The Red Ninja notices him, and activates the electrified catwalks / the knockout gas vents / the floor is lava / whichever trap is appropriate to Batman's location.

    Thus dies Batman. Because he didn't know to hide against The Red Ninja.
    In my system I would say that since he is in El Sinister's briefcase, hiding against El Sinister or people in its vicinity counts as hiding against the red ninja.


    Now, let me ask you, in your preferred system, would you say that if Red Ninja was on the same side of the crates as batman and equipped with night vision goggles, Batman still hides against him fine? Because my player would. What if he only had night vision goggles OR was positioned on the same side of the crates as Batman.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So let's take a look at Batman in your system.

    So, Batman knows that mob boss Vinnie and his dozen thugs are meeting someone in a warehouse.

    He has himself shipped into the warehouse in a crate with a false / sliding side, which Robin (posing as a worker) moved into position. Then Robin waits outside, watching.

    Batman waits until Robin radios him with the identity of the person Vinnie is meeting with (el Sinister), and Intel on the security cameras, before exiting the crate.

    Batman gains the "hidden" trait against Vinnie, his dozen thugs, El Sinister, and the security cameras. So, classic Batman, he begins taking out the security cameras, right? Well, no - so long as he *doesn't* attack the security cameras, they'll never notice him.

    Instead, he begins taking out Vinnie's goons.
    Hold on a sec. Character's can take a "search" action to target a hidden character, and I would say the security cameras do nothing but searching, and once they have pinpointed Batman's location, they can give anyone whom they can communicate that information to a +20 bonus to search checks of their own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    How did you come to that conclusion? Because I'm pretty sure people IRL can't count on starting every combat hidden.
    Other posters' descriptions of what they thought would make good rules for stealth. They erred on the side of not allowing stealth, which would totally "guy at the gym" the game compared to my experience with this reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    I am pretty sure, NPCs operate under the same hide rules as PCs. Any kind of stealth-nerf would obviously make NPC ambushes weaker as well and vice versa.
    The way Talakeal wrote their post, I did not take that as a given.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    No build ressources required to hide. Build ressources only come into play when testing whether a specific observer can see through it or not.

    But that was not even the argument. The cost T is talking about is cost per use. He didn't want to have hidden as spammable, always on by default condition. Build ressources don't really come into play here as even Sir Clanks-a-lot without any investmentment in stealth could try to hide at the beginning of every combat if it doens't cost anything. Maybe with luck it works once in a while.

    Again, there no build ressources to aquire a hidden state, there are only actions to do so. And T assumes that making it free results in having to run every scenario as double-blind because everyone hides all the time until they get explicitely noziced and he doesn't want to do that because it is a logistical nightmare.
    And nobody has to spend build resources to try to hit things, either. But to *succeed* at hiding or hitting things? That is, hopefully, a different story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    You write it as if it were something you disagree with ?

    I do remember a lot of sessions where the players were not aware of certain guards/observers and this totally messed up their supposedly stealthy approach when they acted where this particular observer sould see them. Seems completely fine.
    I write it as to ask Talakeal whether it's something that they agree with. Whether that's the fiction that they want their rules to produce, the stories that they want to tell

    "Yes" and "No" are both fine answers.

    But Talakeal has been upset by the fiction that their rules produce before ("death is a free Teleport home!", for example), so I thought it worth pointing out.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    @Quertus: I don't know if you saw, but I posted a longer response to your previous post at the same time you made this one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Other posters' descriptions of what they thought would make good rules for stealth. They erred on the side of not allowing stealth, which would totally "guy at the gym" the game compared to my experience with this reality.
    The issue is not stealth, the issue is free stealth that doesn't slow down the ambusher at all or cost them anything in terms of action economy.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    The way Talakeal wrote their post, I did not take that as a given.
    PCs and NPCs use the same rules in my game, although they are built differently and players have a few metagame resources such as rerolls that NPCs do not.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    And nobody has to spend build resources to try to hit things, either. But to *succeed* at hiding or hitting things? That is, hopefully, a different story.
    But attacking takes an action. The wizard doesn't just get a free attack every turn while casting a spell for example, but the rogue wants a free hide every turn while attacking at full effectiveness.
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    @Quertus: I don't know if you saw, but I posted a longer response to your previous post at the same time you made this one.

    But attacking takes an action. The wizard doesn't just get a free attack every turn while casting a spell for example, but the rogue wants a free hide every turn while attacking at full effectiveness.
    Communication is hard. Forget everything else for a moment: is or is it not the case that your system by default gives the "hidden" condition to every character with the hidden condition, vs every target against which they have the hidden condition, for free, every round, unless and until they [attack or are spotted by] the target, and that having the hidden condition gives combat bonuses? Is or is it not the case that "hide every turn while attacking at more than full effectiveness" is a reasonable statement of how your rules work?

    -----

    I'm glad you brought up Batman, because there is, IIRC, some version of… Teen Titans maybe… where Robin(?) consistently disappears the moment the situation looks tense. While the other PCs be all like, "what's that" or "maybe we should…", Robin is already in motion.

    Honestly, it sounds to me like this PC is just that (annoying, terrible at teamwork) Robin, who knows how to take advantage of the time that others waste.

    Of course it's the optimal play to do something… from a simplistic outside PoV. But people are programmed to *not* act on those instincts, because things like "teamwork" and "evaluating the situation" are actually evolutionarily superior. Robin and this PC have honed their reflexes to overcome evolutionary programming, and act in a preprogrammed way to certain stimulus.

    It's perfectly versimilitudinal to me.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Communication is hard. Forget everything else for a moment: is or is it not the case that your system by default gives the "hidden" condition to every character with the hidden condition, vs every target against which they have the hidden condition, for free, every round, unless and until they [attack or are spotted by] the target, and that having the hidden condition gives combat bonuses? Is or is it not the case that "hide every turn while attacking at more than full effectiveness" is a reasonable statement of how your rules work?
    Indeed, communication is hard, to the point where I am not quite sure what you are asking.

    How stealth is intended to work:

    You take an action to hide. If successful, other characters become unaware of your location.
    You may not target a character whose location you are unaware of.
    You receive a bonus to hit against a character who is unaware of your location.
    Once hidden, other characters must roll a spot test to become aware of your location.
    The difficulty of this spot test is determined by your stealth score and the actions you took on your last turn, as well as environmental factors such as cover, concealment, distance, ambient noise, etc.
    Once they have made a spot test, characters become aware of your location until you hide again, and may call out your position to give allies a bonus to their spot test.


    It works more or less fine except in weird corner cases like trying to hide from someone whose location you yourself are unaware of.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I'm glad you brought up Batman, because there is, IIRC, some version of… Teen Titans maybe… where Robin(?) consistently disappears the moment the situation looks tense. While the other PCs be all like, "what's that" or "maybe we should…", Robin is already in motion.

    Honestly, it sounds to me like this PC is just that (annoying, terrible at teamwork) Robin, who knows how to take advantage of the time that others waste.
    Personally I don't think there should be "win button" character decisions like that; if he wants to always have initiative / an extra turn, he should take a character ability that gives him such.

    The same player also insists he lives in a cardboard box eating bread and water and spends all his free time training and working, so I should give him extra gold and XP to compensate, and I am like, "no, that's not how that works, you need to actually take a merit for that, I am not giving you huge mechanical abilities just for making a one time declarative statement about how miserable your character is during downtime".
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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    How did you come to that conclusion? Because I'm pretty sure people IRL can't count on starting every combat hidden.
    I think it was more about how we have some systems that say a knight in armor has to make a dex check at a penalty just to stand quietly behind a heavy curtain while someone walks past, or that people sitting in chairs and resting on couches are automatically found because they aren't "talking a stealth action". Walk into a library and look around, is everyone you don't automatically notice "taking a stealth action", or are they just not yammering and banging on stuff? We have a black cat that likes to sleep in a dark brown leather chair, and she's been sat on more than a couple times. She's not "taking the hide action", she literally just sprawls out asleep and blends in. Yet people continually fail to see her in full daylight.

    Overly specific and overly general rules tend to have weird effects when they're always followed, and rpg stealth can often be both at the same time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    I think it was more about how we have some systems that say a knight in armor has to make a dex check at a penalty just to stand quietly behind a heavy curtain while someone walks past, or that people sitting in chairs and resting on couches are automatically found because they aren't "talking a stealth action". Walk into a library and look around, is everyone you don't automatically notice "taking a stealth action", or are they just not yammering and banging on stuff? We have a black cat that likes to sleep in a dark brown leather chair, and she's been sat on more than a couple times. She's not "taking the hide action", she literally just sprawls out asleep and blends in. Yet people continually fail to see her in full daylight.

    Overly specific and overly general rules tend to have weird effects when they're always followed, and rpg stealth can often be both at the same time.
    Sure, I can agree about that part (not hiding from someone just because you can't see them gets very weird in some situations), I'm mostly against the idea of hiding automatically in all situations that the player seems to desire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Indeed, communication is hard, to the point where I am not quite sure what you are asking.

    How stealth is intended to work:

    You take an action to hide. If successful, other characters become unaware of your location.
    You may not target a character whose location you are unaware of.
    You receive a bonus to hit against a character who is unaware of your location.
    Once hidden, other characters must roll a spot test to become aware of your location.
    The difficulty of this spot test is determined by your stealth score and the actions you took on your last turn, as well as environmental factors such as cover, concealment, distance, ambient noise, etc.
    Once they have made a spot test, characters become aware of your location until you hide again, and may call out your position to give allies a bonus to their spot test.


    It works more or less fine except in weird corner cases like trying to hide from someone whose location you yourself are unaware of.



    Personally I don't think there should be "win button" character decisions like that; if he wants to always have initiative / an extra turn, he should take a character ability that gives him such.

    The same player also insists he lives in a cardboard box eating bread and water and spends all his free time training and working, so I should give him extra gold and XP to compensate, and I am like, "no, that's not how that works, you need to actually take a merit for that, I am not giving you huge mechanical abilities just for making a one time declarative statement about how miserable your character is during downtime".
    Well, hiding feeling like a win button is better than "lose button" character decisions, like the… "storm Cleric" PC that your system didn't support, right?

    (Also, there's a reason I keep talking about how bad of a tactic it is, and referenced a character who failed the same way)

    As to your system… I suppose it depends on the *action* that those spot checks require as to whether or not it's fair to say that, by default, your system gives the hidden condition to anyone with the hidden condition.

    However, since you apparently have to perceive your opponent to hide from them in your system, the player is playing the game correctly, informing you that they are hiding the moment that they perceive potential hostiles. Kudos to them!

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    I think it was more about how we have some systems that say a knight in armor has to make a dex check at a penalty just to stand quietly behind a heavy curtain while someone walks past, or that people sitting in chairs and resting on couches are automatically found because they aren't "talking a stealth action". Walk into a library and look around, is everyone you don't automatically notice "taking a stealth action", or are they just not yammering and banging on stuff? We have a black cat that likes to sleep in a dark brown leather chair, and she's been sat on more than a couple times. She's not "taking the hide action", she literally just sprawls out asleep and blends in. Yet people continually fail to see her in full daylight.

    Overly specific and overly general rules tend to have weird effects when they're always followed, and rpg stealth can often be both at the same time.
    Yeah. that was something that I struggled with.

    As I said above, I do have separate rules for becoming aware of enemies than for stealth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Well, hiding feeling like a win button is better than "lose button" character decisions, like the… "storm Cleric" PC that your system didn't support, right?
    Saying the system doesn't support a character is a bit disengenous.

    The system supports storm clerics fine, its that the player ALSO expected to be a monk, a diplomat, and a life cleric at the same time because he is used to 3.5 D&D where clerics are an OP class in an attempt to bribe players into the healing role.

    And again, that's not so much a bad character as failing to match his level of specialty to the party; in a much smaller or much larger party such a character would have been fine.

    But really, that's a bit of a red herring. You keep going back to build choices, when I am talking about actions. They aren't the same thing.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    As to your system… I suppose it depends on the *action* that those spot checks require as to whether or not it's fair to say that, by default, your system gives the hidden condition to anyone with the hidden condition.
    Did you mean to use a tautology or is that a typo?

    Either way, my system doesn't have the hidden "condition", just whether or not any given character is aware of another's location.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    However, since you apparently have to perceive your opponent to hide from them in your system, the player is playing the game correctly, informing you that they are hiding the moment that they perceive potential hostiles. Kudos to them!
    No no no no no no no no no.

    That's the whole point of the thread! When he becomes aware of the enemy, he claims he was ALREADY hidden.

    So, if I say "You become aware of enemies in the area, what do you do before they spot you?" His statement is not "Hide." its "Backstab them immediately because I took the hide action this morning and never left stealth!"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    No no no no no no no no no.

    That's the whole point of the thread! When he becomes aware of the enemy, he claims he was ALREADY hidden.

    So, if I say "You become aware of enemies in the area, what do you do before they spot you?" His statement is not "Hide." its "Backstab them immediately because I took the hide action this morning and never left stealth!"
    Clearly that's not how the rules work, unless he's been making sneak tests every n seconds of play. If he insists on this make him do so. Make him roll a sneak test every round he moves in the presence of anything which might detect him, because that's what the sneak rule says he should do. Even wildlife. Eventually everyone will become so annoyed by him having to ask what the alertness roll of a field vole is and whether he has beaten it that there will be a blazing row and this behaviour will curtail itself.


    How I envisage this type of situation should go:

    1. The rogue becomes aware of enemies, they are not yet aware of him because he generally acts in a stealthy manner and has a blur suit.

    2. The rogue declares where and how he is going to hide from these enemies and rolls stealth vs. their alertness (use an aggregate score for this one). This is not an action, we are not tracking actions yet. His declaration of how and where he is hiding needs to be specific enough that, if you were using models to track combat, his would be placed on the board. That's the important bit at this point. He needs to be rolling because now it matters whether he passes his sneak test or not. Also this lets you vary the situation by setting different levels of alertness for different situations, sentries on guard, more alert and get bonuses, trolls sitting down for dinner, not alert at all and get penalties.

    3. The party arrives, combat begins. Now we are tracking actions.

    4. When he makes an attack, he needs to make a sneak roll vs alertness against all enemies in position to notice an attack has happened (by my reading of the stealth rules it sounds like this should be happening anyway? Making an attack provokes an opposed stealth vs alertness roll to everyone, the target doesn't need one because unless the attacker can disappear into total concealment or a crowd they are automatically revealed to the target.). Use individual rolls for this one.

    That should at least be everyone nearby the target because even if they're not looking they might hear him doing it, hence the roll. Dice it out a few times in downtime to figure out a level which will allow him to on average get away with it as long as he does it when nobody's looking (give the enemies a bonus to their alertness if they have sight of the target and a bigger one if they have sight of his position as well, so he is best off picking targets unobserved by their friends and has to think about his initial hiding spot more).

    Make him require a critical success to hide again in the same place once he is revealed.

    Although possibly a lot of this is because he's had too free a ride with the stealth rules, like his insistence that he was pickpocketing everyone at a banquet should have been sneak vs. alertness for the whole table every time he moved and at least vs. every target when he tried to pickpocket, and the law of averages would have doomed him within two rolls if he'd actually been rolling despite his fancy blur suit.
    Last edited by GloatingSwine; 2021-12-08 at 12:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    Did you mean to use a tautology or is that a typo?

    Either way, my system doesn't have the hidden "condition", just whether or not any given character is aware of another's location.



    No no no no no no no no no.

    That's the whole point of the thread! When he becomes aware of the enemy, he claims he was ALREADY hidden.

    So, if I say "You become aware of enemies in the area, what do you do before they spot you?" His statement is not "Hide." its "Backstab them immediately because I took the hide action this morning and never left stealth!"
    Aiming for system agnostic pseudocode, and to match the form of your statement a few posts ago, is what produces the near tautology.

    OK. Sounds like this is really simple: "that's not the way that the rules work in this system".

    Now, expect your players to game whatever system you are using, and to argue that the bandits that set up this morning can't be hidden from them, to always have at least 1 invisible PC so that the opponents cannot ambush the party, etc.

    When he tries to "be invisible" and pick pockets at a banquet, remind him a) that he's not invisible (and, honestly, *more* extremely super visible than the rainbow hair clown court jester); b) that the wait staff constantly entering and exiting the room will, by your system, always be unaccounted for.

    Eventually, he'll either become acclimated to your system, or have a meltdown about how "unrealistic" it is, then make a new character. Possibly an invisible pixie illusionist Rogue, who spots and creates bright, shining caricature illusions of all hidden enemies (perhaps with an at-will item), while being a glass cannon assassin themselves (poison blowgun for near silent ranged attacks, perhaps?).

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    To be honest I do think that the way the rogue player wants to approach using stealth in combat is both a: correct and b: interesting play because it also gives him a reason to act later in the turn rather than earlier because his biggest point of benefit is being able to make the kill shot on a target because then he doesn't get the auto-reveal only the sneak vs alertness rolls against anyone else who might have noticed.

    But if he leaves his attack too late then the best target might have died anyway.

    The idea that the rogue is getting a bonus action needs to be balanced against the point that if he blows that initial stealth roll to get to a good position of attack (or even just stand still unnoticed, he should still be making a roll here) he's caught flat footed and on his own, and that would be a really bad time to fumble his initiative.
    Last edited by GloatingSwine; 2021-12-08 at 01:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post
    My player says that because he has an amulet of blur, he should always 100% of the time be able to hide.

    I am saying that these things all modify your chance to be hidden, but are not a binary. Just because the room is dimly lit does not mean everyone can roll a stealth test every turn at no cost regardless of circumstances.


    Now, let me ask you, in your preferred system, would you say that if Red Ninja was on the same side of the crates as batman and equipped with night vision goggles, Batman still hides against him fine? Because my player would. What if he only had night vision goggles OR was positioned on the same side of the crates as Batman.
    My preferred system is 2e D&D, which handles matters of perceiving actions of Rogues… poorly. Stealth is an unopposed roll, with no consideration of the perception capabilities of the observer; contrarywise, noticing the Thief picking pockets is based entirely on the skill of the observer, with no regard for the skill of the cut purse. :(

    As to how I might handle it, were I writing my own system? I already answered that:

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Personally, I might go for… any time there is cover, poor lighting conditions, distractions, or the target is engaged in an activity other than active perception… and there is noise or a vacuum… and (for each other applicable sense of the target).

    That is, you cannot enter the "hidden" condition if there is even a single relevant sense against which you *cannot* hide (sorry, anthropomorphic deer / cat girl, you didn't approach from downwind, so the guard dogs *will* smell you coming, regardless of your stealth, and you're not flying, so the creature with tremor sense will know exactly where you are).

    To clarify, those are the conditions required to *attempt* a hide check. Which is opposed by perception.

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    Default Re: Starting Combat Hidden

    Quote Originally Posted by GloatingSwine View Post
    To be honest I do think that the way the rogue player wants to approach using stealth in combat is both a: correct and b: interesting play because it also gives him a reason to act later in the turn rather than earlier because his biggest point of benefit is being able to make the kill shot on a target because then he doesn't get the auto-reveal only the sneak vs alertness rolls against anyone else who might have noticed.

    But if he leaves his attack too late then the best target might have died anyway.

    The idea that the rogue is getting a bonus action needs to be balanced against the point that if he blows that initial stealth roll to get to a good position of attack (or even just stand still unnoticed, he should still be making a roll here) he's caught flat footed and on his own, and that would be a really bad time to fumble his initiative.
    That seems like a good idea.
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