D&D 5E A fix for Hide in Plain Sight

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
The Ranger’s Hide in Plain Sight feature sucks. Fortunately, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything offers an alternative feature where you can use a bonus action to become invisible until the start of your next turn, prof times between long rests. This is a perfectly serviceable alternative, but me personally? I hate it. I like my rangers non-magical (or as close to it as I can get away with), so replacing the ability to make a gilly suit with the ability to turn invisible is dissatisfying to me. I also hate the trend of things being usable prof times between long rests instead of once between short rests, and in general I like abilities to be at-will with drawbacks much more than I like abilities to be limited uses that recover on a rest.

Now, all of that is personal taste. I don’t expect most people to share these grievances, and if Nature’s Vale works for you as an alternative to Hide in Plain Sight, that’s awesome! I’m happy for you, and I wouldn’t want that option to be taken away from you. But, for me, I would really like Hide in Plain Sight to get a buff rather than replace it with a prof/long rest magical invisibility. Fortunately, I have what I think is a nice, simple fix, so I’m sharing it here in case anyone else might have use for such a thing.

As-written, Hide in Plain Sight lets you spend 1 minute making camouflage that lets you hide with a +10 bonus by pressing yourself against a flat surface that is at least as wide and tall as you and remaining still. And I quite like all of that! The big issue for me is just that, once you move or take an action, you have to spend another minute camouflaging yourself before you can hide that way again. And that one factor pretty much completely ruins the feature. So, my fix is to just get rid of that part.

You can spend 1 minute camouflaging yourself, as described in the original feature. While camouflaged this way, you have a +10 bonus to Dexterity (Stealth) checks to hide in terrain the camouflage is made to blend in with (the DM decides if a given terrain is appropriate). Additionally, while camouflaged this way, you can make a Dexterity (Stealth) check to hide even when you are not covered or obscured by pressing yourself against a flat surface that is at least as wide and tall as you. You stop being hidden in this way if you move or take an action.

I’m considering making the camouflage only work for a limited time, probably until you finish a short or long rest. That seems like a pretty reasonable limitation to me. Anyway, that’s it. Hope someone finds this tweak useful.
 

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Lyxen

Great Old One
I agree. For me it's the same thing as the really completely stupid gloomstalker feature "umbral sight" which is much too strong.

I have a tendency not to use house rules in 5e (in 3e we had pages and pages of house rules which were a pain to write and to maintain with new publications and it made it harder to move from table to table depending on a DM's preference), so I will probably not use your tweak, but it seems an interesting one (apart from the fact that I don't like fixed bonus in 5e, they interfere badly with bounded accuracy especially if they are large, but that's a feature of the original power anyway).

Just one comment, +10 to stealth is really a huge bonus, I would suggest, if you make it longer lasting and "renewable" to lower it to +5 after you move the first time. It's already very strong, and you could even change it to advantage to stop interfering with BA.
 

Horwath

Hero
I would just remove the 1 min prep time and have ranger have +10 stealth as long as he/she remains motionless.
Action as normal to Hide, or Bonus action if you get the feature.

Ranger has Pass without trace spell. And yes it's a spell slot resource cost, but Hide in plain sight comparing to Pass without trace is just a slap in the face. Like half of rangers abilities in PHB.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The problem with most PHB ranger features is not the features and more that they don't match the power level of the tier you get them. HIPS is not a late Tier 2 class feature. As written it is a level 3 feature. Mid 1. A feature for apprentice rangers not master rangers.

I mean you are level 10. You are one of the top 20 rangers on the planet/plane and top 3 in your country.

A Late Tier 2 "ghillie suit" feature would be to have a lower bonus but it not wearing off. Spend 1 minute to give yourself +5 to Dexterity (Stealth) checks in 1 terrain. This effect ends if you move more than half you speed or perform an action other than Hide or Use and Object.

That's my main criticism with the 5e ranger outside of Premeval Awareness. 5e was filling "dead levels" with no thought of what power level the feature was. Similiar problem in almost every non-full-caster except maybe rogue.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Just one comment, +10 to stealth is really a huge bonus, I would suggest, if you make it longer lasting and "renewable" to lower it to +5 after you move the first time. It's already very strong, and you could even change it to advantage to stop interfering with BA.
You could go with advantage, which is roughly equivalent to +5. I think +10 is fine, given this is a feature that comes at around the same time rogues are getting reliable talent. Still, good feedback! I’ll be sure to watch out for if +10 proves too strong.
 

Bolares

Hero
You can spend 1 minute camouflaging yourself, as described in the original feature. While camouflaged this way, you have a +10 bonus to Dexterity (Stealth) checks to hide in terrain the camouflage is made to blend in with (the DM decides if a given terrain is appropriate). Additionally, while camouflaged this way, you can make a Dexterity (Stealth) check to hide even when you are not covered or obscured by pressing yourself against a flat surface that is at least as wide and tall as you. You stop being hidden in this way if you move or take an action.
This is cool. I'd just make it clear that you can't camouflage in the same spot more than once, to avoid players to comming back and forth from the same place over and over again. (Unless you are cool with them doing this)
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
This is cool. I'd just make it clear that you can't camouflage in the same spot more than once, to avoid players to comming back and forth from the same place over and over again. (Unless you are cool with them doing this)
I’d be fine with them doing that, but I still appreciate the feedback!
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
As-written, Hide in Plain Sight lets you spend 1 minute making camouflage that lets you hide with a +10 bonus by pressing yourself against a flat surface that is at least as wide and tall as you and remaining still. And I quite like all of that! The big issue for me is just that, once you move or take an action, you have to spend another minute camouflaging yourself before you can hide that way again. And that one factor pretty much completely ruins the feature. So, my fix is to just get rid of that part.

You can spend 1 minute camouflaging yourself, as described in the original feature. While camouflaged this way, you have a +10 bonus to Dexterity (Stealth) checks to hide in terrain the camouflage is made to blend in with (the DM decides if a given terrain is appropriate). Additionally, while camouflaged this way, you can make a Dexterity (Stealth) check to hide even when you are not covered or obscured by pressing yourself against a flat surface that is at least as wide and tall as you. You stop being hidden in this way if you move or take an action.
Are you saying, with your tweak applied, you could camouflage yourself and hide, while an evil, evil gnome walks up next to you and doesn't see you, so you attack it, and on your next turn, you just press yourself against the ground and use the Hide action with another +10 bonus? And then you're "hidden," relative to the gnome?

By the way, to put the + 10 bonus in context, you can think of it as turning an opponent's "passive check" into a "rolled a 1 on Wisdom."
 

Asisreo

Patron Badass
Some important things about Hide in Plain Sight:

It stacks with Pass Without Trace which is a Ranger spell that the Ranger gets around that level.

It can be used with trap setups without using your action, like Cordon of Arrows.

If you have Vanish, you can actually reroll your Stealth check with the bonus because it doesn't use your action.

Casting Plant Growth in the area is a great way to make it even harder for enemies to move through the area. Doubly if you also Spike Growth.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Are you saying, with your tweak applied, you could camouflage yourself and hide, while an evil, evil gnome walks up next to you and doesn't see you, so you attack it, and on your next turn, you just press yourself against the ground and use the Hide action with another +10 bonus? And then you're "hidden," relative to the gnome?

By the way, to put the + 10 bonus in context, you can think of it as turning an opponent's "passive check" into a "rolled a 1 on Wisdom."
I mean, sure, but if you’re hiding while the gnome is looking right at you, it knows exactly where to attack to hit you, so the only benefit you’d get is imposing disadvantage on its attack against you and gaining advantage on your next attack against it. Pretty reasonable benefit for a 10th level feature if you ask me, as it’s essentially combining the Dodge action with True Strike - two of what are generally considered to be the worst possible uses of an action in combat.
 

ECMO3

Hero
As written HPS is effectively once per battle, while NV is PB per day. For HPS you can do the camo at the start of the day and then after every battle (or every one you hide in) and you have a use on of HPS on tap. RAW you can be in plain sight and in the middle of a fight and press yourself up against something and hide. You just can't do it more than once per fight because of the 1 minute time. RAW you can literally be in the middle of melee and move up to a wall hide right there. If you rope this together with PWT you can hide against any verticle surface and have a whopping +20 to your hide check. In this respect it is better than invisibility, which only gives you advantage on hide checks. You can also hide from creatures using blindsight or truesight with HPS, while invisibility does nothing against them.

RAW there is nothing about the DM deciding if the terrain is appropriate, only that you must have access to the materials and that what you hide against needs to be as tall and wide as you are and it has to be solid. I realize there is some judgement in the materials part, but if your DM is going to rule you can not find those materials, it is safe to assume he is not going to let you use a more powerful version of it either.

NV is more powerful (arguably OP) because you can do it over and over again as a BA in a single fight.

Unless your race is some sort of chameloen, it is hard to imagine a non-magical feature that would not thematically require putting on camo.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
As written HPS is effectively once per battle, while NV is PB per day. For HPS you can do the camo at the start of the day and then after every battle (or every one you hide in) and you have a use on of HPS on tap.

RAW you can be in plain sight and in the middle of a fight and press yourself up against something and hide. You just can't do it more than once per fight because of the 1 minute time. RAW you can literally be in the middle of melee and move up to a wall hide right there. If you rope this together with PWT you can hide against any verticle surface and have a whopping +20 to your hide check. In this respect it is better than invisibility, which only gives you advantage on hide checks. You can also hide from creatures using blindsight or truesight with HPS, while invisibility does nothing against them.
Only if every battle takes place in the exact same location. RAW the camouflage takes a minute to make and stops working if you move. That means the only way it can be useful in combat is if you know at least a minute in advance that combat is going to happen in this particular area, and you’re willing and able to wait motionless for your opponents to come to you.

Now, if you want to house rule that you can take a minute to craft the camouflage and then keep it “in your back pocket” until some later time when you can use it to hide as an action, and it’s only after hiding with it that moving causes it to break, that’s potentially much more useful. But since you’re house ruling anyway at that point, you might as well take it a step further and get rid of the part where your ghille suit falls apart if you move.
RAW there is nothing about the DM deciding if the terrain is appropriate, only that you must have access to the materials and that what you hide against needs to be as tall and wide as you are and it has to be solid. I realize there is some judgement in the materials part, but if your DM is going to rule you can not find those materials, it is safe to assume he is not going to let you use a more powerful version of it either.
Right, that’s something I had to add to my house-ruled version. Since the camouflage doesn’t break when you move, limiting it to only working in the type of terrain from which you gathered the materials to make it (subject to DM discretion) keeps you from being able to make it just once and then use it anywhere and everywhere. If you move to a new location, you might need to make a new set of camouflage, if the DM determines that the terrain is different enough to require it.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Now, all of that is personal taste. I don’t expect most people to share these grievances, and if Nature’s Vale works for you as an alternative to Hide in Plain Sight, that’s awesome! I’m happy for you, and I wouldn’t want that option to be taken away from you. But, for me, I would really like Hide in Plain Sight to get a buff rather than replace it with a prof/long rest magical invisibility. Fortunately, I have what I think is a nice, simple fix, so I’m sharing it here in case anyone else might have use for such a thing.

I might tweak this paragraph to make it more generic, and set it to my .sig.

Sad that this is necessary to keep people from instinctively attacking any new idea.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I mean, sure, but if you’re hiding while the gnome is looking right at you, it knows exactly where to attack to hit you, so the only benefit you’d get is imposing disadvantage on its attack against you and gaining advantage on your next attack against it. Pretty reasonable benefit for a 10th level feature if you ask me, as it’s essentially combining the Dodge action with True Strike - two of what are generally considered to be the worst possible uses of an action in combat.

Since hiding takes an action, the strategy only works if you’re willing to attack every other turn.
 

Fallen star

Explorer
1 while camouflaged you can hide automatically with no action.

2 while hidden your ranged attacks don't reveal your position.

3 the camouflage lasts until you take damage

There, I fixed it.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Since hiding takes an action, the strategy only works if you’re willing to attack every other turn.
True, but since you’re attacking with advantage every time, you’re making the same number of attack rolls (though admittedly with fewer discrete opportunities to deal damage on a successful roll, which is why True Strike is bad) and attacks against you have disadvantage on the turns you hide (assuming you succeed, which is a pretty safe assumption most of the rind thanks to the +10 Stealth. So, essentially you’re alternating between using a dodge/true strike combo one turn, and attacking with the benefit of advantage the next. Which is not a bad use of action economy by any means. It gets much better if you multiclass with rogue to be able to hide as a bonus action and use the advantage to trigger sneak attack.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
1 while camouflaged you can hide automatically with no action.

2 while hidden your ranged attacks don't reveal your position.

3 the camouflage lasts until you take damage

There, I fixed it.
Sure, that’s another way you might be able to fix it. Actually seems a bit too strong to me, but if it works for you, cool.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I might tweak this paragraph to make it more generic, and set it to my .sig.

Sad that this is necessary to keep people from instinctively attacking any new idea.
We had to hedge every comment like this back during the playtest, since the edition war was still only on a tenuous ceasefire and everyone was hyper-invested in making sure the new edition catered to their individual preferences. I think with the threat of revised core books on the horizon, people are poised in similar defensive stances again. Though I can’t remember if the revised core books had been announced yet or not when I started this thread. This was technically a necro, albeit a pretty fresh one - only 4 months.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
As-written, Hide in Plain Sight lets you spend 1 minute making camouflage that lets you hide with a +10 bonus by pressing yourself against a flat surface that is at least as wide and tall as you and remaining still. And I quite like all of that! The big issue for me is just that, once you move or take an action, you have to spend another minute camouflaging yourself before you can hide that way again. And that one factor pretty much completely ruins the feature.
I think that the RAI of HiPS is pretty much to be usable only once per encounter, when you can prepare and know the location i.e. to ambush. It might be possible to use it for non-combat purposes such as eavesdropping, but that is likely to be a much rarer occurrence. The +10 bonus is huge and stacks with others, so it makes sense that you can use it only once per battle, and only when you know the battle is coming.

If I understand your tweak, you still use it only once per battle, but you can also use it when not ambushing, so potentially in all encounters. I do not consider the terrain type limitation particularly useful, as in most cases the characters won't experience more than one environment change on a given day.

The HiPS must be one of the worst example on how the RAW can ruin the RAI. Even the name of the feature in plain sight reveals that this is already meant to work when you don't have cover or concealment, in fact it says you only need to press yourself against e.g. a tree or a wall. The narrative of HiPS is that of a Ranger with the ability to make herself look nearly indistinguishable from the surface she's leaning on, and doing so with only 1 minute of preparation is impressive. That's why it also says you lose it as you move (or act), because the camouflage is specific for that spot. Your version of HiPS sounds more like you have in mind a more generic aid like stuffing of leaves and branches around you to blend with the terrain. That's ok, but much less fantastic than a Ranger who could try to appear part of a door, statue or even the king's throne (none of which are "terrain").

But as I said, the feature's RAW is pretty bad. Despite the explicit narrative, it fails to mention you don't need to be obscured, and even then "once you move or act" can be interpreted as losing the bonus before you attack a target. And once the RAW is set, you can pretty much count the Sage Advice to defend the RAW at the expense of the RAI.
 

Asisreo

Patron Badass
But as I said, the feature's RAW is pretty bad. Despite the explicit narrative, it fails to mention you don't need to be obscured, and even then "once you move or act" can be interpreted as losing the bonus before you attack a target.
Explicit beats general. In general, you can't hide unless you're obscured but for this feature specifically, you can hide so long as you press yourself against a tall tree or wall and you are camoflauged.

There may be an argument about not getting the advantage from the attack, but you still get the surprise.
 

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