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5E A Reliable Talent for Expert Stealth

S'mon

Legend
I'm curious to hear from other D&D5 dungeon masters how you challenge high-level rogues in terms of going about undetected.

Shorthand: With Reliable Talent and Expertise, an 11th level rogue can easily have a Stealth check result range of 23-33, which is far beyond the capacity of any passive Perception in the Monster Manual
On Saturday my PC group had a 19th level Rogue tried to shoot then hide vs an ancient blue dragon - Passive Perception 27 ...nope. :) +17 stealth = RT 27 vs PP 27; if you are trying to hide then on a tie situation remains unchanged.

Also, you can normally only hide if you have cover.
 

Horwath

Explorer
I have realized that many DMs go bonkers about one character being "immune" to damage.

But, in reality that is no problem.

My friend was a DM while I played Wood elf rogue(assassin)/ranger(gloomstalker), the perfect ambusher. And while he was pissed at my one sneak attack per round and not getting any damage on me, friends H-orc barbarian with PAM was destroying everything left and right.

in 5 party team, as some mentioned if rogue does not take any damage, all other characters take +25% more damage on average.
 

tglassy

Explorer
What do you think “, even as a general default,” means?

Do you understand the difference between a clarifying phrase and an independent statement?

It seriously isn't a complicated sentence, but I’ll go ahead and rephrase it for you.

If a DM rules that the general default is not that breaking line of sight is enough to allow an attempt to hide, they are houseruling.

The rules state that you can hide if you break line of sight. It also says that the DM can countermand that if they think it’s appropriate. (note how this statement does not mean that the default is anything other than “you can hide if they can’t see you”, and in fact acknowledges that default as an implied statement within the explicit statement)

these two statements essentially restate each other, adding a small note of clarification on the particulars of the “process” involved in ruling on stealth.


In case there is still, somehow, confusion, I have not stated that “ruling that stealth isn’t possible in a given moment is a house rule”. If you got here and think I have, you need to reread my statements. I have stated that establishing a default that disallows stealth by simply breaking line of sight is a houserule. It changes the starting point from which stealth is determined.

The phrase “unless the DM says otherwise” is literally in the rule. How is it a house rule when the DM says otherwise when the rule itself literally says the DM can say otherwise?
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
The phrase “unless the DM says otherwise” is literally in the rule. How is it a house rule when the DM says otherwise when the rule itself literally says the DM can say otherwise?
Because it isn't a house rule, it's that actual literal RAW.
 

WaterRabbit

Villager
What do you think “, even as a general default,” means?

Do you understand the difference between a clarifying phrase and an independent statement?

It seriously isn't a complicated sentence, but I’ll go ahead and rephrase it for you.

If a DM rules that the general default is not that breaking line of sight is enough to allow an attempt to hide, they are houseruling.

The rules state that you can hide if you break line of sight. It also says that the DM can countermand that if they think it’s appropriate. (note how this statement does not mean that the default is anything other than “you can hide if they can’t see you”, and in fact acknowledges that default as an implied statement within the explicit statement)

these two statements essentially restate each other, adding a small note of clarification on the particulars of the “process” involved in ruling on stealth.


In case there is still, somehow, confusion, I have not stated that “ruling that stealth isn’t possible in a given moment is a house rule”. If you got here and think I have, you need to reread my statements. I have stated that establishing a default that disallows stealth by simply breaking line of sight is a houserule. It changes the starting point from which stealth is determined.
You wrote something silly and contradictory. You are wrong on what the rules say about this. You could argue the DM has made a "ruling", but not that it is a "house rule".

Just own it and quit trying to weasel your way out of what you wrote.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Oh my gods, six pages. Thank you all for taking the time to respond.



You are not wrong, but this is not in line with your original proposal. You said that high-level rogues should have the chance to sneak when no one else could. I agree with that idea, but that is not what this is. This is a high-level rogue having a chance to be detected when anyone else would be detected as a matter of course. To actually get to the point where such a rogue feels challenged, the monster would require a truly ridiculous bonus to their roll, well in excess of +10.



I hope I didn't shut you down, Ovinomancer; I have a tendency to speak in absolutes that is easily interpreted as a lack of interest in discussion. I'm not certain, I just project confidence.



Good. Yes. That is actually more helpful than it seems. Forest for the trees, and all that.



Is that not this thread? :)



I will cop to the fact that my issue is far more combat-focused than I thought when I wrote the post. I am much less concerned with someone being Solid Snake /in general/ than I am with someone being Solid Snake /during their initiative phase/. And it's not that the rogue often succeeds at hiding in adverse conditions -- that would not be a problem -- it's that they /always/ succeed, which I see as being just as little fun as never succeeding. That might be an exaggeration, but I do believe that it is uncertainty that drives entertainment in tabletop roleplaying, to a large degree.

What I have taken to doing is assigning each encounter a 'clutter value,' which I report to rogue players at the beginning of the encounter. The clutter value is an abstraction of how much junk is lying around in the encounter area that the rogue can use for cover. It directly translates to the number of times the rogue can hide before the enemy starts getting advantage on their Perception checks because the rogue is reusing hiding spots.

This worked fine until Reliable Talent. After Reliable Talent the enemy can roll for advantage until they are blue in the face and they still won't ever see the rogue. It's irrelevant.

I accept as logically valid the argument that this is fine. Logically valid or not, I do worry that it is less fun to succeed all the time than it is to have even a 5% failure chance.



That's a great idea. I will remember that.



Eloquently said.



Yeah... these two things are in no way linked. I am a game designer. Game designers are full of s**t.



Minimum. And that minimum value is still out of range for 90% of the Monster Manual.



You are entitled to your opinion, but in the opinion of nearly everyone I've discussed this with, that is not how D&D5 was designed. The rogue class depends on sneak attack every round, with exceptions being the rarity.
"You are entitled to your opinion, but in the opinion of nearly everyone I've discussed this with, that is not how D&D5 was designed. The rogue class depends on sneak attack every round, with exceptions being the rarity."

Uhhh... so see, there you are kinda linking two things only tangentially related.

The rogues in my games played and ran got sneaks pretty much unless they missed.

They were rarely from hiding in combat.
It's easy to qualify for sneak without hiding in a team game.

But hey
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
The phrase “unless the DM says otherwise” is literally in the rule. How is it a house rule when the DM says otherwise when the rule itself literally says the DM can say otherwise?
“Unless the DM says otherwise” has a specific default. I don’t know how else to make this clear.

If you change the start point from “clear line of sight determines stealth opportunity” to “breaking line of sight is never enough”, you’ve changed the rule. The default assumption, from which DM adjudication is then made, is a rule. Changing it is a house rule.
 

tglassy

Explorer
The default assumption is that you must BOTH break the line of sight AND get the DM’s permission for it to work. JUST breaking the line of sight is not and never has been the default, as the default also requires that the DM decide that the circumstances allow for hiding. It would be perfectly, in the rules, for the DM to say that once you have been seen in combat, you can no longer hide, because people are alerted to your presence. It is also completely, perfectly in the rules for a DM to say “all you need to do is swish your coat in front of the bad guy and drop it, diving to the side” and let you hide, since you technically “broke the line of sight”. It is not a “house rule” to do what the rule says.
 

Flamestrike

Explorer
What do you think “, even as a general default,” means?

Do you understand the difference between a clarifying phrase and an independent statement?

It seriously isn't a complicated sentence, but I’ll go ahead and rephrase it for you.

If a DM rules that the general default is not that breaking line of sight is enough to allow an attempt to hide, they are houseruling.

The rules state that you can hide if you break line of sight. It also says that the DM can countermand that if they think it’s appropriate. (note how this statement does not mean that the default is anything other than “you can hide if they can’t see you”, and in fact acknowledges that default as an implied statement within the explicit statement).
No, you're reading it wrong. There are three RAW preconditions for Hiding.

1) Break LOS sufficiently (so you can no longer be ''seen clearly'').
2) DM agrees that the circumstances (other than breaking LOS) are sufficient to enable hiding.
3) Succeed in Stealth check via the Hide action opposed by an relevant opponents Passive Perception score.

The rules already cover breaking LOS. You do that at Step 1. The 'circumstances' to be taken into account by the DM to decide if you can/ cannot attempt to hide are circumstances OTHER than simply breaking LOS.

For example, you're being closely observed as you move to your hiding spot and/or and your hiding spot is blindingly obvious.

Following the above RAW flowchart:

1) Break LOS: You move to a lone pillar in the middle of an empty room in full view of the enemy as he watches you closely slinking over to the pillar. You duck behind the pillar and break LOS. Check.
2) DM adjudication: The DM rules that in this circumstance (under close observation, and your hiding spot is blindingly obvious) you cannot attempt to Hide (or more correctly, you can - your check just auto fails).
3) Stealth Check: You take the Hide action anyway. Your Stealth check auto fails.

That is RAW.

Simply 'breaking LOS' is not (and has never been) the only step in hiding from someone. The DM also needs to agree that it's possible for you to Hide from your target, given the circumstances of your attempt.

Example 1:

You're on the run from some Ogres. You enter a room with 3 exits and a large chest. The Ogres are in a nearby room and cant see you. You enter the chest, close the lid (LOS broken, step 1 met) and the DM agrees that the circumstances enable an attempt to Hide. You make your Stealth check and if successful, the Ogres run into the room, and have no idea you're there.

Example 2:

You're on the run from some Ogres. You enter a room with 3 exits and a large chest. The Ogres are in the same room as you and are watching you closely. You enter the chest, close the lid (LOS broken, step 1 met) and the DM rules that the circumstances (you're being watched closely by the Ogres as you climb into the chest) do not enable an attempt to Hide. Your Stealth check is automatically unsuccessful, the Ogres open the chest and beat you to a bloody pulp.

Example 3:

You're on the run from some Ogres. You enter a room with 3 exits and a large chest. The Ogres are watching you closely. You enter the chest, close the lid (LOS broken, step 1 met) and then (peering through the keyhole) Dimension door to one of the nearby hallways and duck behind a wall. The DM agrees that these circumstances enable an attempt to Hide. You make your Stealth check and if successful, the Ogres open the chest, and a confused look comes over their face, when you're not in there.

Can you see the difference in these three examples? See how the (DM step) is one of common sense?
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
honestly I’m disinterested in this thread after having to explain the same sentence 6 times, but I do appreciate the thoroughness of your response. Thanks for actually reading what I wrote and responding to it accordingly, though!
 

WaterRabbit

Villager
honestly I’m disinterested in this thread after having to explain the same sentence 6 times, but I do appreciate the thoroughness of your response. Thanks for actually reading what I wrote and responding to it accordingly, though!
The reason why you are disinterested is simply because you are wrong. Let me explain using absurdo ad reductio:

Example 1:

The basis of your argument is that breaking LOS is enough to allow a rogue a change to hide. So all a rogue needs to do is to carry a blanket. He holds up the blanket and boom he can make his stealth check. This might work on toddlers and stupid dogs, but not on any creature with an Int score of 2 or better.

Example 2:
You as the DM have a rogue jump into a box in the middle of the room and make a stealth check. The rogue is a badass so his check is 20 higher than the PCs. Now you have the rogue pop out of the box and sneak attack a player. Do you really think that is going to fly with your players? Even if the rogue drinks a potion of invisibility the players are going to complain -- why because you have just insulted their combined intelligence.

So yes the ability to hide is very much at the DMs discretion based upon the intelligence of the NPCs involved. This is the role of the DM and what makes a TTRPG different than a CRPG which is seemingly how you want to apply the rules.

Example 3:
Watch the movie Scream. Honestly that movie is enough to poke holes in this absurd interpretation of the hiding rules.

You can houserule it all you like that hiding is some sort of mystical ability and that would be fine in your game with your players. However, for the rest of the world, breaking LOS is just the minimum condition necessary for hiding and not the only factor.

Also hiding in combat is totally unnecessary for rogues. All they need to do is get advantage or have another attacker on their target. In most cases, baring the use of magic, fighting in a small room is not going to allow a rogue to effective hide from intelligent foes. So the rogue needs to improve their tactics. Cunning Action has two other bonus actions that can be taken that are much more useful in a combat situation.

Flamestrike also gave a number of good examples that show how to properly adjudicate hiding.
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
The reason why you are disinterested is simply because you are wrong. Let me explain using absurdo ad reductio:
.
LOL sure, bud. Has nothing to do with you and others method of argument or repeatedly misreading simple statements.

Ill just go go ahead and block ya now, and greatly improve my online experience.
 

Flamestrike

Explorer
The basis of your argument is that breaking LOS is enough to allow a rogue a change to hide. So all a rogue needs to do is to carry a blanket. He holds up the blanket and boom he can make his stealth check. This might work on toddlers and stupid dogs, but not on any creature with an Int score of 2 or better.
Interestingly toddlers (up to about 7 months of age) lack object permanence. This is why 'Peek-a-boo' works on them.

From their POV, you literally vanish from existence when you cant be observed, and then pop back in when they can observe you again.

Quantum theory currently asserts that this might actually be the real state of the universe, and all humans manage to do (at the age of 7 months) is fool ourselves into viewing the chaos of the universe as a consistent reality in order to interpret the chaos around us (develop memory, which may have a much more profound impact on reality than we assume) and mold that chaos into something we can comprehend.

As in; I know my car is parked downstairs because I remember parking it there (non-observational object permanence), and it's there when I go back to the car, but when I'm not observing it, it's not really 'downstairs' at all. It's only 'downstairs' because I altered reality to make it so.

A little like how an electron does not have both a position or momentum until you measure (observe) the bastard. The electron exists in a state of superposition, both everywhere in the universe, nowhere in the universe, going everywhere and going no-where, all at the same time. You cant meaningfully speak about what an electron is doing (or where it is) until that observation or measurement takes place.

Once you act on the electron (by measuring or observing it), only then does it become an 'electron with a position' or 'an electron with momentum'.

This isnt just semantics; it reflects the actual state of the unobserved electron. Everywhere and nowhere, doing everything and nothing, all at the same time. Until observed.

Sorry Einstein; God does indeed play dice.
 

WaterRabbit

Villager
LOL sure, bud. Has nothing to do with you and others method of argument or repeatedly misreading simple statements.

Ill just go go ahead and block ya now, and greatly improve my online experience.
Yes, the last resort of people that cannot use logic. Just plug your ears and scream nay nay nay.

You really need to change you handle then as Bad Wolf doesn't seem correct.

LoL
 

WaterRabbit

Villager
Interestingly toddlers (up to about 7 months of age) lack object permanence. This is why 'Peek-a-boo' works on them.

From their POV, you literally vanish from existence when you cant be observed, and then pop back in when they can observe you again.

Quantum theory currently asserts that this might actually be the real state of the universe, and all humans manage to do (at the age of 7 months) is fool ourselves into viewing the chaos of the universe as a consistent reality in order to interpret the chaos around us and mold it into reality.

As in; I know my car is parked downstairs because I remember parking it there (non-observational object permanence), and it's there when I go back to the car, but when I'm not observing it, it's not really 'downstairs' at all. It's only 'downstairs' because I altered reality to make it so.

A little like how an electron does not have both a position or momentum until you measure (observe) the bastard. The electron exists in a state of superposition, both everywhere in the universe, nowhere in the universe, going everywhere and going no-where, all at the same time. You cant meaningfully speak about what an electron is doing (or where it is) until that observation or measurement takes place.

Once you act on the electron (by measuring or observing it), only then does it become an 'electron with a position' or 'an electron with momentum'.

This isnt just semantics; it reflects the actual state of the unobserved electron. Everywhere and nowhere, doing everything and nothing, all at the same time. Until observed.

Sorry Einstein; God does indeed play dice.
What is funny is that I had an experience where I parked my car. Came back later and the car was not where I parked it. It had been moved about 100 feet. I was totally confused as to how that happened. Then I figured out it was my parents pranking me (I was in high school at the time). It was a pretty funny joke.

And yes, Schrodinger's cat.
 

Flamestrike

Explorer
LOL sure, bud.
Chill man.

Your argument is flawed. I know people arent pointing it out to you in the nicest way, but its flawed.

The RAW clearly states that in order to attempt to Hide you must 1) Break LOS - AND - 2) DM rules circumstances are appropriate.

Breaking LOS isnt (in itself) enough to attempt to Hide. Its the minimum requirement. After you've broken LOS, the DM gets to make a call if the other circumstances around your hiding attempt, allow the attempt to hide (or render you hiding attempt - behind cover - impossible).

Examples include being closely watched as you crawl into your obvious hiding spot. For mine, that would totally negate your ability to hide in that spot (unless there were other circumstances that might count in your favor - such as a hidden trapdoor or hidden compartment you could slink off behind in that hiding spot).

Generally, in combat, the monsters arent paying that much attention to the child like halfling (and are more focussed on the hairy raging Barbarian with the 6 foot Axe frothing at the mouth and trying to carve them a new orifice, or the Wizard tossing blasts of lightning from his fingers).

That said, when the little cut-throat pops up and shoots him in the privates for 30+ points of sneak attack damage, that likely get's their attention however (making further hiding more difficult, or even flat out impossible if they're watching you closely, and your hiding spot is obvious).

It's a question of context and common sense.
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
Chill man.

Your argument is flawed. I know people arent pointing it out to you in the nicest way, but its flawed.

.
What part of “I’m disinterested in this thread” is complicated or confusing? I acknowledged your very thorough post, thanked you for not trying to derail with asinine arguments that had nothing to do with anything I said, and stated that the behavior of others in this thread has made me unwilling to engage further. That’s the end of it. Period.
 

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