As it turns out, hiding requires cover.

Fauchard1520

Explorer
Your typical stealthy PC thinks that hiding every round in every terrain is viable. Meanwhile, your average GM is sitting there like, “No, you can’t hide behind the halfling.” In scenarios where there isn't clearly marked terrain, how do you decide if there's enough cover to hide behind? The question goes double for groups that play without a battle map in theater of the mind style.

Comic for illustrative purposes.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
The other day I tried to hide behind my partner (she's 5'5" and I'm 6'3") from her 4 year old. And I have all my points put into stealth. Still didn't work ;) I was spotted straight away

If only I had the skulker feat...
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Your typical stealthy PC thinks that hiding every round in every terrain is viable. Meanwhile, your average GM is sitting there like, “No, you can’t hide behind the halfling.” In scenarios where there isn't clearly marked terrain, how do you decide if there's enough cover to hide behind? The question goes double for groups that play without a battle map in theater of the mind style.

Comic for illustrative purposes.
Ok so a non-system ToM answer might be one of these, dependong on style of play. They key on descriptions.

1 Player choice - in these styles of play, the GM goes with "say yes unless there is compelling reason to say no" and so when a player asks about hiding or tries to hide then the GM defaults to yes unless something about the scene as described already says otherwise. Alk that needs to be added is the narrative of an item or scene detail to fit the outcome. Here the onus of "no" is on the gm, who must provide a clear reason why not to allow the attempt - preferably before the isdue comes up. "On approach, you can tell the area has been cleared up to the walls - providing clear line of fire."

2. Gm sets it up. Here, the GM in describong the original scene makes it clear what elements are suitable for hiding, if any, maybe by keywords. Really, herenthe onus of "yes" falls to the player to show how its possible.

3. Roll then narrate. Here the unspecified details of the scene get determined by the result. If the roll was successful, clearly there was something there.

Any can work. All just differet styles.
 

kenada

Explorer
Your typical stealthy PC thinks that hiding every round in every terrain is viable. Meanwhile, your average GM is sitting there like, “No, you can’t hide behind the halfling.” In scenarios where there isn't clearly marked terrain, how do you decide if there's enough cover to hide behind? The question goes double for groups that play without a battle map in theater of the mind style.
Do what makes sense in the fiction and fits with the rules. If the rules generate unintuitive results, they’re probably wrong/broken. (In how many games do people actually run stealth as written?)

In Pathfinder 2e, creatures (unless two or more sizes larger than you) count as lesser cover, which is not sufficient to Hide. Otherwise, if it’s something the PC can reasonably huddle behind or in, then it’s probably sufficient to Hide. Additionally, Hide has the secret trait, so the GM makes the roll and describes the result. It eliminates metagaming, and it gives you an out if the terrain isn’t reasonable —the PC never becomes hidden (remaining observed).
 

ronaldsf

Explorer
Do what makes sense in the fiction and fits with the rules. If the rules generate unintuitive results, they’re probably wrong/broken. (In how many games do people actually run stealth as written?)

In Pathfinder 2e, creatures (unless two or more sizes larger than you) count as lesser cover, which is not sufficient to Hide. Otherwise, if it’s something the PC can reasonably huddle behind or in, then it’s probably sufficient to Hide. Additionally, Hide has the secret trait, so the GM makes the roll and describes the result. It eliminates metagaming, and it gives you an out if the terrain isn’t reasonable —the PC never becomes hidden (remaining observed).
Actually in 2e someone behind another creature is "screened." Perhaps this is why a different word is used, to limit the ability to hide behind someone?
 

Imaculata

Adventurer
I would allow a player to attempt to hide in any terrain, but I might grant the enemies a bonus to spotting intruders if the terrain is hard to hide in. The key is to inform the players of this increased difficulty before they attempt to use their stealth. To me, stealth is not just about having cover and being out of sight, but also about moving when enemies are looking the other way. There are many ways to pass enemies unnoticed.

If however the player is trying to sneak into a room that is being closely watched by guards, I might inform my players that they need to do more to enter the room unnoticed, such as putting on a disguise, extinguishing a light source or distracting a guard. I would add an extra challenge to do this, but I will always inform my players up front that this is the requirement, so that I don't spring a sudden extra check on them.
 

Imaculata

Adventurer
So like... How do you conceptualize hiding in an open room?
It would involve hiding in the shadows, and/or waiting for guards to look the other way. It may even include extinguishing light sources to create areas of shadow. If the room has furniture, that provides even more opportunity to stay out of sight.

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If the room is entirely open and empty, then I would inform the players that if they want to hide in the room, they cannot stay there for longer than 1 round, or they will be noticed. They would have to quickly sneak past the guards when they are looking the other way, and I would raise the difficulty accordingly.

I’m not @Imaculata , and I don’t play PF, but I think he? was talking about a natural outdoor scenario.
I'm not talking about PF or 3.5, but about hiding in any system in general. In a natural outdoor scenario, there would always be ways to hide from sight. Even an open desert has dunes to hide behind, or you could approach from the direction of the sun so you are harder to see. Open grassland still has grass to hide in, and a frozen tundra still has snow to obscure you from sight.

Is there any specific terrain type that you are wondering about?
 
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mewzard

Explorer
Don't forget if your campaign is able to hit the higher levels to invest in this Legendary stealth skill (assuming Pathfinder 2):

"Legendary Sneak Feat 15
General Skill
Source Core Rulebook pg. 263
Prerequisites legendary in Stealth, Swift Sneak
You’re always sneaking unless you choose to be seen, even when there’s nowhere to hide. You can Hide and Sneak even without cover or being concealed. When you employ an exploration tactic other than Avoiding Notice, you also gain the benefits of Avoiding Notice unless you choose not to. See page 479 for more information about exploration tactics."

24/7 Stealth with no cover/concealment (at full speed, given you need Swift Sneak to take it), and you can always do both Avoiding Notice and other tactics in exploration.

But yeah, taking advantage of shadows is always useful. Darting between shadows at opportune moments is how I tended to do stealth, when there was a lack of obvious physical barriers to visuals. Naturally, the ability to create distractions, be they visual or audible, will do you wonders for dealing with guards.
 
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kenada

Explorer
I’d forgotten about Legendary Sneak, but it’s such an awesome skill feat: you’re always sneaking unless you choose not to sneak. That conveys legendary so succinctly.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I’d forgotten about Legendary Sneak, but it’s such an awesome skill feat: you’re always sneaking unless you choose not to sneak. That conveys legendary so succinctly.
Damn I need to look into translating that into 5e for my rogue lol.

Right now we kinda do consider him to have a “Passive Stealth” that is used unless he is drawing attention to himself, and we make heavy use of spy movie tropes like a vehicle moving past and he is just gone, etc.

Basically, he is so stealthy and so in tuned with shadow that even his best friends think it’s magical, even though it isn’t. The Artificer in the group (who is also his like...true love?) took the spell to see invisible stuff because she was convinced that he was turning invisible.

Edit: the passive stealth thing is because past level 11 (we are at 12), Rogues do have an effective passive score in all their proficiencies, and he has 20 Dex and Expert Stealth.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It would involve hiding in the shadows, and/or waiting for guards to look the other way. It may even include extinguishing light sources to create areas of shadow. If the room has furniture, that provides even more opportunity to stay out of sight.

View attachment 115168

If the room is entirely open and empty, then I would inform the players that if they want to hide in the room, they cannot stay there for longer than 1 round, or they will be noticed. They would have to quickly sneak past the guards when they are looking the other way, and I would raise the difficulty accordingly.



I'm not talking about PF or 3.5, but about hiding in any system in general. In a natural outdoor scenario, there would always be ways to hide from sight. Even an open desert has dunes to hide behind, or you could approach from the direction of the sun so you are harder to see. Open grassland still has grass to hide in, and a frozen tundra still has snow to obscure you from sight.

Is there any specific terrain type that you are wondering about?
I agree with all this. I also would allow a Sneak to shadow someone for a round (or longer if it made sense with the target’s level of awareness) simply by staying low in their blind spot. It won’t work indefinitely, but since I’ve literally done exactly that a thousand times IRL in a variety of situations and I’m nowhere near the skill at sneaking about that is represented by proficiency...I’m cool with allowing it where it makes sense to everyone involved.

For reference, I consider 5e proficiency to represent a level of skill with which you can perform the tasks related to that proficiency as a professional.
 

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