• NOW LIVE! -- One-Page Adventures for D&D 5th Edition on Kickstarter! A booklet of colourful one-page adventures for D&D 5th Edition ranging from levels 1-9 and designed for a single session of play.
log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E Cloak of Elvenkind - Advantage to Stealth AND -5 to passive perception?

Ooh, good observation!

Pretty sure the same rule applies to Darkvision as well, in that the Disadvantage due to Dim light only applies to Perception checks to 'see' something.

If a creature is invisible, all checks made purely to 'see' them auto-fail (but Perception checks generally are unaffected and made normally as long as other senses are available to the Perceiver, which they almost always are, and because other signs of the creatures passage such as footprints etc can still be seen just fine).

Same thing applies to the Cloak and Dim light which imposes disadvantage on visual perception checks. It wont affect most Perception checks, where the perceiver has other senses available to them.

It seems a little confusing, but its due to the rolling of Spot and Listen into the one skill.

If you pair the Cloak of Elvenkind (disadvantage on checks to see you) with the Boots of Elvenkind (you make no sound when you move), the disadvantage to Perception checks from the Cloak comes up a LOT more.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
That is one of his most notoriously bad rulings. Like, I’ll grant that he thinks that’s how the rule should be applied, and maybe it really was the intent when the rule was written (though I very much doubt it). But at the end of the day it’s one guy’s opinion, and I don’t think it holds up well against a critical reading of the rules as written, nor does it produce gameplay outcomes I would find desirable.
I think it's a bad ruling as well. It's even weirder when you start to think about how the Observant feat works - you effectively get advantage on passive perception/investigation checks but nothing for other checks involving either of the two skills. And that's now the floor?!?

I suppose his argument is that anything that you could perceive with a specific rolled check, you'd also get a crack at with a passive check since it's the same skill. But at that point, I think he's muddling the idea of the passive check - which adapted the "Taking 10" from 3e into a default "first check" score that was convenient for smoothly running the game, not for any actively called upon skill check. And it should be confined to that.
 

Iry

Hero
Not really.

It only imposes disadvantage on perception checks to see you. Not to detect you.

Most perception checks don't fall into that category (they are checks that rely on different, or multiple senses, or rely on noticing signs of your passage, and not specifically 'you').

Perception is Spot, Listen (and Taste, Touch, Smell, Notice etc) all rolled into one skill.

Very few perception checks are solely visually based, and most dont depend on you being able to see your target at all.

Much like how magic boots that grant Advantage on Athletics checks to Jump dont also give that same advantage to checks made to swim or climb.
That's certainly fair, but if sight is being included in their attempt to detect you then that's probably grounds for disadvantage being applied. If sight is not being included in their attempt to detect you, you have the invisible condition in relation to them. Barring abilities that trump this, such as Blindsense.
 

That's certainly fair, but if sight is being included in their attempt to detect you then that's probably grounds for disadvantage being applied.
No, that's not the case.

If it was then it would lead to the absurd situation where you have disadvantage on checks to detect a creature you can both see and hear (apply two different senses to detect), but perception checks to locate an invisible creature are made normally and without disadvantage.

Making an invisible creature easier to detect than one relying on just the cloak.

The cloak only applies disadvantage on perception checks made to see something. If another sense is involved, there is no disadvantage.
 

Iry

Hero
If it was then it would lead to the absurd situation where you have disadvantage on checks to detect a creature you can both see and hear (apply two different senses to detect), but perception checks to locate an invisible creature are made normally and without disadvantage.
That's a personal choice. If you only attempt to hear a creature you cannot see, then you have a normal perception check and they are treated as invisible to you. If you attempt to see AND hear, you're triggering the penalty of the Cloak. Also, please keep in mind that the Cloak requires a precious attunement slot, and the boots do not.

Cloak of Elvenkind.PNG
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
We've always run it that it was disadvantage on perception checks to notice someone. If using passive perception, use a -5.

It's a little funky though because technically it only helps with checks that rely on sight even if the text does not say that.
I feel a group would be justified in ruling that Wisdom (Perception) checks that do not rely on sight are not penalised by the cloak. There's nothing mechanically problematic about that. Creatures using tremorsense or blindsight, for example.

EDIT And as @Flamestrike points out, often a check to notice you will rely on something other than sight. Hidden is unseen and unheard.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Supporter
That's a personal choice. If you only attempt to hear a creature you cannot see, then you have a normal perception check and they are treated as invisible to you. If you attempt to see AND hear, you're triggering the penalty of the Cloak. Also, please keep in mind that the Cloak requires a precious attunement slot, and the boots do not.

View attachment 132981
A hidden creature could stand still, forcing searchers to rely on sight (unless they had an additional sense like scent), right?
 

According to Jeremy Crawford, a character's Passive Perception is a floor for their Perception.
His response seems strange. Actively searching (making a roll) to me seems all the more reason your passive perception wouldn't kick in. Because you are intently concentrating on one specific thing it would make it that much easier to be taken by surprise, snuck up on, or miss something passing by, etc.
 

The Cloak (and Boots) are really good if you're not suspected. If someone's specifically looking for you (taking the action) they don't suffer disadvantage since they're suspicious of your presence. Otherwise they had disadvantage if sight/sound is the primary form of detection. If you are at a distance, sound is likely irrelevant (unless it's really, really quiet), so the Cloak would grant disadvantage to perception. If you're invisible or behind total cover, sight is irrelevant, so the Boots would grant disadvantage. If the target has another primary sense for perception (such as scent), neither will likely grant disadvantage.


PHB page 175: "A passive check is a special kind of ability check" that obviously rolls no dice. There's nothing that says it cannot be affected by modifiers and as others stated the section notes that to calculate "advantage" add 5 and "disadvantage" subtract 5. The Search action would contemplate an actual die roll, though as a DM I often request a roll in high-stress situations.
Your "obviously" is interesting, because nowhere in a 5E rulebook does it ever say how to use Passive Checks, except the one example of becoming Hidden. This example includes the roll of a die (the Dex/Stealth roll), so this "obviously" isn't always correct (if ever). Mike Mearls was asked early in 5E about Passive Checks, and he suggested the DM roll a die against the players score to determine if something/someone was hidden. It was only much later that Crawford "clarified" how Passive Skills were always supposed to work.


An interesting thing I had only realized, I'd say within the past year, is that your Perception check can never be lower than your passive Perception score. Makes sense.

According to Jeremy Crawford, a character's Passive Perception is a floor for their Perception.
Crawford made the mistake that many, many players in 5E do: carrying baggage from a prior edition. This was how Passive worked in 4E, but they never actually put it in the rules anywhere. I honestly don't know if they left it intentionally vague, allowing the DM to decide how they wanted to do it, or if it was inadvertently omitted. I believe the former, because if the latter, I'd image they would have added it in a later printing (and issued errata).
 

That's a personal choice. If you only attempt to hear a creature you cannot see, then you have a normal perception check and they are treated as invisible to you. If you attempt to see AND hear, you're triggering the penalty of the Cloak. Also, please keep in mind that the Cloak requires a precious attunement slot, and the boots do not.

View attachment 132981
No, if they're invisible to you, perception checks to see them automatically fail.

Perception isn't just sight, just like athletics isn't just swim.
 


Asisreo

Archdevil's Advocate
Only checks made to SEE you. Such perception checks are quite rare.

If you're invisible or hiding behind total cover (or in total obscurement) there is no disadvantage.
Well, you can't hide from a creature that can clearly see you. Actually, being under dim light a couple hundred feet away with a dark cloak could probably count.

Actually, any form of obscurement could be considered not allowing the character to "see you clearly" as seeing a silhouette doesn't mean I clearly see the person (although if its an obvious silhouette than I'd say they count as being discovered).
 

Well, you can't hide from a creature that can clearly see you.
Yeah, but in most cases when hidden, it's possible to see you (and signs of your passage such as footprints, your shadow, or moving grass etc).

Hiding behind a bush or tree and peering around or out for example.

Actually, any form of obscurement could be considered not allowing the character to "see you clearly"
No - only Skulkers and Wood Elves can hide in light obscurement. You generally need a specific rule to enable it.

Generally everyone else needs total obscurement, or total or near total cover.

That's the thing with the cloak. It's disadvantage on checks to SEE you, but when you're already hidden, you generally cant really be seen anyway.

Taking the Search action to locate an Invisible creature (cloak or no cloak) does not impose disadvantage on the Perception check (because you cant see them).

Ergo it would be plainly stupid to impose disadvantage on a Perception check to search for a non invisible creature who is hiding with the Cloak.

It perversely makes the visible creature harder to spot than the invisible one.
 

If you're not trying to see them, then of course perception checks to see them automatically fail. :p

Think it through for a second.

Bob, Rogue 3 (Stealth +7) has a Cloak of Elvenkind, and is engaged in battle with Terry, the perceptive Fighter 3 (Perception +5, Passive 15)

Example 1:

On Bobs turn, he drinks a potion of invisibility as an Action, and then takes the Hide action (he can do this at any time, thanks to being invisible) as a Bonus Action (rolling his Stealth with Advantage thanks to the Cloak). He scores a result of 20 successfully hiding from Terry, then slinks away 30' with his movement.

His opponent Terry then takes the Search action on his turn to locate Bob. His Perception check is NOT at disadvantage because he cant SEE Bob. He rolls a total result of 21 and notices the long grass they are fighting in being pushed aside by Bob as he moves, giving away Bobs position.

He Action surges (gaining another Action) and shoots his longbow at Bob (at disadvantage due to invisibility) once and misses.

Example 2:

On Bobs turn, he fires his bow at Terry (and misses) with his Action, and then ducks down into the long grass they are fighting in, and takes the Hide action as a Bonus Action (rolling his Stealth with Advantage thanks to the Cloak). He scores a result of 20 successfully hiding from Terry, then slinks away under the cover of the grass 30' with his movement.

His opponent Terry then takes the Search action on his turn to locate Bob. His Perception check is NOT at disadvantage because he still cant SEE Bob, and even if it WERE possible to see Bob in the grass, Terry is relying on other senses in addition to sight.

He rolls a total result of 19 and fails to locate Bob in the grass. He backs off with his movement, and uses his Bonus action to Second wind and recover hit points.
-----
In a nutshell the Stealth bonus of the cloak is available at all times.

The Perception penalty it confers is much more circumstantial, as generally when you're Hiding (using Stealth) you cant be seen anyway, and even when you are, the Searcher is relying on other senses to locate you in addition to sight.
 

Iry

Hero
His Perception check is NOT at disadvantage because he cant SEE Bob.

His Perception check is NOT at disadvantage because he still cant SEE Bob, and even if it WERE possible to see Bob in the grass, Terry is relying on other senses in addition to sight.
Terry should roll his perception checks with disadvantage. His normal range of senses are being handicapped, either by the invisibility itself or the magic of the cloak.

You can always see people in line of sight (unless they are invisible). Heavily obscured and total cover imposes blinded/invisible. So the primary situation is going to be people who Hide in heavy obscure / total cover and then move into light obscure, or quickly attempt to attack you. You are saying they would not get disadvantage to perception in those situations, which would mean that feature of the cloak never works.

And while I often disagree with Crawford on several issues, we are in agreement on this one.
 

Terry should roll his perception checks with disadvantage. His normal range of senses are being handicapped, either by the invisibility itself or the magic of the cloak.
In your own houserules perhaps, but that's not the rules.

A hidden creature is always unable to be seen clearly, whether they're invisible or otherwise. The definition of hidden in the PHB is 'unseen AND unheard' and you are unable to even attempt to Hide unless you cant be seen clearly by anyone when you make the attempt.

If you ARE able to see them clearly, they are not hidden, and you dont need to make a Perception check at all (and they cant make a Stealth check to Hide either).

There is no disadvantage to a Perception check to Search for a hidden creature, whether they're hidden behind a tree, in the radius of a Darkness spell, or in the obscurement provided by the invisibility spell.

In your games, you can feel free to impose disadvantage on Perception checks to notice a hidden creature that is undetectable by 1 or more senses (cant be seen, cant be heard etc) but that translates to EVERY single perception check made to detect a Hidden creature seeing as the very definition of [hidden] is [unseen and unheard].
 

You can always see people in line of sight (unless they are invisible). Heavily obscured and total cover imposes blinded/invisible. So the primary situation is going to be people who Hide in heavy obscure / total cover and then move into light obscure

People who do that reveal themselves immediately on leaving the cover/ total obscurement.

Unless the DM rules otherwise, or they have some kind of special ability that lets them (Mask of the Wild, Skulker etc).
 

@Iry

Whats leading you into error is you're assuming people can Hide in light obscurement (or remain Hidden in light obscurement).

You can't Hide (or remain hidden) in light obscurement unless you're a Wood Elf or a Skulker, or a Shadow Demon or similar.

You're asserting:
Total cover/ obscurement = disadvantage on perception to find you if you're hidden, can attempt to Hide
Partial cover/ light obscurement = can attempt to hide, no disadvantage on perception to find you

When its:
Total cover/ obscurement = can attempt to Hide, no disadvantage on perception to find you
Partial cover/ light obscurement = you cant attempt to hide unless a special rule lets you or the DM says so, and if you're already hidden you're not anymore
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Think it through for a second.

Bob, Rogue 3 (Stealth +7) has a Cloak of Elvenkind, and is engaged in battle with Terry, the perceptive Fighter 3 (Perception +5, Passive 15)

Example 1:

On Bobs turn, he drinks a potion of invisibility as an Action, and then takes the Hide action (he can do this at any time, thanks to being invisible) as a Bonus Action (rolling his Stealth with Advantage thanks to the Cloak). He scores a result of 20 successfully hiding from Terry, then slinks away 30' with his movement.

His opponent Terry then takes the Search action on his turn to locate Bob. His Perception check is NOT at disadvantage because he cant SEE Bob. He rolls a total result of 21 and notices the long grass they are fighting in being pushed aside by Bob as he moves, giving away Bobs position.

He Action surges (gaining another Action) and shoots his longbow at Bob (at disadvantage due to invisibility) once and misses.

Example 2:

On Bobs turn, he fires his bow at Terry (and misses) with his Action, and then ducks down into the long grass they are fighting in, and takes the Hide action as a Bonus Action (rolling his Stealth with Advantage thanks to the Cloak). He scores a result of 20 successfully hiding from Terry, then slinks away under the cover of the grass 30' with his movement.

His opponent Terry then takes the Search action on his turn to locate Bob. His Perception check is NOT at disadvantage because he still cant SEE Bob, and even if it WERE possible to see Bob in the grass, Terry is relying on other senses in addition to sight.

He rolls a total result of 19 and fails to locate Bob in the grass. He backs off with his movement, and uses his Bonus action to Second wind and recover hit points.
-----
In a nutshell the Stealth bonus of the cloak is available at all times.

The Perception penalty it confers is much more circumstantial, as generally when you're Hiding (using Stealth) you cant be seen anyway, and even when you are, the Searcher is relying on other senses to locate you in addition to sight.
Your logic seems sound, but could you provide an example of a situation where Bob’s cloak does impose disadvantage on Terry’s perception check? Cause I find it difficult to picture such a situation under this interpretation.
 

Iry

Hero
A hidden creature is always unable to be seen clearly, whether they're invisible or otherwise. The definition of hidden in the PHB is 'unseen AND unheard' and you are unable to even attempt to Hide unless you cant be seen clearly by anyone when you make the attempt.

If you ARE able to see them clearly, they are not hidden, and you dont need to make a Perception check at all (and they cant make a Stealth check to Hide either).
I completely agree with you so far.
There is no disadvantage to a Perception check to Search for a hidden creature, whether they're hidden behind a tree, in the radius of a Darkness spell, or in the obscurement provided by the invisibility spell.
I disagree with this. There are a variety of situations where you might suffer disadvantage to a Perception check, including the text of Cloak of Elvenkind.
Whats leading you into error is you're assuming people can Hide in light obscurement (or remain Hidden in light obscurement).
You can't Hide (or remain hidden) in light obscurement unless you're a Wood Elf or a Skulker, or a Shadow Demon or similar.
You cannot Hide in light obscurement. You can remain hidden in light obscurement. You are revealed in no obscurement.
You're asserting:
Total cover/ obscurement = disadvantage on perception to find you if you're hidden, can attempt to Hide
Partial cover/ light obscurement = can attempt to hide, no disadvantage on perception to find you
Total Cover/Obscurement = Possible disadvantage on perception checks to find you, depending on circumstances. Can attempt to hide.
Partial Cover/Light Obscurement = Cannot attempt to hide. Can remain hidden if you successfully hide in Total Cover/Obscurement earlier. Possibly disadvantage on perception checks to find you, depending on circumstances.

PHB Page 177. "You can’t hide from a creature that can see you clearly, and if you make noise (such as shouting a warning or knocking over a vase), you give away your position."

So we know Hide immediately ends when you can be seen clearly (no cover/obscurement). We also know that you can only Hide when you cannot be seen at all (total cover/heavy obscurement). But a successful hide in total cover/heavy obscurement does not end when you move into partial cover/light obscurement. A perception check is called for, though.
 
Last edited:

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top