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D&D 5E Greater Invis and Stealth checks, how do you rule it?

The rules aren't perfect. They contain errors, hence why they've put forward errata. Clearly they haven't captured all of it. The questions then become: Is the entire section on hiding in combination with certain rules in the combat chapter wrong? Or is it just second paragraph of the ranger's feral sense ability that is wrong? The answer is obvious in my view, particularly as the designers have endorsed the entire section on hiding and how that works quite clearly as it relates to invisibility.
Neither of them needs to be wrong. My reading doesn't disregard any rules, merely accepts that the rules do not cover every situation and that the GM uses at least a modicum of common sense. That hiding makes your location unknown, doesn't in any way require that other things couldn't make your location unknown too.
I think most people not trying to win an argument about this specific topic and who are just trying to examine feral senses on its own reach will also tend to reach the conclusion that the ranger ability is badly written and can be disregarded. Feel free to google such discussions to see for yourself. The consensus is clear that the second paragraph of feral senses doesn't make any, well, sense.
I makes sense well enough. The ranger can 'see' through invisibility but not through walls or other obstacles.
 

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Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Neither of them needs to be wrong. My reading doesn't disregard any rules, merely accepts that the rules do not cover every situation and that the GM uses at least a modicum of common sense. That hiding makes your location unknown, doesn't in any way require that other things couldn't make your location unknown too.

I makes sense well enough. The ranger can 'see' through invisibility but not through walls or other obstacles.
Except it doesn't do that, at all. The ranger just knows the location of the invisible creature -- they still have disadvantage to attack them, that creature has advantage to attack the ranger, and the ranger cannot target the creature with any ability that requires them to see the target. Plus, if the invisible creature is hidden, the ranger doesn't detect them at all. So, the ability is kinda weird, unless you postulate this strange 'don't know where the creature is but it isn't hidden' clause that can operate within 30' of the ranger and lets this ranger ability do something. OR, the ranger ability is just poorly written and hasn't been errata'd because it doesn't break anything with it's mostly pointless clause.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Rule Zero? Common Sense? Logic?
Take your pick.
Personnally, all of them apply.
Those would all be reasons you change or rule something, but none of them explain what "can't be located but isn't hidden and is within 30'" is, does, or how it works.

But yes, DnD evolved from the wargames of the late 60s and early 70s. It gained a lot in moving away from wargames but it also lost quite a bit.
It impossible to quantify and qualify every possible outcome in a RPG. The last one that truly tried was the Role Master serie (along with Space Master) where every single actions, attacks, spells, moves and manoeuver were codified. It was, from a simulationist POV a dream come true. For DM and Players of RPG, a nightmare incarnated.

At some point, you just need to leave the comfort of the rule, and extrapolate on the RAI.
The RAI is very clear -- no designer has ever indicated that there exists a situation where there's a creature that isn't hidden, but you don't know where it is, and is within 30' of you and not behind total cover. That's the use case for this ranger ability if it does what you claim. So for, no one has been able to suggest what that looks like or how it works, they just say it does. Can you give me an example of am invisible creature, within 30' of a PC, who is not hidden. and the PC doesn't know where the creature is, but would be able to see if it were not invisible? I'm don't understand how this works, nor how you would get there.
 

Except it doesn't do that, at all. The ranger just knows the location of the invisible creature -- they still have disadvantage to attack them, that creature has advantage to attack the ranger, and the ranger cannot target the creature with any ability that requires them to see the target. Plus, if the invisible creature is hidden, the ranger doesn't detect them at all. So, the ability is kinda weird, unless you postulate this strange 'don't know where the creature is but it isn't hidden' clause that can operate within 30' of the ranger and lets this ranger ability do something. OR, the ranger ability is just poorly written and hasn't been errata'd because it doesn't break anything with it's mostly pointless clause.
They don't have disadvantage, the rule specifically says that. But yeah, they don't really see invisible, thus I used the quotation marks.

But I really don't get how you have so hard time parsing the rule. It may be somewhat poorly written but the intent seems pretty clear. There is a an invisible creature within 30 feet of the ranger in the open, so they can sense it by hearing, noticing crushed grass etc (basically the thing you think every shmuck is automatically capable of doing at any distance) but if that same creature is also hiding behind a wall, then the ranger still do not detect them. Seems pretty logical to me.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Those would all be reasons you change or rule something, but none of them explain what "can't be located but isn't hidden and is within 30'" is, does, or how it works.


The RAI is very clear -- no designer has ever indicated that there exists a situation where there's a creature that isn't hidden, but you don't know where it is, and is within 30' of you and not behind total cover. That's the use case for this ranger ability if it does what you claim. So for, no one has been able to suggest what that looks like or how it works, they just say it does. Can you give me an example of am invisible creature, within 30' of a PC, who is not hidden. and the PC doesn't know where the creature is, but would be able to see if it were not invisible? I'm don't understand how this works, nor how you would get there.

News flash: there's no text in the book on the fact that PCs have to relieve their bowels on a regular basis either but we assume that they do. Just because they don't cover something doesn't mean it does not exist.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
They don't have disadvantage, the rule specifically says that. But yeah, they don't really see invisible, thus I used the quotation marks.

But I really don't get how you have so hard time parsing the rule. It may be somewhat poorly written but the intent seems pretty clear. There is a an invisible creature within 30 feet of the ranger in the open, so they can sense it by hearing, noticing crushed grass etc (basically the thing you think every shmuck is automatically capable of doing at any distance) but if that same creature is also hiding behind a wall, then the ranger still do not detect them. Seems pretty logical to me.
Yeah, the first, useful clause does that, but the second clause is different and doesn't confer anything.

Everyone detects the invisible creature though -- it's not hiding. The only way the ranger ability makes sense is if you totally ignore the designers input and say that all invisible things cannot be noticed, even if they don't hide. So far, you're the only person in the thread that's asserted this as a baseline (and kudos for that, btw, I appreciate your clear stance on the matter).
 

Those would all be reasons you change or rule something, but none of them explain what "can't be located but isn't hidden and is within 30'" is, does, or how it works.


The RAI is very clear -- no designer has ever indicated that there exists a situation where there's a creature that isn't hidden, but you don't know where it is, and is within 30' of you and not behind total cover. That's the use case for this ranger ability if it does what you claim. So for, no one has been able to suggest what that looks like or how it works, they just say it does. Can you give me an example of am invisible creature, within 30' of a PC, who is not hidden. and the PC doesn't know where the creature is, but would be able to see if it were not invisible? I'm don't understand how this works, nor how you would get there.
Easy.
No ranger.
You enter a room of 30 x 30. This is obviously an old laboratory. On the far right corner, a skeletal bird is in a cage, chirping a strange sound. It's been obviously there for a long time as the cage looks like tarnish bronze. On the center of the room, a big table with what appears to be alchemical supplies and appartus. On the near left side, you see a bronze or copper statue of a big fighter with a sword held in hand, poised as if ready to strike down a foe. In front of the statue, there is a big iron chest. Two torches flickers on the left and right side of the room. One exit is on the opposite wall with a heavy stone door.

This would be the description I would give my player. I would answer their questions about the room. I would hear them out, then... boom!

With a ranger.
Same description but add.
You sense that in the far left corner there is something standing there. You can't see it, but you know it is there. Initiative would be rolled immediately.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
News flash: there's no text in the book on the fact that PCs have to relieve their bowels on a regular basis either but we assume that they do. Just because they don't cover something doesn't mean it does not exist.
This is an extremely weak argument, though. We have rules for invisibility. We have rules for hiding. We have design input on RAI that says the normal is that invisible creatures are detected. This isn't at all in the same category as rules for PC's relieving themselves. Asserting that there's a major, unstated rules impact in an area already well covered by the rules requires more effort than saying there's no rules for peeing. Why do we have so many rules in and around invisibility but none of them ever suggest that an invisible creature is usually undetectable but not hidden. What does hiding gain an invisible creature if this is the baseline? Either the assertion is that multiple places in the rules present a largely useless rule for invisibility, or that part of the Ranger 18th level ability is poorly written and doesn't do much.
 

Yeah, the first, useful clause does that, but the second clause is different and doesn't confer anything.

Everyone detects the invisible creature though -- it's not hiding. The only way the ranger ability makes sense is if you totally ignore the designers input and say that all invisible things cannot be noticed, even if they don't hide. So far, you're the only person in the thread that's asserted this as a baseline (and kudos for that, btw, I appreciate your clear stance on the matter).
My stance is that you don't automatically know location of invisible things. This is not the same that they cannot be noticed. They can be noticed (i.e. their presence know) and even their location can be known if they give it away or someone notices them for some other reason. In many circumstnace a perception check would be quite warranted. I simply do not think that such detection is an automatic success, as that would be blatantly absurd in most circumstances. The ranger's feature however allows this detection to happen automatically up to thirty feet. My interpretation doesn't ignore any rules and corresponds with common sense.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Easy.
No ranger.
You enter a room of 30 x 30. This is obviously an old laboratory. On the far right corner, a skeletal bird is in a cage, chirping a strange sound. It's been obviously there for a long time as the cage looks like tarnish bronze. On the center of the room, a big table with what appears to be alchemical supplies and appartus. On the near left side, you see a bronze or copper statue of a big fighter with a sword held in hand, poised as if ready to strike down a foe. In front of the statue, there is a big iron chest. Two torches flickers on the left and right side of the room. One exit is on the opposite wall with a heavy stone door.

This would be the description I would give my player. I would answer their questions about the room. I would hear them out, then... boom!

With a ranger.
Same description but add.
You sense that in the far left corner there is something standing there. You can't see it, but you know it is there. Initiative would be rolled immediately.
So, in the first, there's a non-hidden creature that isn't detectable and no checks against any passive perceptions are made? Do I have the right of this?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Yeah, the first, useful clause does that, but the second clause is different and doesn't confer anything.

Everyone detects the invisible creature though -- it's not hiding. The only way the ranger ability makes sense is if you totally ignore the designers input and say that all invisible things cannot be noticed, even if they don't hide. So far, you're the only person in the thread that's asserted this as a baseline (and kudos for that, btw, I appreciate your clear stance on the matter).

We're talking about feral senses, right? Because either the book is wrong (which is an odd stance to take) or the opinion of the authors is that there are times where an invisible creature can be heard but their exact location can be narrowed down with any precision.

I think the latter is just as plausible if not more so. Just because you know there's someone is there because you heard them (so therefore not hidden) doesn't mean you automatically know where they are within 5 ft. Or of course just pick and choose which parts of the book are the rules and which are not.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
If a wolf howls in the darkness do you notice it? I would say yes. Do you know exactly (within 5 ft) where it is? Unless it is close enough to touch, probably not.

Notice does not mean "know exact location".
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
My stance is that you don't automatically know location of invisible things. This is not the same that they cannot be noticed. They can be noticed (i.e. their presence know) and even their location can be known if they give it away or someone notices them for some other reason. In many circumstnace a perception check would be quite warranted. I simply do not think that such detection is an automatic success, as that would be blatantly absurd in most circumstances. The ranger's feature however allows this detection to happen automatically up to thirty feet. My interpretation doesn't ignore any rules and corresponds with common sense.
This still isn't meaningfully different from hidden -- a creature can be hidden but you might know something is nearby. @Oofta's example of the distant yelling orc is such (sorry, I didn't get to that one and recall it here). In game terms, that orc is hidden -- you can't see it, you can locate it by hearing or noticing it's passage, and you don't know where it is. The distant yelling lets you know something is going on, but you can't do much with it. Same with anything hidden -- the presence of a tell that says something is off but that doesn't reveal the location of the creature is still inside the hiding rules. What you're proposing is a second, identical set of rules to hidden, but not called hidden, so that the ranger ability can work. There's no functional difference other than one class' 18th level ability. That doesn't strike you as extremely odd design to not ever be mentioned anywhere else?

Again, you can easily rule that invisible creatures are automatically hidden -- you need no special rules or strange side-along duplicate rules for this. And, it would work just fine.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
We're talking about feral senses, right? Because either the book is wrong (which is an odd stance to take) or the opinion of the authors is that there are times where an invisible creature can be heard but their exact location can be narrowed down with any precision.

I think the latter is just as plausible if not more so. Just because you know there's someone is there because you heard them (so therefore not hidden) doesn't mean you automatically know where they are within 5 ft. Or of course just pick and choose which parts of the book are the rules and which are not.
Not wrong, redundant. Because, if feral senses is correct, there's a lot of other rules that are equally redundant -- like the invisibility spell and the rules for hiding and unseen attackers. All of those reference invisibility as being always able to hide. What does hide do? It makes you unseen, unheard, and your location unknown. If you already get all of that with invisibility, why are there rules for hiding while invisible? You don't need to be unseen, that's covered. Unheard doesn't matter, either, because you can't be located by invisibility. And your location is already unknown, usually. So, why have rules to get things you already supposedly have? The answer is that you only get unseen from invisibility. None of the other parts of hidden are accrued, normally. Which is why, if you really want to disappear, you have to hide (or be stealthy outside of combat round tracking).
If a wolf howls in the darkness do you notice it? I would say yes. Do you know exactly (within 5 ft) where it is? Unless it is close enough to touch, probably not.

Notice does not mean "know exact location".
"Notice" was used earlier in the thread to indicate locating a creature. At the time, no one remarked on it, although I thought it was ripe for a semantics attack as the rules only use it in relation to surprise.
 

So, in the first, there's a non-hidden creature that isn't detectable and no checks against any passive perceptions are made? Do I have the right of this?
Sure. But you failed. The bird served as a distraction, so did the ominous statue. So you were at disadvantage -5. With that in mind, I would use the characters I have from last campaign and none would have succeeded. And this can happen in many other situations.
Ho and the treath was a high level warlock with boots of elven kind and a wand of fireball.
 

This still isn't meaningfully different from hidden -- a creature can be hidden but you might know something is nearby. @Oofta's example of the distant yelling orc is such (sorry, I didn't get to that one and recall it here). In game terms, that orc is hidden -- you can't see it, you can locate it by hearing or noticing it's passage, and you don't know where it is.
Right. But certainly if you know that they're nearby you have 'noticed' them, and thus 'noticing' doesn't necessarily mean knowing the location?

The distant yelling lets you know something is going on, but you can't do much with it. Same with anything hidden -- the presence of a tell that says something is off but that doesn't reveal the location of the creature is still inside the hiding rules. What you're proposing is a second, identical set of rules to hidden, but not called hidden, so that the ranger ability can work. There's no functional difference other than one class' 18th level ability. That doesn't strike you as extremely odd design to not ever be mentioned anywhere else?

Again, you can easily rule that invisible creatures are automatically hidden -- you need no special rules or strange side-along duplicate rules for this. And, it would work just fine.
Yes, that probably would be more straightforward. But I didn't write these rules, I'm just reading them. Though one reasonable difference might be that while hiding the stealth check is being made, conceivably other methods might not involve that and could just have a perception DC set by the GM like with many other skill checks.

But I alluded to this earlier, but you didn't answer: what are objects that you cannot see? Are they hidden? Is a chest behind a corner hidden, is an invisible chair hidden?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Not wrong, redundant. Because, if feral senses is correct, there's a lot of other rules that are equally redundant -- like the invisibility spell and the rules for hiding and unseen attackers. All of those reference invisibility as being always able to hide. What does hide do? It makes you unseen, unheard, and your location unknown. If you already get all of that with invisibility, why are there rules for hiding while invisible? You don't need to be unseen, that's covered. Unheard doesn't matter, either, because you can't be located by invisibility. And your location is already unknown, usually. So, why have rules to get things you already supposedly have? The answer is that you only get unseen from invisibility. None of the other parts of hidden are accrued, normally. Which is why, if you really want to disappear, you have to hide (or be stealthy outside of combat round tracking).

Nobody has said that I am aware of that you never know where an invisible creature is. That's different from saying that you always know where an invisible creature is. In some cases you will know where a creature is that you cannot see, sometimes you won't. Fully supported by all the rules and the podcast with Crawford.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
My example has remained static, except for your request for the reason the PC walked in. And it's impossible without the PC falling, badly spraining an ankle, or the like which didn't happen, because D&D rules.
First, I agree that D&D totally rules. :D

So here's my understanding of the example of play and the fiction it gives rise to:

DM: You come to a door. What do you do?​
Max: I alertly go into the room. If I see anything, I leave and get to the rest of the group.​
DM: OK, the door opens into a large room that's about sixty-five feet long and fifty feet wide, and you don't see anything until you've walked about ten feet into the room. (I don't know why this would be, but maybe there's some intervening feature of the room that screens the goblins from view until then.) When you get ten feet in, you see ten goblins against the opposite wall of the room, and they begin moving towards you. What do you do?​
Max: I turn to leave immediately the instant I see the goblins.​
DM: Make a Dexterity check to determine your initiative versus the goblins. The goblins got a 15. If you win, you can get to the door first and leave, but if you lose, the goblins will have gotten the drop on you and will get to the door ahead of you to block your escape.​
Max: Darn it, I got a 10.​
DM: Too bad, the goblins rush past you as you turn to leave, giving you the chance to make an opportunity attack against one of them, and stand in two rows in front of the door, barring your way. What do you do?​
And so on...​

I honestly don't see how this is an absurd narrative.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Nobody has said that I am aware of that you never know where an invisible creature is. That's different from saying that you always know where an invisible creature is. In some cases you will know where a creature is that you cannot see, sometimes you won't. Fully supported by all the rules and the podcast with Crawford.
100% agree -- sometimes you will know and sometimes you will not. But, according to the podcast and the rules, you will usually know unless there's a reason not to, and invisibility alone isn't enough.
 

100% agree -- sometimes you will know and sometimes you will not. But, according to the podcast and the rules, you will usually know unless there's a reason not to, and invisibility alone isn't enough.
The rules basically say nothing about knowing the locations of creatures in general. The default state that you're imagining simply isn't something that exists in the rules.
 

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