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

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
The rules should do what logically follows from the fiction. Possible balance issues are another matter entirely.

Yes they should but lessons learned should apply as well. I'm guessing, from your line of comments in this thread, that you either didn't play a lot of 3rd edition or didn't pay much attention to the invisibility rules there if you did. But the nerf the invisibility spell got in 5e was pretty necessary compared to the 3e family (including Pathfinder). Invisibility has the potential to be extremely unbalancing - so it gets a lot of limitations compared to what you might assume could be true from the fiction.
 

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Yes they should but lessons learned should apply as well. I'm guessing, from your line of comments in this thread, that you either didn't play a lot of 3rd edition or didn't pay much attention to the invisibility rules there if you did. But the nerf the invisibility spell got in 5e was pretty necessary compared to the 3e family (including Pathfinder). Invisibility has the potential to be extremely unbalancing - so it gets a lot of limitations compared to what you might assume could be true from the fiction.
There are limits and there are limits. At some point, I agree that the possibility to defend yourself against an invisible opponent was much needed and at a certain point the nerf was and still is necessary. But beyond a certain point, the nerf becomes a joke exactly because the nerf goes too far and as many have shown isn't even truly supported both by the rules and the logic. Blindly applying a rule might be RAW but certainly not RAI.

The goal is to give a fighting chance to actually hit an invisible opponent in combat. When an invisi le opponent is more than a hundred feet, it should not be so easy to determine his exact position.

Now if the invisible one were to fire projectiles or cantrip or spells, then it would be an other matter. The arrow would be visible as soon as it is fired, the fire bolt would trace a neat path as to where the invisble one is. His voice could reveal his position too. But just moving away does not and should not reveal your exact location.
 

This, this is exactly what I was hoping to see. Thank you. Rules are to be followed, that much I agree. But there comes a point where the the rule can't cover every cases and this is where the DMs' adjudication and logic should take over the rule.

And this is not one of them.

The Monk has both attacked someone in melee combat and then sprinted off 100'. He's doing everything OTHER than being stealthy or concealing his position this turn!

He can attempt to Hide on his next turn if he wants to.

But on his few seconds of this turn he is not attempting to be quiet or stealthy. He is doing the exact opposite by kicking, punching and elbowing his target while screaming ''A-Ryu-Ken'' and then sprinting off.
 

The goal is to give a fighting chance to actually hit an invisible opponent in combat. When an invisi le opponent is more than a hundred feet, it should not be so easy to determine his exact position.

He's not 100 feet away.

We dont know if his opponent chased him yet.

Example (movement this round):

a) Monks turn: He punches and then dashes 100' away.
b) Opponents turn: He dashes towards the Monk (base move 50') following the Monks footsteps on the cobblestones and his heavy breathing as he sprints off.

Even though in between those initiative counts (to us) it looked like the Monk was 100' away from his Opponent, what REALLY happened was the Monk ran off, with his Opponent hot on his heels all at the same time.


At no stage were they more than a few feet away from each other.
 

He's not 100 feet away.

We dont know if his opponent chased him yet.

Example (movement this round):

a) Monks turn: He punches and then dashes 100' away.
b) Opponents turn: He dashes towards the Monk (base move 50') following the Monks footsteps on the cobblestones and his heavy breathing as he sprints off.

Even though in between those initiative counts (to us) it looked like the Monk was 100' away from his Opponent, what REALLY happened was the Monk ran off, with his Opponent hot on his heels all at the same time.


At no stage were they more than a few feet away from each other.
Wrong. 100 feet as in the original post. A guard. 30 feet move, dash 60 feet. Before the guard even react, the monk is already 100 feet away. Which direction? The first 10 feet ok. 30? Not sure but I feel generous and ok. But a 100 feet. Absolutely no way. Was there a turn? Two turns or even more that were possible in that corridor? Which one will the guard take? And the guard will not hear the monk's heavy breathing as he is running too. He will hear loud noise, but heavy breathing do not qualify. Not for 6 seconds. The guard is probably in heavy armor/gear too. It is not even certain that he has 30 feet to move but 25...

The monk is perfectly safe in this case. But if he stayed in melee or in the vincinity of the giard, he'd be toast.
 

No, it's not necessary to change the invisibility spell at all, although it would make it easier is some regards. Instead, I don't start with the idea that an invisible person can't be located, I do that after I see if that person is located or not. The rules suggest that, all things being equal, being invisible isn't proof against location and that the bias tilts pretty strongly to location in many cases. Starting here, I look, and if I cannot justify reasons other than invisibility that an invisibly creature is hidden, I'll assume they aren't hidden. Those reasons might be distance, terrain, weather, having taken the Hide action, etc. If those don't obtain, then I create a fiction that explains why the invisible creature is detectable. By not starting with fiction that assumes things about invisibility or the results, I can use the rules to adjudicate and then describe whatever works. Hence, fiction is both an input and an output, but in different ways and with different expectations. Fiction should only be an input in that it describes the scene -- it should never assume the end results.

As for your last paragraph, I'm the one that initially suggested that circumstances should invoke Page 4 and the GM should make a call -- that the guidance isn't absolute. I also posted an example more complicated but in the same vein as yours here, that points out that a slavish adherence to guidance creates silliness. So, yeah, you're most definitely not talking to me, here.
'Cannot be seen' isn't just fluff.
 

This is insane. The rules are settled and I cant believe were still having this discussion.

Invisibility simply lets you take the Hide action. In the OPs example the Monk has revealed himself this round by attacking but hasn't yet gone back into hiding.

Hes not hidden. Full stop.

If he wants to Hide he can on his next turn.
You asserting the same false things tenth time doesn't make them any more true.
 

Wrong. 100 feet as in the original post. A guard. 30 feet move, dash 60 feet. Before the guard even react, the monk is already 100 feet away. Which direction? The first 10 feet ok. 30? Not sure but I feel generous and ok. But a 100 feet. Absolutely no way. Was there a turn? Two turns or even more that were possible in that corridor? Which one will the guard take? And the guard will not hear the monk's heavy breathing as he is running too. He will hear loud noise, but heavy breathing do not qualify. Not for 6 seconds. The guard is probably in heavy armor/gear too. It is not even certain that he has 30 feet to move but 25...

The monk is perfectly safe in this case. But if he stayed in melee or in the vincinity of the giard, he'd be toast.

No youre wrong.

Despite the stop start cyclical nature of rounds and turns, the action of combat rounds is happening hargely simultaneously.

The guard is not frozen in time while the monk conducts 6 seconds worth of actions.
 


No youre wrong.

Despite the stop start cyclical nature of rounds and turns, the action of combat rounds is happening hargely simultaneously.

The guard is not frozen in time while the monk conducts 6 seconds worth of actions.
Of course. On that we agree. But inthe end, the mo k is at a minimum of 40 feet away and probably more if the guard is in heavy armor without the appropriate strength.

Hearing the monk is out of the question as the guard is running too and makes even more noise than the monk. He is in armor after all. So how can he locate what he can't see nor hear?

Use your logic and stop blindly applying an inept rule.
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Being invisible is very simple. You can't be seen without the aid of magic or special senses. Period.

Invisible
  • An invisible creature is impossible to see without the aid of magic or a special sense. For the purpose of hiding, the creature is heavily obscured. The creature's location can be detected by any noise it makes or any tracks it leaves.
  • Attack rolls against the creature have disadvantage, and the creature's attack rolls have advantage.

The PHB does not state that at the start of combat PCs know where all enemy combatants are. They "automatically notice each other", that's it.

Surprise
A band of adventurers sneaks up on a bandit camp, springing from the trees to attack them. A gelatinous cube glides down a dungeon passage, unnoticed by the adventurers until the cube engulfs one of them. In these situations, one side of the battle gains surprise over the other.

The DM determines who might be surprised. If neither side tries to be stealthy, they automatically notice each other. Otherwise, the DM compares the Dexterity (Stealth) checks of anyone hiding with the passive Wisdom (Perception) score of each creature on the opposing side. Any character or monster that doesn't notice a threat is surprised at the start of the encounter.

If you're surprised, you can't move or take an action on your first turn of the combat, and you can't take a reaction until that turn ends. A member of a group can be surprised even if the other members aren't.

Next in the Hiding rules, it states that "An invisible creature can always try to hide." In addition "Signs of its passage might still be noticed, and it does have to stay quiet." It does not say that they must hide or in order for signs of passage to not be noticed.

Signs might be noticed is similar to how a rectangle might be a square does not mean that all rectangles are squares. Obviously whether the DM thinks the signs of passage might be noticed is up to DM preference and situation.

HIDING

The DM decides when circumstances are appropriate for hiding. When you try to hide, make a Dexterity (Stealth) check. Until you are discovered or you stop hiding, that check's total is contested by the Wisdom (Perception) check of any creature that actively searches for signs of your presence.

You can't hide from a creature that can see you clearly, and you give away your position if you make noise, such as shouting a warning or knocking over a vase. An invisible creature can always try to hide. Signs of its passage might still be noticed, and it does have to stay quiet.

In combat, most creatures stay alert for signs of danger all around, so if you come out of hiding and approach a creature, it usually sees you. However, under certain circumstances, the DM might allow you to stay hidden as you approach a creature that is distracted, allowing you to gain advantage on an attack roll before you are seen.

Passive Perception. When you hide, there's a chance someone will notice you even if they aren't searching. To determine whether such a creature notices you, the DM compares your Dexterity (Stealth) check with that creature's passive Wisdom (Perception) score, which equals 10 + the creature's Wisdom modifier, as well as any other bonuses or penalties. If the creature has advantage, add 5. For disadvantage, subtract 5. For example, if a 1st-level character (with a proficiency bonus of +2) has a Wisdom of 15 (a +2 modifier) and proficiency in Perception, he or she has a passive Wisdom (Perception) of 14.

What Can You See? One of the main factors in determining whether you can find a hidden creature or object is how well you can see in an area, which might be lightly or heavily obscured, as explained in chapter 8.

That's it. That's all the rules tell us that I know of. How you run invisibility, how easy it is to locate them based on senses other than sight is completely up to the DM.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
I'm unaware where the rule that "you know what square they are in" is stated in the books (or implied).

I'm aware that if a creature is hidden from you, you have to guess a square, get it right, then you attack with disadvantage.

But if the creature is not hidden from you, you can simply attack it with disadvantage, as far as I can tell. People seem to impute this means you know what square they are in.

(This does not exclude you knowing what square they are in, I'm saying that "know what square they are in" is not covered by the invisibility or explicitly by any of the mechanics in 5e)

It could be I'm missing something, and there are rules stating that.

This does mean that if the monk invisible, is 100' away and you, and not hidden, you make a ranged attack on her, you can make that attack without knowing what square they are in. This attack is made at disadvantage. If you miss, maybe you shot the wrong spot. If you hit, you hit.

(Naturally if they have full cover -- they are actually behind a wall -- the attack is going to miss.)

Am I missing something? This seems to both cover common sense and the rules as written.

The deal here is to treat the grid as secondary; the theater of the mind is primary, the grid is an information aid.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Being invisible is very simple. You can't be seen without the aid of magic or special senses. Period.

Invisible
  • An invisible creature is impossible to see without the aid of magic or a special sense. For the purpose of hiding, the creature is heavily obscured. The creature's location can be detected by any noise it makes or any tracks it leaves.
  • Attack rolls against the creature have disadvantage, and the creature's attack rolls have advantage.

The PHB does not state that at the start of combat PCs know where all enemy combatants are. They "automatically notice each other", that's it.

Surprise
A band of adventurers sneaks up on a bandit camp, springing from the trees to attack them. A gelatinous cube glides down a dungeon passage, unnoticed by the adventurers until the cube engulfs one of them. In these situations, one side of the battle gains surprise over the other.

The DM determines who might be surprised. If neither side tries to be stealthy, they automatically notice each other. Otherwise, the DM compares the Dexterity (Stealth) checks of anyone hiding with the passive Wisdom (Perception) score of each creature on the opposing side. Any character or monster that doesn't notice a threat is surprised at the start of the encounter.

If you're surprised, you can't move or take an action on your first turn of the combat, and you can't take a reaction until that turn ends. A member of a group can be surprised even if the other members aren't.

Next in the Hiding rules, it states that "An invisible creature can always try to hide." In addition "Signs of its passage might still be noticed, and it does have to stay quiet." It does not say that they must hide or in order for signs of passage to not be noticed.

Signs might be noticed is similar to how a rectangle might be a square does not mean that all rectangles are squares. Obviously whether the DM thinks the signs of passage might be noticed is up to DM preference and situation.

HIDING

The DM decides when circumstances are appropriate for hiding. When you try to hide, make a Dexterity (Stealth) check. Until you are discovered or you stop hiding, that check's total is contested by the Wisdom (Perception) check of any creature that actively searches for signs of your presence.

You can't hide from a creature that can see you clearly, and you give away your position if you make noise, such as shouting a warning or knocking over a vase. An invisible creature can always try to hide. Signs of its passage might still be noticed, and it does have to stay quiet.

In combat, most creatures stay alert for signs of danger all around, so if you come out of hiding and approach a creature, it usually sees you. However, under certain circumstances, the DM might allow you to stay hidden as you approach a creature that is distracted, allowing you to gain advantage on an attack roll before you are seen.

Passive Perception. When you hide, there's a chance someone will notice you even if they aren't searching. To determine whether such a creature notices you, the DM compares your Dexterity (Stealth) check with that creature's passive Wisdom (Perception) score, which equals 10 + the creature's Wisdom modifier, as well as any other bonuses or penalties. If the creature has advantage, add 5. For disadvantage, subtract 5. For example, if a 1st-level character (with a proficiency bonus of +2) has a Wisdom of 15 (a +2 modifier) and proficiency in Perception, he or she has a passive Wisdom (Perception) of 14.

What Can You See? One of the main factors in determining whether you can find a hidden creature or object is how well you can see in an area, which might be lightly or heavily obscured, as explained in chapter 8.

That's it. That's all the rules tell us that I know of. How you run invisibility, how easy it is to locate them based on senses other than sight is completely up to the DM.
Is the default assumption that you notice other creatures? I say yes, this is the general rule.

Does Invisibility directly alter this assumption? I say it does not. If it were to do so, it would specifically state so. Instead, it specifically states a lesser position, that invisible creatures may always try to hide. I don't think this is a redundant statement to an inferred intent that invisibility should largely trump the general rule of noticing other creatures. Instead, it points to the already established way to avoid notice -- hiding. In other words, Invisibility has specific language on how it interacts with hiding, which is to say it enables it more broadly than usual, but no language at all on if invisibility makes you less likely to be notices.

So, what does this mean? To me, it's still clear that the default assumption is that creatures are noticed unless they're hidden or the situation/environment calls on the GM to make a ruling. Invisibility, despite having every opportunity, doesn't change this, instead it specifically addresses enabling hiding. So, invisibility, by itself, doesn't alter the general rule. However, given that the GM is expected to make rulings on how to apply the rules of the game to specific situations, it's clear that the general rule for noticing creatures isn't set in stone but strong guidance to the GM on how to rule. As such, I would not say that invisibility alone can cause you to lose track of a creature. If the situation would be one that I would already consider to need looking at to determine if a creature gets to be hidden (as in location unknown), then, yeah, being invisible's going to weigh heavily in that favor. Narratively, this is pretty easy to describe, if you haven't pre-decided to not to, at least.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Is the default assumption that you notice other creatures? I say yes, this is the general rule.

Does Invisibility directly alter this assumption? I say it does not. If it were to do so, it would specifically state so. Instead, it specifically states a lesser position, that invisible creatures may always try to hide. I don't think this is a redundant statement to an inferred intent that invisibility should largely trump the general rule of noticing other creatures. Instead, it points to the already established way to avoid notice -- hiding. In other words, Invisibility has specific language on how it interacts with hiding, which is to say it enables it more broadly than usual, but no language at all on if invisibility makes you less likely to be notices.

So, what does this mean? To me, it's still clear that the default assumption is that creatures are noticed unless they're hidden or the situation/environment calls on the GM to make a ruling. Invisibility, despite having every opportunity, doesn't change this, instead it specifically addresses enabling hiding. So, invisibility, by itself, doesn't alter the general rule. However, given that the GM is expected to make rulings on how to apply the rules of the game to specific situations, it's clear that the general rule for noticing creatures isn't set in stone but strong guidance to the GM on how to rule. As such, I would not say that invisibility alone can cause you to lose track of a creature. If the situation would be one that I would already consider to need looking at to determine if a creature gets to be hidden (as in location unknown), then, yeah, being invisible's going to weigh heavily in that favor. Narratively, this is pretty easy to describe, if you haven't pre-decided to not to, at least.

I can recognize a threat even if I do not know exactly where the threat is coming from.

If the rule is that you always know the location of an invisible creature unless they made a stealth check, then the rules would clearly say so. They don't. All of this starts to sound like a conspiracy theory or maybe one of those National Treasure movies where you have to assemble all the clues just right to come to the conclusion you want.

Feel free to run it any way you want.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I can recognize a threat even if I do not know exactly where the threat is coming from.

If the rule is that you always know the location of an invisible creature unless they made a stealth check, then the rules would clearly say so. They don't. All of this starts to sound like a conspiracy theory or maybe one of those National Treasure movies where you have to assemble all the clues just right to come to the conclusion you want.

Feel free to run it any way you want.
Again, the default is that you know where a creature is unless it's hidden from you. Invisibility took great care to not say that you are hidden, but instead that you can always try to hide. I get where you're coming from -- you have a picture in your head that's hard to reconcile with this approach. However, unless we're going to make an argument that the rules never state that you know where another creature is explicitly, then we can only go with what Invisibility explicitly says. That's how the exception based bundle of rules that are spells are intended to operate -- they tell you exactly what they do differently. If was going to make the argument that you don't automatically detect creatures absent being hidden, then we're now in a really weird place where I'm can make lots of nonsensical arguments about what might happen. I think it a good idea to stick to the idea that creatures are detected unless hidden, or unless the GM rules so due to situations in the environment. At which point, invisibility shouldn't be, by itself, a reason to rule non-detection occurs because the rules for invisibility had that option available and instead deliberately chose a lesser stance.
 

Again, the default is that you know where a creature is unless it's hidden from you.
Except it is not. People keep saying this but that is completely made up and would lead to countless blatantly absurd situations.

Invisibility took great care to not say that you are hidden, but instead that you can always try to hide. I get where you're coming from -- you have a picture in your head that's hard to reconcile with this approach. However, unless we're going to make an argument that the rules never state that you know where another creature is explicitly, then we can only go with what Invisibility explicitly says. That's how the exception based bundle of rules that are spells are intended to operate -- they tell you exactly what they do differently. If was going to make the argument that you don't automatically detect creatures absent being hidden, then we're now in a really weird place where I'm can make lots of nonsensical arguments about what might happen. I think it a good idea to stick to the idea that creatures are detected unless hidden, or unless the GM rules so due to situations in the environment. At which point, invisibility shouldn't be, by itself, a reason to rule non-detection occurs because the rules for invisibility had that option available and instead deliberately chose a lesser stance.
Invisibility say that the creature cannot be seen. That is not mere fluff. Whether exact location of something can be pinpointed automatically, with some difficulty or not at all depends on may different factors. This game has a human being in charge to adjudicate such factors.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Nor is there a rule that states "you are hidden unless you are detected" in 5e. You are never hidden in combat unless you successfully take the Hide action in 5e.

But there is a part that says that hidden is both unseen and unheard, so if you are either, you are not hidden. If you are both, you are hidden regardless of how you got that way.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
huh? Who is asserting there is a "hidden" condition? I'm using plain language to describe what happens to a monk when they successfully Hide. There's no "undetected" condition either, but that is true of the monk when they successfully Hide, in plain language.

So are you saying the baseline in combat is that opponents can't detect each other? Do you make your players role Perception to detect an opponent that's present for the combat? I'm guessing "No" to both of those which means... the creature is... wait for it... automatically detected!

Yes and no. You wouldn't make the orc roll to perceive an opponent in combat who is visible. You only call for a roll if the outcome is in doubt. In a battle where lots and lots of noise is happening, to me the outcome of hearing a walking, invisible, unarmored creature is clearly in doubt. They would have to make a perception roll, even if the invisible creature is not hiding.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Again, the default is that you know where a creature is unless it's hidden from you. Invisibility took great care to not say that you are hidden, but instead that you can always try to hide. I get where you're coming from -- you have a picture in your head that's hard to reconcile with this approach. However, unless we're going to make an argument that the rules never state that you know where another creature is explicitly, then we can only go with what Invisibility explicitly says. That's how the exception based bundle of rules that are spells are intended to operate -- they tell you exactly what they do differently. If was going to make the argument that you don't automatically detect creatures absent being hidden, then we're now in a really weird place where I'm can make lots of nonsensical arguments about what might happen. I think it a good idea to stick to the idea that creatures are detected unless hidden, or unless the GM rules so due to situations in the environment. At which point, invisibility shouldn't be, by itself, a reason to rule non-detection occurs because the rules for invisibility had that option available and instead deliberately chose a lesser stance.

My response from now on: the rules do not state that you always know where every creature is during combat*. Nor do I think they imply anything one way or another. It's up to the DM and the situation.

Feel free to run it anyway you want.

*There are other situations where a PC will not know exactly where an opponent is, typically because of total concealment.
 

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