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

Um, someone sitting in the middle of a field invisible and not moving is describing someone who took the hide action.

If a monster, that is just assumed. If a PC, the player describes what the PC is doing, and the DM says "that is the hide action" and tells the player to roll stealth.

(The player describes what the character is doing, the DM provides the mechanics)

The case where you are invisible and not hidden basically requires you to be frantically doing something besides trying to be not spotted every 5 seconds from the moment you where invisible and the enemy knew where you are, to the current time (moving, attacking, sprinting at top speed, casting a spell, messing with your gear, drinking a potion, whatever).
Even so, it still makes invisible things absurdly easy to spot. And of course there are plenty of actions that are not particularly noisy that one could easily be undertaking while being invisible that certainly should not result being auto detected.

Also, was blinded condition already mentioned? "A blinded creature can’t see and automatically fails any ability check that requires sight. Attack rolls against the creature have advantage, and the creature’s Attack rolls have disadvantage." Isn't a person trying to detect an invisible thing effectively blinded for purposes of seeing that thing? I would also like to point out that 'can't see' is mentioned and certainly is meant to have further implications than merely the ones specifically mentioned.
 

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DM Dave1

Adventurer
Yes, circumstances such as your questions above can modify things. We are talking in general here.

Also, becoming hidden due to unseen due to invisibility, and unheard due to circumstances, is not a free hide. It costs a 2nd level slot and concentration. It's the rules, not me, that state that hidden = unseen and unheard.

i don't know. In a game I would know what they are trying to accomplish and how, and would adjust accordingly.

As for not involving stealth, you don't always have to be stealthy to be unheard. I don't know if your ever been go a big play or musical, but it gets so loud just by talking that you have to lean into the person next to you or shout, just to be heard. Fewer people, such as at a noisy tavern would similarly, though to a lesser degree, mask noises. That's what the DC is for. Combat is louder than a tavern.


@Maxperson, I feel like you are dodging the question (Dodge action? :)).

There is a very SPECIFIC combat scenario posed by the OP:
The monk is invisible (presumably from Greater Invisibility) and hiding.
Then the monk attacks (action), giving away their location.
Then the monk moves away 100' with step of the wind (bonus action).

At this point you are saying the invisible monk is now hidden again (due to combat noise, being invisible, etc) without having to take the Hide action. Is that correct?
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Even so, it still makes invisible things absurdly easy to spot. And of course there are plenty of actions that are not particularly noisy that one could easily be undertaking while being invisible that certainly should not result being auto detected.
Again, you have to be doing it continuously and constantly with no break at full speed and concentration ever since either (a) you became invisible or (b) they last knew where you where.

If that isn't the case, they took the hide action and got to roll stealth. In other words, if they took almost any time at all to consider "can I be easily spotted", they took the hide action and got to roll stealth.
Also, was blinded condition already mentioned? "A blinded creature can’t see and automatically fails any ability check that requires sight. Attack rolls against the creature have advantage, and the creature’s Attack rolls have disadvantage." Isn't a person trying to detect an invisible thing effectively blinded for purposes of seeing that thing? I would also like to point out that 'can't see' is mentioned and certainly is meant to have further implications than merely the ones specifically mentioned.
First, no, and second, no.

The first no is no, they are not effectively blinded. The person in the middle of that field who is has never considered if they are seen is moving that grass. Heck, depending on how the invisibility works, it might have a leaf stuck on it that blows off and blinks into and out of existence. A blind person wouldn't notice the human-shaped person in the grass, nor the leaf appearing and disappearing.

Second, they can be detected through ways not involving sight. They are actively not spending a thought about being hidden, so they could be humming a tune as they (say) work on the lockpicking problem, or swearing at the difficulty of reading the book while invisible.

They aren't doing that? They are putting a tiny amount of effort to not being seen? Well, that is the hide action. Pay attention to not being detected even once for a few seconds at any point between going invisible and/or your last spot being known and now, and you are hidden.

The "I'm sitting in the middle of the field while actively not hiding and invisible" is a ridiculous case that isn't credible.

The cases where you are invisible and not hiding are

(a) The enemy could see invisible and lost it. So they knew where you where a moment ago.
(b) You just used an ability to go invisible a moment ago, and they saw you before it.
(c) You where invisible and stabbed or attacked someone, which let them know where you are.
(d) You spoke loudly enough for your location to be determined while invisible

and since that point, you have been actively doing things with all of your concentration that preclude you from trying to get the other person from losing track of you, such as:

(1) Moving at an all-out sprint (dash action)
(2) Activating magic items, spells, or using tools in an insane rush like a healer's kit or lockpicks. (use an object, cast a spell, etc actions)
(3) Dodging the attacks of people who can see invisible creatures (took dodge action)

You are doing this every second ever since (a)-(d) has happened. Otherwise, you took a breather and considered if you can be seen (took the hide action).

That is the real, practical case where it is plausible for someone to be not-hidden and invisible. The toy examples of someone actively not hiding (possibly for hours) and then complaining they aren't hidden are junk. Plus the action system is something that is explicitly for combat; out of combat, if you have an hour of being invisible while doing something, saying "oh yes, and make a stealth check along side" is totally in scope.

---

Remember, not-hidden and "I know exactly what square you are in" is not the same; that is a 4e ism.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I personally don't have a "default", I just make a call based on the situation.

In general, it depends on how noisy the invisible creature is relative to the environment and how much it interacts with the environment. But it all comes back to making a judgement call, what could be perceived? I take into allowance the fact that some PCs are far more perceptive than I am, but there are still limits.
  • Flying creatures in an open area are difficult to detect, particularly smaller creatures (no detectable down-draft). An invisible imp flying above the market is going to be nearly impossible to detect unless they disturb some birds, fly through smoke or similar. Of course it will change if the imp is screaming epithets or throwing things.
  • In situations that are relatively quiet, I'll probably require a stealth check. Sneaking past the guard (before combat) is an example. I may adjust and give advantage/disadvantage based on environmental factors.
  • In combat it depends. Mass battle chaos or 4 PCs vs 1 opponent in a quiet cave?
  • Environment matters. On a city street? Middle of the day with people running and screaming because a balrog just gated in or middle of the night? Storm and wind meaning you have to yell to be heard or calm and quiet?
  • Is the ground wet, covered in snow or is there another reason to leave tracks such as walking under cover during a rainstorm?
But for me, I don't have a huge issue in part because I don't have 5 minute work days and I've never given out items that grant greater invisibility equivalent. Spell slots (even at higher levels) are pretty precious and greater invisibility only lasts a minute. If the PCs can take advantage of this now and then, fantastic. It's more of an issue with creatures that have greater invisibility, but that just gives me options to throw different challenges. The scouting invisible imp or sprite familiar is probably the biggest headache I ever have. Then again, lanterns of revealing aren't that expensive to have scattered around in highly secure areas. YMMV.

I don't see the OP's scenario being all that much different from what happened in a recent game. The PCs were placed in magical darkness by monsters that could see in the dark (orc blades of something or other I think). I rolled straight dex checks for the orcs vs passive perception; there was a decent chance the PCs would know where the orcs were but not guaranteed. This was in the abandoned part of the city, outdoors so not dead silent and a mix of hard and soft ground. Depending on if the PCs beat the dex check and by how much they either had a pretty good idea of location or just a general direction.
Okay, from this I read that you evaluate situations to determine if creatures get free hide attempts, yes?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Okay, from this I read that you evaluate situations to determine if creatures get free hide attempts, yes?

Sometimes there's no check at all because the only way someone could locate someone is to see them can not happen (the silent imp flying above the market). Other times times location will automatically be known (fighting in a swamp).

In general I don't give "free" stealth checks, I may give dex checks (no proficiency) to help set the perception DC.
 

The first no is no, they are not effectively blinded. The person in the middle of that field who is has never considered if they are seen is moving that grass. Heck, depending on how the invisibility works, it might have a leaf stuck on it that blows off and blinks into and out of existence. A blind person wouldn't notice the human-shaped person in the grass, nor the leaf appearing and disappearing.
What if there is no grass? What if it is a clean stone floor? Or what if it is heavy, powdery snow? Certainly it matters a huge deal which it is? In first case there literally there is nothing to see, in latter there will be clear tacks and snow flying in the air. A colossal difference. You just cant treat these situations as the same.

Second, they can be detected through ways not involving sight. They are actively not spending a thought about being hidden, so they could be humming a tune as they (say) work on the lockpicking problem, or swearing at the difficulty of reading the book while invisible.
First of, I'd argue that 'hiding' is a bit more than just not intentionally causing a ruckus and even ignoring that, certainly noticing things that can be both seen and heard should be massively easier than noticing one that can merely be heard. Especially as being visible is something that creatures normally passively do whilst causing noise really isn't. Furthermore, vision is primary sense for most creatures, and even for those for which it isn't, it is still the best sense of accurately assessing position of things.

Remember, not-hidden and "I know exactly what square you are in" is not the same; that is a 4e ism.
Yes, on that we agree. But several people have argued otherwise.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
What if there is no grass? What if it is a clean stone floor? Or what if it is heavy, powdery snow? Certainly it matters a huge deal which it is? In first case there literally there is nothing to see, in latter there will be clear tacks and snow flying in the air. A colossal difference. You just cant treat these situations as the same.
So, first:
(a) Irrelevant, they have taken the hide action at some point if they have been there for a while.
(b) If not, they they are sprinting/casting a spell/tinkering on a robot and not paying attention to being hidden at all. It is implausible that there is no plausible way for them to reveal their location, outside of some contrived example.

The person with the bow gets to roll with disadvantage based on the clues the invisible creature may be leaking. If they hit, I narrate something that gave the target away and the attacker shot it. If not, they fire (maybe seeing something that they thought was the target giving itself away, but wasn't) and miss widely.

Does this generate a perfect simulation of all realities eveywhere? No, and it doesn't need to. It won't handle "the monk is in a silence spell, naked, shaved, in a featureless black room shrouded in perfect magical darkness" very reasonably. Oh well, I can deal with that when it happens.
First of, I'd argue that 'hiding' is a bit more than just not intentionally causing a ruckus and even ignoring that, certainly noticing things that can be both seen and heard should be massively easier than noticing one that can merely be heard.
In combat, you can only hide while you have total concealment, unless you have a special ability (like lightfoot halflings). If you take the hide action while you can be seen and heard, you simply fail.

You can maintain your hidden state with less than total concealment, but that isn't about taking the hide action in combat anymore. It is about maintaining the hidden condition, or being spotted while hidden.
Especially as being visible is something that creatures normally passively do whilst causing noise really isn't. Furthermore, vision is primary sense for most creatures, and even for those for which it isn't, it is still the best sense of accurately assessing position of things.
Yes, and even if not hidden, creatures relying on sight have disadvantage when attacking you. That represents, roughly, "accurately assessing position of things".
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Let's take some sample scenarios.
  1. Open field, not soft enough to leave prints, no plants. Quiet, not even a breeze. An invisible person walks past your PC.
  2. Same field, but now a strong wind kicks up making significant noise.
  3. Same field, snowstorm with swirling wind, you have to shout to be heard.
  4. Same field, snow is done, field has a light coating of snow.
I don't see why you would want to use one "default" assumption for all of those scenarios (or the nearly infinite other possibilities). The strength of D&D is that you don't have to try to codify all possible options.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Let's take some sample scenarios.
  1. Open field, not soft enough to leave prints, no plants. Quiet, not even a breeze. An invisible person walks past your PC.
  2. Same field, but now a strong wind kicks up making significant noise.
  3. Same field, snowstorm with swirling wind, you have to shout to be heard.
  4. Same field, snow is done, field has a light coating of snow.
I don't see why you would want to use one "default" assumption for all of those scenarios (or the nearly infinite other possibilities). The strength of D&D is that you don't have to try to codify all possible options.
I roll stealth for the invisible person opposed by the PC's passive perception. The person "walking by" isn't frantically sprinting, constantly whispering a spell, whatever; they meet the criteria for having hidden at some point since they where invisible. So they get a stealth roll.

I give them advantage if I feel it is reasonable. That may depend on my mood that day, why the invisible person is going past, what I envision the area to look like in my mind's eye, how heavy the person walking by is, how far away they are, the level of light in the room I'm playing in, what book I read last, and if I got a good sleep the night before.

I could even give them disadvantage; the thin layer of crunchy snow makes it hard to avoid leaving obvious tracks and making noise, and they are quite close by.

If they lose, based on the roll, I narrate something reasonable happening that gives them away, or I don't.

But I'm wondering what kind if "field" has no plants. I mean, even a bunch of rock in the sub-arctic will have plants growing all over it.

So my "empty" field that "isn't soft" is something like shield terrain, rocky with small bushes and patches of moss.

1. Stealth, vs passive perception.
2. Stealth, invisible person advantage.
3. Stealth, invisible person advantage and -5 (disadvantage) to passive perception.
4. Stealth, disadvantage (I'm picturing a thin layer of crunchy snow).
 
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So, first:
(a) Irrelevant, they have taken the hide action at some point if they have been there for a while.
(b) If not, they they are sprinting/casting a spell/tinkering on a robot and not paying attention to being hidden at all. It is implausible that there is no plausible way for them to reveal their location, outside of some contrived example.
This was about the monk running away, so they have had no time to take hide action. The laughably implausible part here is that you think that people would automatically know their location. Is it conceivable that they could somehow perceive their location? Sure, but that is far cry from being able to do so easily, let alone automatically. Furthermore it is absurd to be able to shoot them at them at all if you don't even know which direction it went. It also is absurd that the likelihood of detection wouldn't be affected by circumstances such as the type of terrain or mode of movement. They could even fly or teleport.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Sometimes there's no check at all because the only way someone could locate someone is to see them can not happen (the silent imp flying above the market). Other times times location will automatically be known (fighting in a swamp).

In general I don't give "free" stealth checks, I may give dex checks (no proficiency) to help set the perception DC.
My question was asking if you're always evaluating the situation to see if you give out free hide attempts and you respond by telling me how you do checks. The question wasn't about how you might do checks (although it's interesting you don't allow for proficiency to affect those) but if you are constantly evaluating for the opportunity to give a creature a free hide attempt.

Corollary to the question: how often are you giving out free hude attempts? Often, occasionally, or rarely?
 

NotAYakk

Legend
The monk sprints off at a ridiculous speed into an empty field 6 second ago? You are free to try to attack her. Roll with disadvantage. If you hit you hit. I will invent a reason why it works if you hit.

If you hit, probably you are told where they. If you miss, probably not.

Coming up with a reason it can hit is easy; they just revealed where they where, and while invisible have been moving at top speed without a care to conceal where they are. A drop of blood, a woosh of ash, a bird knocked out of the sky, a spray of sweat, a leaf that flickers out of existence as it hits the invisible monk, a grass stem bent under a footfall.

You could come up with a contrived situation where there is no plausible way to figure out where the invisible monk is, but I am narrating the world. There aren't spherical blackbody cows, and I have little need for them in stories I tell.

You want to be 100% immune to attacks at disadvantage? Burn an action or get total cover.
 

I think one absolutely must evaluate the need for free stealth checks or otherwise make certain things hidden in some situation or nonsense ensues. Greatly reduced visibility whether it was due an invisibility spell, obstacles blocking line of sight, darkness, smoke or fog etc is certainly the sort of thing that require this sort of assessment.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
My question was asking if you're always evaluating the situation to see if you give out free hide attempts and you respond by telling me how you do checks. The question wasn't about how you might do checks (although it's interesting you don't allow for proficiency to affect those) but if you are constantly evaluating for the opportunity to give a creature a free hide attempt.

Corollary to the question: how often are you giving out free hude attempts? Often, occasionally, or rarely?

There is no such thing as a free stealth check in my game.

There are times when there is no need to hide because there is no chance of determining location or even detection. The imp that turned invisible and flew away is just gone. If a creature cannot make a stealth check but detection is uncertain they may make a dex check (no proficiency). The reason I do a dex check with no proficiency is because they are simply trying avoid obstacles but they aren't being as careful as they might with an actual stealth check.

There are a bunch of factors though, and I may give advantage/disadvantage or just set a DC. To paraphrase Barbossa, it's more of a guideline really than a concrete rule.

Not being seen because of invisibility? Fairly rare in my current campaign, the PCs just got to 9th level and no one has invisibility. Previous campaign that went to 20? It started to be more common. Not being seen because of magical darkness, fog, blindness, total cover? Fairly common. Invisible or unseen monsters can be a fun change of pace but if used too often they're just annoying. Maybe 1 in 10 or 20 encounters? Less? I don't really keep track
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
@Maxperson, I feel like you are dodging the question (Dodge action? :)).

There is a very SPECIFIC combat scenario posed by the OP:
The monk is invisible (presumably from Greater Invisibility) and hiding.
Then the monk attacks (action), giving away their location.
Then the monk moves away 100' with step of the wind (bonus action).

At this point you are saying the invisible monk is now hidden again (due to combat noise, being invisible, etc) without having to take the Hide action. Is that correct?
Unfortunately the scenarion isn't nearly very specific. If it was part of my game, I would know Ll the details. For instance, are there 6 other combatants in plate armor fighting next to the monk's target? If so, there's no way the target heard the running monk over that racket. That's the problem with these sort of scenarios.

Also, 33 yards away is a long way to hear someone breathing or running in soft shoes/barefoot like monks typically dress.
 

DM Dave1

Adventurer
Unfortunately the scenarion isn't nearly very specific. If it was part of my game, I would know Ll the details. For instance, are there 6 other combatants in plate armor fighting next to the monk's target? If so, there's no way the target heard the running monk over that racket. That's the problem with these sort of scenarios.

Also, 33 yards away is a long way to hear someone breathing or running in soft shoes/barefoot like monks typically dress.

Got it. Free Hide action sometimes at your table. Not that it really matters to me what you do at your table, just helps me understand where you are arguing from. Thanks for the clarifying reply.
 

To better understand where people are coming from, what if the space is some sort interior space, dungeon, house, labyrinth etc where there are many rooms and corridors that are part of the 'combat area'. Would creatures running around there still remain auto-locatable unless they stop to take a hide action? What if they don't even run, just teleport to some location in the area that cannot be seen?
 

DM Dave1

Adventurer
I think one absolutely must evaluate the need for free stealth checks or otherwise make certain things hidden in some situation or nonsense ensues. Greatly reduced visibility whether it was due an invisibility spell, obstacles blocking line of sight, darkness, smoke or fog etc is certainly the sort of thing that require this sort of assessment.

Of course. I wouldn't call it a "free stealth check" necessarily - but I get your meaning. In some situations, it's an auto-success on the goal of being concealed based on the environment and the PC's approach. For some reason, though, people want to toss the Hide action out with the bathwater just because a monk is invisible and there's maybe a bunch of combat noise and the monk ran some distance and is presumably still in the combat area. Without any other details of the scenario, I find that strange.
 

DM Dave1

Adventurer
To better understand where people are coming from, what if the space is some sort interior space, dungeon, house, labyrinth etc where there are many rooms and corridors that are part of the 'combat area'. Would creatures running around there still remain auto-locatable unless they stop to take a hide action? What if they don't even run, just teleport to some location in the area that cannot be seen?

We are talking about a 6 second combat round. Stuff is really happening nearly simultaneously. The creature running away to another room doesn't get the full 30' away (or whatever) before the enemy even moves an inch. Following someone in that situation and spotting them is not unreasonable unless the fleeing creature made some effort (and there was enough action economy) to be stealthy or Hide. Teleporting to a location that cannot be seen on the other hand - well, the pursuing creature needs to get really lucky to come close to finding the teleported creature before the next round, Hide action or not. After that, I suppose we'd have to resort to the Hide and Seek rules (Tasha's maybe? :))
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Got it. Free Hide action sometimes at your table. Not that it really matters to me what you do at your table, just helps me understand where you are arguing from. Thanks for the clarifying reply.
Hide is never free. At a minimum it has a cost in spell slots or whatever else is being used to get there.
 

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