Invisibility /stealth / hide with a rigid DM what can i do instead?

Coroc

Hero
I found out over the course of several game sessions that our DM is very strict if i try to hide or stay hidden with my character especially in combat scenarios.My Char: Wood elf ranger stealth prof. and mask of the wild.Lately i had a Scenario with my char being invisible (pot) and in stealth but he still ruled some mob stumble over me and allowed it to hit me although with disad.I could not use mask of the wild once yet, he strictly disallows going into hiding when there is the slightest chance any mob see me.I end up using hit and run tactics a lot (35' movement helps a lot) but tbh. had i known he is so uncomfortable with stealthy chars i might have in a char with more AC instead. What else can i do?
 

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Gardens & Goblins

First Post
FLOW CHART!

Ok, but before someone shares it:

First, have a chat with your DM about stealth. Ask them to give you examples of scenarios where your character could and could not stealth. You at least need to know where they're coming from.

To be clear, the PHB stealth rules are very much open to interpretation so its not so much as 'Someone is wrong, someone is right' but rather a matter of ensuring you and your DM share the same, for lack of a better term, 'stealth values'.

If, after understanding where your DM is coming from with regards to stealth you believe you cannot adapt or do not want to adapt your play, then you are limited to:

- make a different character that doesn't rely on stealth.

- play your character in a way that embraces your DM's 'stealth values'.

- negotiate a middle ground between you and your DM's 'stealth values'.

- find a different DM that shares your 'stealth values'.
 
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Oofta

Legend
I've been on both sides of this. The player that thought they should be able to weave his way through a crowded room without a stealth check because he was invisible (while in armor, wearing a shield and carrying a spear), to the DM that wouldn't allow stealth check if there was any possible chance of getting detected.

In my game
  • Attempting to hide usually requires an action as required by the stealth rules. I view this more as an action penalty - you're trying to be careful so you can't do everything you would normally do.
  • You have to remain reasonably obscured or the creature(s) your hiding from must be sufficiently distracted. If the guards are staring down the open hall and aren't asleep, I don't care how stealthy you are they will still see you if you enter the hallway.
  • Same as above when attacking. If you come out from behind that tree long enough to shoot and the target of your attack is looking in the general direction of the tree (or suspects an attack from behind that tree) they're going to see you.
  • Invisibility does not automatically mean you are hidden.
  • There are also many, many situations where I will either grant a free stealth check or no stealth check at all depending on the situation. If it's noisy enough, if there are enough distractions, if you are far enough away, etc. However, it's just something I make a judgement call on, but in most cases it should be fairly obvious. Flying while invisible during a thunderstorm? Normally you go undetected. I might require a free stealth check with advantage depending on how close you get to creatures. Walking down a muddy path? An action to be stealthy as you are being careful not to leave footprints.

I discuss all of this with my players in my session 0 if anyone is considering a stealthy character. Sit down, chat with your DM, get a better understanding of how he rules and why. Just don't expect anyone on this message board to tell you page number x of book y gives clear guidelines on this, they don't exist.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
This is what I tell my players in the campaign forum in every campaign. Perhaps your DM will be amenable to it. But as has been already stated, your best bet is to just ask what situations you can be stealthy according to your DM's interpretation of the rules and watch for those opportunities to come up.

I figured we might take a minute to get on the same page with regard to how stealth works in D&D 5e.

First, remember the basic conversation of the game: (1) The DM describes the environment. (2) The players describe what they want to do. (3) The DM narrates the results of the adventurers' actions. Somewhere between 2 and 3, the DM has to decide if the action described automatically succeeds, automatically fails, or has an uncertain outcome. In the latter case, the DM will call for an ability check. Players do NOT get to ask to make checks. In fact, players shouldn't want to since, remember, the d20 is NOT your friend. Given half a chance, it will kill you and everyone you have ever loved.

As an aside, in step 2, you should make your goal and your approach abundantly clear. "I do X to accomplish Y..." or some words to that effect. It shouldn't include the words "make a Z check." If your goal and approach are clear, it makes it easy for the DM to decide on an outcome. Without a clear goal and approach, the DM has to stop the game and ask you questions until what you want to do is clear. So do please try to be thorough (but concise).

Here are the basic things to remember about Stealth:

1. If the creature can see you clearly or can hear you, you're not hidden.
2. If you're hidden, you're revealed after you hit or miss with an attack.


So you can pop out from around cover and attack, gaining the benefits of hidden, at which point you're no longer hidden. You can't start as hidden, move into plain view (or make a lot of noise), and still gain the benefits of hidden since you're clearly being seen and/or heard. Ranged attacks from hidden are obviously going to be way easier to pull off than melee attacks. Please note that if you try to hide in the same spot again to gain the same benefits on your following turn, I will more than likely give the target advantage on passive Perception so plan accordingly.
 

WarpedAcorn

First Post
I found out over the course of several game sessions that our DM is very strict if i try to hide or stay hidden with my character especially in combat scenarios.My Char: Wood elf ranger stealth prof. and mask of the wild.Lately i had a Scenario with my char being invisible (pot) and in stealth but he still ruled some mob stumble over me and allowed it to hit me although with disad.I could not use mask of the wild once yet, he strictly disallows going into hiding when there is the slightest chance any mob see me.I end up using hit and run tactics a lot (35' movement helps a lot) but tbh. had i known he is so uncomfortable with stealthy chars i might have in a char with more AC instead. What else can i do?


Without knowing more details, I *probably* would agree with the DM. Mask of the Wild requires pretty specific conditions that are hard to meet (especially if the DM doesn't actually run any weather effects). Although assuming no one is casting something like Fog Cloud to help you.

Invisibility is a tough one. The question is whether the DM is consistent with his rules? If an enemy can bump into you and make an attack (with Disadvantage), if the enemy is Invisible then can you do the same? If the answer is no then you have a problem. If the answer is yes then that is the way Invisibility is being run by that DM. As for conditions for Hiding and staying hidden, I told my players that out of combat both PC's and NPC's work on more of a cone of vision (unless otherwise stated), but in combat everyone has 360degree vision. So if someone ducks behind a pillar and takes the Hide action (and roll over Passive Perception), then they are hidden. But if they duck behind a pillar, take the Hide action, then step away from the pillar, then they are no longer hidden.

In answer to your question, my suggestion would be to talk with the DM. I would ask him how he runs Stealth in his game and what you could do to have your Stealth be more successful. You mentioned that he is not comfortable with Stealth characters, so you can mention that and ask for suggestions from him, and maybe alter your character to be less reliant on Stealth if you can't reach an understanding or compromise.
 

jgsugden

Legend
In addition to G&G's great advice above, I'd work in my thoughts on the game:

D&D is an RPG, a role playing game. Characters play a role in a story. They're the heroes of the story and need to be able to do heroic things. It isn't very heroic for the stealthy character to be unable to be stealthy. Encourage him to let PCs be successful in areas where they invest in abilities.
 

Oofta

Legend
In addition to G&G's great advice above, I'd work in my thoughts on the game:

D&D is an RPG, a role playing game. Characters play a role in a story. They're the heroes of the story and need to be able to do heroic things. It isn't very heroic for the stealthy character to be unable to be stealthy. Encourage him to let PCs be successful in areas where they invest in abilities.

Well, there is normally a cost to being stealthy particularly in combat. Getting to hide most rounds is kind of the rogue's schtick, not necessarily the ranger's. Being hidden outside of combat or for the first round is one thing, hiding during combat isn't necessarily part of the ranger design.

That does bring up an option/question though. Is the DM asking that the PC spend an action to hide to attempt a stealth check? Because that's a legitimate by-the-rules way of reading the rules. Rogues get to do that as a bonus action.

So an option for the OP is to take a couple of levels of rogue to get the hide as a bonus action feature. After having a discussion with the DM to see if that's part of the issue.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
Do talk with your DM, privately first and then as a group. The agenda:
- How Stealth works. Bring a PHB so you don't get caught with differing memories of 'what the rules say'.
- How Invisible works.
- That elven cloak of chameleon skin

Mask of the Wild says it works in natural surroundings, so it is reasonable to say 'not in dungeons'. (Get a Wand of Fog Cloud if you need to cover your departure.)
 

CapnZapp

Legend
The 5E Stealth rules are FUBAR.

If you don't play with a DM that makes up his own rulings the only option is to forget about stealthy abilities. In short: play a Barbarian instead of a Rogue.
 

Shiroiken

Legend
I've played in a game with a DM that hated rogues before, so I understand (I know you're not a rogue). Basically his version of "realism" said that unless the rules explicitly stated that you could hide or get sneak attack, you couldn't. While this was 3E, I strongly suspect that guy still runs it this way in 5E. You can't really get around it, because the DM has already decided.

Other than talking to him about it, the best solution I can think of is to ask "is there anywhere I can hide?" before actually attempting it. This will at least keep you from wasting your turn, even if you can't actually use your skill.
 
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