Not your average HIDE questions

dpkress2

Villager
I have a pretty good grasp on how the hide action works in combat so I don't want to get into a big debate on it, but I do need a couple clarifications:

1.) On their turn if a creature takes the hide action to make a stealth check, when does the passive perception of other creatures kick in? If a creature's passive perception beats the stealth roll does the stealth immediately fail? Or does the passive perception not kick in until the passively perceiving creatures turn?

2.) If your stealth roll beats everyone's passive perception and subsequently beats everyone's active attempts to perceive you (using an action to make a perception roll) how long do you stay hidden? My guess would be you stay hidden indefinitely, and do not have to keep taking the hide action round after round until you reveal yourself OR another creature uses an action to make a successful perception roll.

3.) If a creature is invisible (or in darkness, or heavily obscured) AND hidden. Does a standard perception check (passive or active) fall into the "anything that relies on sight fails automatically" rule? Or can creatures rely on hearing and smell to use their perception in an otherwise normal fashion. I might say a human (elf, dwarf, whatever) could roll normally using hearing but NOT smell because humans aren't not known for their acute sense of smell. For example if a human had the deafened condition in this same situation, the perception check would automatically fail.

Follow up to that: Keen hearing or smell: If a creature is invisible (or in darkness, or heavily obscured) AND hidden. Does a creature with keen hearing or smell still get advantage on their perception checks?
 

Hriston

Explorer
1. A creature's passive Perception is effective immediately in combat barring the DM ruling that it's distracted.

2. You stay hidden until you are noticed or you stop hiding.

3. No. Not being seen clearly is a precondition for hiding, so pretty much all Perception checks to notice a hiding creature rely on other senses.

Follow up: Yes.
 

dpkress2

Villager
Thanks for the answers! I'd still like to see a couple more answers to number 1.
Still seems fishy. How about this?

If there is creature with a passive perception that beats the stealth roll and passive perception kicks in IMMEDIATELY that effectively makes the stealth check fail automatically, but ONLY to the passively perceiving creature. Can the passively perceiving creature IMMEADIATELY point out to everyone where the creature attempting to hide is? Or do they have to wait until their turn?

And to clarify your answer on question 3. If a creature has the blinded AND deafened conditions. They can still make a perception check per the normal rules to spot a hidden creature relying on smell alone?

And I guess here is question 4:
When a creature successfully perceives a hidden creature, they know EXACLTY what square they are in, correct? Even if they are invisible, in darkness, or heavily obscured?
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
1.) On their turn if a creature takes the hide action to make a stealth check, when does the passive perception of other creatures kick in? If a creature's passive perception beats the stealth roll does the stealth immediately fail? Or does the passive perception not kick in until the passively perceiving creatures turn?
I really just wanted to say something about this specific point-- I'd recommend you not think of it as stealth "failing". If you take the Hide action, you *are* stealthed. Regardless of what number your check ended up being. Rather... the number just tells you how well you are stealthed and hidden.

It is an important distinction, because whether you are noticed/seen by other people has nothing to do with you. You can be noticed by some people, and not noticed by others. If an enemy has a high passive perception, that specific person might know where you are... but another one with a low passive might not. You could almost think of it as being "hidden" and "not hidden" at the same time-- which is why I say don't fall into the trap of thinking it as a pass/fail idea. Your PC doesn't pass or fail when they take the Hide action, its the people trying to find your PC that pass or fail. They either notice you or they don't.

What this means though... is that while you are hidden, if you choose to make an attack the next time your action comes up, you can possibly get advantage if you choose the right target, or NOT get advantage if you choose a wrong one. Choose a target whose passive perception is lower than your DEX (Stealth) check? Congrats! You get advantage! Choose the one whose PP is higher (and thus they know where you are?) Sorry, no advantage. Thus it behooves you after your PC has made their DEX (Stealth) check to keep a good eye out for how the enemies react on their turns. Because what the DM has them do will give you a better shot at recognizing which enemies did notice your PC and which ones didn't, thus making your target selection better for getting advantage.
 

dpkress2

Villager
Yes, I understand that. And this is a very good point...

What this means though... is that while you are hidden, if you choose to make an attack the next time your action comes up, you can possibly get advantage if you choose the right target, or NOT get advantage if you choose a wrong one. Choose a target whose passive perception is lower than your DEX (Stealth) check? Congrats! You get advantage! Choose the one whose PP is higher (and thus they know where you are?) Sorry, no advantage. Thus it behooves you after your PC has made their DEX (Stealth) check to keep a good eye out for how the enemies react on their turns. Because what the DM has them do will give you a better shot at recognizing which enemies did notice your PC and which ones didn't, thus making your target selection better for getting advantage.
I might be in the best in the best interest for an enemy to not reveal that they notice the hidden creature to "Fake them out" I guess.

At which point can the noticing creature warn their allies or point out the hidden creature? Immediately? Or on their turn?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Thanks for the answers! I'd still like to see a couple more answers to number 1.
Still seems fishy. How about this?

If there is creature with a passive perception that beats the stealth roll and passive perception kicks in IMMEDIATELY that effectively makes the stealth check fail automatically, but ONLY to the passively perceiving creature. Can the passively perceiving creature IMMEADIATELY point out to everyone where the creature attempting to hide is? Or do they have to wait until their turn?
Technically, the creature can only communicate on its turn (PHB, p. 190), so it cannot point out the hidden PC. But I've honestly never seen that enforced in practice. That said, even if the hidden PC is pointed out, he or she is still hidden as long as the requirements for hidden are met - not clearly seen and not heard.

And to clarify your answer on question 3. If a creature has the blinded AND deafened conditions. They can still make a perception check per the normal rules to spot a hidden creature relying on smell alone?
The rules are unclear here. Being hidden only requires not being clearly seen or heard. The issue of smell is not discussed. The Search action in combat, however, leaves open the possibility of finding the hidden PC "depending on the nature of your search." The DM would need to make a ruling here. If the PC stinks or the monster doing the smelling has a good sense of smell, I would say it's fine in general.

And I guess here is question 4:
When a creature successfully perceives a hidden creature, they know EXACLTY what square they are in, correct? Even if they are invisible, in darkness, or heavily obscured?
Yep.
 
1.) On their turn if a creature takes the hide action to make a stealth check, when does the passive perception of other creatures kick in? If a creature's passive perception beats the stealth roll does the stealth immediately fail? Or does the passive perception not kick in until the passively perceiving creatures turn?
If you roll a 12 and enemy A has 11 passive perception and enemy B has 13 passive perception, then you are hidden from A but not from B.
You won't become hidden for B at all.

2.) If your stealth roll beats everyone's passive perception and subsequently beats everyone's active attempts to perceive you (using an action to make a perception roll) how long do you stay hidden? My guess would be you stay hidden indefinitely, and do not have to keep taking the hide action round after round until you reveal yourself OR another creature uses an action to make a successful perception roll.
Don't make the mistake to think that "hidden" is some kind of status change you get when you beat ALL passive perceptions. It's a "per enemy" check. See my example above.

Taking that example, you are hidden from A until:
- You come out of hiding and approach the target
- You are seen clearly
- You make noise
- You attacked and hit or missed a target
- The DM determined that whatever you just did revealed your current position

There's no time limit, but you are only hidden in the context you made the roll for.

For example a guard comes down the hallway and you try hide from him and roll a 25. You aren't spotted. But that doesn't mean you can now walk through the whole dungeon as much as you want without a risk of being spotted unless something has a passive perception of 26 or higher. Typically you would be asked to roll again if stealth is required in a new situation.

3.) If a creature is invisible (or in darkness, or heavily obscured) AND hidden. Does a standard perception check (passive or active) fall into the "anything that relies on sight fails automatically" rule? Or can creatures rely on hearing and smell to use their perception in an otherwise normal fashion. I might say a human (elf, dwarf, whatever) could roll normally using hearing but NOT smell because humans aren't not known for their acute sense of smell. For example if a human had the deafened condition in this same situation, the perception check would automatically fail.
Well, the difference between being unseen and hidden is mainly that being hidden means the DM doesn't tell you the exact position where the hidden person is standing. Hiding successfully also means that you are unheard (moving silently and generally not making any noise that would reveal your position).

However, this is often something that the DM simply determines. Someone uses his sense of smell to determine where the enemy is? I might tell him "You can tell he must be somewhere around there.", then the attacker still needs to guess the position, but the chance to guess the right spot might be much higher or even 100% (e.g. if there's only one reasonable to spot to hide at in that area).

If someone actively tries to spot a target by seeing or hearing, that would consume an action and I'd ask for an active perception roll. If result is higher than passive perception, this applies.

Follow up to that: Keen hearing or smell: If a creature is invisible (or in darkness, or heavily obscured) AND hidden. Does a creature with keen hearing or smell still get advantage on their perception checks?
Say a person has 11 passive perception and keen hearing or smell. You try hiding:
0-11 - Nothing changes.
17+ - Hidden from the person (not seen and not heard).
12-16 - Sight check failed but person could still hear or smell the target. You aren't really hidden if you are still heard.

Usually the trick here is to see the +5 bonus to only apply to some parts of the perception check. And then you can check what the specific rule says. Does it only talk about seeing or about perceiving or about seeing and hearing, etc.
 

dpkress2

Villager
Technically, the creature can only communicate on its turn (PHB, p. 190), so it cannot point out the hidden PC. But I've honestly never seen that enforced in practice. That said, even if the hidden PC is pointed out, he or she is still hidden as long as the requirements for hidden are met - not clearly seen and not heard.
Does this mean a creature pointing out a hidden character is mechanically meaningless? Perhaps if the creature is pointed out, other creatures who did not initially perceive the hidden character could get advantage on their perception check.

The rules are unclear here. Being hidden only requires not being clearly seen or heard. The issue of smell is not discussed. The Search action in combat, however, leaves open the possibility of finding the hidden PC "depending on the nature of your search." The DM would need to make a ruling here. If the PC stinks or the monster doing the smelling has a good sense of smell, I would say it's fine in general.
I figured as much about this one. I would probably rule that a human, elf, dwarf, would fail automatically (maybe get disadvantage) but a animal would not.
 
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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Does this mean a creature pointing out a hidden character is mechanically meaningless? Perhaps if the creature is pointed out, other creatures who did not initially perceive the hidden creature could get advantage on their perception check.
Pointing out the hidden creature's might be useful, such as for targeting an AOE spell. As far as imparting advantage on someone else's Search action, it depends on the circumstances, but that sounds like a Help action to me (keyword being "action").
 
If there is creature with a passive perception that beats the stealth roll and passive perception kicks in IMMEDIATELY that effectively makes the stealth check fail automatically, but ONLY to the passively perceiving creature. Can the passively perceiving creature IMMEADIATELY point out to everyone where the creature attempting to hide is? Or do they have to wait until their turn?
You can tell your allies immediately where the enemy is (Edit: Okay Iserith is correct, you can only communicate on your turn by the rules.), but the enemy will still be hidden from them (unseen and unheard).

It's not too relevant in actual play as you cannot react to what's been said until it's your turn. And on your turn you can usually simply walk around some obstacle to see the enemy clearly and auto-end hiding.

As for controlling monsters - I think usually it's more reasonable for them to attack the threat in front of them rather than bothering with finding that one guy hiding around.

And to clarify your answer on question 3. If a creature has the blinded AND deafened conditions. They can still make a perception check per the normal rules to spot a hidden creature relying on smell alone?
No. Definitely not. If you cannot hear and cannot see, everybody is hidden from you. You can still guess a location based on smell, though.

And I guess here is question 4:
When a creature successfully perceives a hidden creature, they know EXACLTY what square they are in, correct? Even if they are invisible, in darkness, or heavily obscured?
Yeah, if your perception beats their stealth, then you know the exact location of the enemy.
 
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Does this mean a creature pointing out a hidden character is mechanically meaningless? Perhaps if the creature is pointed out, other creatures who did not initially perceive the hidden creature could get advantage on their perception check.
The only use of that is that it's easier to guess the correct position. (As if you guess the wrong position the attack automatically misses.)

And as iserith said, it helps with AoE placement.
 

dpkress2

Villager
No. Definitely not. If you cannot hear and cannot see, everybody is hidden from you. You can still guess a location based on smell, though.
.
An exception to this rule would be creatures with keen smell? If they make their perception roll (with advantage) they know exactly where the hidden creature is? I would rule yes, but would that be a house rule?

Not just any animal though. Any animal that has acute smell in real life is accounted for in D&D mechanics by giving them the keen smell trait.
 
I try my chances too...

1.) On their turn if a creature takes the hide action to make a stealth check, when does the passive perception of other creatures kick in? If a creature's passive perception beats the stealth roll does the stealth immediately fail? Or does the passive perception not kick in until the passively perceiving creatures turn?
I think the Hide action tells that the others roll a Wisdom(Perception) check, so Passive Perception isn't used in combat by default. That's because Passive Perception is said by the RAW to be used (a) to represent average results for tasks done repeatedly, and (b) when the DM just doesn't want to roll dice.

But then of course the DM can always choose option (b), and you can also argue that "keeping an eye on anyone trying to hide" in combat qualifies as a task done repeatedly.

The truth is, in terms of probabilities it hardly matters whether you use passive checks or rolled checks in a contest i.e. opposed rolls (assuming at least one side is rolling), unless you specifically have some bonus/penalty which applies to one but not the other.

There are however practical consequences to using different approaches, particularly when you have multiple enemies... are you going to roll each of them separately so that probably some will fail and some will succeed? This will likely create a mess where the DM has to keep track of who is aware of who in combat, not to mention that the DM has also to decide whether those who are hiding are themselves aware of who they have successfully hidden from... I believe that using Passive Perception can help against that, but maybe group checks can be even better.

As for when does it apply, I'd say when it matters. Hiding always grants defensive benefits, and sometimes it is also used to gain an offensive benefit later, but because of the former I would rule that you are immediately hidden.

2.) If your stealth roll beats everyone's passive perception and subsequently beats everyone's active attempts to perceive you (using an action to make a perception roll) how long do you stay hidden? My guess would be you stay hidden indefinitely, and do not have to keep taking the hide action round after round until you reveal yourself OR another creature uses an action to make a successful perception roll.
I agree, you don't need to take multiple Hide actions to stay hidden.

3.) If a creature is invisible (or in darkness, or heavily obscured) AND hidden. Does a standard perception check (passive or active) fall into the "anything that relies on sight fails automatically" rule? Or can creatures rely on hearing and smell to use their perception in an otherwise normal fashion. I might say a human (elf, dwarf, whatever) could roll normally using hearing but NOT smell because humans aren't not known for their acute sense of smell. For example if a human had the deafened condition in this same situation, the perception check would automatically fail.
Yes, it is the most reasonable ruling. Just because humans have a sense of smell doesn't mean they can pinpoint the source of a scent in the same way that they can pinpoint by sight and hearing. Use only sight and hearing to adjudicate, unless the creature has some explicit additional sense capabilities.

As a general rule, if you have at least one reliable sense for pinpointing the location of others, you are granted one Perception check against Stealth.

Follow up to that: Keen hearing or smell: If a creature is invisible (or in darkness, or heavily obscured) AND hidden. Does a creature with keen hearing or smell still get advantage on their perception checks?
Hidden is assumed to mean unseen + unheard normally. So in order to hide you are also trying to suppress the noise you make. Keen Hearing does give advantage to someone against you, exactly because hearing matters.

Similarly, Keen Smell grants advantage to Perception thanks to the fact that you are using an extra sense in addition to sight and hearing (generally speaking, I think Keen Smell is on the weak side... I think even non-magical creatures such as a hound dog can almost invariably find someone by smell, so even granting a Stealth check in the first place is maybe too generous, but this is beyond the point).
 
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An exception to this rule would be creatures with keen smell? If they make their perception roll (with advantage) they know exactly where the hidden creature is? I would rule yes, but would that be a house rule?

Not just any animal though. Any animal that has acute smell in real life is accounted for in D&D mechanics by giving them the keen smell trait.
By RAW smell has nothing to do with hiding.

I wouldn't place a general house rule for this but rather determine it by situation. As said earlier, I might tell my player the rough or even exact location of the enemy if it's reasonable in the situation to determine it by smelling.

For monsters, I might just decide they guess the location correctly because of their keen smell trait. But again it's very situational, that's why the DM is supposed to determine it. The DM has full control over what the monsters do anyway, so there wouldn't even be a roll involved

Though I do sometimes roll for fun if I'm undecided on a monster action. For example there are three trees and a PC hides behind one of them. There is a monster that wants to find the PC and needs to figure out which tree to approach, so it uses its smell. I roll 1d3 to determine the tree it is going for. If it has keen smell, I might think, okay if it's the wrong tree I roll 1d3 again. I don't make any concrete house rule for this, I just decide this on the fly.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
An exception to this rule would be creatures with keen smell? If they make their perception roll (with advantage) they know exactly where the hidden creature is? I would rule yes, but would that be a house rule?

Not just any animal though. Any animal that has acute smell in real life is accounted for in D&D mechanics by giving them the keen smell trait.
Don't think of it as a "House rule"... think of it merely as the DM interpreting the rules from a lack of specific information.

But yes... animals that have Keen Smell can be ones that the DM interprets as ones that could be blinded and deafened and yet still make perception checks to try and find the hidden enemy. But of course bear in mind that it doesn't really make much difference... because any PC that attacks a Blinded individual still gets advantage on their attack just like they would have gotten advantage if they had been hidden from a non-blinded target. So its six on one hand, half a dozen on the other.

And if by some chance the DM and players ever come upon some weird situation where both/neither apply or some senses are on and some are off or whatever... it all comes down to the DM making a call in that one specific situation that just seems to make sense. Should the enemy be able to know where you are based upon what they can do and how well you made a DEX (Stealth) check? If so, then you won't get advantage on your next attack... if they don't, then you will.

It's only one attack with advantage... its nothing to get way too hung up on, seeing as how there are literally dozens of other ways to get advantage on attacks in the game. Stealth is no more important than any of the other ways, so no one should get their undies in a bunch over it. :)
 
I think the Hide action tells that the others roll a Wisdom(Perception) check, so Passive Perception isn't used in combat by default. That's because Passive Perception is said by the RAW to be used (a) to represent average results for tasks done repeatedly, and (b) when the DM just doesn't want to roll dice.

But then of course the DM can always choose option (b), and you can also argue that "keeping an eye on anyone trying to hide" in combat qualifies as a task done repeatedly.
Actually the Hiding and Surprise rules pretty concretely refer to passive perception. It's an exception to the common rule.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Similarly, Keen Smell grants advantage to Perception thanks to the fact that you are using an extra sense in addition to sight and hearing (generally speaking, I think Keen Smell is on the weak side... I think even non-magical creatures such as a hound dog can almost invariably find someone by smell, so even granting a Stealth check in the first place is maybe too generous, but this is beyond the point).
Heh... yeah, especially when you add in the fact that really the only time its ever going to come up "in-game" is probably out of combat when the PC is running away from the guy with the hound dog. At that point the narrative will usually take over for the DM and they'll just make rulings as part of some sort of "chase scene" where the PC is trying to run away while also not getting hounded (pun intended) by the guy and his dog. Stealth checks and Keen Smell will all get mushed together into some sort of skill check melange as the DM tries to make the scene interesting and compelling. And anyone who demands "ONLY USE RULED AS WRITTEN!!!" is going to be sorely disappointed. ;)
 

Hriston

Explorer
Thanks for the answers!
You're welcome!

I'd still like to see a couple more answers to number 1.
Still seems fishy. How about this?

If there is creature with a passive perception that beats the stealth roll and passive perception kicks in IMMEDIATELY that effectively makes the stealth check fail automatically, but ONLY to the passively perceiving creature. Can the passively perceiving creature IMMEADIATELY point out to everyone where the creature attempting to hide is? Or do they have to wait until their turn?
I'd say they have to wait until their turn to communicate with the rest of their party.

And to clarify your answer on question 3. If a creature has the blinded AND deafened conditions. They can still make a perception check per the normal rules to spot a hidden creature relying on smell alone?
It depends if the hidden creature has an odor strong enough to be smelled from the distance at which the perceiving creature is. It's a DM's call, but I'd generally only allow detection by scent at a range of 5 feet.

And I guess here is question 4:
When a creature successfully perceives a hidden creature, they know EXACLTY what square they are in, correct? Even if they are invisible, in darkness, or heavily obscured?
Yes.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Running stealth is going to vary a lot, the following are just my observations on how I run it.

I have a pretty good grasp on how the hide action works in combat so I don't want to get into a big debate on it, but I do need a couple clarifications:

1.) On their turn if a creature takes the hide action to make a stealth check, when does the passive perception of other creatures kick in? If a creature's passive perception beats the stealth roll does the stealth immediately fail? Or does the passive perception not kick in until the passively perceiving creatures turn?
If I think someone can be hidden from a creature, the passive perception kicks in immediately. It may make a difference if the PC attacks.

2.) If your stealth roll beats everyone's passive perception and subsequently beats everyone's active attempts to perceive you (using an action to make a perception roll) how long do you stay hidden? My guess would be you stay hidden indefinitely, and do not have to keep taking the hide action round after round until you reveal yourself OR another creature uses an action to make a successful perception roll.
I think this is situational. If a PC is moving around or potentially doing things to be noticed, I have them roll (I may give advantage/disadvantage as appropriate). But there are just too many variables to come up with a hard and fast rule. Does the monster move? Is there a new light source? Is there a sudden gust of wind which may break up the fog giving the PC cover? Does someone yell out "he's over there!"

3.) If a creature is invisible (or in darkness, or heavily obscured) AND hidden. Does a standard perception check (passive or active) fall into the "anything that relies on sight fails automatically" rule? Or can creatures rely on hearing and smell to use their perception in an otherwise normal fashion. I might say a human (elf, dwarf, whatever) could roll normally using hearing but NOT smell because humans aren't not known for their acute sense of smell. For example if a human had the deafened condition in this same situation, the perception check would automatically fail.
There has to be some reasonable way to detect a creature. To me, that general rule applies whether or not a stealth check has been made. Someone that is blind and deaf may not have any possibility of knowing someone is ten feet away even if the creature is a one man band.

There may be other environmental variables at play though such as sensing heat, a particularly powerful stench or something else like something suddenly blocking the wind. Stepping in a puddle for example may give away your position.

Follow up to that: Keen hearing or smell: If a creature is invisible (or in darkness, or heavily obscured) AND hidden. Does a creature with keen hearing or smell still get advantage on their perception checks?
I adjust based on the situation, but in general disadvantage cancels out advantage (and vice versa). So in most cases the check would just be normal. However ... is this in a busy market square where there are food vendors next to someone selling strong smelling herbs? Or is it in a clean and empty room.

I think the game runs better when you simply accept that you have to make rulings on the fly. As long as the DM is basing it on the situation at hand and not simply because they want something to happen, it's my preference. D&D is not a glorified board game, things can and should be adjusted on the fly now and then.
 
Can the passively perceiving creature IMMEADIATELY point out to everyone where the creature attempting to hide is? Or do they have to wait until their turn?
I try to enforce the second option, but players often follow the "talking is a free action" idea to an extreme, having big long conversations at any and every point in combat (and then complaining about how little XP they get per session after one combat takes 3 hours, but that's a rant for another day :).

The perceptive character knows where the hiding foe is right now, so they can certainly use a Reaction (if they have one) right now against the foe.

And I guess here is question 4:
When a creature successfully perceives a hidden creature, they know EXACLTY what square they are in, correct? Even if they are invisible, in darkness, or heavily obscured?
Yes. If a foe is not hidden then you know where they are. If playing on a grid, you know what square they are in. I indicate unseen foes on the map with small glass or plastic counters.

This is pretty much the definition of "hidden" - you know they are there, somewhere, but you can't pinpoint their exact position.

As an additional note, you don't always have to roll a check. Depending on the circumstances, the GM can decide "no" or "yes" instead of asking for a roll. The roll is only for when success or failure is uncertain.

E.g. If a stealthy, invisible foe is walking on a floor covered by flour or dust then they are noticed - there is no way to prevent their footsteps being seen by everyone.

E.g. If a stealthy, invisible foe is flying in an area with a lot of background noise then they are hidden - there is no way for observers to perceive them.
 
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