D&D (2024) Playtest 6: Stealth Rules

Li Shenron

  • Technically see invisibility now detects all hiding creatures (barring any changes to the spell).

Yeah, I really laughed when I read "invisible" under hiding. It's just going to spread doom to other parts of the game. But I am quite sure it won't survive the playtest.

I mean, of course you have. The same thing that makes them good rules for use at the table also makes them prime material for internet arguments: they’re very open to interpretation.

I completely agree. Hiding is so situational, that only a fool believes there can be rigid rules to handle it well in all cases, unless the game changes to something a lot more abstract.

This is a case where you must either write an essay on how stealth works (like Gary Gygax did with initiative) to help players navigate multiple edge cases, or throw your hand in the air and ask the players to use common sense.

The good thing is, that players have a lot of common sense when they are sitting at the gaming table in front of a human DM. They only seem to lack common sense when they're online with strangers.

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Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
Finding a concealed creature is specifically called out as a Search action, which is... an Action.
Search is an action a creature can take in combat to find a concealed creature (among other things), but it isn't the only way to find a concealed creature. The Hide action itself only calls out that a creature can find you with a Wisdom (Perception) check.

As to passive scores, I think we need more text.
Here's the full text on passive checks, excluding the stuff about how to calculate passive scores, bold text added by me:
A passive check is a special kind of ability check that doesn't involve any die rolls. Such a check can represent the average result for a task done repeatedly, such as searching for secret doors over and over again, or can be used when the DM wants to secretly determine whether the characters succeed at something without rolling dice, such as noticing a hidden monster.​
So when the playtest document says, "your check’s total... becomes the DC for a creature to find you with a Wisdom (Perception) check", the Perception check in question can most certainly be made passively.


I just keep it simple: Have the stealth person roll the Stealth check. If their score beats passive perceptions scores, all's good......................................so far.

But then there maybe situations where a search IS happening. That's when rolls come in.


Do they? That's one of the things that's not clear at all. There's no indication of how an enemy finds you. Is it an action? Free? Based on passive or active checks? The most straightforward reading for me is they the enemy actually has to take an action: "which becomes the DC for a creature to find you with a Wisdom (Perception) check."

So that ancient red dragon with a +16 perception now has to use their entire action (or legendary action, since it's an option) to find someone they don't know is there? Blech.
Oh no, the Playtest has an Action type for that: It's called the Search Action.

Stealth should be:
You need to beat the DC of 15 or passive Perception scores of anyone that can see you if it's higher.
Why invest in Perception if the DC will always be 15?

Floor of 15 is good addition to not be constantly invisible to a bunch of wis 6-8 monsters and their pathetic passive DCs.
Invest in Perception to find hidden creatures.


I think that I have decided that (to me, at least) the Stealth Rules do not need to be changed from the extant 2014 version: They need to be compiled in one place; worded more explicitly; and otherwise left alone.
I'd even go so far as to say the game probably doesn't even need to do that. Because at the end of the day... when a DM picks up their copy of the PHB, they either are going to spend the 10 minutes flipping back and forth in the book reading the various applicable bits about skill checks and cover and concealment and line of sight and invisibility etc. etc. and then cobbling together what they think the process is meant to be... or they won't bother and they'll just run stealth however they want. And in both cases... every single DM will find the rules or lack of rules wanting in some form and fashion-- each one with something completely different than any other DM-- and they will eventually jerry-rig their own set of rules for how they think Stealth checks and hiding should go. And this would be true even if WotC DID put all the rules together in one place in the PHB-- plenty of DMs would still find them lacking and just create new ones for themselves anyway.

That's what I think the real issue is... this idea that if we and WotC could just find that one magical "set of instructions" on how it should work that every single DM would get on board and we'd all use the same system happily. And I just don't think that's true. So it doesn't really matter and we shouldn't break our brains trying to figure it out. Heh heh... I bet WotC could just actually write in the book "Stealth Rules: Do whatever the heck you want, we don't care."... and that would be embraced by the community just as much as any attempt at creating a unified set of rules. ;)

Your players do realize that almost everything in D&D is improvised, right? ;)
I was talking about here on Enworld, and elsewhere on the interwebs.

While not necessarily representative of the true whole of the DND audience, the online community is a very vocal minority and they, on the whole, do not take kindly to "Lol just make it up" game design.

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