D&D 5E Rogue's Cunning Action to Hide: In Combat??

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I'm a little stumped by the thinking that goes, "sure, you can hide in combat, but you cannot attack without being noticed first, so it doesn't help for that." This really seems to me to be someone that doesn't want to allow hiding because they feel it provides an unfair advantage. They can't see how to limit the hide action because the rules seem pretty clear you can, but can see a way to move downstream a bit and dam up any actual use of the action by making a ruling on when you're seen that prevents the issue they wanted to stop to begin with. It seems a method of rules interaction that starts with, "how I want it to be," and looks through the rules to make it that way rather than engaging with the rules and seeing how it might be if you used them.

I mean, I'm open to someone's explanation of how it makes perfect sense a PC can hide behind that pillar, but attacking is just right out because of the radar focus of attention that the enemies automatically have because they're generally alert in combat.
 

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Oofta

Legend
I'm a little stumped by the thinking that goes, "sure, you can hide in combat, but you cannot attack without being noticed first, so it doesn't help for that." This really seems to me to be someone that doesn't want to allow hiding because they feel it provides an unfair advantage. They can't see how to limit the hide action because the rules seem pretty clear you can, but can see a way to move downstream a bit and dam up any actual use of the action by making a ruling on when you're seen that prevents the issue they wanted to stop to begin with. It seems a method of rules interaction that starts with, "how I want it to be," and looks through the rules to make it that way rather than engaging with the rules and seeing how it might be if you used them.

I mean, I'm open to someone's explanation of how it makes perfect sense a PC can hide behind that pillar, but attacking is just right out because of the radar focus of attention that the enemies automatically have because they're generally alert in combat.

Couple of things. Given that there are exceptions so that I don't have to repeatedly state "in most cases" or "unless ___".

Someone that is hidden can't be directly targeted, so that is an advantage. It doesn't mean the monster that saw them duck behind the pillar ceases to remember that they exist. It also doesn't mean they can always attack from where they are - after all the pillar is literally between them and their target.

So the rogue is going to have to move - even if it's just stand up or "lean out" to get line of effect. At that point it's up to the DM to decide if the target is distracted enough to not notice. Lines of sight are usually two-way.

Let's flip this around. Say you're a PC and a monster keeps temporarily opening a portal, doing a ranged attack and then the portal closes.. For whatever reason you can't get to the portal or prevent it from opening. When the portal is closed, the monster is hidden because you have no way of knowing what they're doing back there.

Would you expect the monster to get advantage every round they open the portal? I'd assume no. But take it even a step further ... you should be able to ready an action. Something like "when the portal opens and I see the monster I shoot it with an arrow". Sound okay? So as a PC you get to attack before the monster. You reacted to the monster because you knew it would appear from that same portal.

To me, advantage just means that the target of the attack never had that moment to react to the attack (although it's obviously not a "reaction" in game terms). But if the target of the rogue knows where the rogue is going to pop out from, it's already ready for an attack from that location.

Ultimately though, it's just a DM's call. In my games if the target never previously knew the rogue was behind the pillar, it will likely qualify for advantage. Just not attacking from the same location.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I'm a little stumped by the thinking that goes, "sure, you can hide in combat, but you cannot attack without being noticed first, so it doesn't help for that." This really seems to me to be someone that doesn't want to allow hiding because they feel it provides an unfair advantage. They can't see how to limit the hide action because the rules seem pretty clear you can, but can see a way to move downstream a bit and dam up any actual use of the action by making a ruling on when you're seen that prevents the issue they wanted to stop to begin with. It seems a method of rules interaction that starts with, "how I want it to be," and looks through the rules to make it that way rather than engaging with the rules and seeing how it might be if you used them.

I agree, I think it comes from wanting things to be simpler, but it might also come from wanting to limit a player trying to (ab)use the system in a very mechanical way to gain advantage and sneak attack every round. Experienced DMs know that there are better ways of doing this and making the game more exciting by requiring players to think and project themselves in the game, but it's a least a way to counter that.

I mean, I'm open to someone's explanation of how it makes perfect sense a PC can hide behind that pillar, but attacking is just right out because of the radar focus of attention that the enemies automatically have because they're generally alert in combat.

We are not talking snipers attacking from a mile away here. Getting in position to fire a "medieval" weapon or to throw a dagger usually requires coming quite a bit out of hiding and making sudden movement, something that the eye is well trained to notice especially in life-threatening situations.
 

turnip_farmer

Adventurer
I don't think it's that complicated a situation to rule on. I drew some beautiful art to illustrate.

1629222479902.png


In scenario 1, on the left, Dave the rogue is hidden. He pops out from hiding and shoots the big scary monster, getting his sneak attack damage. Then he pops back behind to pillar and uses his cunning action to hide. But I'd say the monster knows he's there now - he's not getting sneak attack next round.

But, generally, there's more than one pillar. There's all sorts of crap around. In option 2, on the right, Dave pops out from behind that bush or whatever the hell I drew, shoots the big scary monster and gets his sneak attack damage. Then, he moves, ducking behind some other cover, and goes back into hiding. If he rolls well enough for stealth, the monster doesn't know where he went and he can do it again next time.
 

Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
The general purpose for hiding is to conceal your location. Not to gain advantage or escape targeting on sight, mainly because in order to even try to hide, you must be unseen wether invisible, heavily obscured etc as such you already have advantage and can't be targeted by spells and effects that require to see you. The only other benefits apart from being unheard, is enemies having to guess your location.

Exception exist for Halfling, Elf and Skulker etc who can try to hide when still visible and therefore become unseen as well.

But a DM shouldn't rule against general stealth hide in combat because of specific exceptions facilitating it IMO.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
A friend of 30 years acts in an uncharacteristically brusque manner? Sounds like more of a reason to be considerate, rather than less.
Regardless of the specific circumstances, this is a point worth keeping in mind as I go forward.

And this is obviously not true, because (as a simple example), it is contradicted by "You can't hide from a creature that can see you clearly" and "A monster with truesight can, out to a specific range, see in normal and magical darkness, see invisible creatures and objects" so an invisible creature cannot try to hide from a creature with truesight if there are no obstacles.
Aren't these just cases of "Specific trumps general"?

"The DM decides" seems like the (most) general rule to me, which is then trumped by specifics like "invisible creatures can always try to hide," and then that is trumped by "unless the enemy has truesight."
 
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Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
In scenario 1, on the left, Dave the rogue is hidden. He pops out from hiding and shoots the big scary monster, getting his sneak attack damage. Then he pops back behind to pillar and uses his cunning action to hide. But I'd say the monster knows he's there now - he's not getting sneak attack next round.
If Dave can try to hide behind the pillar, it can't be seen and therefore he has advantage and can use Sneak Attack wether he hides or not.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Couple of things. Given that there are exceptions so that I don't have to repeatedly state "in most cases" or "unless ___".

Someone that is hidden can't be directly targeted, so that is an advantage. It doesn't mean the monster that saw them duck behind the pillar ceases to remember that they exist. It also doesn't mean they can always attack from where they are - after all the pillar is literally between them and their target.

So the rogue is going to have to move - even if it's just stand up or "lean out" to get line of effect. At that point it's up to the DM to decide if the target is distracted enough to not notice. Lines of sight are usually two-way.

Let's flip this around. Say you're a PC and a monster keeps temporarily opening a portal, doing a ranged attack and then the portal closes.. For whatever reason you can't get to the portal or prevent it from opening. When the portal is closed, the monster is hidden because you have no way of knowing what they're doing back there.

Would you expect the monster to get advantage every round they open the portal? I'd assume no. But take it even a step further ... you should be able to ready an action. Something like "when the portal opens and I see the monster I shoot it with an arrow". Sound okay? So as a PC you get to attack before the monster. You reacted to the monster because you knew it would appear from that same portal.

To me, advantage just means that the target of the attack never had that moment to react to the attack (although it's obviously not a "reaction" in game terms). But if the target of the rogue knows where the rogue is going to pop out from, it's already ready for an attack from that location.

Ultimately though, it's just a DM's call. In my games if the target never previously knew the rogue was behind the pillar, it will likely qualify for advantage. Just not attacking from the same location.
Yes, I would, as a player, be fine with that. Because I can do it as well. Goblins do this all the time -- hide as a bonus action and attack with advantage. It's baked into their CR. No problems with the concept.

The idea that you're just sitting there watching a PC popping up like a groundhog, going, "now.... now.....now..........now" is ridiculous. You're fighting for your life against someone with something sharp or heavy or both, and you know the PC is over there, but you aren't lasered in. This is one of those rulings that goes along with picturing something first and then finding the rules don't support that, so you fix the rules, rather than looking at what the rules say and then picturing it. I can easily see a situation where a crafty rogue is firing from cover and it's hard to guess from where -- hell, this was something I did quite often back in the 90's when laser tag (Qzar) was a thing.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
The idea that you're just sitting there watching a PC popping up like a groundhog, going, "now.... now.....now..........now" is ridiculous. You're fighting for your life against someone with something sharp or heavy or both, and you know the PC is over there, but you aren't lasered in. This is one of those rulings that goes along with picturing something first and then finding the rules don't support that, so you fix the rules, rather than looking at what the rules say and then picturing it. I can easily see a situation where a crafty rogue is firing from cover and it's hard to guess from where -- hell, this was something I did quite often back in the 90's when laser tag (Qzar) was a thing.
Exactly. To those who say you shouldn't be able to hide and shoot multiple times from the same location, would you allow it if the rogue was hidden behind the monster? How about if the rogue was behind the monster and the monster was engaged in melee with two other PCs? Three?
 

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
If your DM is okay with someone being surprised they're being attacked the fifth time your rogue pops out from the exact same position more power to you. It's perfectly legit to run it that way.

I allow repeatedly hiding in the same position, on the grounds that even though the targets (think they) know the rogue is there, the successful hide check means they can't hear the rogue start moving to give advance warning of an incoming shot. By contrast, someone not hidden in the same position presumably makes noise that lets targets know a shot is imminent. So I'm not ruling that the targets are "surprised" to be repeatedly shot from that location, instead I'm ruling that the successful hide check means the targets don't know when the expected attack is coming, and thus the rogue gets advantage when it leans out (or pops up) and shoots.

Let's flip this around. Say you're a PC and a monster keeps temporarily opening a portal, doing a ranged attack and then the portal closes.. For whatever reason you can't get to the portal or prevent it from opening. When the portal is closed, the monster is hidden because you have no way of knowing what they're doing back there.

Would you expect the monster to get advantage every round they open the portal? I'd assume no.
In this scenario I would not give the monster advantage if the target can see or hear the portal opening. Only the monster is hidden, after all, not the portal itself, and the forewarning of the portal opening allows the target to anticipate the timing of the attack. (The monster might still get advantage if it can attack while remaining entirely unseen, but then hiding has nothing to do with it.)
 

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