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


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lingual

Adventurer
If you hide behind a pillar or your Medium sized ally, your opponents shouldn’t have absolutely no idea where you are. I agree with @Lyxen that would be absurd. The difference is, Lyxen concludes it must therefore be impossible to hide behind a pillar or your Medium sized ally (more than once? Please correct me if I’m misunderstanding your position), whereas I conclude that your opponents must therefore have some idea where you are. But, you still get the benefits of hiding - if you attack whilst hidden behind the pillar or your ally, you’ll get advantage, since your opponent can’t see you and predict exactly when you’ll attack or from which side of the pillar/your ally or at what height. If they try to attack you from where they are, they’ll have disadvantage since they can’t see yiu (in addition to any cover bonus the pillar or your ally might grant you). Of course, that would be kind of a stupid thing to do, since they could easily just walk around the pillar or your ally to a place from which they can see you clearly and then attack.
The whole pillar thing depends on the circumstance. A single pillar in a big empty room while fighting a seasoned warrior? No, you can't just duck behind the pillar and hide from the warrior. Then wait a few seconds and then backstab him and repeat as he wonders where you could possibly be. Now a room with a few pillars, etc. in low light and the warrior is distracted fighting some allies? That would be a totally different situation. No hard, boolean rules here (unlike how most ppl here like to argue). The game should be about flexibility - especially in areas where there are no hard rules. I'm pretty sure Lyxen would feel the same way.
 

lingual

Adventurer
I'm just curious if you make it increasingly harder for fighters to hit the same opponent repeatedly? It stands to reason that the enemy would eventually pick up on the fighter's attack patterns.
Wouldn't the fighter be learning about the opponent's defenses at the same time?
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
The whole pillar thing depends on the circumstance. A single pillar in a big empty room while fighting a seasoned warrior? No, you can't just duck behind the pillar and hide from the warrior. Then wait a few seconds and then backstab him and repeat as he wonders where you could possibly be.
No one - absolutely no one - is suggesting that you can duck behind the pillar, wait a few seconds, and backstab someone as they wonder where you could possibly be. As I have said repeatedly, if you hide behind a lone pillar in a big empty room, you opponent will know you’re behind the pillar and on their turn they can easily just walk around it, to a spot where they can clearly see you, and attack you with no penalty.

What I am suggesting you can do is duck behind the pillar, make a Dexterity (Stealth) check to hide so they can’t see or hear you, then peek out to make a ranged attack with advantage (which will cause you to no longer be hidden). The pillar blocks line of sight to you, so if you are quiet, your opponent won’t know which side you’re going to peek out from or at what height, hence the advantage on the attack roll due to your attack being more difficult to anticipate.
Now a room with a few pillars, etc. in low light and the warrior is distracted fighting some allies? That would be a totally different situation. No hard, boolean rules here (unlike how most ppl here like to argue). The game should be about flexibility - especially in areas where there are no hard rules. I'm pretty sure Lyxen would feel the same way.
I’m sure we all feel the same way - there are always going to be specific cases where the DM has to make a call, and the rules rightly empower them to do so. What I’m arguing against at this point is the absurd notion that allowing what I describe above is somehow “not roleplaying” or discourages players from thinking in terms of the fictional world, or requires the characters to be stupid.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
But a halfling does not need to come out! Any character can shoot through another creatures space (not so through a pillar). The halfling can stay behind his ally and shoot at his enemy. He is only hidden (and therefore unseen) in such a case because of his halfling ability and he remains hidden until he attacks.

It's a good point, however the halfling would have to accept that the target has some cover. How much is up for debate, as, once more in these areas, it's a DM's ruling, however, it would be at the very least half-cover (usual amount of cover for having a creature between your target and you), but a DM could also (it would be harsh, even for me, but not unjustified) three-quarters cover because the halfling is not trying to avoid being behind the creature to shoot properly, he is actively trying to stay behind so has not to be seen too early.
This example is not similar to a Rogue popping out from a pillar, it is more like a Rogue shooting through an illusionary pillar. The Rogue is behind an illusionary pillar (say from silent image). He knows the pillar is an illusion and can see the enemy on the other side of it even though the enemy can't see him. The halfling is in the same situation, he can hide behind a human and the enemy can't see him, but he can still see the enemy. The only difference is the enemy has cover in the example with the halfling and he doesn't in the example with the Rogue.

Thanks for that example, it just goes to show once more that there are so many scenarios that, as the devs say, it's impossible to cover all the edge cases with rules.

That being said, my overall reasoning still applies, a given target would certainly be fooled once (unless he is experienced in fighting halflings, circumstantial modifier to his perception), but he would become harder and harder to fool if the halfling tries to do this time and time again. How much harder, as usual, depends on the circumstances, if there are hordes of creatures attacking the target and the halfling can be behind any of them, it's much harder to guess, etc.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Why didn’t you know he was there? You’re aware of your surroundings and alert for danger during combat, so you’d have seen him go behind the pillar and not come out from behind it. You know where he is, you just don’t see him, which makes defending against attacks from him difficult because you can’t see his telegraphs. Again, this is someone anyone who has played a first person shooter has experienced, and probably used to their advantage.

My example was from an ambush, you did not know he was there because the rogue positioned himself behind cover before the start of the combat. So the first thing that you know of the rogue is when, out of nowhere, a crossbow bolt comes at you. Obviously, in that case, the rogue has advantage.

My point is that, after that, once the enemy knows that there is a rogue around, he will be more alert. And just because the rogue is skilled and clever does not mean that the adversary is not, that's all where my point about "dumb" monsters come about.

What I’m objecting to at this point is not your ruling, but your insistence that the alternative doesn’t make a bit of narrative sense. It makes plenty of sense if you have a different set of assumptions, as I explained above.

It might make sense to you, but still absolutely not to me. You claim that the rogue can choose if he attacks left or right, high or low, but it changes nothing to the fact that the adversary is aware of his presence, knows exactly where he is, that the rogue needs to pop out before he attacks and that the conditions are therefore not as good as the ideal case above. Hence the use of circumstantial modifiers as above.

Now, on the contrary, if the rogue, behind the scenes, is clever about changing positions, he might go back up almost to the perfect edge above, therefore fewer or no circumstantial modifiers.

It’s very simple. If you don’t assume that being “hidden” from someone means they have no idea where they are, but merely that they can’t currently see or hear you, then creatures don’t have to be idiots to get hit with advantage multiple times by an enemy hiding in the same spot.

I don't want to make that assumption because it's not what the rules tell you, and I want to take into account the fact that the conditions are less perfect, not only because it seems logical in itself, because it models properly what happens not only in reality but in all the genre and fiction, but also because it encourages the players to be creative rather than insist slavishly "but the rules allow it" (and while that bit is true, the rules also allow the DM to apply any circumstantial modifier that he sees fit, so it's still 100% RAW).

No, it isn’t. Being hidden gives the attacker advantage on attack rolls and imposes disadvantage on attack rolls against them.

No, you are confusing being hidden and not being seen, the sentence in the PH is quite clear: "When a creature can't see you, you have advantage on attack rolls against it."

So, even if you are hidden at the start of your action, if you are seen when you prepare or even when making your attack, the sentence above is clear, you don't have advantage (in addition to probably not being hidden anymore).

Right, but to what end? It gives no defensive advantage since your opponents can just walk around your ally, see you there, and attack you. And given your ruling it seems to give no offensive advantage either since you’re seen when you peek out from behind your ally to attack. So, it seems there’s no point. You’re just using a bonus action and rolling a Dex check to accomplish nothing at all.

First, the creature might not be able or willing to move (OA, good positioning, blocked, etc.). Second, see the other exchange about firing through allies (although there is cover). Moreover, I'm certainly not forbidding that, just applying circumstantial modifiers if you start becoming too predictable in your moves, nothing more.

Sure, he can watch for the halfling exactly at the same place. Then the halfling can lean out from the other side. Or he can crouch and pop out at a lower angle. Or he can stay where he is and arc a shot over his ally’s head, or between their legs.

And he can do that also when the creature is not even aware of his presence. So why would he not get the maximum bonus in that case as the rules intended, but why would it not be simply more difficult to execute when the adversary knows he's here ? My answer is, it becomes more difficult to hide there, as is perfectly logical.

Nothing about it suggests you wouldn’t be able to do so.

Except the plain logic that even a 5 years old playing hide and seek can explain to you.

Yes, the DM could rule that way, and it would be consistent with RAW. It would also make Naturally Stealthy useless, which makes me suspect it is not consistent with RAI.

Not useless at all, see above, it's perfectly useful at least once, and probably much more than that. But it's also not something that you can pull off every single combat round of every fight, for both in game and out of game reasons (like it's really totally boring).

I agree with this assessment of how attacking whole obscured by darkness works. That’s not the use case under contention here,

And it's still relevant to explain the complete mechanism as well as the DM's part in adjudicating all these edge cases, but since you agree, it's fine.

Concealment isn’t a thing in 5e, it’s either cover or obscurement.

Which is why I used quotation marks to signify exactly this. sigh

That’s up to DM discretion.

Exactly like applying circumstantial modifiers to a rogue that is being so unimaginative that he grants advantage to his adversaries in knowing where he is, what he is going to do and how.

I don’t dispute that.

Good.

I can’t parse this. What are you saying?

What I was saying is that when I hear some contributors here say that, when in doubt, they strip all the fluff and come back to the RAW, what they are doing is not roleplaying or deciding something because of the way the game world should "work", they are simply applying rules and then find a "slapped-on" justification to explain why it should be logical.

What I do is completely the opposite, I think about what looks cool in the world, how I want the players to feel when their character does something cool (usually because it's clever or imaginative), how it fits with the story and the roleplay and THEN I find the rule that applies the best, if it exists, otherwise I make a ruling. But the good thing with 5e is that the rules are fuzzy enough that I really rarely have to create a new rule, it usually fits like a glove.
 

Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
It's a good point, however the halfling would have to accept that the target has some cover. How much is up for debate, as, once more in these areas, it's a DM's ruling, however, it would be at the very least half-cover (usual amount of cover for having a creature between your target and you),
Correct the target will benefit from half cover as the halfling's attack originates on the opposite side of the cover granted by a creature.
 

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
Except the plain logic that even a 5 years old playing hide and seek can explain to you.
In Hide and Seek, the goal is to make the other player unaware of one's location. Hiding in the same place repeatedly makes it trivial for the other player to be aware of one's location, no matter how quiet you are.

Conversely, in the example with a single pillar, the goal at my table isn't to make the enemy unaware of one's location, it's to capitalize on one's ability to remain unseen and unheard long enough to make a target in the open less able to predict the timing of the inevitable attack. Successfully doing so doesn't require fooling the target or taking advantage of them being dumb, it just requires being quiet enough that that the target can't use hearing to know when the attack is coming.

From the target's perspective, at my table they still know that the Rogue is behind the pillar even after the successful hide check, and can act appropriately to defend themselves by taking the Dodge action, moving to cover, or moving to engage the Rogue in melee. The Rogue only gets repeated advantage on their attacks if the target chooses not to take (or is prevented from taking) any of these countermeasures.

You appear to be interpreting the act of attacking from hiding as necessarily fooling the target in the some way in order to get advantage. That's cool, and definitely works within the very broad rules for hiding in 5e. But it's not the only way to envision what's happening in the fiction. Those of use who approach it differently don't see fooling the target or making them unaware of the Rogue's location as a part of the fiction, so when we give the Rogue advantage we're not implying that the target was fooled or too dumb to play Hide and Seek. Accordingly, we're also not placing any less emphasis on the importance of the fiction than you are--we're simply using different fiction.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Correct the target will benefit from half cover as the halfling's attack originates on the opposite side of the cover granted by a creature.

While we are in agreement here, we have to be careful at the same time. The exact rule is that "A target has half cover if an obstacle blocks at least half of its body." A creature is just an example of what might usually provide cover for at least half of its body ("The obstacle might be a low wall, a large piece of furniture, a narrow tree trunk, or a creature, whether that creature is an enemy or a friend.").

However, if a halfling were to hide behind, let's say, a purple worm or a gelatinous cube, the DM might rule that the target has at least three-quarter cover and maybe total cover for the gelatinous cube.

Also, because the halfling needs not to be seen clearly to hide, he probable has more than half-cover from his target (hence my other remark on the cover being possibly more than half), although agree that it's not reciprocal, hence the compromise to half.

So many edge cases, so many rulings for DMs. :)
 

Horwath

Hero
Correct the target will benefit from half cover as the halfling's attack originates on the opposite side of the cover granted by a creature.
actually no.

shooter is in cover, but target is not. Shooter only needs to clear weapon and one eye out of cover.

What then with castle arrow slits? They give +5 cover. and they do not impede aiming at the target if it's in the open. It will however reduce the area that you can shoot into. But those you see, you see clearly. Unless they have their own cover to hide behind.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
actually no.

shooter is in cover, but target is not. Shooter only needs to clear weapon and one eye out of cover.

What then with castle arrow slits? They give +5 cover. and they do not impede aiming at the target if it's in the open. It will however reduce the area that you can shoot into. But those you see, you see clearly. Unless they have their own cover to hide behind.

Bravo, you just have proven that, actually, cover does not exist, since all you need is to shoot at the right place and the right time. So simple. I'd really like to see you shoot like that... :rolleyes:
 

Horwath

Hero
Bravo, you just have proven that, actually, cover does not exist, since all you need is to shoot at the right place and the right time. So simple. I'd really like to see you shoot like that... :rolleyes:
What?
Shooter still has more then half of his body behind cover. Shooter is a SMALLER target because of that. Smaller target is harder to hit.
Unless you use some called shots variant, but that carries it's own penalty for aiming at smaller part of body instead of "hit anything".
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
In Hide and Seek, the goal is to make the other player unaware of one's location. Hiding in the same place repeatedly makes it trivial for the other player to be aware of one's location, no matter how quiet you are.

Conversely, in the example with a single pillar, the goal at my table isn't to make the enemy unaware of one's location, it's to capitalize on one's ability to remain unseen and unheard long enough to make a target in the open less able to predict the timing of the inevitable attack. Successfully doing so doesn't require fooling the target or taking advantage of them being dumb, it just requires being quiet enough that that the target can't use hearing to know when the attack is coming.

You know what, I don't disagree with this, but my perspective is different. There are two parts of being hidden that benefit an unseen attacker:
  • The target does not know from where the attack is going to come
  • The target does not see the attacker prepare and aim
These are two different components. For me, the maximum efficiency is attained when both are present, which is why, if the rogue is hidden at an unknown location, he will always have advantage.

But if it's at a known location, he benefits from only one of these parts, and it makes it harder to be 100% efficient. He can still be, but it's still harder, hence the disadvantage on stealth.

From the target's perspective, at my table they still know that the Rogue is behind the pillar even after the successful hide check, and can act appropriately to defend themselves by taking the Dodge action, moving to cover, or moving to engage the Rogue in melee. The Rogue only gets repeated advantage on their attacks if the target chooses not to take (or is prevented from taking) any of these countermeasures.

And these are fine countermeasure, assuming that you can take them. But I like my game to be even more varied, and allow for additional countermeasures, some that take less effort for less benefit. If the player makes some effort in his roleplay and description, he might not negate the advantage, but just make it more difficult for the rogue to achieve it, that's all.

You appear to be interpreting the act of attacking from hiding as necessarily fooling the target in the some way in order to get advantage. That's cool, and definitely works within the very broad rules for hiding in 5e. But it's not the only way to envision what's happening in the fiction.

The thing is that, in fiction, no-one hides at the same place twice in a row. The spectator would think "that's weird, why do they fall for this, are they idiots ?" And, as I've said, with a stupid protagonist, it can certainly be comedy. :)

Those of use who approach it differently don't see fooling the target or making them unaware of the Rogue's location as a part of the fiction, so when we give the Rogue advantage we're not implying that the target was fooled or too dumb to play Hide and Seek. Accordingly, we're also not placing any less emphasis on the importance of the fiction than you are--we're simply using different fiction.

One that not flow with the usual fiction of the genre or with logic as a I see it, see above.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
What?
Shooter still has more then half of his body behind cover. Shooter is a SMALLER target because of that. Smaller target is harder to hit.
Unless you use some called shots variant, but that carries it's own penalty for aiming at smaller part of body instead of "hit anything".

If the halfling is behind a creature to get be able to hide from his target, there is a creature, moving and fighting between the halfling and his target. That is the basic example of having cover.
 
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Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
No I mean he calculated it correctly. Not that it is the "correct baseline to use."
Oh. Sorry, since you pointed to it as evidence that AT far outstrips other classes, I thought you were standing by the general results, not defending the correctness of the arithmetic.
 

Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
Can you try to hide from a creature grappling you?

If the grappler can't clearly see you, i mean, it certainly knows where you are having you grappled, but the Stealth rules don't exclude it specifically. I use a similar approach to re-hiding in same location.
 

Horwath

Hero
If the halfling is behind a creature to get be able to hide from his target, there is a creature, moving and fighting between the halfling and his target. That is the basic example of having cover.
yes, but cover does not usually works both ways.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
So just a point. While swinging a sword may take slightly longer, it takes about six hundredths of a second to throw a punch. Yet people respond to and block those punches. In D&D you can react to and block a dozen or more punches from different opponents as long as you can see them all.

I just don't see why people would have enough time to react to those attacks, but not the attacks of someone that leans out from cover, aims, times it so they aren't hitting their ally when they know where the attack is likely to come from. Totally unexpected? Okay, it kind of makes sense. The second or third time? You have as much warning as the fact that ogre #3 that's directly behind you is going to throw a punch while ogre #2 to your side and ogre #1 in your face is doing the same.

I don't have a problem with people running this multiple ways, but using "they don't have enough time to react to see the attack coming" as a reason why it must be that way is what doesn't make sense to me. If you're doing it because it suits your style and vision of the game - fantastic! That's all you need to say. Just like for me it doesn't. 🤷‍♂️
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Can you try to hide from a creature grappling you?

If the grappler can't clearly see you, i mean, it certainly knows where you are having you grappled, but the Stealth rules don't exclude it specifically. I use a similar approach to re-hiding in same location.
This definitely runs into the GM determining if conditions are good for you to hide. Personally, I'd rule no. However, you are correct, there is nothing specifically outlawing it in the rules.
 

jayoungr

Legend
No one - absolutely no one - is suggesting that you can duck behind the pillar, wait a few seconds, and backstab someone as they wonder where you could possibly be.
Actually, I've been saying that this could happen. But I'm also not presuming a single pillar in an empty white room and no other party members to keep the enemy distracted. It was more in the context of using the same hiding place multiple times.
 
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