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D&D 5E Spanish Inquisition Hide/Cool question

jasper

Rotten DM
PCs are fighting the evil Knights of Nee for two rounds. Round 3 the Spanish Inquisition show up. The Inquisition have rolled high enough on their stealth check to beat every one's passive perception.

So Question 3.

Q1. Treat the Inquisition as surprise round for PC and Nee? Rule of cool.

Q2. What surprise round dummy? RAW

Q3. Why are you reading this?

Q4. There is no question 4.
 

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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
There is no surprise round because your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries.

On the other hand, I'd consider giving the Knights of Ni who, knowing the proper spelling, are even stealthier advantage their first round of attacks as they attack the so-called "knights" of Nee.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
The party surrenders immediately and must procure a shrubbery.
Pff! They got geased to go get the shrubbery first, BEFORE they then were able to engage the Knights.

The combat we are seeing is obviously AFTER they brought the shrubbery back, and the geas was completed. I mean, anyone can see that! ;)
 
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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Look... it's not that hard...

The party and the Knights of Ni have moved their fight from the forest out and down to the mill. And due to that, one of the cross-beams has gone out of skew on the treadle. THAT'S why the Spanish Inquisition is here.
 

jgsugden

Legend
How would I handle it? Individually. If the new combatants enter the combat hidden, I would just have them launch their attacks with the benefit of being hidden until they do so. There would be no surprise round because the combatants are not surprised. The surprise round reflects the time it takes for combatants to get themselves ready for combat - not the time it takes them to assess a hidden combatant.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
How would I handle it? Individually. If the new combatants enter the combat hidden, I would just have them launch their attacks with the benefit of being hidden until they do so. There would be no surprise round because the combatants are not surprised. The surprise round reflects the time it takes for combatants to get themselves ready for combat - not the time it takes them to assess a hidden combatant.
I was not expecting that answer.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I think one thing we are missing from the original question here is how exactly are the Spanish Inquisition hiding?

1) Have they stood up?

2) Have they chose a very obvious piece of cover?

If the answer to either of these questions is 'Yes', then they have come out of hiding and should not gain advantage on their attacks against the party.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
I think one thing we are missing from the original question here is how exactly are the Spanish Inquisition hiding?

1) Have they stood up?

2) Have they chose a very obvious piece of cover?

If the answer to either of these questions is 'Yes', then they have come out of hiding and should not gain advantage on their attacks against the party.
Contrarily I'd argue that the rules explicitly state that "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition", which doesn't call out their visual status at all.

Their chief weapon is surprise. Taking that away just neuters them unfairly.
 


DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Contrarily I'd argue that the rules explicitly state that "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition", which doesn't call out their visual status at all.

Their chief weapon is surprise. Taking that away just neuters them unfairly.
No, no... their chief weapons are surprise and fear. Fear and surprise. We can still take away the surprise because there is no surprise round in D&D, while still leaving them their frightful presence ability. And as Frightful Presence (as per the various dragons) does not require you to see or hear the creature, only be aware of it... the party and the Knights Who Say Ni will need to make saves against the Inquisition whether or not they are hidden.
 


jgsugden

Legend
Spanish Inquisitions have the following special ability:

Unexpected: All potential observers are treated as distracted for purposes of the hiding rules when the Spanish Inquisition is present.

All of these stealth questions recently point to the vagueness of the rules, but this interpretation, which can be supported as one of the interpretations of the rules, works really well:

To enter hiding or remain hidden, you need one of the following to be true:

  • Total Cover (TC).
  • Highly Obscured (HO).
  • Partial Cover and not currently observed (if you enter partial cover from TC or HO while hidden, hide is not lost).
  • Lightly Obscured and not currently observed (if you enter light obscurement when hidden, you do not lose hidden, either).
  • Lightfoot Halfling hiding behind a medium or larger creature, even when observed.
  • Wood elf hiding when lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena, even when observed.
  • Entity with the sulker feat hiding in any light obscurement (I allow partial cover as well), even when observed.
  • DM permission.

Hidden ends if you make noise intentionally or make an attack (exceptions apply, but I will not list them here).

When you attempt to hide and have one of the above requirements met, you roll dexterity (stealth). You compare this stealth to the current passive perception of potential observers to determine if they know your location or if you're hidden. If they take an action to use their perception, they get a chance to improve upon their passive with a roll higher than 10. If an entity is not using their action to do something else, assume they are using it on perception.

If a creature has their passive perception drop beneath your stealth roll while you are hidden, they lose track of you, just as they find you if their passive perception increases above your stealth roll.

When determining passive perception, I grant the following advantages (+5 to passive perception) and disadvantages (-5 to passive perception) [This is not an exhaustive list]:

  • Disadvantage - Sleeping.
  • Disadvantage - Focused attention on something specific (other than the hider).
  • Disadvantage - Sunlight sensitivity (in sunlight or equivalent).
  • Disadvantage - Distracting spells (Enthrall, Meld into Stone, Storm Sphere, Staggering Smite, Hex, Heat Metal)
  • Disadvantage - Magic Item assistance (Cloak of Elvenkind)
  • Advantage - Any abilities that specify advantage that applies like keen senses (hearing, smell, sight)
  • Advantage - Blindsight (this is a judgment call usually based upon the method and reasons)
  • Advantage - Focusing spells (Hunter's Mark, Foresight, Enhance Ability (Wisdom))
  • Advantage - Focusing magic items (Eyes of the Eagle, Sentinel's Shield, Robe of Eyes, Knave's Eye Patch)
  • Advantage - The hider has left the source of their concealment/obscurement and the DM allows them to continue being hidden, and the potential viewer is not distracted.

When someone is hidden, and they leave their obscurement/concealment to make an attack, I determine if each potential viewer is alert, distracted or neither.

If alert, they automatically see the target when they lose concealment and obscurement. This does not apply if they are hidden and transition to light obscurement or partial cover - only if they lose all cover.

If distracted (focusing their attention on something else), their passive perception governs as normal.

If neither distracted nor alert (attention not focused on something else, but not trying to be perceptive either), then I give advantage for passive perception to spot them.
 

Everyone who can (now) see the Spanish Inquisition must make a will save or be surprised (despite the fact that they are in the middle of combat). The Inquisitors are no longer hidden, though.

Note that non-Spanish Inquisitions do not get this benefit (although choreographed dance numbers are still available).
 



Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
The way I grokk surprise is that a creature is surprised if it doesn’t realize it’s in combat. If the Spanish Inquisition joins a combat in progress and attacks from stealth, they can benefit from being hidden (assuming they meet the conditions to do so), but they can’t surprise the combatants because they are all in the midst of combat, and therefore on guard.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Spanish Inquisitions have the following special ability:

Unexpected: All potential observers are treated as distracted for purposes of the hiding rules when the Spanish Inquisition is present.

  • Total Cover (TC).
  • Highly Obscured (HO).
  • Partial Cover and not currently observed (if you enter partial cover from TC or HO while hidden, hide is not lost).
  • Lightly Obscured and not currently observed (if you enter light obscurement when hidden, you do not lose hidden, either).
  • Lightfoot Halfling hiding behind a medium or larger creature, even when observed.
  • Wood elf hiding when lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena, even when observed.
  • Entity with the sulker feat hiding in any light obscurement (I allow partial cover as well), even when observed.
  • DM permission.
Where are "Don't stand up" and "Don't use a very obvious piece of cover" in your list?!? Those are the two most important rules on How Not To Be Seen. There was a whole governmental short film explaining all it! Did you not watch it?!?

I suppose you don't know how to recognize different types of trees from quite a long way away either, do you? Typical!
 


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