Stealth in Combat

Spatula

Explorer
The Grackle said:
It also says under Passive Checks (page 179):

"When you’re not actively using a skill, you’re assumed to be taking 10 for any opposed checks using that skill. Passive checks are most commonly used for Perception checks and Insight checks..."

So you are making an opposed check, but it assumes you're taking 10 for your roll (effectively setting a DC of skill+10) if you aren't actively looking.
By your logic, actual opposed checks never happen.

PHB definition of opposed check says both characters roll.
PHB definition of stealth says the Stealth check is an opposed check.
If actually rolling a Perception check takes a standard action, you can only do that on your turn.
Using Stealth is in most cases also only possible on your turn.

So under what circumstances does an opposed Stealth check - where the stealther initiates by making a Stealth check and the other creatures present roll Perception checks - actually happen? If it's always against passive Perception, then the skill description would have just said that. Passive checks make sense out of combat or when creatures are not aware of your presence, but when you just shot a guy with a crossbow, I think his interest in your location is no longer quite so lackadaisical.
 

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The Grackle

First Post
Arbitrary said:
I don't have a problem with using passive checks in that situation. What I have a problem with is still using passive checks once combat starts and when every creature is assumed to be paying attention to its surroundings.

Continuing to use passive Perception allows the stealther to not fear exceptional rolls against him and only needs to be able to beat 10 + their modifier to abuse an already dubious mechanic of attack/move/stealth/repeat.

I guess it depends on if your problem is with rolling lots of dice, or the brokenness of stealth. But it seems the designers intended for passive perception to be the default in stealth checks (in combat even), unless the creature spends an action looking for a hidden/invis enemy.

Whether stealth is broken, I don't know; I haven't played enough 4e to tell. It gives CA, but that seems very easy to get, and sneak attack only applies to one attack/round. It also requires lots of movement and clever use of terrain, which is one of the goals for this edition.
 

Dan'L

First Post
Take a note from the first part of the Stealth breakdown:

"STEALTH: Part of whatever action you are trying to perform stealthily."

Staying in one spot is not an action, cover or no. So, popping up and down from behind a barrel isn't going to cut it. The once-per-encounter Bluff distraction should be the only ready way (at first level) to get a stealth roll without moving.

Attacking invalidates stealth, so you can't get a check on that, either.

Moving once you've ducked behind cover, say crawling along behind a wall to that spot over there that the baddies are maybe not watching, that's an action. And success means that they're not watching where you're going to pop up, giving you CA. (A nasty DM might not let the player know just which baddies failed or passed the Opposed check, too.)

-Dan'L
 

Xorn

First Post
So I can tell you what the general response from the CSR was:

You may use a successful Bluff check, or cover or concealment to use Stealth to become hidden, thus gaining Combat Advantage as the target that can't see you.

When I expressed my concern that this generates 20-40 die rolls if you have 4 of 10 combatants have concealment/cover (for opposed stealth checks, plus targeting what you can't see checks), he agreed that it was a lot of extraneous rolling, and that reading "Success: You AVOID notice..." does not make you hidden once spotted was a great way to interpret the rules as written for that, and he would pass it along to the R&D team to consider for errata, because the number of dice rolls generated was an issue.

So basically, Rules As Intended allows you to become hidden with any form of cover/concealment. Rules As Written is easily interpreted to not allow you to just Stealth to hide after you have been spotted. You then need either a distraction or to truly get out of sight (total concealment/superior cover).

I'll be using my RAW interpretation.

Ozzie came up with another RAW way to handle it. The DC of the Stealth check doesn't have to be opposed. Instead the DM is free to set a DC of his own. Like... setting the DC at 50.

Actually... hmmm. If you try to stealth against someone that is paying attention to you, their perception check is a 20. Why not? They are looking right at you!

Maybe my first house rule. Granted this still means the halfling rogue in my party will be able to hide in any cover/concealment over half the time he tries against a kobold.

EDIT
Just to be clear:
According to the customer service guy I spoke with on the phone, and the one that answered my email form--you may use stealth as part of an action to become hidden with a bluff, cover, or concealment. It *is* an opposed check (active vs active) because the opponent is paying attention to you during combat.

That also means that against 5 enemies, it IS 6 die rolls per person that stealths. So if 2 folks on each side are doing this, you're generating 24 die rolls to deal with stealth every round, not including "Targeting What You Can't See" perception checks, which could amount to up to 20 more rolls, every round.

I'm definitely going to use my interpretation. If you want combat advantage get in there and flank.
 
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Arbitrary

First Post
I think the intent is to use passive Perception most of the time to speed things up and then to leave when to use actual rolls up to the DM.

I consider a battlefield situation in which an attacker is trying to hide from his targets after making an attack from stealth to be one such situation. You've got the fullest attention of your opponent and using passive Perception doesn't make any sense inside an encounter.
 

Xorn

First Post
Dan'L said:
Take a note from the first part of the Stealth breakdown:

"STEALTH: Part of whatever action you are trying to perform stealthily."

Staying in one spot is not an action, cover or no. So, popping up and down from behind a barrel isn't going to cut it. The once-per-encounter Bluff distraction should be the only ready way (at first level) to get a stealth roll without moving.

Attacking invalidates stealth, so you can't get a check on that, either.

Moving once you've ducked behind cover, say crawling along behind a wall to that spot over there that the baddies are maybe not watching, that's an action. And success means that they're not watching where you're going to pop up, giving you CA. (A nasty DM might not let the player know just which baddies failed or passed the Opposed check, too.)

-Dan'L

This is a good point too, Dan'L.

However, dropping Prone is just a minor action, and you could do that stealthily. So each round, Stand Up (move), Attack w/ CA (standard), Drop Prone stealthily (minor). (This also means you'll have Total Concealment, -5 to be hit, during the enemies' turns.)

I love a lot about 4th Edition, but I hate the Stealth mechanics. I despise them, actually. I have a hard time understanding how anyone could like using the mechanics the way they were supposedly intended.
 

Dan'L

First Post
But when you stand up, it's another move, which would require another stealth action :/

Once standing, you have potentially given up cover or concealment, and then any creature that has unblocked line of sight can see you, losing your CA. Before you attack.

And really, all that the initial stealth check would hide is the fact that you are prone. Your location would still be known, and you wouldn't have CA, since the creature would be aware of you.

-Dan'L
 

Arbitrary

First Post
So a pack of minions systematically wanders through the squares in the direction the person who was hiding went, and when they find the square they should be able to enter but can't, they surround it and stab it.

There.
 

Xorn

First Post
Dan'L said:
But when you stand up, it's another move, which would require another stealth action :/

Once standing, you have potentially given up cover or concealment, and then any creature that has unblocked line of sight can see you, losing your CA. Before you attack.

And really, all that the initial stealth check would hide is the fact that you are prone. Your location would still be known, and you wouldn't have CA, since the creature would be aware of you.

-Dan'L

But you drop prone unnoticed, unheard, and hidden from view. (According to a Success on Stealth.) Target Can't See You = Combat Advantage.

I don't like it, but now knowing this is how Stealth is intended to work, I hate it. Why would anyone use Bluff? Or move into melee? Or do anything but roll d20s all day. I'm intended to make 24+ rolls because of stealth every round, great.

Yeah I'm sticking with my interpretation. Stealth avoids notice, it doesn't undo notice.
 

KidSnide

Adventurer
ozziewolf said:
Risking making a regular sneak attack versus a sneak attack isn't a risk at all when compared to getting a sneak attack and risk getting nailed. Such as the young white dragon hitting you for 18 damage at level 1 when you could have safely stayed way back at range the entire fight getting sneak attacks with next to no risk. So why risk taking massive damage if a Rogue can stay safely back at range sneak attacking with no risk of injury?

Provided that:

1) There is available cover;
2) That cover, possibly in rough terrain doesn't leave you vulnerable to being isolated and ganked by some monster-soldier;
3) That cover is in range of the target, who can't just move out of range;
4) Your ranged weapon is as good as your melee weapon; and
5) You don't want to use any of your melee only powers,

...then I agree with you, there is little reason to close to melee becaused a ranged sneak attack, though spottable, keeps you safe from danger.
 

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