Stealth in Combat


I prefer the interpretation in which having allies between you and the enemy grants cover for purposes of the enemy's attacks, but not for purposes of stealth. The RAW on this point is unclear, although I admit that it's probably not the RAI.

Peh - I agree with the sentiment that the RAW is awful and needs both a re-think and a clarification. I just think that a sniper rogue that can regain stealth every round is not an inherently unbalanced character, provided that he has to work at it to stay in a covered position.


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First Post
It helps to read

Surgoshan said:
Not for the purpose of stealth.

"When you make a ranged attack against an enemy and other enemies are in the way, your target has cover. Your allies never grant cover to your enemies and neither allies nor enemies give cover against melee, close, or area attacks."

By my reading, creatures provide cover only for ranged attack rolls. I've not heard of anything from wizards to confirm or deny that, though.

I found the key point in this post as to be the word READING. It seems a lot of people haven't fully read the books. Xorn being one of them who tends to be more reactionary then fact based responses. Please cite all your book references, the whole comment about rogues gaining CA behind Allies is not true, its only cover in terms of ranged attacks if there are multiple enemies, not allies. RANGED attacks only. Please read pages 280 and 281 to refresh yourself on what is considered Cover and Concealment.

Back in post 55, Sanzuo made a great post with official response from WotC.

"...Once the rogue has revealed himself from stealth via attack, he cannot restealth again unless he performs another "non attack" action such as moving to a different set of cover/concealment and then making another successful stealth check. Any enemy who perceives him using a Perception roll at the DC of his stealth roll will see him and thus negate Combat Advantage."

I think the key point in that statement is 'different set of cover/concealment'. Because later on in the post Sanzuo says why not just stay in the one bush in the middle of the battlefield, pick your nose as a minor action stealthly, then gain CA and attack... Simply because if you see a rogue pop out of the ONE bush and attack you, revealing him and no longer CA if/when he regains stealth, its not going to be hard to tell where he is at. Sure you can't seem him, but its not like he is going anywhere, be like a guy popping out of a barrel taking a shot and ducking back in, pretty sure after he reveals himself once, you know where he is, because he didn't move from that spot, at all. Sure he might have stealth, and you don't know when the next time he will do a jack-in-the-box attack is (those things still catch me by suprise, how about you?) but you can easily approach it and find yourself whatever is hidding within.

I would also like to reference pg. 279. COMBAT ADVANTAGE. If you read the very first line states "One of the most common attack modifiers is Combat Advantage." Followed by the line "Combat Advantage represents a situation in which the defender can't give full attention to defense." I will let you read the rest, but reference things like "caught off guard". Meaning someone that is hidden in a barrel or a bush, unless you are directly upon them or directly paying attention to them (standard action, searching: top of page 187, and all of Perception pg 186) they will be hard to keep track of and defend properly. Keep in mind WotC expects CA to be easily achieved since first off they said it was one of the most common modifiers and secondly because of a whole class, subset of abilities, and various other feats all depend on whether or not one has CA. This all binds together when you read the section at the bottom of page 281 "Targeting What You Can't See" it treats invisible creatures as using stealth, bold text even. It references mechanics that deal with finding creatures you can't see. Again this is back to Sanzuos statement about the ONE bush in the middle of a battle field, or the condensed barrel anology.

But clearly this original post wasn't about any of these tangents like how easily CA should be achieved, which class has better damage, who's making personal attacks, or any such things. It was about using the rules that stand and managing the number of dice rolled. Personally I don't see what the big fuss is. I roll my attacks and damage dice at the same time to speed things up. I am sure most players and DMs have multiple sets of Dice, so if you know what the elites Perception is, make that the blue d20, and then the rest can be minons. And with one fist full of dice rolled, see who passes/fails. Or what I have seen a lot of DMs do, is with large numbers of stuff like minons, just role one d20, so that elite gets his own roll, then the 5 minons get only 1 roll as a group. Another mechanic to use is reverse Stealth Perception, since Xorn was complaining each turn he rolled 6 dice, 1 player 5 creatures, rolled each time a player when. Why not just Roll the Creatures Perception once for the full round, and thats the stealth DC players have to get... wow that makes it fast. Instead of having to roll those creatures 5 dice every players turn for their stealth, now its just once, and saving you from rolling (players-1)*5 rolls each full round of combat. I mean their are countless ways to work it out so it flows much faster. Because having the DM roll 1 d20 5 times each players turn really slows down a game, try multiples, or Perception DC for the round. Or just stick with passive Perception, because maybe that lvl 1 Kobold isn't suppose to see someone who specializes in stealth, for god sake its a lvl 1 kobold versus a person that has trained exstensively in how to be stealthy. I think their are plenty of ways to figure out how to speed things up. Personally I would like whichever group is larger, players or baddies, to just roll once for the full round for their respective skill, and have that as a DC the opposed skill needs to beat. That way the larger group needs to make the least rolls, speeding up things. Or for the lazy DM, just roll once per full round for the NPCs and have that be the DC the players need to beat, make them do all the rolling. I think the rules on this read fine the way they stand, the problem seems to be with people not being able to find ways to properly manage play.


First Post
Volabit said:

Oh hey man.

I really think you should edit out the hostile bits of that post. They're kind of unnecessary. I understand your personality but your post makes it sound like you're just trying to antagonize everyone. Just FYI.


First Post

Sorry you think that. Statings facts that are easily referenced this entire post. Like when some people make personal comments about stuff versus when people quote others and reference material readily availible for all. I feel no remorse in pointing out the difference, I think it's clear on what material is meaningful and what is someone personal rant filled with bias emotion that lacks substantial material. All I did was comment on some of the major issues that I actually felt like commenting on and need a correction/clarification.

Ditto on Sanz sig, we had a great game, didn't we. I forgot to post after you did, I wanted to earmark that session as when it all began, the true colors of a certain player.


First Post
Volabit said:
All I did was comment on some of the major issues that I actually felt like commenting on and need a correction/clarification.

No, you joined in on the exact same chest-puffing "I'M RIGHT" style posting that you seem to be angry at in the first place.

Volabit said:
I found the key point in this post as to be the word READING. It seems a lot of people haven't fully read the books. Xorn being one of them who tends to be more reactionary then fact based responses. Please cite all your book references, the whole comment about rogues gaining CA behind Allies is not true, its only cover in terms of ranged attacks if there are multiple enemies, not allies. RANGED attacks only. Please read pages 280 and 281 to refresh yourself on what is considered Cover and Concealment.

The above statement is just dripping with contempt. All I'm saying is you don't need to do this. Just state your point without all the hostility, man.

The Grackle

First Post
Xorn said:
Stated by others before, but I'll repeat it--isn't the reason Sneak Attack adds more damage than the Warlock or Ranger damage increases because it's harder to get Combat Advantage?

No. It's more likely to balance against the ranger's double attacks.

Xorn said:
Can anyone say (with a straight face) that it's harder to get combat advantage on pretty much any target you like with the current Stealth as intended?

Yes. The ranger designates his quarry automatically w/ a minor action, the rogue has to make a stealth roll.


First Post

Wow Sanz, you really are 'reading' into this more then you need to. I think most everyone on here is posting what they feel is right, like your post just now, I am sure you feel you are right in thinking i am 'dripping' with whatever term you feel like labeling me with. And I am sure that's your what you want to do, label. I don't mind that you do that, but please take it out of the forum. It is not a concern for the material at hand, the OP idea of how to reduce dice rolls. Just because what I posted doesn't parallel your concepts, shouldn't make you stretch out for some reason to discredit anything I have typed. But if you feel it's more important, then I guess go ahead...

As to my quotes you referenced in ascending order, I don't think I have seen a lot of posts Xorn has made (that I can remember) where they referenced one page out of the book of facts. Usually thats when people are just displaying their opinions over information. Again that it not wrong to share your opinion with other, not at all. I was stating that there were comments made about gaining Concealment from your Allies, and then referenced what pages the clearifications can be found on. But again, feel free to over analyze it, and make whatever label you feel you want to. As for the first quote, please clearify for me, or whoever else, what actions denote as 'chest-puffing'. At the end of the post, if you managed to read that far, I listed several tools that are useful in reducing times of actions. Notice how I didn't say a single one of those was the RIGHT (your "I'M RIGHT" needs to be caps correct?). I stated which one I prefered because mathmatically it seemed to be the lowest number of dice rolled, and still allowing a form of opposed checks.... but please label me again as chest-puffing I'm Rightism... Then I closed with my opinion after stating facts, that the problem at hand, with earlier given solutions, isn't so much the rule, as it is the people not having, finding, or using good tools for the material at hand. Perhaps one of the several ideas I presented on how to reduce dice rolling someone might find useful, or might even enspire them to adapt a similar way. If so, then I would be pleased if only one person found those ideas useful and it helped them speed up their games. I am here to inform, not here to find out the one solution. Dripping with all that can drip.

But now back to you, I think you have spent too much of your time, in your semi-job mind you, surfing the Something Awful forums. You really have come out jaded, and I know this because practically every single game night you would say how at work when you were surfing that said forum, you found x and y, or this person being bashed for this, and other flaming another for something else. Please take that attitude back to that forum. Don't go blindly accusing. Now what is this paragraph "dripping" with Sanz? I think you can apply a little attitude to your enternal voice when you read this to make it more accurate, as for the other material, read it at face value to avoid making the mistake of find stuff that really isn't there.

The Grackle

First Post
KidSnide said:
...I just think that a sniper rogue that can regain stealth every round is not an inherently unbalanced character, provided that he has to work at it to stay in a covered position.

I don't either. Stealth is the ranged-rogue's equivalent of the melee-rogue's maneuvering to flank.

med stud

First Post
Xorn said:
Enemy | Enemy
Fighter | Warlord

Rogue | Empty

This rogue can move right one square "stealthily" and gain combat advantage. Next round he can move left one square "stealthily" and gain combat advantage. Against level appropriate foes, a rogue trained in stealth should have combat advantage almost every round, unless he does something silly, like try to wade into the melee.

The reason I dislike Stealth As Intended™ is because it feels like one of those "if you don't do this every turn you're shorting your character's potential" type of actions.
What you say makes sense. This is, though, one of the things I would like to see in play first. In this case, the uncertain factor is if the rogue will be left alone. If an enemy moves up to the rogue, that tactic will be much harder to execute. A skirmisher can be a real pain in the ass for the rogue. A bunch of minions chasing the rogue can be problematic.

Maybe you are right, you seem to have given this more thought than I have. But to me, this is one of the situations that feel like they have to be played out to be evaluated fully.


First Post
Volabit, if you had taken the time to point out I have tiny genitals I think your post would have been complete. I have thoroughly cited where I'm reading each rule (Bluff, Stealth, Cover/Concealment, Targeting What You Can't See, and CSR responses to the WotC Answers Stealth from the DDI rules forums), but incorrectly assumed that everyone reading the thread could read the table of contents and index. My apologies. I have never stated that I'm right or anyone else is wrong. I've stated (quite clearly, I feel) that I hate the stealth rules as intended.

I even came up with a nifty Stealth As Intended™ slogan, which means, "Read the last 5 pages, and insert that here." Again, whatever I've done to you personally to draw your ire, I apologize.

Cover never applies to close or area attacks, and melee cover only applies in the instance of intervening solid obstacles. So that only leaves ranged cover. And the rules as they are written indicates that an ally in front of you creates a blocked line of sight. If you draw a line to each corner of the target square from one of your corners, if 1-2 lines are blocked by terrain or the enemy's allies, they have cover. If 3-4 lines are blocked (but you still have line of effect), they have superior cover. This is clearly illustrated in the cover rules, so break out your PHB and read away.

Feel free to disagree, and present your points as to why, but I'm actually a little miffed that you labeled me as reactionary and unwilling to read all the rules. While you're decreeing that your method is right, maybe you should head over to DDI and read the "WotC Answers Stealth!" thread (you've read it, right, because it has responses from CSRs six times in there) and each CSR reply contradicts the previous one.

The only thing they all consistently point out is that you are supposed to be able to make a Stealth check in combat as long as you have a successful Bluff, or cover/concealment. They can't agree on if you have to start/remain/end in cover/concealment, they can't agree on if you can "stealthily" attack, they can't even agree on if you have to move out of the square you start it, and they just said "technically the rules allow it" when addressing using cover granted by an ally.

So going on what I know is consistent, and Stealth As Intended™ (I hope I've thoroughly explained the importance of that slogan now), it's ridiculously easy to sneak attack whatever target you like from range as a rogue. The warlock and ranger can only do their extra damage to the closest target. For the ranger to double shoot, they have to make two attack rolls. Assuming the rogue and ranger both have a 50% hit chance, 25% of the time the ranger misses with both, 50% of the time they hit once, and 25% of the time they hit with both. They average a single hit. The rogue will average a single hit, which gets their ability mod damage added.

But one more time, in the most direct way I can state it, so you don't feel the urge to label me as reactionary and unaware of the rules as written and/or intended:

I understand how Stealth As Intended™ works; I think it sucks, because it makes achieving a sneak attack in melee harder than achieving a sneak attack from range. If you like it, that's fortunate for you, because that's how the mechanic is intended. I reserve the right to think it sucks without being insulted for it.

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