D&D 5E Thievery in 5e - still relevant?

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Well, Kyle does think "a rogue" is a front line melee striker. He sees "rogue" as a "free spirit" in the most "Disney" sort of way. He is fine with mass slaughter, but thinks "stealing" is bad. Even if in a game with more "theivery" abilities for his character, he simply would not use them....after all, he does not do so in 5E.

And he has the huge shadow of Modern Sensibilities. His idea of robbing a bank is to attack the bank, slaughter all there and then loot. He would not even consider doing anything that was not combat. And he is fine stealing from big banks or 'evil' companies, but has a problem with stealing from "people".

I doubt few modern gamers would like your use a "Thief Class" in 5E: both DMs and Players. They would just skip it.
Sometimes I really wish this site had a facepalm emoji in the "Like" options. :)
 

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Running my weekend game with players much younger....and it's fascinating to see their view on thievery or crime. Specifically fictional not in any way real thievery or crime....like in a fictional world in a RPG.

They are all so dead set against it, almost like they have been conditioned against it.

Combat, mass killing of foes, looting dead bodies or destroying things and they are just fine. Suggest they rob a potion shop and they no only say no, but freak out at the suggestion "as stealing is so wrong".

And even when they can get to the point of committing a fictional crime like stealing, they still feel the need to make sure it's "ok" by their view point. They don't want to steal from a (fictional) working class family, but have no problem stealing from a big merchant trade group.

And I wonder how they get this mindset?
 

Larnievc

Hero
Usually it’s because dms often start with “should I allow stealth to work in this situation?” and either the dm wants more guidance there or they say “no” often enough that players feel bad for trying to be a stealthy character.
That what I don’t understand: it’s the DM’s job to put a DC on the task: that’s a fundamental DM skill. Not being able to do that means maybe they don’t have the chops to be a DM?
 

Larnievc

Hero
A scenario I've seen more than once is "the bandit camp". Character tries to reconnoiter an area. Queue 50 perception checks as you suddenly have to elude the eyes of everyone present because surely there's no way anyone would be distracted or not be on their guard at all times, lol.
Slap a DC on it. Player makes one check. Pass or fail: DM describes a montage. Player feels like the Predator or gets caught. Game moves on. I can see no situation when 50 checks is fun.
 

Larnievc

Hero
Like dig a tunnel? Cast a spell that requires 10 minutes of chanting? Or pass a note through the bars?
That’s for the DM to rule on: narrative flow and all that. I hate the phrase common sense but that’s what DM and players have to both have to keep the game from getting bogged down.
 


James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Slap a DC on it. Player makes one check. Pass or fail: DM describes a montage. Player feels like the Predator or gets caught. Game moves on. I can see no situation when 50 checks is fun.
Well no, it's obviously not intended to be fun. The DM who employs a tactic like this really doesn't want Stealth to succeed. That was the whole point of my post- Stealth tends to be less pass/fail and more "does the DM want it to function in this circumstance" (in my experience).

Stealth has many hoops to jump through to begin with, and thus can easily be rendered pointless by any DM who doesn't want it be an option. I often don't bother to be proficient with it, because it's so rarely functioned. I still recall my very first AD&D Thief, trying to sneak about and gather intel on our enemies, being told that I was automatically spotted by an orc, because orcs have infravision, and the book says I can only hide from infravision "only if some heat producing light source is near to the creature or to the thief attempting to so hide....". Yes because carrying around a torch while sneaking makes perfect sense, lol.

And again, ask yourself how many standard D&D monsters who lurk in dungeons have infravision (or some other stealth-foiling sense). So here you have an ability in a game called "Dungeons & Dragons" that typically neither works in Dungeons or against Dragons, lol.

So yeah. I've learned that stealth only works when the DM wants it to, the fiddly rules are simply there to justify them not wanting it to.

In the current edition, it's even worse in some ways, as I've encountered several DM's who like to make group checks to see if the party can sneak about without being detected. Given that most armor users have disadvantage on this check (and armor users tend not to be trained in Stealth or have particularly high Dexterity in the first place), the chances of success in your standard Fighter/Cleric/Wizard/Rogue party is fairly slim in such cases.

In fact, one of the best ways to get Stealth to function at all in this edition is Pass Without Trace. A spell. Something a Rogue doesn't have access to natively, let alone Invisibility. Not long ago, I was in another thread complaining about how useless Stealth is (with regards to AD&D Backstab) when someone was like "what? in my campaign Thieves were backstabbing all the time!".

I bring up the extremely restrictive rules for setting up a Backstab in the first place, and his response was (as near as I can recall), "oh well, I always give Thieves a Ring of Invisibility". LOL.

Now I know some people are going to say "well in my campaign, I allow Rogues to..." and that's great. I'm sure there are many sane DM's have long since made rulings about stealth that actually allow it to work. But of all the skills in the game, there is none more restrictive than the ability to creep up on someone unseen.

I recently started playing Baldur's Gate 3, and I was surprised at how easy sneaking about is. All you need to do is stay out of the enemy perception range and you're hidden. The game only makes you roll if you actually blunder into said range. And there are several ways to distract enemies to make sneaking about easier. It functions so simply that I'm stunned that it's always been so complicated at the table, almost as if the designers don't want stealth to function!
 

pemerton

Legend
That’s for the DM to rule on: narrative flow and all that. I hate the phrase common sense but that’s what DM and players have to both have to keep the game from getting bogged down.
I’m really losing the thread of what you are getting.
Upthread you posted that:
If they succeed the guards are gone for long enough. I don't understand why the DM interpreting the result of the player rolls into outcomes is a problem. That's what a DM should be doing.

I then pointed out that there is a domain of play, in D&D, in which the GM does not simply interpret the result of the player's roll having regard to "common sense". Namely, combat. You said (post 200) that combat needs to be structured, but my point is that it doesn't need to be. It is. Whereas most non-combat activity, like distracting guards, is not. Rather, it's up to the GM's decision-making. Which was my point in posts 146 and 176, to which you responded:
D&D doesn't generally have very good resolution processes for escaping capture or imprisonment. 4e can be an exception, via skill challenges.
Outside of 4e skill challenges, to the best of my knowledge D&D has no resolution system for how long the guards are gone for; whether or not Zenobia has taken a shine to you or the brother of someone you once killed wants to take vengeance on you; whether or not your attempt to trick a guard generates the result you want; whether the guards look behind your poster to notice the escape tunnel you're digging; etc, other than "GM decides".
 

pemerton

Legend
Stealth has many hoops to jump through to begin with, and thus can easily be rendered pointless by any DM who doesn't want it be an option.

<snip>

I'm stunned that it's always been so complicated at the table, almost as if the designers don't want stealth to function!
Rather, the game is designed so that the players can't assert control over how a situation is presented to them. Stealth is just a particularly salient example.
 

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