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Old 04-01-2016, 11:00 AM   #1
Jaware
 
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Default Extensive stealth explination

Alright guys and girls. Once again I consult the collective on matters that I do not fully understand.

I am having issues with how stealth works in this game... The way I see it as of now, is stealth is the character trying to not draw attention to themselves. (Aka, hiding in the shadows, not yelling and screaming, moving quietly, watching his footsteps etc)

My players seem to thing that a skill of 18 in stealth makes them just say "I stealth and I disappear"

Which I could slightly understand if they are in a jungle. But if they are in some ones living room stealing their stuff and somebody walks down the stairs with a flashlight and a ball bat and says whose there and looks at the thieves. Then the thieves say "I roll to stealth, I succeed he can't see me" which I find exceedingly annoying.

I know there are modifiers for stealth. And all that good stuff.

What I am wanting is an extinsive explanation about all the things that stealth entitles. Preferably with examples.

For example. My players are in a dense jungle island gathering water for their shipyard journey. Then a bunch of horde pygmys attack.

I know that to find them they have to roll vs passive perception to notice them going in. And that once they know they are there they have to roll vs active perception, or observation.

But. Here's where it gets tricks. What happens when one of the pcs decides to stealth on their own? The horde pygmys for DF have horrible perception. So then it's just a game of hide and seek. A very boring game of hide and seek.

Also. What happens when one of them tries to use tracking to find where a sealthed Pygmy went? I am thoroughly confused.

And how would camouflage work in the above scenario.

And to throw more confusion into the mix.... What if the one tracking has infra-vision?

I know I screwed up a lot this session, I had something else prepared. And then one of my players was voluntold to do something at his house. And he showed up like 4 hours late... So I improvised. I drug something out that looked like it could entertain everyone till our no show managed to weasel free from tyranny.

Back on track...

I would love a long and detailed explination of what stealth is, and how exactly it can and should be used. That way both my players, and I can look at it and screenshot it to consult in the further.

This is my second campaign I've run, but the other one was just mindless undead for the enemies, so they didn't stealth or try and look for hidden enemies etc.

I appreciate the help.
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Old 04-01-2016, 11:58 AM   #2
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Extensive stealth explination

Stealth is not Invisibility Art (which might well not even exist in your setting), nor Invisibility, so obviously it can't do those things, or those traits wouldn't have a reason to exist.

You know that there are modifiers for Stealth. And you're the GM. So it's your job to come up with appropriate modifiers. Hiding in a "totally bare room" is cited as impossible (no roll, not even at -10), and "without natural hiding places" is -5.

Stealth also implies actually taking specific actions and limiting other options in order to even have a chance to succeed. A thief might try to hide if they hear an incoming guard, but they can't just disappear from sight while continuing to stand in the middle of the vault while shoveling money into their gym bag.

You're playing an RPG, so here's where the narrative element helps. What does the thief _say_ they're doing to hide. "I make my Stealth roll" is not an in-game action. Are they hiding behind the door? Dive behind a couch? Just stand really still and think like a lamp? These will all call for different modifiers, and imply different limits on further action. If you're hiding behind the couch, you can't remain hidden back there while also walking out the door past the guard.

You're also going to have to decide how cinematic you want your game to be. Hollywood has plenty of examples of people going unobserved even though they would be in plain sight, simply because the searcher doesn't look their way as they slowly move around behind them to escape or attack. That's a Contest by the searcher. If you're going for a more gritty and realistic game, perhaps that seems like too much, so you'd increase the penalty for trying such a trick.

A game of hide-and-seek doesn't have to be boring, particularly if it has lethal consequences. Think of all those WWII submarine movies (or some of the Star Treks, including "Balance of Terror" and "Wrath of Khan").

Stealth doesn't make you immune to being tracked. See the description of the Tracking skill; it is its own counter-skill.

Camouflage seems pretty explicit. "Camouflage will not improve your Stealth roll, but if you fail a Stealth roll while camouflaged, those who heard you must still see through your camouflage to see you."

Infravision seems pretty explicit in its listed bonuses to vision rolls and bonus to Tracking.
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Old 04-01-2016, 12:16 PM   #3
evileeyore
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Default Re: Extensive stealth explination

1 - No one can "just roll Stealth" and disappear from view unless they have an ability that says this. They need to break LOS (Line Of Sight*) first. In DF there are powers and abilities and equipment that accomplish this step.

2 - They need somewhere to hide. A flat open plain affords no where to hide. Likewise with a featureless corridor that is well-lit (or that holds no vision penalties for the foe). Once the smoke clears from their Smoke Grenade (presuming the use of a Smoke Nageteppo) the foe will clearly see them hugging the flat tunnel wall clear as day (or night, or whatever).

3 - Stealth does not work in a vacuum. But you know this as your question on Horde Pygmies suggests.

Your question:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaware View Post
For example. My players are in a dense jungle island gathering water for their shipyard journey. Then a bunch of horde pygmys attack.

I know that to find them they have to roll vs passive perception to notice them going in. And that once they know they are there they have to roll vs active perception, or observation.

But. Here's where it gets tricks. What happens when one of the pcs decides to stealth on their own? The horde pygmys for DF have horrible perception. So then it's just a game of hide and seek. A very boring game of hide and seek.
Not really... it's just a boring game of hide-and-seek for that one character. The rest of party still has to deal with the horde however it is that they deal with the horde.

If the whole party "just Stealths" then the horde will hang around a few minutes... and then leave. Though unless the party has some way of tracking them or knowing if they're still about, the party wouldn't know this.


Quote:
Also. What happens when one of them tries to use tracking to find where a sealthed Pygmy went? I am thoroughly confused.
If they spotted a Pygmy, and thus know where it was stepping (or rolled well enough to find the little Pygmy footprints versus Stealth 16) then they can follow to where ever it went, at half Move for the tracker.

So unless the tracker is really fast... all he's doing is following the Pygmy into a trap.

Quote:
And how would camouflage work in the above scenario.
It doesn't affect the Pygmy's prints. However should the Pygmy remain still and the tracker approach, unless the tracker made a Per or Observation versus a 20... they'd likely think the "tracks just end here" like say "at this bush/tree/hollow log/swaying vine/etc".

Quote:
And to throw more confusion into the mix.... What if the one tracking has infra-vision?
Infravision gives a +2 to Vision and +3 to Tracking rolls. Not sure what the confusion is?

In the directly above tracking the beast scenario? The Infravision equipped tracker would know the tracks do not continue. No confusion. They know the little blighter either t-ported, or got picked up, or flew off, or something. Or (since I never tell the Player the penalties to their rolls) they could have just failed the roll.

However in neither case is the Pygmy "just revealed". Just because the trail stops "at the bush" and doesn't continue away from it, doesn't mean they know for certain the Pygmy is hiding there. Of course nothing is stopping them from wild swinging into the bush, or setting it on fire.



Horde Pygmys can be murder against a party that can't just lay down carpet bombing on the perimeter. This is where Discriminatory Smell comes in real handy on the Barbarian (or anyone who plunked down the 15 exp and Out-Of-Template training cost) as it renders the Observation test versus Stealth at 16 instead of 18/20 and adds a whooping +4** to Observation!




* Or Hearing, or Smell, or however they are being detected by the foe they wish to hide from.
** Yes, I know just buying 3 Levels of Perception gives a +3 to all senses... it's a toss-up as to whether the "all senses +3" bonus is better long-term versus the "taste and smell only +4" + the "can analyze" feature. With the case of Discriminatory Smell most "Stealth" enemies can not defeat Smell (they have Silence or Camouflage or both), most Enemies do not have Sanitized Metabolism or the No-Smell spell.
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Old 04-01-2016, 01:56 PM   #4
Jaware
 
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Default Re: Extensive stealth explination

Quote:
Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
1 - No one can "just roll Stealth" and disappear from view unless they have an ability that says this. They need to break LOS (Line Of Sight*) first. In DF there are powers and abilities and equipment that accomplish this step.

2 - They need somewhere to hide. A flat open plain affords no where to hide. Likewise with a featureless corridor that is well-lit (or that holds no vision penalties for the foe). Once the smoke clears from their Smoke Grenade (presuming the use of a Smoke Nageteppo) the foe will clearly see them hugging the flat tunnel wall clear as day (or night, or whatever).

3 - Stealth does not work in a vacuum. But you know this as your question on Horde Pygmies suggests.

Your question:


Not really... it's just a boring game of hide-and-seek for that one character. The rest of party still has to deal with the horde however it is that they deal with the horde.

If the whole party "just Stealths" then the horde will hang around a few minutes... and then leave. Though unless the party has some way of tracking them or knowing if they're still about, the party wouldn't know this.



If they spotted a Pygmy, and thus know where it was stepping (or rolled well enough to find the little Pygmy footprints versus Stealth 16) then they can follow to where ever it went, at half Move for the tracker.

So unless the tracker is really fast... all he's doing is following the Pygmy into a trap.


It doesn't affect the Pygmy's prints. However should the Pygmy remain still and the tracker approach, unless the tracker made a Per or Observation versus a 20... they'd likely think the "tracks just end here" like say "at this bush/tree/hollow log/swaying vine/etc".


Infravision gives a +2 to Vision and +3 to Tracking rolls. Not sure what the confusion is?

In the directly above tracking the beast scenario? The Infravision equipped tracker would know the tracks do not continue. No confusion. They know the little blighter either t-ported, or got picked up, or flew off, or something. Or (since I never tell the Player the penalties to their rolls) they could have just failed the roll.

However in neither case is the Pygmy "just revealed". Just because the trail stops "at the bush" and doesn't continue away from it, doesn't mean they know for certain the Pygmy is hiding there. Of course nothing is stopping them from wild swinging into the bush, or setting it on fire.



Horde Pygmys can be murder against a party that can't just lay down carpet bombing on the perimeter. This is where Discriminatory Smell comes in real handy on the Barbarian (or anyone who plunked down the 15 exp and Out-Of-Template training cost) as it renders the Observation test versus Stealth at 16 instead of 18/20 and adds a whooping +4** to Observation!




* Or Hearing, or Smell, or however they are being detected by the foe they wish to hide from.
** Yes, I know just buying 3 Levels of Perception gives a +3 to all senses... it's a toss-up as to whether the "all senses +3" bonus is better long-term versus the "taste and smell only +4" + the "can analyze" feature. With the case of Discriminatory Smell most "Stealth" enemies can not defeat Smell (they have Silence or Camouflage or both), most Enemies do not have Sanitized Metabolism or the No-Smell spell.
That pretty much answers every question I had.

I appreciate it my good sir.

And I like the idea of not telling the players their penalties.

Only other thing I can think of is how would you go about giving penalties for an SM+1, 8 foot tall lizard man trying to stealth in a jungle to track said SM-1, 3 foot tall Pygmy that may or may not know if it's looking at him?

I would assume the lizard man would have to break los,(though he doesn't know that) then take some sort of - because he's huge and sticks out like a sore thumb. Where as the Pygmy would probably get a bonus, cause he's tiny and easy to hide.

And, what would it be a quick contest of tracking at X vs stealth at 16? For the contest to track them?
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Old 04-01-2016, 02:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: Extensive stealth explination

Quote:
Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
You seem to know what you are doing, so if I may ask, one of the PCs has natural DR 3 with tough skin. And he is wearing Dr2* armor on most of his body.

The pygmys couldn't scratch him with their measily 1d-3 pi- blowguns...

I didn't take that into consideration because of the the whole chunk of the game was spurr of the moment. (This was including traps cause I didn't have any planned)

But that player couldn't be scratched.

What should I have done differently for that? Besides traps?
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Old 04-01-2016, 02:15 PM   #6
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Extensive stealth explination

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaware View Post
But that player couldn't be scratched.

What should I have done differently for that? Besides traps?
Tough Skin DR doesn't cover the eyes, so shooting at those could be an option. Tough Skin also doesn't protect against Blood Agents, so the poisoned darts simply need to get past his worn armor - either by hitting where it isn't, or with a roll of maximum damage - to deliver their 1 point of toxic damage. I think blowguns can benefit from All Out Attack (Strong), boosting damage to 1d-1 - not enough to get past the DR of the character's most heavily-armored bits, but enough to sneak more than just toxic damage past his natural DR on a good roll. Finally, there's always the risk of Critical Hits, which can automatically bypass all DR, get triple damage, or similar (although those are rather low-probability events).

Last edited by Varyon; 04-01-2016 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 04-01-2016, 02:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: Extensive stealth explination

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaware View Post
You seem to know what you are doing, so if I may ask, one of the PCs has natural DR 3 with tough skin. And he is wearing Dr2* armor on most of his body.

The pygmys couldn't scratch him with their measily 1d-3 pi- blowguns...
Tough Skin DR doesn't protect against things that only need a touch or pinprick. So if those blowgun needles are poisoned, he'd still be in trouble on the rare roll good enough to penetrate his armor.
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Old 04-01-2016, 02:23 PM   #8
Jaware
 
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Default Re: Extensive stealth explination

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Tough Skin DR doesn't cover the eyes, so shooting at those could be an option. Tough Skin also doesn't protect against Blood Agents, so the poisoned darts simply need to get past his worn armor - either by hitting where it isn't, or with a roll of maximum damage - to deliver their 1 point of toxic damage. I think blowguns can benefit from All Out Attack (Strong), boosting damage to 1d-1 - not enough to get past the DR of the character's most heavily-armored bits, but enough to sneak more than just toxic damage past his natural DR on a good roll. Finally, there's always the risk of Critical Hits, which can automatically bypass all DR, get triple damage, or similar (although those are rather low-probability events).
Alright, that makes a bunch of sense. I didn't want to have them target the eyes, cause of how easy it is to cripple the eye, and it being only the second session I didn't want to blind him... But the others make sense to me. I can't believe I missed the blood agent bit. I should have known that.
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Old 04-01-2016, 02:40 PM   #9
Jaware
 
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Default Re: Extensive stealth explination

This is getting a little bit off topic, but I have another scenario completely unrelated to the stealth bit and I didn't know how to handle it...

Basically one of the PCs left their stuff on the boat so she didn't have a ranged attack to fight against the unseen pygmys.

Eventually she came up with a plan. She played dead on the outskirts of combat and one of the pygmys got close, shot her with another dart, then turned around thinking she was dead.

On her turn, she grappled the little guy and used him as a human meat shield. (She was strong enough to hold him in 1 hand)

Eventually she cornered one of the other pygmys and was trying to get it to put its weapon down, or she would kill it's friend. It didn't care as they are cowardly. And she wanted to try and take the blowpipe away from the other Pygmy while holding onto the other one.......

It was a creative way of thinking and it was in character as she was a medic type monk that tried not to kill anyone, she was trying to finish the fight by taking away their weapons.

But. I said no, because I don't think you can hold a struggling Pygmy in one arm and try to wrestle a blowpipe out of another's had at the same time. And I wanted to keep the campaign rolling and not stuck digging up rules in the books.

Any thoughts on this?
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Old 04-01-2016, 04:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: Extensive stealth explination

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaware View Post
Only other thing I can think of is how would you go about giving penalties for an SM+1, 8 foot tall lizard man trying to stealth in a jungle to track said SM-1, 3 foot tall Pygmy that may or may not know if it's looking at him?

I would assume the lizard man would have to break los,(though he doesn't know that) then take some sort of - because he's huge and sticks out like a sore thumb. Where as the Pygmy would probably get a bonus, cause he's tiny and easy to hide.
The Pygmy gets a +1 to it's vision checks due to the Lizard Man's SM +1, the Lizard Man is at -1 to spot the Pygmy due only to SM (say if it isn't being Stealthy).

Yeah, if the Lizard Man does nothing to break LOS (which he might not know he needs to) the Pygmy can pretty easily follow him. Though in a thick enoguh jungle the Pygmy might lose LOS easily enough. Your call.

There is no inherent penalty or bonus to Stealth due to SM. Only to the Observation or Perception rolls.

Quote:
And, what would it be a quick contest of tracking at X vs stealth at 16? For the contest to track them?
By RAW it's Tracking versus Tracking and the track coverer moves at only half rate. However as most monster stat blocks are largely only concerned with combat stats... this is my fudge:

The Tracker makes Quick Contests of Tracking versus Stealth with a bonus equal to 1/2 the quarry's Movement rate (doubled if the target is sprinting). If the Tracker wants to move faster than 1/2 Move, he takes a penalty equal to the extra Move he is taking (double penalty if the Tracker sprints). (I always figure moving Stealthily means you're avoiding making noises, like breaking twigs, scuffing rocks, avoiding squelching mud, etc. Keep in mind the Pygmy is at -5 to Stealth if it's moving faster than Move 1.)

So if your Lizard Man has a Move of 6 and is following a fleeing Pygmy (Move 6, 7 if he's sprinting), the Lizard Man makes his roll at +3 (or +8 if the Pygmy sprints!) if he is taking his time. If he's trying to keep up, he makes them at +0.

If your Tracker is following a group, roll Stealth for the whole group*.

Keep in mind though, that is my House Rule.


If the group is 'counter-tracking" (ie using the Tracking skill to cover their tracks) then I don't give bonuses unless the quarry is moving faster than 1/2 Move. In that case I asses bonuses to the Tracker as above.

* Keep in mind it's a +6 for Tracking a group. +3 for tracking a non-Animal (the rules say "man" but I take that to be "non-animal"). While there are no SM bonuses or penalties to tracking, I'd say use them too if you want. So Pygmies are +2 to track individually, +5 for whole groups.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaware View Post
On her turn, she grappled the little guy and used him as a human meat shield. (She was strong enough to hold him in 1 hand)

Eventually she cornered one of the other pygmys and was trying to get it to put its weapon down, or she would kill it's friend. It didn't care as they are cowardly. And she wanted to try and take the blowpipe away from the other Pygmy while holding onto the other one.......

It was a creative way of thinking and it was in character as she was a medic type monk that tried not to kill anyone, she was trying to finish the fight by taking away their weapons.

But. I said no, because I don't think you can hold a struggling Pygmy in one arm and try to wrestle a blowpipe out of another's had at the same time. And I wanted to keep the campaign rolling and not stuck digging up rules in the books.

Any thoughts on this?
Nice tactic!

Okay, if you have Martial Arts this question is pretty well answered for you:

-2 to one-handed grapple a foe (and -2 to grappling techniques, -4 to deal damage one-handed using grapple techniques (like Arm Lock or Neck Snap), 1/2 ST for Chokes and Strangling). This penalty extends to resisting their Break-free attempts.

If you aren't using Martial Arts rules... eh... I forget exactly where they are (I think they're scattered around) but basically your at 1/2 ST for everything (-5 to rolls for Chokes and Strangles) you have to do if grappling with only one-hand.



Even if you don't have Martial Arts I'd use them, it's easy to remember:
-2 to hit and grapple technique rolls, -4 to deal damage via a technique. +2 for each hand beyond two (say for those legendary Coleopteran grapplers).

Also if you allow Techniques, a grappler can learn One-Handed variants of any technique to buy off up to -2. Say for those legendary Coleopteran grapplers who like to choke out 4 enemies at once!

Last edited by evileeyore; 04-01-2016 at 04:37 PM.
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