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Old 11-25-2016, 09:08 AM   #1
johndallman
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Stealth

Stealth is the DX/A skill of passing unnoticed. It includes hiding and moving quietly, but presumably generalises somewhat, although hiding in a crowd is Shadowing. The defaults are DX-5 or IQ-5, and Shadowing is the only skill that defaults to Stealth. The skill appeared at GURPS 1e.

Chameleon, Invisibility and Silence can boost Stealth and Noisy penalises it. Stealth can be a counter to Blind Fighting, Camouflage can help when Stealth fails, Light Walk can boost it, Observation can counter it, and it's a prerequisite for Invisibility Art and Light Walk. Modifiers include a penalty equal to your encumbrance level, -5 to hide somewhere with no hiding places and up to +3 for lots of places, -5 to fool dogs and others with Discriminatory Smell, and -5 if you are moving faster than Move 1. It's sometimes possible to use Observation, rather than Perception, against Stealth (B359). Stealth is important in ambushes (B402), and impossible if you're coughing or sneezing (B428).

On a success, you can conceal yourself, move quietly enough not to draw casual attention, or follow someone without being noticed. You can also stalk game: half an hour and a successful roll gets you to within about thirty yards of most animals, and another roll at -5 gets you within 15 yards. When trying to sneak up on someone who's alert, you need to win a quick contest of Stealth against their Perception.

There's more detail about that last point in the uFAQ here. The salient point for sneaky backstabbers is that the base range at which the target can hear you on an unmodified Hearing roll is equal to your current movement rate. That makes sneaking to range 1 an unmodified quick contest. Staying there at move 0 for a few seconds of Evaluate before attacking can be quite worthwhile, if you get the chance, but remember that it won't stack with Telegraphic Attack. There's a lot of other good material in that uFAQ entry, and an older thread about Stealth here.

Stealth is universal on templates for thieves and allied trades, and very common for almost anyone who might engage in adventuring. It's also sufficiently useful (or amusing) in everyday life that I always assume characters get their default for Stealth. Some animals and monsters also have the skill. Action has plenty of details about what you use Stealth for, and the Got You Covered rule is invaluable when the party has a Stealth specialist. AtE has details for its own setting, including extensions for the rules on sneaking up on game, and Aliens: Sparrials has a culture where Stealth is a fundamental value. DF has rules for disappearing from a fight, artifacts and loadouts that boost the skill, and wilderness footwear. Fantasy-Tech has homing arrows that can be fooled with Stealth, and High-Tech lets you use the skill to avoid being detected by radar. High-Tech also has footwear to improve Stealth, and lots of equipment that unfortunately penalises it. Low-Tech adds rules for reducing Stealth penalties for armour, LTC2 covers getting past dogs and other watch animals, and LTC3 has more on hunting.

Magic has two Sound spells and an elixir that boost Stealth; Plant Spells adds more. Martial Arts: FCCS has attacks that require Stealth, and Yrth Fighting Styles has several styles with it as a primary skill. Monster Hunters has the same rules as Action, including stealthy break-ins, and some foes with alarming levels of Stealth. The Power-Ups volumes about perks, quirks, talents and wildcard skills all have examples for this skill. Powers has several abilities that boost the skill, Enhanced Senses' Loudness Levels table gives more details of the noises you make, and The Weird covers Stealth in hyperspace. Psionic Powers has a powerful Stealth-boosting ability, which would come in very handy in SEALS in Vietnam, where it's really hard to move quietly in a jungle at night. Tactical Shooting has advice on ambushes and the fine points of Stealth. Thaumatology has Path/Book rituals that boost Stealth, Chinese Elemental Powers does likewise with a Wood power, and Ritual Path Magic uses it for an explanation of how magics do and don't work together. Ultra-Tech has surface finishes and skin replacement technologies that give Chameleon and/or Invisibility, with some improvements, and Underground Adventures has rules for caves and tunnels.

I suspect this may be the most commonly learned skill for GURPS characters, simply because it's useful in almost every setting and every type of adventure. It's rare for me to create a character without it. What have you done with it that was strange or cool?
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Old 11-25-2016, 09:35 AM   #2
WaterAndWindSpirit
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Stealth

I've had a team of two with Stealth skill who managed to kill three bandits out of nine at what the bandits set up as a hostage trade before their cover got blow, greatly evening the odds in the following fight.

They won that fight by the way.
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Old 11-25-2016, 10:15 AM   #3
dripton
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Stealth

One of the true Everyman skills. In many games, every PC has it, and the lowest Stealth skill is a limiting factor for the whole group.

Putting Incompetence: Stealth on your character is probably a 10-point Meta Odious Personal Habit, causing -2 reactions to other GURPS players.
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Old 11-25-2016, 11:17 AM   #4
evileeyore
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Stealth

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
... hiding in a crowd is Shadowing.
No, it isn't. Following someone through a crowd while remaining unnoticed is Shadowing.

There is a distinct difference, as Shadowing defaults to either Observation (the being able to follow a target) or Stealth (being able to follow without notice).



But yes, I agree with dripton, I don't think I've made a character that didn't have Stealth on their sheet (even if it was just so I'd have the default level handy).
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Old 11-25-2016, 11:42 AM   #5
Crystalline_Entity
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Stealth

How does stealth interact with camouflage? The former is the skill of hiding or moving silently, the latter is hiding yourself by blending in with your environment, from the description in Basic Set. Camouflage seems to be limited to vision, but stealth seems to counter different senses (an opponent with discriminatory smell gives a penalty, it's explicitly stated on B358 that listening for someone moving quietly is a quick contest between stealth and hearing).

If you're using both skills to hide, do people trying to find you get two rolls, one versus stealth and one versus camouflage? Does success at camouflage offer a bonus to stealth?

How do you all run this?
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Old 11-25-2016, 11:45 AM   #6
johndallman
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Stealth

Quote:
Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
No, it isn't. Following someone through a crowd while remaining unnoticed is Shadowing.
That was what I thought, until I ran into:
Quote:
Originally Posted by GURPS Action, p10
Man in the Crowd: In a crowded urban situation such as
at a nightclub or on a city street its possible to hide in the
multitude. Simply make a successful Shadowing roll not to
stand out.
I presume that concealing yourself in a crowd is Shadowing, while concealing yourself any other way is Stealth. This might be because Shadowing is about crowds, and Stealth is mostly about yourself.
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Old 11-25-2016, 11:50 AM   #7
johndallman
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Stealth

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystalline_Entity View Post
If you're using both skills to hide, do people trying to find you get two rolls, one versus stealth and one versus camouflage? Does success at camouflage offer a bonus to stealth?
There's quite a bit of discussion of that in the Camouflage thread.
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Old 11-25-2016, 11:55 AM   #8
Crystalline_Entity
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Stealth

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
There's quite a bit of discussion of that in the Camouflage thread.
Ah, hadn't spotted that. Thanks very much!
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Old 11-25-2016, 01:21 PM   #9
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Stealth

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crystalline_Entity View Post
How does stealth interact with camouflage? The former is the skill of hiding or moving silently, the latter is hiding yourself by blending in with your environment, from the description in Basic Set. Camouflage seems to be limited to vision, but stealth seems to counter different senses (an opponent with discriminatory smell gives a penalty, it's explicitly stated on B358 that listening for someone moving quietly is a quick contest between stealth and hearing).

If you're using both skills to hide, do people trying to find you get two rolls, one versus stealth and one versus camouflage? Does success at camouflage offer a bonus to stealth?

How do you all run this?

That's where the complementary roll mechanics come in. Successful Camouflage rolls give you a bonus on your Stealth.
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Old 11-25-2016, 01:40 PM   #10
simply Nathan
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Stealth

Oddly enough I've never seen this one in particular get used in play. I think some of the monsters might've been using it on us though, given that we didn't notice the velociraptors or giant ants until they were within halberding distance.
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