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Old 12-17-2022, 08:57 PM   #81
mburr0003
 
Join Date: Jun 2022
Default Re: Thieves

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjmdw45 View Post
If two groups meet in a field, empty room, or other area with clear sightlines and no hiding spots, and neither enjoys supernatural concealment (e.g., invisibility), nobody has surprise!

Implication: sneaking is impossible and Stealth is irrelevant if there are no hiding spots.
You don't need surprise to perform a Backstab roll.

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Another interpretation is that the Thief was sneaking ahead of the group all along and is simply closer to the enemy when the ambush triggers, no "disappearing from view" necessary.
Oh sure. I'm more than flexible enough for that, as long as the Stealthy PC's Player isn't the type to start "But if I saw them I would have done X, Y, Z..." nonsense and excepts the fiction.

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I interpret that as commentary and tactical advice. This isn't D&D 5E with its unclear writing and poor editing; SJG is usually pretty good at writing clear rules. I presume that if you were intended to assume that the backstabber can cast spells like Haste and Major Healing, move around in the open, and anything else that isn't attacking while the enemy remains ignorant to his presence, the rules would say so plainly. (And then I would ignore those rules if you had no hiding place, because they'd be unrealistic.)
While I wouldn't allow all that extra nonsense. A Backstab roll sets the PC up for a Backstab, if they abandon that, they also abandon their hidden status. Or at least the enemy gets a Perception/Observation roll against their MoS.

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In other words, I interpret that as a friendly reminder that All-Out Attack is risky.
It definitely is, especially for the "Clothe Armor" types.



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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
You're ignoring the first sentence of section on backstabbing: "When the GM starts combat time, anyone may try a Stealth roll to hide in shadows, duck into the bushes, etc".
I interpret "etc" liberally. Otherwise it's really doing a diservice tot he skill in a dungeon delve situation.




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Originally Posted by sjmdw45 View Post
Not so much. In the doomchild case it's because there is a preestablished fictional context: the dungeon keeper has access to 24 doomchildren and some tunnels and doors, and the doomchildren have been ordered to hide behind doors to protect them from missile fire, so "behind the nearest doomchild" is always empty tunnel.
Which is why I'm fine with a Backstab to the front. Sometimes the rules aren't written to cover every situation and require a GM's touch.

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But this isn't a unique case. If you try to Backstab in I Smell a Rat's cellar, you're going to wind up in spider webs getting stabbed by spiders with speed 6.50, faster than you.
And I'd let the Backstabber wait a turn or two for the enemy to be in a good "Backstab position". I don't interpret all these rules literally.

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This works fine if and only if there is no preestablished fictional context. Schrodinger's convenient cover waveform collapses early if someone does recon with Wizard Eye/Rider Within, or if the GM is running a classic dungeon crawl
.
I find that it mostly crumbles in the face of "GM vs the PCs" scenarios when the GM doesn't want to allow the "rule of cool" to ruin their carefully planned encounter where Stealth isn't allowed.
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Old 12-18-2022, 06:31 AM   #82
sjmdw45
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Default Re: Thieves

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Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
You don't need surprise to perform a Backstab roll.
Yes, but you do need hiding places in order to achieve surprise, which is why the mere fact that you can start combat behind an opponent using the Backstab rules isn't good evidence that you're intended to be able to remain unseen behind that opponent even without a hiding place until you attack.

Remember, you were asking how I interpreted the text about All Out Attack. That is my answer: it's a friendly reminder, not a secret rule-by-implication about being undetected until you attack.

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Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
Which is why I'm fine with a Backstab to the front. Sometimes the rules aren't written to cover every situation and require a GM's touch.

And I'd let the Backstabber wait a turn or two for the enemy to be in a good "Backstab position". I don't interpret all these rules literally.

I find that it mostly crumbles in the face of "GM vs the PCs" scenarios when the GM doesn't want to allow the "rule of cool" to ruin their carefully planned encounter where Stealth isn't allowed.
I dunno, it sounds like you already don't use the Backstabbing rules as written, you're using Backstab v1.1 partly because Backstab v1.0 from Exploits pg 57 just doesn't work in too many situations: it's too rigid about positioning.

You're not abandoning Exploits pg 57 and Schrodinger's hiding places because you don't want to allow stealth to ruin your cool spider cellar. You're abandoning it because it just doesn't model a backstabby thief in a spider cellar well enough.

Me neither. I can imagine using a revised version of Backstab, but the version in Exploits is flawed, at least for thieves. It's great for Swashbucklers, Scouts, and Martial Artists though.

Last edited by sjmdw45; 12-18-2022 at 07:10 AM.
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Old 12-18-2022, 01:10 PM   #83
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Thieves

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Originally Posted by sjmdw45 View Post
Yes, but you do need hiding places in order to achieve surprise, which is why the mere fact that you can start combat behind an opponent using the Backstab rules isn't good evidence that you're intended to be able to remain unseen behind that opponent even without a hiding place until you attack.
The fact that you successfully used Stealth means you are concealed.

I have this perfectly good wet erase marker, so I can just draw one on there. I also have a lot of scatter terrain minis. Most VTTs support scatter terrain. So I really don't see how putting a column or an alcove or a rock or a tapestry or whatever on the map presents some impossible logistical feat.
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Old 12-18-2022, 02:33 PM   #84
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Default Re: Thieves

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
The fact that you successfully used Stealth means you are concealed.

I have this perfectly good wet erase marker, so I can just draw one on there. I also have a lot of scatter terrain minis. Most VTTs support scatter terrain. So I really don't see how putting a column or an alcove or a rock or a tapestry or whatever on the map presents some impossible logistical feat.
I would only consider altering the environment to enable hiding if the backstabber had the Serendipity advantage. Otherwise it is what it is.

BTW did you mean "logistical" or "logical"? If you truly meant "logistical" then you're addressing an argument no one on this thread has made, so maybe you just made a typo? No one said it was "logistically" difficult for backstabbing to alter gameworld terrain; but whenever there's a preexisting fictional context it isn't logical. (Yes, Serendipity deliberately breaks logic; that's why it costs 15 points and isn't allowed in all games.)

Last edited by sjmdw45; 12-18-2022 at 02:43 PM.
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Old 12-18-2022, 02:37 PM   #85
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Default Re: Thieves

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Originally Posted by sjmdw45 View Post
I would only consider altering the environment to enable hiding if the backstabber had the Serendipity advantage. Otherwise it is what it is.
If there are literally no hiding places then stealth is impossible and they shouldn't even be allowed to attempt it in the first place. This seems like nerfing a player's abilities solely due to a failure of imagination to me, but YMMV.
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Old 12-18-2022, 05:30 PM   #86
sjmdw45
 
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Default Re: Thieves

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
If there are literally no hiding places then stealth is impossible and they shouldn't even be allowed to attempt it in the first place.
That's what I said in the text you quoted, and you replied, "The fact that you successfully used Stealth means you are concealed."

I do not understand how the same person can have written both statements. They seem contradictory.
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Old 12-18-2022, 05:39 PM   #87
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Default Re: Thieves

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Originally Posted by sjmdw45 View Post
That's what I said in the text you quoted, and you replied, "The fact that you successfully used Stealth means you are concealed."

I do not understand how the same person can have written both statements. They seem contradictory.
You have the option of saying Backstabbing never works in your game and you can just never roll for it. You seem to be describing a situation where you do allow a roll, but put the character on the map in plain sight (despite the backstab rule, and stealth in general, requiring they have to have been hidden).

Quote:
BTW did you mean "logistical" or "logical"? If you truly meant "logistical" then you're addressing an argument no one on this thread has made, so maybe you just made a typo? No one said it was "logistically" difficult for backstabbing to alter gameworld terrain; but whenever there's a preexisting fictional context it isn't logical. (Yes, Serendipity deliberately breaks logic; that's why it costs 15 points and isn't allowed in all games.)
Not being able to alter the map is either because you are physically unable or a failure of imagination. "The map is not the territory".

Last edited by sir_pudding; 12-18-2022 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 12-18-2022, 07:24 PM   #88
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Default Re: Thieves

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Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
I interpret "etc" liberally. Otherwise it's really doing a diservice tot he skill in a dungeon delve situation.
I interpret 'etc' as 'any other thing that might reasonably conceal a character'. There are plenty of uses for the skill that don't involve hiding in a room or corridor with no cover.
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