Author Topic: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?  (Read 103109 times)

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Endarire

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Traditionally, there's a stealth class or an expectation that someoneinvisibility nor silence.

Let's also assume this guy is in a typical party (some casters, some non-casters).  How is this guy useful in these scenarios?

1: Your party doesn't help nor hamper your stealth?  In this group, you can say, "Stealth time!" then walk off on your own.

2: Your non-sneaky party tries to "help" but makes things worse.  They send non-sneaky or very squishy units to "help" but end up hampering you.
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Don't even need TO for this.  Any decent Hood build, especially one with Celerity, one-rounds [Azathoth, the most powerful greater deity from d20 Cthulu].
Does it bug anyone else that we've reached the point where characters who can obliterate a greater deity in one round are considered "decent?"

bearsarebrown

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2011, 12:33:28 AM »
Not without contrived storytelling. Sadly players want to play it. Both ninjas and snipers.

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2011, 12:38:08 AM »
In the situation presented the 'stealthy' character is acting more like a scout for utility purposes. They may also end up being the individual who can lead enemies into traps, ambushes or similar situations.

But if we want to make a 'stealthy' character viable in a party both the Cunning Ambush & Infiltration teamwork benefits are amazing. Achievable by fifth level it only demands eight ranks for the leader (easy stuff) and one rank in Hide for the team members (also rather easy with cross-class skills).  

Endarire

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2011, 12:52:36 AM »
Where are these teamwork things?
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Speaking of which:
Don't even need TO for this.  Any decent Hood build, especially one with Celerity, one-rounds [Azathoth, the most powerful greater deity from d20 Cthulu].
Does it bug anyone else that we've reached the point where characters who can obliterate a greater deity in one round are considered "decent?"

Garryl

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2011, 01:01:20 AM »
Teamwork benefits can be found in Heroes of Battle. I think there are also some in PHB2, but I'm not sure of that.
Teamwork Benefits - Infiltration, Invisibility Sweep
Teamwork Benefits - Friendly Fire Evasion, Superior Flank
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2011, 01:05:44 AM »
Yes, there are some in the PHB2.  Now, to the OP:

Basically all Strength and Dexterity based skills are skills made to get a party from point A to point B.  Being able to hide really well for the shit of it really isn't a party role, you need to be able to use that ability to advance the party, and there are a few ways to do it (note that these apply to all Str- and Dex-based skills, not just Hide/Move Silently):

1) Sniping- Get into a position where a group of monsters/enemies/whatevers can't effectively attack you and poke at them.  If you're good at this, you can wound and kill a bunch of monsters before the party charges in, making them substantially less effective against the group.

2) Infiltration- Get into a position that the rest of the party can't get to, and do something that will get the party to your location.  This can be as simple as climbing a rock face and then throwing down a rope, or as contrived as using a portable hole or ring gates while the guy on the outside does his thing.

Yes, spells often do it better, but the magically disinclined aren't totally incapable of these things.  In fact, by level 5 your typical sneak should be able to climb pretty much any vertical surface, balance across very narrow ledges and ropes, jump across wide chasms, bypass any locked door or trap, and sneak past any monster lacking an ungodly Spot or Listen modifier.  Past that level, however, magical obstacles become prevalent enough that you need to get some magic yourself to keep pace with the challenges.

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2011, 10:53:52 AM »
Without magic? He's pretty fucking useless. After all, you need shadows to hide in.

Almost everything you face, monster or not has darkvision or low light vision. Darkvision, of course means there are no shadows. Low light vision means the same thing, unless it is pitch black. So you have to do all kinds of crazy stuff, starting with a magic item tax just to even attempt to hide, then pay more taxes so you aren't lol auto owned by a goddamn housecat (scent).

Ignoring that, and ignoring all the other problems with stealth (like say, getting caught, and having to deal with the whole encounter by yourself since you are alone scouting) the results still aren't that good. Stealth sucks a bit less when it is something everyone can do, but that either requires an atypical party composition, or a "no class skills limited by classes" houserule.

Ultimately some variant of Invis and/or Silence will do the job better, because stealth is a skill, and skills must be made to suck.

That, and be binary.
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2011, 11:16:52 AM »
You don't need shaddows to hide at all. You just need some sort of cover of concealment. A simple corner/tree will do.

Scent will only spot you at 30 feet at best, so just keep a safe distance  from those dogs/cats. Darkstalker feat takes care of tremorsense and other such things.

Tome of Battle offers several other goodies for stealth dudes. A single swordsage dip will make wonders.

Also I don't see "Rest of the party alerts enemy to your presence". I see "Rest of the party plays bait/distraction while you sneak around." :smirk
 

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2011, 11:21:12 AM »
I like Factotum/Chameleon as a base for that sort of thing. Sure, you're sneaky, but you also kick serious ass.
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2011, 11:24:09 AM »
Which kind of defeats the point of sneaking around, doesn't it? After all, isn't the point of that to get past the enemy without alerting them?

The only way you're getting cover that moves with you is to carry a goddamn tower shield around and hide everything, including the shield itself behind the shield. Yeah right. And by the time you can get a Lesser Displacement cloak, everything starts having something to see through that anyways (not to mention, you're at a high enough level that mundane stuff auto fails).
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2011, 11:33:07 AM »
Even a paltry Blur will do much of the time for you to Hide. Veil of Shadows does even better. Both 2nd level spells, and well within the abilities of a Factotum, a Chameleon, or your Party Arcanist.
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2011, 11:54:36 AM »
Well, I've always seen teleport-like abilities as a far more viable method of sneaking. Even more now that we have so many ways of teleporting at will, such as Blink Shirt or Dimensional Jaunt. Some divinations and those abilities, and you are golden. So yes. Frankly, there isn't much only a "sneaky" char can do in my opinion. Something, but not much. Namely, sneaking in a dead magic area.
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2011, 12:21:57 PM »
If you make a PC that's impossible to locate and target in combat, it's scary. I've had encounters like that, and it's all but impossible to beat, if they hit hard enough and have sufficient magic.
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Unbeliever

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2011, 02:24:42 PM »
In general, since it's a team game, the standard Splinter Cell style stealth won't be well-captured.  The rogue isn't usually going to be able to defeat the enemies that were set up to challenge the entire party.  And, if you can, then you are going to get glares from around the table as they watch you play.

But, I think none of that is the role for stealth characters in D&D.  In general, I have found stealthy characters most useful for essentially recon.  If you know there are a crowd of giants around that corner, then you can spend 2 rounds getting all your buffs in place, which can make a world of difference.  The same can be true about picking the battlefield.  That one is more creative, but if you can draw the enemies out or something, you can pull them to an environment more favorable to your party. 

Finally, at high levels I have found "mundane" stealth much much better than relying on magic.  And, I feel like I should know a bit about it since I played a rogue-type up to like 28th level.  At higher levels, magical concealment is easily foiled by ubiquitous true-seeing, see invisibility, etc.  But, the humble Hide check, which can be boosted up immensely, can still be quite viable, usually supported by Darkstalker.  Unless you just randomly inject house rules like "darkvision makes hiding obsolete," something I've never even seen the vaguest reference to in the rules, the skill check, if you put some resources into it, is probably the most durable form of sneaking.  The only other contender I can think of is that 8th level Superior Invisibility spell, but that's a lot of resources for a relatively short-term benefit. 

But, yeah, the big answer to this question is the chance to ready your buffs.  The stealthy dude should have some quick escape abilities, just in case, but it can really help if the party thinks a bit about how to take advantage of those skills.

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2011, 04:12:41 PM »
In general, since it's a team game, the standard Splinter Cell style stealth won't be well-captured.  The rogue isn't usually going to be able to defeat the enemies that were set up to challenge the entire party.  And, if you can, then you are going to get glares from around the table as they watch you play.

But, I think none of that is the role for stealth characters in D&D.  In general, I have found stealthy characters most useful for essentially recon.  If you know there are a crowd of giants around that corner, then you can spend 2 rounds getting all your buffs in place, which can make a world of difference.  The same can be true about picking the battlefield.  That one is more creative, but if you can draw the enemies out or something, you can pull them to an environment more favorable to your party. 

Finally, at high levels I have found "mundane" stealth much much better than relying on magic.  And, I feel like I should know a bit about it since I played a rogue-type up to like 28th level.  At higher levels, magical concealment is easily foiled by ubiquitous true-seeing, see invisibility, etc.  But, the humble Hide check, which can be boosted up immensely, can still be quite viable, usually supported by Darkstalker.  Unless you just randomly inject house rules like "darkvision makes hiding obsolete," something I've never even seen the vaguest reference to in the rules, the skill check, if you put some resources into it, is probably the most durable form of sneaking.  The only other contender I can think of is that 8th level Superior Invisibility spell, but that's a lot of resources for a relatively short-term benefit. 

But, yeah, the big answer to this question is the chance to ready your buffs.  The stealthy dude should have some quick escape abilities, just in case, but it can really help if the party thinks a bit about how to take advantage of those skills.
Sums it up pretty well. I don't think a party will say no after getting a few prepared encounters intead of ambushes. Of course, if the GM then feels that this makes fights too easy, then he will probably compensate - and maybe overcompensate. Nevertheless, recon is very important, and especially if you play a travelling party, you can't possibly divine all the possible encounters beforehand. Even if you use CoP all the time (which will most probably make the GM antsy, anyway), having a guy to scout in front is usually a big boon. The only trouble is giving him TOO much spotlight, for instance setting up encounters only for him, which he then can't solve quickly. The GM should also strongly discourage him from engaging the enemy himself, he should rather communicate back, and set up the counter-ambush.

I've had some situations happen before, when the scout walked into an ambush himself, because he botched some spot checks, but neither he nor the enemies had noticed each other. That was pretty funny, as he was basically walking about around among the enemies who were lying in waiting :).

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2011, 04:27:05 PM »
Without magic? He's pretty fucking useless. After all, you need shadows to hide in.

Almost everything you face, monster or not has darkvision or low light vision. Darkvision, of course means there are no shadows.

That shows a profound lack of experience with the stealth options available.

Anybody who's doing anything stealth related at even a moderate level can have dark armor (DotU 97).  It's a static +8000 gp, and you always have concealment against opponents with darkvision.

Or, if you think that costs too much, they could buy a ring of the darkhidden (MIC 122) for 2000 gp, and be completely invisible to darkvision.

Now at this point you're probably going to go "bluh bluh magic item tax".  
People buy magic items to make them really good at the things they do.  Duh.  I don't see you complaining about spellcasters buying metamagic rods.
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Sunic_Flames

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2011, 04:46:03 PM »
But, I think none of that is the role for stealth characters in D&D.  In general, I have found stealthy characters most useful for essentially recon.  If you know there are a crowd of giants around that corner, then you can spend 2 rounds getting all your buffs in place, which can make a world of difference.  The same can be true about picking the battlefield.  That one is more creative, but if you can draw the enemies out or something, you can pull them to an environment more favorable to your party. 

If they see you, you die. For them to chase, they have to see you. And it's trivial to spot a mundane scout, no matter what his Hide modifier is. And that's if he DOES have Darkstalker.

Quote
Finally, at high levels I have found "mundane" stealth much much better than relying on magic.  And, I feel like I should know a bit about it since I played a rogue-type up to like 28th level.  At higher levels, magical concealment is easily foiled by ubiquitous true-seeing, see invisibility, etc.  But, the humble Hide check, which can be boosted up immensely, can still be quite viable, usually supported by Darkstalker.  Unless you just randomly inject house rules like "darkvision makes hiding obsolete," something I've never even seen the vaguest reference to in the rules, the skill check, if you put some resources into it, is probably the most durable form of sneaking.  The only other contender I can think of is that 8th level Superior Invisibility spell, but that's a lot of resources for a relatively short-term benefit. 

But, yeah, the big answer to this question is the chance to ready your buffs.  The stealthy dude should have some quick escape abilities, just in case, but it can really help if the party thinks a bit about how to take advantage of those skills.

Not a house rule. You need something to hide with or behind. Since Darkvision means seeing in darkness, the most obvious answer is right out. And cover fails the moment there stops being a convenient 5 foot wall nearby. Only other ways of getting concealment are the things foiled by true seeing and so forth. Low light vision also sees through darkness, as long as it isn't complete darkness (or magical darkness, obviously). So without even getting into monsters, you auto lose to every PHB race except humans by default (and it's not exactly hard to get a special vision mode...)

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2011, 05:31:48 PM »
Counterpoint: Hide in Plain Sight requires only the presence of shadows. A shadow exists whether or not somebody perceives it; it's simply an area that lacks light above a certain threshold arbitrarily defined by the Daylight spell. Put another way, you don't have Hide in Plain Sight against certain opponents, you just have it. Nothing in the RAW suggests otherwise, and so claiming that Darkvision negates it is a houserule (if one based on common sense notions of how Hide in Plain Sight works; obviously these are ridiculous, though, since you don't even have to be in the shadows, just within 10 feet of them).
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2011, 05:36:52 PM »
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2011, 05:48:19 PM »
Sunic, shut the fuck up.  Cry "magic item tax" all you want, at low-to-mid levels a decent skill character is useful given that you're not going to have the cash for those magic items and monsters still have spot mods in the mid-teens, while it's easy to get ridiculous hide/move silently mods in the low 20's.  What's more, any given Factotum, Warlock, Beguiler, Chameleon, or Bard will be more than capable of casting spells like Invisibility and Silence, anyway, especially by the point that it starts becoming important to have said spells.