Author Topic: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?  (Read 100509 times)

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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 #20 on: February 04, 2011, 06:15:15 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.

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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...)
...
I usually make it a policy to ignore things like this, in part b/c I actually like to use words rather than "herp" or "derp."  But, this isn't even remotely true. 

For your convenience, I have included just some of the hiding rules from the Rules Compendium (page 92): 

[spoiler]
Move between Cover:Sneak up from Hiding:good at sneaking, right?  Not just some random yokel who decides to pretend to be a ninja.

Secondly, you're just wrong as to "mundane" scouts being easy to spot.  It's numbingly easy to get a crazy high Hide check, and unless the spotter dedicates a lot of resources to countering it, you'll nearly always win.  We had to nerf some of it at high levels in order to keep it interesting.  For my high level rogue the only monster in the Epic Level Handbook that even has a chance of spotting him is the Hecatoncheires.  I know ... math is hard.  While True Seeing announces "fuck you Invisibility" it doesn't help out against Hide.  One of the few edges a mundane tactic has. 

Finally, I acknowledged the need for escape tactics.  These abound.  The enemies won't typically surprise the scout, and hopefully he can survive more than 1 round anyway (although perhaps not in Sunic's house of death or something ...), but if he's got a good Init check and some escape options (D-Door, just running really fast) then he can get out there.  Sure, there's a risk, but that's what fun encounters are about. 

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2011, 06:18:22 PM »
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Hide in Plain Sight requires only the presence of shadows
No one said anything about hide in plain sight. He said hide.

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Sunic, shut the fuck up.  
Quick question... do you really want to get "uncivil" like that?
Man's voice a strong opinion. Contrary to what other people want to hear. . .
So your answer is to shout him down? Really? Thats really uncool of you x-codes.
   In anycase I'm going to roll with Sunic on this one just because if 12 people agree on
something it should be someones JOB to disagree so that its not an automatic circle jerk.
But this is really what expouses it to me.
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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.
Thats a pretty hardcore rubric to go up against really.
1. Scout ahead: Get spotted. Die
2. Scout ahead: Get spotted. Win. Do that more than occasionally and people are likely to get annoyed at watching your solo adventure.
....
3. Scout ahead : Return with info. It seems like... well honestly this is a job that can be accomplished with class features, instead of splitting the Xp/gold with someone who's whole goal in life is to do that.
.........
There's something else that really irks me about this in a way.
 You do need some kind of concealment to hide. Sunic saying shadow is just once case and we all know that.
However... if you hide behind a tree and you walk out from behind a tree everybody just sees you. Especially with darkvision being out there, and everybody start pointing out how many other ways there are to be able to hide.
So, if you have a party of "total stealth dudes" it would take a specific type of encounter to kill actually challenge them. So you maybe could build and run a "force recon" adventure... but really scry/die, arcane eye, ... just spells in general seem to be what obviates it. Doesn't really play out well in other types of parties in my exp.
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I played a rogue-type up to like 28th level.
 :( epic.

EDIT: Those rules pointed out in the rules compendium. I've never seen anyone invoke in a game ever. I've read that and don't even think of those rules. I'd have to see what the penalty is, further they break even with spells that do the same.
Lastly even if you are PERVERSLY good at hiding, you still run into the 3 situations I outlined above, please address.

Edit 2:
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That penalty can be insanely huge depending on circumstace

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Hecatoncheires. I know ... math is hard.  While True Seeing announces "fuck you Invisibility" it doesn't help out against Hide.  One of the few edges a mundane tactic has.
I don't think anybody really considers the things that happen @ epic levels this is not adding any credibility to your argument. That just not practical enough for people to care typically. Also... civility... lets not get all "math is hard" it'll just turn the thread to nonsense faster. I for one am curious to see what really becomes of this.
Someon may have gotten something valid out of stealth interactions with a party. See thats my problem with it more than anything else. It just doesn't gel well unless you're able to seriously assassinate someone then high tail it back to the party.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 06:33:11 PM by Midnight_v »
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Kajhera

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2011, 06:41:44 PM »
It just doesn't gel well unless you're able to seriously assassinate someone then high tail it back to the party.

An assassin in my party did things of this variety.
Unexpectedly turning the tides of great battles and such.
It was really pretty sweet when the ship in the middle of the enemy fleet abruptly splintered into pieces...

Midnight_v

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2011, 06:44:48 PM »
It just doesn't gel well unless you're able to seriously assassinate someone then high tail it back to the party.

An assassin in my party did things of this variety.
Unexpectedly turning the tides of great battles and such.
It was really pretty sweet when the ship in the middle of the enemy fleet abruptly splintered into pieces...
Wow. How'd he accomplish that?
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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 #24 on: February 04, 2011, 06:56:40 PM »
@Midnight_v

Numbers
That's just the stealth character I have lying around, and the last one I played w/ any regularity.  +10 stealth items are common, as are spells like Forestfold.  So, if you have maxed ranks in Hide/Move Silently and a decent Dex, then your Stealth score should be something like, level+3+5 (stat) + 10 (items, etc.) = level +18.  I actually looked at another of my stealthy characters, who has a whopping Dex of 12 and few resources other than an eternal wand of forestfold, and his checks are routinely +25 at level 10. 

Now, even if you're going up against opponents who are 10 hit dice higher than you, and maxed in Spot/Listen, it's going to be a straight roll to be spotted.

Cover
As to cover, I think it might be too circumstantial to talk about in a meaningful way.  However, if it's dark (reasonably often) then a trivial commitment gives you the ability to hide.  If not, then you may need something like Hide in Plain sight.  That's maybe more of a commitment, but we're talking about someone w/ some dedication to sneaking.  Actually, now that I think about it, it just takes that collar from Tome of Magic.  That being said, I readily concede that there will be some circumstances where sneaking is not a good plan or helpful.   

They find me and I'm dead
Ok, where do people come up w/ this?  No, seriously, is the average character one-shottable in your games?  You'd still get an initiative roll, which a scout has a reasonable chance of winning, and even then a character of high level should have some decent defenses (e.g., Diamond Mind counters, whatever).  So, I just don't see this.  Now, if it is the case that you're always one attack away from death, even w/ some escape precautions prepped, then yeah, I'd say no scouting ... ever.

What I do see, however, is "oh shit, they found me, get out now."  Which is why I mentioned escape options a few times now.

Civility
I am not sure how to respond to this one.  I usually don't weigh on things here b/c I am a combination of busy and relatively uninformed.  But, in my humble opinion, it's not like Sunic_Flames either is or has a reputation of being a kind opposition who does not shout people down.  So, he's bound to, and probably revels in, pissing people off.  I don't think others need to be chastised when that happens. 

Sunic_Flames

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2011, 07:30:45 PM »
BAW I HAVE NOTHING USEFUL TO SAY SO I'M GOING TO WHINE AND FLAIL AT SUNIC! OH BY THE WAY, I R TRYING TO BEAT FAELRYINTH AS BIGGEST FUCKWIT OF ALL TIME!

Good to hear. Now shut the fuck up.

Now, in response to someone who is actually presenting useful information:

You presented hiding rules that impose massive penalties. Seriously, -1 to the check per foot you must travel. So if the fucker is 30 feet away, you lose 1.5 RNGs. As in the entire range of numbers. More than once. So yes, it's safe to say you auto fail such checks. Non viable options are not options.

Not to mention that in general, they get a chance to spot you every single round, and each of them get such a chance. This means either one of two things happen:

1: The enemy can never, ever win the check.
2: They have any chance of winning the check, even if it's very small. Iterative Probability means you get spotted every time. After all, you have to pass every stealth check. They have to pass one check to notice you. Same principle applies.

Darkvision typically has a range of 60 feet, sometimes higher. That still means a 125 foot diameter sphere, singled on the darkvision guy. Quite a large radius to avoid, especially when you consider multiple spotters, each in different locations. Now, low light vision means among other things you can "see as well as a moonlight night as a human can in the day". You can also "read just fine by candlelight". While it's not explicitly saying that you ignore shadowy illumination, it is still saying that. So either it's pitch dark (which by the way, means you need darkvision too, and encounter all the same problems you mentioned them having) or they can see like it's broad daylight.

Stealth, like any mundane skill is shut down by a long list of things, such that you need a long list of things of your own to even attempt it. And even then, it doesn't quite work out. For example you need Darkstalker just to not get auto owned by Housecats and their Scent ability. Not to mention Blindsense, Blindsight, and Tremorsense. But you still get auto owned by Mindsight (every outsider, some aberrations, many other creatures), Touchsight (any psionic), Lifesense (any undead) and others. Not to mention the more mundane auto owns. Such as not having the enemy conveniently right next to you but never looking your direction.

As for getting caught and death, well characters tend not to still be standing after two rounds even with the whole party there. Except if you're scouting, and it doesn't work out they aren't there. Which means the whole encounter gets to focus fire on you until you get away. And since running will make you die tired... Not to mention that most of the scouting types have the worst defenses in the entire game.
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Sunic may be more abrasive than sandpaper coated in chainsaws (not that its a bad thing, he really does know what he's talking about), but just posting in this thread without warning and telling him he's an asshole which, if you knew his past experiences on WotC and Paizo is flat-out uncalled for. Never mind the insults (which are clearly 4Chan-level childish). You say people like Sunic are the bane of the internet? Try looking at your own post and telling me you are better than him.

Here's a fun fact: You aren't. By a few leagues.
[/spoiler]

The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2011, 07:34:14 PM »
Darkvision has already been addressed.

It's only 2000 gp to be completely invisible to darkvision.

Darkvision doesn't matter in any discussion of anybody who's even moderately interested in being stealthy.
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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 #27 on: February 04, 2011, 07:54:06 PM »
@Iterative Probability
I think you're looking at this in a very strange way.  Or, more precisely, in a way that assumes that players are infinitely risk-averse.  Now, if it is the case that "if you get spotted then you are dead," then infinite (or extremely high) risk-aversion is warranted.  I kind of said that previously.  Although I should point out that Swordsages make great sneakers, and they have really good defenses. 

This seems to me a more sensible way of looking at it.  In any encounter I can decide to sneak up on it, and gain a big advantage.  If doing so doesn't give my party a big advantage in some way -- e.g., if there are no buffers in the party, no terrain to take advantage -- then I think stealth is a non-starter.  But in doing so I suffer some risk that they may find me.  I'm making a trade-off between those two things:  the advantage I gain from the recon (buffs, etc.) and the risk I am taking in doing so. 

Now, in response to the subject heading, I think it's certainly possible to make that trade-off worth it.  It's often been the case in my experience, but I often seem to be playing a different game.

P.S.:  If you take Sunic's iterative probability reasoning to the extreme, then there is literally no reason to play the game, mechanically at least.  I mean that seriously, as in it's not hyperbole but literally true.  The game will be binary.  (1)  If there is any non-infinitesimal chance of failure, then you know you will "lose" eventually, and we are only wondering when that will happen.  And, if the world really is one of the one-shots that people seem to describe it to me as, then it will be somewhat predictable when it does (e.g., you will roll a 1 on a save eventually and will be out of rerolls).  Or, (2) you literally cannot lose b/c you have eliminated that non-infinitesimal chance of failure. 

Now, I'm not against the idea of iterative probability, hell I don't even know what it would mean to be so.  But, I think it's a very very coarse, and therefore not particularly accurate, way to consider a game w/ as many options, unanticipated options, and so on.  I'd make the analogy to chess.  There is, theoretically, a Nash eq'm to chess.  It's just so computationally complex that we are incapable of calculating it.  Similarly, the iterated probabilities are always shifting and their consequences are largely unknown. 

Kajhera

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2011, 07:58:11 PM »
It just doesn't gel well unless you're able to seriously assassinate someone then high tail it back to the party.

An assassin in my party did things of this variety.
Unexpectedly turning the tides of great battles and such.
It was really pretty sweet when the ship in the middle of the enemy fleet abruptly splintered into pieces...
Wow. How'd he accomplish that?

According to rumors, it involved ... a bag of holding or perhaps a portable hole or both. I, of course, did not actually see what happened.... just the significant portion of the ship that abruptly wasn't there.  :p

But that assassin kicked tail.

weenog

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #29 on: February 04, 2011, 08:01:17 PM »
I'm just wondering what kind of slow, uninformed, unprepared stealth characters Sunic tried and failed to run, that he believes that if the enemies have any chance of spotting you, they will spot you, and then kill you.  A decent sneak will be there and gone before the outside chance of being spotted comes up bad, if he allows a chance at all, and he'll most likely have other things going so that even if he is spotted, he won't be recognized as something that needs attention paid to it.

I wonder how he can't understand concealment options such as smoke, airborne dust, thick fog, murky water, tall grass, tree leaves and the like.

I wonder how he fails to grasp that even the greenest newbie that's serious about stealth will have at least a Plan B as a fallback option if Plan A goes south, and often a Plan C too.  I wonder if he'd have a breakdown if he were confronted with the sort that could get as far as Plan K before being forced to wing it, but never needs it.
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #30 on: February 04, 2011, 08:02:57 PM »
P.S.:  If you take Sunic's iterative probability reasoning to the extreme, then there is literally no reason to play the game, mechanically at least.  I mean that seriously, as in it's not hyperbole but literally true.  The game will be binary.  (1)  If there is any non-infinitesimal chance of failure, then you know you will "lose" eventually, and we are only wondering when that will happen.  And, if the world really is one of the one-shots that people seem to describe it to me as, then it will be somewhat predictable when it does (e.g., you will roll a 1 on a save eventually and will be out of rerolls).  Or, (2) you literally cannot lose b/c you have eliminated that non-infinitesimal chance of failure.

This is why you need to choose what advice you heed carefully.
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Midnight_v

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #31 on: February 04, 2011, 08:04:24 PM »
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Numbers
It's not worth my time to actually bother to play the numbers game honestly, but take by you own admission that its a "straight up die roll" (whatever that means) and you're against a group of enemies they have a few die rolls to spare, and more actions than you in general. Moreover this:

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They find me and I'm dead Ok, where do people come up w/ this?  
Quote
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.  
Before we go any further. We got that shit from you. Now you're ACTUALLY contridicting yourself, there smart guy. You're argument stems from something you yourself said. There, thats the primary source. Good job.

Quote
Civility
I am not sure how to respond to this one.  I usually don't weigh on things here b/c I am a combination of busy and relatively uninformed.  But, in my humble opinion, it's not like Sunic_Flames either is or has a reputation of being a kind opposition who does not shout people down.  So, he's bound to, and probably revels in, pissing people off.  I don't think others need to be chastised when that happens.

Two things.
1. Its a great hippocrisy to do that type of thing. Lets say you're right for a sec and he "shouts people" down, the second we get on board with that, and start shouting people down, we're a part of the problem. So telling him to shut the fuck up, when he's NOT doing doing anything but expressing his opinion rationally actually encourages more people to be like "SHUT THE FUCK UP" when someone says something they disagree with instead of putting up rational arguments. It doesn't really matter if he's done that type of thing before or not.
2. Chastised? Seriously that was just an appeal to better nature. I've not even said anything snarky or condemning really. I'm definitely NOT the polite police but even though I don't like some of what you said, I figure it'd be better to approach it non-aggressively for a time as opposed to being belligerant or condescending.
The second you said something about "high level play" and "Lvl 28!" I mean it could have devolved right. there, all by how what's said gets said.

Finally This:
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 Cover
As to cover, I think it might be too circumstantial to talk about in a meaningful way.  However, if it's dark (reasonably often) then a trivial commitment gives you the ability to hide.    
Leads right back to this:
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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.
and this:
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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.  

So yeah its not just that he got shouted down, its that he's nominally RIGHT.
You yourself defaulted to "hiding in shadows" so yeah right off the bat we're only talking about people with hide in plain sight and them ONLY, but your obviously were not.

Hey one last issue.
Cover
Quote
As to cover, I think it might be too circumstantial to talk about in a meaningful way
I'm gonna disagree right out with that. Thats circumstatial but not something you can handwave after bringing up that rules compendium note.
Numbers right:
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When I looked at it again I realize what a HUGE penalty that can be.
This pretty much means you aren't crossing the room to attack even at level 10 with your vaunted 25 to hide/move silently.
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They find me and I'm dead
Yeah you really are, and its like. There are things that entagle no save, anyone casting Wall of Arbitrarium, or any one of the AoE spells that say "Your ass ain't getting out of this" pretty much agree with your:

Quote
Now, if it is the case that you're always one attack away from death, even w/ some escape precautions prepped, then yeah, I'd say no scouting ... ever.

That being said... I pretty much think your one of the cooler posters and have some pretty good insights on a lot of things. This is just a touchy topic for me because I myself have dm'ed a few rogues that I've been unable to really get a handle on what the hell they even wanted to be doing. Much less how they could get to use thier stealth in the face of magic.

Edit:
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According to rumors, it involved ... a bag of holding or perhaps a portable hole or both  
Now THATS fuckin awesome.   :lol
« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 08:06:39 PM by Midnight_v »
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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 #32 on: February 04, 2011, 08:19:13 PM »
I'm just wondering what kind of slow, uninformed, unprepared stealth characters Sunic tried and failed to run, that he believes that if the enemies have any chance of spotting you, they will spot you, and then kill you.  A decent sneak will be there and gone before the outside chance of being spotted comes up bad, if he allows a chance at all, and he'll most likely have other things going so that even if he is spotted, he won't be recognized as something that needs attention paid to it.

I wonder how he can't understand concealment options such as smoke, airborne dust, thick fog, murky water, tall grass, tree leaves and the like.

I wonder how he fails to grasp that even the greenest newbie that's serious about stealth will have at least a Plan B as a fallback option if Plan A goes south, and often a Plan C too.  I wonder if he'd have a breakdown if he were confronted with the sort that could get as far as Plan K before being forced to wing it, but never needs it.

1: Hi Welcome.

2: There are 3 enemies, and each have a 25% chance to spot you every time they attempt. That means every round they get to try (read: every round you are there scouting) there is a 60.625% chance you are spotted. Since detection = death, and one round is the minimum type possible, it's clear to see that even under the best case scenario, in which the stealther has a bit of an advantage there is still a greater than even chance he is not coming back. Treantmonk fails a lot, but when he referred to the scout as "the Corpse" he was absolutely right. Would you prefer 5%? Fine, the detection chance per round is about 1 in 7. Now consider that it likely takes you more than one round to get in, look around, and get out and the only conclusion that can be drawn is that I am exactly right - you either throw the enemy straight off the RNG by having no chance to detect you, or you auto fail. If there's more than three enemies, that's even more chances to fail.

3: I'm sure the enemy won't get suspicious about any fog or smoke coming up out of nowhere. I'm sure they will never mow their lawn. At least pretend you are serious.
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There is no greater contribution than Hi Welcome.

Huge amounts of people are fuckwits. That doesn't mean that fuckwit is a valid lifestyle.

IP proofing and avoiding being CAPed OR - how to make characters relevant in the long term.

Friends don't let friends be Short Bus Hobos.

[spoiler]
Sunic may be more abrasive than sandpaper coated in chainsaws (not that its a bad thing, he really does know what he's talking about), but just posting in this thread without warning and telling him he's an asshole which, if you knew his past experiences on WotC and Paizo is flat-out uncalled for. Never mind the insults (which are clearly 4Chan-level childish). You say people like Sunic are the bane of the internet? Try looking at your own post and telling me you are better than him.

Here's a fun fact: You aren't. By a few leagues.
[/spoiler]

Sunic_Flames

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2011, 08:35:05 PM »
@Iterative Probability
I think you're looking at this in a very strange way.  Or, more precisely, in a way that assumes that players are infinitely risk-averse.  Now, if it is the case that "if you get spotted then you are dead," then infinite (or extremely high) risk-aversion is warranted.  I kind of said that previously.  Although I should point out that Swordsages make great sneakers, and they have really good defenses. 

Swordsages are better than Rogues, but still have rather weak defenses. And D&D is a game in which you either have extremely high risk aversion, or you go through characters faster than pizza slices. Choose one.

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This seems to me a more sensible way of looking at it.  In any encounter I can decide to sneak up on it, and gain a big advantage.  If doing so doesn't give my party a big advantage in some way -- e.g., if there are no buffers in the party, no terrain to take advantage -- then I think stealth is a non-starter.  But in doing so I suffer some risk that they may find me.  I'm making a trade-off between those two things:  the advantage I gain from the recon (buffs, etc.) and the risk I am taking in doing so. 

Now, in response to the subject heading, I think it's certainly possible to make that trade-off worth it.  It's often been the case in my experience, but I often seem to be playing a different game.

Except that stealth is a skill, and one of the most binary skills at that. So either you automatically give free buffing rounds to your party, and do not give them to the enemy, or you fail and die. Which means it's like Divinations, except not nearly as effective, and considerably more risky. And that assumes you can even attempt it... often, you cannot.

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P.S.:  If you take Sunic's iterative probability reasoning to the extreme, then there is literally no reason to play the game, mechanically at least.  I mean that seriously, as in it's not hyperbole but literally true.  The game will be binary.  (1)  If there is any non-infinitesimal chance of failure, then you know you will "lose" eventually, and we are only wondering when that will happen.  And, if the world really is one of the one-shots that people seem to describe it to me as, then it will be somewhat predictable when it does (e.g., you will roll a 1 on a save eventually and will be out of rerolls).  Or, (2) you literally cannot lose b/c you have eliminated that non-infinitesimal chance of failure. 

Almost, but not quite. You aren't getting the fail chance to 0%. IP proofing is about getting it as close to 0 as possible. At a sufficiently low, but non 0 number it is possible to survive campaigns. Just, due to the whole long campaign + skewed victory condition thing, this requires something on the order of a > 99.9% success rate. Admittedly this is a problem, but it's also not one that can be fixed unless you only play one shots.

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Now, I'm not against the idea of iterative probability, hell I don't even know what it would mean to be so.  But, I think it's a very very coarse, and therefore not particularly accurate, way to consider a game w/ as many options, unanticipated options, and so on.  I'd make the analogy to chess.  There is, theoretically, a Nash eq'm to chess.  It's just so computationally complex that we are incapable of calculating it.  Similarly, the iterated probabilities are always shifting and their consequences are largely unknown. 

When it comes down to it, Iterative Probability is the principle every optimizer uses instinctively. I just put a name to it.

Even poor optimization, like taking Weapon Focus furthers IP proofing. After all, that +1 to hit means you hit more often, bringing you closer to the minimum possible failure rate for attack accuracy, or if already there, it means +2 damage via Power Attack, bringing you closer to the minimum possible failure rate for attack damage. Namely enough attack to hit on a 2 or better, and enough damage to one round things. Weapon Focus is poor optimization, because it doesn't do a good job of IP proofing, but really everything you do that doesn't actively sabotage yourself is some measure of IP proofing. You do have to get active about it to do a good enough job though, as for example you aren't getting saves to the minimum possible failure rate without multiple save buffs. But when it comes down to it, active optimization is active IP proofing, as while IP proofing is primarily a defensive measure, things like killing or disabling enemies faster also reduces their threat level, and therefore a high offense is useful for IP proofing as well. High offense alone just gives you Extreme Rocket Tag (See Pathfailure) but high offense combined with saves, immunities, contingencies, layered defenses, Immediate action moves, etc? That's called someone who might see the end of the campaign.
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IP proofing and avoiding being CAPed OR - how to make characters relevant in the long term.

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[spoiler]
Sunic may be more abrasive than sandpaper coated in chainsaws (not that its a bad thing, he really does know what he's talking about), but just posting in this thread without warning and telling him he's an asshole which, if you knew his past experiences on WotC and Paizo is flat-out uncalled for. Never mind the insults (which are clearly 4Chan-level childish). You say people like Sunic are the bane of the internet? Try looking at your own post and telling me you are better than him.

Here's a fun fact: You aren't. By a few leagues.
[/spoiler]

Midnight_v

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2011, 08:44:48 PM »
Something just struck me... I don't like this assertion.
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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.
I don't consistently get those options in games in real life. In pbp's yeah but typically I find dm's impose somekind of book source limit or some such gibberish that hurts mundanes.
Still... I'll take that as a granted you can get what you need and move on. . .

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I'm sure the enemy won't get suspicious about any fog or smoke coming up out of nowhere. I'm sure they will never mow their lawn. At least pretend you are serious.
Pretty much this the response to that will likely be something that leads to you getting killed, for all that talk about plan b, and c.
But getting back to the op...
The problem with this "again" is non-magical stealthy guy, and the party. I guess it all depends on the scenario, but that might mean the dm constructs a scenario where you can shine. . . and I'm totally okay with that but in someways i'd be better to just figure out what the hell it is they're supposed to be doing.
  So you spend thousands and a couple feats to be "stealth-man" what do you want to do in the game? Scout ahead? I guess... seems like there has to be a better way to get intel that to risk the death of a party member.
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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 #35 on: February 04, 2011, 08:47:40 PM »
Some small comments, and then I think I will have more than said my piece.  

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Numbers
It's not worth my time to actually bother to play the numbers game honestly, but take by you own admission that its a "straight up die roll" (whatever that means) and you're against a group of enemies they have a few die rolls to spare, and more actions than you in general. Moreover this:

It's a straight die roll if you're up against someone w/ 10 more hit dice and who happens to have maxed Spot.  That's a relatively rare opponent ... I think.  Against people who aren't great spotters, which is most of the Monster Manual, etc., you are going to demolish them w/ Hide checks.  
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They find me and I'm dead Ok, where do people come up w/ this?  
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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.  
Before we go any further. We got that shit from you. Now you're ACTUALLY contridicting yourself, there smart guy. You're argument stems from something you yourself said. There, thats the primary source. Good job.
I believe you have mistaken the role I was giving to stealth in D&D.  I was never suggesting that in a well run game the sneak go toe-to-toe w/ the enemies set up for the entire party to take on.  What I went on to say was:  

...
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.  
...
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.

...
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.  

A D&D character w/out magic, at a certain point, is like one w/out hit points.  I would never for a second suggest that you can make a build/character sans magic items, spells, etc.  For this archetype, like any others I can think of, you're going to need some magic.  Most likely the kind of stupid Ring of the Darkhidden and/or a Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis.  Or, if you use ECL buyback then it's only 1 level of ECL for Hide in Plain Sight.  

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They find me and I'm dead
Yeah you really are, and its like. There are things that entagle no save, anyone casting Wall of Arbitrarium, or any one of the AoE spells that say "Your ass ain't getting out of this" pretty much agree with your:

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Now, if it is the case that you're always one attack away from death, even w/ some escape precautions prepped, then yeah, I'd say no scouting ... ever.
I'd stand by that statement, although it hasn't been my experience.  For example, if I were going to play a sneak, I'd probably play a Swordsage, and be able to Shadow Teleport right out of most of those things or Diamond Mind counter ones that involved a save.  Although I'm sure there are things that could foil that character -- I haven't given it much thought.  

That being said... I pretty much think your one of the cooler posters and have some pretty good insights on a lot of things. This is just a touchy topic for me because I myself have dm'ed a few rogues that I've been unable to really get a handle on what the hell they even wanted to be doing. Much less how they could get to use thier stealth in the face of magic.
Thank you.  For what it's worth, my guess is that they were thinking more in what I called the Splinter Cell mode and thinking they could sneak up on someone and slaughter them like it's Rambo, First Blood Part II.  D&D has never worked that way, really.  You'd just have to do an absurd amount of damage to pull that off.  

I'd sum up by saying that the role for stealth in D&D is largely for recon and advantages that brings.  I think a stealth character can fare better than just a random wizard w/ Invisibility, but I'm not sure how it compares to something like a Crystal Ball or Arcane Eye.  If someone wants to play one, and the party has means to take advantage of it (mainly buffs), then I can see it working.  I've seen it work, although my experiences may be idiosyncratic.  Although it's never an entire party role to me -- I'd typically pair it w/ some fighting skills or maybe magic (Beguiler, Illusionist).  
« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 08:49:35 PM by Unbeliever »

Triskavanski

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #36 on: February 04, 2011, 08:58:35 PM »

Sunic_Flames

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #37 on: February 04, 2011, 09:05:24 PM »
Not a rare opponent at all. It's quite common for monsters to have higher HD than their CR. You, of course have HD equal to your CR at best. Since skills are HD based, this naturally means the enemy is better at skills than you. So that scenario where it's a 50/50 shot? About the norm, really. And that's with you raising stealth, otherwise you are automatically spotted, even without considering the auto wins vs stealth.

Come to think of it, the only enemy types that do not reliably have more HD than CR:

Humanoids.
Outsiders.

That's about it really. Everything else ranges from higher than 1 HD:1 CR, to about 4:1, with 1.5:1 to 2:1 being most common.

Also, just about every Outsider maxes perception skills. So that one doesn't really count either.

That just leaves humanoids. Not touching the many problems with those.

As for the Darkvision, the reason why that works is that to hide, you need something to hide in. Typically, that's darkness, but if you can see through the darkness, you can't hide in said darkness. This is why you have to burn resources to even try.

The feats and spells you are thinking of likely refer to magical darkness. Darkvision does not work on magical darkness. Of course, without Ebon Eyes or similar the Rogue is just as blind...
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If you hear this music, run.

And don't forget:


There is no greater contribution than Hi Welcome.

Huge amounts of people are fuckwits. That doesn't mean that fuckwit is a valid lifestyle.

IP proofing and avoiding being CAPed OR - how to make characters relevant in the long term.

Friends don't let friends be Short Bus Hobos.

[spoiler]
Sunic may be more abrasive than sandpaper coated in chainsaws (not that its a bad thing, he really does know what he's talking about), but just posting in this thread without warning and telling him he's an asshole which, if you knew his past experiences on WotC and Paizo is flat-out uncalled for. Never mind the insults (which are clearly 4Chan-level childish). You say people like Sunic are the bane of the internet? Try looking at your own post and telling me you are better than him.

Here's a fun fact: You aren't. By a few leagues.
[/spoiler]

Midnight_v

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #38 on: February 04, 2011, 09:07:32 PM »
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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.  
...
But, yeah, the big answer to this question is the chance to ready your buffs.
Okay, okay, now we're talking... I missed that somehow and I can agree that such a thing can indeed be the difference between life and death.
point to you, good sir.
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I'd probably play a Swordsage, and be able to Shadow Teleport right out of most of those things or Diamond Mind counter ones that involved a save
I'll admit that I'm guilty of thinking of the Rogue, when i think of the stealth guy and not acknowledging that there are few other dudes in that game, that likely do it better.
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for what it's worth, my guess is that they were thinking more in what I called the Splinter Cell mode and thinking they could sneak up on someone and slaughter them like it's Rambo, First Blood Part II.  D&D has never worked that way, really.  You'd just have to do an absurd amount of damage to pull that off.  

 Well... I guess you're right in some ways yeah. Funny thing is there are actually a couple of Swordsage shadowpounce builds that I think could pull of stuff like that maybe even some charge/pounce builds that have learned hide move silently could also.. . . though that leads to the walk around the corner the sneak has killed the challenge, which is badass in a way, might get annoying to the other players if its more than an occasional thing. . .
... but scout ahead to buff... yeah, I think I can sell that to players pretty effectively and so I actually got something out of this thread overall.


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I'd sum up by saying that the role for stealth in D&D is largely for recon and advantages that brings.  I think a stealth character can fare better than just a random wizard w/ Invisibility, but I'm not sure how it compares to something like a Crystal Ball or Arcane Eye.
True if you go to sleep thursday and wake up early on "Scry-day" then you may or may not obviate the need in some ways.
Still... timeframes... and resources if you haven't been able to divine on a day when there's no adventure(combat wise) I think that we'd rather the caster use that 4th level slot on BFC Or More Buffs rather than scouting. YMMV

edit: Triskavanski, no. That's refering to invisibility and the such. Thats why there are things like Ring of the Darkhidden... at all.
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JaronK

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #39 on: February 04, 2011, 09:10:23 PM »
Ring of Darkhidden makes Darkvision obsolete.  It's freaking cheap.  That plus Darkstalker is all you need to be virtually impossible to detect by the vast majority of enemies if you bothered to get a hide score worth talking about.  My usual stealth get up is a Necropolitan Whispergnome Factotum with that ring, Darkstalker, and Lifesight.  That's basically all you need to be a perfect scout... spend the rest of your wealth and feats on whatever else you're planning to do.  And it works MUCH better than trying to run about with invisibility (since too many things see through that).  Though I do like a two level dip into Unarmed Swordsage so I can teleport invisibly when I have to (but that also gives tons of other useful abilities, so I don't consider that part of the dedicated stealth portion of the build).

But in general, you do need a stealth focused party to really rock the stealth game in the way most players want to play it.  I've done ninja themed campaigns before... they're actually a lot of fun.  Consider Kobold Domain Cloistered Cleric, Swordsage, Beguiler, Factotum as a fun set of classes for example.  You do have to have a group designed for it, but if you do it's great.  You then run adventures that are closer to Thief, Metal Gear, and Splintercell than TF2.

JaronK