Author Topic: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?  (Read 103987 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 #200 on: February 07, 2011, 09:09:57 PM »
I think all Sunic has proven is that in Tier 2 to Tier 1 game environments stealth characters, such as The Scout, er Corpse, are utterly pointless. In Tier 3 games, which it seems like most people here prefer, I would argue that Scout characters are much more viable.
This may be contradicted by further replies, but I don't think that holds at all. 

I think the examples, to the extent they are convincing, demonstrate that you would need to be a Tier 1 level scout/stealth character.  That might require some work, significant magical support, etc. to make you sufficiently sneaky, have sufficiently hardened defenses, and so on.  But, so does being a Tier 1 wizard, we're just all very familiar w/ that.  It's possible in a Tier 1/2 that "scouting" in a mundane sense is supplanted by something else like consistent powerful divination or earthgliding ninjas or something.  I wouldn't necessarily concede that, though it's a possibility. 

But that by no means implies that it's pointless.  If by "scout" one means "rogue w/out any magic items" then well yeah, scouting is totally pointless.  But that's neither a Tier 1 character, nor one optimized to the level of the rest of the table (including the DM if we are citing Sunic's gelugon case).

Bozwevial

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #201 on: February 07, 2011, 09:13:45 PM »
Since this has been popping up several times, is
Factorum
some sort of pun or a product of the T key being next to the R key?

Unbeliever

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #202 on: February 07, 2011, 09:20:38 PM »
It... it just seems like one of those "always on" things if its at will, and the monster isn't an idiot.
It is a meta thought process. Sure the monster has that capability but as a sentient creature it would probably get bored of doing it constantly when 99.999% of the time it was a waste of effort.

It's a devil. It's a freaking devil. Go read Fiendish Codex II about the kind of "society" devils live in, and then tell me extreme paranoia isn't the norm.
yeah, I'm gonna have to kinda concur with this one .... eventually it would just become Pavlovian reflex.
Tangent:  First off, Unholy Aura is nearly  useless in the devil's paranoid home environment.  The number of good creatures it meets are relatively few.  EDIT:  unless the other benefits of its Pro. Good apply to creatures who aren't just good.  They probably do, so ok, maybe it's useful to it.  Although I'm probably going to houserule that for my next game. 

Second, and more importantly, I always go back and forth on these things.  If the monster has a SP at will, that is different from having it "always on."  It involves some effort to activate, otherwise it wouldn't provoke attacks of opportunity, and there are creatures w/ "always on" abilities that are called out as such in the rules. 

My usual rule of thumb is that if the ability has a long duration, then I treat it as always on.  A power that lasts an hour and is usable at will is effectively constant.  But, every 10ish rounds ... I don't know.  I mean, imagine you were walking and every minute you had to stop and tie your shoes.  You'd probably get sick of it pretty soon, especially after the nigh infinite amount of time a gelugon would be dealing w/ it. 

This is true even in life or death situations:  e.g., the thompson machineguns that US Army troops used in WWII did not come w/ the drum magazines, which would be strictly superior given the larger number of rounds and the rate of fire of a thompson, b/c they were uncomfortable to carry on a shoulder strap, which is what soldiers spend the vast majority of their time doing. 

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #203 on: February 07, 2011, 09:24:43 PM »
It... it just seems like one of those "always on" things if its at will, and the monster isn't an idiot.
It is a meta thought process. Sure the monster has that capability but as a sentient creature it would probably get bored of doing it constantly when 99.999% of the time it was a waste of effort.

It's a devil. It's a freaking devil. Go read Fiendish Codex II about the kind of "society" devils live in, and then tell me extreme paranoia isn't the norm.

And it could, you know, have a prepared action to use the SLA when it spots something? Seems kind of natural to me.

----------

Let's see about that devil, with nothing but mindsight and spent resources, I.E: Spent gold. 17k Gold. Also, spells active.

Ice Devil (Gelugon)
Size/Type:    Large Outsider (Evil, Extraplanar, Lawful)
Hit Dice:    14d8+98 (161 hp)
Initiative:    +6
Speed:    40 ft. (8 squares), Fly 60ft (12 squares)(good)
Armor Class:    44 (-1 size, +6 Dex, +18 natural, +7 Armor, +4 Deflection.), touch 19, flat-footed 38
Base Attack/Grapple:    +14/+24
Attack:Full Attack:Space/Reach:    10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks:    Fear aura, slow, spell-like abilities, summon devil
Special Qualities:    Damage reduction 10/good, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to fire and poison, resistance to acid 10 and cold 10, regeneration 5, see in darkness, spell resistance 25, telepathy 100 ft.
Saves:    Fort +20, Ref +19, Will +19
Abilities:    Str 24, Dex 22, Con 24, Int 22, Wis 22, Cha 22
Skills:    Bluff +22, Climb +24, Concentration +24, Diplomacy +10, Disguise +6 (+8 acting), Intimidate +25, Jump +28, Knowledge (any three) +23, Listen +23, Move Silently +23, Search +23, Sense Motive +23, Spellcraft +23, Spot +23, Survival +6 (+8 following tracks)
Feats:    Mindsight, Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (spear)
Environment:    A lawful evil-aligned plane
Organization:    Solitary, team (2-4), squad (6-10), or troupe (1-2 ice devils, 7-12 bearded devils, and 1-4 bone devils)
Challenge Rating:    13
Treasure:    Standard coins; double goods; standard items
Alignment:    Always lawful evil
Advancement:    15-28 HD (Large); 29-42 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment:

Kajhera

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #204 on: February 07, 2011, 09:29:10 PM »
I think all Sunic has proven is that in Tier 2 to Tier 1 game environments stealth characters, such as The Scout, er Corpse, are utterly pointless. In Tier 3 games, which it seems like most people here prefer, I would argue that Scout characters are much more viable.
This may be contradicted by further replies, but I don't think that holds at all. 

I think the examples, to the extent they are convincing, demonstrate that you would need to be a Tier 1 level scout/stealth character.  That might require some work, significant magical support, etc. to make you sufficiently sneaky, have sufficiently hardened defenses, and so on.  But, so does being a Tier 1 wizard, we're just all very familiar w/ that.  It's possible in a Tier 1/2 that "scouting" in a mundane sense is supplanted by something else like consistent powerful divination or earthgliding ninjas or something.  I wouldn't necessarily concede that, though it's a possibility. 

But that by no means implies that it's pointless.  If by "scout" one means "rogue w/out any magic items" then well yeah, scouting is totally pointless.  But that's neither a Tier 1 character, nor one optimized to the level of the rest of the table (including the DM if we are citing Sunic's gelugon case).

As far as scouting goes, I personally am enjoying Malphas. Unlimited expendable scouts in the form of pigeons.

The downside is my birds got hit by lightning whenever they actually flew up, but that's our fault for carrying around a hag eye apparently, and not applicable to every campaign. The other downside is it requires 1 level in Binder or 2 feats, with the first being kinda feat taxish due to who would spend a feat on poison use, and your tongue turns black and you fall in love far too easily should anyone be nice to you.

The third downside is I didn't fall in love while binding Malphas and that's discouraging.  :(

Bozwevial

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #205 on: February 07, 2011, 09:31:59 PM »
Isn't 17k gold the treasure value for a CR 14 encounter? CR 13 is 13k.

Unbeliever

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #206 on: February 07, 2011, 09:33:20 PM »
...
Ice Devil (Gelugon)
...
+1 Displacement Mithral Chain Shirt, Charar-Aina, Dastana.
...
These are from Arms and Equipment or Oriental Adventures or something, right?  My groups have never used them, and we're pretty permissive but also try to avoid Dragon or 3.0 material when at all possible.  It's no big deal, I imagine, since it's like a +2 AC that he could maybe have gotten somewhere else. 

@Unbeliever: It can just keep the aura as a readied action when it notices something, and yes, the armor and saves apply even against non-good targets.
Point taken.  Although that sort of reasoning in general would give PCs an edge if they managed to get the drop on a monster like that, which is I'm sure part of what is going on in the background of this debate. 

Bauglir

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #207 on: February 07, 2011, 09:41:25 PM »
I think all Sunic has proven is that in Tier 2 to Tier 1 game environments stealth characters, such as The Scout, er Corpse, are utterly pointless. In Tier 3 games, which it seems like most people here prefer, I would argue that Scout characters are much more viable.
This may be contradicted by further replies, but I don't think that holds at all. 

I think the examples, to the extent they are convincing, demonstrate that you would need to be a Tier 1 level scout/stealth character.  That might require some work, significant magical support, etc. to make you sufficiently sneaky, have sufficiently hardened defenses, and so on.  But, so does being a Tier 1 wizard, we're just all very familiar w/ that.  It's possible in a Tier 1/2 that "scouting" in a mundane sense is supplanted by something else like consistent powerful divination or earthgliding ninjas or something.  I wouldn't necessarily concede that, though it's a possibility. 

But that by no means implies that it's pointless.  If by "scout" one means "rogue w/out any magic items" then well yeah, scouting is totally pointless.  But that's neither a Tier 1 character, nor one optimized to the level of the rest of the table (including the DM if we are citing Sunic's gelugon case).

As far as scouting goes, I personally am enjoying Malphas. Unlimited expendable scouts in the form of pigeons.

The downside is my birds got hit by lightning whenever they actually flew up, but that's our fault for carrying around a hag eye apparently, and not applicable to every campaign. The other downside is it requires 1 level in Binder or 2 feats, with the first being kinda feat taxish due to who would spend a feat on poison use, and your tongue turns black and you fall in love far too easily should anyone be nice to you.

The third downside is I didn't fall in love while binding Malphas and that's discouraging.  :(

Okay, now that's a pretty good argument for why being stealthy is a suboptimal way to be a scout. If you can summon birds to do it for you, at will. At low levels (when your opponents presumably do not have the resources to murder every pigeon they see, or are indoors and thus the pigeon can hide, and we're talking <4th level), it's pretty great; at higher levels, you end up needing something better if remaining undetected is important, but even so, they make a great probe for defenses that auto-trigger. Kind of like celestial monkeys, although it's probably not worth continuing to bind Malphas once you have more level-appropriate options available.
So you end up stuck in an endless loop, unable to act, forever.

In retrospect, much like Keanu Reeves.

RelentlessImp

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #208 on: February 07, 2011, 09:43:59 PM »
I think all Sunic has proven is that in Tier 2 to Tier 1 game environments stealth characters, such as The Scout, er Corpse, are utterly pointless. In Tier 3 games, which it seems like most people here prefer, I would argue that Scout characters are much more viable.
This may be contradicted by further replies, but I don't think that holds at all. 

I think the examples, to the extent they are convincing, demonstrate that you would need to be a Tier 1 level scout/stealth character.  That might require some work, significant magical support, etc. to make you sufficiently sneaky, have sufficiently hardened defenses, and so on.  But, so does being a Tier 1 wizard, we're just all very familiar w/ that.  It's possible in a Tier 1/2 that "scouting" in a mundane sense is supplanted by something else like consistent powerful divination or earthgliding ninjas or something.  I wouldn't necessarily concede that, though it's a possibility. 

But that by no means implies that it's pointless.  If by "scout" one means "rogue w/out any magic items" then well yeah, scouting is totally pointless.  But that's neither a Tier 1 character, nor one optimized to the level of the rest of the table (including the DM if we are citing Sunic's gelugon case).

As far as scouting goes, I personally am enjoying Malphas. Unlimited expendable scouts in the form of pigeons.

The downside is my birds got hit by lightning whenever they actually flew up, but that's our fault for carrying around a hag eye apparently, and not applicable to every campaign. The other downside is it requires 1 level in Binder or 2 feats, with the first being kinda feat taxish due to who would spend a feat on poison use, and your tongue turns black and you fall in love far too easily should anyone be nice to you.

The third downside is I didn't fall in love while binding Malphas and that's discouraging.  :(

Okay, now that's a pretty good argument for why being stealthy is a suboptimal way to be a scout. If you can summon birds to do it for you, at will. At low levels (when your opponents presumably do not have the resources to murder every pigeon they see, or are indoors and thus the pigeon can hide, and we're talking <4th level), it's pretty great; at higher levels, you end up needing something better if remaining undetected is important, but even so, they make a great probe for defenses that auto-trigger. Kind of like celestial monkeys, although it's probably not worth continuing to bind Malphas once you have more level-appropriate options available.

Well, technically, if you take multiple levels in Binder (which is actually valid, to a point), you can bind multiple vestiges at once. Not that Binder's good for anything but a dip and a feat for serious optimization, anyways...
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snakeman830

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #209 on: February 07, 2011, 09:47:11 PM »
Okay, now that's a pretty good argument for why being stealthy is a suboptimal way to be a scout. If you can summon birds to do it for you, at will. At low levels (when your opponents presumably do not have the resources to murder every pigeon they see, or are indoors and thus the pigeon can hide, and we're talking <4th level), it's pretty great; at higher levels, you end up needing something better if remaining undetected is important, but even so, they make a great probe for defenses that auto-trigger. Kind of like celestial monkeys, although it's probably not worth continuing to bind Malphas once you have more level-appropriate options available.

Zercyll.  Summon a Pseudonatural Bone Devil just because you can to scout for you.  Or to poke a wierd glyph, whichever.

Overall, I'd say Binder is the best scouting class after level 6 due to the fact they don't put themselves at risk and they don't really waste resources to do it, unlike casters.  Arguments can also be made for Warlock (a few invocations are very good for scouting) and anyone with a psicrystal as well. 

Even so, I've run a scout extremely effectively in high level games, primarily because stealth was not his only focus.  Say whatever you like, but any character who can 1-round an Ancient Black dragon without being located is a valuable ally in my book.

And Binder is a solid class.  I wouldn't complain about having one in the group.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2011, 09:54:20 PM by snakeman830 »
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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 #210 on: February 07, 2011, 09:47:51 PM »
I think all Sunic has proven is that in Tier 2 to Tier 1 game environments stealth characters, such as The Scout, er Corpse, are utterly pointless. In Tier 3 games, which it seems like most people here prefer, I would argue that Scout characters are much more viable.
This may be contradicted by further replies, but I don't think that holds at all. 

I think the examples, to the extent they are convincing, demonstrate that you would need to be a Tier 1 level scout/stealth character.  That might require some work, significant magical support, etc. to make you sufficiently sneaky, have sufficiently hardened defenses, and so on.  But, so does being a Tier 1 wizard, we're just all very familiar w/ that.  It's possible in a Tier 1/2 that "scouting" in a mundane sense is supplanted by something else like consistent powerful divination or earthgliding ninjas or something.  I wouldn't necessarily concede that, though it's a possibility. 

But that by no means implies that it's pointless.  If by "scout" one means "rogue w/out any magic items" then well yeah, scouting is totally pointless.  But that's neither a Tier 1 character, nor one optimized to the level of the rest of the table (including the DM if we are citing Sunic's gelugon case).

As far as scouting goes, I personally am enjoying Malphas. Unlimited expendable scouts in the form of pigeons.

The downside is my birds got hit by lightning whenever they actually flew up, but that's our fault for carrying around a hag eye apparently, and not applicable to every campaign. The other downside is it requires 1 level in Binder or 2 feats, with the first being kinda feat taxish due to who would spend a feat on poison use, and your tongue turns black and you fall in love far too easily should anyone be nice to you.

The third downside is I didn't fall in love while binding Malphas and that's discouraging.  :(

Okay, now that's a pretty good argument for why being stealthy is a suboptimal way to be a scout. If you can summon birds to do it for you, at will. At low levels (when your opponents presumably do not have the resources to murder every pigeon they see, or are indoors and thus the pigeon can hide, and we're talking <4th level), it's pretty great; at higher levels, you end up needing something better if remaining undetected is important, but even so, they make a great probe for defenses that auto-trigger. Kind of like celestial monkeys, although it's probably not worth continuing to bind Malphas once you have more level-appropriate options available.

Well, technically, if you take multiple levels in Binder (which is actually valid, to a point), you can bind multiple vestiges at once. Not that Binder's good for anything but a dip and a feat for serious optimization, anyways...

As much as I love dipping Binder (hey and I can switch out unlimited power for unlimited pigeons if I decide I need pigeons more, it's sometimes applicable), I have to say I want to try binding Zceryll.

RelentlessImp

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #211 on: February 07, 2011, 09:50:46 PM »
As much as I love dipping Binder (hey and I can switch out unlimited power for unlimited pigeons if I decide I need pigeons more, it's sometimes applicable), I have to say I want to try binding Zceryll.

Only if you take Expel Vestige. Otherwise the binding lasts 24 hours. But yeah, Zceryll is an awesome vestige, IF you can get your DM to accept online vestiges.
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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 #212 on: February 07, 2011, 09:57:56 PM »
As much as I love dipping Binder (hey and I can switch out unlimited power for unlimited pigeons if I decide I need pigeons more, it's sometimes applicable), I have to say I want to try binding Zceryll.

Only if you take Expel Vestige. Otherwise the binding lasts 24 hours. But yeah, Zceryll is an awesome vestige, IF you can get your DM to accept online vestiges.

Eh, I count choosing per day as a choice.

And my DM is fine with it I'm sure, I've been delving into Pact Magic and Incarnum as an experiment, so restricting it would be unhelpful to results. (NG, so no necrocarnum yet though.) But yea it gets slightly less interesting to stick with if you haven't that to look forward to.

Unbeliever

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #213 on: February 08, 2011, 12:29:38 AM »
...
Even so, I've run a scout extremely effectively in high level games, primarily because stealth was not his only focus.  Say whatever you like, but any character who can 1-round an Ancient Black dragon without being located is a valuable ally in my book.

And Binder is a solid class.  I wouldn't complain about having one in the group.
I have had the same experience in a long-running game spanning many levels w/ a pretty solid level of optimization on all sides of the table.  It was kind of shouted down about it several pages ago, and it wasn't easy to build, but it totally worked. 

bkdubs123

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #214 on: February 08, 2011, 01:39:27 AM »
I love how people are lowballing the enemy stats by the way. With 0 modification, it has AC 36, touch AC 18. Saves are all 18 or 19. Not to mention, it has around 17k in loot, and armor is cheap as free.

My bad, I was looking at Unholy Aura as if the AC boost only applied against good creatures, but yes if you optimize the Devil's feats and gear at all he blows the PCs off the RNG even worse than before.

Quote
The terribly gimpy Warblade (and yes, any beatstick with only +20 to hit at level 10 is a gimp) rolls a 20 or misses.

I'm sorry, where is he getting all of these huge bonuses to everything? For his stats I assumed Str 22, Dex 14, Con 20, Int 14, Wis 8, Cha 8, but let's just buy him some gear. Assuming the game played with standard point buy his starting stats are something like Str 16, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 10, Cha 8. At 10th level he's got 49,000gp. So, he puts both his level points into Str and obviously has a Belt of Giant's Strength. Current wealth:  33,000gp. Let's say he's got a +3 Greatsword now. Current Wealth: 15,000gp. Now let's give him a Cloak of Resistance +2, +1 Mithral Breastplate, and a +1 Longbow. Current Wealth: ~0gp. So, with +6 from his Strength, +3 from his weapon, and +10 from BAB that's actually 1 less than the +20 I arbitrarily decided he had. Oh, and those stats I assumed he had? Not even close. So that's 40 less hp than I thought. What am I missing here?

Quote
And ok, the Factorum finds and identifies it. He is promptly ROFLstomped. Regardless of whether the party then ROFLstomps the devil, he still suffers from scouting fail.

Meanwhile, what actually happened in the actual game is that the party proceeded together, the undead Cleric auto spotted the Ice Devil, and is also you know, a Cleric and not a gimp. Right now, it's about even, but I'm quite certain the party will win this one.

Oh, okay, so you say that scouting fails no matter what because there's no way that the scout can spot anything at all relevant, but the Cleric in your game auto-spotted the Ice Devil and would have still done so if he for any reason decided to scout ahead. So the PC who isn't even trying to scout could have easily scouted and not succumbed to AADS to provide the party with intel, but a character designed to do that scouting, no, no he would have died. Instantly and without any consideration needed. :rollseyes

All of the odds you listed in your mock run of that encounter fit the RNG nearly perfectly. Most things are 50% chances. Isn't that how it should be designed?

Um, the PCs don't have a 50% chance to do jack shit. The Warblade barely has a 50% to hit with one attack. The spellcasters have close to a 25% chance to even get to attempt to force the Devil to make a saving throw which he has about a 60% chance to succeed on. Unless, like my Warblade example above, I'm missing some crazy way to get amazing bonuses to their save DCs and spell penetration checks outside their normal wealth by level stuff.

Quote
-The Warblade takes a swift action to gain distance then charges, activating Leap Attack, Shock Trooper, blah blah blah. The Ice Devil ishas a 50% chance or lower to be dead.

Also, I know the whole ubercharge build is really common on boards, but how often does it actually show up in games? I've never played it because it's been my experience that a PC that has a 50% or better chance to automatically kill anything so long as he can hit it, well, DMs don't generally like this.

Quote
-The Beguiler drop a save or suck with a DC of 28, very doable at level 10, leaving the Devil with 60% chances of success.

What save or suck? And how is he getting DC 28 now? Let's assume he has Int 26, spending over half his wealth on a +6 item. That means with Greater Spell Focus he's got DC 25. I admit, I'm not an optimizer, so I'm sure there's probably something I'm missing here, but if he's maximizing his save DCs I'm sure his HP and his own saving throws are going to suffer for it.

Quote
-The Dread Necromancer can either slam it with a couple save or sucks, or maybe use an undead force. He's not an idiot and they're buffed well, they are able to damage the devil.

Again, Spell Resistance. How are you blasting through his SR AND having amazing save DCs? Oh, AND buffing your undead constantly so they are actually amazing enough to hit AC 40+ and plow through DR 10 and Regeneration 5 effectively?

It just seems like Sunic and camp are conveniently ignoring the numbers when they make arguments for why Scouts blow, and then coming back with really optimized numbers when they want to make arguments for why Team Monster is awesome. This seems especially true given my above Warblade and Sunic's offhanded comment that some random Cleric not even specced to scout auto-spotted the Ice Devil with something in the area of +45 to Hide...

Now, I'm sure someone will come back and try to make me look retarded (I'm not an optimizer, I've never said I was. I understand it's value, and respect those who do it, but, y'know, grats if you do make me look dumb with crazy shit here) with optimization methods pulled from a dozen different supplements raising the stakes to the point that we're not even looking at a Tier 3 game anymore, we're looking at a Tier 2 game, and then we come full circle to the point that Sunic only has relevant information to contribute when we talk about Tier 1 or 2 games.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 02:25:57 AM by bkdubs123 »

bearsarebrown

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #215 on: February 08, 2011, 02:39:33 AM »
I don't think you understand the difference between a tier 2 and tier 3 level game. It's more then just bigger numbers.

bkdubs123

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #216 on: February 08, 2011, 04:28:30 AM »
I don't think you understand the difference between a tier 2 and tier 3 level game. It's more then just bigger numbers.

Great job.

JaronK

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #217 on: February 08, 2011, 05:41:16 AM »
Nah, he claimed random Warblade 20 vampires would be running around. Outside. In broad daylight. In Eberron.

What?  No I didn't.  I have no idea what you're talking about.

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And no, no it fucking wasn't. Any half decent ambusher would have well over +18 to sneaking around, they'd also have far more than mid 20s perception skills. As it is, it is a CR 13 creature worse than many CR 10s at doing those things. Not to mention, level appropriate DCs at level 10 are 22, and the Ice Devil is 3 levels higher, and would need a +2 DC bump to hit that. 22, by the way is the number you get with no DC optimization of any kind. It could obviously go much higher.

You had a creature set up in a snow bank who just happens to be in the trail of the party, buried up to his head, with his feats shifted towards detection (without which he's completely worthless).  +1 CR for giving the monster a MUCH better feat than what the standard CR version had, +1 for the fact that it's a planned out ambush (at the very least), which is CR 15 at the very least.  Usually stuff like "lolz, it's buried up to its head in snow for extra hide bonuses in terrain it uses best" increases the CR, even though that means when detected this devil gets stomped HARD due to having to waste actions to get out.

Also, I didn't realize it had Unholy Aura up.  If that's so, this scenario makes even less sense, as any half decent scout in a game of this nature would have gotten Permanent Arcane Sight ASAP (buy it in town if you must, it's permanent).  As such, the scout not only sees a glowing beacon in the snowbank (lifesight), he also sees that it has spells up (and even knows a few important details about this glowing magic beacon).  He can do this from outside the devil's detection range.  So why is he getting stomped again?  Seems to me he calls the whole party and this buried idiot gets DESTROYED by held actions when it starts to dig its way out.

And to be perfectly clear, I HAVE played stealthers at higher levels before.  It worked great, and they were very effective, with their primary role being forward intelligence gathering (at least in the stealth aspect, they were also decent at hitting enemies).  It totally worked.  But you have to play them smart.  You don't just blunder blindly through snowbanks or get so far away from the party that you can't retreat back in case of surprise.  You have things like Counter Charge, Shadow Jaunt, and Moment of Perfect Mind ready to go in case of emergencies if at all possible.  You have a variety of detection methods available to you while simultaneously making yourself immune to as many methods as at all possible.  You make sure you have multiple movement modes available (flight should be standard, burrowing is great if possible, climbing can be handy at times, teleporting is wonderful).  You have Hide and Move Silently at as high levels as you can get while keeping at least Spot up to a solid level.  It's just what you do.  Just because Sunic doesn't know how doesn't mean it's impossible... even in games with lots of casters (though you're going to have to pump the optimization level up a lot).

JaronK

Brullig

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #218 on: February 08, 2011, 05:47:20 AM »
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@Unbeliever: It can just keep the aura as a readied action when it notices something, and yes, the armor and saves apply even against non-good targets.

How does this work outside of initiative?

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/specialInitiativeActions.htm
"Here are ways to change when you act during combat by altering your place in the initiative order."

I guess the gelugon could give up his surprise round to cast this, but other than the "I cast this every 36 seconds" method I don't see a way to guarantee its uptime through the first rounds of combat.

JaronK

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #219 on: February 08, 2011, 06:03:08 AM »
At levels 1-3...

You must use one of your 1-3 feats on Darkstalker, or you are automatically owned by guard dogs. I hope no one here is honestly going to pull a Paizil and claim guard dogs are not a reasonable encounter for such parties. Can you even take Darkstalker at these levels? I forget what prereqs it has.

You cannot throw enemies off the RNG, which means you have a damn good chance to just be seen.

Check out the modifiers to spot and listen.  Is a guard distracted because he's supposed to be watching lots of other people or the Rogue has bothered to actually be clever and make a distraction?  That's a +5 to his DC.  Are you sneaking 50 feet away from the guard (perhaps you're scaling a wall, darting past an outpost, whatever), instead of trying run right past him?  That's a +5.  For normal campaigns, a Halfling Rogue with a Dex of 16 and 5 ranks of hide and move silently at level 2, with no other gear factored in (like Masterwork items or Silent Shoes or whatever) has a base +12 Hide and +10 Move Silently.  So if he takes 10 when hiding from the guard, the guard has to beat a 32 to spot the halfling, or a 30 to hear him.  On a second level guard, who's generally supposed to be a Fighter (no ranks).  Yeah, that's hard.  Even without the distance modifier this just isn't happening.

And for Sunic's style of games, we have our trusty Whispergnome to oppose his, I dunno, some random monster with 6HD for a level 2 character.  Do I even have to spell out the numbers?

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Except that Tier 1s and 2s can also be scouts. In fact a Druid is far superior to any of Jaron's gimps. However even the mighty Druid scout fails, because the problem is with scouting, and with having to solo encounters meant for groups. I mean fuck, I wouldn't even consider soloing an Ice Devil with a level 10 Attec, and at least one person here knows how crazy he was (let's pretend Ciao and Kendang also were good at sneaking, here).

Right here is part of your obvious problem... you're assuming it's a solo encounter.  You're assuming the scout is so far ahead that he can't be with his party within one round.  But if he stays 95' ahead of the party (so he can still communicate with them) and 95' away from enemies (his detection abilities range from 100-120' in general) then the enemies have a -19 to spot checks to see the party, leaving said party rather safe.  And yet, said party is one run action from the scout, or if they bothered to have decent speed (like, and I know you'll hate this, they went with the TO option of getting horses or something) they're likely within charge range of anything that might attack the scout.  If this ambushing monster would have killed the scout in a single round, then it would have ambushed and killed a party member in one round without scouting anyway, so scouting was your only hope. If not, then the scout's just fine (and scouts of all people should have ablative defenses like Counter Charge and Moment of Perfect Mind, because they are mostly likely to need such things).  So this idea of it being all solo is silly.  And where is the Druid getting Mindsight, which you seem to think is critical for detection?

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Meanwhile, what actually happened in the actual game is that the party proceeded together, the undead Cleric auto spotted the Ice Devil, and is also you know, a Cleric and not a gimp. Right now, it's about even, but I'm quite certain the party will win this one.

Why was this Cleric able to do so when the Factotum couldn't?  And if the Factotum knew about the creature ahead (he obviously did, the thing was pinging magic auras and glowing like a light bulb) and knew the Cleric had super auto detection, why didn't he bring the Cleric in to check? 

JaronK