Author Topic: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?  (Read 99616 times)

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Brainpiercing

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #220 on: February 08, 2011, 06:13:02 AM »

No, but yours does. These guys have already casually dismantled CR +1 and CR +2 encounters. That's what being competent means, you see. I was quite impressed with the systematic annihilation actually. They only got attacked twice, total, and one was an AoO. Over the entire campaign so far. Which, admittedly is not very long. But still, they're fucking awesome.

Ok, first: The whole CR system sucks balls, and judging a party by what kind of CR they can demolish is just plain dumb. The FIRST encounter for my 1/2 WBL party of TWO, with just a bit of help from a few guys of a few levels lower was an EL 17. So what does that prove? Nothing, but that the EL and CR number suck.

And I would in fact EXPECT a PC to be able to take on an even CR alone, and a +3 as a party any day. BUT I have to look at what's there, and that CR isn't everything, because I can certainly make CR-2 encounters that blow the party away without even trying.

But then again I guess its pointless to discuss that with you, because you could never get it.

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #221 on: February 08, 2011, 06:30:01 AM »
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).
Done it in epic even(though obviously a lot of magic items, long duration spells from the friendly party caster where it'd be cheaper, etc). My main job was to sneak ahead, report back via a mindlink, and as the others got into position, start by oneshotting a target of opportunity with sneak attacks. Ring Gates turned me into a stealth firing port for spells that would be impractical to cast in combat. Mindsight turned up...once over the course of two levels(and the bastard said hello to the Ring Gate and the casters on the other side).

Yes, the Epic Spellcasting Ur Priest was more useful(is there anything a Miracle can't solve? how about a pair of Dream Larva?). But useless? Not by far.

More important is not to REALLY split the party. Either stay just slightly ahead, or bring some means of having them on site in a hurry.
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veekie

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #222 on: February 08, 2011, 12:32:45 PM »
Uh, RE mounts.
Get cheap disposable ones?
Its not like you can't get Phantom Steed in item form for cheap.
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"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
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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 #223 on: February 08, 2011, 12:39:24 PM »
Stealthy dudes may do things other than just scout.

They might tag along invisibly / invisible to darkvision with the party (screw this, we're using spells/magic items) and fade into view to catch foes flat-footed. Which is a tactical advantage even if not sneak attacking. Only problem with low-level invisibility is short duration + standard-action casting time, 'less you're a warlock.

If you do want to go invisible, sneak attack, scout etc... goddamn it I keep coming back to Malphas.  :lmao Dip a level of Binder, pact magic is easy, seductive, the gateway to a few nice combos, and capable of filling in for whatever random character archetype you feel like being that day.

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #224 on: February 08, 2011, 12:43:43 PM »
Sunic, the problem I'm seeing with your arguments is that you're assuming that skills fail because Mindsight exists.  Well, the vast majority of encounters don't have Mindsight.  If they do, then any scout is going to have a defense against it (usually telepathic block).  Without Mindsight/Touchsight, actually noticing the scout is incredibly difficult and the scout provides valuable intel to the party.  You can bitch and whine about a party mumber actually buffing the scout all you like.  I, as a spellcaster, would rather spend one spell to keep a guy safe, then spend numerous spells to know what's around the corner.

Occasionally having difficult encounters (which an Ice Devil vs. level 10 party is classified as) does not mean a character is useless.  Everyone does.  Scry and fry tactics are worthless against Vecna-Blooded.  Most methods a Wizard has at his disposal are rather ineffective against a Shredstorm (and even more for Clerics).
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #225 on: February 08, 2011, 12:47:27 PM »
Uh, RE mounts.
Get cheap disposable ones?
Its not like you can't get Phantom Steed in item form for cheap.

Let's see...

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/phantomSteed.htm

Item costs 30,000 gold, assuming CL 5, +6k per CL beyond 5. It takes 10 minutes to activate each time, dies in 1 hit, and can't fly until CL 14. (84k gold) Um, no. Fail. That's not cheap at all.

Also, there are more things that make stealth fail than Mindsight. We've already been over them. And Mindsight has no defense by RAW.
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Aharon

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #226 on: February 08, 2011, 12:56:13 PM »
@Sunic
I'm confused. I thought the encounter against the Ice Devil was on the Plane of Ice, not on Eberron?
If I understand JaronK correctly, what he meant was that Mindsight only conveys the information "Undead, Int 18", and the Ice Devil can't use his other senses to find out what's approaching. It could be a Necropolitan Factotum 10 as well as a Vampire Warblade 20, or any other Undead with Int 18. Springing the ambush makes only sense if the Ice Devil expected the group, because it might be fatal if he attacks somebody that randomly wandered by and happens to be more powerful than him.

I guess, from the context you provided, that the Devil indeed expected the group - what other reason to lay an ambush? - but it was not 100% clear.
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #227 on: February 08, 2011, 12:58:51 PM »
As much as I would love to prove him wrong SF is unfortunately correct that there is no real defense against mindsight. Any creature with an intelligence score that enters the telepathy range of a creature with mindsight is automatically detected and their type, location (their square), and intelligence score is revealed to the creature with mindsight. The detected creature still has total concealment though.

So we can add mindsight to freedom of movement and mind blank as ridiculous shit that removes whole aspects of the game from being valid options.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 01:01:01 PM by archangel.arcanis »
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #228 on: February 08, 2011, 12:59:56 PM »
@Sunic
I'm confused. I thought the encounter against the Ice Devil was on the Plane of Ice, not on Eberron?

Eberron has Manifest Zones. Also, based on the movement of the planes in the cosmology, the planes become coterminous with Eberron every X duration for X duration, then gradually drift to being remote for X duration every X duration. It's in the Eberron Campaign Setting, full details on each plane's coterminous and remote periods and Manifest Zones starting on page 92.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 01:14:18 PM by RelentlessImp »
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #229 on: February 08, 2011, 01:09:58 PM »
RAW Defenses against Mindsight (Mindsight relies on telepathy):

Hellbreaker 1: Telepathic Static (Fiendish Codex 2)
Telepathy Block: Brd/Clr/Wiz/Sor 5 (BoED)

Arguable defense: Slayer 6: Cerebral Blind

Touchsight requires Line of Effect, does not work on incorporeal/ethereal, etc.

Lifesight can't detect undead (which isn't a bad idea for a scout anyway).

It isn't difficult to avoid all of the supposed "auto-wins" if you know how.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 01:12:39 PM by snakeman830 »
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #230 on: February 08, 2011, 01:12:27 PM »
@Sunic
I'm confused. I thought the encounter against the Ice Devil was on the Plane of Ice, not on Eberron?

Manifest zone, as I said before. The answer, of course is both.

Quote
If I understand JaronK correctly, what he meant was that Mindsight only conveys the information "Undead, Int 18", and the Ice Devil can't use his other senses to find out what's approaching. It could be a Necropolitan Factotum 10 as well as a Vampire Warblade 20, or any other Undead with Int 18. Springing the ambush makes only sense if the Ice Devil expected the group, because it might be fatal if he attacks somebody that randomly wandered by and happens to be more powerful than him.

I guess, from the context you provided, that the Devil indeed expected the group - what other reason to lay an ambush? - but it was not 100% clear.

Yes, he knows that there is an Undead, with Int 18 there. He doesn't know more than that. As stated, this is still more than what the undead knows, namely that there is "something there" and that's it. The thought of a Vampire walking around in the daylight, or a random level 20 anything just walking around in Eberron is of course completely laughable - even if you ignore the fact that Vampires, being as shitty a template as they are are likely to be slaughtered by a goddamn CR 13 encounter even with 20 class levels. That however is not the point. The point is, with the cursory knowledge stated, it knows to suspect a "sneaky, highly intelligent undead". And then it does in fact sense a sneaky, and highly intelligent undead. Now there's some infinitesimally small chance that some other sneaky highly intelligent undead happened to wander by at the time at which the Ice Devil was expecting the PCs to show up, but assuming it was a mistake, some random wandering enemy is unlikely to be stronger than the fucking Ice Devil, so it kills some passing undead, shrugs, and continues on.

And yes, the fact it is hiding in the snow in the first place would indicate it expected the group.
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archangel.arcanis

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #231 on: February 08, 2011, 01:18:40 PM »
Snakeman I think your argument is correct RAI but they didn't bother to word it properly for it to be RAW.
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #232 on: February 08, 2011, 01:19:54 PM »
240ft move Constant Flying Phantom Steed = 62400gp. So it gets one shotted, but you got to where you need to be anyway and the thing respawns after the fight. Costly, but it's high speed flight at higher levels.

3/day command word of the same = 45360gp, you get to start three encounters mounted on something as fast as a dragon.

1/day command word of the same = 15,120gp, a rocket horse that lasts all day, except if you have a wizard in your party you might as well pay him to scribe the spell AND spring for the pearl of power.

Pearls of Power for the wizard = 9000gp per use per day, and the mount exists long enough to use all day with a single cast unless you tried to use it in combat.

Or you could just use the Mount spell at lower levels. Disposable ride and its faster than walking. In either case the mount double moves you into range(or single move, if it's a Phantom Steed) and then it's done it's job. Whether it lives or dies is irrelevant. You still get to act.

Splitting the party is still retarded, but you can stretch how far you can go apart and yet not split easily. Remember, 100ft is well within engagement range for spellcasters and archers.
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Aharon

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #233 on: February 08, 2011, 01:23:53 PM »
@Relentless Imp & Sunic
=> Manifest zones
Thanks for the clarification, I must have overread that.
=> Random Level 20s
If you put it that way, it's indeed a funny notion. I forgot that high-level stuff is far less common on Eberron than in the FR. There, random Level 20s wandering by might actually be something you should consider when making a plan for an ambush  :rollseyes
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #234 on: February 08, 2011, 01:28:58 PM »
=> Random Level 20s
If you put it that way, it's indeed a funny notion. I forgot that high-level stuff is far less common on Eberron than in the FR. There, random Level 20s wandering by might actually be something you should consider when making a plan for an ambush  :rollseyes

Especially when you consider the (arguably) most powerful person, Merrix d'Cannith, who created a forge to make an entire race of shock troopers with sentience and more [awesome] abilities than you can shake a stick at, was at best a 13th level artificer...
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #235 on: February 08, 2011, 01:29:48 PM »
First off, the "ice devil surprising and one-rounding the scout" situation wouldn't happen.  Ever.  The situation is possible enough, but the scout would not have gone ahead in this case because he couldn't be stealthy regardless of the devil's presence.  The Ice Devil will just engage the whole party.

Second, even in Jaron's example, the factotum would notice the glow and, because bigger creatures give off more light, would be able to say "There is something Large sized buried in the snow up ahead."  Assuming the party knew about the Ice Devil beforehand, they would likely assume that it's waiting up ahead.  Even without that, they could infer plenty about what the factotum located from the fact it's alive, Large sized, and buried in the snow for what looks like quite some time.  This means it's something resistant, if not immune to cold (not surprising in this environ) and is either sleeping or prepared to ambush and has been for a while.  From this, they proceed expecting an ambush, though they don't necessarily know from what.  If whatever it is was sleeping, then no harm done.  If it is indeed an ambush (which it is), the party is ready.
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #236 on: February 08, 2011, 01:33:49 PM »
RAW Defenses against Mindsight (Mindsight relies on telepathy):

Hellbreaker 1: Telepathic Static (Fiendish Codex 2)
Telepathy Block: Brd/Clr/Wiz/Sor 5 (BoED)

Arguable defense: Slayer 6: Cerebral Blind

Telepathic Static only works within 20 feet, and only because you negate their telepathy and thus they lose the prereq for Mindsight. I wouldn't call this reliable considering the range.
Telepathy Block does not work. It states that it blocks telepathic communication, not that it negates a creature's telepathy. Big difference, and it does not work by RAW.

Cerebral Blind has a better chance of being counted than Telepathy Block.
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #237 on: February 08, 2011, 01:35:02 PM »
First off, the "ice devil surprising and one-rounding the scout" situation wouldn't happen.  Ever.  The situation is possible enough, but the scout would not have gone ahead in this case because he couldn't be stealthy regardless of the devil's presence.  The Ice Devil will just engage the whole party.

Second, even in Jaron's example, the factotum would notice the glow and, because bigger creatures give off more light, would be able to say "There is something Large sized buried in the snow up ahead."  Assuming the party knew about the Ice Devil beforehand, they would likely assume that it's waiting up ahead.  Even without that, they could infer plenty about what the factotum located from the fact it's alive, Large sized, and buried in the snow for what looks like quite some time.  This means it's something resistant, if not immune to cold (not surprising in this environ) and is either sleeping or prepared to ambush and has been for a while.  From this, they proceed expecting an ambush, though they don't necessarily know from what.  If whatever it is was sleeping, then no harm done.  If it is indeed an ambush (which it is), the party is ready.
Maybe your groups would have walked in. Every group I've played with would have just backed up to the edge of the range and dropped a fireball and/or some other fire spells on the creature hiding in the snow. If it is big and has a 50/50 chance of being a trap we will just kill it and res it later if we were wrong.
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BeholderSlayer

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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #238 on: February 08, 2011, 01:36:01 PM »
Second, even in Jaron's example, the factotum would notice the glow and, because bigger creatures give off more light, would be able to say "There is something Large sized buried in the snow up ahead."  Assuming the party knew about the Ice Devil beforehand, they would likely assume that it's waiting up ahead.  Even without that, they could infer plenty about what the factotum located from the fact it's alive, Large sized, and buried in the snow for what looks like quite some time.  This means it's something resistant, if not immune to cold (not surprising in this environ) and is either sleeping or prepared to ambush and has been for a while.  From this, they proceed expecting an ambush, though they don't necessarily know from what.  If whatever it is was sleeping, then no harm done.  If it is indeed an ambush (which it is), the party is ready.
Yeah, true, but any character with lifesight could have done the exact same thing. Let's see, would you rather have a cleric with lifesight do this, or would you rather have a character whose entire build is dedicated to scouting? Let's see, full caster vs. epic fail...tough decision.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 01:40:07 PM by BeholderSlayer »
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Re: Is the role of Stealthy Dude a viable role in a party of non-stealthers?
« Reply #239 on: February 08, 2011, 01:37:45 PM »
Artificer 9/Cannith Wand Adept 3. Or was it Heir of Siberys 3? Point is, 12 levels and not a good build.

Also, Lifesight means light shines from them. Which means when they are mostly covered in snow, you still see light, but no you can't tell that oh yeah, it's Large. In any case, the scout doesn't get to metagame, and suddenly become aware of something there and not go ahead. Either he's there, he attempts to do his job, and he fails, he's there, he does not attempt to do his job, and the discussion is moot, or he is not there, and the party is better for it (and the discussion is moot).

As it is now, this discussion is primarily serving to amuse the players, who by the way I fully expect to slaughter the so called level 18, but really just level 13 Ice Devil despite the fact said Ice Devil is competent, because they too are competent. What a novel concept, adventurers that can do their fucking jobs, take on adversity, and win.

Oh and you cast Fireball? Ok. You melt the snow. There is now an unharmed Ice Devil standing there. Since you wasted your surprise round, not only with pewpewpew but with pewpewpew it's immune to it destroys you.

Psst... BeholderSlayer, Lifesight is the undead one. Not Mindsight.
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There is no greater contribution than Hi Welcome.

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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]