Is "ducking" a mechanic in 4e?

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In needing to be completely clear on the limitis of stealth in 4e, I stumbled upon this page-

www.kassoon.com/dnd/how-does-stealth-wor...

Seems to add up well enough, but the one part that had me tilting my head was where he refers to ducking behind something to gain superior cover.  Is ducking a thing, or is he simply meaning to go prone?  I have a rouge in my party, and while it's known that he needs superior cover or total concealment(or some kind of distraction) to stealth, I was unaware of this method.

Now if the author does in fact mean prone, I assume that would mean the PC would have to run to cover, spend a minor to go prone, make a stealth check, then fire his crossbow for a sneak attack.  But can he even do that from prone?  If one was "ducking", I could see how he'd be able to pull off a shot, but when I hear prone I'm thinking flat on the ground.  Maybe I'm just over-thinking it, but firing a crossbow over a waist-high wall while on one's stomache seems a bit crazy.  Could prone also refer to just being crouched, or ducking?  Although if one was simply crouched down, it seems a little odd that he'd have to spend an entire move action just to stand up.

Idunno, I'm tempted to just invent a new mechanic where one spends a minor to crouch, has to move at half speed, can gain superior cover from behind waist-high walls and such, and then only has to spend a minor to stand back up.  Unless this is already a thing?  I don't know, maybe the author was just incorperating a house-rule of his own when he wrote that.
The way i read it, the rules say you need superior cover to make a stealth check to hide. To get that cover from behind a low wall, you would need to "drop prone" as a minor action. The you just follow the rules for a character with the "prone" condition.

If it's a flavor thing, as long as they spend the appropriate actions, i'm sure you could just say "your character crouches behind that low wall to hide." As long as they still spend a move action to get up (even though yes is does seem silly to spend a whole move action to unbend your knees), and follow the movement rules for a "prone" character i don't see a problem.

I do see a problem with a character dropping flat on the ground and then firing over say a four foot wall. Once they go behind it and drop to the ground they would essentially loose line of sight with the enemy.

Personally i would houserule this cause the official rules don't seem to give a clear answer. And what you're trying to do is not crazy or unrealistic.

Although for the purposes of getting a sneak attack it may seem a bit off. I mean the enemy is watching you run and jump behind a wall and then hide there and then be 2d6 surprised when you pop out of the same spot you just jumped into and shoot him in the face. I don't know if that makes much more sense than not being able to "crouch."
"Ducking" is not specifically a rule. I believe the writer was just using a turn of phrase to refer to "getting" behind cover, getting more flavorful than the rules actually handle. Unless the DM states otherwise, it's not necessary to become prone to use cover.

In any case, it's a free action to fall prone. A character can attack from prone but takes a -2 penalty. If you can't imagine a creature lying flat on the ground and using a particular weapon, then the creature isn't lying completely flat, but is in some other stance that allows for the attack and still carries all the advantages and disadvantages of being prone.

Conversely, if a character isn't subject to the advantages and disadvantages of being prone then I don't see that it matters how the character's stance is described. The character could even be what we would call "prone" but if the mechanics aren't in use then that's just description.

The mechanics describe the rules game not the physics or physiology of the game world. Don't get wrapped up in the actual names of things.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

bcby02, I totally agree about the rules not giving a clear answer.  While most things were pretty straightfoward and easy to pick up, stealth was always the hardest thing to wrap my head around.  Even knowing that you need to have superior cover or total concealment to stealth, I wasn't able to find where I'd read that in any rule book when I check recently.  And I know it's a rule because I know I've read it, it's just that I can't find it.  That's the kind of thing you'd figure would be printed out in very bold text so it's not missed.

And yea, I've always found the idea of a guy jumping into some kind of cover and immediately being able to pull off a stealth attack to be kind of dumb, but that's how it works from everything I've read.  As long as they end up in cover or concealment, they can stealth after moving.  Ah well, I suppose it makes more sense than the common computer/videogame version of sneaking where the player just becomes transparent and sneaks around like a ghost.

Centauri, I'm more talking about using cover to go stealth, not just be behind cover.  Whereas a waist-high wall would be insufficiant to make a stealth check, it would be enough if a player went prone behind it.  So I'd imagine that by "ducking" he'd have to be refering to either going prone, as simply getting behind such cover wouldn't do to the trick, or something else entirely.   You're probably right, however, with the whole flavor text.  Now that I've thought of it a bunch, I could see it as a pc throwing himself down behind a wall and shooting over it war-movie style.  That would both explain why he'd still have a line of site, why he'd take the -2, and why he'd need to spend the move action standing up.

One thing, though.  Is going prone as a free action a rules update?  From what I've read, I was sure it was minor.  I think it even says that on the DM screen.  Of course a DM could just change the rule one way or the other should he feel like it, but I thought minor was the official one.
Whereas a waist-high wall would be insufficiant to make a stealth check, it would be enough if a player went prone behind it. 


That's not supported by the rules. PCs do not need to go prone in order to hide behind a short wall (unless the DM specifically forces them to). 

Co-author on AoA 2-3 and 4-1.

According to the Rules Compendium, pages 233 and 242, Drop Prone is a minor action.  

The nearest thing (by syntax) to Dropping Prone, which is Dropping a Weapon, is a free action (RC page 237).   

If there is an update to Drop Prone (rendering it a free action), I'd like to know, too.   
Whereas a waist-high wall would be insufficiant to make a stealth check, it would be enough if a player went prone behind it.  So I'd imagine that by "ducking" he'd have to be refering to either going prone, as simply getting behind such cover wouldn't do to the trick, or something else entirely.

What you'll find, though, is that the game tends not to get into that kind of detail. A piece of cover either provides superior cover (meaning you can hide behind it without doing anything special) or it provides partial cover (I forget the rules about that).

  You're probably right, however, with the whole flavor text.  Now that I've thought of it a bunch, I could see it as a pc throwing himself down behind a wall and shooting over it war-movie style.  That would both explain why he'd still have a line of site, why he'd take the -2, and why he'd need to spend the move action standing up.

You've got it. You can make scenes much cooler if you think about them this way.

One thing, though.  Is going prone as a free action a rules update?  From what I've read, I was sure it was minor.  I think it even says that on the DM screen.  Of course a DM could just change the rule one way or the other should he feel like it, but I thought minor was the official one.

No, I was simply wrong. It was a free action in 3.5, so I assumed it was. I'm pretty sure I've let players drop prone for free in 4th Edition and it didn't make a lick of difference, but technically it's a minor action.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Huh. 
I've been letting people drop prone for free as well (even out of turn when targeted from range).  I guess I'll probably keep doing it that way for consistency's sake (and because it's kinda fun/cinematic when they suddenly come under fire and all throw themselves to the ground).  But it's good to know what RAW actually says.
That's a part of the stealth skill, much like parry and dodging is built into AC.  If the character has sufficient stealth skills then they know how to properly duck behind low walls and lay prone in tall grass.  I believe there is also a bonus to stealth in urban areas if you have sufficient levels in streetwise and likewise for nature.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/23.jpg)

That's a part of the stealth skill, much like parry and dodging is built into AC.  If the character has sufficient stealth skills then they know how to properly duck behind low walls and lay prone in tall grass.  I believe there is also a bonus to stealth in urban areas if you have sufficient levels in streetwise and likewise for nature.

Not in 4th Edition.

Stealth is problematic, which is why the rules are so detailed. It's the skill that has the potential for the most conflict between players and DMs. Both players and DMs would attack with impunity if they could. In reality, they probably could, but this is a game that assumes at little more balance between opposing sides in a fight, so perfect cloaking has to be rare and hard to achieve. The Steath rules must limit the skill to being useful but not TOO useful, and this results in a very convoluted set of rules.

The Stealth rules could be simplified if the point of the game was not usually just to wipe out the other side, but the game's not quite there yet.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Overall my experience with stealth has been very positive.  I haven't really found it confusing since reading the old "Rules of Hidden Club" post for the first time a few years back. 
The challenge of using the terrain creatively with stealth to try and get CA as a ranged rogue without sacrificing too many standard actions can be a lot of fun. 
As DM I've definatley let streetwise be used to give a bonus to hiding/escaping in upban environments; but yeah, there's no official rules for using skills other than stealth to influence its use in different envoronments (dungoneering underground, nature in a forest, etc).
Overall my experience with stealth has been very positive.  I haven't really found it confusing since reading the old "Rules of Hidden Club" post for the first time a few years back.

The fact of that post's existence proves that the Stealth rules are too complicated. They're the Grapple Rules of 4th Edition.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Overall my experience with stealth has been very positive.  I haven't really found it confusing since reading the old "Rules of Hidden Club" post for the first time a few years back.

The fact of that post's existence proves that the Stealth rules are too complicated. They're the Grapple Rules of 4th Edition.

Their still a bit easier then that.

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Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
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my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Overall my experience with stealth has been very positive.  I haven't really found it confusing since reading the old "Rules of Hidden Club" post for the first time a few years back.

The fact of that post's existence proves that the Stealth rules are too complicated. They're the Grapple Rules of 4th Edition.

Their still a bit easier then that.

But more contentious. Grapple rarely came up, but it's not hard to find a player who wants to be Batman or a ninja, or a ninja Batman, and wants to find a loophole that lets him or her hit without being hit.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Yeah; in practice stealth isn't really about "hit without being hit" unless you're playing a solo game.  The enemy will still hit.  They just hit someone else that round.  In combat, stealth is usually just one of several ways to get CA in a fight, especially at range.

You're right that there's lots of caviots and special cases though (limits on movement speed, having to make a new check sometimes, sometimes with a penalty, etc.).  It'd be cool if they managed to improve/streamline the stealth rules for Next...hmm...any ideas on that? Maybe that belongs in its own thread.

But the following few dozen words in 4 points are what stealth comes down to 90% of the time in my games:
1.) Get superior cover
2.) Make your check
3.) Maintain normal cover and don't do anything that would reveal yourself.
4.) When you do reveal yourself, you keep CA untill the end of the action.
Yeah; in practice stealth isn't really about "hit without being hit" unless you're playing a solo game.  The enemy will still hit.  They just hit someone else that round.  In combat, stealth is usually just one of several ways to get CA in a fight, especially at range.

Some people make it their goal not to get hit and take it quite personally when they can't gain stealth or stay out of combat.

But the following few dozen words in 4 points are what stealth comes down to 90% of the time in my games:

Right, and most of the time, most other rules don't come into play, either. Stealth has a lot of corner cases because people want to get the most out of it, and because having it or not is not something one can just look at a map and determine, as they can with flanking or bull rushing.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy