Help with Heroic Permastealth

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Basically one of our group is going to run a short game where we all play Rogue or Assassins, at level 9, we can be Hybrids, but not to Arcane, Primal or Divine classes. I want to give a permastealth melee character a go, I think I understand how it works but I might be missing something.

First off, most the stuff I've seen in my multiple searches of this board seem to suggest that I really need to be paragon, and/or some sort of warlock (which I'm not allowed) since a key point is that I need to give myself concealment somehow without using cover. I've found a weapon in AV that gives you concealment when you kill something which is very limiting, but I haven't found anything else yet, what else is available to me?

Second, what I saw suggested Ghostwalker Style + Improved Cunning Sneak + Risky Shift so I can stealth after the at-will (then probably shift again as a move so they have to guess my location) but from what I see, instead of those 3 feats, I can just make sure I have 16 Int and use Gloaming Cut instead? Sure I'm missing out on +Dex damage, but I can make up a lot of that 6 damage with the 3 feats, as well as grabbing something like an Expertise feat.
Or is there some other middle ground that is better than Gloaming Cut, but not as feat intensive? 

At the moment I'm looking at a Rogue|Executioner Hybrid, especially because I think the Garrote At-Will works so well with the theme of the entire game, and all the other mechanics, and it gives me a strong basic for things like OAs. I'm also looking at playing as a Githzarai since sneak attacking with a bastard sword sounds fun.      
Second, what I saw suggested Ghostwalker Style + Improved Cunning Sneak + Risky Shift so I can stealth after the at-will (then probably shift again as a move so they have to guess my location) but from what I see, instead of those 3 feats, I can just make sure I have 16 Int and use Gloaming Cut instead? Sure I'm missing out on +Dex damage, but I can make up a lot of that 6 damage with the 3 feats, as well as grabbing something like an Expertise feat.

Eh, are you sure you can make up 6 damage with 2-3 feats in heroic? Also be aware that putting a 16 into INT is not a trivial cost.

Can you at least MC arcane? Because you could get Shadow Walk through Cursed Shadow on your Rogue|Exe and use that in combination with Cunning Sneak. MC Binder can give you a free encounter invis as well, and if your DM somehow thinks that messes up the "flavor" of his campaign well... I hope you manage to have fun despite the silly restrictions.
Here's some suggestions, mostly poached from the guides "Rules of the Hidden Club" and "Mr Cellophane":

EDIT: Take the below with a big pinch of salt. I'm just theorycrafting as I haven't actually ever played a permastealth character and especially not a whole permastealth party - the suggestions would probably not lead to the most optimized setup, so I apoligize for posting it without giving it more thought.  The consumables would likely be too expensive for continous use, and possibly require too many actions to utilize without an auxiliary potion bandolier/quick draw.


Items to assist concealment vs enemies without low-light
vision
- Enshrouding Candle (Lvl 7 wonderous, gives permanent burst 2 radius dim light around you)
- Bottled Twilight (lvl 2 wonderous item with daily power burst 10 becomes dim light. Pick up several if you can).

Items to assist cealment vs low-light vision/darkvision
- Vial of Darkness: burst 1 for 1 turn (lvl 5 consumable, 50 gp ).
- Lesser Elixir of Invisibility 1 turn (lvl 7 consumable)

Items to assist vs enemies with tremorsense/blindsight
- Elixir of Levitation vs tremorsense: 1 turn (lvl 8 consumable)
- Grayflower Perfume vs blindsight: 1 turn (lvl 10 consumable)

Rogue & Skill powers to gain/maintain concealment
I mostly know of the rogue powers and don't know which would spesifically helps to optimize an entire permahidden party at heroic, but here's some suggestions:
- Elude Senses (lvl 2 dungeonering utility)
- Blind Spot Advantage (lvl 6 utility)
- Chameleon (lvl 6 utility)

Drows could be a good alternative as they easily get concealment against creatures with darkvision/low-light through Cloud of Darkness.


One of the problems with being permahidden is that you can't become hidden as part of the same action as you lost hidden. That is why the Ghostwalker powers are recommended over Gloaming Cut: You get a shift as a separate action. Gloaming Cut is worded a bit weirdly as it is based on the older Stealth system. The part of the effect line "and you can make a Stealth check to become hidden" only works if you weren't hidden when initiating the attack, and the only benefit it gives to cunning sneaks is the ability to stealth without moving 2 squares from the starting position, still needing concealment/cover in order to not lose it immediately.

On top of that, after becomming hidden, the NPCs know which square you were in when you became hidden, so they can just try to enter your square - which cause you to lose hidden from that enemy (though I suppose you're still hidden from everyone who didn't succeed their perception checks ).

To truly make them clueless so they can't ruin your stealth by trying to enter your square, you need to be able to move again after gaining hidden, which can be difficult without allies who can move you around (The "Persistent Tail" utility power can make it easier, but it's lvl 10).

An easier solution can be to be a pixie, which can hover over enemies or in their square so they can't easilly try to enter the square you're in.

I'm not certain what the concensus is about whether enemies who "tries to enter creatures space" (from hidden rules) provoke an attack of opportunity attack. If it does it's better as it would enable you to punch people who try to ruin your stealth.

If your DM is comfortable with Dragonmarks, one way to attempt to remain hidden after attacking with opportunity attacks could be the "Mark of Sentinel" which enables you to shift 1 square after hitting with an opportunity attack - then you turn it into shift 2 with risky shift, and stealth again with Cunning Sneak+cover/concealment.

Communication while stealthed
Kalashtar could be a cool race to include, as then you could get the "Group Mindlink" feat to be able to communicate telepathically while hidden.

Extra accuracy/damage from hidden:
- For the permastealthers which focus on close combat opportunity attacks, consider the Yakuza theme for Cha bonus to both damage and attack rolls with opportunity attacks.
- Consider getting a Shadowmaster Ki Focus to get extra damage when striking from hidden (unless you know you're going to face loads of necrotic resistant foes).

Alternative reward boosters
If your DM utilizes alternative rewards, you could get extra durability while hidden through "Sehanine's Mark of the Dark Moon", or alternatively "Zehir’s Shadow Cloak" (rare though).

Stealth rituals
For out-of-combat stealth, the lvl 1 ritual "Traveller's Camouflage" ritual is awesome if someone in the group is a ritual caster.

Eh, are you sure you can make up 6 damage with 2-3 feats in heroic? Also be aware that putting a 16 into INT is not a trivial cost.



Not overly sure... but as pointed out the Gloaming Cut thing doesn't work, so it's not important either way.
To be honest, a lot of the stuff on this board makes little sense to me, where someone says something is important, or not important I can't help feel the other way around, but I understand that's cos *I* don't know as much. With 16 Int, it's not a huge deal for me, assuming I never get to Paragon since it's a small game, at which point not having a high Charisma, or Strength or something seems to make little different to my character unless I want some more points in Intimidate or something...

Cheers Gimbazi, all that seems to point out that to have something more reliable than once an encounter I need a wonderous item, so I should probably give it up, or play just do ranged and use cover to hide... Pointing out that Traveller's Camouflage is great, that could be a great idea for us in the game, assuming of course we're allowed Ritual Caster.

I think the point of 16 Int. is that you will not have a reasonable Fortitude or Will defense.

Curious how your game will go, since I think if all try to hide, the one the monsters do see is gonna be dead. 
Yeah I was mainly referring to Fort/Will defenses, but other stats also just have basic utility too. A bit of CON can give you an extra surge for example, or CHA can be useful for all those CHA-based skills rogues can use. INT, on the other hand, doesn't provide any of these kinds of side perks for you. It's really hard to figure out why the designers decided to make a DEX/INT rogue build.
Yeah I was mainly referring to Fort/Will defenses, but other stats also just have basic utility too. A bit of CON can give you an extra surge for example, or CHA can be useful for all those CHA-based skills rogues can use. INT, on the other hand, doesn't provide any of these kinds of side perks for you. It's really hard to figure out why the designers decided to make a DEX/INT rogue build.

Same reason they decided to make a DEX/INT wizard build?

Nah, I can see someone being book-smart but having no willpower to speak of.  I think it's just whoever came up with builds that double up on a NAD's stat just didn't realize how bad an idea that was.
Eh, are you sure you can make up 6 damage with 2-3 feats in heroic? Also be aware that putting a 16 into INT is not a trivial cost.



Not overly sure... but as pointed out the Gloaming Cut thing doesn't work, so it's not important either way.
To be honest, a lot of the stuff on this board makes little sense to me, where someone says something is important, or not important I can't help feel the other way around, but I understand that's cos *I* don't know as much. With 16 Int, it's not a huge deal for me, assuming I never get to Paragon since it's a small game, at which point not having a high Charisma, or Strength or something seems to make little different to my character unless I want some more points in Intimidate or something...

Cheers Gimbazi, all that seems to point out that to have something more reliable than once an encounter I need a wonderous item, so I should probably give it up, or play just do ranged and use cover to hide... Pointing out that Traveller's Camouflage is great, that could be a great idea for us in the game, assuming of course we're allowed Ritual Caster.



 You're welcome, it is true it seems very difficult to get a semi-functional permahidden OAaing character in heroic, especially without Shadow Walk and/or without the DM allowing some spesific feats/items.

Going for ranged attacks and forgetting the OA combos seem like the only practical option in your situation, which is kind of a shame as the extra OAs are usually what tends to justify the heavy investments required to remain hidden on a regular basis. As baldhermit mentioned you might end up in unfortunate situations if the whole party focus on hiding and whoever fails their stealth checks gets heavy focus fire, so I advise you to be cautious about that. Another ritual, "Comerades' Succor", might assist disperse the surges after combats if someone get pounded too much.

By the way, I wish you luck with keeping everyone on board with the Stealth rules as they can be a tad complex, and it will require some effort from both DM and players to make it work. For example, I hope your DM does not send too many monsters with tremorsense/blindsight and such, and I would plead him to setup some maps where it isn't too difficult to get cover and/or concealment (remember there's other features than dim light which grant concealment so you're not boned against the unumerable amount of foes with low-light vision) where you can take advantage of the Stealth-investments (which I think would be a bit fair with the imposed restrictions). On the other side the players should be good at keeping track of their Stealth-rolls, who they are hidden from, and ... try to make characters which work also in situations where Stealthing isn't the ideal solution, as it may be difficult/boring for the DM to make all encounters overly Stealth-friendly.

Some more tips/explanations now based on ranged hiding:

If you're going for cover-based hiding I highly recommend the Chameleon power as mentioned above. It's At-Will, and as long as you have some feature granting cover/concealment to move about, you should be able to start your turn hidden against at least one enemy.

Some more notes about races:
- Drows make for excellent snipers with hand crossbows, and you can get sustainable levitation for 1 encounter per day with certain heroic powers, which should help vs monsters with tremorsense and to avoid becomming "unhidden" by creatures trying to enter your square. They also come with darkvision (more about that further down).
- Gnomes/wood elves could also be nice for their Reactive Stalth feature(start combat hidden if you start with cover/concealment).

Feats granting group stealth bonus:
- Silent Shadows (guild feat): You get a double-roll if you are within 5 of another ally with the same feat, with a +1 bonus to boot for each ally with the feat within range
- Group Stealth (gnome racial feat) +2 racial to allies within 10 squares.

Items
- Without being able to get the extra OAs I think you really should get a Shadow Master Ki Focus like mentioned above for the extra enchantment +4 necrotic damage when attacking from hidden (and you could hope for some lvl 3 Gloves of Piercing, to make the focus work vs undeads and such, but I suppose that may be stretching it).

Making it dark, and taking advantage of it:
If you make a party of characters with darkvision (like drows, shades, kobolds, melee classes with "Disciple of Shadow" feat), you could of course gain concealment by striking during the night and by extinguising light-sources. I'm not sure if there's some definite rules about dousing flames, but by strict game mechanics there's an interesting ritual which might help: The lvl 3 "Affect Normal Fire", which enable you to douse fire as a minor action, for 8 hours. There's also some assassin encounter power which can be used to extinguish a fire at the same time grant darkvision for 1 turn. Unfortunately there's quite a few enemies with darkvision in heroic tier, but at least it gives you some more options to become hidden.

Oh and by the way: sneak attacking with a bastard sword is only possible in a certain other game beginning with Munch- as far as I know Wink. Rogues need to use light blades to use their powers, and when hybriding you only get the sneak attack on rogue powers (and not on standard basic attacks I think).

By the way, I wish you luck with keeping everyone on board with the Stealth rules as they can be a tad complex, and it will require some effort from both DM and players to make it work. For example, I hope your DM does not send too many monsters with tremorsense/blindsight and such, and I would plead him to setup some maps where it isn't too difficult to get cover and/or concealment (remember there's other features than dim light which grant concealment so you're not boned against the unumerable amount of foes with low-light vision) where you can take advantage of the Stealth-investments (which I think would be a bit fair with the imposed restrictions)............. 
Oh and by the way: sneak attacking with a bastard sword is only possible in a certain other game beginning with Munch- as far as I know Wink. Rogues need to use light blades to use their powers, and when hybriding you only get the sneak attack on rogue powers (and not on standard basic attacks I think).



The actual "combat" in the game might not happen to be honest, I think most of it is going to be more like puzzles on how to get past the patrolling guards and in fact some situations it might be if we're spotted the fight will be too hard for us and we're best running away. The entire permastealth thing was just in case we did get spotted. The entire game might fall apart the first time someone rolls a 1 or 2 for stealth, but I think in the initial sneaking around he'll have guards looking in a certain direction at any given point meaning we can move from superior cover to superior cover either without needing a check, or with a good enough bonus it's as good as an autosuccess unless we run and shout or something.

Versatile Duelist lets you use a Bastard Sword with Rogue powers and sneak attack, Githzerai Blade Master gives me prof in Bastard Swords and +2 damage, and one of the points of being a hybrid Executioner is that my OAs would be attacking off Dex with the Executioners +D8.

Something like Chameleon is gonna be useful if a guard goes a different way or something during the initial sneaking around, even though I'd a fan of Blind Spot advantage, and I suppose it's a matter of which one I think will be best, reactionary staying hidden, or getting past a specific guard easier.

I tried to get other people to take Silent Shadows, but they weren't interested, which kinda sucks but can't exactly force people to pick specific things, even though I can't see why it wouldn't be perfect for us all to have it.   
Because INT should be Will-linked rather than Ref-linked?



Then you get weird things like Wis not helping vs illusion attacks.  The Fort/Ref/Will system was inevitably going to be imperfect.