DDI compendium - Stealth rules

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I was halfway through a Stealth ruleset for my group(what, it's all the rage) when I learned from Sigfile that the DDI Compendium updated the Stealth rules. To see the DDI rules in their pure form scroll down to Alane's post (#7) or click the blue box here.
Alane;16467232 wrote:
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Stealth (Dexterity)
Armor Check Penalty

It's used for
PHB, pg 188, Stealth opening paragraph wrote:
Make a Stealth check to conceal yourself from enemies, slink past guards, slip away without being noticed, and sneak up on people without being seen or heard. This skill is used against another creature’s Perception check or against a DC set by the DM.

If you want to perform something stealthily like drawing a weapon (where you are in plain sight to all, but your action isn't seen), then you need to be using the Thievery skill (legerdemain).

Preparation:
You need Superior Cover, Total Concealment or be outside of a creature's Line of Sight to initiate a Stealth check.

Action:
You Stealth as part of a Move action. (But the check happens at the end of the movement.)

Opposed Check:
There are two types of opposed checks. One initiated by the stealther and one initiated by the perceiver.
  • Stealther initiates. AKA. Stealth vs Passive Perception:
    • Use this when someone has just used Stealth as part of one of their Move actions.
    • The check is made at the end of the move action that is being tied to Stealth, but thematically it occurs as part of the action they stealthed. So if Roger Rogue decides to move from behind a wall(Superior Cover) through some bushes(Concealment) to a guard he would make a Stealth check at the end of his movement. Anyone who fails to beat Roger's Stealth check will not see Roger moving through the bushes. Anyone that beats Roger will know the path through the bushes he took and the current square he is occupying at the end of his move. If Roger is spotted, consider starting the Suprise round between Roger and the spotter.
    • One Stealth roll is opposed by everyone's Passive Perception. Hold onto the Stealth result, you may need it for following rounds.

  • Perceiver initiates. AKA. Active Perception vs Stealth:
    • Use this when someone is actively looking for a hidden opponent.
    • Minor action to use Active Perception in this way. Compare the Active Perception roll to the previously rolled Stealth check. If the Perception check wins, then you immediately spot the hidden creature.



Targeting what you can not see:
There are a few ways that a creature can not be seen without using Stealth. Invisibility, Total Concealment, No Line of Sight, and Blindness.
  • If the creature that can't be seen is not using Stealth, a Perception check with no modifiers will note his direction (He's in battle near you, DC 0). A +10 Perception modifier to pinpoint the square he occupies (He's in battle near you, DC 10). Note, if you are Blinded, you still incur the -10 penalty to Perception checks.
  • If the creature that can't be seen is using Stealth, then a Perception check that wins the opposed check will tell the direction of the hidden creature. Beating the Perception check by 10+ will also tell you the square of the hidden opponent. Even if you win the Perception check by 10+, the creature will still be unseen, unless you can negate the cause of him being unseen. (Walk behind the wall, cure your Blindness, Dispel the Invisibility, light a torch, etc...



If the opposed check is a tie.
If there is a tie, the person with the higher modifier wins. If modifiers are the same, then have a roll off. A roll-off is used only to break a tie and in no way replaces the original Stealth result. If the perceiver used Passive Perception, then it continues to use Passive Perception for the roll-off. Repeat the roll-off as necessary. House Rule: I won't be dealing with roll-offs, ever. Stealth will be setting the threshold that the Perception must beat. Which means I am hurting the Stealth roll by some fraction between ½ and 1.


Some Stealth Modifiers
Stealth Modifiers (PHB 188):<br /> Activity Stealth Modifier<br /> <br /> Speaking -5<br /> Move more then 2 squares -5<br /> Run¹ -10

1. Movement penalties are not cumulative.
Some common Perception Modifiers
Perception Modifier<br /> <br /> Through a door +5<br /> Through a wall +10<br /> More then 10 squares away +2<br /> Misc (DM, magic, other players) varies

Success: You are hidden, which means you are silent and invisible to the enemy.(DDI Compendium)
Failure: You can try again at the end of another move action.(DDI Compendium)



Remaining Hidden: You remain hidden as long as you meet these requirements.(All from the DDI Compendium)
  • Keep Out of Sight: If you no longer have any cover or concealment against an enemy, you don’t remain hidden from that enemy. You don’t need superior cover, total concealment, or to stay outside line of sight, but you do need some degree of cover or concealment to remain hidden. You can’t use another creature as cover to remain hidden.

  • Keep Quiet: If you speak louder than a whisper or otherwise draw attention to yourself, you don’t remain hidden from any enemy that can hear you.

  • Keep Still: If you move more than 2 squares during an action, you must make a new Stealth check with a -5 penalty. If you run, the penalty is -10. If any enemy’s passive Perception check beats your check result, you don’t remain hidden from that enemy.

  • Don’t Attack: If you attack, you don’t remain hidden.
  • Keep others out of your square. You are located once they enter into your square.


Not Remaining Hidden: If you take an action that causes you not to remain hidden, you retain the benefits of being hidden until you resolve the action. You can’t become hidden again as part of that same action.(DDI Compendium)
"Oh bother." sighed Pooh as he chambered another round.
So you need superior cover or total concealment to hide now, and then cover or concealment to remain hidden, interesting.
So you need superior cover or total concealment to hide now, and then cover or concealment to remain hidden, interesting.

Funny, I was writing my own version of the stealth rules and I had the exact same ruling. I also like they incorporated line of sight as well, because it avoids stupidity such as the "can I hide behind glass furniture" nonsense among other things. I will probably be using these rules myself, because the important part of stealth (to me) is line of sight and since being introduced to all kinds of ridiculous abuses of stealth it makes everything go to a happy "common sense" way of thinking.
Wow. I just looked at the DDI Compendium Stealth rules mentioned by Tsuul, and they are indeed very different from the PHB!

On the plus side: At first glance the new "get hidden / stay hidden" rules seem quite nice. It largely solves all the painful Stealth-during-combat problems that have been circulating on these forums for weeks and weeks. It also resolves "stealth behind your buddy".

On the minus side: The Official Errata don't have matching updates (at least not yet). This leaves us in a weird situation where the DDI Compendium and the core rulebooks+errata bluntly disagree with each other about basic game mechanics.

This leads to the obvious question: is the DDI Compendium considered an authoritative source for rules updates?

- Alane -
I'm going to go with the people with the most common sense ruling.

The DDI people clearly win and by a football paddocks margin.

I've already established in my game that stealth requires total concealment or cover to work: IE you must have a blocked line of sight. The key part is no action can be performed stealthily if the enemy has line of sight to you and I've considered that allies, light cover and concealment (-2 types) do not block line of sight (they do provide protection from certain types of attacks, but are not sufficiently large to block the line of sight from the enemy to your position).

This made everything else fall into position.
Nice.


*****
(( For your convenience, here is a copy of the new DDI Compendium entry for the Stealth skill! - Alane - ))


STEALTH (DEXTERITY)

Armor Check Penalty
Make a Stealth check to conceal yourself from enemies, slink past guards, slip away without being noticed, and sneak up on people without being seen or heard.

This skill is used against another creature’s Perception check or against a DC set by the DM.

STEALTH
Stealth: At the end of a move action.

  • Opposed Check: Stealth vs. passive Perception. If multiple enemies are present, your Stealth check is opposed by each enemy’s passive Perception check. If you move more than 2 squares during the move action, you take a –5 penalty to the Stealth check. If you run, the penalty is –10.

  • Becoming Hidden: You can make a Stealth check against an enemy only if you have superior cover or total concealment against the enemy or if you’re outside the enemy’s line of sight. Outside combat, the DM can allow you to make a Stealth check against a distracted enemy, even if you don’t have superior cover or total concealment and aren’t outside the enemy’s line of sight. The distracted enemy might be focused on something in a different direction, allowing you to sneak up.

  • Success: You are hidden, which means you are silent and invisible to the enemy.

  • Failure: You can try again at the end of another move action.

  • Remaining Hidden: You remain hidden as long as you meet these requirements.

[INDENT][INDENT]Keep Out of Sight: If you no longer have any cover or concealment against an enemy, you don’t remain hidden from that enemy. You don’t need superior cover, total concealment, or to stay outside line of sight, but you do need some degree of cover or concealment to remain hidden. You can’t use another creature as cover to remain hidden.

Keep Quiet: If you speak louder than a whisper or otherwise draw attention to yourself, you don’t remain hidden from any enemy that can hear you.

Keep Still: If you move more than 2 squares during an action, you must make a new Stealth check with a –5 penalty. If you run, the penalty is –10. If any enemy’s passive Perception check beats your check result, you don’t remain hidden from that enemy.

Don’t Attack: If you attack, you don’t remain hidden.[/INDENT][/INDENT]

  • Not Remaining Hidden: If you take an action that causes you not to remain hidden, you retain the benefits of being hidden until you resolve the action. You can’t become hidden again as part of that same action.

  • Enemy Activity: An enemy can try to find you on its turn. If an enemy makes an active Perception check and beats your Stealth check result (don’t make a new check), you don’t remain hidden from that enemy. Also, if an enemy tries to enter your space, you don’t remain hidden from that enemy.
Can you provide the direct link to this btw? I can't find where the original file is supposed to be.
Can you provide the direct link to this btw?

Here's a link to D&D Insider, but I think you might have to register before you can launch the Compendium itself.

- Alane -
I don't have the rule books myself, so would things like moving in darkness or camouflaged (but still in front of the foliage) or great distances count as either not within line of sight or concealment?
I don't have the rule books myself, so would things like moving in darkness or camouflaged (but still in front of the foliage) or great distances count as either not within line of sight or concealment?

Great distances, with some exceptions would count as being out of line of sight. Moving in darkness counts as total concealment (like being blind) unless the creature has vision that would allow it to see into the dark (like darkvision in fact). In general, in combat such things aren't really problems because combat doesn't take place at great distances and I think this is the part these rules address best.

You can still use stealth to avoid a creatures notice that isn't aware of you (or is distracted).
Yup. They had to choose one of 'with the action' or 'lasting condition' and they finally did. That allowed the rules to be untangled. Lasting condition is far more intuitive than with the action, but both would have worked as game mechanics.

I like the clean-ups they've done, such as the 'Not Remaining Hidden' state kicking in at the end of an action, not during. They don't say what kind of action allows enemies to search for you, which will let people enjoy themselves fighting over minor or standard; and they're going to need to errata Fleeting Ghost. Can I use it to make a Stealth check just anywhere? Warlocks aren't better stealthers than Rogues and Rangers any more. Diversion will let you get hidden in combat, and distraction outside it.

Overall, it's a good set of rulings.

-vk
They had to choose one of 'with the action' or 'lasting condition' and they finally did. That allowed the rules to be untangled. [...] Overall, it's a good set of rulings.

Agreed, it's an improvement. Vonklaude, will you be issuing an updated version of your stealth rule summary thing that includes this new material?

- Alane -


("C'mon... don't make us beg...")
Agreed, it's an improvement. Vonklaude, will you be issuing an updated version of your stealth rule summary thing that includes this new material?

- Alane -


("C'mon... don't make us beg...")

Well, this new material addresses the questions, but okay; after work later today I'll try to figure out if there are any bugs or omissions and maybe write something

In the meantime:

It seems obvious that since you're now invisible with Stealth it's minor actions to find you per PHB281.

Fleeting Ghost lets you make a Stealth check. Personally, I'd allow this power the stronger wording and let it operate like a diversion. That is, Fleeting Ghost doesn't look at where you are, but tells you to go ahead and make a check. That can be out in the open. Whatever situation you are in, that situation is made appropriate by Fleeting Ghost. I'd play it that way and worry about it only if it proves to good. I'm not sure whether you must move your speed in order to make that check, but my sense is that the 'can' is not intended to be limiting, and that the sentence should be read as two clauses. You can move your speed//and you can make a Stealth check.

-vk
Well, this new material addresses the questions, but okay; after work later today I'll try to figure out if there are any bugs or omissions and maybe write something

Thank you! This new material solves many problems and answers many questions, but having a complete summary of the stealth rules is an *incredibly* valuable resource for those of us that lack your familiarity with all the details!

- Alane -
I agree the new stealth rules are excellent. Thank you WOTC. Stealth is no longer the old grappling. Praise be to the DDI compendium! :D
You can't use another creature as cover to remain hidden.



Did they make that explicit enough?...
I'm actually surprised the new rules make stealth as limited as they do. But, these rules eliminate all the sillyness. And, I'm really happy to be able to have the matter settled, so that we can spend more time playing rather than trying to figure out the rules. Thank you WotC!

I noticed that the new description doesn't mention anything about beating the stealth check by 10 for creatures that are invisible or otherwise have Total Concealment. Has this been eliminated I wonder? Once we have the full errata, I guess that should tell us (i.e., if page 281 is left as-is, then I guess it would still apply).
Good work !

The portable table is now useless. ;)
Personally I read Fleeting Ghost as only removing the -5 penalty for moving more than 2 squares. Anything more than that seems too powerful for a level 2 at-will move-action utility.

Reading it as removing the -5 penalty makes it basically equivalent to the Secret Stride feat, but available 9 levels earlier. There's other precedents for this kind of thing - the Ranger stance Undaunted Stride emulates the Unfettered Stride feat 11 levels before that's available.
Nice update to the Stealth rules. On a tangent, how did people find out about the change in the official DDI Compendium? I don't remember reading anything about the update, and it wasn't in the last errata file or FAQ. Where does WotC announce when they've changed something in the Compendium?
Curious on how someone would rule this: If you move 1 square through difficult terrain but use 2 squares of movement to do it, do you still avoid the -5 penalty?
Good work !

The portable table is now useless. ;)

Why? If you are behind/under a table, you are out of line of sight, right? I am of course talking about common-sensically, rather than some rules-lawyering drawing of lines to a square. It seems whether something is out of line of sight may be subject to DM discretion, e.g., if someone crouches behind a large couch, they would be out of sight regardless of any "line-drawing" at least until they sprung up to attack from behind it, at which point in time it would only serve as cover.

Note that the DDI Stealth "update" says you can become hidden if you have:
1. Superior Cover
2. Total Concealment, or
3. Outside of line of sight

For outside of line of sight to be meaningful, it must be *something* in addition to or other than superior cover or total concealment.
Note, depending on how narrow these changes are construed, they could severely inhibit the abiltiy of ranged rogues to get combat advantage and therefore sneak attack, yet according to the designers, rogues are expected to regularly get sneak attack (for the damage among characters balancing of the system). I would suggest that out of line of sight be run a bit liberally to avoid nerfing this character concept.
A ranged rogue behind arrow slits would basically always be able to stealth.
Amazing - these rules seem to solve all or most of the really contentious issues regarding stealth, without raising any ugly issues of their own. I certainly hope they're the new standard.
Is there any sort of rule in the game for having multiple lightly obscured squares through the line of effect that would grant total concealment? So if there were say, 3 or 4 squares of light concealment between me and the monster, could that give me the ability to do a move with stealth into the light concealment?
Is there any sort of rule in the game for having multiple lightly obscured squares through the line of effect that would grant total concealment? So if there were say, 3 or 4 squares of light concealment between me and the monster, could that give me the ability to do a move with stealth into the light concealment?

Yes. DMG 61 explains that "a creature has total concealment against you if 5 or more lightly obscured squares stand between you and it".

- Alane -
Pretty good rules. Just two points remaining from my list:

1. Whether enemies can communicate your location to each other, and what effect this has on your hidden state.
2. Whether an active perception check is used against all hidden creatures or just one.

Also the whole question of standard vs. minor action perception checks is still unresolved. I suspect they think that one interpretation is RAW, but I don't know which
To everyone who insisted that the Player's Handbook shows allies provide cover for stealth, "In your face!"
To everyone who insisted that the Player's Handbook shows allies provide cover for stealth, "In your face!"

Is this official like an errata would be?

Until it gets officially errata'ed I wouldn't crow just yet :P
Who even cares if it is official. Every DM in the land will be using those rules. Every DM who is worth his salt, anyway.
Until it gets officially errata'ed I wouldn't crow just yet :P

I agree that we're still waiting for the official errata update, but it's gotta be on the way! For WotC to publish an unofficial house rule set in the DDI Compendium would be beyond weird.

Who even cares if it is official. Every DM in the land will be using those rules. Every DM who is worth his salt, anyway.

Except the majority of DM's in the world will never even see the DDI Compendium. They will use the rulebooks as published, plus (maybe) the published errata.

- Alane -
They could be trying to distract us to get combat advantage.

Sneaky sods.
Every DM who is worth his salt, anyway.

Except the majority of DM's in the world will never even see the DDI Compendium.

I stand by my post.
They could be trying to distract us to get combat advantage.

[INDENT]WotC: Look! Over there! An official update on the stealth rules!

DM: What? Where?!?

WotC: <*backstab*> <*backstab*>[/INDENT]
Aegeri, should it worry me that you are classifying the game developer as a hostile monster? ;)

- Alane -
To everyone who insisted that the Player's Handbook shows allies provide cover for stealth, "In your face!"

Nah, per the PHB you can. They just changed the rules...
As a 4e fan, I must say, I'm quite exasperated with all of the post-release changes (what were the playtesters doing exactly).

All DCs, changed
Skill challenges, changed
Blade Cascade, changed
Stealth, changed

What's next? Either quality control needs some improvement or they need better playtesters.
Why? If you are behind/under a table, you are out of line of sight, right? I am of course talking about common-sensically, rather than some rules-lawyering drawing of lines to a square. It seems whether something is out of line of sight may be subject to DM discretion, e.g., if someone crouches behind a large couch, they would be out of sight regardless of any "line-drawing" at least until they sprung up to attack from behind it, at which point in time it would only serve as cover.

Note that the DDI Stealth "update" says you can become hidden if you have:
1. Superior Cover
2. Total Concealment, or
3. Outside of line of sight

For outside of line of sight to be meaningful, it must be *something* in addition to or other than superior cover or total concealment.

The PHB combat rules define line-of-sight (don't have the book handy).

If I remember correctly, it's different than superior cover and total concealment because the rules for both of those generally deal with situations where there is line of sight. Outside line of sight would mean, for instance, that view of one's square is completely blocked by an obstancle, (most likely a wall). The concealment rules wouldn't cover this situation because the rules for concealment/total concealment don't deal with obstacles, but rather with effects like darkness, blindness, and invisibility. Superior cover doesn't cover this situation either, because that means there is at least some opening through the obstruction through which one can attack.

There is always some wiggle-room as to what is considered cover, concealment, line-of-sight, etc that can be exercised by the DM. But, the large couch doesn't fit into the spirit of the rules, IMO. Otherwise, almost any form of cover would suffice, which takes all the teeth out of the requirements for becoming hidden. The way I read new rules, the intention is clearly that you need really good cover or concealment to become hidden in the middle combat (baring some kind of ability like bluffing).

This doesn't nerf the rogue, IMO. The rogue doesn't need to focus on ranged attacks all the times. The rogue can easily switch between range and melee combat, and has many different ways to get CA. The rogue just needs to adapt his or her tactics to the combat situation, which to me is very flavorful for a rogue. If the rogue is fighting in darkness, for instance, then the rogue can probably use it to his/her advantage to get CA. In other situations, the rogue can use flanking, use powers that allow him/her to hide or that apply effects that grant CA, or get allies to apply effects that grant CA (dazing, knocking prone, etc.).
I love the new rules with the following addition: The move action you take to stealth must have resulted in you being at least 2 squares away from the location you were last seen.

I don't like the idea that you keep getting stealth by popping out from the same place over and over again. But having a small additional house rule like that is WAY easier than having to house-rule the whole kit-and-kaboodle as was going to have to...

Thanks, WotC!
A ranged rogue behind arrow slits would basically always be able to stealth.

True, but not a frequent situation. I'd say the things listed for Superior Cover have not appeared in anything we've played so far (DMG adventure & KOTS), so they are far from being readily available for the rogue to regularly get combat advantage.
My guess is that the Rogue was intended as a melee striker and intended to get his combat advantage through flanking/prone/powers than he was intended to regularly get it through stealthed ranged attacks.

Its not that he wasn't meant to get CA ranged attacks...just that I think it wasn't intended for him to be a consistently ranged striker.