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Stealth vs Sight


steph
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Hello hero friends !

 

I was wondering one thing. In one of my last Fantasy session, A character in my campaign tried to pass surveillance in a port guarded by five experienced and strong knights ... I'll spare you the details  it was night with a little moonlighting. I tell the player (13 in stealth)  to pass these five knights and make point A to B is a difficult maneuver -2 but it is a favorable context given the darkness so +2 (Still 13 in stealth) my question. If the player in question has the +2 to the Stealth for the night condition, the rule also says that if the Knights also have a -2 on their sight check given the night. How would you interpret the situation? If the player has the night bonus on his stealth, do the Knights have in addition the night penalty on Sight's roll? Thank you for your answers. Hope my question is clear. My english is 6on10

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With normal sight, I'd apply separately.

 

However, if the guards had infrared vision, the stealthy person is a light source in the darkness. And I would treat that just as I would if the stealthy person were trying to carry a lit lantern while trying to stealth by the guards.

 

 

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Personally I would not give the players a bonus and the guards a penalty for the same thing.   The penalty to perception for darkness is only for sight.  Perception includes all the senses not just sight.  Did you also include modifiers for other senses besides sight?  If the area is quite the guard’s get a +3 bonus to hear the character, if they are downwind they get a +1 bonus to smell the character.  Make the area noisy and the guards now have another penalty, if they are upwind that is still another penalty.

 

What I would probably is to give the bonus to the character instead of imposing a penalty on the guards.  With an opposed roll how much the character makes the roll by is the penalty to the other person roll.  You could also say that if the guards miss by 2 they are aware there is something out there, but don’t actually see him.  Maybe they heard something moving around, but because of the darkness they did not see him.  
 

I disagree with Archer about the infrared vision.  Stealth covers all senses, but I would not give them the bonus for darkness since if they are have something to counter it.  

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This is actually quite interesting. At first I agreed with IndianaJoe, Then my opinion changed to agree with Lonewolf, but now thinking about it, and re-reading the Stealth listing in the Ultimate Skill, I think something a little different from both. 

 

First, though, and in general, I would go with Lonewolf's suggestion of just applying the bonus to the player and move along, keep it simple and quick. 

 

But... if realism and/or more detail is required, then I think it would actually be like this...

 

The Stealthy character gets no bonus from the darkness. Why? Because darkness doesn't actually effect "his personal ability with the skill" being dark or light out doesn't change how silently he is moving or where he is moving from and to. In fact, darkness might make being stealthy even harder. he might step on a dry branch or trip or startle a cat or somethin else he can't see in the darkness. Darkness only effects the NPC's chance to notice the Player, not the Player's skill at being stealthy. 

 

So, I would give no bonus to the player for the darkness, he/she would just make a normal skill roll (or if I was being extra nitpicky, maybe even one with a negative modifier because the darkness effects them as well) and the npc guards would have -2 to their Perception rolls because the darkness makes it harder for them to see the character. 

 

Things that would effect a players stealth roll would be how fast or slow they are moving, how large or small they are, how much they are carrying, if they are wearing metal armor and swords, or in robes and barefoot, etc... those things directly effect the Player's skill and ability. 

 

As for the second issue brought up of Infrared vison vs Stealth (at night) I agree with Archer on this (sorry Lonewolf), and although the rules do say Stealth works against all senses in goes on to say to use common sense, etc... and even goes so far as to say that a person can't use stealth to hide their scent from a watchdog unless they take time and make preparations to do so (by covering themselves in something that would block their scent). I think this would apply to Infrared vison as well. A person can't just hide their body temperature by being stealthy. They would have to do something ahead of time to do that. Like in Predator where the Predator always can see the heat signatures of the heroes, until Arnold covers himself in wet mud and disguises his heat signature, so then he can use this stealth to sneak around. This would be the same for a Fantasy Hero game vs Infrared or Thermal vision that some species have. Does that make things a lot harder for players? Yes. But it also makes it easier for the players who have infrared or thermal vision when they stand guard, so it balances out a bit.  

 

So if an NPC has Infrared vision and is standing guard looking out across an empty field at night, then any living character who hasn't found a way to hide his/her body temperature is going to stand out and be almost impossible to miss (unless the guard is distracted somehow). But counter to that, if that same guard was guarding a temple in a hot, tropical jungle during the day, I might give him negative modifiers to spot the player(s) because there are so many powerful heat sources around that the players might not even show up or at very least completely blend in. 

 

Edited because more thoughts came to me...

 

Technically, if we actually look at the physics and reality of being stealthy in the situation described in the original post and apply all the rules (from the ultimate skill book) we would probably want the player and guards to make two rolls each. One for SIGHT and one for SOUND. And we would get: 

 

Player has Stealth of 13-, he is sneaking across a port so the ground would be hard (+0) and normal shoes (+0) and we assume walking slowly (+2 vs SOUND & SIGHT) and there being some boxes and crates for cover (+1 vs SIGHT), but then because of the darkness I might give them -1 (to SOUND, because they have to be extra careful not to knock over somethin or trip over a loose rope or a missing plank, or such); giving them a stealth roll of 15- (or if going  detailed, a Stealth roll vs SIGHT of 16- and vs SOUND of 14-)

 

The Guards on Duty, experienced and Strong Knights so lets say they have a PER of 13-, with +1 PER for Sight. They get -2 for the darkness (vs SIGHT) and I would give a environmental modifier of -1 (vs SOUND) for the lapping of the water at the port, so they would have a PERCEPTION Roll of 11- (or getting very detailed, 12- vs SIGHT and 12- vs SOUND).

 

So in "normal" level of play there would be a 4 point difference between the Player and the Guards, Stealth 15- vs PER 11-, but in a detailed game the odds swing a bit to 16- vs 12- (still a 4 point spread) and 14- vs 12- (only a 2 point spread).

 

But I don't know if I'd ever want or need to get that detailed and time consuming for a stealth roll and would most of the time stick to Player's 15- vs Guards 11- (especially since there are 5 guards, giving the bad guys 5 times to try and succeed.)

 

 

 

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