Stealth vs HIP's



  • Stealth is the ability to move about quietly unseen and unheard.
    Invisibility is the magical ability to somehow bend light and to become unseen even in pain sight.
    Hide In Plain Sight (hip's) is the magical ability of a shadow dancer to use shadow in order to conceal them self.
    Sanctuary is something a little different and i wasn't planning to bring it up here.

    The limitations of the Neverwinter nights engine means that very few actions "break" the stealth "state". I am interested in what the people here think about stealth in terms of what actions should break stealth. Here are some actions that i think should always result in a broken state.

    1. Interacting with a chest/door/random loot container. Lets imagine for a moment 20 goblins standing artound talking to each other, a stealthed PC open the chest they are guarding steals their treasure and waltzs out. I dont this can happen not unless the golbins are somehow distracted

    2. Getting close enough to someone to over hear whispered convesations, Ok i have decided to talk quietly to my friend about some important issue i don't want over heard. I stand in the middle of the room and look about is there anyone close enough to hear yes or no? if yes move away if no whisper. I'm standing in the middle of the room you have nothing to hide with unless your using magic,

    3. Traps, examining a trap placing a trap is an option enemies may not be watching out for, having the trip wires removed and the trap "disarmed" is something they would notice. For example i place a piece of cheese on the kitchen floor sit back an watch. ?Unless i am distracted i will notice anything creeping up and removing said cheese. This is not an opposed roll this is bleeding obvious in my mind.

    i think it is very easy to abuse the mechanics of stealth in Neverwinter nights i think a simple rule of thumb is this; does it require HIP's to perform said feast of stealth or not? We can quite easily govern ourselves and not wander round a dungeon loot everything disarm all traps then wander back to the start an say okay boys off ya go and kill. Simple self governing rule that doesnt require scripting or dm intervention.

    I would be interested in feedback rather than blanket statements dismissing every argument based on a single point.



  • Hiding in plain sight, sure, would require HIPS.

    However, having played a high stealth character recently, I think a lot of the answers depend on the definition of stealth. To me, stealth represents a lot more than just moving silently and trying not to be seen - it actually represents taking advantage of distractions, creating them, and opening that chest when someone sneezes so that the sound doesn't draw attention.

    1. Interacting with chest/Door: There's already a system in for interacting with Doors while stealthed, I think - it allows people who actually notice the door moving, get a message saying "the door moved without nobody touching it" or something similar - I've seen this once myself. A chest is a bit more difficult, but those 20 goblins in the same room? They aren't likely staring at the chest, they are likely arguing what they will raid next, and thus, it is very plausible that you could peek into the chest without them noticing (since none of them expects anyone to touch it anyway).

    2. To get close enough to hear whispered conversations: I tried to RP this as acting so inconspicously that people are disregarding you. I listened to two people chatting in the guildhall, by RPing that I was reading the bounty book. True, they did not see me, nor my emote, because of my high stealth -> Instead of assuming that stealth means merely "not being seen", I always assumed it's "not being noticed", which is completely different, and makes a lot of things make a lot more sense.

    3. Traps: Traps are generally well concealed. The tripwires are -not ment to be seen-. Thus, it's perfectly reasonable to presume that the random evil minion takes care to avoid stepping into the tripwire he knows is there, but he isn't costantly staring at the spot to see if it moves. Maybe even the tripwire wasn't touched to - perhaps the rogue just removed the spikes from whatever mechanism shoots out the spikes.

    Besides, most of the rogues use some sort of magic to sneak around - be it camouflage, or clothes that are magically making you harder to spot. Stealth is requires lots of dedication to get to the level where you can actually eavesdrop on two people for an extended amount of time without them noticing, so instead of asking myself "Would they have seen me sneak through the door, and then circle behind them?" I tell myself "Maybe they -were- distracted, looking at that artifact they were talking about, and did not notice me slip through from the door, and silently dash under the bed".

    To me, stealth isn't just about blending in with the background/staying out of sight/walking silently, but also represents the fact that you -did- move when they were distracted and you -did not- look like you were following them, but instead -did- look like you were just minding your own business.

    Last point: There are a lot of unrepresented NPC's in the world. While stealthing in the middle of the street, I always assume I just "blend in with the unrepresented crowd" instead of actually pretending to stand in the middle of an empty street and trying to "not be seen".



  • I think you can RP some of these things some of the time Tomppa, i don't think it always without question possible to do them and it would be appreciated if some attempt by stealthed PC's made an effort to RP some of these things some of the time.



  • Tomppa makes a lot of good remarks in my book. That said, Im a firm believer of wysiwyg (What you see is what you get), especially in regards to spying on people. If you really want to make sure you're not overheard, then you plain shouldn't have the conversation in a place the stealthed character has access to. The Spire, an inn, the local merchant, the bazar, are all places you risk being overheard no matter how much you try to avoid it, and sneaking up with stealth is a very viable option.

    If you dont want to be overheard, then rent a secure room from someone, or some place, you know. Hire someone to watch out for people while you have your conversation… And if someone still manages to get in to that room with you, while you've rented someone to watch out for people ect., then they have done a damn good job and will promote the intrigue this server thrives upon... And for all the sneaks, just remember that if you rent a room at say, the Thayan Embassy, and you want to sneak into that room and listen to the meeting, then all the Thayan guards standing around are trying to spot you as well, as you're ruining their business if you success. That requires DM supervision imo, especially since being discovered is very likely to lead to some sort of PVP.



  • I should probably clarify that "RPing sneaking" part - When stealthed, you can make emotes like [sticks to the shadows and attempts to stay unseen] -> Those who haven't spotted you can't see you and thus won't see the emote, but those who have spotted you will see the emote and thus know what you are up to.

    Or, like the previous example: [pretends to read the book regarding bounties] While eavesdropping on two people nearby - If they don't spot you or hear you, then they don't see the emote - but anyone nearby who succeeds at detecting you through your stealth, would see you. I think the way stealth mode works in this regard is awesome - If people see your emotes, they know you are spying/shadowing people, and if not, then you've obviously succeeded in what you tried to do.



  • @Tomppa:

    [sticks to the shadows and attempts to stay unseen] -> Those who haven't spotted you can't see you and thus won't see the emote, but those who have spotted you will see the emote and thus know what you are up to.

    I would say is acting suspiciously as if he was trying to eavesdrop on you so that if you fail the check the fact that you are trying to do something sneaky is evident.

    @Tomppa:

    [pretends to read the book regarding bounties] While eavesdropping on two people nearby - If they don't spot you or hear you, then they don't see the emote - but anyone nearby who succeeds at detecting you through your stealth, would see you.

    same thing but with a twist. I assume the "pretends" part will need a roll of "bluff" or something like that rather than hide. I believe that if you are willing to use "hide" as your sneaky attitude you are not faking doing anything else but hiding and then you should emote the acting suspiciously as if he was trying to overhear the conversation after all if you fail you fail, you don't have a second opportunity of "maybe he's not spying"… (and bluff roll will have to be overseen by a DM since is not enforceable).

    Btw, if I don't want to be heard there are many IG ways to do so that the RP of sneaking will be unnecessary. I am also a big fan of WYSIWYG.



  • just a note to anyone that is going to do this and i think that emoting whilst sneaking is a great idea btw, make sure you dont use asterix as if you happen to include one of the key words then you will do the animation and break stealth!

    ie. pretends to read the book will cause your avatar to take out a sheet of paper and read it breaking stealth.

    [pretends to read the book] wont

    There is a list of all the animations in this post here.



  • "I should probably clarify that "RPing sneaking" part - When stealthed, you can make emotes like [sticks to the shadows and attempts to stay unseen] -> Those who haven't spotted you can't see you and thus won't see the emote, but those who have spotted you will see the emote and thus know what you are up to." I haven't used stealth much, but I always thought talking would still be heard whether the person is in stealth mode or not… So people won't hear you if you're unseen?



  • They wont hear you if you are in stealth unless they make the listen roll (they dont get text in the dialogue box), however if you speak in a language using then the green text still appears in the log which will give you away ooc.



  • Contrary to what people may believe Stealth is very hard to accomplish. It is different in PvP than it is in PvE. While in PvE even if you have 1 point of Hide above your foe's spot you will be able to hide successfully.
    In PvP you need to have 25 points difference. Those are reduced by lighting, proximity and etc.

    There are ways to counter that and plenty of players have devised their own unique ways to ensure they arent being sneaked upon. I dont see any reason to have those players gimp themselves any further.

    Afraid someone is listening on your plans?
    Find a place to discuss things under lock and key, hire rogues to guard the room, chug True Seeing or ESP potions, etc…



  • i feel that stealth is invaluable; with a potion of invis, anybody can do it, and do it better than a rogue, really.
    Further taking away any abilities that the SKILL that someone invested in with their character, makes potion and spell stealthing much more required, and powerful.

    I find even as a ranger in the wild there are places I can't go, because I can't rely on my stealth to stay on, and not get ganked by monsters I may not have detected or that spawn - things that a potion or spell of invisibility seems to readily solve. I'm constantly walking at half speed in order to be stealthed, often getting separated from my party when they are in a rush/ impatient, putting me in the situation that if I lose stealth, there is a good chance in an area overpowered for my character alone I will get smoked.

    Stealth shouldn't be an excuse to think you can do whatever you want with impunity - but neither should invisibility, since merchants and other powerful people would invest in divinations to counter this (at least some of the time).

    yeah. I'm glad at some of the features that have been implemented to prevent breaking of stealth accidentally (.poison arrow, etc warning about emotes) because it already seems hard enough to do when you don't fumble at the keyboard or similar.


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