Rules for Stealth

Stealth: Adventurers are presumed to be naturally sneaky. Thus you are presumed to be hidden unless:
  1. You are wearing loud clanky armor
  2. You do something that will probably get you noticed
In either of these cases, you will have to make a Stealth Check to remain hidden. Stealth checks should be pretty difficult (DC: 18) because essentially you have to mess up to make the check. If you make the check, be certain to describe how your character avoids notice. The explanation of this has to be reasonable for your check to work.

Walking up behind a target to stab him, always requires a Stealth Check. So does remaining hidden after attacking at range from a hidden position, although depending on the position the GM may lower the DC for the check.

Some examples:

GM: As you peer through the keyhole, you see a lumbering pile of fat and muscle, a huge man in a bloody apron, bearing a massive cleaver. His back is to you chopping away on a pile of meat. Every once in a while, he lumbers over to the other side of the room bearing slabs to hang on hooks. The floorboards creak loudly under his weight as if they were already old and bearly holding up beneath him. Behind the hooks along the back wall is a wooden staircase leading up.

Player: Ok while he is chopping, I want to sneak through to the stairs.

GM: The floor creaks under you, roll a Stealth Check.

Player: Crap! I forgot about the floor! (Rolls a 5) CRAP!

GM: The hulking man turns on you, his cleaver at the ready.

(What could have happened!)

Player: Crap! I forgot about the floor! (Rolls a Nat 20!) Success!

GM: Ok he hears something and prepares to turn around.

Player: Is there any barrels or anything around?

GM: Sure, there is a big salt barrel.

Player: Ok, I roll behind that!

GM: The giant looks around but sees nothing, however, he is bound to see you next time he goes over to the hooks.

Player: Ok while his back is turned, can I sneak out around the barrel and dash upstairs?

GM: Yep, you make it!

(What also could have happened!)

Player: I'm a dwarf. I know stuff about architecture. Will those floorboards creak when I step on them?

GM: Most certainly.

Player: How quickly does he cross from one side of the room to the other?

GM: Slowly.

Player: Does he seem pretty concentrated on his task?

GM: Yep.

Player: Ok while he is walking across the room, but nearer to the meat pile, I want to sneak behind him near the meat hooks, stepping in time with his steps so the creaking conceals my steps.

GM: Ok, you do so! You make it up the stairs, unnoticed!

I think this could be a pretty good base for checks in general. Often times we think of rolling the check before we do the action. For some things this makes sense. Lifting up a portcullis is a Strength Check. But to make Checks more like Saving Throws, where most actions are presumed to work unless something goes wrong. It would seem to help players interact with the environment as real and make it less of a mindless roll while also rewarding the Thief for having a better Stealth skill. 


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