Stealth (sage ability)

From The Authentic D&D Wiki
Revision as of 17:58, 26 February 2023 by Maxwell (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigationJump to search

Stealth is the ability to approach others without their knowing, without being seen or heard. The ability rewards efforts to strip down and move with minimal equipment, while punishing those who attempt to approach undetected while yet wearing armour or otherwise moving while attempted to retain all their weapons and burden, such as backpacks, carried sacks, boots, jewelry (which can flash in the light) and so on.

Illumination Dice Rolled
full daylight 3d6
dusk or dawn d4 & 2d6
lantern (open) 2d4 & d6 +1
lantern (closed) 3d4 +1
dim moonlight 3d4
candlelight 2d6
starshine 2d6 -1
full dark 2d4
Environment Adj.
open country none
open forest or rainforest -1
dense forest or jungle -3
urban environment, exterior -2
urban environment, interior -4
subterranean -4
per level, with stealth ability -1
per 2 levels, if unskilled -1
stripped, without weapon -2
stripped, with light weapon -1
stripped, with other weapon none
wearing soft armour +1
wearing hard or metal armour +3
camouflage -2
darkened skin or painted -1
observer is on guard +1
per 2 levels of observer's stealth ability +1
observer is sleeping -4

The success of stealth is indicated by determining the number of hexes between the character attempting stealth and the opponent at the moment when stealth fails. In each case, the DM rolls the necessary dice and makes adjustments due to conditions, preparation of the stealthy character and the level possessed. The character then indicates how closely they intend to approach. If that distance is less than the number generated by the DM, stealth fails at the point the character approaches 1 hex too close to the potential detector of the character's movement/position. At that point, the character is seen and heard (or only heard if seeing is impossible). Surprise and initiative should then be determined.

It is possible to slip past an individual if the distance threshold is not crossed. It is also possible that the distance threshold is equal to zero (less than zero equals zero) ~ in which case the character can move any distance towards the target and attempt to move past or attack. This might indicate that the character has, say, moved right past under the very nose of a guard, within inches of touching, while yet avoiding detection.

Calculating Stealth

Any person may potentially move up upon an opponent without being seen. The adjustment for level is much better for those possessing stealth ability as opposed to those who do not:

When attempting stealth, the amount of illumination is determined, then all modifiers are added to determine the minimum number of hexes that can be approached without being seen or heard.

Note that a stealth check cannot be rolled multiple times prior to an encounter. Nor can an individual who has the attention of an enemy spontaneously try to disappear using stealth. However, if an escaping character is able to plausibly move out of sight, then hide or attempt to infiltrate a crowd to escape notice, a new stealth check can be made at that time.


  • Camouflage: indicates the character's possession of the camouflage sage ability.
  • Darkened skin or camouflage: at night, includes any reasonable effort to reduce the albedo of human flesh; during the day, describes an attempt to match the appearance of skin or clothing with the vegetation.
  • Dense forest or jungle: places where vegetation offers considerable cover and ease of approach.
  • Light forest or jungle: well grown areas where the cover does not typically grow close together, enabling good line of sight. Note that some areas that might normally offer good visibility might offer less in conditions of heavy snowfall, rain or fog. In such cases, treat as dense forest or jungle.
  • On Guard: see wiki description of being on guard.
  • Open country: prairie, plain, desert or similar vegetation, where the terrain is without features that could potentially block line of sight or serve as cover for an approaching character.
  • Per 2 levels without stealth ability: appears twice on the table, once for characters without stealth ability attempting to approach, then again for observers who are able to notice the stealth of othrs. Characters must have an even number of levels to take advantage of either modifier (numbers are rounded up, not down, for determination). Thus, a character without stealth that was 4th level would have their approach distance adjusted by -2.
  • Per level of stealth ability: those with the sage ability of stealth subtract 1 hex per level.
  • Sleeping observers: once stealth fails against a sleeping creature, this will be sufficient to rouse them.
  • Stripped with light weapon: includes any weapon that weighs 2 lbs. or less.
  • Stripped without weapon: describes wearing nothing except a minimal amount of clothing. Those with backpack, equipment tied to or stuffed into their clothing, hats, cloaks, boots or flowing material of any kind are not considered stripped and may not take advantage of this modifier.
  • Urban environment, exterior: includes outside in cities, towns and villages, exterior ruins, rooftops and so on, where construction offers a reasonable degree of cover.
  • Urban environment, interior: includes anywhere indoors, as well as subterranean environments, where reduced light offers plenty of shadow. While it may be less easy to hide in a small room without much furniture, it is considered that rooms offer little distance between combatants once the potential for encounter becomes possible.
  • Wearing metal armour: includes studded leather, ring, scale, chain, banded, splinted or plate armours.
  • Wearing soft armour: includes leather or padded armour.

Group Movement

If characters choose to use stealth to approach the enemy in groups, then a separate roll is made for each individual of the whole group involved, and the minimum distance of stealthy approach will equal the highest 'fail' number indicated for the group.

This can be adjusted somewhat by staggering the placement of the group before it begins to move forward. By placing characters with better stealth abilities closer to the potential listener/viewer than those more likely to give themselves away, the situation can come out for the better.

For example, a thief, Friedrich, approaches a guard at a distance six hexes closer than his ally, Gregor the fighter. It is more likely that Gregor will make noise or be visible. By the time Gregor gives himself away, Friedrich may be close enough to take the guard out. As well, the guard may turn and see Gregor but not see Friedrich. This depends on the conditions and the amount of illumination. An empty hallway or an open country during the day may show Friedrich as plainly as Gregor; but if Friedrich is hiding behind a stone or pretending to be one when Gregor is seen, he may not himself be noticed. The DM must play out scenarios like this carefully.

See also,
Audible Glamer