Page 196 - Hide and Peek

20th Oct 2012, 6:00 AM
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Hide and Peek
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Newbiespud 20th Oct 2012, 6:00 AM edit delete
Newbiespud
I don't know about you, but I rarely end up using outright stealth in my games. After all, why hide when you can talk your way behind enemy lines?

Of course, that sometimes leads to situations that make me wish I was proficient at hiding...

96 Comments:

Raxon 20th Oct 2012, 6:01 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
Oh, this could be good.

PP: That's Zecora! She's not from around here. She talks weird, and she looks different from us! She's an evil enchantress with some kind of evil voodoo magic!

TS: Well, I'm not from around here, and I use magic.

PP: That's different, you're not spooky like she is, and she's really not from here. I think she's from... outside Equestria!

FS: She's mysterious.

RD: Sinister.

PP: And spoooky!

TS: Wait, so she's from a different country, looks and talks different, and because of that, you think she has evil voodoo magic. Do you have any proof that she's evil?

RD: Yes! Once a month or so, she comes into Ponyville.

TS: I see.

R: Then, she lurks by the stores.

TS: Uh huh.

FS: And then, she digs at the ground.

AJ: Look! There she is now!

DM: A cloaked, hooded figure strides into Ponyville. Zecora looks around, then digs at the ground for a moment with one hoof. She glances at the spot where she dug, then lifts her head back up. As she looks up, she pulls the hood back to reveal her head. Her mane is gray and white, and she wears large, heavy gold earrings, and heavy gold bracelets wrap around her hooves.

TS: <roll> I got a 26 on my knowledge check. What can I tell about this Zecora?

DM: <jots a note and hands it to Twilight> This is what you know.

TS: <reads the note and hands it back> ... She's a zebra. That means she's from Africa. I didn't realize we were doing a very special game session on the evils of racism.

R: Hush, dear. I'm the only person here who's black, and she ran the idea by me first, just in case. I don't mind at all.

TS: Well, okay, if you say so...


{edit} Come to think of it, I could see Pinkie Pie knowing better, but playing along because it's absurd and funny.
The Batman 20th Oct 2012, 6:16 AM edit delete reply
Could be?
Hemi-PoweredDrone 20th Oct 2012, 6:27 AM edit delete reply
Hemi-PoweredDrone
Racism is a very delicate subject, but when done right is just a laugh riot!
Raxon 20th Oct 2012, 6:44 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
I mean no offense when I say this, but a lot of African imagery is creepy as heck.

Yes, tribal witch doctors/medicine men/whatever you want to call them make potions. Yes, they often chant or sing while they work. That being said, chanting or singing while you mix ingredients is an ancient technique that was used widely all over the world.

Songs, chants, and cadences are all good for keeping the timing steady, to know how much to pour, and it's easier to memorize a recipe when it's taught to you in a song. Native Americans and the druids of Europe also used songs to remember recipes, and get the timing right when adding liquids.

Music is good for more than entertainment.

image
Eyepoppee 20th Oct 2012, 8:35 AM edit delete reply
Thanks Unca Raxon. I sure learned a lot today.
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 9:46 AM edit delete reply
Imagery from 1950s American suburbia can also be creepy as heck, Raxon. It only tends to look silly from the inside.
Jason Shadow 20th Oct 2012, 10:34 AM edit delete reply
Jason Shadow
"That being said, chanting or singing while you mix ingredients is an ancient technique that was used widely all over the world.
Songs, chants, and cadences are all good for keeping the timing steady, to know how much to pour, and it's easier to memorize a recipe when it's taught to you in a song."

~All you gotta do is take a cup of flour, add it to the mix...~
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 10:47 AM edit delete reply
Pinkie Pie offers one of the best examples with that song, topped only by Yakko Warner.
CharginChuck 20th Oct 2012, 12:33 PM edit delete reply
CharginChuck
....Rarity is black?
Malroth 21st Oct 2012, 1:35 AM edit delete reply
In one of the guest comics anyway who knows if its cannon to the main comic.
Tatsurou 20th Oct 2012, 4:02 PM edit delete reply
You know, until you made the 'very special game session' comment, I never realized that one could look at this episode that way. At least MLP handled it better than most shows. Heck, Zecora became a recurring character.
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 4:23 PM edit delete reply
And a darned find storyteller. If they ever release rhyming audiobooks read by Zecora (with voice by Brenda Crichlow), I'll buy the entire series.
shineyorkboy 21st Oct 2012, 1:46 AM edit delete reply
I'd just like to point out that we don't have a cannon race for any of the characters yet. Those guest comics are just that artist's interpretation of what they look like and Newbie specifically said they weren't cannon. So the end of this alt-script doesn't really work.

Still it was fun and I'd hate to crush Raxon's enthusiasm. (Not that I could, that guy's nuts.) :D I'm just being overly nitpicky.

I probably shouldn't have said anything. :(
Raxon 21st Oct 2012, 10:33 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
I needed a person for the role, and I remembered a guest strip where Rarity was black, so it was her.

Zecora as the Magical Negro was done pretty well. A lot of works use the trope, and many have no further justification than "He's black, so he has a deeper connection to the earth and all its mysteries."
Walabio 27th Oct 2012, 1:11 AM edit delete reply
Zecora is something almost, but not quite a pony they have not encountered. Before Twilight Sparkle identified her as a Zebra, none in Ponyville knew what she was. This freaked them out. Zecora is in the Uncanny Valley:

The ponies live in a world with Wendigoes which look like horses and Changelings, which can assume the form of ponies. Both Wendigoes and Changelings are dangerous emotional parasites.

Once the ponies learn what Zecora is and get to know her, they rapidly loose their fear.

Just because AppleJack has a Southern Accent, does not mean that she is as racist as a teabagging birther.
Guest 3rd Dec 2012, 10:01 PM edit delete reply
Tea Partier's tend to vote Republican, the party of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.

Fun Fact: Jim Crow and the KKK in general were Democrats.
NXTangl 7th Feb 2017, 12:16 PM edit delete reply
Oh, not *this* fucking argument again. Do yourself a favor and look up the Southern Strategy.
Boden King 20th Oct 2012, 6:29 AM edit delete reply
My friend had the same mentality, except he tried to talk instead of fight. I hate diplomancers.
Malroth 20th Oct 2012, 6:37 AM edit delete reply
How about Evil PC diplomancers who uses Friendship to con everybody into being the party's lackeys?
Digo 20th Oct 2012, 7:19 AM edit delete reply
I've tried being a Diplomancer once, but no one listened. Kinda defeated the purpose. XD
Boden King 20th Oct 2012, 7:55 AM edit delete reply
Change Evil to "Someone who is Evil but won't admit it because they believe neutral is a balancing act between Good and Evil deeds", and change Friendship to "I will burn you alive if you don't follow me", and you got the diplomancer in my party. That campaign was tense sometimes.
Sparkles 20th Oct 2012, 10:14 AM edit delete reply
Are you in my desert campaign? That sounds WAAAAAY too familiar for it to be coincidence. WAAAAAAYYY too familiar..... *sob*
Boden King 20th Oct 2012, 10:58 AM edit delete reply
*pats back* I'm not in your campaign, but I know your pain.
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 9:08 AM edit delete reply
Diplomancers can be so much fun. So many of them tend to forget that people they've won to their side are still the same people. Even if the hobgoblins of Microcephalia might worship the ground you walk on, that doesn't apply to the people and things you value. They might attempt to help by disposing of the parasites and other bad influences that hang around the diplomancer. (Be sure the other players enjoy the chance to deal with fanatical hit squads in a non-diplomatic manner.)

Diplomancers can also wind up as personal victims of their own success. A group you've won over on ideas might decide to eliminate you once they've decided you no longer serve (their perception of) them. Think you can get around that by establishing a cult of personality? You poor fool: that only opens you up to more creative forms of destruction.

Please understand that the goal is not to punish the diplomancer. The goal is to maintain challenge and keep the world dynamic. As long as a diplomancer's goals are directed toward world-building, make sure any device you use to undermine the efforts still serve to encourage them. If you've got someone out to break the system, however, please feel free to turn the talents into a character's private hell.

Give me an orator skilled enough to sway worlds, and I'll give you a generous price for that orator's tongue.
Blyndir 20th Oct 2012, 2:46 PM edit delete reply
Platter or Pike?
Guest 20th Oct 2012, 3:15 PM edit delete reply
Platter. With a side order of fries, if you please.

Seriously, there's bragging rights involved in becoming so good at what you do that you wind up on a "only the finest ingredients" label for the best spells, rituals, and items. Other methods of acquiring your talent, even the mundane ones, would still be a point in your favour. Containing within yourself the requirement to utter the Hollow Word or perform the Ninth Song of Creation? Epic.
Boden King 20th Oct 2012, 4:00 PM edit delete reply
What?
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 4:19 PM edit delete reply
Cute, imitating Al from Reboot right after I place an order.

What's got you confused?
CJT 20th Oct 2012, 10:47 PM edit delete reply
I've been getting something similar to that, partly due to having a charismatic character, and partly due to the character being a bit too good at his job (TPK or campaign-end normally happens at half the level we've currently reached).

He didn't plan to take the Leadership feat, but when you're put in charge of an army after the commander gets poisoned, it's irresponsible not to.

Neither did he plan to become nobility, but he was knighted a few game-months ago, and the Guy In Charge has already threatened to make him his successor.

My character likes being the right-hand-man of his boss (whoever the boss is at any given time). _Being_ the boss is a lot more precarious ("we *are* the backup" indeed).
CJT 20th Oct 2012, 10:43 PM edit delete reply
Mine was supposed to be an intimidate-mancer, but he ended up actually being slightly _better_ at diplomancy.

This is a Pathfinder campaign that's in the low teens level-wise. As one of the other players pointed out, past level 10, you're basically superheroes, and at level 20, you're basically demigods.

Level 10-ish was when my character's Intimidate check got high enough to seriously unsettle summoned demons that he was already starting to get tired of dealing with by that point.

Diplomancy-wise, I think he actually has a shot at convincing the now-undead Darth Vader/Witch King expy of voluntarily standing down. As long as Corin can make a convincing case that Morgion won't win this one, anything that could happen to him as a result of surrendering would be better than what Morgion's boss (an evil god) would do to him if he died, again, after failure.

I'm thinking "melt some bronze, and you're a commemorative statue for the next ten thousand years". Corporeal undead are fun that way. Corin's a nice enough guy to even make it a _cool_ statue.
evilauthor 20th Oct 2012, 6:29 AM edit delete reply
Did someone not read the world building notes again? It makes for a clover difference between RPG!Twilight and canon!Twilight.

Canon!Twilight knows a great deal about Equestria and how Equestria works if only from books.

RPG!Twilight? Not so much...
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 8:21 AM edit delete reply
Canon Twilight has a lot of information at her beck and call, but keeps most of that stored outside of her head. She tends to remember which book she'll need and where to look when she has it. Note that Pinkie and Spike have both proven to be better at locating specific books within her library.
bubbambjr 20th Oct 2012, 6:47 AM edit delete reply
This is a liiiiiiiittle completely off topic, but I'm curious of some peoples headcanon voices for the DM in this comic
bubbambjr 20th Oct 2012, 6:51 AM edit delete reply
For and of are the same word now btw.
bubbambjr 20th Oct 2012, 6:55 AM edit delete reply
Wait, no they aren't.
Raxon 20th Oct 2012, 6:58 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
It varies for me. At times, I read it in Sean Connery's voice.

Other times, I read it in the narrator's voice from the intro in the first episode.
Digo 20th Oct 2012, 7:16 AM edit delete reply
I've been reading it in Trixie's voice lately.
Appkes 20th Oct 2012, 1:05 PM edit delete reply
Ive always read it in Richard Hammond's 'excited' voice.


Does that make me an evil person?
BadHorse 21st Oct 2012, 8:10 PM edit delete reply
I do Connery for old Kvothe of the Kingkiller trilogy.

For this, it's a generic male voice that might be a holdover from Darths & Droids.
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 8:12 AM edit delete reply
Lately, I like to imagine he speaks as Bubbles impersonating Mojo Jojo. It makes everything better.
Crimson Doom 20th Oct 2012, 9:32 AM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom
I actually read it in my own voice, funnily enough.
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 9:38 AM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom sounds like Bubbles impersonating Mojo Jojo? Cool!
Tatsurou 20th Oct 2012, 11:55 AM edit delete reply
I've always read the narrator in the voice of FLuttershy. It's just too cute.
Crimson Doom 21st Oct 2012, 10:06 AM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom
LOL. I kinda doubt it, though, given that I'm male. (Then again, I've never actually heard Bubbles imitating Mojo Jojo. Another reason to get around to watching Powerpuff Girls one of these days.)
Guest 22nd Oct 2012, 12:31 PM edit delete reply
Same here. Dunno why, it just happened.
CharginChuck 20th Oct 2012, 12:32 PM edit delete reply
CharginChuck
I've never really thought about it before, but now that you've put the notion into my head, I'm going to start alternating between Patrick Stewart and Morgan Freeman.
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 1:42 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, that should also make this even more enjoyable to read.
CJT 20th Oct 2012, 10:52 PM edit delete reply
Actually... you'd stand a nonzero chance of actually _getting_ Leonard Nimoy to narrate it if you asked nicely and he found it amusing. He's done a fair bit of book voice work if memory serves.

(*Disclaimer: "Nonzero" doesn't mean "good", just "not absolutely impossible".)
ValMorgan 20th Oct 2012, 3:35 PM edit delete reply
Stephen Fry is a frequent lately for me.

I had another voice initially for the DM, but I can't seem to remember it right now...
Blyndir 20th Oct 2012, 10:22 PM edit delete reply
Usually it's a voice I heard before starting my internet browsing for the day. He's been Darkwing Duck, Brian Lane from New Tricks, and Hugh Laurie to name a few.
CJT 20th Oct 2012, 10:50 PM edit delete reply
I've been reading it in the same "generic male DM" voice that I read "Darths and Droids"' narrator in.

It's actually a blander voice than most of the DMs I've gamed with use, which fits well due to the DM in both series being the "straight man" that the characters riff off of.

FWIW, my headcanon is that most or all of the players in this game are male, too. RD's reaction to the setting dovetails a lot better with that.
Nohbdi 21st Oct 2012, 11:20 AM edit delete reply
Steve Buscemi, circa 1994, most notably in the style of Rex from 'Airheads'.

The DM for this comic seems the sort of person that would like to take himself seriously, but has a rather well-developed sense of snarkishness, and far more willingness to have an occasional outburst ("Campaign! Intro!") than I'd see from Morgan Freeman.

Besides, it amuses me to think of 'Rex' being the unfortunate subject of Flutterplayer's Stare.
Zuche 22nd Oct 2012, 6:44 AM edit delete reply
How about The Electric Company era Morgan Freeman, then?
kriss1989 21st Oct 2012, 7:51 PM edit delete reply
kriss1989
For me, whoever voiced Batgirl in The Batman.
Zuche 22nd Oct 2012, 6:52 AM edit delete reply
Danielle Judovits.
Karilyn 22nd Oct 2012, 7:36 AM edit delete reply
Karilyn
I totally hear it in Stairc's voice, IE Newbiespud's favorite DM. So yes, the DM voice I hear is male. Even though we're pretty sure the DM is female. Go figure.
Raxon 22nd Oct 2012, 8:05 AM edit delete reply
Raxon
Have you considered hearing it in a feminine Mr. T's voice?
CJT 22nd Oct 2012, 11:03 PM edit delete reply
Did NS ever actually make statements about the player and DM genders, or has this just been a consistent assumption on the part of most guest artists/readers?

I'm sorely tempted to make guest art with my own mental picture of the cast (all guys, playing a campaign with as girly a theme as possible for a change of pace/to try something different, with RD's player the only one uncomfortable with this).

(Unfortunately you shouldn't hold your breath for that guest strip. The "Rassilestia" picture is still only half-coloured, and the Gamer Luna guest-art submission has been on hold since spring. Life has been very, very busy lately.)
Digo 20th Oct 2012, 7:17 AM edit delete reply
I always offer a "Stealth option" for my players, but they rarely take it. It's gotten so bad that last time one of them was trying to figure out how to put a magic bonus on the boots for a +2 versus doors.
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 8:08 AM edit delete reply
The group Stealth check can help here, as only half the party needs to pass the Stealth check.

If your players feel its implausible that the untrained klutz in plate armor never blows the group's cover, you can always rule that any roll failed by 5 or more counts as 2 failures. You could even rule that any failed roll of 1 causes the group check to fail automatically, as long as that would also be a failure by 5 or more. It's bad enough when the character designed to have a 95% chance of success fails, but when that failure always costs the entire group any hope of success, the rest of the group is less likely to "take chances" like this in the future.

I often remind my players of one heroic motto: Fortune favours the bold. They already know Murphy well enough.
deeman45 20th Oct 2012, 8:39 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, getting my players to even attempt Stealth is a huge pain.

Frustratingly, one of my players picked up a pre-made Thief character with a hefty Stealth bonus, who has a special weapon that allows him to deal damage while remaining undetected (the enemies know they were hit, but not anything beyond that unless they have good Perception.) His class options give him huge Sneak Attack bonuses, and he's got an encounter power that lets him re-roll any Stealth roll, and an ability that lets him treat two squares away as "adjacent," letting him steal and use close combat powers while keeping at least a square of distance.

And he still goes in, guns blazing, whenever he encounters anything remotely dangerous. I can understand not wanting to play a Stealth-oriented character, but then WHY PICK THE THIEF?
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 9:37 AM edit delete reply
In both 3rd and 4th Edition, a thief (or rogue) can accomplish all the really good stuff in combat without ever needing stealth. In previous editions, stealth alone wasn't enough to gain backstab privileges in some games. Even in the games that allowed it, it was still rare to get more than one such attack in per fight.

I see groups use it all the time, though, but that may be because rogues tend to go down quickly if they don't try to strike from hiding when they can. Another way to encourage them is by creating opportunities for the players to be on the ambushing side of a conflict. Circumstances that split the party can also encourage stealth, as a character tries to reunite with support. If the party rogue is a small creature, the chance to sneak through spaces other party members can't follow to disarm alarm or trap could also be welcome.

I have a bigger problem with people convinced that only a handful of skills are worth having. Published adventures haven't always helped discourage such limited thinking.
deeman45 21st Oct 2012, 9:14 AM edit delete reply
I meant, why pick that SPECIFIC pre-made thief that is obviously geared for stealth, rather than a different build that's more in line with the player's playing style?

But yes, your point about the thief/rogue class is perfectly true. And I have tried tricks to throw my very aggressive players for a loop.

Many of them play along, but this specific guy seems to be Leeroy Jenkins incarnate.
Zuche 22nd Oct 2012, 12:43 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, I really did go off track in my reply there, didn't I? Sorry. I think you might be dealing with the sort of person who "tests well": someone who pursues one goal on paper, but promptly forgets all about that in the field. If he's still having fun, he might never even notice.
Jellybean 20th Oct 2012, 10:56 AM edit delete reply
The best situation is to be good at both.
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 11:33 AM edit delete reply
Get telepathy too. In stealth, no one can hear you negotiate.
Half_Baked_Cat 20th Oct 2012, 12:27 PM edit delete reply
Played a rogue last night and used stealth because I could. Didn't help since just walking into a room knocked my character out and 'wake up' in a church with a dwarven priest above him (my rogue was a dwarf). Now, in the real world, my Dwarf was being killed by the ghost of the priest. In my dwarf's head, he started to confess all his sins to the priest. Which was a great way to build my character's backstory. He stole a school cart of nuns, never went back to Stonehaven because the opportunities for a dwarven thief were too great on the surface, the various murders he did, a few times he provided 'protection' to caravans, and, finally, his greatest sin that admitting to defeated the ghost priest, lying to 5 elven chicks to get in bed with them.

Those pansy, dark skinned, pointy eared girls may be tall and skinny, but they were pretty good in bed. Although they did leave a scar.

Anyways, that is about the only case of stealth I had since I usually played mages. Figured I would try out a rogue for a while.
DoubleCross 20th Oct 2012, 2:07 PM edit delete reply
...Yeah, I thought the comments section was going to go some very uncomfortable places.

I just hope you know what you're doing, sweetheart. Which... it's actually guaranteed that you don't.
Akouma 20th Oct 2012, 2:31 PM edit delete reply
Akouma
One of the problems with stealth is that entire encounters based around it are either way too easy because they were balanced around the paladin in platemail, or way too hard because they were balanced around the rogue/ranger. Thus, these encounters have a strong tendency to be not memorable or very unsatisfying for the players and that sucks.

For moments where you allow stealth to get around obstacles, but stealth isn't the ONLY option, karma and Murphy's Law dictate that the result of any attempt to use stealth will result in the most boredom possible for the players. If the intent was for them to pass, they WILL trip the alarm and have to go through the punishment-slog-fest-combat. If the idea was that most or all of them would fail their stealth check and wind up in an interestingly-set-up light skirmish, they WILL all without fail make it by undetected and completely derail your plot for the evening.

And finally, stealth in RPGs is a mechanic that inherently splits the party because those that succeed wind up away from those that don't, which everyone knows is something you try to NEVER do if for no other reason than mercy on your DM.

Basically, stealth in tabletop games is a broken mechanic that results in somebody not having fun unless handled VERY delicately. The only times I ever really use it as a DM are for occasions where there's a tactically-advantageous area to start a fight, and I start the PC's on the other side from it so they can attempt to work their way over.
Guest 20th Oct 2012, 3:34 PM edit delete reply
It's really not that bad. My half-orc cleric tends to get sent ahead an awful lot because she's not stealthy and works pretty well as bait. Even when she doesn't have the option to keep enemies talking, her allies are never that far off: no party splitting is necessary.

It even works when combat starts. While her allies find a place to hide, she serves as a deceitful guide. When her foes decide to pursue, her friends stand ready to run them through. Presenting obvious targets is a useful tactic when the goal is deception.
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 3:35 PM edit delete reply
Whoops. That was mine. Forgot to log back in.
Three left hooves 20th Oct 2012, 2:35 PM edit delete reply
I admire everyone who has posted here because I am hopeLESS when it comes to playing in character which is the whole point.

The only times I can recall managing it are both in L%R games once as a Phoenix shugenja and once as an inexperienced Lion samurai
Legendofmoriad 20th Oct 2012, 3:14 PM edit delete reply
I've found my players tend to overuse stealth. On several occasions in the last campaign, half the party has just vanished into the background when something goes wrong. The other half inevitably tries, but doesn't do quite as well. I don't think anyone can even see the bard when he doesn't want to be.
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 4:16 PM edit delete reply
As good as it is to be stealthy, it doesn't help much in trying to make those around you stealthy. Sure, it'll get you away from the bandits plundering your caravan, but you still lost the caravan.

If you want the most evil thing you can do to a stealthy group, consider the example of the Hungry Dark. (WARNING: This idea should be used sparingly, preferably in combination with a specific location. Players should have a chance to learn of the danger in advance. It should not be used to prevent access to a skill-based resource.) This malevolent energy is corrupted shadow, devouring all that comes into contact with it. While its ability to dim all light sources in the area might seem a blessing to the stealthy, those attempting to elude the senses within its reach expose themselves to the danger.

In 3E, characters must make a Fortitude saving throw each round to avoid the effects of Hungry Dark, with a DC equal to their Hide check. Failure results in 1d6 damage, plus 1d4 negative energy damage. (For encounters designed for higher levels, add one die to each damage die for every 4 levels above 1st).

In 4E, Hungry Dark makes an attack against Fortitude with a modifier equal to the character's Stealth check. A hit causes 1d6 damage per tier plus 1 damage per level, as well as 1d6 necrotic damage per tier.

It's easy enough to minimize the risk both pose without entirely negating the danger. Encourage this. Prepare monsters able to exploit the situation, and hold them in reserve for a fight that will make them and the player characters look good.
Malroth 20th Oct 2012, 4:31 PM edit delete reply
A Halfling Necropolotian Warlock would Love to play in the Hungry dark all day long if they diddn't already have the ability to throw darkness around at will, possibly as an immediate action that allows them to make hide checks even when being observed in the open.
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 4:42 PM edit delete reply
Always tailor the conditions to the characters.
Urthdigger 20th Oct 2012, 5:25 PM edit delete reply
Urthdigger
Part of the problem with stealth is that, by it's very nature, you can't take the whole party. It's highly unlikely everyone is a sneaky individual, so in order for stealth to be effective, you have to break the paramount rule of partying: Don't split the party.

I've only done stealth missions twice. In both occasions, it was using my weasel familiar Sakeek while the rest of the party was occupied doing something that wouldn't take up a lot of the DM's concentration (hashing out plans, talking with companions, stuff like that). I believe we tried once while the party was doing some actiony bit while I had the weasel explore elsewhere, but it was a huge headache for the DM.
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 5:56 PM edit delete reply
Part of the problem with stealth is that, by it's very nature, you can't take the whole party.

Sure, you can. You're just making it look like you split the party.
Urthdigger 20th Oct 2012, 8:49 PM edit delete reply
Urthdigger
Mind elaborating on that?
Zuche 20th Oct 2012, 9:47 PM edit delete reply
Sure. If a dozen gnolls laying in ambush spot three creatures coming their way, they aren't looking at the fourth. Even if they surprise your group, you've got one more resource to turn things around. A good example of this from a movie is the Mantis deception in Kung Fu Panda 2, even if it's more difficult to hide a half-orc thug in plain sight than a mantis. A lot of shows have the team make use of hidden back-up, and it's often pretty close to hand.

I've played the lone target more than a few times in games. If I was actually alone, I'd be a much easier target for bandits and such on the road, which means they're a) more likely to reveal themselves, and b) more likely to start an encounter with threats than violence. If this gives my allies time to move into a better position, great. If it doesn't, we've still got the advantage of a false assumption. (While my characters tend to be very bad liars, it helps to lie in a way that suggests the truth -- such as denying she's got backup when there's no backup to be seen. It also helps that one of her teammates is a sparrow most of the time.)

In caves and such, I tend to maintain a light source with a small radius and let the others trail behind in the shadows. It's not much good against darkvision, but it works pretty well at intersections and such.

I know a lot of people would prefer to have the entire group sneak past an enemy guard post, but that's more than just a Stealth (and Hide and Move Silently) check. Assuming group checks won't work for you, you can still attempt diversions employing other skills and spells. Ventriloquism, charms, disguises, even having someone that can easily disappear draw attention can all buy time to sneak someone in heavy armor past a checkpoint.

Once combat starts, stealth needs to exploit hiding places. If an enemy sees you duck around a corner, the best way to increase the advantage is having some way of being around another corner instead. Spells aren't always essential here. Always ask your DM if there's room to slip through a crack or over a barricade. Always look for the chance to make it seem like you moved past the place you're hiding. Most of all, convince your enemies that it's better to go after targets that aren't as elusive as you are. Your fellow players will forgive you if this lets you take out enemies more quickly and with less risk.
Urthdigger 20th Oct 2012, 11:13 PM edit delete reply
Urthdigger
One issue is that a lot of that is dependent on having a great DM. One that doesn't need to be explicitly told that the gnolls should react as if the group is smaller than it actually is, that actually considers beforehand where possible hiding spots could be in a battlefield, and other such things.

Unfortunately, it's been my experience that this isn't very common. It's rare for a DM to make things in an encounter that cater to a single party member (and it usually is just one party member who's bothering with stealth). When the paladin and the cleric are likely to hold their ground, the DM doesn't spend a lot of time creating a map with obstructions and twisting passages to elude pursuers.
Zuche 21st Oct 2012, 7:11 AM edit delete reply
One of the best secrets to finding a great DM is this: talk to the one you have.

Let the DM know how what opportunities could make the session more enjoyable for you. You may discover that the DM had attempted to create such opportunities after all. They might have been communicated poorly or run so far against your expectations that you never noticed them. It's more likely that the DM simply didn't consider the possibility, but it's still pretty common. I've had players tell me they wouldn't try for a hiding spot because they assumed it had to be a trap. (Sometimes, that's even the case, but never without some indicator.)

Even if your DM wasn't aware of the problem, you've still made progress by mentioning it. If you determine that hiding places are scarce because your DM is a lazy map-maker, ask questions about the area. Is there enough rubble to hide behind? Are there columns or other supports? Is there anything you can use to blind an enemy for a round? (Sometimes, you only have to hide from one person, even when surrounded by enemies.) Be prepared to add these little details to the map yourself.

My favourite encounter in the Encounters program took place in a two story library. That was a lot of fun for the stealthy types, who took the opportunity to enter through windows at well-timed moments. It was also fun for the group that simply stormed the front door, wading into the defenders in the foyer. The variety of options spread the fun out more evenly over several playing styles. It was also fun for me to watch people try different things, as nothing's more boring than yet another display of Attack Pattern Alpha.

That's your primary goal. Sell your DM on the idea that giving you more opportunity to put your skills to use will make the game more interesting for the one running it (and everyone else). Use examples from television, books, and any other source you can find to support the argument.
Gearling 22nd Oct 2012, 4:20 PM edit delete reply
I really wish my players would do this. I know I'm a crappy DM and frequently ask my players for suggestions. They never give me anything. What should I do?

(I ask here because of all the awesome DM's I see posting comments that make my jaw drop.)
sunbeam 22nd Oct 2012, 5:13 PM edit delete reply
I'm more of an acolyte of similar standing to you, learning at the feet of the giants, but just logically, I'd say that if you don't get answers then just try things. If they won't give you starting points make your own. Try new things, new mechanics and new combat setups, and then ask your players what they liked. Press them a little bit, make sure you get full answers out of them. I learned very quickly that "It was all right" means "It was cool in concept but didn't work out how I wanted it to, so I didn't like it."
At this point you have a choice. You can a)drop the idea/mechanic/NPC altogether and move on, or b) change things a little. Or maybe a lot. At that point it's up to you.
CJT 20th Oct 2012, 11:04 PM edit delete reply
Splitting the party is actually fine if done carefully. It happened all the time during our "in charge of a small army" arc in the Pathfinder campaign. The people who were good at going toe to toe with big summons were doing so. The people who were good at stealth and perception were chasing the ones who'd summoned them. The diplomancer was trying to hold the army leadership together after the commander got poisoned; the scout was chasing after (and successfully hauling back to us) the ones who'd poisoned him. The mage does an infiltration mission while the warrior holds the fort with the rest of the army. That sort of thing.

The key is to a) make the things happening in all threads interesting enough that the inactive players will enjoy listening to them, and b) making sure context switching happens frequently (every 5-10 minutes, not every couple of hours).

It still may not be to the group's taste, but that varies from group to group. The alternative is to give everyone the same general skillset or activity focus, and only ever do that kind of activity, which has its own drawbacks.
Zuche 21st Oct 2012, 7:12 AM edit delete reply
Well said, CJT.
sunbeam 21st Oct 2012, 9:53 AM edit delete reply
I planned for party splitting, and my players are following my rails without me even laying them down. I made them blow up the universe, where do I think they're going to go, after I specifically encouraged them to make characters with families? And thusly do they knock out a quarter of my campaign in 1 session...brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
They even split up into the parties I wanted them to be in. Every. Single. Character spotlight that I had planned still stands intact. I didn't honestly realize I knew my players this well until they did this for me.
EDIT: I forgot the evil laugh at the end.
MWAHAHAHAHAHA!
Philadelphus 20th Oct 2012, 5:36 PM edit delete reply
Philadelphus
Pinkie looks surprisingly angry in panel 5 there...
Greyman 20th Oct 2012, 10:01 PM edit delete reply
The expression is supposed to be: "biting her lower lip with worry and fear." It just doesn't show up well at that resolution.
kittypetro 20th Oct 2012, 6:03 PM edit delete reply
This reminds me of one of my pathfinder campaigns. I had just made my kitsune bard and we started our session wich basically said that a lizard man we knew was going to wreak war on the nearby village Nesme where we usually stayed. So we get to this guys camp wich is full of hobogoblins, giants, trolls and so on, and our party goes to the front gate and says: We're here to pledge service

At this point I'm thinking, ok cool we are lying to get closer and then in the middle of the night we create havoc... but then I realize that my team is acctually serious about going rouge and I just go

... Wait what, we are acctually joining them?

Friend: Dude how many times have Nesme helped us? Last time they tried to hang us.
Me: Well to be fair we did break into their church and killed most of the clerics.
Friend: We had a mission, no excuses. Besides today Kyra isnt here to be her usual I will have no part of your shenanigans person, I say we do this thing
Me:... oh what the heck, my Bard is CN anyways.
Guest 22nd Oct 2012, 10:10 AM edit delete reply
LAST TIME - ON THE PONY TALES CAMPAIGN

"Revenge of the Background Pony"
saephirayew 22nd Oct 2012, 3:43 PM edit delete reply
I just read through all of these the last couple days, and I love them! I don't remember how I got here but this D&D you speak of sounds amazing and super fun! I kinda want to play
Gearling 22nd Oct 2012, 4:27 PM edit delete reply
Good for you! I hope you can find a group!

But remember if you can't you can always make one. That's how I started and I've never regretted it.
But if you can find a DM with some experience you should ask to sit in on a session or two its a great way to pick up some tips. oh also you shouldclicky this linky http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqXqK3ZlqWI and watch a true master DM take a group through an adventure.
Fenninro 22nd Oct 2012, 4:42 PM edit delete reply
It may seem odd considering I only ever read and never post, but I did a campaign with a mix of MLP and the Doctor who rpg game, it was fun...kind of difficult at first considering the rules were a bit...funky at first
The MunchKING 22nd Oct 2012, 8:48 PM edit delete reply
The MunchKING
I use stealth all the freaken time in RPGs. My charecters tend to beleave in a simple philosiphy. If they can't find you, they can't shoot you. *nods*
Steeeeve 22nd Oct 2012, 10:17 PM edit delete reply
Played a D&D type game, my fiend played a Rouge-class and snuck up on some ogre/troll thing by clibing a tree it was standing next to. He then dropped his pants and peed on it's head.