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Can a rogue use cover or concealment in order to Hide, and thereafter make sneak attacks against enemies he is hidden from?

For example:

  • A rogue sneak attacks an ogre in melee, then runs behind a wall and hides. Having successfully hidden, the rogue runs out the next round and attacks the ogre again. Can he make Sneak Attack?
  • The party is walking through the woods when one is hit by a rogue sniper, who remains hidden. The sniper deals sneak attack damage. The party is now aware of the sniper, but all fail their Spot checks and can't see him. Do the rogue's subsequent attacks deal sneak attack damage?

Edit: Rules-as-written, does hiding due to concealment, total concealment or cover explicitly allow you to make sneak attacks? Invisibility or a blinded opponent specifically do, but is there a rule somewhere that you lose Dexterity to AC against opponents who are merely hidden?

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3 Answers

Coming Out From Behind The Wall

Maybe. Here's the thing. If the Rogue has to come into the open to do this, he's no longer hiding (you can't hide in the open). No spot check is needed to see the Rogue if he just walks out into clear sight of the Ogre, he's no longer hidden. As he's no longer hidden, he'll need some other condition to allow for a Sneak Attack (flanking for example).

This is one of the reasons why Hide In Plain Sight is so good. If you had that, the Rogue could attempt to remain hidden even out in the open and this would work. Shadowdancers for example can stay hidden if they're near a shadow. That would include the shadow of the wall or the Ogre itself, making it a LOT easier to attack while hidden.

Sniper

Yes. It's specifically mentioned in the Hide skill:

If you’ve already successfully hidden at least 10 feet from your target, you can make one ranged attack, then immediately hide again. You take a -20 penalty on your Hide check to conceal yourself after the shot.

Being aware of someone isn't enough to prevent Sneak Attack. If the spot checks fail against the new hide check, then the Rogue is hidden again and can continue to sneak attack.

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Spring Sneak Attack

To trigger Sneak Attack by hiding, you must be hidden from the target as you attack. This is usually extremely difficult.

First of all, you cannot Hide while being observed. One would presume that an ogre you just attacked is now observing you. You therefore can’t just run to the nearest source of Concealment or Cover and Hide again.

Hide in Plain Sight does eliminate this problem, since it allows use of Hide while being observed.

Furthermore, even if you were hidden, in most cases, you lose Concealment when you “run out the next round,” and therefore stop Hiding, and thus (barring flanking or the ogre being flat-footed or whatever), you would not get Sneak Attack.

Camouflage, and some forms of Hide in Plain Sight (usually the Supernatural versions), fix this problem as well, since you no longer need Concealment or Cover to Hide.

Sniping

Yes, you can make one ranged attack from Cover or Concealment and then immediately Hide again at a −20 penalty as a move action.

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He could go behind the wall and hide even while being observed. The Hide rule specifically has that example: "You can run around a corner or behind cover so that you’re out of sight and then hide, but the others then know at least where you went. " –  Tridus Aug 30 '13 at 16:11
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@Tridus That’s because the wall is giving Total Cover, and at that point you don’t even need to Hide. It also breaks observation. –  KRyan Aug 30 '13 at 16:11
    
The question is about running behind a wall, so it applies. He can hide back there if he wants to. Soon as he comes out he's not hiding anymore. –  Tridus Aug 30 '13 at 16:12
    
@Tridus Question title refers to Concealment, not Total Concealment. That’s what I’m responding to. –  KRyan Aug 30 '13 at 16:34
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Let me rephrase my answer, (sorry i missed the 3.5)

1) If the stipulations of Sneak attack are present: The Ogre is flanked, If he is flat-Footed (losing his DEX mod), ect... then you would not have to run away each time.

2) Rogues using a Projectile weapon (bow or crossbow) can only use Sneak attack if the attack is made within 30 feet. Which would limit your snipers abilities, but if spot check failed, every attack would have sneak attack.

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But the question was about 3.5e, not 4e. Does the question and answer address 3.5e? –  KRyan Aug 30 '13 at 16:00
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