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In Stealth skill, it is mentioned that;

It's impossible to use Stealth while attacking, running, or charging.

  1. In a scenario where the attacker has Spring Attack feat or can move after an attack(and of course with an area of dim light nearby), can a shadowdancer attack and then use Stealth as part of movement or does it constitute as attacking as a whole?
  2. Am I right to assume that during this attack, normal penalties to Stealth, such as moving between your half speed and full speed, still apply?

Also if the first question is positive, what other penalties does the attacker suffer?(if any)

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Related to This Question –  Rob Sep 18 '13 at 9:20
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3 Answers 3

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Yes, you can.

The Stealth rules have always been a hot mess , it's quite hard to state them in legalese-complete terms. Normal folks have been letting rogues sneak attack from Stealth for some time. However, the newest Stealth errata and clarifications make this RAW now.

See the Stealth description on the PRD, which has been amended to add

Breaking Stealth: When you start your turn using Stealth, you can leave cover or concealment and remain unobserved as long as you succeed at a Stealth check and end your turn in cover or concealment. Your Stealth immediately ends after you make and attack roll, whether or not the attack is successful (except when sniping as noted below).

That means that if you start out Stealthed, then you can execute a Spring Attack thus:

  1. Start out hidden.
  2. Move in stealthily.
  3. Attack, with the benefit of Sneak Attack.
  4. Lose stealth due to attacking.
  5. Move back into hiding and regain Stealth. Obviously, easier if you have hide in plain sight, though you'll probably still have negative Stealth modifiers if you're trying to hide just out in the middle of a battlefield.

Next round: goto 1.

For those that still try to word-weasel around this, Jason Buhlman states the intent clearly on the Paizo forums:

  1. For simplicities sake, it should be assumed that those making Perception checks get to do so at the most favorable point during the movement of a character using Stealth, to avoid making checks every time the condition changes. Technically, I think you would get a check whenever the conditions change, but that might make things overly complicated during play.

  2. Creatures are denied their Dexterity bonus to AC "if they cannot react to a blow" (CR pg 179 under AC). It was our intent that if you are unaware of a threat, you cannot react to a blow. I think we probably should have spelled this out a wee bit clearer, but space in the Stealth description was extraordinarily tight and ever word was at a premium. That said, I think these changes clear up the situation immensely (compared to where they were.. which was nebulous at best).

Now, you can argue that the full round action of Spring Attack doesn't allow free Stealthing - because it's "an attack action" or just because it's not a "move action" but I think that's a false legalism. The skill says:

Action: Usually none. Normally, you make a Stealth check as part of movement, so it doesn't take a separate action. However, using Stealth immediately after a ranged attack (see Sniping, above) is a move action.

Not 'as part of a move action," but "part of movement." Is there some of your Spring Attack round where you're moving? Yes. And not attacking? Yes. So Stealth - yes.

If your GM starts using this tactic on you, read up on held attacks!

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Furthermore, the most recent errata upgrades Stealth to explicitly provide full concealment. So even those insisting on legalism over explicitly stated intent must now concede. :) –  starwed Sep 20 '13 at 23:49
    
on 5th step of the spring attack, can you clarify what kind of penalties would I have apart from moving more than half my speed? –  Can Canbek Sep 21 '13 at 9:33
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Well, technically, it's the bonuses/penalties to the opponent's Perception - distance, light, etc. the usual. –  mxyzplk Sep 21 '13 at 13:41
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Stealth during an attack: no, and it wouldn’t help much anyway

During the attack, you cannot use Stealth. That is, for the moment of the attack, your Stealth breaks, and you lose its benefit (which is that you were treated as having Concealment). Concealment is purely defensive and doesn’t improve your attack or damage in any way, so this barely matters.

Stealth while “springing”

You may, however, use Stealth during any form of movement – such as during a Spring Attack. That is, you could have a Stealth check to move up to the target, attack once, breaking Stealth, but then use Stealth to hide again as you move away. Hide in Plain Sight means you can do this, where ordinarily they would be observing you and preventing you from using Stealth.

You do have to move at half speed (or take the full-speed penalty) to do this.

This doesn’t help terribly much against your target (he is barred from making an Attack of Opportunity against you anyway), but might give you some protection against others who are in a position to take an Attack of Opportunity (they may not know where you are at all, and even if they do they take a 20% miss chance against you), plus of course it allows you to retreat to an unknown location which is useful for the rest of the round.

Which is great and all, but you’re getting one attack per round without any significant bonuses to it, and then retreating out of the fight so you’re not blocking anyone or threatening Attacks of Opportunity. That’s getting pretty close to sitting out the fight entirely at that point: your damage will be tiny and you’re not any kind of a presence on the battlefield.

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From the description of the Stealth skill in core book:

It’s impossible to use Stealth while attacking, running, or charging.

If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can’t use Stealth.

From the description in Spring Attack feat in the core book:

As a full-round action, you can move up to your speed and make a single melee attack without provoking any attacks of opportunity from the target of your attack.

From the description in Hide in Plain Sight in the core book:

A shadowdancer can use the Stealth skill even while being observed

For the first question, the answer could be: As per the rules, there is nothing inherently forbidding you from do it. Beware, however, that some GMs may rule against this, for the following reason: Hide in Plain Sight removes one of the restrictions to use stealth, but one may say that the full round action required by Spring Attack could be considered an attack as per the other restriction in the Stealth skill. The rules are not clear at this point however, as neither is the Spring Attack action an attack action as per the rules (even if it includes an attack), nor does the Stealth skill description specifically mention an attack action (it merely states attacking).

For the second question, as long as you move at less than your normal speed (to avoid the speed restriction on Stealth) and apply the corresponding penalty (if any), you should have no problem.

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The crux of this for me hinges on "Is the full round action where you attack as part of spring attack counted as attacking"? I'd lean to yes; but it's not really clear or stated either way. –  Rob Sep 19 '13 at 13:34
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