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In D&D 4e, characters have a couple of straightforward ways to become Hidden through their skills.

The first is to use the Stealth skill. This is a check usually made at the end of a move. Using Stealth and being Hidden comes with many conditions, described straightforwardly and wonderfully in the Rules of Hidden Club.

Another way is through Bluff's Create a Diversion to Hide, which doesn't appear to ever be mentioned by the Rules of Hidden Club. From the Rules Compendium page 141:

Create a Diversion to Hide

Make a Bluff check to create a diversion and become hidden using the Stealth skill (page 152).

Action: Standard action. A creature can take this action only once per encounter.

Opposed Check: Against a target's passive Insight. The target must be able to see the creature creating the diversion. A creature can make the check against multiple targets at once, opposing the passive Insight of each target with a single Bluff check.

Success: The creature can immediately make a Stealth check opposed by the passive Perception of any target that failed the opposed Bluff check. If the Stealth check succeeds against a target, the creature becomes hidden from that target until the end of the current turn or until immediately after the hidden creature makes an attack.

The part about making a Stealth check leaves me confused. To what extent does this involve actual usage of the Stealth skill?

It sounds like this is just a simple Stealth check (i.e.: d20 + Stealth mod vs. the target's passive perception), which then grants Hidden until the end of turn or until an attack. This would mean it bypasses many rules of Hidden Club that would normally come with using Stealth to hide. You could run around and yell at the top of your lungs, for instance.

... but since the Stealth skill just calls what it does a "Stealth check" too, this might really involve all the conditions of a normal usage of Stealth, except for having to have total concealment or superior cover, and having to keep out of sight.

Does "Create a Diversion to Hide" override any of the Rules of Hidden Club, or do I still have to follow all those rules as well? If it does, which rules is it letting me ignore?

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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The diversion basically breaks the rule about making stealth checks in plain sight.

Furthermore, this rule violation applies a special version of Hidden that lasts until the end of your turn, unless you make an attack. Thus, this special version of Hidden is protected against making noise, moving, and being in plain sight until the end of your turn. So, yes, Rules 1-3 of Hidden Club are broken until the end of your turn.

Think of it as gaining a buff that makes you invisible and silent until the end of your turn, but only for the purposes of making stealth checks, and only against enemies you successfully bluffed.

To clarify, I come to this conclusion because the power explicitly states that the Hidden ends immediately after making an attack, which is Rule #4 of Hidden Club. The power explicitly states that rule #4 breaks this special Hidden, but does not say anything about rules 1-3 breaking this Hidden. I interpret that as the special Hidden breaking all the rules, except for rule #4.

Incidentally, I suppose that also means that rule #5 is broken, and the distracted creatures cannot make perception checks to find you (if they somehow could do so as an opportunity or immediate action).

After your turn ends, you lose this special hidden. Unless you do something else to become Hidden before the end of your turn, you become not-Hidden, even if you are in a position where you would normally remain Hidden. For example, if you create a distraction, then shift 2 squares into total concealment, you would still lose Hidden at the end of your turn. However, you could create the distraction, obtain Special Hidden, move, roll Normal Hidden, and remain Hidden after your turn ends. I don't see any reason why the rule about new Hidden always overwriting old Hidden would be exempt from this power.

(I'm under the impression that ambiguities in power readings are usually in favour of the person using the power.)

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How do you address the Unspoken Rule? –  CatLord Dec 30 '13 at 5:13
    
@CatLord: "To clarify, I come to this conclusion because the power explicitly states that the Hidden ends immediately after making an attack" - I think that's already addressed. Also, that's the Unspeakable Final Rule, not the Unspoken Rule! (I think the distinction is important: it's very much a spoken rule, both in Rules of Hidden Club and the book, and calling it unspoken implies it isn't spoken at all) –  Jonathan Hobbs Dec 30 '13 at 6:47
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After closer consideration of the rules of the Hidden Club, I would have to say that the only time it lets you violate normal Stealth rules is when it is activated. Upon usage of this maneuver, you get a free dosage of hidden that begins with the successful bluff check against one or more targets. Upon going through the descriptions a few more times, all that the Diversion specifies is that the effect will end at the end of your turn because presumably your target(s) will turn to see you once the distraction is defused.

Since it does not explicitly say that the Hidden status cannot be broken until then, I read the stipulation that it ends on an attack as primarily a catch for Action Points which are the most predictable way to make an attack when you've already spent your Standard action. However, your hidden status can be broken early by ending your turn instead of waiting for each fooled target to reach the beginning of theirs.

Distracted Creature: If a creature is distracted, you can attempt to hide from that creature even when you don’t have cover or concealment. . . You make a Stealth check as normal to avoid the creature’s notice, since it might hear you.

Rules 1-3 are not broken so much as implicated. You have to make noises and/or gestures to distract them, but once that distraction is made you have a chance to be quiet. The stealth check against their passive doesn't include these in there because they are not penalized just yet. But as per the Stealth rules, when you invoke a new penalty you reroll with that penalty.

Rule 4 is obviously still in effect.

Rule 5 is theoretically unaffected because the enemy should not be acting before the end of your turn with a minor action unless some special ability allows it.

Unspoken Rule 6 is a breadwinner here. You receive just a slightly longer lease on what is primarily the RAW. Where the distraction itself uses your only (natural) Standard Action, that action in and of itself would end the Hidden status. Thus, the maneuver gives you your Move and Minor actions to try and redeem it before it's violated.

When you do something to lose Hidden, you keep the benefits of being Hidden until the end of that action.

In essence, you get a free Hidden status with a ticking clock that's yours to exploit or waste at your own leisure. If I were the DM I would rule that if you ruin your own diversion by doing your howler monkey impression it's likely to draw attention back to yourself.

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Thanks for editing your answer. What is your position on rules #1 and #3 of Hidden Club: keeping out of sight and keeping still? It sounds like you'd say that #2 still applies on grounds of common sense. (I think, actually, on those same grounds, it might make sense that the guy busy looking for Elvis won't be un-distracted by you shouting within your turn) –  Jonathan Hobbs Dec 30 '13 at 4:52
    
I do apologize as I'm tweaking my phrasing and order to make it more logical. –  CatLord Dec 30 '13 at 4:57
    
Last Edit unless you have further questions. –  CatLord Dec 30 '13 at 5:01
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