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The rules says that when a group is sneaking up to another group, both sides get a Group Roll. There are two sorts of group rolls. The NPCs one where you roll once with their skill die and treat the group as a wildcard, ie roll a wild die to take into account the group. The other player one (a cooperative roll) the best skilled character rolls their skill and every one else add points if they get a success or raise.

I can't see how this works for stealth?

Does a group of player characters roll separately for the Stealth, and this is compared to the NPCs group Notice. Or do your roll with the best and the rest add points? The first is not a group roll and means that any group will always be as noisy as their weakest character, which is kind of wrong as better skilled people can help less skilled but picking quieter paths, moving noisy thing out of there way. But the second is equally silly, unskilled people don't help someone that is quiet to get quieter.

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6 Answers 6

I would do this one of two ways, if the party is approacing from different directions, then do the rolls indivually, but if they are approaching as a group, I would probably bend the rules a bit, as the group is only as good as its worse sneak, so I would do the group role but instead of the group roll adding to the best, I would have it adding to the worst, which would better represent what is happing, as you say the better ones helping the weaker ones.

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I like this answer but not sure yet if it is the correct one. –  David Allan Finch Jul 26 '11 at 18:46

This is problematic in many systems including d20, it's the "weakest link mechanic." It's often emulated as either everyone rolls and those that roll low get noticed, or if making a single roll applying the worst modifier. This tends to mean groups always get noticed, however, since there will always be someone without a decent Stealth check (and if everyone is rolling separately, someone's sure to bork the roll). I tend to let more stealthy characters assist the less stealthy ones - they are showing where to hide, where to step, etc. and though that doesn't justify rolling best it definitely justifies not just applying lowest.

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Yep it is a problem with most systems. The everyone roll is probly best for the /last step/ as it is called in Savage Worlds but as the whole group as it basically means that the group will almost always fail. –  David Allan Finch Jul 26 '11 at 18:49

My solution would to be have the heroes each make a Stealth roll. Take the lowest roll and add one for each success and raise on the other heroes rolls. Stealthy people can help clumsy people by guiding them, timing them, and pointing out hazards.

The opposition all roll their Notice checks. Take the highest roll and add one for each success and raise on the other rolls. If this is equal to or higher than the total Stealth, the heroes are noticed.

Alternatively, the stealthiest player could sneak ahead and scout or rig the area to be easier to traverse.

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This isn't the same system as your question, but I think the concept is useful. In Burning Wheel, this would be governed by "slowest and loudest". The person with the lowest skill in Stealthy would be the primary roller for the group, but is able to accept help from other characters (in the form of extra dice into their dice pool). It gives a good balance mechanically while still encouraging the fiction.

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I was coming here to recommend the BW solution. I also seem to remember the one from Reign was good, I'll have to look. –  gomad May 2 '13 at 7:33

The rules-as-written covering this are ambiguous. Here is how I read them and why.

In savage worlds, "group" is most often used as a technical term for a group of Extras. So, the heading "Stealth for Groups" (SWEX, p. 12) in the Stealth rules might only be intended to apply to groups of Extras. This is somewhat supported by the fact that it uses the term "group roll", which is a reference to a mechanic that only applies to groups of Extras (p. 57).

If we work with that seemingly-reasonable assumption, then that just means that Savage Worlds doesn't offer any special rules for a party of PCs using Stealth together. A GM could apply the Cooperative Rolls rule (p. 57) and let other PCs "help" the main sneaking PC, but in most cases (as you point out), this would be silly.

The only circumstance in-game that I can imagine it making sense to allow Cooperation with a Stealth roll is when one PC is trying to sneak forward or away, and the other PCs are using their knowledge of Stealth to create a bit of noise in other places to distract the opposition from noticing the "real" target sneaking away.

Otherwise, as written, the rules don't make any special allowances for parties of PCs sneaking together. Hence, the usual rules would apply: everyone makes individual Stealth rolls and the group takes their chances of the loudest or worst-rolling PC giving away their position. (Personally, this strikes me as appropriate motivation for un-Stealthy PCs to hang back and let the Stealthy PCs do the infiltration work, when they can.)


Apart from the rules as written, there are all kinds of house rules you could come up with. Personally, I'd just go with letting the least Stealthy PC roll for the group: that gives better odds than having everyone roll (because the Stealthier PCs could fail, too), but it doesn't give as good odds as having the most Stealthy PC roll, let alone the much better odds of having the most Stealthy PC roll and get help.

Odds aside, the advantage of having the least-Stealthy PC roll alone for the whole group is twofold. First, it puts the pressure on the group to make sure un-Stealthy PCs aren't tagging along on infiltrations unnecessarily—if they bring along Stumbly McNoisefoot with a Stealth d4 when trying to sneak into the bandit camp, they're choosing to make their roll on a d4.

Second, it puts the gamble and drama right where it intuitively belongs: with the PC most likely to give the sneaking group away. Everyone is going to be hanging on that one roll.

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sorry, if I had not already got answer via Clint Black I would have bless your answer. Instead I created his as a Community Wiki answer. –  David Allan Finch Aug 2 '11 at 8:01
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No problem! Correctness carries the day. My only gripe about the Clint Black answer is that there's no way to obtain that mechanic from the text of SWEX—it's a change, not a clarification. It's a good rule, but I wish it were in the rules-as-written. –  SevenSidedDie Aug 2 '11 at 15:52
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It's worth noting that Clint's answer is made explicit with the updated rules in Savage Worlds Deluxe. –  SevenSidedDie May 1 '13 at 19:30
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The correct answer according to Clint Black on the Great White Games/Pinnacle Entertainment Group Forum Index -> Official Answers on How the Core Rules Work in Group Sneak.

All wildcards roll separately and lowest roll is the target for the Notice.

It's worth noting that Clint's answer is made explicit with the updated rules in Savage Worlds Deluxe. – SevenSidedDie

Personally I like the idea of a Coop roll with the weakest player rolling, as suggest by the other answers, but this is the RAW answer.

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