Lightfoot halflings have the Naturally Stealthy trait:

You can attempt to hide even when you are obscured only by a creature that is at least one size larger than you.

Can a lightfoot halfling use this trait to hide behind a larger creature while otherwise being observed? Or does the general restriction against hiding while being observed preclude the lightfoot halfling's ability to hide behind a larger creature?

Must the halfling be unobserved before moving behind a larger creature, or does moving behind the larger creature now meet the "unobserved" requirement?


Yes, they can.

In 5e, any character is able to Hide as soon as they move into an 'obscured' area - even if they were observed during the movement on the way to that area. The only bit that matters is that they end their movement with something substantial breaking line of sight between them and the observer, and have enough remaining actions to Hide.

In the case of the Lightfoot Halfing, they are allowed to treat a space behind a larger creature as 'obscured', hence can move behind such a creature and Hide even if they were observed before / during that action. The only caveat would be that the larger creature must be blocking line of sight to the observer(s) at the time that the Hide action was taken.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It is also worth noting that "hidden" doesn't necessarily negate object permanence. You are "out of sight" but not necessarily "out of mind". Most spells/attacks that target a creature have the requirement "target a creature you can see" \$\endgroup\$ Oct 5 '18 at 14:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd suggest editing the header ("Yes, they can.") to clarify which question you're responding to, since the title and body of the post ask both the positive form of the question and the opposite of it. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Oct 6 '18 at 0:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ You end by saying the larger creature must block line of sight to the observer. That would mean the halfling would be unseen, which would allow any creature to attempt to hide. That interpretation gives no special benefit to Lightfoot Halflings. So rather than the larger creature blocking line of sight, it merely obscures the halfling so it can't be seen clearly. The corollary is that any other race can be seen clearly enough behind a larger creature to make hiding impossible. To be honest, I think the designers dropped the ball using the word obscured, which has another meaning. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 7 '18 at 19:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ You don't need to break line of sight to hide, you just need to be not clearly visible. For example you can hide 5ft in front of someone in darkness, you can hide behind fog, if you are invisible you can hide in broad daylight out in the open, etc. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15 '19 at 5:53

The ability says that they can hide behind a creature larger than themselves, and it really does mean that. It is a specific exception to the general rule. If they're behind a larger creature, they are unseen for the purpose of hiding.


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