I started with a group some times ago a new campaign. I made a thief that used a bow and was very very stealth based (level 3 thief having +21 on stealth with all effects applied). The intent was using the stealth to get sneak attacks with the bow and using mastersniper to remain stealthy despite shooting around arrows.

I asked the DM if they were fine with a stealth loaded character which they agreed to.

Now our 5th session went by, and my thief so far got knocked out 7 times in these few sessions.

The thing is, my character is never being allowed to use stealth, when in crowded areas I am told "you can't use stealth here, too many people could see you" In empty places when I say "Ok, I am hiding behind the corner of that hallway, waiting for anyone possibly joining this hall, while our group discusses their actions.", I am told "It's an empty hall, someone joining it would see you anyways, you should instead join the groups discussion" Or even in our very first session when our group was walking through the desert I said "Ok, I am trying to find a low profile in the desert, walking close to the group but staying unseen for anyone in the distance." to which the GM responded with "You all are walking through a desert, its inescapable to be seen." I even was more than once having been revoked my stealth state after a successful stealth check just by passing an enemy's line of sight during combat, which, as I understand from the rules isn't even how it is supposed to be, as the previous stealth check determined that exactly that is not gonna happen.

And what adds even more frustration to it. Our enemies always engage us stealthily. There wasn't a single encounter so far, which wasn't approached by us where we didn't have to roll perception against their stealth. In the before mentioned desert situation, I was complaining "How can we even be sneaked upon if I was told, I can't use stealth here cause we would be seen from very far in any direction." to which the the GM responded with "Well rather than your group the enemy knew the area, they sneaked onto your group using the cover of the dunes next to where you were walking to gank on you."

Given all this, I think I don't need to explain why exactly this is very frustrating for me... my character is simply denied the use of the only thing he is good at, while all others at the table can use their characters' features as intended. I already confronted the GM about the situation and asked them if they could opt for letting my character have more of their moments. What they said was, "The first sessions are in very open areas, you were aware of it, so you shouldn't expect it to work, but as soon we are in the jungle where this mission is supposed to get to, you will be able to make more use of it." So the last session we finally arrived in the jungle and it just continued "You can't use stealth here, the group is walking on an open path", "You can't use stealth here, the plants are so thick that one would be able to trace you through the undergrowth anyway" and so on.

So my question here is not about whether the GM or me is right in their way of how to expect stealth to work. But rather:

How can I effectively communicate to my GM - without making them get defensive - that this is just boring, very frustrating, and not fun at all for me?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @enkryptor: Not always, but yeah it happened that we were engaged by stealthd groups in areas where I had been denied to even roll stealth. But the more usual case is, we just get engaged when I am so annoyed that I don't even ask for being allowed to make a stealth check. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaibis
    Jun 5, 2019 at 11:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DonFusili: I can't really tell. I am the new guy joining that group. But what might be of importance, I heard from others, is that the DM is very experienced as player, but this is their first or second campaign they actually make as GM. But I think the group is generally more the RAW kind of group, defaulting back to RAW, when there is an dispute. (Except in my case, where the group seems to be agreeing regularly with the GM in the reasoning. I mean their reasoning isn't wrong. Its just not fun for me that way) \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaibis
    Jun 5, 2019 at 11:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PeterCordes: You are giving a very good point here. Could you maybe tailor an answer around that? As in fact, no I haven't asked if I had any chance to stealth the many times we had been jumped on. I just assumed I couldn't, what might likely be wrong. Also the point of asking for opportunitys to stealth might possibly be a good solution to propose in the conversation I am seeking for. So I would really appreciate you making an answer out of that comment. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaibis
    Jun 6, 2019 at 8:53
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I wonder if your GM knows that the stealth roll you need to make is at a -10 penalty (assuming Expert Sniper). He's probably thinking that restealthing after attacking is massively powerful, which it probably would be without a -10. There is still a relatively decent chance the stealth fails. This ability is probably far less powerful than the GM realizes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael W.
    Jun 6, 2019 at 15:29
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @PeterCordes it ended up me changing to a different character, having this character being in exile waiting for his opportunity with another group. I started playing a barbarian just dumping charisma, staying out of any social encounters and shining in battle where there are clear rules for the barbarian. I was the only one in the group being disliked by the GM so noone else really noticed. But I liked the others so I just became disparate about all the bullying my barbarian had to take. But at that point I could enjoy playing with the others despite the GM's mentality. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaibis
    Oct 12, 2023 at 7:07

8 Answers 8


First of all, you need to introduce this topic to your GM by letting them know that unfortunately you're not having fun in their game, and this is a problem you'd like to reach a solution for somehow. Help them see your perspective. There's lots of great advice for this part in other answers.

I wonder if there's some kind of disconnect about the details of how you're asking to stealth, like if your GM wants you to describe in more detail how you go about it or what you use for cover. They're right that you can't just "go stealth" in the middle of an open room when people are already looking at you.

Stealth can be a matter of who you're hiding from; it's not always "everyone" if you're using cover that hides you from one side but not the other. (But "being stealthed" is a useful simplification, and moving from shadow to shadow along the edges of a street is the typical assumption if you don't go into detail. Or moving in a way that is unlikely to reveal your presence to people in at least the direction you're going.)

Not always, but yeah it happened that we were engaged by stealthd groups in areas where I had been denied to even roll stealth.

That sounds problematic.

But the more usual case is, we just get engaged when I am so annoyed that I don't even ask for being allowed to make a stealth check.

Being too annoyed to even ask if you could stealth may be partially hiding the problem from the rest of the group and/or the GM.

In your first talk with the GM, you could ask after the fact if stealth would have been an option for you in any of the cases where your group got jumped. And if so, how/when you could have asked "properly" to go stealth.

After communicating how this is stopping you from having fun, maybe part of the solution could be having the GM let you know when the terrain presents any opportunity to be stealthy. (At least in the short term while it's a sore subject and you don't want to keep asking and getting rejected).

It would be unusual (and could get meta-gamey) for the GM to remind you every time stealth is an option long-term, but it might help you get on the same page with each other about the game world in the short term. (And heal your psychological wounds / rebuild trust with the GM about treating your character fairly).

In-world, your character should be able to recognize opportunities for stealth when they occur in the game-world envisioned by the GM. So having the GM tell you about the game world in the those terms does fit playing a character who focuses on stealth.

  • \$\begingroup\$ (This isn't something I've tried personally, but the OP requested an answer based on this idea in a comment.) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 6, 2019 at 9:26
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ To give you feedback in consideration of your most recent comment: It was, when I asked the GM about telling me about opportunities they said, they are not gonna do that as it is up to me figuring out HOW to do that. Most often when I tried to come up with an explanation of how to stealth I got right out interrupted and being told I have no possible ways of stealthing. And when asking why others were able to stealth in a very same situation that was because the NPC's made use of some what ever special circumstances they encountered. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaibis
    Oct 12, 2023 at 6:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zaibis: Oh well. That's a lot less satisfying than I'd hoped. :/ Thanks. Sounds like it wasn't just a communication problem, more like your GM wanted enemies to be able to stealth in ways you couldn't. I hope it at least got you talking, and maybe gave you a chance to use the suggestions from other answers. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 12, 2023 at 7:04

Talk to your GM. Directly and clearly.

Tell him that over the last five game sessions you've only been able to use Stealth, your character defining ability, once.

The Wizard has gotten to cast more than one spell that worked completely.

The Fighter has gotten to stab more than one foe to death.

But your sneaky character has only gotten to actually sneak once. In five sessions that included combat encounters that began with enemies in Stealth.

This isn't fun. It's making you feel angry, it's making you feel ostracized, and it's making you feel picked upon by the GM. You want to discuss what needs to change so that you can feel like you're an equal player in this game.

Make sure to emphasize that you're feeling things. Your feelings are real and deserve respect, but your feelings aren't under the GM control so it's not an attack of him. That should help.*

If that conversation doesn't work then you have to decide what you want to do next. You could roll a new character, designed to break stealthy ambushes and nuke the countryside, in an act of retribution and escalation. You could talk to the other players about how you're having this issue, you talked to the GM about it, and nothing is getting better, trying to gain their advice and support. Or you could leave this game and find another group to play with.

But those are beyond the scope of your question.

*Every bad "this isn't working" conversation I've had with a GM has been rooted in the GM feeling attacked. Because the complaint wasn't explicitly based in the player's feelings, the GM's brain took it as a criticism of the GM's work and thus an attack of the GM as a person / player. Similar to the advice given in relationship counseling, framing your statements with how you feel reduces that sense of being attacked.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Is this experience based? Were you a player, GM, or a witness? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Jun 5, 2019 at 12:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Molot This advice is based upon my relevant experiences and the large amount of information provided in the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – ValhallaGH
    Jun 5, 2019 at 12:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please talk about your relevant experience in the answer. The experience is much more important than isolated advice separated from its origin. We want answers that contain stories like “I did X in relevant situation Y, and Z happened”, not answers like “I have relevant experience, which I will not bother to share, and my advice is…”. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 5, 2019 at 14:59
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I am already considering if the conversation doesn't work out well, I will just roll a new character that is on direct open facefights. With an high perception stat, as this GM seems to generally engage encounters by stealthd enemys sneaking onto the group. So that way I will have far less conflict and way more fun, despite I put a lot of planing and fun into creating this thief at first, but I don't assume GM has any bad intends, they probably just don't see that stealth is a vital combat feature of my thief and saying no to it is like saying no to wizzards casting a spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaibis
    Jun 5, 2019 at 15:25
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Conversations are 2-way, and this answer would be improved by suggesting how to hear the GM's point of view. Maybe they have reasons for minimizing opportunities for stealth. Describe your experiences of how to approach this player-GM conversation. \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeQ
    Jun 5, 2019 at 15:39

Consult the Chart of Behavioral Problem Resolution

As cheesy as it is it's a great tool†.

Jolly Cooperation!

1. Talk to the GM about it.

Don't be confrontational or angry going into the conversation, you will likely say things that will make them get defensive and angry with you and make matters worse in that case. Instead, with a calm mindset and clear understanding of what you want to say, gently point out that you were unable to stealth this session and that it's kind of annoying. You may want to add a follow up sentence about how it frustrates you that the enemies are being allowed to stealth and ambush, but that you are not allowed to do so.

They may just brush it off as complaining, do not get angry with them, that only makes it worse, and far less likely for them to work with you. They may not change how they handle things, in this case, you may want to proceed to step 2.

They may also discuss it a bit more with you, and go back on what they said and say that while they thought your character would work in the world, it doesn't any longer. At this point, you may just want to ask if you can rebuild and make a new character. Otherwise, if you're really attached to this character concept, ask them if there's anything you can do to make the concept work in their world. Consider pointing out why you thought that you could hide in the corner of the hallway (maybe there's a pillar to provide you cover from those that enter the hallway), or that you could hide in the sand (my cloak has the same color as the sands and I hold it so that it helps blend me in as we move).

2. If that doesn't work, talk to the rest of the group.

See if any of them are also annoyed by how the GM is handling this campaign, if so see if you all would like to sit down and talk to the GM about your grievances. Don't whine, explain what your issues as a group are, and why you have them, they sound like a new GM and maybe the group can offer advice and help to them become better. If they refuse to change their ways, consider finding a new GM as a group, or asking them to step down as GM and having another player (who wants to) become the new GM for the group.

If they don't have any issues with how the GM's been handling things, consider that maybe it's you having the problem. Maybe the GM didn't let you hide in the corner of the hallway, because he wanted you to participate in the player discussion. And he didn't want you stealthing in the sand because stealth would slow the whole group down (since you have to move at half speed). If it really bugs you, and you don't want to play in that game anymore, leave the game. As I've been advised (and have advised and done so myself), having no game, is better than having a bad game. You play pathfinder to relax, not to stress yourself out.

This is based on having been in a similar situation in the past where my GM wouldn't let me stealth as a Rogue, I talked to them about it after a few sessions of such. Later on I found that chart and have used it a couple times other situations in my games.

†:I am not the creator of the chart. This is the source of the chart

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I feel like this would benefit by also including an option for the player to somehow retire the current character and begin playing as a new character that has a better chance of being of use to the group while allowing the player to have fun as well. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 5, 2019 at 19:24

Outside of game time, ask to talk to the GM. Explain that you are having trouble playing your character as-built. Try to get a feeling for what, if anything, the GM is having trouble about your character. Bring up any applicable comments you have, or everything if you're not sure.

  • If the GM is concerned that you would be too powerful somehow, ensure that you're both familiar with the strengths and weakness of you character. Stealth in combat is intimidating as a GM; it's hard to determine exactly how much the NPC's know about your location. Some examples of what to be aware of are
    • sniper stealth is numerically difficult
    • enemies generally know which direction they were attacked from (as with being blind)
    • you only get 1 attack per turn until very high levels, then 2
  • If the GM is trying to maintain a plausible narrative, offer that there could be equipment your character owns/could purchase that would allow your uncanny Stealth skills to make more sense in the narrative. For instance, a medieval Ghillie Suit could be a set of cloths that have no mechanical benefit besides making it plausible to hide in nature.
  • If the GM is worried about keeping up with the rules, you can assist with keeping within the stealth rules, as you are the subject matter expert on them. (see below)
  • If the GM is concerned about you being "part of" the group, point out that it's your character's choice to be excluded from what little decision making is going and 30ft isn't so far that they couldn't wave you over. You're not removing yourself, just trying to be tactically located.
  • If the GM didn't realize how harsh they were being, gently point out a couple instances in which you felt slighted. Understand that they're in the past and the only way to "correct" them is to do better in the future. You're not here to blame them, just have a good time going forward.

It sounds like it would help with group at large if you ensure that you (as a group) are familiar with the Stealth mechanics as-written. Perhaps print out a cheat sheet (with references to page numbers if you feel that's necessary). Make sure to include the relevant rules:

  • Being Observed: If people are observing you using any of their senses (but typically sight), you can’t use Stealth...
  • 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 an attack roll, whether or not the attack is successful (except when sniping as noted below).
  • Etc.

Unfortunately, you may not be able to reach a compromise on play styles.

No answer to this question would be complete without including the "when things go pear shaped" section. Be aware that you may need to quit the campaign or change characters if they're unable or unwilling to allow you to play how you want. The players (both characters and GM) in roleplaying games have a social contract to help entertain each other. More than likely, they didn't realize how big of a deal this was to you. GM's have a lot of different mechanics on their plate and, especially for new GM's, it can be hard to compartmentalize and prioritize. However, after discussing with them, you may not actually come to a workable solution. At this point, you have to make a decision.

  • Consider if you could have more fun playing a different character that works better with this GM's play style.
  • If the GM is simply overwhelmed and/or you find that some of the other players are also frustrated, see if the GM may want to step down and if there's another player interested in the position.
  • Alternatively, see if your GM is interested in a co-GM. They already run stealth as NPC's, maybe you show up as a recurring villain instead and help them with the setpieces and such. You could have your own (non-villain) NPC's to roleplay and the GM keeps others.
  • Quit the group. Seriously, if you cannot have fun playing with that GM, you can make the decision not to. You're not punishing them, and you're not being exiled. You're making a mutually beneficial decision because the social contract is not being fulfilled. There are many other games available that you can participate in, and maybe you could still work out hanging out with the group or playing a different roleplay game with them.

This answer is based on my experiences.

  • I have been another player in a game with a Sniper/Stealth rogue. I experienced second-hand the frustration of GM'ing for a character that's the next best thing to invisible when they want to be because only a handful of people could beat the rogue's Stealth with Perception. We muddled through the rules (there was a particularly weird time when the rogue took Hide in Plain Sight for Urban terrain). However, as a group, we rarely felt like that player was unable to contribute and it was never because they were too far away (although that player was frustrated at us on occasion when we, in character, didn't allow them to stealth well because we would walk up and talk to them)
  • I have been a part of a group where my high level character's (Animal Companion) mount was executed in a "cutscene". I had to confront my GM about how my character was nearly unplayable without its Mount and the large story gap of me not having it (not terribly far from your Stealth character never actually hiding for no apparent reason). This particular issue was so pervasive that the solution we came to was a ret-con, and decided that the creature was only knocked out. This isn't the only conversation I've had with a GM about mechanics, but probably the biggest affront.
  • I am a new GM myself. I'm currently about halfway through GM'ing a Paizo Adventure Path. Each of my player's character has unique interactions with the rules and it's surprisingly easy to forget what abilities work where and how. My players have had to talk to me about my rulings on abilities and we've come to compromises without fail.
  • \$\begingroup\$ If no suitable stealth-based play style can be worked out, I'd say the first option should be to switch characters, the second should be to suggest a co-GM. The campaign is already ongoing, so suggesting they just stop doing the thing everyone agreed they do seems like a pretty extreme option (especially since there's no evidence to suggest the GM feels they're doing a bad job - their defensiveness may suggest this, but being defensive makes this suggestion less viable, and I don't see any complaints from others in the group). But switching GM's absolutely makes sense for future campaigns. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotThatGuy
    Jun 6, 2019 at 12:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ That particular list wasn't ordered by priority, it's just examples of possible resolutions. And if they reach that point, it's already pretty extreme and involving the entire group. I agree it's unlikely they realize they're doing poorly and will try to fix it if confronted more directly than being discontent mid-game, but if they're not, then a response should be decided based on why they are acting how they are. I left out "change characters" because it did not feel like that was an option to OP, but I'll add it to the list for completeness. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Jun 6, 2019 at 13:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I like this answer because it seems to be the only one that addresses the rules aspect of the game, and the decision-making therein. Every other answer tends to focus exclusively on Player-DM relationships, but it really does sound like everyone isn't fully informed on how the mechanics of stealth actually work. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erin B
    Jun 6, 2019 at 15:39

Just to add to the already given answers, because the comments mentioned that the GM is relatively new at GMing:

I am a pretty newbie GM myself, and i suspect that your GM maybe had very specific plans as to how the situations you described should turn out. It is difficult, especially for a new GM, to allow the players to mess with his plans too much, and stealth could have broken the encounters or scenes he planned. Maybe he is planning out the scenes in very specific ways and keeps forgetting that there is a stealth player in the group to plan for. You could ask him if that might be the case, or just directly ask if he would be so kind to write up a scene specifically for your character to shine in the next session. Every player should get the spotlight sometime and he should remember to plan for your characters abilities when writing the scenes. If he plans for what would happen in the case of stealth approaches, he is much more likely to allow them because he doesn't have to adjucate your actions on the spot.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This is a really good point. My OP might have been misstaken here. I actually had one of these sessions where I clearly got my chances too shine (Which I was rolling a series of 1's in... but that's not the GM's fault). But the problem I am having is more about not being able to get stealthed before or within encounters, as my whole combat skill set requires me being stealthed. Usually when I am trying to stealth my only intend is to just stealthed walk with the group, so in case of combat I am stealthed. I have no intends to leave the group, I'd just prefer using my chars combat capability. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zaibis
    Jun 6, 2019 at 8:33

Expanding on ValhallaGH's answer: Your real question is how you can disagree with someone without being disagreeable, and still get results.

1. Ask yourself what the problem is.

While you may feel you already understand the issue (and I do think you've done this step already), it helps to keep asking yourself why this is a problem until you can't boil it down any further. What part of it is making the game not fun for you? (In your case, you made stealth your defining trait, and so far every enemy has easily out stealthed you; and without your stealth, you have crippled offensive and defensive ability.)

2. Come up with solutions

The best way to get results is to suggest measurable/actionable changes that will make the game more fun for you. The less that actually needs to change, usually the better. You will almost inevitably need to compromise on this. This is not your demand, but this gives you something solid to start negotiating on/around. It's easy to like something, it's hard to actually fix it, especially if the fixer has to do all the work and find something that works via trial and error. With both of you contributing to a solution, at least you both actively know you are trying, so it's ok if it doesn't work as intended.

For example, you could suggest that in any situation where you can't stealth, that as a master of stealth you should get a (large) bonus to detecting stealth (as you already know how they could pull it off even though you can't. That way NPC's at least can't simply out stealth you). Or maybe you'd be ok with just rerolling your character (either "skill you just weren't using to this point" or new character) to one who doesn't depend on stealth to be interesting.

3. Talk to the DM

When talking to the DM, don't make it immediately about them. Putting them on the defensive will make them dig in to defend themselves. Start with why YOU aren't having fun. The DM can defend his own antics, but he can't refute how you personally feel when the NPC cannon fodder is consistently better at sneaking than the parties master sneaker (as proof by the ambush count). It can help to talk to a friend first to work though your arguments to make sure that they are irrefutable facts (no assumptions or vague assertions; have your friend try to come up with plausible defenses to your claims). You want to be clear about why you aren't having fun, and work with the DM to remedy it without directly attacking him. It's not that he is a bad DM (whether that is true or not), it's simply that you aren't having fun, and why play a game you're not enjoying? (easier said than done, but with practice comes mind control... I mean persuasion)

4a. Assuming 3 went well, and the DM actually cares about how you feel...

Don't let it happen in game. Remember the DM is human and can forget things, especially new things they don't usually think about. So when the problem appears in game, remind the DM of the solution you agreed on. If they are sincere, they will try to correct the behavior. Don't wait till the end of the session, because the delay between problem and resolution will severely dampen the effect, and greatly increase the time it takes to correct the problem.

4b. Assuming 3 didn't go well, or the DM is a jerk...

If a DM is making the game not fun, and won't (at least try to) correct the problem, it is better to just walk away from the game than continue to torture yourself with these sessions. By staying, you only stress yourself out, and weaken your friendship with this DM (if you want to ever see him again).

On a final note:

Persuasive arguing is a skill. That means it can be learned, and requires practice to perfect. It's ok if it doesn't go right the first time. Just try to figure out what you did wrong, and learn from it. (This applies to all conflicts with people, and works at and away from the table.) Also remember that the DM is human, with biases, flaws, talents, and motivations. You need to try and focus on viewing him as a collaborative partner instead of as an adversary. (no matter how uncooperative he is. Once you lose this mindset, it's much harder to focus on the points that matter.)


It sounds like your GM is perhaps once burned by this play style.

I would use a specific script, before or after a session:

"Can I talk to you for a minute? ... I feel like I am not contributing to the group, because stealth has not turned out very useful. Can you sit down with me at some point and go over the stealth rules with me, to make sure I'm reading them correctly, and that we both have the same picture in our heads of what I'm trying to do? I want to make it clear to you that I'm not trying to "break" anything, and I'm open to hearing if there's some aspect of stealth gameplay that can be disruptive. Otherwise, I might ask if I can move some things in my build around to be more of a swashbuckler or scout."

As a GM, it IS frustrating when one person keeps repeating "I stealth" or "I go stealth" at every opportunity. Not because that's not an unfair thing to do, intuitively, but because it's not really how stealth works in most games. It is also some what problematic when a player announces "I go stealth" and rolls a die, and assumes they are invisible if they rolled high. It's not like you're a Predator and you have stealth camo you can just turn on. That's not a skill at that point, that's an expectation you should have of a magic spell or item.

In Pathfinder, if you're trying to just say "smoke bomb" in the open and disappear, you need to have either some class/race/magic ability to hide in plain sight, or you need to, at a minimum, also succeed on a bluff check, then do stealth at (IIRC) -10. Also, unless you have some pretty specific feats, people sneaking don't move as fast as people not sneaking and you'd fall behind over time.

There is generally a problem in pen and paper games where people pick up on one aspect of their character and lean WAY into it. Like "I have a 16 Strength and an 8 Intelligence, so I'm as strong as Hercules and as dumb as an ox" - no, you're as strong as someone who works out and as 'dumb' as someone who dropped out of high school.

The classic example is "I'm a halfling thief, I'm going to steal all the silverware everywhere we go." Well, that's playing self destructive kleptomania, not "playing a thief." Danny Ocean doesn't steal a hotdog from a hotdog stand while he's outside a casino planning to rob it.

You may have a slight issue with wanting to be in the party and not in it.

In my long-term party, we called this "walking 30 feet off the road" because off-road random encounters were stronger and worth more XP than on-road ones. So we tried to sell our GM that we were "walking 30 feet off the road" - just far enough to get the "good" monsters, but close enough to get back on the road for the rest of the day if we had a rough fight.

It sounds a little bit like you were "walking 30 feet off the party" - you want the advantages of stealth but you aren't really committing to say, scouting out in front of the party where they can't bail you out. This is a tough tightrope to walk, because to do it well, you have to find a way to do it that doesn't split the party so that you can perform your class.

The other potential reason your GM might feel a little aggrieved is because when you say "I don't care about the talk and decision making, I just want to constantly make sure I'm perfectly set up for the first round of the next combat," you might intend the message "See how seriously I am taking my character? I am trying really hard to do what I am supposed to do, and communicate to you that this is how I think my character should work," but they may be hearing a bit of "I don't actually care about the fiction you have written for us to work with, just tap me on the shoulder when a fight starts and we roll dice." Making sure you're not coming off disrespectful when you do your thing could be helpful. Compare and contrast: People playing fighters telling the GM they never, every take off their plate, not even to sleep.

As a post-script, if you are (as I assume) playing Pathfinder, you might ask him if you can use the slightly more flexible Unchained Rogue, which is a bit tougher all round and also has explicit extra things it can do with high levels of stealth.

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    – V2Blast
    Jun 8, 2019 at 23:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ "I go stealth" - yeah, that's a weird way to put it, like MMORPG style. In D&D 5e, the "hide" action is what you do to become hidden from other creatures, usually resulting in a stealth check. It's also narratively more sensible, because it implies interacting with the environment, not an intrinsic change like a submarine going to silent running. If anyone's seen the Critical Role one shot "the Darrington Brigade", consider how much less cool / narratively evocative of in-world action it would be for "I stealth" instead of "I hide" to have been that character's go-to move. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 22, 2021 at 0:05

As someone who GMs more than he plays, I would say that the best thing to do is speak to your GM. Explain that your character's development (and your enjoyment of the campaign) is suffering; it may be that they have a very rigid idea in their mind about how they want the campaign to go, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't listen to your concerns and adapt if they have to.

We had a Human Rogue who just wanted to steal absolutely everything he could and it was so against the flow of what I wanted to do in the campaign that I did everything I could do not to give him the opportunity (even attaching an NPC to party that I played as who was employed by the Sherriff to keep an eye on him); eventually he asked if he could speak to me and explained (through quite a complicated back story) why he was like that and we built it into the narrative.

Your GM should be willing to adapt; but just tell them (nicely) that it's affecting your enjoyment of the campaign THEY are running for you.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jun 8, 2019 at 21:27

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